Roll of Honour

Harold J. Skill

Harold Jefferson Skill was born in 1879, in South Africa. His father Octavius Skill owned The Bury Manor, Felsted, although the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records him living in Africa. Octavius' wife's will held by the Essex Record Office records that Octavius had been resident in Cape Province, which is now known as Cape of Good Hope Province, South Africa.

The 1891 census records the some of the Skill family as being at The Bury:

SKILL, Marion - Head - age 38 -Married Occupation - Farming - born Cape Colony
SKILL, Neville - Son - age 15 - Single - Scholar born Cape Colony
SKILL,  Harold - Son - age 11 -Scholar born Cape Colony
SKILL, Violet - Daughter - age 8 - Scholar born Cape Colony
SKILL, Mary - Visitor, Sister In Law - age 46 - Single - Living On Own Means born Felstead, Essex
SKILL, George - Visitor, Brother In Law - age 32 - Married - Living On Own Means born Felstead, Essex
SKILL, Frederick - Visitor Nephew - age 16 - Single - Student At Finsbury College, born Great Waltham, Essex
DAVIS, Alice - Servant - age 24 - Married - Cook Domestic - born Felstead, Essex
FRENCH, Emily - Servant - age 27 - Single - Parlourmaid Domestic - born Tolleshunt D`arcy, Essex
PRIOR, Eliza - Servant - age 21 - Single - Housemaid Domestic - born Hallingbury, Essex

Harold Jefferson Skill
photograph copyright

The Skill family were associated with The Bury for four generations from the 1700s until it was sold off in 1916. The Skill family graves are near the back wall of the Church graveyard within railings.  The Skill family held the manor as copyholders to the lord of the manor Sir James Tylney Long.  In 1916 the farm was sold to Haslers Ltd and Colonel Phillott bought the house. He gave it to Felsted School when he died in 1930. There are 9 gravestones tracing the family through the centuries although it does seem as if they did not all live at The Bury as there are references to "being of Littley Green or Northend Place. The census shows that there were no Skills living in the village in 1901. It appears they had leased the house and farm to the Armstrong family who were in residence on census night with their two maids.

Harold had served in German East Africa and in the South Africa Campaign before serving in France. He was a Captain with the 21st Battalion, The Middlesex Regiment.

Harold married Elizabeth Anne Briggs on 27th December 1917 at St Mark's Church, Kennington Oval.  Elizabeth later lived in Argyll Road, Kensington.

Harold was captured and died as a prisoner of war on 7th April 1918. He is buried at the Ghent City Cemetery, Belgium.

The Essex Weekly News of 23rd August 1918 reported:

Capt. Harold J. Skill, youngest son of the late Mr. Octavius Skill, The Bury Manor, Felsted, has died of wounds while a prisoner in Germany. He was 38 years of age.

Harold Jefferson Skill is commemorated on the Memorial at St Mark's Church, Kenington Oval, South East London.