Men of God and War

Joseph Hubert Baron SULLIVAN died on the 8th of February 1932. I thought I was looking at the family for the first time but soon discovered that I had written about them before (see Taphophilia).

South face of the memorial with the remembrance of Joseph.

The East Yorkshire Family History Society’s Survey of the churchyard notes that his burial is not found in the St Oswald’s register. He was only forty-one when he died at Parkgate, a small village in Cheshire overlooking the Dee estuary saltmarshes.

This is the prospect from the road near 2, Holywell Close, but his last address was 12 miles away in Liverpool.

Free BMD Marriages Dec 1928  

SMITH Agnes B & SULLIVAN  Joseph H B, Wirral 8a 977.         

(Death registration for first wife Dorothea not found.)

And this is 40 Tithebarn Street today.

£709 in 1932 is now worth about £50,000.

Joseph was one of a generation of young men sent to their deaths. In 1916 the King approved his admission to a Cavalry Division as a Second Lieutenant. He was still alive a year later and was promoted to Lieutenant. He had the Great War good fortune to serve with the Indian Reserve of Army Officers (Bonar Horse). Before the war, he had played cricket for Yorkshire once and when the conflict was over, he stayed in India and helped the Europeans Cricket Team to defeat their hosts.

Michael is on the Shared Tree, with a baffling middle name initial and no forebears. Supposedly born in Cavan, he told the enumerator in 1901 that his life began in Tullow, County Carlow – and you wouldn’t expect the Vicar of Brackenfield to tell fibs. He married into the MOONs of North Yorkshire and, if you have clicked on Taphophilia, you will have seen their pedigree going back several generations. My Primitive Methodists is a revelation, indicating that Michael worked in Lancashire factories before becoming a Dissenter. He was not a Prim for long.


Church & Dissent

The Rev. Michael Sullivan, recently a Primitive Methodist Minister, has been admitted a deacon of the Church of England, and licensed to the curacy of Buckland, Newton-cum-Plush, Dorsetshire. Mr Sullivan was well-known in Pickering (where he was formerly stationed) and Malton, having married a daughter of Mr Joseph Moon, draper, of Malton.

Yorkshire Gazette 14 June 1884

Michael and Maria, the draper’s daughter, took two children to Dorset and returned to the north with the same complement. Third child Joseph was born in York in 1890. Twenty-two years passed before the vicar’s next, and possibly last, newsworthy move.


The Rev. R. C. Turner, the vicar of Brackenfield, has resigned the living – which he has held for six years – on account of indifferent health. He will not take up ministerial work for the present. The patron is Mr W. G. Turbutt, of Ogston Hall. Mr Turbutt has appointed the Rev. Michael Sullivan to succeed Mr Turner. Mr Sullivan formerly resided in York and was formerly an English chaplain in France. At present he is in South Devonshire, near Tiverton, and it is expected that he will commence duty in April. Mr Turner was on Thursday presented by his parishioners with a piece of silver plate…

Derby Daily Telegraph 15 March 1912

In 1914, the son of Michael’s patron was killed in France.


Memorial Service at Brackenfield

In honour of the late Lieut. Gladwyn Maurice Revell Turbutt, son of Mr and Mrs W. G. Turbutt, Ogston Hall, Brackenfield, who was killed in action, a memorial service was held in Brackenfield Trinity Church on Tuesday afternoon. There was a crowded gathering of sympathisers.

At the entrance to the church the following telegram was on view: “Buckingham Palace, October 28th. To W. G. Turbutt, Esq., Ogston Hall, Alfreton. The King and Queen deeply regret the loss you and the Army have sustained by the death of your son in the services of his country. Their Majesties truly sympathise with you in your sorrow. Private Secretary.”

The service was conducted by the following clergy: The Rev. Michael Sullivan (vicar of Brackenfield), the Rev. T. Allen Moxon (rural dean and vicar of Alfreton), the Rev. Canon Prior (vicar of Morton) and the Rev. Bernard Hallowes (rector of Shirland)…

Derbyshire Courier 7 November 1914

Find a photograph of Brackenfield Church here. The prominent War Memorial names the “Sons of Brackenfield who fell in the Great War”. Gladwyn tops the list.

Returning to Michael and his contentious birthplace. There isn’t a “Turlow, County Cavan” on Google’s Earth but there is a Tullow, County Carlow. And on the 1921 census form, that is where our Man of God said he was born.

© Crown Copyright The National Archives

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