Woman's quest to unlock riddle of family picture dating back more than 100 years

Cheers. With glasses and bottles in hand, this group of Shropshire gentlemen were clearly celebrating something or marking a special occasion.

What were these Shropshire folk of yesteryear celebrating?
What were these Shropshire folk of yesteryear celebrating?

It's an old picture in the possession of Linda Gregory of Harmer Hill, and she would really like to put it up on the wall – but first would like to know more about it and who these gentlemen were.

At least she knows one of them – seventh from the left at the back, and without a hat, is her great-grandfather, Francis Richard Gregory.

And as he was born at Middle Farm, Criggion, on May 21, 1871, based on his apparent age she estimates that the photo was taken some time between 1891 and 1910.

"I was looking through some photographs and came across it and we realised that my great-granddad was on the back row. The large guy in front we believe to be Charlie Beddard, but we are not 100 per cent sure – my dad’s cousin came up with that along with a photo taken outside Beddard's butcher's shop in Mardol, Shrewsbury. My great-grandfather had no connection to the butchers as far as we are aware."

Charlie Beddard's shop in Mardol.

Charlie Beddard was a well-known butcher in the county town for many years and became mayor of Shrewsbury in the mid-1930s. He died in 1941, so if it is indeed him in the group photo, it shows him as a young man and long before he became mayor.

"I have been trying to find out who the other guys were. As my great-granddad was born at Criggion, it may be in the Oswestry area, although we don't know where it was taken or for what occasion.

"I'm doing the family tree and thought it was a really interesting photograph. It was a loose photo. I collect old photographs and put them on the wall at home and this is one I wanted to put up but wanted to know more about it."

If you can help with any information, drop a line to toby.neal@mnamedia.co.uk and we'll pass it on.

Francis Gregory, as he was known, is buried at Moreton Corbet churchyard with his wife Mary, having died in October 1953.

Linda said: "They had seven children between 1896 and 1905. In 1901 they were farming at Ensdon Farm, Montford Bridge, which used to be called Bower Farm. In 1911 they were still at that address.

"They moved to Alderton Hall, Montford Bridge, in 1917, again farming, and I'm not sure what year he moved but in 1939 he was farming at The Grove, Preston Brockhurst."

What were these Shropshire folk of yesteryear celebrating?

Although the group photograph may date back to late Victorian days, Francis is still within living memory.

"My uncle can remember him. He was born in 1936."

Francis Richard Gregory was Linda's great-grandfather on her father's side.

"Francis Richard had seven children, one of whom was my grandfather, who had two children, who were my dad and my uncle. I'm the next line down.

"I have another photo of Francis where he was at the West Mid Show with another couple of gentlemen farmers in the area."

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