Willingale Genealogy

The Willingale Family Society

We are sad to announce that one of our longest standing members, Leslie Herbert Willingale, (I0804) has passed away on October 15th 2021. His wife, June, contacted Kim, our membership secretary, yesterday with this sad news.

Kim says that Les was truly the nicest person you could ever meet and had been a member with us since the beginning of the WFS. When she spoke to him in September he said that he was poorly with cancer but she didn’t realise how advance it was.

She thanked him for all his support over the last 19 years and how he was always the first member to pay his subs every year.

His funeral was held on November 4th 2021.

Our thoughts are with June and his family


It is with sadness that I have to tell you that Betty Willingale passed away on Monday 15th February 2021 age 93.

She was a Script Editor for the BBC and her most current work was Midsomer Murders. She was a lovely lady full of exuberance and fascinating to talk to. She grew up in her beloved Bermondsey and she loved reminiscing about her life there.

She helped me so much when I started out researching our family tree in the 1990’s. Her memory was second to none and she never ceased to amaze me as she recalled people and dates and places.

I was so lucky to accompany her with 2 of her nieces and their husbands to the BAFTAS. The whole night was dedicated to Betty and was full of actors and friends that she had worked with over the years such as John Nettles and Alan Rickman. It was a wonderful evening and one I will never forget.

She received her covid jab a few weeks ago which made her quite poorly and she never recovered from this.

Her obituary has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and the Times.

Kim Burroughs nee Willingale (I0390)

Epping Forest

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We have been contacted by Ellie Wilson (I14065) regarding her project as ‘Artist-in-Residence’ for Epping Forest in which she celebrates the ancient rights of lopping.

Ellie is the 4th great-grand niece of Thomas Willingale (I0150). She is a violinist/composer and her project ‘Echoes: Unearthing Stories of Epping Forest’ is a set of new compositions exploring the human impact on London’s ancient woodland through the centuries: Iron-Age Hill Forts, WW11 Bomb craters that are now ponds and Thomas Willingale – the local labourer who helped save the forest during the 19th century enclosure movement. The work, which includes a self-penned folksong, field recordings and a graphic score based on a map of Loughton Camp, will be a sound installation at the Visitor Centre from 12th November 2019 – 5th January 2020 (probably not the Christmas period) and released on CD in November.

The Centre is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am. Entry is free.

You can view an interview with Ellie on London Live by going to:-

Ellie is currently working at the ‘Shakespeare’s Globe’ theatre in London writing the music for the Henry V1 and Richard 111 production which will run from 21st November – 26th January 2020

Keith Willingale

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With regret, we sadly announce that Keith Willingale (I0216), our Chairman and a co-founder of our Family Society, died Saturday, 10th February 2018. 
His Funeral will take place on the 27th February 2018.  
Our thoughts are with all his family

Data continues to be added on a daily basis.

Graham is working towards adding a further 550 names and is also updating birthdays and other data using the newly-available 1939 census. Occasionally members have provided information, for which we are thankful, and have also alerted us to inaccuracies, which are checked and corrected.


We have not received any material suitable for publishing in a journal and so this will not be provided. Members will instead be charged the reduced subscription rates.

Social Media

We do not have the resources to maintain a presence on social media, but would be interested to hear from anyone with the time and necessary knowledge who is willing to do so.

A video has been added to the site that commemorates the Royal Navy disaster in 1914 that has become known as the “Live Bait Squadron” disaster. Sidney Willingale was a Petty Officer on the Aboukir, one of the three cruisers that were sunk by a German submarine. The media can be accessed through his individual record.

The committee have discussed the way ahead in the light of the fact that there continue to be no contributions to enable production of a journal.

As we shall therefore have less costs to bear we have decided with immediate affect  to reduce the annual membership subscription to £10, and to introduce a joining fee [which will also be the first year’s subscription] of £20 for new members. It is expected that this will enable a small positive balance to be sustained in the accounts.

Payment of annual subscriptions is due now. Members will be sent a reminder by post and we hope that all members will continue to enjoy the other benefits of membership. However it will be understood that subscriptions that remain unpaid at the end of August signify a desire to no longer maintain membership.  

The chairman is offering WFS members a discount on the wines he produces at Bow-in-the-Cloud Vineyard.

By visiting  www.bowinthecoud.co.uk, choosing the wine and entering the coupon code “wfs” members will receive a discount of 10%. Please note that this is the normal wine and not the specially badged “Epping Loppers” that is also available to members.

The wines available vary from time to time – at present there is his award-winning dry white blend, shortly there will also be a dry rose, and in July there will be two bubblies as well.  

Our website is in the process of migrating from Blackfoot to Krystal, and this should be transparent to users except for changes that need to be made to their email clients.  All members have been allocated willingale.org email addresses and if they have accounts set up as clients then they  should have received an email from Krystal advising the changes that need to be made with effective date 9 April 2016. If this is not the case then Graham and I are here to help. I should explain that this migration is not of our choosing – it is essentially a takeover!

To date we have not received any contributions for this edition and so, regrettably, it cannot be produced.

The next edition is due in July 2016 and all contributions should be forwarded to reach the editor (keith@willingale.org) by mid June.