Ernest Entwhistle

The Northampton Mercury dated October 30, 1914 reported:

A Baritone Surprise

The competition for soldier baritones at the Northampton Eisteddfod produced a surprise.   It was confidently expected that the winner would be a Welshman but to the delight of the Northampton people present the prize was awarded to a member of the Northampton 4th Battalion.  The winner, Private Entwistle is school attendance officer under the Northampton Education Officers in the Daventry District but has been given permission to volunteer for military service.   He was previously manager for the West Haddon Co-op and still has his house in the village.   Private Entwistle is now 36 years of age and has been singing in public since he was 13.   At the age of 18 he was singing   as a first bass in St Peter’s choir in Manchester.   On going to Bedford in 1903 (?) he sang as first tenor in the choir of St Wesley’s church.   In 1903 he took up conductorship of the Park Road Primitive choir.

At present he is the conductor of the West End Baptist choir which holds the banner of the Northamptonshire Musical Festival for sight singing.


Ernest Entwhistle was clearly a West Haddon man but his name did not appear in the available baptisms, burials or deaths.   These are not published by the Baptist church.   I searched the 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911 censuses.   None of them referred to an Entwistle living in Northamptonshire.   With so little information I was struggling.   I decided to try the census again.

After some time I had a Eureka moment.   I found him, by a stroke of luck, in the 1911 census.   I found he was born in Droylesden, Lancashire and that he was living in Laburnum Road, Sandy, Bedfordshire where he was a school attendance officer.   Without the newspaper link I doubt if I would ever have found him.

He married his wife Hannah Pritchard on 28/8/1900..   They had two children, Dorothy Edith born in Chesterfield about 1904 when  Ernest was a manager of Green’s stores, and Ernest Harry, born in Bedford about 1909.

I was fortunate to find a partial record of his military service.   He “embodied” as a Private on 3/10/19914.   His regimental number was 552159 and he joined the Northamptonshire Regiment Territorial Force for 4 years.   He was promoted Sergeant on 7/5/1915.  )n 26/1/1918 he transferred to the 2nd/5th Battalion of the Essex Regiment at Clipston Barracks.   Three months later he moved to the 2nd/4th Northamptonshire based in Middlesbrough and on 18/5/1918 joined the Employment Company of the 2nd/5thssex Regiment.

He was “disembodied” on demobilisation on 24/2/1919.   He returned to West Haddon where his wife ran the West End Stores.

The  Northamptonshire Mercury and Post on 31/8/1934 reported on him working as an Education Officer.   On 1/3/1935 the same paper contained a report on him working in Long Buckby as a School Attendance Officer.   He retired from the post on 8/6/1943, against his will, due to the age limit for his work.

He died at the age of 76 on 20/10/1954 while living at 98 Bostock     Northampton.   Probate in Exeter on 10/11/1954 granted to “Dorothy Edith Spencer, a married woman (his daughter) and Hubert Ernest Kingston Solicitor the sum of £1404 8s”

 Jim Blakey

 7th November, 2016