William Garbutt (1867 - 1945) -
Bilsdale Bandmaster for 25 years

William Garbutt was born in 1867 in Bilsdale. In both the 1871 and 1881 Censuses, he was living with his parents John and Ann Garbutt, together with his brother and three sisters, at Cunisor / Cunnisor - a farm of 61 acres.

In 1891, he married Annie Ainsley; the 1891 Census showed him as a labourer at Spout House working for his father-in-law William Ainsley (b 1829, d 1905) and Ruth (née Arcoat). (This William Ainsley was the great-grandfather of William George Ainsley, who died in 2012...)

In the 1901 Census, William was living at Apple Tree Hurst, Bilsdale Midcable: family members were:

  • William Garbutt, farmer, b 1867 in Bilsdale
  • wife Annie, b 1870 in Bilsdale
  • son John William, b 1892 in Bilsdale
  • daughter Ruth Ann Garbutt, b 1894 in Bilsdale
  • his brother Thomas Garbutt, b 1871 in Bilsdale

(On 19th February 1916, his son John William Garbutt signed up with the 8th Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment; he gave his address as High Ewe Cote, Chop Gate. On 7th June 1917, Private John William Garbutt (32549) was killed in action at Flanders).

An tale about William Garbutt is given in the last paragraph of "Temperance and Echoes". (The hymn tune mentioned - "Ewe Cote" - has very recently been used by Dick Blackford as the source of his "Bilsdale Fantasia" - a major work in memory of Les Featherstone).

There are a few photographs of William Garbutt - two taken at the Coronation Pageant of 1911 at Busby Hall, Carlton in Cleveland:

  1. on this image, William is in the second row, 4th from the left (next to his son, John William)
  2. in this picture, the tall man in the second row, looking to his right, head appearing over a tuba is likely to be son John William Garbutt. As Bandmaster, it is probable that William Garbutt has "left his station" to talk to the organising gentleman in the frock coat and clerical collar.

Interestingly, the man in the front row, 4th from the left with a matt tuba is H. Featherstone; this is either:

  • Herbert (Les Featherstone's father, born Q3 1894 in the Stokesley Registration District) or
  • Harold (Les Featherstone's uncle, born Q3 1890 in the Stokesley Registration District).


A picture of William Garbutt (on the right) playing Merrills is shown.

Another of William Garbutt's favourite hymns was "Bilsdale"; a simplified score is shown, and can be played below.

It is most likely that he died in the first quarter of 1945 in what is now the Registration District of Ryedale - aged 78.

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