Sidney Vallis BECKLEY (1890–1933)
St Mary Magdalen section: Row 53, Grave P56

Sidney Beckley




29TH 1933,
AGED 42.




This grave marker (a flower vase on an inscribed pedestal) is in roughly the right place: it is in the St Mary Magdalen section, and at the far end of the cemetery with the later burials. It appears, however, to have been moved from its original position

Sidney Vallis Beckley was born at 59 Charles Street, east Oxford on 6 October 1890 and baptised at Cowley St John Church on 30 November. He was the only child of Edwin Pearce Beckley and Emily Ann Vallis, who were married at Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry on 16 June 1889.

At the time of the 1891 census Sidney (six months) was living at 59 Charles Street with his father Edwin (30), who was a grocer’s porter, and his mother Emily (33).

In 1901 Sidney was a schoolboy of 10, and he and his mother were living at The Pitts in Headington Quarry with his maternal grandfather George Vallis, a widower of 70 who was a retired stonemason. His father was back home on his own at 59 Charles Street. It may be that his mother was ill, as she died at the age of 44 soon after the census and was buried at Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry, on 15 August that year.

In 1903 Sidney’s father Edwin Pearce Beckley married his second wife Elizabeth Sutton. They do not appear to have had any children.

In 1911 Sidney (20) was a cabinet maker, living again at 59 Charles Street with his father Edwin (50) and his stepmother Elizabeth (35).

In the First World War Sidney volunteered in January 1915 at the age of 24 and served in the Royal Engineers (regimental number 70548). He landed in France on 19 March 1916. He was wounded in the upper arm on 10 November 1917, and was transferred to the signals department. He was granted leave to the UK on 26 October 1918, just before the war ended.

On 8 November 1916 at St Barnabas's Church, Sidney Vallis Beckley (26), who was presumably on leave, married the dressmaker Hilda Louisa Perks (28). Born in Oxford on 31 October 1888, she was the daughter of the gardener Watkin Perks. Sidney moved into her family’s home at 29 Canal Street in Jericho, where he was to remain for the rest of his life. They had the following children:

  • Maurice Watkin Edwin Beckley (born in Oxford on 28 February 1920 and baptised at St Barnabas’s Church on 18 April)
  • George Vallis Beckley (born in Oxford on 21 July 1921 and baptised at St Barnabas’s Church on 28 August)
  • Joyce Mary Beckley (born in Oxford on 5 October 1923 and baptised at St Barnabas’s Church on 4 November)
  • Eileen Ethel Beckley (born in Oxford on 11 July 1926 and baptised at St Barnabas’s Church on 15 August)
  • Iris Margaret Beckley (born in Oxford on 23 February 1930 and baptised at St Barnabas’s Church on 4 May).

Sidney Vallis Beckley died at home in 1933:

† Sidney Vallis Beckley died at 29 Canal Street at the age of 42 on 29 April 1933 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 3 May (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

The fact that Sidney Beckley’s burial was recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church shows that he was buried in their section of the cemetery. Normally someone living in St Barnabas’s parish would have been buried in the St Paul’s section, but it is possible that their section was full at this late date and spaces were made available regardless of parish.

His widow Hilda Louise Beckley died in Oxford near the beginning of 1980 at the age of 93, nearly half a century after her husband.



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