Tracking the owners of land in 1873

On a shelf in the Frith Room at the Heritage Hub are two large, fat, blue-bound tomes labelled ‘Return of owners of land 1873’.  They tell us that the Returns were ‘Presented to Both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty’ and were printed in 1875. The first volume contained English counties from Bedford to Norfolk (so included Gloucestershire) and the second Northampton to Yorkshire West Riding, also the Welsh counties. London was not included. The information was arranged in two sets of seven columns on each page. They record the surname of the owner in alphabetical order in each county, followed by christian name(s) and title, the address of the owner, the amount of land owned in acres, roods and perches, and the value in pounds and shillings. Nearly a million names were listed, 37,705 in Gloucestershire.

You have to admire the compositors of the time who set up the type, back to front in the ‘forms’ which could then be inked and printed. You have also to admire the clerks in the Civil Service who coped with the varieties of hand-writing on the returns from each Poor Law Union in the country, as were the returns transcribed by a willing and persevering band of volunteers for Lloyd George’s attempt to tax the increasing value of land. The Unions were the effective local governments of the time. Jean Gibbons has searched for some of the mysterious addresses in 1873. ‘Rhirdeville’ –  nothing else said –  was Rhodeville in Leckhampton. Other house names, too, were given without stating the place.

Owners of land did not necessarily live where they owned land. Ninety-five people lived in Cheltenham, and owned land  in Gloucestershire varying from 1 acre to nearly 2,000 acres; Richard R C Rogers owned nearly 3,000 acres. Thirty-six people lived in Bath. The really big land-owners, like Lord Fitzharding at Berkeley Castle (18,264 acres ) or Lord Sherborne at Sherborne Lodge (15,773) owned land in many other places. 

At present we are transcribing those owning 10 acres or more: 3,281 names.

by Anthea Jones, Gloucestershire Archives researcher

Sir Robert Atkyns and Mr J Kip delin et sculp (artist and engraver)

Thirty years ago, Nicholas Kingsley (late of this parish as it were) wrote an article for Country Life on the ‘conundrum’ of how Sir Robert Atkyns chose the places which Johannes Kip was asked to draw and engrave for inclusion in his Ancient and Present State of Glostershire published in 1712. Although there are 65 illustrations in the book, 60 of them the houses of the county gentry (61 counting Chepstow Castle which was not in Gloucestershire but was linked through the lord of the manor of Tidenham and the bridge over the Wye), there were yet others he might well have chosen. As we know, Gloucestershire was a big county, including those parishes in the diocese of Bristol when it was created in 1542 and much more recently in Avon and then in South Gloucestershire local authority areas. It must have taken Kip a considerable amount of time to travel around the whole county, as well as staying in each place long enough to carry out a simple survey and then to draw it. Kingsley suggested therefore he may not have been able to reach the farther bounds of the county. The engravings are a unique resource and particular ones are frequently used by local historians. The Gloucestershire Gardens and Landscape Trust is one such, using them to examine historic gardens and compare them with the present day. Continue reading

A CATTER-LOG-ER-AT-HOME

As one of a group of volunteers, I’m missing our Monday get togethers and am really looking forward to when we can all get back together. But have we been allowed to be idle? OH NO!

That slave driver cum school ma, (so called volunteer coordinator) has continued to organise us! (Can’t she give us a break?). A long respite from ‘you’ve not used the right Archives format’; ’that shouldn’t be a capital letter’; ‘ there shouldn’t be a gap in the item reference’ etc etc ad infinitum… And what has she made us do? Continue reading

The Memories Café at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

By Kate O’Keefe

Sunday December 1st – our last Memories Café at The Hub for the year.

The Memories Café has been a regular feature in our programme on the first Sunday of every month since the spring. Sunday afternoons can be an empty point in the week for some older people, so we decided to fill that space with companionship, conversation and cake. The café offers free refreshments, live music and activities with a nostalgic flavour. It is open to everyone and we take pride in making sure that all our customers have a good time. Many of our staff and volunteers are Alzheimer’s Society ‘Dementia Friends’, so people living with dementia and their friends and families can be sure of a safe and welcoming experience. We are very lucky to have the support of committed volunteers who help to make sure our customers have a friendly, enjoyable time with us. Our ‘regulars’ tell us that the café adds a ray of sunshine to their day:

We love coming here. Mum really looks forward to it.’

You’re all so good at making people feel relaxed.’

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Controlling archival ferment: the West Country Breweries Collection at GA, by Mike Bevan

Gloucestershire Archives has been stock checking, listing, enhancing and structuring the collection ready to being fully catalogued into CALM, with the help of volunteer Amber Patrick, also a member of GSIA (Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology) and an expert in the Maltings Industry. Is she partial to an amber ale then? No, she doesn’t drink beer!

Gloucestershire Heritage Hub’s nearest pub, which has a West Country Brewery plaque on the exterior

The series of photographs taken of the staff at the brewery is an interesting feature which can be useful for family history reseachers, looking for relatives employed by the brewery. Another good set of photos are of b/w inn signs which again allow locals to identify with their specific landscape and memory; and connecting their local pub with an image of what the sign would have looked like in the past.

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Port of Gloucester Crew Lists all ship shape thanks to volunteers!, by Ann Attwood

Mags and Terri with repackaged D3080 boxes

Working 1 morning a week from November 2015 to October 2018, Margaret and Terri ploughed through 44 large boxes coming across mutinies, shipwrecks and desertions along the way.

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Happy 40th, Gloucestershire Family History Society!

The Gloucestershire Family History Society (GFHS) was founded 40 years ago this April. As we all know, 40 is a significant birthday (hang on though, if 60’s the new 40, that only makes them 20… Move on! Ed) and so it was only right and proper that this milestone was marked by a special event.

And so, on Sunday 28 April, we were joined by around 250 people who came to see the GFHS in their smart new home at the Gloucestershire Heritage Hub- a pleasingly high number as lots of people had heard about the event on BBC Radio Gloucestershire.  Some 40 GFHS volunteers were on hand during the day to welcome visitors and show them the Resource Centre.

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100,000 records later, and still more to be done…

 

Nearly a year ago, I wrote a blog post detailing a large importing project I had begun to undertake. (Sadly?) As I publish this it is my final day Gloucestershire Archives.  I will be jumping across the country to West Sussex, and so I thought it would be worthwhile to write about all the hard work our volunteers have contributed to our catalogue.  Many of these collections have now been listed to piece level, providing greater detail with names, occupations, dates and other information that will undoubtedly come in handy for family and house historians. To list them first crudely, these collections have now had additional information added to their series and items:

dav

A page from DA26/226/1 – Record of Arrivals by Dursley Rural District Council during World War One, now listed at piece level entry on our Online Catalogue

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New family history resources from Gloucester cemetery, Tredworth Road

Between 1976 and 1987 Gloucester City Council decided to remove a large number of headstones from the chapel side of the old cemetery in Tredworth Road. This was to make maintenance of the grounds easier with machinery.

Advertisements were placed in The Gloucester Citizen asking if relatives objected and headstones marking graves of those who lost their lives in the two World Wars were exempt from the process.

Once this consultation process was complete the inscriptions from headstones identified for removal were recorded in registers prior to their removal. In instances where surviving relatives objected, the headstones were left in place.

Gloucester Cemetery Chapel side compress

Gloucester Cemetery

Gloucestershire Family History Society were given permission recently to photograph all of the entries in the registers, some 2,500 photographs, and then to transcribe those entries into a more accessible format.

Volunteers from GFHS have now completed this task and have constructed a searchable database which shows the transcription on the removed headstone together with details of others buried in the same plot. This project has preserved information which no longer exists by a visit to a burial plot.

You can access this searchable database at The Family History Centre in The Heritage Hub.

A new collection of records received about Ivor Gurney, and coming soon to a racecourse near you….

There’s been lots of respectful remembrance activity across Gloucestershire over the last week, and it’s not quite finished yet.  If you’re attending Cheltenham races on Sunday (18th), please make time to pop into the Centaur for a day long programme of activities and displays called Gloucestershire and Racing Remembers.  Gloucestershire Archives will have a presence, in partnership with Cheltenham Local History Society.

An image appearing in the Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucester Graphic for Saturday 16 March. When the racecourse should have been celebrating the annual National Hunt festival, it was instead being used as a VAD Hospital.

An image appearing in the Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucester Graphic for Saturday 16 March 1918. When the racecourse should have been celebrating the annual National Hunt festival, it was instead being used as a VAD Hospital.

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