John Thomas Sentence

Private 35655 Lincolnshire Regiment, then Private 25929 Labour Corps

Lincolnshire Regiment cap badge WW1
Lincolnshire Regiment cap badge WW1
A picture from a newspaper report describing the marriage of Arthur Walter Sentence to Sarah Bullock in Muston, displayed in the Boulton Sword Family tree on Ancestry.co.uk. A search for this article in the British Newspaper Archive was unsuccessful, possibly because it was originally in the Melton Times, which has not been included in the archive. | Boulton Sword public family tree, Ancestry.co.uk
A picture from a newspaper report describing the marriage of Arthur Walter Sentence to Sarah Bullock in Muston, displayed in the Boulton Sword Family tree on Ancestry.co.uk. A search for this article in the British Newspaper Archive was unsuccessful, possibly because it came originally from the Melton Times, which has not been included in the archive.
Boulton Sword public family tree, Ancestry.co.uk

The story of John Thomas Sentence is complicated by the fact that his family spelt their surname as both Sentence and Sentence, and the handwriting on old documents can be ambiguous. He is one of the men named on the Bottesford ‘church list’ of WW1 Servicemen.

Family Background

John Thomas Sentence was born on the 12th February, 1885, at Sedgebrook, and baptised at Barrowby on the 24th March, 1885. He was the youngest child in the large family of William and Mary Sentence (neé Baker). His father was a farm bailiff/foreman. They lived at Beasley’s Farm, Sedgebrook Road, Barrowby, where they had farm servants and labourers living with them.

A number of Public Family Trees displayed on Ancestry.co.uk (the Newton, Boulton Sword, Dudley Bromilow, Benson  and Holdsworth family trees) combined indicate that William and Mary Sentence had at least 15 children: Mary Jane (b.1864), Robert (b.1866), Eliza (b.1867), Ann (b.1869), Elizabeth (b.1870, Hubert Edwin (b.1872), Henry (b.1873), George William (b.1875), Reginald Henry (b.1876), Frank Stanley (b.1877), Rebecca (b.1877), Emily (b.1880), Albert (b.1883), Arthur Watson (b.1883) and finally John Thomas (b.1885).

However, in the census of 1891, only three children, Mary Ann (b.1874), Arthur (b.1883) and John T. (b.1885), were at home with their parents, together with John Baker, Mary Sentence’s agricultural labourer father born in 1822, and three farm servants. In the 1901 census, there were four of the children at home: Mary Ann (b.1876), George William (b.1877, a carpenter ‘rough’), Arthur Watson (b.1883, a waggoner) and John Thomas (b.1885, an agricultural labourer). These birth years agree more or less with those given on the above list with the exception of Mary Ann, in that there was no daughter named Mary or Ann born around 1974-1876 according to the family tree information.

John Thomas Sentence was admitted to Sedgebrook Church of England village school on the 24th March, 1890, aged 5, and left the school on the 3rd October, 1898. In 1911, he lived at 27 High Street, Bottesford, and was employed as a gamekeeper. He was living with his mother, Mary, who described herself as a “housekeeper”, and his sister Mary Ann, age 32, an “at home charwoman”. Also listed was Kate, aged 6, born in Harlaxton in 1905, who further research suggests indicates that she was the illegitimate child of John Thomas Sentence.[1]

William Sentance died in 1918 aged 77, and Mary in 1923 aged 71.

Newspaper report (possibly the Melton Mowbray newspaper) describing the marriage of Arthur Walter Sentence to Sarah Bullock in Muston. The caption names some of the people in the picture, but not all. The un-named man standing at the extreme left of the picture could be John Thomas Sentence. He would have been 21, while his brother, the bridegroom, would have been 23 at the time. Kate, John Thomas’ infant daughter seen on her grandmother’s lap, would barely have been a year old.

John Thomas Sentence was married in 1908 at Witham on the Hill, near Bourne, to Emily Hill.

Military Record

No service records for John Sentence/Sentance with the relevant date of birth have been found. However, there is a Medal Roll Index Card (MIC) for John Sentence, Private 35655 Lincolnshire Regiment then 25929 Labour Corps, which may be the man described here. Another MIC exists for a Private John Sentence, 268615 Notts and Derbyshire Regiment then 235055 8th Battalion Suffolk Regiment, but he was Killed in Action on the 31st July, 1917, and remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

After the end of the war

Electoral Rolls reveal that in 1923, he and Emily lived at Geeston, near Ketton in Northamptonshire, and then in 1929 at Southorpe, near Barnack, Cambridgeshire. In the 1939 register, he may have been the man recorded as John Sentence, born on the 17th February, 1885, a joiner’s labourer, who lived with Mildred Sentence, a widow born on the 11th February, 1895, at Sapperton, near Sleaford, but this is not certain.

There is a record of the death of a John Thomas Sentance in Grantham March 1968, age 82.

Comments about this page

  • Your listing of John Thomas’ siblings includes a large number of children of the other William and Mary living in Barrowby at the time, as well as three from a William and Mary living in Surrey. 1881 census makes much of this quite clear, including the fact that JT’s mother Mary was a bit too young to have borne the first group listed. Maybe find a Sentance family tree next time.

    By Jim Sentance (31/10/2020)
  • Yes the point Jim makes is valid, Mary Sentance (Baker) was too young to have had some of the children listed. The original article was presumably done 5 or 6 years ago when the WW1 profiles were being compiled, so we also have the benefit of further source records that have been made available since. Based on those the following can be deduced:
    1. The family generally spelled the name Sentance rather than Sentence.
    2. John Thomas was still single in the 1911 census so he did not marry an Emily in 1908. The groom’s father in that marriage record is named Henry, confirming that it was a different John Thomas Sentance.
    3. His daughter Kate was born in Harlaxton (see 1911 census) and the birth does not seem to have been registered under the surname Sentance, so finding out who her mother was will be tricky. (Maybe the owner of the Boulton Sword tree on Ancestry knows but they have now made their tree private). The 1939 National Register shows that Kate’s birth date was 26 Sep 1904. Kate married a John Branston in 1927 in Bottesford (see Leics Marriage Registration on FMP) and they had a son Brian Keith Branston born 1933. (I think he may have been a driving instructor in Nottingham). Kate died in 1959.
    4. The John Thomas Sentance we are interested in put his birth place as Casthorpe rather than Sedgwick. After he joined the army his unit was sent to the training centre at Ampthill, presumably around 1915. There he met Mildred Abbott who was originally from nearby Flitwick, born in 1895. She was listed as a domestic servant in the 1911 census. They married in Ampthill (probably Flitwick, if anyone gets hold of the marriage cert please let us know) in Q3.1916 and their first child was born in Q4.1917, a daughter they named Constance Marian. Mildred would have stayed with or near her parents in Flitwick for the birth as John Thomas Sentance was presumably back on military service by 1917. He was still abroad in 1919 according to the Absent Voters List for Flitwick, which gave his address as the High Street and his role as Private No. 25929 with 44 Company of the Labour Corps.
    5. After John Thomas Sentance was demobbed he and Mildred moved to Basford in North Nottingham where they had more children:
    Hilda in 1920, William in 1923, Jack in 1925 and Albert in 1927. They then moved to the Grantham area where they had Mildred in 1929 (registered as Sentence), George in 1931, Mary in 1934 and lastly Elsie in 1937.
    6. They might have lived at Ropsley. The surname Sentance is fairly common around Lincolnshire so it is difficult to be sure, but a 1st May 1942 Grantham Journal article lists Mildred Sentance as helping with an egg collection for Grantham Hospital. It gathered 282 eggs and £5 7/10 from the villages of Ropsley, Humby, Sapperton and Braceby.
    Hope that helps, Bill

    By Bill Pinfold (04/11/2020)

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