William Stephen Anstee (HR 26)

See ‘Anstey: A Complete History From the Norman Invasion to World War One‘ for much more on the Houghton Regis Anstees. In addition to biographies of various Anstey individuals who make up this sub-branch, the book contains a plethora of Anstey research and statistics, including an analysis of how the Houghton Regis Anstees fit into the pedigree descendent from Hubert de Anesti, the 12th century originator of the ‘Anstey’ surname.

HR 26. William Stephen Anstee: He was born on 13 April 1878 in Brixton to parents James John Anstee (HR 21) and Susan Blackbourn [Blackburn]. He married Alice Maude le Grave in Kennington on 1 July 1899 and they had children:

  • Alice Maude Anstee (b 14 March 1901 Walworth, married Harry Horner in 1919 in Southwark – see below for 1934 news report);
  • James John Anstee (b 19 August 1905 Islington, known as Jim – see below for 1934 news report);
  • Henry George Anstee (b 12 February 1907 Paddington, known as Harry – see below for 1934 news report);
  • Alma Anstee (b 13 August 1909 Westminster); and
  • Hilda Anstee (b 12 April 1912 Lambeth)

He was a potman at 70, Thurlow Street, Newington in the 1901 Census. By the 1911 Census the family were living at 131 Sayer St S E, St Mary Newington where he was an ‘iron golf head finisher’.

He served during World War One, enlisting for service at Southwark on 10 December 1915 – at this time he described himself as a married iron golf head grinder born in Brixton. He was mobilised on 20 July 1916 at Grove Park, joining the Army Service Corps as a Private (Service Number: DM2/190325 – some sources state incorrectly 190525).

He served in France from 2 December 1916 to 26 June 1917 as a lorry driver, with first the ‘1st BMTD’ and then ‘5th Auxiliary Petrol Company’ of the ASC (MT). He suffered from varicose veins in April 1916 due to “marching” (for which he attended the 2nd ? Hospital in Abbeville). On 28 June 1917, whilst still with 5th Auxiliary Petrol Company, he was admitted to hospital with ‘Abscess urethra‘. He was transferred on “07/09/1917 All Saints Hospital. Hospital Ship Essequibo. University College Hospital.“. His hospital admittance entry confirms that at this time he had “11 months in service and 7 months with field force” – also that he was aged 41 and Church of England.

After a period of recuperation, he returned to duty with the Army Service Corps in Norwood on 11 January 1918 and he was transferred to 606 MT Company of the ASC (based at Holland Park) in March 1918. He remained with this unit until he was transferred to the Reserves on 23 March 1919, returning to live at 420 Munton Road, New Kent Road. He was rejected for an Army Pension, but awarded the Victory and British War medals for his service.

By the 1921 Census he was living at Munton Road, Southwark with his family. The ‘Illustrated Police News‘ on 9 August 1934 reported “Dramatic Inquest Story: Razor Used in Street Affray – Bystander prevents a ghastly murder: Mr Cowburn, opening an inquest at Southwark said ‘Put shortly this is a case of adultery, violence, quarrels and attempted murder, culminating in suicide. The inquest was on Robert Floyd, 39, of Rodney Place Walworth who died in Guys Hospital following a street affray in which a woman was injured. Mrs Dorothy May Floyd, the widow, said that six years ago she obtained a separation from him on the grounds of cruelty and desertion. James Anstee, of Munton Road, said that his sister Alice Maud Horner, who was now in Guys Hospital, had been living apart from her husband [Harry Horner] and had been living with Floyd for six years. About Easter they separated because his sister could not stand Floyd’s habits and violent temper. Anstee described how on Saturday July 21st he found Floyd quarrelling with his sister and when asked what the trouble was Floyd ‘flew up in the air”. Before he could say anything else his (Anstee’s) father took Floyd by the scruff of the neck and ‘walked him’ into the street. Anstee said that he (witness) and Floyd afterwards had a fight. A few days later Floyd came and apologised, saying he wanted to go back to his sister. Told him that was useless Floyd said ‘Jim I love your sister and if I cant have her I shall kill her and kill myself’. Henry George Anstee, a lorry driver of Waller Road, New Cross, said that two years ago there was a row and his sisters children went round and told him that Floyd had threatened them with a razor. The children were terrified. When his (witnesses) brother went round Floyd also threatened him with a razor. Witness said that he was driving his lorry along New Kent Road and had just passed Munton Road when he heard screams. He pulled up sharply because he thought someone had been run over. ‘I rushed over the road and I saw a woman’ he said ‘I did not recognise for a moment that it was my sister. I saw she had a terrible gash in her throat. It gave me a terrible shock which I shall never forget all my life’. She said to me ‘Oh Harry, he has cut my throat, will I die? I do want to live. Get me to a hospital’. [Jim] Anstee said that he stopped a car and he saw Floyd running over towards the corner of Munton Road towards him and his sister in a threatening manner. he seemed like a raving madman. He had something in one hand and was holding his throat with the other…On admission Floyd was struggling with the ambulance attendants. He resisted attention from the doctors and nurses and said he did not wish to live. He [Floyd] asked whether the woman [Alice Maud] would live and said ‘I hope that she doesnt, she has been unfaithful to me’. Floyd died the same day from a razor wound to the throat. The woman [Alice Maud] had superficial wounds and was now making progress…

In the 1939 Register he was still an iron golf head finisher living with his wife at 73 Cranfield Road, Brockley, Lewisham. He died in 1956 in Bromley.

Anybody who can add anything to this account, or finds any mistakes on this page, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

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