Friends of Hastings Cemetery

Major Edmund Teed, p.2

From Edmund Teed was born on 4 April 1852 at Peter Tavy, near Tavistock in Devon, the fifth of eight children born to John Teed (c.1821–1915) and his first wife, Elizabeth née Hall (1818–1879).

John Teed by 1842 was working as a bootmaker near Tavistock where he married Elizabeth Hall, the daughter of a farm carter.  Their first daughter, Sarah was born about two years after the marriage and by the time of the 1851 census, John (now a cordwainer employing two apprentices) and Elizabeth were living at Peter Tavy with four children, two daughters and two sons.

Edmund was born the following year, on 4 April 1852.  but. Shortly after his sister Mary died, aged nine, in 1854, the family moved to St Marychurch, near Torquay, where three more children were born, the last when Elizabeth was 42 years old.  At the 1871 census, the family were living at Fore Street, St Marychurch where John was still in business as a cordwainer, although by now Edmund had left home to join the army.

Edmund married Charlotte Elliott (1853–1947) in 1877 at Newton Abbott.  Charlotte had been born in Faversham, Kent, where her father, Edward, was a coastguard.  By 1861, her family were living at the coastguard cottages at Hope Cove, South Huish, near Kingsbridge in Devon.

Edmund and Charlotte had three daughters: Minnie (born in Newton Abbott, Devon in October 1878), Charlott (Lottie) (born in Aldershot, Hampshire in 1883) and Helen (Nellie) (born in Hornsey, North London in 1890).

In about 1904, the family moved to Hastings to live at 122 Ashburnham Road. Edmund soon became involved in the local community, becoming captain of the local rifle club and winning the Challenge Cup.  He was also a member of the Ore Rifle and Bowls clubs.  A staunch Conservative, he was a member of the Central Club.

Masonic career

Edmund was initiated into Lodge Al Moghreb Al Aksa No 670SC, probably in 1886, during his second posting in Gibraltar.

On 9 November 1886, Edmund joined William of Wykeham Lodge No1883 in Winchester, but resigned in December 1889.  He then seems to have been unattached for several years, before becoming a joining member of Hastings Lodge No2692 on 26 January 1904.  At the time of his death, he was Senior Warden of the lodge. He had advised the lodge that his military duties would prevent him taking the Master’s chair the following year, but that he was “looking forward to that honour at some future date with keen pleasure”.

Military career

Edmund enlisted on 9 June 1868, aged 16, joining The Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own). On his attestation papers, he gave his date of birth incorrectly as 4 April 1851, thus making him appear a year older.

At the time of the 1871 census, he was a Corporal based at Dover Castle, Kent.

On 2 November 1873, having now achieved the rank of Pioneer Sergeant, Edmund was sent with the 2nd Battalion of the Rifle Brigade to the Gold Coast (now Ghana) in West Africa to participate in the Third Ashanti War, after the Ashanti Empire had invaded the northern part of the Gold Coast Territory

Edmund was awarded the Ashantee Medal with Coomassie clasp having been a member of the battalion that had crossed the River Prah by 4 February 1874,

As Pioneer Sergeant, Edmund was expected to march at the head of the regiment, wearing a “stout” apron and carrying an axe, ostensibly to clear a path for all who followed.  The Pioneer Sergeant is the only rank of soldier in the British army who is allowed to wear a full beard.

Edmund returned with the battalion to England in March 1874, before his first posting to Gibraltar on 12 November 1874.  He remained in Gibraltar until 12 December 1876 and then returned to Winchester.

His second posting to Gibraltar came on 10 February 1886, but he again returned to Winchester on 9 June 1887.