Very little is known about William Charles Collyer but he is said to have been born in Durham. We believe him to be the son of William Collyer, a Friends Evangelist, and his wife Caroline, both from Bedfordshire. They had seven children, all of whom lived until at least their twenties. They moved around a lot, one imagines because of the older William’s job, the two oldest children, William and his older sister Rose being born in Stockton on Tees, County Durham, and the others being born successively in Barrow in Furness, Ebbw Vale and the last three in Cardiff. William was born in 1876.
In 1897 William Charles, a shoemaker, married Annie Elizabeth Inns, who was born in Northampton, their marriage being registered in Wellingborough. Their eldest child, Dora, was born in Nether Heyford, a village near Northampton. By 1911 they had had eight children but only 3 were still alive; William and Annie, Dora and their son Herbert were living in Hyson Green in Nottingham but the third living child was not with them at the time of the census and has not been traced. However, an unverified label on a photograph from c.1918 shows Dora and Winnie Collyer in a boat on the canal in Hickling (it is difficult to guess at their ages from this image) – Winnie may be the unidentified child, above. The birth of another daughter, Emily Florence, was registered in Bingham in early 1913 and she was baptised in Hickling on 7 June 1914, so it would seem quite likely that she had been born in Hickling. It is said that for part of the time the family lived in one of a pair of cottages behind Cobblestones.
It is understood that the family moved away from Hickling soon after the death of William in 1918.