Rob Forsyth

I am most grateful to Mark Viner, son of Sylvia, daughter of William (Bill) Course, for much of the information and images in this article and in the Gallery. Where I have quoted Mark verbatim I have used "..." marks.

Joseph Course (1828-1898)

He was born 31 May 1828 at Brackley Mill, son of William Course (c1798 - 1865) and Mary Betts. 

The family can then be tracked through  Census returns (pdf) which are briefly summarised 1841C to 1901C following:


1841C The family is living in the Mill House at Brackley. Joseph is 13 and has 6 siblings.  The Mill was photographed during the construction of the Great Central Railway in the 1890s. The man in the photograph is probably Joseph's brother Thomas (1842-1909). Click on thumbnail for larger image

1851C Joseph (22) is now working in the mill with his father and brother Fred (18).

23 December1856 Joseph purchases Deddington Mill for £800 by way of a loan of £700 from John Willitts of Adderbury. It comprised of a house and a cottage so two families are often shown in the census retunrs as living at 'Deddington Mill'.

1857 Joseph marries Ann Paxton (b.1829). She came from Hinton in the Hedges but by 1929 was living at 109 York Street, Marylebone so they actually got married at St Mary's, Marylebone.

1861C Joseph and Ann are living at Deddington Mill with a daughter, Elizabeth Ann, and two sons, Joseph junior and John (aged 4 days).

23 December 1868 Ann dies 'in her 41st year' - as inscribed on her tomb. She leaves behind seven children including Walter William who was born the same year. The family tree of Joseph's descendants can be found HERE

1870 Joseph remarries Jane Franklin. She has one son, Stephen, by a previous marriage and she and Joseph subsequently have a child called John Henry (b.1861)

1871C Joseph is listed as a Miller. They are living in a Drapers Shop on High Street together with some of his children - Ann Elizabeth, Agnes and stepson Stephen Franklin - while sons Charles, Frederick and Walter are living at the mill. There is no record of John (b.1861) so he may have died in childhood. The eldest boy, Joseph junior, was living at the school in Aynho as a boarder. There is also a John Henry on this census and he must be the son of Joseph and Jane and who died the following year.

1881C Joseph and Jane are at the Drapers shop. Joseph is listed  as Miller and Draper. Only one child, son Charles, is living with them and he is a Baker. Joseph junior, his sister Elizabeth and brothers Frederick and Walter William are at the 'Corn Mill. The other daughter, Agnes, is living at 6 Walton Street, Oxford where she was a scholar. 

Also living with them is a Thomas Henry Wells (Draper). His son was well known in the village as 'Ticky' Wells with a shop in the Market place; he was called 'Ticky' because he sold goods on 'tick', or credit, when times were bad.

1891C Joseph, Jane and son Joseph (30) are at the Mill. Walter William is living in New Street as a Baker with his sister, Agnes Mary. Charles, now married, is living in Headington. Elizabeth Ann is also now married to Thomas Henry Wells and they live in New Street with their three children. Frederick is living in Hook Norton as a baker.



In October 1892 Joseph borrowed £300 from Stephen Franklin (son of his second wife Jane) who, by 1894, had taken over the original mortgage for the Mill on which £761 was owing. Joseph sold the Mill to Stephen1 for £761.10s in 1894.

9 October 1895 Walter William married Helena May Allen (known as Lena) from Upper Heyford Mill.

24 February 1898 Joseph died and was buried in the main churchyard in the same grave as his first wife, Ann.

His son, Frederick (32), died just 3 months later and was also buried in the same grave2.





1 Stephen sold the Mill in 1926 when it then became a private house.

2 Frederick's widow, Elizabeth, moved to Banbury with her son, John. Mark adds "She died a few years later and the son was sent to Canada as an orphan in the days when we sent orphans all over the empire. He was adopted by a German immigrant family but was interned as an enemy alien in WW1. However, he subsequently served in France on our side! His grandson, also John Course, is Archdeacon of Brock in Niagara, Canada."

Agnes Mary married a Frank Cave and moved to Sulgrave and Joseph (junior) had moved to Walsall so the only remaining child was therefore Walter William.

Walter William Course (1868-1951)

Walter William and Lena had two sons, William James (Doughy) born 23 February 1897 and Walter Allen born 4 January 1901.

1901C Walter is living at 'Courses Mill' with his wife Lena. He is variously described in census records thereafter as Master Miller, Baker and Fish Dealer (1911 census).

Also shown living at the Mill was Stephen Franklin and his wife, Isabella

Mark has the  Mill ledgers from 24/02/1897 to 31/12/1906 when, he says " ... I presume Walter (Doughy senior) moved out. I think he lived at a few different addresses. My great aunt can remember him living next to the Holcombe Hotel in the early years but Mum could only remember him living in Philcote Street."

George Harris, in his book As I Remember, calls Walter ‘Old Doughy’ when describing how he carried out a pig killing in the 1930s (p.9). He is described in various census as Master Miller, Baker and, in 1911 after the Mill was sold, as a Fish Dealer.




                           click on thumb nails to see full size images

William (Bill)James Course (1897-1976)

When his younger brother, Walter Allen (always known as Allen) was born in 1901, Bill was sent to live with his Grandmother, Julia Allen, at Upper Heyford Mill. This was pulled down in 1910 and Bill returned to live in Deddington.

Naval Service in WWI  Bill did his naval training at HMS Pembroke in Chatham and went to sea on HMS Ceres in June 1917 until war end. The story of why he joined the Navy and more about his service time can be found HERE


Bill purchased the Bakehouse - located on the SW corner of The Stile where it meets New Street - for £220 in December 1921. He was living there at the time. This ties in with the business being 'established 1922' as in his advertisement (l)  placed in The Oxford Mail also referring to the medal he was awarded (r).

While he was always known as Bill by his family inevitably he became known locally as 'Doughy' as his father had been.



The Bakehouse

The image on the left is from a postcard belonging to the Packer Collection dated 1937.

The painting on the right was executed by Banbury artist, Anthony Morgan, in about 1990 using the old postcard as a reference.

 The property is still called Bakehouse (2016)

Click on thumbnails to obtain larger images


Bill's cart outside the Crown & Tuns with Fred England the Publican

"My Granddad bought the cart for £25 from someone called Baughan in Ardley. The Baughan’s were relatives of my grandmother and she came from Ardley too – her father was a farmer/publican and they lived at the Fox and Hounds. Fred England, the person in the photo with the cart, was the landlord of the Tuns and he wanted the cart and offered my granddad £25 for it. My Granddad was pleased as that was the price he’d paid for it all those years before! Fred didn’t have room to keep the cart at the Tuns so it was left where it was, at the Bakehouse. We knew that Fred had already given my granddad the money and when he died, although we wanted to keep it, we knew that it had been sold and the money paid so we had to let it go. As a 15 year old, I took it up to the pub in 1976 and we asked Fred to ensure that it was looked after and if he ever wanted to sell it, to give us first refusal. I tracked it down in 2003 to Rodney Hayward’s and it was in a very sorry state. Rodney did say I could have it for nothing if I restored it but it would be like Triggers broom - 17 new heads and 14 new handles! It would also cost a fortune to restore."




"This is a photo of my Grandad (on the left) sitting in his Bull Nose Morris outside the Fox and Hounds at Ardley. I’m not sure who the other person is but  my Grandmother’s father’s name, Arthur Beasley is above the door. I know that my Grandad used to go to Ardley and take his friend, Bill Compton with him. Bill’s parents had a greengrocers which is now known as the Three Horse Shoes opposite May Fu 2 (2016). My Granddad and Bill Compton married 2 sisters, Hilda & Eva, from Ardley.BullNoseMorris

The Berry brothers - apprentice bakers


"The Berry brothers - Ken and Sid - lived just down the road from the Bakehouse and worked for Bill as apprentices before WWII. They had a younger sister, Gwen. Sid and Ken were like big brothers to Mum and during the war she had a picture of one of Sid’s ships on her bedroom wall – HMS Ashanti.

I think it was just after the war that Sid came home on leave and bought back a bunch of bananas – they were the first ones that Gwen and Mum had seen so they had a photo taken with Gwen holding them. Mum said that the bananas were still green so they had to leave them in the Bakehouse to ripen.

I can remember Ken telling me about how they baked the bread and that he went into Banbury one night with my grandfather to get fish and chips as the bombers were flying over and he wanted to get back as soon as possible. I can also remember Sid’s mother who lived at The Steps. When my grandad died, I can remember chopping up all the wood in the coal house and taking all the chopped wood and remaining coal to Mrs Berry".

(an article about Sid Berry - including a description and photograph of the sinking of Ashanti - can be found here).

 More information

...can be found about Bill's military service in the  Parish at War and in the William (Bill) Course album in the WWI section of the Gallery. 

...and the images in this article - and more - are in The Course Family  album in the Gallery.