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  • Grave with CWGC headstone, Sutton in Ashfield Cemetery. Photograph courtesy of Jim Grundy.
Person Details
18 May 1886
Swinderby Lincolnshire
William was the son of William and Mary Elizabeth Renshaw (née Wing). His father William was born in Thorpe, Lincolnshire, in about 1854, the son of William Renshaw. In 1881 William (27) an agricultural labourer, was living in Clowne, near Worksop, in the home of his uncle and aunt George and Sarah Renshaw. His mother Mary Elizabeth was born in Navenby, Lincolnshire, in 1860 (A/M/J Grantham), the daughter of Richard and Sarah Wing. Mary had a daughter, Sarah Ann (Wing) b. Navenby 14 May 1879 bap. 3 March 1880, who in 1881 was living with her widowed grandmother, Sarah Wing (61), and uncles George and Richard Wing, at 4 Temperance Hall Yard, Navenby. Mary has not yet been traced on the 1881 census. William and Mary Elizabeth were married in Navenby parish church on 17 September 1882 (J/A/S Lincoln). According to the 1911 Census they had 14 children all of whom survived. Thirteen children have been traced on the census between 1891 and 1911: Sarah E. b. abt 1880, Mary birth registered 1883 (J/F/M Newark) bap. Swinderby 11 March 1883; Susan b. 26 November 1884 (O/N/D Newark) bap. Swinderby 21 December 1884; William b. 18 May 1886 (A/M/J Newark) bap. Swinderby 6 June 1886; George b. 1888 (A/M/J Newark) bap. Swinderby 1 April 1888; and John b. 1889 (J/A/S Newark), all of whom were born in Swinderby, Elizabeth b. 28 March 1891 (A/M/J Southwell), Eliza b. 1892 (J/A/S Southwell) and Charles b. 6 April 1894 (A/M/J Southwell), all of whom were born in Oxton, Harriet b. Blidworth 9 August 1895 (J/A/S Mansfield) and Laura Edith b. 13 February 1898 (J/F/M Mansfield), Alice b. 9 June 1899 (J/A/S Mansfield) and Catherine b. 20 September 1900 (O/N/D Mansfield), all of whom were born in Sutton in Ashfield. No birth registration has yet been traced for Sarah E. and she and Sarah Ann may be one and the same person. In 1891 William (37) an agricultural labourer and Mary (31) were living at Dairy Cottages, Water Lane, Oxton, with their children Sarah (11), Mary (8), Susan (6), William (5), George (5), John (2) and an unamed daughter (Elizabeth) who was 9 days old. Tha family had moved to Station Road, Sutton in Ashfield, by 1901. William (46) was a brewers' labourer. In the household with William and his wife were William (14) a colliery horse driver, George (13) a colliery yard boy and John (11), Elizabeth (10), Eliza (8), Charles (7), Harriet (6), Laura E (3), Alice (2) and Katherine (6 months). Also in the household was their married daughter daughter Sarah E (sic) Cook (21); there is a record of the marriage of Sarah Ann Wing to Joseph Cook in 1899 (O/N/D Chesterfield). Mary (18) was a domestic servant living in Sutton in Ashfield in the household of Albert Butler, a licensed victualler, and his wife Florence. William and Mary were living at 30 Union Road, Sutton in Ashfield, in 1911; William was working as a labourer for the Urban District Council. In the home on the night of the census were six of their children Eliza, Charles, Harriet, Laura, Alice and Catherine. Five of their children are known to have left home: William had joined the Royal Navy in 1907 while three of his siblings, Mary, Susan and George, had married and John was living in Kirkby in Ashfield. William's parents were still living at 30 Union Street at the time of his death in 1917. His father William died in 1937 (O/N/D Mansfield) and his mother Mary Elizabeth in 1939 (J/F/M Mansfield). Of his siblings: Sarah Ann (Wing) married Joseph Cook at Clay Cross St Bartholomew in 1899 (O/N/D Chesterfield). Mary married Thomas Dove in 1902 (A/M/J Mansfield). However, in 1911 she was living in Kirkby in Ashfield, housekeeper to Samuel Dennis (30), a coal miner, who was unmarried, and his three children George b. 7 October 1905, Mabel b. 1907 and John b. 27 September 1909 (birth registrations surname Dennis, mother's maiden name Renshaw). Samuel was probably the older brother of Amy Renshaw (née Dennis), the wife of Mary's brother, George. Also in the home on the night of the census was Mary's brother, John. Mary has not been traced positively after 1911 although there is a record of the death of a Mary Dove (b. 1883) in 1919 (J/A/S Nottingham). Samuel Dennis (b. 28 December 1882) was still living in Kirkby in Ashfield in 1939; he was unmarried. Also in the home was his youngest son, John who was also a miner. Susan married Samuel Slack in 1903 (J/F/M Mansfield). She died in 1964 (J/F/M Mansfield). George married Amy Dennis (b. 23 January 1888) in 1909 (O/N/D Mansfield). It is likely that George and Amy had a daughter, Lucy Dennis (later Lucy Dennis Renshaw), who was born on 9 March 1908 (A/M/J Mansfield), the year before their marriage. After their marriage they had three children: George b. 13 May 1910 (A/M/J Mansfield, Doris M b. 1912 (A/M/J Mansfield) who died young and Gladys b. 25 August 1914 (J/A/S Mansfield). In 1911 George, a carter for Mansfield District Council, and Amy were living in Sutton in Ashfield with their son George (10m); Lucy was living with her widowed grandmother, Hannah Dennis in Sutton in Ashfield. George served with the 1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters and was killed in 1918 (see record on this Roll of Honour). John, a coal miner hewer, was a boarder in the household of Samuel Dennis and his sister Mary Dove in 1910 when he attested in the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry (1464) although he named his father of Sutton in Ashfield as his next of kin. John served at home from 9 September 1910-30 November 1914. No record of war service has yet been traced. Elizabeth married George H Clarke in 1915 (O/N/D Mansfield). Eliza married Frederick Allsop in 1917 (J/F/M Mansfield). She died in 1981 (J/F/M Basford). Charles (Charley) joined the Royal Navy as a stoker on 24 May 1913 on a 12 year short service engagement. He transferred to a continuous service engagement on 25 September 1915. His service was punctuated by periods in cells and detention culminating in a sentence to 12 months hard labour for 'striking a superior officer'. On completion of his sentence in November 1919 he was dismissed the service. He married Ruth Watson in 1920 (A/M/J Mansfield) and worked at the Summit Colliery. He died in December 1924 having been found drowned at Lawn Pleaure Ground, Sutton in Ashfield. (See 'Extra information') Harriet married John H Thorpe in 1917 (J/A/S Mansfield) and died in 1972 (J/F/M Mansfield). Laura Edith married Thomas E Goodall in 1920 (J/F/M Mansfield) and died in 1978 (J/F/M Mansfield). Alice married Charles H Barnes in 1919 (O/N/D Mansfield) and died in 1985 (J/F/M Mansfield). Catherine married Wilfred Shelton in 1919 (O/N/D Mansfield) and died in 1985 (J/F/M Mansfield).
He was a colliery horse driver in 1901. He joined the Royal Navy as a stoker in 1911.
25 Oct 1917
2750764 - CWGC Website
Petty Officer Stoker
Royal Navy
HMS Blenheim William joined the Royal Navy as a Stoker on 26 June 1907 on a 12 year short service engagement (5 years RN, 7 years Royal Fleet Reserve) but transferred voluntarily to a continuous service engagement on 21 June 1912 ie to serve in the Royal Navy for a further seven years. He was rated Stoker 1st Class when he transferred. He served in the following ships and shore establishments from 1912: HMS Blenheim, 21 June 1912-30 September 1913 (Stoker 1st Class); HMS Egmont, 1 October 1913-31 March 1914 (Acting Ldg Stoker, 4 November 1913); HMS Blenheim (Beagle), 1 April 1914-18 November 1914; Victory II (Beagle), 19 November 1914-31 March 1915; HMS Blenheim (Beagle), 1 April 1915-31 March 1916 (Ldg Stoker 1 August 1915); Pembroke II (Beagle), 1 April 1916-22 April 1916; HMS Blenheim (Beagle), 123 April 1916-11 October 1916 (Acting Stoker PO, 25 May 1916); HMS Blenheim (Usk), 12 October 1916-8 September 1917 (Stoker PO, 23 November 1916); Pembroke II, 9 September 1917-25 October 1917. Service documents annotated: ‘NL223/18. Police report as to death of this man who committed suicide by drowning on 25 October 1917’ and ‘NP9583/17 DD [Discharged Dead] 25th October 1917. Suicide by drowning’ He died on 25 October 1917 and was buried in Sutton-in-Ashfield Cemetery (grave ref. C.QQ.5.59).
William's brother George served in the 1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (305485 Private) and was killed in action on 29 August 1918 (see record on this Roll of Honour). Their brother Charles (Charley) also served in the Royal Navy. He joined in May 1913 and ended his service by being dismissed from the Service in November 1919 on expiration of a sentence to 12 months hard labour for 'striking a superior officer'. Charles died in December 1924: Mansfield Reporter, 19 December 1924: ‘Drowned in a Dam. The Unsolved Mystery of a Sutton Miner. ‘Found drowned’ was the verdict at the inquest on Tuesday on Charles Renshaw (31), a miner, of 47, Mansfield Road, Sutton-in-Ashfield, whose body was found in the Lawn Pleasure Ground, Sutton-in-Ashfield, on Sunday morning. The widow said that the last time she saw her husband was at one o’clock on Friday, when he left home to go on the afternoon shift at the Summit Colliery. He went and drew his money, but did not go down the pit and the next she heard was that he had been found in the dam. He had a brother who drowned himself some years ago. Her husband had been strange in his manner of late, and had frequently gone away when he drew his money on Fridays and returned home on Sunday night. Only a penny and a note with an address on it was found on the body.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) William Renshaw’s name does not appear on Sutton’s war memorial, although he is buried in the adjacent cemetery. An inquest into the deaths of a man and woman at Sutton-in-Ashfield was held on 26th October 1917. The Coroner’s verdict was that Petty Officer Stoker William Renshaw RN, HMS Blenheim, and his lover Hetty Hickton had committed suicide the previous day. Nottingham Evening Post, 26 October 1917: “SUTTON DOUBLE TRAGEDY. “MAN AND WOMAN FOUND TIED TOGETHER. “EVIDENCE AT THE INQUEST. “What the District Coroner (Mr. E. Whittingham) described as a “nasty case” was investigated this afternoon [26th October 1917]. It concerned the deaths of Hetty Hickton, aged 29, married woman, 7 Crown-street, and 1st Class Petty Officer William Renshaw aged 31, single, of Union-street, whose bodies were recovered from Caudwell Dam on the previous day. “The evidence showed that both had been missing from their homes since Sunday, and it was subsequently discovered that they had been in each other’s company the greater part of the time at Renshaw’s sisters at Kirkby. “Police-sergeant Piggott, who recovered the bodies, said that the feet of the man and woman were tied together by a neckerchief. They were face to face and the man had his arm around the woman’s waist, his hands were tied in such a position that this must have been carried out by the woman whose arms were around Renshaw’s neck. On the body of the man the following letter was found: “Dear mother and father, – Please don’t worry over me as I am doing this to keep with the one I love, so try and forget me. Well, dear mother, there is some money in the bank at Chatham and you will find my bankbook in my box at Devonport. God bless you. Good bye.” “The police officer added that Mrs. Hickton had a good husband but she had been of loose habits for some time past. “The Coroner commented on the deliberate character of the action of the deceased and a verdict of felo de se [suicide] was returned.” Above courtesy of Jim Grundy, 'Small Town Hucknall' website Mansfield Reporter, 26 October 1917: 'Sutton-in-Ashfield Tragedy. Sailor and Woman Drowned in Caudwell Dam. Bodies Tied Together. A drowning tragedy was reported by the Sutton police yesterday.  It appears that the bodies of a sailor and a woman were recovered from Caudwell Dam, and the circumstances point to the case of being one of determined suicide.  Harold Richardson, a fitter, employed at Rushley waterworks, wilst passing the dam yesterday morning noticed  a sailor's hat and some wearing apparel that had been worn by a woman. They were a rain coat, a jacket, and hat. He took the thinks to the Sutton Police Station, and later P.s. Pigott recovered two bodies from the dam.  They are those of Hetty Hickton, 30, wife of John Hickton, Crown-street, Sutton, and Second-Class Petty Officer William Renshaw, 31, of Union-street, Sutton. Their legs were tied together, and the man had his arms round the woman's waist, and hers were around his neck.  The bodies were conveyed to the Sutton mortuary to await an inquest.' (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Mansfield Reporter, 2 November 1917: 'Sutton Tragedy. Verdict of Felo-de-se Following Double Suicide.  Mr D Whittington (District Coroner) conducted an inquest at the Sutton Council Offices on Friday afternoon relative to the death of Hetty Hickton, married woman, aged 29, of 7, Crown-street, Sutton, and First-Class Petty Officer William Renshaw, single, aged 31, of Union-street, whose bodies were recovered from Caudwell Dam on the previous day. Mr HS Shacklock watched the case for Renshaw's parents.  The Coroner remarked that these two people were found drowned the previous day in Caudwell Dam, a place well known as the scene of many suicides from Sutton, he was sorry to say. It was not long ago since he held an enquiry touching the death of a man and woman who jumped into this dam, but what attraction this water had he could not say. The bodies of the man and woman were tied together, and the facts were such the the case looked like one of deliberate suicide.'  The report continued with the publication of the letter written by PO Renshaw and the accounts of five witnesses: William Renshaw's father William Renshaw and married sister Mary Dove, Hetty Hickton's husband, Harold Richardson and P.s. Pigott. The Coroner concluded: 'There was no evidence of mental disturbance of a temporary character, but the action was deliberate. They jury returned a verdict of felo-de-se.' Hetty and John Hickton had one child, aged seven.' (www.britishnewspaperarhcive.co.uk) WW1 Pension Ledgers: His father William was his legatee Hettie Hickton (née Long) married John Edward Hickton in 1909 (A/M/J Mansfield); they had one child, John James Hickton b. 1909 (O/N/D Mansfield). John Hickton snr. married Eliza Birkin in 1921 and in 1939 when the England & Wales Register was compiled they were living in Sutton in Ashfield with John's son by his first marriage and their children. He died in 1958.
Remembered on


  • Grave with CWGC headstone, Sutton in Ashfield Cemetery. Photograph courtesy of Jim Grundy.
    William Renshaw - Grave with CWGC headstone, Sutton in Ashfield Cemetery. Photograph courtesy of Jim Grundy.