1805 – 24 Westgate Street

The ownership and occupancy of 24 Westgate Street becomes inceasingly confusing to follow.  Four years later, in 1805, the property was leased to George Martin, Esquire, of Wheatenhurst for a year and then released the following day, a legal arrangement to publicly declare the sale of a property.  Presumably he was the owner and John James Hough was still occupying the premises, as bookseller, stationer and printer. 

By 1812, George Martin had moved to Bristol with his family and died there that year.  He was buried at Bristol St James church.  In his brief will, he left all his estate to his wife, Elizabeth Martin. 

Elizabeth, then of Oxford Street in Westbury-on-Trym, held on to the property for another three years, when, in 1815, she transferred the property to one Thomas Abell, an innkeeper, and William Abell, a maltster, both of Gloucester.  At this stage, the document includes a plan of the house and grounds although the shop section is omitted.

Westgate Street runs across the bottom of the plan, with Maverdine Lane down the left-hand side.

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.

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.

1790 – 24 Westgate Street

The next person to occupy the premises was one Charles Cooke.  On the documents, he was identified as a surgeon and apothecary so the shop returned to the trade it was used for in 1721 when Nicholas Lane first transferred it to his wife and children. 

Again, because he has a rather common name, details of Charles Cooke’s family are difficult to confirm but it seems that he married Catherine Smythe in St Mary de Crypt church in 1790 and they had six children over the next 18 years:  Thomas, Charles Turner, George, John Freeman, Albina and Henry George Pauncefoot Cooke.  Of these, Thomas became a clerk at Oxford University and Charles Turner followed in his father’s footsteps and became a surgeon.  Both became freemen of the city of Gloucester.

When he took over the house and shop in 1790, Charles senior took on an apprentice called William Jones so he was obviously setting himself up in the area and feeling the need to develop his business.  At the time, he called himself surgeon, apothecary and man midwife.  In 1809, he took on another apprentice, this time one Nathaniel Mills.  A year later, Charles’ wife, Catherine died at the age of 44 years and was buried in St Mary de Crypt churchyard.  It is not known when Charles Cooke died or where he is buried.

In the ‘Notes of Henry Yates Jones Taylor’, there is an interesting story relating to the son, Charles Turner Cooke.  It states: “He was a regular attendant at the Cathedral Sunday services. Very frequently in the middle of the services his servant or one of the vergers crept noiselessly and timidly along to his seat and tapped him on the shoulder when he immediately left and got into his carriage at the porch, and drove away to some case of emergency. This occurred so often that persons began to get doubtful or sceptical as to the genuineness of the calls upon his professional skill and attention. So a vigilance committee was extemporised. One Sunday the old performance was repeated with a great deal of fuss and ostentation. The carriage with the Doctor drove all round the town and returned, but it was noticed that he neither left his vehicle nor made a call. He resumed his seat and his pious devotions. The humbug was so effectually exposed that he did not repeat those tricks by which he had endeavoured to impose upon the religious fraternity and the general public to induce them to believe that his services were so important as to necessitate a perpetual interference with his devotional exercise.”  Apparently, Charles Turner Cooke  also wrote a book which made several editions on the efficacy of white mustard seed.  

1755 – 24 Westgate Street

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

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

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

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

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

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?