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The Political Persecution of the Aris Family,
Tingewick, Buckingham 1910-1912

This family story was written down by Reg. Aris shortly before he died last year (2001) - oral history is just so important!

Contributed (along with their wedding photograph ) by Eoghan McTiernan whose wife is the great-grand-daughter of George Aris.

My father, GEORGE ARIS, worked at Grove Hill Farm, employed as a General Farm Labourer and Shepherd, and it was the time of a General Election. In those days there were only two Political Parties - the Conservatives and the Liberals (the Labour Party were just emerging).

The farmers of Grove Hill Farm were a family by the name of GARDNER. Practically all farmers and the "well to do" villagers supported the Conservative Party of that day. Our family supported the Liberal Partyclick here for more details

One day the lady of the farm, Mrs Gardner, was in the village with her horse and carriage. My two older brothers and sister (Walter, Albert and Cis) were in Main Street with other children, separated by the blue streamers of the Tory supporters and yellow streamers of the Liberals; my brothers and sister were with the "yellow streamers". Mrs Gardner approached the group and asked "Whose children are these with the yellow flags?" She was told they were the children of George Aris.

On her return to the farm, George Aris was sent for, and was asked, "What Party do you support?" My father told her that the Ballot is secret, and he did not intend to tell her which Party he supported. He was then told that unless he "changed his views" he could no longer be employed on the farm

Mrs Gardner sent for him again before the Election, and said that she wanted his assurance that he would vote "the way I say". My father again replied that the ballot was secret, and that he would vote according to his conscience. He was sacked forthwith.

George Aris had a wife and seven children to support at that time (those named above plus Arthur, Beatrice, myself Reg. and Ted). Word soon spread around the area, and although he walked miles looking for work, there was always the same reply on learning that he was George Aris - "We don't want to know you!"

In an effort to find work, my father walked to Leighton Buzzard from Tingewick, and subsequently was successful in obtaining employment. The family eventually moved to Leighton Buzzard, where another sister and brother were born, namely Elsie and Jim.

However this was the outcome. George Aris was made a member of THE GLADSTONE LEAGUE. Before we left Tingewick, in the Old School Hall, he was presented with a Scroll and a Purse containing six Golden Sovereigns by Sir Harry Verney of Claydon Manor. The Scroll is still in our family today.

I have always been impressed by the words on the Scroll -

"This is to certify that George Aris of Tingewick, nr. Buckingham, would rather suffer loss of employment than be unfaithful tot he principles he believed to be true"

As a family we were very proud of our father, GEORGE ARIS. We were brought up to maintain principles, which I believe his children have tried to do throughout their lives.

This is a true story of our family origins in Tingewick; I would add that we bear no malice of what happened in those days, as we think now that it must have happened for the best.

Reg. T. Aris (Fourth son, sixth child, of George & Clara Eleanor Aris - born 5th July 1908)

23 South Street,
Leighton Buzzard
Beds LU7 8NT