Austin Read Williams JP (1863-1934)

Austin Read Williams was born in Cathedral Road, Worcester, on 25 December 1863, the eldest son of Rev. Augustin Williams, Rector of Icomb. Aged 5, he was adopted by his Uncle William Taylor and Aunt, and went to live at West End Farm, Broadway.

Austin was educated at Trent College in Nottingham and later joined the 2nd Battalion of Gloucestershire Volunteers. Austin was an active member of St Michael’s Church and joined the church choir in 1875. In 1889 he started the Albion Coal Club to provide a supply and distribution of coal to villagers but gave it up when he encountered problems acquiring and distributing coal in 1918.

In 1889 he took over the running of West End Farm and became a member of Broadway Parish Council shortly before he married Mary Bedford at St Michael’s Church, Broadway, on 28 November 1894.

West End Farm, West End, Broadway
West End Farm, Broadway c1930

Born in 1859, Mary1 was the only daughter of William Wade Bedford of Claines, Worcestershire. By 1871, Mary had moved to Broadway and in 1881 was living with her brother Thomas S. Bedford (a Land Agent), at Russell House, Broadway. Austin and Mary’s wedding was reported in The Evesham Standard on 1 December 1894:

Considerable excitement prevailed in the village on Wednesday on the occasion of the marriage of Mr. A. Williams and Miss Bedford, both of whom are very active members of St. Michael’s Church. The sacred edifice was very prettily decorated with chrysanthemums, and the number who assembled to witness the event testify to the high esteem in which both parties are held in the neighbourhood. The Rev. F.A. Morgan performed the ceremony, assisted by the Rev. A. Williams. The bride, who was given away by her aunt, Mrs. Shailer, looked charming in a dress of white silk crepe, with veil and orange blossoms. She carried a bouquet of white flowers. The bridesmaids, Miss Williams (sister of the bride groom) and Miss Gissing, wore very pretty dresses of maize crepon; black chip hats trimmed with ostrich tips of the same shade as the dresses. They carried bouquets of chrysanthemums. Among the wedding party were Ald. Averill, Mrs Rufford, Rev. A. and Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Peacey, Mr. and Mrs. Bedford, Miss Averill, Mr. and Mrs. Gissing, Mr H. Averill, Mr. W.E.O. Williams2, Misses Williams, Mr. and Mrs. Morgan, and many others. The bride was met at the entrance to the church by the choir (of which the bridegroom is a member), and the service was choral. The Rev. F.A. Morgan gave an appropriate address. Early in the afternoon the happy couple left for Malvern, where the honeymoon is to be spent. The following is a list of those who sent presents: Lord and Lady Lifford, Mr. and Mrs. Averill, Miss Averill, Miss A. Averill, Mr. H. Averill, Miss N. Averill, Miss M. Averill, Miss Annie Averill, Mr. Andrews, Mr. and Mrs. Bedford, Mr. Beadles, Mr. Biles, Mrs. Caffin, Miss Alice Caffin, Miss Clements, Misses H. Collins, M Collins, E. Cook, L. Dutton, M. Edwards, Franklin, Mrs. Gissing, Miss Gissing, Miss E.S. Gissing, Mr. and Mrs. Hill, Miss Hill, Miss C. Hill, Mr O. Hill, Miss Hunt, Mr. Jones, Miss Jeynes, Mrs. Jackson, Mr. Jackson, Mrs. Knight, Rev. and Miss Lloyd. Miss Lawrence, Rev. F.A.and Mrs.Morgan, Mrs. Metcalfe, Mr. S.J. Morris, Mrs. Peacey, Mr. and Mrs. Pemberton, Mrs. Rufford, Mrs. Ryland, Mrs. Shailer, Misses Simpson, A. Seabright, T. Sillman, Miss Tenant, Mrs. Tooley, Mrs. Weston, Miss Weston, Rev. A. and Mrs. Williams, Miss Williams, Miss M.H. Williams, Miss B.Williams, Miss M. Williams, Mr. W.E.O. Williams, Mr.and Mrs. C. Williams, Mr. Weaver. A timepiece was given by members of Broadway Shire Horse Society, a silver top teapot by the vicar and churchwardens, choir and members of the congregation of St. Michael’s and their friends, a brass ink stand, candlesticks and pen wipers by the teachers and scholars of St. Michael’s, Sunday-school, and a silver serviette ring by the workmen on the West End Farm.

In 1900, Austin was appointed a people’s churchwarden and the St Michael’s vicar’s warden from 1906 to 1927. Along with his wife, Mary, he taught in the Sunday School and in 1917 was licensed as a lay-reader.

In 1907, Austin was elected to serve Broadway on the Evesham Rural District Council (he was Vice-Chairman at the time of his death in 1934), and was a staunch supporter of the building of the new council houses along the Leamington Road (Willersey Road) in Broadway in 1914. He was also a member of the Old Age Pensions Committee for the Evesham district, a member of the Evesham Board of Guardians (alongside Ald. Isaac Averill), and of the Public Assistance Committee.

Austin was a Freemason and a keen sportsman. He was Secretary and later Captain of Broadway Cricket Club. He was the first Scoutmaster of Broadway Scouts and later Hon. Secretary and Treasurer of the Lifford Memorial Hall, and a trustee of the Thomas Hodges Endowment and Hon. Secretary of Broadway Shire Horse Society. In 1916 he was made a Justice of the Peace for Worcestershire and during the First World War served as a Special Constable and was a member of several war committees including the Evesham Tribunal.

Austin and Mary had one son, Arthur Bedford Williams, born in Broadway in 1899, who took over running West End Farm. Mary died in May 1931. Her funeral took place at St Eadburgha’s Church followed by a Memorial Service at St Michael’s Church. Austin died at home in January 1934. His funeral also took place at St Eadburgha’s Church.

Notes:

  1. Mary Bedford was the daughter of Mr and Mrs William Wade Bedford of Claines, Worcestershire. Her paternal grandfather, John Bedford, was the brother of Michael Russell Bedford of Pye Corner and Ann Bedford of Russell House.
  2. William E. Osborne-Williams.