Banburyshire Family History

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go back to the last page you were on John Arthur Cox 1902- 1961

John Arthur was born in December 1902, the year the Boer War ended. After leaving school he worked as a motor engineer and lived at 21 Castle Street East. He was 20 when his sister died and 21 when he lost his father.

He married Mary Broughton on 3rd March 1930 at the age of 27. It was a catholic wedding in the church of St John and the witnesses were W. Broughton (Mary's father) and H.G. Berry. By this time John Arthur was working as a builder for William Broughton's firm, W, Broughton and Sons Builders, although he gave his profession as "motor engineer" on his wedding certificate. Initially, they lived at 8 Belgrave Crescent, before moving in to 89 Warwick Road, a belated wedding present from William Broughton, newly built by his building firm on the site of Rag Row, a notorious slum responsible for a disproportionate number of fatalities.

Bowthorpe Power Equipment

Bowthorpe Power Equipment

John Arthur's mother, Emily, died in December 1932 and he seems to have left the Catholic Church soon afterwards because when his son, Geoffrey, was born in 1933 he was not baptised. Despite 706 names on the family tree, the name Geoffrey had never been previously used, possibly a deliberate break with the past? William Broughton died in December 1935, run over outside the Whately Hotel, possibly one of the first road traffic fatalities in Banbury. John Arthur was 37 when the Second World War broke out, so would have been eligible for conscription, being under 40. But he was exempt because by then he was working in a "reserved occupation" for Switchgear & Equipment which manufactured components for the military. The company became Bowthorpe Power Equipment and was in Southam Road until the 1970s.

In 1941 Geoffrey was sent to Magdalene Boarding School in Brackley, and baptised in Magdalene School Chapel, the first Anglican baptism in the family for 126 years. How did they afford the fees? Certainly not from a munitions worker's wages, and it is doubtful that John Henry left them enough money so presumably it was a legacy from William Broughton? But one of William Broughton's business ventures, The Reindeer Inn, had gone bankrupt in the 1930's and he left a wife and five children so there can't have been much each if they shared it out. There were a lot of teachers on the Broughton side, but William's first wife Sarah had been illiterate, the last person on the family tree unable to sign her marriage certificate - in 1892. Perhaps William valued education and made special provision for his grandchildren? Unfortunately no will can be traced.

John Arthur had only one remaining Cox relative, a cousin, Bernard Charles, descended from Louis. Bernard had married a girl from Midhurst, West Sussex in 1936 but she left him leading to a quick divorce after the war and he consequently had to leave the Catholic Church. He subsequently left Banbury and moved to the Isle of Wight.

In 1948, John Arthur fell out with his "family" and moved to Weymouth, was this connected with the events above? He can't have moved to avoid Bernard, as Bernard was leaving anyway, so the "family" must have been his cousins by marriage - the Pearsons, Soles, Busbys, Brays, Jarvis's and Hancoxs who seem to have formed a tight knit community centred on the Catholic Church. But if John Arthur was acting out of solidarity with Bernard why did they not keep in touch? Weymouth and the Isle of Wight are reasonably close but prior to this research neither side of the family had any knowledge of the other! If the two men acted independently then it seems strange that they both ended up on the south coast, when Banbury is one of the furthest places in the country from the sea! Perhaps the call of the sea is loudest in those that live furthest from it?

John Arthur spent the rest of his life running the Westfield Hotel, Weymouth, until he died aged 58 in 1961. So John Arthur succeeded in escaping from Neithrop where James failed 163 years previously, spending 12 of his 58 years by the seaside, in contrast to his ancestors who spent 225 of the previous 235 in Neithrop!

The Cox church records peter out after the First World War, as the use of registry offices and crematoria together with a decline in baptisms made church records a less accurate reflection of what was going on, so without access to the census records after 1911 it has been impossible to trace any living Cox descendents in Banbury, but according to the online directory 192.com there are 240 Coxes in Banbury and some of them must be descendents of the original William Mathew Cox.

Contributed by Nicholas Cox
Email: cox_family(@)ntlworld.com
To contact Nicholas, copy and paste the address and remove the brackets around the @ - thank you.