1801 – 24 Westgate Street

The next names to appear in the documents were those of the Reverend Thomas Rudge, William Bishop, a Gloucester grocer, and Charles Evans, the latter’s trustee.   Thomas Rudge agreed to sell to William Bishop a piece of ground approximately one rood in area, for the sum of £42 15s,

“being the north-west corner of an inclosure of pasture ground belonging to the said Thomas Rudge as Rector as aforesaid situate within the parish of St Michael in the city of Gloucester and adjoining the highway leading from Barton Street towards the Regnum Stile … and is bounded on the north by land late belonging to the Reverend Ebenzer Cornell but now to James Jelf, Esquire, on the south and east by the land of the said Thomas Rudge as Rector, on the west by the said highway, together with all appurtenances”

Later that year, another document was signed, entitled ‘Exchange’. It began with the following statement.

“Soon after Mr Bishop purchased the within mentioned piece of land, he erected a messuage, stable, etc., thereon and one of much greater value than the messuage comprized in the indenture of 1st January 1801 and soon after Mr Bishop exchanged the same with Messrs Rudge, Bailey and Stock for the messuage comprized in the deed of 1st January 1801.”

The Reverend Thomas Rudge, clerk, was “rector of the rectory of St Mary de Grace” [the church itself was demolished in 1652 and the materials used to repair St Michael’s church]. William Bishop was a grocer of Gloucester and Charles Evans, a gentleman, from Highgrove.

By June of the same year, there was an exchange of properties. The messuage, brewhouse, kitchen garden and hereditaments in the parish of St Mary de Grace held by  the Reverends Thomas Rudge, Joseph Baylis and Thomas Stock were exchanged for the messuage, garden and hereditaments in the parish of St Michael vested in William Bishop and his trustee, Charles Evans.

1794 – 24 Westgate Street

John James Hough was named on the Westgate Street documents from 1794 until 1799, along with various others.  He was described then as a bookseller but later was also called a stationer and printer.  John James (always recorded with the double name) was born around 1758.  On 7th January 1774, he was apprenticed to Thomas Dunn, a book binder and stationer, for the sum of £20.

When his seven year apprenticeship ended, on 15th January 1781, John James Hough was made a freeman of the City of Gloucester.  Later that year, he married Sarah Pace, on 25th October 1781 at St Nicholas Church.  The couple produced eight children over the next 15 years:  Charles, Mary, John James junior, George, Henry, Helen, Arthur and Ellen.  Of these, Charles and Arthur followed their father into the book binding and stationery business;  John James junior went into the Royal Navy as a Lieutenant and George went off to Oxford where he gained a Bachelor of Arts degree, becoming a clerk.

In 1796, the Mayor and Burgesses of the City of Gloucester re-leased their part of the property to John James Hough and, three years later, in 1799, the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester Cathedral conveyed the other part to him.

When he died in 1821, John James Hough left a will, originally written in 1812.  The will, proved in London in 1822, was much edited, with deletions and insertions, both in the text and in the margins.  The widow, Sarah Hough, her son Charles Hough and sister in law Mary Hobbs all had to swear that the alterations were made in the hand of John James Hough with which they were very familiar.

John James Hough senior and his wife Sarah were both buried in the Chapelry of the Hospital of St Mary Magdalene.  The inscription on their tomb reads:

Underneath this stone are deposited the remains of

John James Hough of the City of Gloucester Bookseller

who departed this life Dec 1st 1821 aged 63 years

Also Arthur son of the above John James Hough

who died on the 12th Jany 1822 aged 27 years

Sarah relict of the above named John James Hough

who died May 5th 1825 aged 70 years.

1790 – 24 Westgate Street

Next to own the house and shop was a group of four people – two men and their wives; the Reverend Joseph White and Mary his wife and Mr James Sadler and Hannah his wife.  The couples were connected because Mary and Hannah were sisters, neé Turner.  It seems unlikely that either or both of the couples lived in the property, more likely that the purchase was an investment.

The Reverend Joseph White, born in Stroud in 1746, was a very well educated man.  He gained his BA and MA degrees from Wadham College, Oxford and, in 1787, he became a Doctor of Divinity.  He became Laudian Professor of Arabic from 1774, Bampton lecturer in 1781, Regius Professor of Hebrew and Canon of Christchurch, Oxford from 1802.  But from 1788 until 1802, Joseph was a Prebendary at Gloucester Cathedral.  He and Mary seem to have moved to Oxford in 1802 and stayed there until Mary died in 1811 and Joseph died in 1814.  The couple do not seem to have had any children.  The only two relatives mentioned by Joseph in his will are his two sisters, Hannah and Phoebe.

The second man involved in the transaction was James Sadler, seen above, described as an Esquire, of Gloucester.  Very little is known about James but he was obviously a fairly important person in the life of the city and, in 1789, he became Mayor of Gloucester.  In 1790, whilst living in the Precincts of Gloucester cathedral, he married Hannah Turner, sister of Mary Turner who was to marry Joseph White in Prestbury the following year.  As with her sister and her husband, Hannah and James seem not to have had any children – only brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces were mentioned in James’ will.  He was buried in Gloucester cathedral as befitted a man of his standing.

So, by the end of 1814, Hannah Sadler was the only one of the four still living.  She moved away from Gloucester, settling in a Dorset village called Child Okeford, to be close to where her niece and her husband lived.  Hannah died on 29th February 1828 and was buried in Gloucester Cathedral on 8th March 1828, presumably alongside her husband.

It appears that Charles Cooke continued to have an interest in the property until 1794 and, from then on, one John James Hough also was involved. I imagine they were the people who occupied the shop for their trade.

1781 – 24 Westgate Street

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.  On his marriage licence, he was described as being a 30 year old widower so this was obviously a second marriage. 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.

With two small children, Meshach decided to expand his business and moved into 24 Westgate Street where he set up shop to sell his wares. He remained there for nine years before transferring the property. How well he prospered is unknown but when he died in 1801, his will left everything to his wife including two houses in Westgate Street and the interest on £500 which was in his son, Shadrach’s, hands.

1773 – 24 Westgate Street

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.

Inclosure Award

I am in the process of transcribing the Inclosure Award for Badgeworth and Shurdington. If you are seeking the lands that belonged to your ancestors, you may find some clues here. Only the landowners seem to be mentioned. With the section I am transcribing at the moment, that includes Joseph Ellis Viner, William Edwards Lawrence, William Henry Hyett and Joseph Sadler. The transcript accompanies maps of the area.  The final version will be put on the computers at Gloucestershire Archives – many Inclosure Awards have already been installed there.