Charles Jefferys was born on 23 August 1880, the son of Charles and Mary Ann Jefferys, at Laugharne, Carmarthenshire. His mother died shortly after his birth, leaving his father to raise him and his two elder sisters. The family’s roots were in Melksham, Wiltshire and Barnstaple, Devon; both parents came from families of Quakers.
When Charles Jefferys junior was born his father was a grocer in Laugharne. There were two older siblings, Charlotte Mary and Florence Lily. As a widower, Charles senior appears to have relied on his parents to help with childcare; in 1881 his parents were also living in Laugharne in lodgings in King Street. The family later moved to Tenby, after which move Charles married Adeline Davolls, a younger sister of Mary Ann Davolls.
During his formative years, Charles Jefferys junior was a pupil at St Andrew’s School, Tenby. His father was by then conducting a taxidermy business in the High Street of the town, and indulging in his passion for ornithology. Several letters and articles on local natural history written by Charles senior appear in the Tenby Observer and South Wales Daily News as well as The Zoologist journal. Charles Jefferys junior went on to Ellesmere College, Shropshire, to continue his education as a boarder from 1893 until 1896.
Following this public school, Jefferys became an Assistant Schoolmaster at Pokesdown, Christchurch, Hampshire. In 1904 he became a student at Durham University as a member of St Chad’s Hall. An active member of St Chad’s Hall Debating Society, he was President of the Society in 1906. During his time at university he took an active part in several debates, across a wide range of topics during the 1905/06 debating programme; such debates had also been a strong part of his schooling at Ellesmere College. In 1905 the topics included “That the execution of King Charles I was unjustifiable”, “The increasing power of the Democracy is a serious menace to the Country’s welfare”, and “That a barbarian is happier than a civilised man”. On 31 October 1906 he spoke against the motion “That the House of Lords is antiquated and ought to be abolished”, but in contrast, on 14 November he proposed the motion “That enforced military service is desirable in the highest interests of this Country”.
He was a keen sportsman and in 1905 was made captain of the St Chad’s Hall Cricket team and represented the Hall in Durham University’s Cricket Club; in the same year he also served as secretary for the St Chad’s Hall Tennis and Ruby Clubs, and as each club’s representative on the university’s Tennis and Rugby Club Committees.
Following graduation with a Licentiate in Theology in 1906, Jefferys’ ordination by the Bishop of Llandaff was announced in The Times on 25 December 1906. He was appointed as a Curate of St Mary’s Church, Monmouth, where he served from 1906 until 1910. In 1910 he moved to St Mary the Virgin, Micheldever with East Stratton where he stayed until 1912.
On 2 January 1908 in the Parish Church of Tetbury, Charles Jefferys, then of 3 Rock Crescent, Monmouth, married Eva Pride, of Spencer House, Tetbury, the daughter of the late George Pride, a former estate agent. The service was conducted by Charles Reece, the Vicar of Monmouth, and witnessed by Charles and Adeline Jeffery, Ada Pride, and Sidney Lee. The couple would go on to have two sons, George Marcus, born in 1909 and Charles Aiden, born in 1911.
Jefferys was appointed to the Church of All Saints, Mile End New Town, London in 1916, but on 23 May 1916 he was gazetted as a Temporary Chaplain to the Forces, and was deployed to France on 24 May 1916. Following two years’ of service as a Chaplain to the Forces he returned to England, only to succumb in the influenza epidemic, dying of pneumonia on 20 November 1918 in Chelsea, London. He was buried in St James’ Cemetery, Bath, Somerset, alongside his grand-parents. His father was then living at 15 Beaufort Place W. in the city. Jefferys’ life is commemorated in Durham University’s Roll of Service (1920), on a reredos in the chapel of St Chad’s College, and in the roll of honour and war memorial at Ellesmere College.