Dr William Alexander Slater Royds: Community Pillar and Successor to Dr Stevens

Cricket team SMB 1906 main pic 001

Village Cricket Team 1906 courtesy HG

TitleNamesThe St Mary Bourne cricket team for 1906 look remarkably glum for a group of people who had just won the village league challenge cup. Perhaps the photographer was one of those annoying professionals who spend so long  perfecting their work that they have long since left their sitters behind in a slough of despond.

Dr Royds, as the president of the cricket team, sits in the centre of the group, looking as thoughtful as any. Perhaps he was thinking of his daughter Dorothy, who had died just the year before at the age of nineteen. Perhaps he was thinking of his son William, who had apparently taken to heart the injunction ‘Go West, Young Man’, and seemed destined for a life in the Americas. Royds family


Or perhaps he experienced one of those sudden presentiments – within ten years most of the young men surrounding him would be at the Front, fighting for their country and their young lives.

One of those who would go to war was his own son, George Freeman Royds, who  in due course would have a distinguished war in Mesopotamia, but as a professional soldier had been in at the start.

George Freeman Royds 2nd Lt


abaHe considered himself lucky, in a way, to have the compensations of his profession to keep him from dwelling too long on the sadnesses of his life – there were too many things to be done and people to be attended to.


Extract from ‘A Village Story’ by Kathleen Royds Innes 1955


Extract from ‘St Mary Bourne Records’ by Kathleen Royds Innes 1947


Post script: WRONG HOUSE! This is where Dr Royds’ daughter lived on marriage to George Innes, not the Doctors’ house – see post of 7 December 2014 https://stmarybournegoestowar.net/2014/12/07/led-up-the-garden-path-by-laurus-nobilis/


8 thoughts on “Dr William Alexander Slater Royds: Community Pillar and Successor to Dr Stevens

  1. How fascinating and how poignant. So Kathleen Innes was Dr Royds’ daughter? I am surprised that all the doctors resident in St Mary Bourne lived at Portway. It looks so different in this aerial photograph.

    • Yes, Kathleen was indeed Dr Royds’ daughter, and as she was born in 1883 and not married until 1921 she must play an active part in this blog as I’m sure she did in real life in the village.

      She makes this very categorical statement about all the doctors living in the same house, but I must say that this does not entirely fit with local folk lore or my reading of the censuses for 1901 and 1911. Is it possible she is suffering from romantic delusions, that if she wants a thing to be so it is so?! I put up this statement as she wrote it, hoping that people might come forward to confirm or refute it. Our investigations continue….

    • Thank-you David. I have just checked his census records and he was indeed on his way to being a chartered surveyor, an altogether quieter profession! Still, he stayed on in Iraq some time after the end of the war, so he evidently took to public service.

      • His medal card shows he received the Territorial Force War Medal which is the rarest of the campaign medals, basically for pre-war territorials who volunteered for overseas service, but were not deployed to a theatre of war (a number of battalions, including the Devonshires, were sent to India as garrison to relieve regular units for service in France)

      • Thanks David – I have now added the reverse side of the card, which (I think!) shows that he was in Iraq until 1922.

        I believe the TAPU referred to concerned land use and rights: “Historically, land administration during the Ottoman period, known as the TAPU (title deed) system, included a land register and an issuance of title deeds. Land was classified into several categories, including a category that provided individual property rights.” (humanitarianlibrary.org/sites/default/files/2013/05/PNADE241.pdf).

        The combination of professional chartered surveyor qualifications plus army training must have made him a useful part of the post-war shaping of Iraq.

  2. Pingback: Led Up The Garden Path By Laurus Nobilis | St Mary Bourne Goes To War

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s