To The Manor Born

In 1893 Charles Howard Taylor and his wife Gertrude Mary had their first and only daughter – Phyllis Thelma Howard Taylor. Phyllis was the middle child sandwiched between her older brother Eric and her two younger brothers Ronald and Harold.

Her father was Lord of the Manor of New Hall in Darfield which was where Phyllis was born. He was also the Justice of Peace for the West Riding and a well-known polo pony breeder!

The family lived between two estates during Phyllis life; New Hall and Middlewood Hall, both in Darfield. It is not clear whether the family purchased or built New Hall, or at what date. Middlewood Hall was bought by Phyllis’ Grandfather, Thomas Taylor in 1845 and kept in the family until 1970 when it was sold to a Mr and Mrs Wainwright who were professional photographers.

The boys were sent away to boarding school at a young age whereas Phyllis was kept at home. Not much is known about her childhood and where it was spent. At the 1911 census taking the family were living at Hampole Priory in Doncaster, a former nunnery.

Sometime after the start of the war Middlewood Hall was turned into an auxiliary hospital for wounded troops. When she was 23 she joined the British Red Cross and worked at her converted home from April 1916 until 1919. In November 1916 she worked for 4 hours a day at Hooton Pagnell Auxiliary Hospital in Doncaster until February 1917 working as a nurse.

Shortly after joining the Red Cross Phyllis’ elder brother Eric was killed in action at the Somme. He would not be the only brother she outlived. In 1959 her younger brother Ronald died and left his estate to be shared between her and their brother, Harold.

In 1960 she inherited Middlewood Hall. She stayed there until her death in 1967. She was buried in All Saint’s Church cemetery in Darfield along with the rest of her family except for Eric who had been lost at the Somme.

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