1781 – 24 Westgate Street

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Apprentices, Gloucester, Local History, Nonconformist, Shops

Every time the property changed hands, it was described as being in two separate parts, one under the auspices of the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral and the other under the auspices of the Mayor and Burgesses of the city of Gloucester.  By 1781, it was being described as one. 

“All that backward messuage or tenement court and brewhouse thereunto belonging with the appurtenances … and which said messuage or tenement is now thrown into one and intermixed with certain leasehold premises purchased of the said John Webb which make together one complete messuage or tenement and shop”

In November 1781, John Webb transferred the property to Meshach Charleton, a hatmaker.  In those days, the top hat was replacing the cocked hat as favourite headwear amongst the wealthier citizens of Gloucester.   Where Meshach learnt his trade is not recorded in the local apprenticeship records but it is assumed he did so with his father, also called Meshach, as the father, a feltmaker or feltmonger, is recorded as taking on a couple of apprentices. 

Meshach Charleton married Mary Washbourn in 1774 at St Mary de Crypt church.  At that time, it was required that all marriages (except for those of Quakers and Jews) should take place in a Church of England church.  Whether the couple were at that stage practising nonconformists or not is unknown but both of their children, Shadrack, in 1776 and Elizabeth in 1779, were baptised in the Barton Street Independent Chapel.

1773 – 24 Westgate Street

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Local History, Shops

John Webb was recorded as being one of the Aldermen of the city of Gloucester when he purchased the property at 24 Westgate Street.  No occupation or trade is given for him so it is assumed he was a ‘gentleman’. 

John purchased the property in 1773 after the death of Jane Punter.  Whether he lived in the property or just rented it out to others is not known.  In fact, very little is known of him at all – the name John Webb was quite a common one in Gloucestershire at that time so it is difficult to distinguish one from another.  When he sold the property again, in 1781, to Meshach Charleton, John Webb was said to be ‘of Wotton in the county of Gloucestershire’.  That could have been Wotton, an area on the outskirts of the city or it could have been Wotton under Edge – the former seems more likely.

Soon after he sold the property, John Webb died. From his will, proved in 1785, it would appear that he did not marry or have children, as only his three brothers, Thomas, Richard and the Reverend Benjamin Webb, and their offspring are mentioned. Interestingly, one of the witnesses to his will was Meshach Charleton.

1755 – 24 Westgate Street

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Uncategorized

The next owner of 24 Westgate Street was Richard Elly, described as a gentleman and an attorney.  He was also a Freeman of the city of Gloucester from 1722 and a Proctor of the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Gloucester.  He had a brother James, named after his father, and a sister Jane to whom he left a lifetime’s interest in the property in Saint Mary de Grace parish.  Among other legacies, he left £200 to the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge – he would no doubt have been delighted to know that, as the bookshop S.P.C.K, the society occupied the building in the 20th century, from 1949 to 1970.

Richard does not appear to have married so, in his will of 1755, he left much of his property, to his sister, Jane, including Paygrove Farm and lands in Little Normans.  His executors were Thomas Branch, George Worrall (both at various times Aldermen of the city and Luke Hook, described as a writing master. Richard was buried in St Michael’s church.

Jane Elly married Joseph Punter, a mercer, in Gloucester Cathedral in 1736.  Like her brother before her, Jane does not appear to have had any children – she was, in fact, in her late forties when she married.  Her husband died in 1749 leaving Jane a widow for over twenty years.

In her will, in 1773, Jane left legacies amounting to over £1500 to friends and their children.  She also gave £500 to a charity helping Gloucester Infirmary and the residue of her estate went to the Mayor and Burgesses of the city of Gloucester to invest, the interest being used every year to pay for as many poor local boys to be apprenticed to a trade as the funds would permit.

By the time Jane died, so had one of the executors, George Worrall so the other two were left to sell off the property to the next owner, Alderman John Webb.

1737 – 24 Westgate Street

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Uncategorized

But the death of Nicholas and his wife, Hester, did not herald the end of the Lane family’s problems with the property.  In 1727, Hester junior had married a man called Herbert Pyefinch who was a ‘gager’ in the Excise, and had moved with him to live in Presteigne in Radnorshire.  John Rodway, one of the two trustees had died leaving Richard Harding as the sole trustee of the property.  Richard Harding had sold the property to one Richard Elly, an attorney of Gloucester, and, with the proceeds, paid off Nicholas Lane’s remaining debts.  Herbert and Hester Pyefinch considered that they were entitled to £50 from the remaining funds. Since they had not received this money, they took Richard Harding to court.  He in turn challenged them in a Bill of Complaint to Chancery in 1736. No final orders have been located for this and it is assumed that the case was eventually settled out of court.

During the Chancery case, evidence was presented by one Peregrine Stockdale to the effect that Eustace Lane, a surgeon on the ship ‘The Berkeley Gally’, the youngest child of Nicholas and Hester Lane, had died on a voyage between Africa and Carolina around 1733, and that he, Stockdale,  had paid for his burial in South Carolina.  So that left only the three daughters of Nicholas and Hester Lane.  In 1737, after the Chancery case, the Lane Family no longer had an interest in 24 Westgate Street.

1721 – 24 Westgate Street

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Apprentices, Gloucester, Shops, Uncategorized

When the earliest document was created, in 1721, the property was owned by Nicholas Lane who was an apothecary.  It was in two parts, one under the auspices of the Mayor and Burgesses of Gloucester, the other under the auspices of the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester Cathedral.  The former was described as:

“All that stable, summerhouse and garden situate and being in the parish of Saint Mary de Grace in the city of Gloucester, then in the tenure of the said Nicholas Lane or his under-tenant, consisting of all that piece of ground extending from Grace Lane by the College wall to other the land of the Mayor and Burgesses then in possession of Richard Elly, gent, containing in length from Grace Lane aforesaid to a summerhouse newly built on the west nineteen yards and in breadth four yards.  And all that stable and building thereon erected next to Grace Lane aforesaid.  And after some part of the summerhouse or building standing at the west end of the same piece of ground  containing in building from east to west two yards and an half.  And also all that other piece of ground extending in length from the said summerhouse on the north to the lands of Mr Fletcher on the south fourteen yards and in breadth two yards and an half having land of the Dean and Chapter on the south and divided by a brick wall from other the lands of the said Mayor and Burgesses on the west.  Also all that part of a shop on Maverdine Lane side with the building over it wherein Mr John Palmer dwelleth containing in length from the street side to the north three yards and two foot and in breadth one yard and one inch having Maverdine Lane on the west  side and the other part of the shop being College land on the east together with a purpresture of half a yard broad the length of the shop next the land together with all ways, passages,  and appurtenances to the said premises or any part thereof belonging or in any wise appertaining.  “

The second part of the property was described thus:

“All that their shop with all the rooms thereupon built mentioned to be situate lying and being on the parish of Grace Lane in the city of Gloucester in a place there called the Mercerrow having the lands of the said Dean and Chapter mentioned to be then in the possession James Wood, mercer, on the east side, a lane or passage called Maudlin Lane on the west, the land of Nicholas Lane on the north and the Kings Highway on the south and containing on the forepart from east to west four yards and one foot and from north to south seven yards and then in the possession of John Palmer, bookseller;  And also all those their four stables now converted into three tenements with two courts or gardens to the same belonging situate, lying or being in the parish of Grace Lane in the city of Gloucester aforesaid having lands then of Thomas Lugg, gent, on the south, the lands of said Nicholas Lane on the north and west and the Kings Highway on the east which said tenements do contain from east to west nine yards and an half and from south to north next the Lane twelve yards and the courts or gardens do contain from east to west ten yards and a quarter and from north to south nine yards and a half and are mentioned to be in the possession of Robert Clarke, Thomas Haines and the said Nicholas Lane; “

Nicholas Lane was born c. 1672 and married Hester Rodway in the 1690s.  Over the next twenty years, the couple had eleven children: Mary, Nicholas, Elizabeth, Kendrick, Sarah, Hester, Lucina, Christianus, Charles, another Mary and Eustace.    Of these, Kendrick, Sarah, Christianus, Charles and both Marys died young.  Nicholas, junior, does not appear in any of the documents relating to 24 Westgate Street; it is presumed he, as an adult, was living a separate life from the rest of his family by the 1720s.  His sister, Elizabeth Lane, had married in 1714 to Richard Harding, a mercer from Tetbury, whose name is prominent in the early documents.

Over the years, at least from 1701 to 1717, Nicholas took on apprentices; Richard Yarnell, Thomas Hill, Thomas Peynard, Thomas Scott, George Wilcox and Joseph Colesbourne.  His oldest son, Nicholas junior, also became an apothecary.  But, by 1821, Nicholas was not doing well in trade and was in deeply in debt.  Fearful that he would be sent to the debtor’s gaol in Gloucester Castle, Nicholas transferred the property at 24 Westgate Street into the name of his wife and those children still living at home, Hester, Lucina and Eustace, so that they would still have a roof over their heads, should the worst occur.  The property was held in trust for them by two gentlemen; Richard Harding, his son-in-law and John Rodway.  John Rodway was also a mercer and, in 1723, became Mayor of Gloucester.  He was possibly a relative of Hester Lane, Nicholas’ wife who, before their marriage, was Hester Rodway.

The financial situation did not improve for Nicholas Lane.  In 1723, he took out a mortgage for £300 from Mary Clissold but, in 1728, he obviously had not paid all of the instalments on the mortgage, was arrested and put in gaol.  After a while, the money was raised to pay his debts and he was released but the experience damaged his health and, later in 1728, he died.  His wife, Hester, went to live with her daughter, Elizabeth Harding, in Tetbury, and died there in March 1732/3.

24 Westgate Street – Early history

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Uncategorized

The early history of this property can be found in John Rhodes book Terrier of Llanthony Priory’s Houses and Lands in Gloucester 1443. The property was in two parts, the south-west part and the south-east part, both fronting onto Westgate Street. John lists the property as being ‘on the Girdlery and Mercery at the south east corner of Marwardynes Lone, opposite the Kynges Board, where William Eldesfield, mercer, lives’. From 1443 to 1455, William Eldesfield rented both parts of the property, as his shop and his home

Over the centuries, many different people owned and rented the property. In 1667, it was inhabited by William Lugg who left it to his widow, Hannah and son, Thomas. By 1672, it was jointly inhabited by Thomas Lugg and a Mr Bishop, both of whom paid tax on two hearths each. The place was then let to Laurence Wiltshire of Lincoln’s Inn, when Jane Higgs was dwelling there. The next tenant was George Coucher, mercer and milliner.

By the turn of the eighteenth century, in 1702, William Ailberton, mercer, lived and worked there, the tenant of another Wiltshire, John Wiltshire of Hornsey. Finally, in 1709, he leased the property to John Palmer, a bookseller. And the lease was sold to Nicholas Lane, the younger, apothecary.

This brings us up to the earliest of the documents that I have transcribed.

24 Westgate Street

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Uncategorized

In 2016, I was given access to 77 old documents relating to the building currently designated as 24 Westgate Street. Since then I have been transcribing these documents. They tell the story of those who lived and worked in the building. The documents date back to 1721 and refer to events that occurred in 1707.

This was 24 Westgate Street in 2016.
It is situated between
the Antiques Centre and MacDonalds.

Over the coming months, I hope to tell the story of the shop and those who lived and worked there.

Unknown manorial term

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Uncategorized

Whilst transcribing a perambulation of Old Sodbury in Gloucestershire from 1783, I came across two of the participants who were described as being ‘carnivals’.  They were listed with the steward, bailiffs, hayward and scavenger – manorial occupations of which I had heard.  But I have never seen the position of a carnival (or carnivall) before.

Does anyone know what a carnival did?

 

Can we rely on Parish Register entries?

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Gloucestershire, Parish Registers, Research

Looking for the baptisms of the children of John Harris in Kings Stanley, I came across these entries on a microfiche.

  • Samuel Harrisson, son of John Harrisson, baptised last day of July 1653
  • John Harrisson, son of John Harrisson, baptised 14th October 1655
  • William Harrisson, the 3rd son of John Harrisson, baptised 25 December 1657

Checking a microfilm of Kings Stanley parish register entries for the period that followed, I also found:

  • John Harries the son of John Harries was baptised the 14th day of October 1655.

I did not find baptisms on this film for either Samuel or William.  The three Harrisson entries were not on the microfilm and the one Harries entry was not on the microfiche!  So, what was the explanation?

I ordered up the original register and checked the entries, all as above.  There was nothing that I could see in any part of the book to indicate that any part had been copied at any time.  The book appeared to be organised in 4 sections.   The first section held baptisms, the second had marriages, and the third burials.  The fourth section seemed to be a general section.   At the end of the first section, I found the first three Harrisson entries just as they were shown on the fiche.   After the marriages and burials, I found the baptism for John Harries as it had been on the film.

So, all four entries were there in the registers, as you would expect from filmed documents.  So – what happened?  After discussion with the archivist on duty and another experienced researcher, we all agreed that it was extremely unlikely that a John Harries, son of John Harries, was baptised on the same day (14th October 1655) as a John Harrisson, son of John Harrisson.  We agreed that there was most probably only one family, father John and his sons Samuel, John and William.

So, which surname is the correct one – Harries or Harrisson?  From other, later entries in the registers, Harrisson or, more usually, Harrison, seems to be the most reasonable choice but – are our assumptions correct?  There were, of course, no bishops transcripts for the 1650s so we cannot check those.   Can we trust the parish registers?

Business Accounts for family historians

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Uncategorized

This is a brand new topic for me, not one covered in either of my books, Discover Gloucestershire Ancestors.  Gloucestershire Archives has begun to catalogue two large collections of documents from Cirencester solicitors.  As the Gwinnetts do not, so far, appear to have had any connection to Cirencester, I didn’t expect to find anything of particular interest to my one-name study there, so I was very pleasantly surprised to discover about a dozen account books belonging to the Cheltenham solicitor, Theodore Gwinnett.

Most of the account books have few mentions of Theodore Gwinnett himself, except when dealing with his clients and their financial affairs, but two of the books look as though they will prove to be a treasure trove of little facts on him and his family.  For instance, on 1st April 1809, there is an entry: “Paid fare by Mail to London for Mr Gwinnett’s son.  £2 5s 0d”.  The next entry states: “Paid expenses for him to London including coachman, etc. 18s 0d”.

At this time, Theodore Gwinnett had three sons:  Thomas (1800-1810), Edwin (1803-1812) and Theodore junior (1804-May 1809).  Which could it have been and why was he going to London, apparently on his own?  Where was he going to stay?  Was he going to school or to a hospital?  None of these three boys lived beyond childhood …

Hopefully, further entries will clarify the situation and reveal further snippets about the life of the solicitor and his family.  Watch this space!