Sculpher /Sculfor / Sculfer:

Research into the family history (undertaken by others) has traced the family back to 1530 - when parish records first started to be kept. During that time many different variations of the Sculpher name have been found, including Sculford, Sculforde, Sculforthe, Scullfer, Sculthrop, Sculthrope, Skilpher and Skulfer!      
William Thomas Sculpher was my grandfather on my mothers side. He was born on the 2nd November 1888 and had a twin sister called Mary Ann Sculpher.  William enlisted in the Royal Navy on the 23rd November 1915, gave his place of birth as Rotherhithe, London and his occupation as Barge Builders Labourer. He is recorded as being 5ft 7 inches tall with a 39 inch chest, brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion. As far as I am aware no photographs exist in our family of either William Thomas Sculpher or his wife, my grandmother Ellen. Ellen died on the 23rd August 1941 of pulmonary tuberculosis.

William was a Chatham rating (unlike the son-in-law he never met, Ernest HW Barnes, who was a Portsmouth rating) and record J46960  shows the ships he served in as follows;-
Pembroke I List 15 2 (?) No 5906 Ordinary Seaman from 23rd November 1915 to 28th December 1915
Dwarf List 5 2 (?) No 48 Ordinary Seaman from 29th December 1915 to 31st December 1916
Pembroke I List 15 (2) No 11634 Ordinary Seaman from 1st January 1917 to 25th April 1917
Actaeon (Cygnet) List 28 2 / 12 No 176 Ordinary Seaman from 26th April to 30th June 1918
as above List 12/29 No 27 3 Able Bodied Seaman from 1st July 1918 to 14th March 1919 (Demob)

HMS Pembroke was the name given to the shore barracks at Chatham. HMS Pembroke was commissioned in 1883, moved ashore in 1903 and paid off in 1983. HMS Dwarf was one of four Bramble class gunboats designed to protect the far-flung outposts of Great Britain's colonial empire. HMS Dwarf was launched in 1898 and in 1914 played a prominent role in the Allied Naval Campaign against German West Africa. Dwarf was paid off in 1925 and scrapped in 1926. HMS Cygnet was laid down in 1896 and commissioned at Chatham in 1900. Having two funnels and a 30 knot top speed she was in 1913 designated as a 'D' Class Destroyer. In August 1914 she was based at Sheerness tendered to HMS Actaeon, the gunnery school. She remained in this assignment for the duration of the 1st World War. In 1919 she was paid off and sold to Thomas W Ward of Sheffield on the 29th April 1920. She was broken up at Rainham, Kent on the Thames Estuary. HMS Actaeon was paid off in 1922. HMS Actaeon was originally called HMS Vernon, which was a 50 gun fourth rate launched in 1832 and was the tender ship to HMS Excellent. In 1886 HMS Vernon was replaced by HMS Donegal; Donegal was renamed Vernon and HMS Vernon was renamed as HMS Actaeon. However, in 1904, Actaeon was renamed Vernon IV and HMS Ariadne, part of HMS Vernon since 1876 was renamed as Actaeon.

The Royal Navy record for William Thomas Sculpher, from the Public Record Office ADM/188/740 (click on image for a larger picture). He would have received the 14/15 Star, the War Medal and the Victory medal. It is not obvious from the record as to his service number, it may have been 98621. He was awarded a Badge on the 22nd November 1918, no other information is shown, although it may have been his promotion to Able Bodied Seaman.

William Thomas Sculpher was found drowned in the Grand Surrey Canal at the Old Kent Road Bridge on the 3rd September 1941. He was 52 years old. The coroner, W H Whitehouse recorded his death as an open verdict.    
Mary Ann  Sculpher married James Roach in 1915 and had a son William G Roach on the 22nd February 1920 (March quarter Hackney, volume 1b, page 945). William married Catherine Owen in 1945 and he died in 1976. They had two children, Michael William (born 1946) and James (born 1964).  I believe James and Mary Ann another two children, Ethel M Roach born in the June quarter of 1921 (Hackney, volume 1b, page 685) and Joyce L Roach, born in the December quarter of 1925 (Hackney, volume 1b, page 494).  
When researching the Sculpher family, I did find it confusing at times as I would find a death certificate for a child that was before what appeared to be their birth! I discovered that the Sculpher family were in the habit of reusing the names of children that had died in childhood. For example, Charles Sculpher, born on the 14th March 1831 died on the 31st May 1831, however the name Charles reappears six years later on the 14th February 1837! This, second Charles survived his childhood and died in 1890 age 53.

Another very confusing family is that of George Sculfer and Susanna Chubock. They married in 1710 and had seventeen children, including four daughters named Mary, two sons called William and two sons called Samuel. The latter named Mary, William and Samuel apparently survived as the names didn't appear again.
Some have speculated that the name is Norse in origin - it is not. It is an Old English name that is topographical in nature - "the dweller in the hut by the ford". In the 1891 census, fifty-nine families with the name Sculpher were to be found living in Norfolk. This represented 64% of all the recorded Sculpher's in the UK with another 20% living in London. In the 1881 census, Sculpher's were likely to be farmer workers but a small percentage (5%) were boot and shoe makers.  Source: