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Remembering William Inskip: A Dedicated Servant and Gardener to the Mayer Family.



Opposite the main gates, at the second to back row of Bebington Cemetery, a leaning headstone stands as a tribute to one William Inskip and his descendants. From the lengthy inscription on his headstone he was evidently very well thought. William was originally from the small hamlet of Fosbrooke, Staffordshire, serving two members of Mayer family during his short life time, including Mrs. Ann Boyle and later, her older brother Joseph Mayer.


The inscription reads:

To the memory of

William Inksip

Born at Fosbrooke Staffordshire

For sixteen years

The attached and trusty servant

Of Mrs Boyle at Seabridge Hall in that county

Followed his mistress to this parish 1865

And there died

In the service of her brother

Joseph Mayer F.S.A.

At the Free Library Bebington

September 7th 1868

Aged 39 Years


“How well in him appeared

The constant service of the antique world

When service sweat for duty not for need

Now, none will sweat but for promotion:

And having that, do choke their service up

E’en with the having: it was not so of him!”


Also William, son of the above, died 18th sep. 1933.

Aged 72 years.


Also Gertrude, his daughter, died, 13th July 1915,

Aged 18 years.


Also Martha H. Inskip, wife of the above,

Died 15th March 1940, aged 79 years.


George Frederick, died of wounds August 3rd 1916

Aged 21 years.


William began his journey as a coachman to Mrs. Ann Boyle, sister of Joseph Mayer. He served the Boyle family at Seabridge Hall in Staffordshire for 16 years, evidently earning her trust and respect. Slight side note but Seabridge Hall in itself has an interesting history, but perhaps I’ll leave that for another time.


In 1865, Mrs Boyle, the widow of John Boyle, a partner of the Minton and Boyle Potteries and later Wedgewood, moved to Bebington on the Wirral, settling in a house that's still standing today, called ‘The Firs’ on Bromborough Road. She had literally moved less than half a mile from her brother Joseph, who was then living at Pennant House in the same village. I'm not sure why William transferred into Joseph Mayers employment, I can only assume his services as a coachman were no longer required once Mrs Boyle had downsized from a stately Hall in rural Newcastle Under Lyme to a Victorian villa in Bebington?


Joseph Mayer, (yes, that Joseph Mayer of Mayer Park in Bebington), a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, established the Free Library there. It was in Joseph Mayer's service that Inksip spent his final years working as a gardener in the public garden behind the library. According to the entry in the burial records of Bebington Cemetery, at his time of death William was resident at the library.


Before Inskip's time but the photo shows a gardener at the back of Pennant House in Bebington. This was the same garden William would have tended as part of his duties.


Tragically, it appears William Inskip's life was cut short when he died at the age of only 39. He was laid to rest in Grave Number 2 in the Church of England's F section, becoming only the 50th person buried in Bebington Cemetery's opening year of 1868.


Beside William Inskip's final resting place, there are other beloved members of the Inskip family. His son, also named William, continued his father's horticultural legacy and earned accolades for his gardening expertise. Tragically, William's daughter Gertrude died at the tender age of 18. Martha H Inskip, William's wife, rests alongside them, symbolising the strength of familial ties.


Notification of Martha's funeral


The final sad inscription at the very bottom of the headstone tells us about the sacrifices made during times of war. George Frederick, who was laid to rest in the family plot, died of wounds on August 3rd, 1916, at the age of 21. His sacrifice in service to his country stands as a solemn reminder of the profound impact that WW1 had on families and communities all over the country at that time. Sadly, he is one of the many named on the War memorial in Port Sunlight.


The War Memorial in Port Sunlight.


The words etched onto William Inskip's headstone give us a small glimpse into his life and what kind of person he was. The fact that a monument was raised in his honour speaks volumes about how deeply he touched the Mayer family. It's not every day that an employee is honoured in such a lasting way!


For more information regarding the Inskip family please visit the Inskip One Name Study Blog

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