Family history of the Jollans family

The Jollans family


The early history of the Jollans family, as far as my grandfather and grandmother, William and Rachel Jollans, is recorded on the previous page.  This page moves on to the next generation, the children of William and Rachel Jollans and their families.  There were four children, Peggy, Christine, Bill and Lewis, all of whom went on to have children of their own, who are still living.  To date there are 12 grandchildren, and 21 great-grandchildren.  One of their granchildren is himself now a great grandfather.  This website includes only limited information on members of the family who are still living but most members of the family can be contacted through the 'Contact Us' page.

 Bill, Christine, Peggy and Lewis Jollans


Peggy Rymer, née Jollans


Margaret Baron Jollans, known as Peggy, was the first child of William and Rachel Jollans, born in 1917.  She grew up in Lincolnshire, in Great Harwood in Lancashire, and then in Birmingham.  As a young woman she worked in fashion design and in 1942 she married Alfred Rymer.  The Rymer family was a farming family with roots in Gloucestershire on both sides of the Severn.  For more information on the history of the Rymer family, use the Contact Us page.

Peggy and Alfred Rymer lived initially in Birmingham, where their three children were born – Stephen, Elizabeth and Margaret. They later moved to Nailsworth in Gloucestershire, and then to Uley, where Alfred went back to the family business of farming.  After Alfred’s death, Peggy continued to live in Uley until her death in 2005.

 Peggy with Stephen


Christine Neale, née Jollans


Christine Elizabeth Jollans, the second child of William and Rachel Jollans, was born in 1921.  She grew up in Lincolnshire, in Great Harwood in Lancashire, and then in Birmingham.  She trained as a teacher and taught for a time on the Isle of Man.  Her husband Peter Neale lived and worked in Burma, but met Christine when he was on holiday in Britain.  They married in Rangoon Cathedral in about 1948 and lived for several years in Burma.

Christine and Peter Neale had three children, all girls, and moved back to Britain to live in Dorking in Surrey around the end of the 1950s, where Peter continued to run a business importing and exporting goods to Burma and other countries in South East Asia.  In later years, Christine became an accomplished artist.  She died in 2006, shortly after her husband, leaving three children and four grandchildren. 



Bill Jollans


Bill Jollans was born in 1924 in Scotter in Lincolnshire, the third of the 4 children of William and Rachel Jollans.  After the family moved, first for a short time to Great Harwood and then to Birmingham, he went to school at the King Edward VI grammar school in Birmingham.  After the start of the war the whole school was evacuated to Repton in Derbyshire for a year, but then came back.  He went on to study Mechanical Sciences at St. John’s College in Cambridge on a course that was shortened to two years because of the war, and then joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1944.  After officer training he was sent out to India as a Captain, although by then the war was virtually over. 



After the army he trained as a civil engineer, working for Binnie, Deacon and Gourley in London, and also trained as a Methodist local preacher.  He married Joan Osbourn in 1951 in Fulham and almost immediately after getting married they moved up to live in Caithness in the far north of Scotland, where Bill worked for Binnies on a large dam project on Loch Calder.  He was then offered the job as Water Engineer for Caithness and he and Joan spent the next ten years in Caithness, living in Halkirk and having five children, all boys, one of whom died shortly after birth.

In 1962 he moved to a new job as Chief Engineer for the Huddersfield Corporation Water Works in Yorkshire, living at Lake House by Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, and leading another major dam building project that created a new reservoir at Scammonden.  The M62 motorway built at the same time, runs along the top of the dam, and this presented some major engineering challenges - the first time that a dam had ever been used as a motorway embankment in Britain.  It was opened by the Queen in 1971 and turned out to be one of the last big dams built in Britain.

When the water industry was reorganised in 1973 creating the new Yorkshire Water Authority, Bill became its first Director of Operations, based in Leeds and after his family had grown up and left home, he and Joan moved to Guiseley on the edge of Leeds, where they lived for the next 30 years or so at Springroyd on Coach Road.  He became President of Leeds Rotary Club, and as everywhere else he had lived, playing a major part in the life of the local church. 

After retirement in 1987, he worked for the charity Water Aid, including work on simple water engineering schemes in Tanzania and in Gambia, building wells and latrines, ensuring clean water supply and good hygiene.  He had a major aortic aneurysm in 1997 that left him in intensive care for several months, but recovered and he and Joan went on to celebrate their fiftieth wedding aniversary in 2001.  He died in 2007 at the age of 83, leaving four children and twelve grandchildren.

Throughout his life, Bill had an unfailing optimism and was always convinced, not only that everything would work out well, but that he was the luckiest of people with so much to be thankful for.

Joan Jollans

Joan Jollans was born in 1920 as Joan Osbourn, the second daughter of Frank and Isabell Osbourn, living in London Colney in Hertfordshire.  Her mother died when she was 11 and her older sister Olive was 16.  After school she worked for the Inland Revenue in London in the Supertax department, until in about 1940 the department was evacuated to Llandudno in North Wales, where she stayed for around 8 years.

Back in London, she was active in the Methodist church, where she met Bill Jollans and they married in 1951, and moved to Caithness in the north of Scotland.  It was a total transformation for Joan, who moved from being a single career girl in London to being an unemployed housewife in one of the most isolated parts of Britain, and before long to being a mother of four young boys.  A fifth boy, Trevor, died within three days of birth in 1958.

In 1962 the family moved to Yorkshire and as the boys grew up, Joan started to develop other interests.  She became the superintendent of the Sunday School at Linthwaite Methodist Church, with attendances in those days of maybe a hundred or more children in its own large building, and sessions on both Sunday mornings and afternoons.  She then studied and qualified as a Methodist local preacher and took on a lot of preaching appointments around the local circuit.




She also entered local politics, getting elected as a Liberal candidate to Meltham Council and before long becoming Chairman of the Council.  When it was abolished under local government reorganisation in 1973, she was elected to Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council, where she was for a time leader of the Liberal group on a council dominated by the Labour party.  This was serious politics, not as much to her taste as the local Meltham council, and she retired after one term.

Perhaps her best love though was Inner Wheel, the organisation for wives of Rotarians.  She was first newsletter editor for Huddersfield Inner Wheel and then President for a year.  After moving to Guiseley in 1978 she joined Leeds Inner Wheel and became President of that as well, before turning her attention to national level, becoming National Bulletin Editor and for many years going to National Inner Wheel Conference.

Although she abandoned her own career to get married and raise a family, Joan was never happy just to be a wife and mother or to play a subservient role.   In Inner Wheel as in the Church and in local politics, she didn’t just get involved, she succeeded in reaching leadership positions, in some cases in roles where few women had succeeded before.

After Bill’s retirement, Joan and Bill travelled a good deal, on Water Aid trips, Rotary exchange visits, family visits and just to see the world, visiting Japan, the Gambia, Tanzania, India and the US as well as all around Europe.  They celebrated their Golden Wedding in 2001, but after that Joan suffered increasingly from dementia and needed more and more support from Bill, and after he died, from Tony and Lynn.  She died in Norfolk in 2008.




Lewis Jollans


John Lewis Jollans was the fourth child of William and Rachel Jollans, born in 1925 in Scotter in Lincolnshire.  He studied at St. John’s College, Cambridge, becoming an expert on tropical agriculture, before moving to Ghana (then the Gold Coast) where he researched animal husbandry and breeding as a Senior Lecturer at Kumasi College.  He married Margaret Horrix and they had two children, both born in Ghana.

The family returned to Britain in 1961, to live in Calne, Wiltshire, where Lewis worked as a geneticist for C & T Harris Ltd., at that time a major employer in the town.  In 1976 he moved to Reading to take up a post as Research Officer for the Centre for Agricultural Strategy at the University of Reading.   Later, he contracted Motor Neurone Disease and died in 1987 at the age of just 62.  His wife Margaret died in 2013.


 Lewis with Sally, June 1955