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.

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.

Filling the gaps

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Genealogy, Gloucester, Gwinnett, Inns, Licences

Placing your ancestors on the family tree, using births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials, along with the census records, is fairly straightforward.  Filling in the gaps between these vital events is not only more difficult, as little is online, but it is also much more interesting.

I did not have space in my books Discover Gloucestershire Ancestors, Volumes 1 & 2 to write about alehouse licences in any detail and it was only yesterday that I checked some of them out at Gloucestershire Archives. (Ref: GBR/GV/AV/1 – 5).  These records cover the period from 1674 to 1836 with a few gaps.

The records include the date of the application (made annually in September), the name of the person applying for the licence, the sign (name of the pub), the names of two people acting as sureties and the surety or fee that they put up on the publican’s behalf.  If the publican broke the rules of his licence, the surety would be lost.

I had known that my Gwinnett ancestors were frequently recorded as being victuallers but had no idea where they had carried out their trade.  Imagine my surprise to discover that Samuel Gwinnett, later his wife Ann and later still his brother Charles had all applied for a licence to run the prestigious 15th century New Inn!

The earliest inn known to be run by a Gwinnett was the Bolt Inn in Eastgate Street.  George Gwinnett, who died in 1739, left his inn to his sons, William and George.  William was recorded as being one of the sureties for Joseph Grazebrook in 1749 so presumably the Gwinnetts had given up the licence during the years from 1740 to 1749.  Earlier records are still to be checked.

Other inns run by the Gwinnett family in Gloucester included The Red Lyon, the Greyhound, the Golden Cock and the City Arms.

 

Early schools in Gloucester

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Gloucester, Gwinnett, Schools

In Discover Gloucestershire Ancestors Volume 2, I included a chapter on education records and mentioned some of the early Gloucester schools such as the Crypt School, Sir Thomas Rich’s School and the College School, all of which are still in existence, the latter now called the King’s School.

Recently, however, I was googling the name of Theodore Gwinnett and I came across a mention of him in connection with the Minutes of the Committee of Privileges of 1799. Further investigation showed this particular document to relate to one William Cole (or Tudor as he was calling himself), attempting to make a claim on the Berkeley estate. It seems that three of the Gwinnett boys, Theodore, Charles and John had all known the young William Cole or his relatives in their schooldays or early manhood. One other family that mentioned was the Hudds of The Fleece in Wotton.

Apart from the information I gleaned on the early years of the Gwinnett boys, it was interesting to note how they walked from Barnwood to Wotton to collect William Cole and continue with him into the city to school most days. Theodore said he attended Mr Cook’s school in Oxbody Lane in Gloucester, whilst William Cole, who lived with his family at The Swan at Wotton, went to a different school. However, another friend, Edward Hudd, said both he and William Cole attended Mr John Cooke’s school, again said to be in Oxbody Lane, but that Theodore Gwinnett had gone to a different school, that belonging to a Mr Mutlow, which he believed was ‘down behind the College Wall’. Someone has to have been wrong! William Cole’s sisters went to a school in Lower Northgate Street ‘kept by a person by the name of Middleton’ and later to Mrs Clarke’s.

Does anyone have any more details on any of these schools? Or any other small Gloucester schools of the same period?

Guilds

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Apprentices, Freemen, Genealogy, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Research

Early tradesmen and women were organised into guilds.  Today, there are over 100 guilds, each with its own crest and associated patron saint, a list of which can be found online.  Some archives exist, consisting of information on apprentices, freemen, minutes of meetings and requests for help from petitioners.  However, there is no central repository of their records; most are based in London at their guild headquarters.  Some information, particularly on apprentices and freemen may be found locally.  For Gloucestershire, we have two good books which contain transcripts on apprentices between 1595 and 1834 and their masters and one which lists freemen from 1641 to 1838.   These records don’t necessarily relate to a Gloucestershire person – either the apprentice, the master or even the freeman could be from another county.  An example of an entry in the Apprentices book is:

Ref: 1/549         1641 Nov 1

Draper, John son of Thomas, upholsterer, dec’d, of Gloucester to Plomer, Robert & Christian, 8 years, pewterer, 20s.

Check out my chapter on Apprentices and Freemen to find out more about guilds, apprentices, masters and freemen.

 

Alney Island map

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Books, Genealogy, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Research

Whilst looking for information on Alney Island on the outskirts of Gloucester yesterday, I came across an early map of the area, c. 1750. It was beautifully drawn, showing the western end of the city of Gloucester, where the River Severn separates into the Upper and Lower Parting. It shows other streams, the outlines of the fields, which are all named, and even little gates in the hedges. To one side of the map runs what was called Over’s Causey – the causeway leaving the city and heading to Over and the Forest of Dean. It even shows the arches underneath the causeway which were left to allow the flood water to pass through – they knew about the flood plains in those days!

The map is very clear, neat and precise and includes The Island with tiny houses drawn on it, between the West Gate Bridge and, what was called on the map, Fording Bridge, which later became Foreign Bridge and which now no longer exists.

I have no idea why the map was drawn. It may be over 250 years old but this is a little gem of a map – I wish I had found it before I wrote my chapter on Gloucestershire Maps as I would certainly have included it. For anyone with ancestors living in the Alney Island/The Island area of Lower Westgate Street, Gloucester, this would really bring your house history to life.  You can find the map at Gloucestershire Archives; Reference GBR/J4/2.

Discover Gloucestershire Ancestors: Volume 1

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Books, Genealogy, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Maps, Nonconformist, Parish Registers, Research, Self-publishing

After more than two years, my book, Discover Gloucestershire Ancestors has finally gone to the printers!  At least, Volume One has.  There turned out to be far too much to go in one book so I have split it into two – and begin to wonder if there might even be a third volume.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the research process and learnt a lot about layout and design during this, my first, self-publishing experience.

The book fills a gap in the family history market because there is no other book in print today that refers specifically to Gloucestershire and the records you can find in our beautiful county.  Although necessarily the book includes mostly documents to be found at Gloucestershire Archives, it covers other sources as well.

To help the beginner get started with their family history research, the book covers basic chapters on civil registration and the censuses.  Did you know there were ten Gloucestershire parishes for which a pre-1841 census with names exists?  Maybe your parish of origin is one of them?

The book then leads the reader through chapters on parish registers and nonconformist records before looking in more detail at records relating to births, marriages and deaths, such as adoption, illegitimacy, irregular marriages, divorce, monumental inscriptions, suicide, etc..

Finally, this volume covers the justice system, looking at petty sessions, quarter sessions and the assizes followed by the given punishments, the inevitable incarceration in gaols and houses of correction or transportation ‘to foreign parts’.

The book, Discover Gloucestershire Ancestors, ISBN: 978-0-9571440-0-2, will be available from 1st March 2012, price £14.99 plus p&p.  Check out the details on my website at:

www.hidden-heritage.co.uk/books/discover-gloucestershire-ancestors

 

 

Discover Gloucestershire Ancestors

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Books, census, Genealogy, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Parish Registers

Having researched at Gloucestershire Archives for over twenty years, I am finally writing what I hope will be the definitive guide to tracing your Gloucestershire family history. I have learnt so much over the years and even more recently whilst researching this book. It has been designed as a basic family history guide but with specific details for Gloucestershire records and documents. It will have something useful for both beginners and experienced genealogists.

I am very excited to have finally managed to get the first four chapters of my forthcoming book “Discover Gloucestershire Ancestors” available online. They are:

1. Gloucestershire Born and Bred:
An introductory chapter for family historians with useful background information on the County of Gloucestershire and Diocese of Gloucester.

2. Civil Registration:
Chapter 2 includes details on civil registration of births, marriages and deaths, how to order certificates and where to find indexes to help with your search.

3. The Censuses:
This gives information on the 1841 to 1911 censuses and particulars and samples from the 10 pre-1841 Gloucestershire censuses.

4. Parish Registers:
As well as background information on parish registers and Bishop’s Transcripts, this chapter includes which registers are the oldest, where the gaps are in some parish registers, available indexes and which parishes are not on the IGI. Please check out: http://www.hidden-heritage.co.uk/books/discover-gloucestershire-ancestors/

This is a still very much a ‘work in progress’ so comments on the content of any chapter could still affect what goes into the final book. I would be delighted to be get some feedback on the chapters to enhance the content.

Self-publishing is a new experience for me so any advice on content, advertising and marketing will be much appreciated. (My previous book, A Rogues’ Gallery. Victorian Prisoners in Gloucester Gaol, was published by The History Press last year.) One of my main objectives of self publishing and particularly of publishing the individual chapters online was to allow this to be a “living document” where I can engage with the Gloucestershire genealogical community and receive feedback.

This has been a steep learning curve and I would love to get comments from others who have self-published and from Gloucestershire genealogists who have found unusual sources.

Victorian and Edwardian Prisoners

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Crime, Genealogy, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Photographs

Are you missing an ancestor in the late 19th and early 20th centuries?  Perhaps they were in Gloucester Gaol?  My book containing photographs and criminal records for prisoners held in Gloucester Gaol during 1870 and between 1883 and 1906 is now available. Entitled ‘Victorian Prisoners in Gloucester Gaol – A Rogues’ Gallery’ it costs £14.99 from all good bookshops.  Published by The History Press it has ISBN: 978-0-7524-5129-9.  It contains information and mugshots of men, women and children from all round the world, not just from Gloucester or Gloucestershire.  Perhaps your ancestor was there …..