Grandad Beck’s Wedding caused gossip in West Dorset

On 23rd November 1929 Grandad Beck married his second wife Annie Wayman at Corfe Mullen Parish Church. Though her name was Annie, she was known as Jo and by the grandchildren and great grand children as Aunty Jo, therefore I will call her Jo or Aunty Jo in this post. I met Aunty Jo several times, she was a lovely lady and all the family were fond of her.

Wedding

Wedding photo of Annie Waymand and Arthur Percy Beck 23 Nov 1929
Mr and Mrs Beck at Corfe Mullen Church 23rd November 1929

The wedding was reported in the Bridport News, not a lot of information but it does tell us that Jo was given away by her father and Fred House son-in-law (my grandfather) was best man. Unusually the certificate is signed by four witnesses, Fredrick House and three from Jo’s family including her father Ernest. The initials are difficult to read but the other two could be, Jo’s sisters Bertha and Rose Wayman.

We have this one photograph of the happy couple, showing Jo looking very smart in the latest fashion and a large bunch of flowers.

Family friend

Grandad Beck would have first met Aunty Jo many years before, possibly during WW1. We know that she was a friend of my Grandmother May (Grandad Beck’s daughter) and family lore is that they worked together at Blandford Telephone Exchange during the war. Quite why Aunty Jo would have worked in Blandford, were Grandad Beck was Superintendent (1915-1919), makes me question this. In the 1911 census Jo was with her parents and 9 brothers and sisters at Corfe Mullen near Wimborne.

There are many photos of the Beck family including Jo from the time the family lived at Beaminster and Bridport. Jo also appears in photos taken at Wytherston after May’s marriage. There is no doubt that Jo spent a lot of time with the family before Rebecca (Grandad Beck’s first wife) died.

Family Group outside the farm house
Miss Fry (Cheesemaker), Rebecca Beck, Fred House, May House and baby Os, Jo Wayman Taken at Wytherston Farm c1926

Scandal

I was told by an elderly gentleman that Supt. Beck’s second marriage caused a scandal in the town and was the subject of a lot of gossip. Grandad Beck was not a stranger to this, he must have caused a sensation when he married his first wife as well. The reason for the gossip was the difference in their ages. Grandad Beck was 54 years old and Jo 29 years old, having celebrated her birthday on 13 October. Also, some people would have been considered, the marriage too soon after the death of my Great Grandmother Rebecca (Grandad Beck’s first wife) 19 months before.

May and Jo were closed in age, May being a few months younger. I have seen a photograph on which May has written,” Mother with Jo, little did I know then that Jo would marry my father” – or words to that effect. There are other photographs of Aunty Jo with the Rebecca and May, including the one I wrote about here.

Aunt Jo

Aunty Jo was one of 11 Children, the eldest 2 may have had a different father. Her father was Ernest Wayman and mother Minnie Mary Ellen. Jo’s father was a bricklayer and builder living in Corfe Mullen. Aunty Jo was close to her family and often spoke of them. Sisters Eleanor, Margaret and Brothers Frank, Ernest and Stanley supported Aunty Jo at Grandad Beck’s funeral.

Aunty Jo and Grandad Beck never had any children of their own but the three grandchildren spent many a happy holiday at Poole after Grandad Beck retired. Aunty Jo kept contact with the family until her death in 1983. I can just remember her coming to stay with us at Wytherston around 1963 or 1964.

Aunty Jo sitting outside with our dog Danny
Aunty Jo when she stayed with us at Wytherston about 1964

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References
Bridport News: 29 November 1929 p8 Col 2&6
1911 Census (accessed via Ancestry.co.uk)

2 thoughts on “Grandad Beck’s Wedding caused gossip in West Dorset”

  1. Mum always spoke with fond memories of ‘Auntie Jo’. When the Leggs lived at Wytherstone mum used to visit Percy and Jo and stay for lunch. She couldn’t have been much older that 13 or 14 at the time and mum was always grateful for their kindness to a young great niece. I love the photo of Wytherstone, I visited the farm briefly not long before my dad died in the very late ’60’s and I seem to remember a beautiful shell design over the door or is my recall a bit muddled?

    1. Heather, thank you for your comment. Aunty Jo seems to have been lovely to everyone that meets her, she was a special person.
      As you go up the lane towards Wytherston farm yard, the long low house on your right is the Dairy House. This is where I lived and were Aunty Jo visited. Fred and May lived in the big house, Farm House on your left as you go into the yard for the first few years of their marriage. They moved into the Dairy House in 1930, the landlord Major Warre did up the Farm house and garden up for him and his family, this is when the shell design was put over the door.

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