The Lane Family

Three generations from 1819 to 1970

Easthorpe Mill in the 1940s
Easthorpe Mill in the 1940s


The Bottesford ‘church list’ of WW1 Servicemen includes the names of three soldiers who share the surname of Lane. Our investigations confirm that they were part of the extended family which is traced back to William and Elizabeth Lane, who lived in Claypole, Lincolnshire.

William and Elizabeth had two sons, Trophimus and Marshall, both of whom moved to live in Easthorpe. The men on the ‘church list’ were all grandsons of Marshall Lane. Marshall and his wife Sarah (nee Billings) had a large family which included three sons and eight daughters. The sons were named William Billings Lane, Francis Lane and Marshall Lane. The daughters were Mary Elizabeth, Jane, Sarah Ann, Julia, Emily, Ada, Kezia and Rose.

William Billings Lane and his wife Elizabeth (nee Musson) had three daughters, Florence, Clara Edith and Ida, and a son named Billings Joseph Marshall Lane (more usually Billings J.M. Lane). Billings J.M. Lane was an electrical engineer who was working in Hamburg when WW1 broke out. He spent the entire war in an internment camp, returning the Britain in 1918, and was prevented from joining the British army during the war.

Francis Lane and his wife Betsy (nee Robinson) had two sons, Wilfred and Lawson, and three daughters, Frances, Lily and Freda. Their youngest daughter, Freda, was born after the end of the war and lived until 1997 when she passed away in Bottesford. Lawson Lane was one of the WW1 Servicemen named in the ‘church list’.

Marshall Lane, the second to hold this name, and his wife Anne Elizabeth (nee White), had a daughter Florence, who married farmer Herbert Daybell in 1913. They also had two sons, Marshall (the third) and Harry William, who are the other two named on the ‘church list’.

In an attempt to avoid confusing the three generations of Marshall Lanes, the convention of referring to them as Marshall Lane (I), (II) and (III) is adopted here.

Trophimus Lane (1819 – 1894)

Trophimus Lane, whose unusual Christian name was variously spelt Trophemius, Trophimius, Trophimus or Trophimes by different census enumerators, was born in Claypole in 1819, the elder son of William and Elizabeth Lane.

He married Jane Harvey at Kneesall on Christmas Eve, the 24th December 1840. He was a miller, following in his father’s footsteps, and in 1851 employed three millers, two millers’ boys, a waggoner, a nurse and a general servant, at Easthorpe Water Mill, Bottesford. The census record from 1851 also indicates that in addition to Trophimus and Jane, there were their first son, John Trophimus (b.1850) and daughters Mary Elizabeth (b.1844) and Jane (b.1849). In addition, the household at Easthorpe Mill in 1851 included his brother Marshall Lane, a ‘retired police officer’, and his wife Sarah.

In 1861, Trophimus and Jane were still at the mill with John, now aged eleven, and another daughter, Kate, aged seven. However, the 1871 census records that the family had left the mill and lived in a cottage in Easthorpe, where Trophimus’ occupation was gardener, the mill having passed to William Hickson. ‘Trophemius Lane’ was still at work as a gardener in 1881, as was his son John. Their address was recorded as Belvoir Road, Easthorpe (now Castle View Road).

In 1891, Trophimus, Jane and their daughter Kate lived in a house adjoining the Bull Inn in Bottesford. He had ceased work and was ‘living on his own means’. Trophimus Lane died in 1894, aged 75, and was buried at Bottesford on the 22nd December. His wife Jane was also buried at Bottesford a mere week later, on the 29th December, 1894, her age recorded as 79.

Marshall Lane (I) (1824 – 1886)

Trophimus’ brother Marshall was born in 1824 in Claypole. However, the 1841 census indicates that by this time Marshall Lane and his parents lived in Bottesford, on Bridge Street near to Flood Lane and Blue Bank, Bottesford, and that his father worked as a miller.

Marshall Lane married Sarah Billings, born in 1830 at Marston, Lincs. The ceremony took place at Newark in June, 1844, and the couple lived with Trophimus and his family at Easthorpe Mill in 1851.

They went on to have eleven children: Mary (b.1851), William Billings (1852), Jane (1852), Francis (1854), Sarah Ann (1856), Julia (1858), Marshall (1860), Emily (1864), Kezia (1865), Ada (1869) and Rose (1871).

Sarah lived at Marston in 1861, working as a grocer, with children Jane (12), Francis (6), Sarah Ann (4), Julia (2) and infant Marshall (5 months old). Sarah was still in Marston in 1871, living at the Wesleyan Chapel that also served as a shop where she was a grocer and baker. Her daughters Julia, Ada and Rose lived with her at this time, but her husband Marshall lived in Eton Street, Grantham, where he worked as a baker, accompanied by sons William and Francis, who were working as ‘mechanic fitter iron rocks’, and daughter Sarah Ann, classed as a scholar.

In 1881, Marshall and Sarah were no longer at separate addresses. They lived in Chapel Street, Bottesford, where he continued to work as a baker. With them were children Ada (aged 12) and Rose E (10) and 2 grand-daughters Emily J Deiters (2) and Florence G Lane (2).

Marshall Lane died in June 1886, aged 62. After this, Sarah lived ‘on her own means’ in Chapel Street, Bottesford, with Florence G Lane, her grand-daughter, then in 1901 with her daughter Ada Hambling (nee Lane). Sarah Lane died in 1907, aged 77.

Marshall and Sarah had three sons, William Billings Lane, Francis Lane and Marshall Lane. All three sons had families, from which came three men who served in WW1 and survived, and a fourth who spent the entire war interned inside Germany.

William Billings Lane (1852 – 1900)

William Billings Lane was born in January, 1852, at Bottesford, the oldest son of Marshall Lane (b.1824) and Sarah Billings (b.1830). He has no entry in the census for 1861, but in 1871 William was living in Grantham with his father Marshall Lane.

William Billings Lane married Elizabeth Musson (born in Grantham in 1853) in March 1874 in Grantham. They had four four daughters (Flora, Clara, Edith and Ida) and one son, Billings Joseph Marshall Lane.

In 1881 he was working as a blacksmith. He and Elizabeth lived at 62 Commercial Road, Grantham. Joseph and Elizabeth Musson were also there as well as Florence Elizabeth, Clara Isabell and Edith Anne. William was working as a blacksmith.

In 1891, William and Elizabeth Lane had moved to Chapel Street, Bottesford. His children were Florence E (aged 10, already a dressmaker’s apprentice); Clara, Edith, Billings J.M. and Ida. William Billings Lane was working as a baker on Baker Street/Chapel Street. He died in 1900 in Bottesford aged 48.

The only son, Billings Joseph Marshall Lane, had been born on 12th July 1886. In 1901, he lived with his mother Elizabeth and his sisters Clara and Ida in Chapel Street.

Francis Lane (Frank) (1854-1946)

Francis Lane was born in 1855 at Denton, Lincs. His parents were Marshall and Sarah Lane. In 1861, Francis lived in Marston with his mother Sarah, but in 1871 he was in Spittlegate, Grantham, with his father Marshall Lane at 3, Elton Street, with his elder brother William (19) and sister Sarah Ann (14). Both boys were working as ‘mechanic fitters’ at the town’s iron works.

In 1881, Francis had become a baker, like his father, and was married to Betsy, neé Robinson, who was born in Grantham in 1857. They lived in Commercial Road, Spittlegate, with their infant son Wilfred, who was born in 1880.

Francis Lane does not appear again in the census of 1891 or 1901. The family emigrated to Australia by means of a series of passages in both directions, which include the following records.

Late in 1885, Frank (Francis), Betsy and son William Lane set sail on the ‘Duke of Westminster’ from London to Brisbane, arriving on the 11th January, accompanied by their oldest son, Wilfred.

In 1903, Francis Lane sailed back, from Fremantle to London on board the ‘Ormuz’. The ship left in March, calling at Sydney, and arrived in London on the 11th April. On this voyage, he was accompanied by Betsy, and the children Wilfred, Lawson (born in 1884, died in 1938), Francis (born 1891, died 1957) and Lily (born 1894). Lawson Lane did not return to Australia after this journey.

In 1907, Francis Lane, aged 52 (occupation given as ‘farmer’), returned from London to Fremantle, departing 31st May 1907 on the ‘Omrah’.

Francis must have returned to England again, because in 1910, Francis Lane (labourer), accompanied by Mrs Lane, Miss Lane and Miss L. Lane, travelled out to Australia once more on the ‘Ormuz’, departing from London for Fremantle on the 29th April that year. After this, Francis and Betsy stayed in Australia for the remainder of their lives.

There is a later record of a Francis Lane (labourer), who departed from London to Sydney aboard the ‘Pakeha’ on the 19th September, 1911. This may have been Francis junior (born 1891), sailing out to join his parents and sisters.

Francis Lane died in 1935 aged 67, his death registered at Plantagenet, Western Australia. Betsy Lane died in Albany, Western Australia, in 1939. Wilfred Lane died in 1938 in Victoria Plains, Western Australia. No military records have been found (so far) for him.

Marshall Lane (II) (1860 – 1919)

Marshall Lane’s birth was registered in October 1860 in “Nottingham”, though later census records indicate that he was born in Claypole Lincolnshire. He was the third son of Marshall Lane, born in Claypole in 1824, and Sarah Lane. In the 1861 census, Marshall junior, five months old, was with his mother, who was a grocer in Marston.

Marshall junior does not appear in the census of 1871, but it is not clear why this should be the case. At this date, his mother, Sarah, was still a grocer in Marston, while his father Marshall Lane senior was a baker who lived in Spittlegate.

In 1881, Marshall Lane (II), his wife Annie Elizabeth and their seven-months old daughter Florence, lived on St Ann’s Street, Somerby. They were lodging with her parents, William and Ann White. Annie Lane (neé White) was born at Brompton, near Chatham, in 1860. Marshall Lane was working as a blacksmith at the ironworks owned by Messrs. Hornsby. Their marriage was registered in Grantham in the third quarter of 1880. Their first child, Florence E.J. Lane, had already been born, in Hull, on the 5th July 1880. Annie’s father, William White, was a Yorkshire man, described in 1881 as a ‘Pensioner Sergeant, Chelsea’ working as a garden labourer. Annie White came from Easton, Hampshire.

By 1891, Marshall and Annie Lane had moved to West Street, Erith, Kent, with the Whites. Marshall Lane was still a blacksmith. Florence was aged 10. Their son, also named Marshall Lane, born in 1887 in Grantham, was now 3 years old.

Then, in 1895, on the 15th of August, Marshall Lane sailed aboard the ‘Borneo’ for Calcutta. The entry in the ship’s passenger list states that Mr and Mrs Marshall Lane together with a child aged 14 and another aged 7. Their second son, Harry Lane, was born in 1897 at Dumdum, Calcutta, India.

On the 9th September 1899, after four years in India, a Sergeant Lane aged 40, Mrs Lane (39) and a boy sailed on the ‘Manora’, destination probably back to Britain. The ages of these passengers suggest that they were Marshall and Annie Lane, returning to England with one of their sons, probably infant Harry.

Marshall Lane died on 11th November, 1919, at home in Belvoir Road, Bottesford. His obituary in the Grantham Journal said that he was an “ardent sportsman, a keen footballer and a clever boxer”. He was also a very good vocalist. There were other articles in the Journal describing concerts in Bottesford, which commented on the quality of his bass voice. The obituary said that he had spent 20 years in India, had worked at the Government Small Arms Factory near Calcutta, and had retired in about 1915. This agrees with his first travelling to India in 1895. He had arrived back in Bottesford in June 1916, after an absence of about 8 years, suggesting that he had returned to India in 1907. There is a record from 1908 of an unaccompanied gentleman named M. Lane, sailing 2nd Class from London to Calcutta aboard the ‘Mombassa’, which may record his return.

The WW1 Servicemen

Three of the grandsons of Marshall and Sarah served in the British army in the First World War. They were named on the Bottesford ‘church list’ of WW1 Servicemen.

Harry William Lane, son of Marshall (II) and Anne Lane.

Marshall Lane (III), son of Marshall (II) and Anne Lane.

Lawson Lane, son of Frank and Betsy Lane.

Brief service biographies of these men are given in accompanying pages of this website – follow the links.

Billings Joseph Marshall Lane (1886 – 1970)

Another grandson was Billings J.M. Lane, son of William Billings and Elizabeth Lane. Though born in 1886, and therefore aged 28 at the outbreak of the First World War, he was unable to enlist and serve in the forces because at the start of the war he was working in Hamburg. He was interned and spent the entire war in the prison camp at Ruhleben, near Berlin.

Billings Joseph Marshall Lane was born in Bottesford on the 12th July 1886 and baptised at St Mary’s on the 26th September. In the census of 1891, his parents William Billings Lane, a baker, and his wife Elizabeth lived on what was then called Baker Street, Bottesford (probably Chapel Street, the bakery was probably the old bakery at the corner with Devon Lane), with four daughters, Florence E (aged 15), Clara J (12), Edith A (10) and Ida F (5), and one son, Billings J.M., aged 4.

William Billings Lane died in Bottesford in 1900, aged 47. In the 1901 census, Billings junior (aged14) and his sisters Clara (22) and Ida (15) lived on the High Street in Bottesford with their widowed mother Elizabeth Lane. Her husband, William Billings Lane, had died in 1899, and their eldest daughter Florence had married Henry Wortley, from Doncaster, in August 1899. Edith Annie had moved to West Bridgford, where she was at work as a dressmaker, before getting married in 1905.

Also in 1905, as reported by the Grantham Journal on the 8th July, Billings J.M. Lane was 1st in the B.Sc. examination held at Armstrong College, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, gaining a distinction and a prize. He had previously won a County Junior Scholarship in 1899, and a Senior County Scholarship from Sedgebrook School in 1904. Then on the 22nd June, 1908, the Journal reported that Billings Lane of Armstrong College had been awarded a Durham University Fellowship, adding that Walter Baines of Downing College, Cambridge, had been awarded a Foundation Scholarship, “both were scholars at Sedgebrook School”.

By 1911, Elizabeth had moved to a house on Easthorpe Lane, which she shared with John Trophimus Lane, her late husband’s cousin. Both were in their sixties. Her children had all moved on. Billings JM Lane was one of nine boarders living at 84, Wolverhampton Road, Stafford. The head of the household was Kenneth Lisle Murray, 30, an architect employed by the County Council. The boarders, who were all apprentice electrical engineers, were unusual in that they came from as far afield as Mexico City, Cape Colony, Germany and Russia as well as from Gainsborough, Croydon, Nottingham, Shropshire, and Bottesford.

Billings must have completed his university studies and decided to become a professional engineer. He was evidently progressing well when war broke out. At this time, as reported by the Journal on the 12th June 1916, he “held a very responsible position in Hamburg”, but had been interned and imprisoned at Ruhleben Camp, in Germany. On the 22nd January 1916, the Journal again reported that he was still held at Ruhleben. It was not until November, 1918, that there was a report that “Mrs Lane received a telegram from Copenhagen saying that her son Billings Lane who had been an internee in Germany for the duration of the war was en route for England” (Lest We Forget, p.218).

Ruhleben internment camp was a civilian detention camp located in Ruhleben, 10 km to the west of Berlin. The camp detainees included male citizens of the Allied Powers living, studying, working or on holiday in Germany at the outbreak of World War I. The camp varied between 4,000 and 5,500 prisoners, most of them British. Quarters were cramped; the stable blocks averaged 27 stalls each housing six men; the stable block lofts each housed about 200 men. The German authorities adhered to the Geneva Convention and allowed the camp detainees to administer their own internal affairs. Gradually, a mini-society evolved in the camp.

In 1923, aged 36, he married Mary Tierney, who came from Middlesex, in St Clement Danes, on the Strand in London.

In the 1939 register, Billings J.M. Lane and his wife Mary were at 45 Glenthorne Avenue, Croydon. He described his profession as a “Chartered Electrical and Mechanical Engineer, buyer for Angle-Iranian Oil Company”.

Elizabeth, his mother, died in Bottesford in 1928 and was buried on the 25th May, aged 75. Billings himself died in 1970 at Worthing, Sussex.

This page was added on 19/04/2017.

Comments about this page

  • This is a most interesting read as I am the Gt Grand-Daughter of Francis Lane. Just a couple of things of interest. When Francis and Betsy came out to Australia in 1985-86 they had their two sons with them Wilfred and Lawson. All the family went back to Bottesford in 1903 and lived there until 1910, I have been told they lived at Beckingthorpe House. When they came back to Australia, Francis (Frank) used to go back to England from time to time to give lectures on the opportunities for farming in Australia. The only family that Francis and Betsy had were Wilfred, Lawson, Frances my Grandmother and Lily.

    By Hazel Meiklejohn (22/04/2017)
  • Hello Hazel, thanks for getting in touch and adding more information. I hope you don’t mind, but I changed the house name to ‘Beckingthorpe’. Can you tell us a little about where Frank lived and what he did in Australia? With best regards, Neil Fortey

    By Neil Fortey (23/04/2017)
  • Hello Neil, I have made a mistake and put 1985-86 and of course should be 1885-86. Frank was a farmer in Australia firstly in Queensland for a short time then he went to Northam in Western Australia and sold up there to go back to Bottesford in 1903. From newspaper clippings here he was giving lectures in Rutlandshire around 1907 to entice people to come and farm in Australia. When he came back to live in Australia 1910 he farmed around Albany in Western Australia. From our records over here from 1922 to 1931 he classed himself as a engineer. Whilst in Bottesford as well as living in ‘Beckingthorpe” he also had the Acacia House. This information came from Pat Bassett who is Freda Dunwell’s daughter who lives in Bottesford. Freda is the daughter of Lawson Lane, Frank’s son. I see on Bottesford History, you have another article on Frank Lane with a kangaroo he took back to Bottesford in 1908.
    My father used to talk a lot about him and seems he was a interesting character. I only wish I had taken in all he said as it was only later that I got interested in the family history but none of the older ones are here now to ask. Regards Hazel Meiklejohn

    By Hazel Meiklejohn (24/04/2017)
  • Hazel, your comment about listening to your father rings a bell with me. There’s so much I wish I could ask about my own family in WW2 and so on, but there’s none of that generation left. As they say, “You don’t miss it till it’s gone”. Even so, you’ve told us a great deal, and reminded us of the kangaroo article, for which many thanks. With best wishes, Neil

    By Neil Fortey (27/04/2017)
  • It was great to read this story, as Kezia (not Keria) was my great grandmother. She married James William Robinson, a Bottesford man (older brother of John Daybell Robinson, featured on your website), on 23/12/1883 and 13 days later, they migrated to Australia, aged only 19 and 17. They were pioneers of the Gold Coast in Queensland. I have been researching the family and learnt from your story for the first time that Marshall had lived in India and that the first Lane child was Mary Elizabeth. I’d been unsuccessfully researching Elizabeth, who’d been known as Lizzie in the family. Thanks again for your research. I love your site. Its the best I’ve come across.

    By Sharon Burke (23/08/2017)

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