A tribute to the life and work of Brian Torode
THE ELEY FAMILY OF THE VALE OF BERKELEY
(?) James Eley (-1688) and Mary (-1686) of Thornbury
(?) James Eley (1644-1719) and Elizabeth (1650-1723) of Thornbury
James Eley I (1688–1754) and Elizabeth Morgan (–1747) of Thornbury
James Eley II (1736-1803) and Ann Taylor (-1799)
Exciseman of Ledbury, Leominster, Birmingham, Banbury etc
James Eley III (1762-1831) and Elizabeth Greenwood (1763-1814)
Linendraper of Thornbury
Thomas Eley (1794-1864) and Sarah Park (1806-1859)
Farmer of Lower Morton
James Eley IV (1836-1874) and Ann Shield (1837-1934)
Farmers of Lower Morton, Kingswood and Tortworth
Ernest Edward Eley (1869-1950) and Emily Yarnold (1866-1951)
Farmer of Berkeley, Kingswood and Cranham
Grace Margaret Eley (1897-1940) and William Edward Terrett
Son of James Eley IV and Ann (nee Shield)
Husband of Emily Yarnold
Father of Annie Florence Janet Durn, James Ernest, Dorothy Frances Harman, Grace Margaret Terrett, Daisy Mary, Norah, John Shield, Phyllis May Wyatt and Ethel Emmie Randall
Ernest Edward Eley was born on 26th November 1869, at Lower Morton, Thornbury, the third son of James and Anne Eley. In 1874, his parents moved from their farm at Lower Morton to Merryford Farm, Kingswood, Wotton-under-Edge. Sadly his father died of Typhoid in the September 1874. His mother continued to farm at Merryford until 1892 when she moved to Tortworth. Ernest Edward Eley was baptised on 28th October 1881 at St Mary’s Church, Kingswood with his brother John Park Eley.
On the evening of the 1891 census Ernest was at home at Merryford Farm, Kingswood, with the family and he was described as a twenty-one-year-old farmer’s son. During the following year his mother moved to Tortworth Farm where she farmed with her sons, Shield and Ernest.
On 4th April 1893 Ernest Eley married Emily Yarnold at Tortworth Parish Church. He was described as a twenty-three-year-old farmer of Tortworth, the son of James Eley, farmer. Emily was described as ‘of Wotton-under-Edge’, the twenty-seven-year-old daughter of James Henry Yarnold, a builder. The witnesses were James Brown (her uncle), J. Shield Eley (Ernest’s brother) and F.M. Eley (Florence Mary – his elder sister).
In the 1881 census, and again in the 1891 census return, Emily Yarnold was living and working as an assistant for her uncle, James Brown, a Watchmaker of Long Street, Wotton-under-Edge. She was there from at least the age of sixteen until her twenty-seventh birthday and it was in this shop that they are said to have met. The address on their marriage memento is given as Brook Farm, Tortworth.
Dursley Gazette 8th April 1893:
Marriage – Eley-Yarnold – at Tortworth Parish Church by Rev. P. Arthur Rector. Ernest 3rd son of late James Eley of Maryford (sic) Farm, Kingswood and Mrs Eley now at Tortworth Farm. To Emily second daughter of James Henry Yarnold of Gloucester and niece of Mr. James Brown of Wotton-under-Edge.
Dursley Gazette 8th April 1893:
Wedding – On Tuesday at Tortworth Parish Church the marriage took place of Miss Emily Yarnold, niece of Mr James Brown of Wotton-under-Edge with Ernest, 3rd son of the late Mr. James Eley of Maryford Farm, Kingswood and Mrs. Eley, now of Tortworth Farm. The bridegroom is already a tenant on Earl Ducie’s Estate at Brook Farm. The Rector of Tortworth, Rev. P. Arthur, officiated. The bride’s uncle, Mr. Brown, gave her away and she was attended by Miss Eley and Miss Kate Eley (sisters of the bridegroom) and Miss L. Dean of Stroud as bridesmaids. She wore a white dress… Mr Shield Eley accompanied his brother as best man.
The wedding was pretty… bells rang out, organ etc…
After the wedding the party drove over to Wotton-under-Edge to the residence of the bride’s uncle for the wedding repast. Mr Arthur was present, Mr and Mrs Yarnold (father and step-mother), Mr and Mrs Shield of Over, Mr James Shield of Maryford, Mrs Isaacs, Miss Alice Yarnold (sister of bride), Mr Yarnold of Thornbury (brother of bride), Mr Smith Jnr. Crockleaze, Tortworth, …
Later the couple left for Devonshire. Wedding presents…
Shield married in 1896 and their mother Annie Eley retired from farming in that year and moved to Bristol. It is likely that at this time Ernest and Emily moved to Hengaston Farm, Berkeley Road, Berkeley, where their third daughter Grace was born in July 1897. Certainly by 1900 Tortworth Farm was being farmed by Shield and Minnie Eley.
There is confusion as to the location of Tortworth Farm and its relationship with Brook Farm.
The Bristol Times and Mirror reported in its pages on 31st July 1897 that Ernest Ely (sic) a Farmer of Cam, was summoned by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for working a horse in an unfit state on 14th July. Evidence was given on behalf of the prosecution by PC Fowler of Newport, Walter Unite, Inspector of S.P.C.A. and Henry Hobbs, Vet nary Surgeon of Newnham. The Bench considered the offence not wilful and dismissed the case.
The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post for 15th December 1899 reported from the Berkeley court that Edward Eley and Thomas G. Powell each had to pay 2s 6d for allowing horses to stray’.
From before 1900 until about 1912, Ernest and Emily were farming at Park Farm, Pedington, Berkeley.
In the 1901 census return Edward and Emily Eley were at Park Farm, Pedington. Ernest was described as a thirty-year-old Farmer, an employer, born at Morton. Emily was a thirty-one-year-old woman, born in Gloucester. Their children were Annie, aged seven-years, born in Tortworth; James aged five years and born in Berkeley; Dorothy aged four years and born in Berkeley and Grace aged three years and born in Berkeley. Their servants included Martha Clements, aged sixteen, a general servant and domestic, born in Berkeley; Samuel Woodward a servant of seventeen, born in Oldbury and William Waite, aged forty-nine-years, a farm labourer, born in Falfield.
In 1911 the family was living at Park Farm, Pedington, Berkeley. Ernest Eley was listed in the census return as a Farmer and employer, born at Morton, Gloucestershire. Emily Eley ,his wife, was born in Gloucester and aged forty-three-years. They had been married for eighteen years and had nine children, all born alive of which one had since died. These children included Annie aged seventeen – doing daily (or dairy?) work and born at Tortworth; James aged fifteen – working on farm and born at Tortworth; Dorothy aged fourteen – at school and born at Tortworth; Grace aged thirteen and born at Berkeley; Daisy aged nine and born at Berkeley; John aged six and born at Berkeley; Phyllis aged three and born at Berkeley and Ethel aged two and born at Berkeley. Servants included Helen Hobbs, a domestic servant, aged nineteen and born at Upper Cam and Gilbert Pain aged twenty-one, a farm labourer born in Birmingham. The house in which they lived had nine rooms.
In 1913 they were farming at Haroldsfield Farm, Kingswood, and advertising for a cowman and offering him a good house and garden. Ernest’s great aunt, Mary Park, nee Witts, was born at Haroldsfield and her nephew, Charlie Witts, took the farm at Tortworth after Grandma Eley left. Mary Park’s late husband, John Trotman Park, had farmed at Merryford until his death in November 1873. It is said that Ernest and Emily demolished the old ‘Gothic’ ruin at Haroldsfield, which some attribute to being part of Kingswood Abbey, because it might encourage courting couples!
Their fourth daughter, Daisy, was killed by a swing in the schoolyard and was buried on 29th October 1919 at Kingswood. She was only seventeen-years-old. In 1921 Ernest Edward bore his Uncle Henry Shield’s coffin alonside his youngest brother, John Park Eley.
Ernest and Emily were at Haroldsfield until 1926 when they moved to Wick House Farm, Berkeley, where the Eley Family was listed until as late as the 1939 Kelly’s Directory. The 1939 Register of England and Wales listed Ernest Edward and Emily Eley at Nibley House Farm. At some point Ernest also farmed at Overtown Farm, Cranham.
Finally, Ernest and Emmie retired and moved around the homes of their children spending time at Nibley House. Ernest died on 6th February 1950 at Coopers Hill Farm, Brockworth, his daughter Phyllis’s home, and he was described on his death certificate as an eighty-year-old Retired Farmer of Nibley House Farm, near Dursley. The cause of death was Cerebral Thrombosis and Arterio Sclerosis and was certified by M.I. Cookson M.B. Ernest H. Poole, Registrar, registered the death on 7th February 1950 and the informant was C.M. Wyatt, Son-in-law, who lived at Coopers Hill Farm, Brockworth, and was present at the death.
Ernest Eley was buried on 9th February 1950 at St Mary’s Kingswood.
According to probate records Ernest Edward Eley of Coopers Hill Farm, Brockworth, Gloucestershire, died on 6th February 1950. Probate was granted at Gloucester on 10th May to his sons, James Ernest Eley and John Shield Eley, Farmers. Effects were valued at £500.
Emily Eley died on 22nd November 1951 at her son Jim’s farm at Woodmancote, Cirencester, and her body was cremated at Cheltenham. The ashes were buried in her husband’s grave at St Mary’s Kingswood on 26th November 1951.
‘Ernest Edward Eley with his Mother’s fondest love & best wishes for his welfare for time & eternity. Hoping etc he receives this & may be a child of God. A.Eley’ (Probably for his baptism in 1881)
‘Emily Yarnold & Ernest Edward Eley with Mr And Mrs Ernest E. Eley’s compliments. Brooke Farm, Tortworth April 4th 1893’
Extracts from Walter Eley’s Journal of 1900:
‘After staying for a short time we resumed our journey, and it began to rain when we got to the main road; however, it did not last long. We drove through the village of Stone. Turning to the left our carriage soon pulled up at cousin Ernest’s Park Farm, Peddington. Here we stayed about half an hour and all except myself had more “zider”.’
‘Passing through “The Eaves” by the Kennels, we were treated to the music of the foxhounds therein, all howling together in chorus. That also was an old sound. We passed through Ham, where I noticed that the Common was all railed in, up the field leading to the Great Park, through the wicket gate in the wall, and we were inside. Had a look at the old cradle tree on the way. We were delighted – hundreds of deer about and that was another old sight. It is a beautiful old place. We made our way down to some sheds under the Park Wall. On the other side was Ernest Eley’s orchard. We managed to get astride the wall, but it was an 8 or 9 foot drop. It was no trouble in our boyhood days to drop that distance, but I was no longer young and did not consider it prudent to try it. It was quite another thing for Lancie. I was 56 and he was 12. He landed on the other side easy enough and left me perched on the wall while he fetched a short ladder. It was not very comfortable and I thought he was gone a long time. I had arranged with nephew Frank Marling to meet him at Ernest’s for tea and so I was not surprised to see him and Lancie coming through the orchard to me. But no ladder. Frank explained that cousin Ernest had gone to Bristol for the day and Mrs. Ernest and the youngsters were in their Dudds. Would I excuse her not asking me in. Of course there was every excuse at a farmhouse on a Saturday afternoon.
They helped themselves to some apples, the trees were loaded, and then gave Lancie a lift over the wall and we decided to walk across the Park on to Bevington’
Notes from Kenneth Marling:
‘My mother (wife of F.G.M.) took me to Kingswood to see “Aunt Park” widow of John Park, who was a brother of Sarah Park. Aunt Park, nee Mary Witts was born at Haroldsfield later the home of Ernest Eley. Her nephew Charlie Witts, took Tortworth Farm after Grandma Eley left’
Extract from Betty Randall’s letter to Ken Marling:
‘Ted was christened at Wotton-under-Edge Church and we went to Esk House to tea afterwards to your Mother & Dad’s. They used to visit us at Michaelwood Farm when the boys were little I expect some day you would like to have your parents’ photo. I have a lovely photo of them. They lived at Bank House, Sharpness at that time. I paid a visit to your parents with my Mother and Dad. I even remember we had a blackcurrant tart for our Sweet. I was not very old then and we went by train. Dad got out at a stop for a few moments and lo and behold the train went off without him and he had our tickets and we were very worried but the ticket officer said we had “honest faces” and let us continue. Dad arrived late to your home. Funny the things we remember.
I have heard Dad say when they lived at Mereford Farm, Kingswood, they used to get up to all manner of mischief & his Mother used to give them all the strap so as to be sure of getting the right one, sound logic?? I left Park Farm, Berkeley, at the age of 3, I think to go to Haroldsfield & moved to Wick House when I was 16. I was brought up on my many sisters’ love affairs & used to ride on Gilbert Durn’s shoulders. I think (Father’s) grandmother was buried in the Kingswood Chapel Yard.
Dad bought a nice small farm at Wick when I was 17 and my boy friend lived at Manor Farm, the next farm from Wick House Farm. We were friends when I was 14 years of age at Haroldsfield and fell in and out many times but we married when I was 19. Bernard was 6 years older than I.’
Extract from Page 38 of ‘And did those Feet…’ by David Tandy:
‘Eventually our journey would have taken us to Upper Wick past a Farm known as Wick House Farm, but by some as “Dolls House” because of its appearance.’
Cheltenham Chronicle, Saturday 18th September 1896:
James Brindsley and Edward Niblett of Tortworth were summoned by Ernest Eley of Tortworth for threatening and using abusive language towards him on 4th August last. Brindsley had absconded. Niblett was fines 5s and bound over to keep the peace for six months.
The Citizen, Wednesday July 23 1902 and Gloucester Journal, Saturday July 26 1902:
Berkeley Petty Sessions, Wednesday, before Mr. T.G. Matthews (in the chair) and Col. Monckton…. Ernest Edward Eley, for driving without a light attached to his cart on 17th July, at Berkeley, was fined 5s and 7s costs.
Gloucester Journal, Saturday January 21st 1905
Berkeley Petty Sessions. Wednesday before Mr. T.G. Matthews (in the chair) and Mr. H.B. Winterbotham. John Eley of Kendalshire Farm, Frampton Cotterell, was summoned for unlawfully committing a trespass in search of game at Bevington on December 26th. Defendant pleaded guilty – Charley Nicholls, gamekeeper to Lord Fitzhardinge, dep… that on the day in question he was on duty at Park Farm, Bevington, with Mr. Ernest Eley, (the tenant) and party rabbit shooting. Just before the close of the sport a pheasant was seen to go to roost near a hay-rick. When they finished ferreting, defendant said he would go and have a look round the tuffets and Mr. Ernest Edward Eley told him to have a look around the rick. Being suspicious, witness hung about and eventually heard a shot near the rick, and saw the flame from a gun going in an upward direction. Defendant returned, and said he had shot at a rabbit and missed it. Later witness asked defendant for the pheasant, and at the same time took it from his coat. He subsequently offered witness something to say nothing about the matter. Defendant said he had nothing to say why a fine should not be inflicted. The penalty would be nothing as compared with the trouble the matter had given him and his friends and the reflection cast upon his brother. The Bench imposed a fine of £1 and 9s-6d costs.
Gloucester Journal, March 26th 1910:
Ernest Eley, Berkeley, failed to apply for his exemption and had to pay 2s 6d, the cost of his neglect.
The Citizen, Thursday November 7 1912:
Berkeley Petty Sessions – Wednesday before Mr. T.P. Parnell (in the chair), Mr Croome Jackman, Mr. Charles Bennett and Mr. D. Garland
William James, farm labourer, summoned Ernest Edward Eley, farmer, for 18s wages for work done. Defendant disputed the amount earned and also complained of the way in which the work was done. The Bench dismissed the case because the evidence was so conflicting.
Gloucester Journal, November 21st 1936:
Former Berkeley Huntsman – Funeral of Mr William Gilbert of Sandfields Farm, North Nibley, who died aged fifty-nine. Present….. Mr Ernest Eley
Gloucester Journal, February 14th 1903:
Dursley County Court –
William King, Stone, sued Ernest Eley, farmer, Pedington, for £1-17s-6d loss of his ferret which was injured (and afterwards died) whilst in defendant’s possession. Defendant said the ferret was ill when he hired it.
…….. for the plaintiff for 17s 6d. Before Judge Ellicott on Friday.
Daughter of James Henry Yarnold and Frances (nee Brown)
Wife of Ernest Edward Eley
Mother of Annie Florence Janet Durn, James Ernest, Dorothy Frances Harman, Grace Margaret Terrett, Daisy Mary, Norah, John Shield, Phyllis May Wyatt and Ethel Emmie Randall
Emily Yarnold was born on 12th January 1865, the fourth child and third daughter of James Henry Yarnold, a Carpenter (Journeyman) of Gloucester and his wife Frances (nee Brown). The birth certificate records that they were living at London Road, Gloucester and from before 1869 they were at 2 Philip Street. Tragedy struck the family and Emily’s mother, Frances, died on 14th February 1879. By this time they were living at 4 Berkeley Villas and her father was described as a Cabinet Maker Foreman.
Already, by the time of the 1871 census, Emily Yarnold was staying with her Uncle, James Brown, and his wife, Jane, at Wotton-under-Edge. She was described as a six-year-old scholar and her uncle was a watchmaker.
Emily was only thirteen-years-old when her mother died and, by the time of the 1881 census, she was working as a shop assistant for her uncle, James Brown, who was a Watchmaker of Long Street, Wotton-under-Edge. Emily was about sixteen-years-old and working in the shop when she met her future husband. Emily was still working in the shop in 1891.
On 4th April 1893 Ernest Eley married Emily Yarnold at Tortworth Parish Church. He was described as a twenty-three-year-old farmer of Tortworth, the son of James Eley, a Farmer. Emily was described as of Wotton-under-Edge, the twenty-seven-year-old daughter of James Henry Yarnold, a builder. The witnesses were James Brown (her uncle), J. Shield Eley (Ernest’s brother) and F.M. Eley (Florence Mary his elder sister).
The address on a Marriage memento is given as Brook Farm, Tortworth.
Dursley Gazette 8th April 1893:
Marriage – Eley-Yarnold – at Tortworth Parish Church by Rev. P. Arthur Rector. Ernest 3rd son of late James Eley of Maryford Farm, Kingswood and Mrs Eley now at Tortworth Farm. To Emily second daughter of James Henry Yarnold of Gloucester and niece of Mr. James Brown of Wotton-under-Edge.
Dursley Gazette 8th April 1893:
Wedding – On Tuesday at Tortworth Parish Church the marriage took place of Miss Emily Yarnold, niece of Mr James Brown of Wotton-under-Edge with Ernest, 3rd son of the late Mr. James Eley of Maryford Farm, Kingswood and Mrs. Eley, now of Tortworth Farm. The bridegroom is already a tenant on Earl Ducie’s Estate at Brook Farm. The Rector of Tortworth, Rev. p. Arthur, officiated. The bride’s uncle, Mr. Brown, gave her away and she was attended by Miss Eley and Miss Kate Eley (sisters of the bridegroom) and Miss L. Dean of Stroud as bridesmaids. She wore a white dress… Mr Shield Eley accompanied his brother as best man.
The wedding was pretty… bells rang out, organ etc…
After the wedding the party drove over to Wotton-under-Edge to the residence of the bride’s uncle for the wedding repast. Mr Arthur was present, Mr and Mrs Yarnold (father and step-mother), Mr and Mrs Shield of Over, Mr James Shield of Maryford, Mrs Isaacs, Miss Alice Yarnold (sister of bride), Mr Yarnold of Thornbury (brother of bride), Mr Smith Jnr. Crockleaze, Tortworth, …
Later left for Devonshire… Wedding presents…
The address on a Marriage memento was given as Brooke Farm, Tortworth.
Shield married in 1896 and Emily’s mother-in-law, Annie Eley, retired from farming. It is likely that at this time Ernest and Emily moved to Hengaston Farm, Berkeley where their third daughter Grace was born in 1897.
From before 1900 until about 1912, Ernest and Emily were farming at Park Farm, Pedington, Berkeley. Her uncle, James Brown, became Publican of The Salutation Inn, at Ham, Berkeley, close to his niece Emily Eley at Park Farm, Pedington. His wife, Jane Brown, died on 8th April 1906 at Pedington – ‘late of Wotton-under-Edge’. Her burial took place from Berkeley Parish Church on 13th June 1906. Uncle James Brown later remarried.
In the 1901 census return Edward and Emily Eley were at Park Farm, Pedington. Ernest was described as a thirty-year-old Farmer, an employer, born at Morton. Emily was a thirty-one-year-old born in Gloucester. In 1911 the family was still living at Park Farm, Pedington.
In 1913 they were farming at Haroldsfield Farm, Kingswood, where it is said that Ernest and Emily demolished the old ‘Gothic’ ruin at Haroldsfield, which some attribute to being part of Kingswood Abbey, because it might encourage courting couples!
Their fourth daughter, Daisy, was killed by a swing in the schoolyard and was buried on 29th October 1919 at Kingswood. She was only seventeen years old.
Ernest and Emily were at Haroldsfield until 1926 when they moved to Wick House Farm, Berkeley, where Eleys were still listed as late as the 1939 Kelly’s Directory. The 1939 Register for England and Wales listed Ernest and Emily Eley at Nibley House Farm. At some point Ernest also farmed at Overtown Farm, Cranham.
Finally, Ernest and Emmie retired and moved around the homes of their children spending time at Nibley House. Ernest died on 6th February 1950 at his daughter Phyllis’s farm at Cooper’s Hill, Brockworth, and he was buried on 9th February at St Mary’s Kingswood.
Emily Eley died on 22nd November 1951 at her son Jim’s farm – Manor Farm, Woodmancote, North Cerney, Cirencester. She was described as the eighty-five-year-old widow of Ernest Edward Eley, a Farmer. The cause of death was given as Coma, Cerebral Thrombosis and Arterio Sclerosis and was certified by F.C. Gladstone M.B. The Registrar, H. Williams, registered the death on 23rd November and the informant was ‘J.E. Eley, Son, of Manor Farm, Woodmancote,’ who was in attendance at her death.
Her body was cremated at Cheltenham and the ashes were buried in her husband’s grave at St Mary’s Kingswood on 26th November 1951.
Annie Eley was born on 19th January 1893 within the Thornbury Registration District. According to the Kingswood Confirmation Register she was baptised at Tortworth on 23rd March 1894. In the 1901 census return Annie was at home, aged seven years, and she was listed as born in Tortworth. In 1901 we find Annie at home, aged seventeen, doing daily (or dairy?) work.
Annie was confirmed at Kingswood on 15th April 1913, together with Gilbert Edward Durn. She was described as nineteen, of Haroldsfield Farm, and Gilbert was aged eighteen. He was baptised at Kingswood in 1896 and had made his first communion on 20th April 1913. Annie Eley married Gilbert Edward Durn, on 23rd February 1921 at St Mary’s Kingswood.
So who was Gilbert Durn? He was born in about 1894, the son of Arthur Henry Durn, who was described as a Manager on his son’s marriage certificate. At the time of the 1901 census, the Durn Family was living at Dye House Yard, Kingswood. Gilbert’s father was then aged thirty-nine-years and working as a ‘Clerk in an Elastic Manufacturer’s Office.’ His wife, Eliza Ann, came from Macclesfield and their children were either born in Kingswood or Dursley. During the First World War, Gilbert served in the Gloucestershire Regiment and received both the Victory and British medals.
In 1921, Gilbert was working as a commercial traveller but, later, he ran Huntingford Mill at Charfield. Gilbert and Annie lived at the mill and he served as a Churchwarden of the village church.
Annie died on 30th June 1956, aged sixty-two years, at Gloucester Royal Infirmary and was buried at Charfield. Gilbert died on 27th March 1972, aged seventy-six years, and was buried with his wife at the old Parish Church at Charfield.
Western Daily Press, Bristol, Saturday February 26 1921:
District Items: To succeed his uncle, who has resigned, Mr. Gilbert E. Durn has been appointed Assistant Overseer for the Parish of Kingswood (Wotton-under-Edge).
Funeral Service Sheet:
‘Parish Church of St John’s Charfield – Annie Florence Janet Durn passed peacefully away June 30th, 1956 Aged 62 years. Wednesday July 4th 1956.’
James Ernest Eley was born on 11th June 1895 in the Thornbury Registration District. In the 1901 census return James was listed as being at home with his family, aged five years, and born in Berkeley. In 1911 James was still at home, aged fifteen, and working on farm. He was listed as born at Tortworth.
James joined up on the outbreak of the First World War and served in Palestine as a Trooper in the Gloucestershire Hussars, the Gloucestershire Yeomanry and the Corps of Hussars. In 1918 he was shot in the leg, near Jaffa, and then spent time in a Cairo hospital before being discharged from the Army on 15th June 1918. He received all three War medals as he had served in France from 15th November 1915.
The Gazette of 23rd March 1918:
‘Back from Palestine – Trooper J. Eley, whose home is at Haroldsfield Farm, Kingswood, has arrived from Palestine for 3 weeks leave. He is still suffering from the effects of a gunshot wound in the right leg, sustained last November near Jaffa. Trooper Eley’s injuries caused blood poisoning and he was for some time in a dangerous condition at a Cairo hospital. Trooper Eley joined the Gloucestershire Hussars in 1914. He has seen over 2 years service in Egypt.’
The Gazette of 15th June 1918:
‘Kingswood Soldier Discharged Owing to wounds received in action whilst serving with the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars in Palestine. Trooper J. Eley has been discharged from the Army as being no longer physically fit for active service. Mr. Eley has seen considerable service having volunteered in the early days of the war.’
On his return to Gloucestershire Jim became a Farmer and, in 1920, he was at Home Farm, North Nibley. Later he farmed at Manor Farm, Woodmancote, Cirencester, where he was listed in the 1939 Kelly’s Directory and in the 1939 Register for England and Wales.
Jim married Martha Helen Bridget Westaway, at Berkeley, in 1919. She was born on 17th November 1892 at Mountneys Farm, Kingswood, the daughter of John Edward Westaway and his wife Rebecca, nee Barton.
Martha’s parents were farming at Leeze Farm, Blagdon, Somerset, in 1875; at Embly Farm, Bourne, Burrington, Somerset in 1879; at Mountneys from 1881 to 1891 and finally at Alkington Farm, Berkeley, where her father died in 1933. Her mother died at Woodend Green Farm, Cam, during the following year. Martha’s sister, Louise Cory Westaway, married Jim Eley’s father’s cousin, Lawford Henry Shield, at Berkeley on 22nd April 1908. Her brother, Charles Edward Westaway, of Manor Farm, Purton, married Lawford’s sister, Eliza Mary Shield (known as Cissie), on 21st May 1907 at Berkeley. Another sister, Hannah Collins Westaway, married Frederick Pain.
Jim Eley tragically died on 21st August 1952, aged fifty-eight years. The verdict at the inquest was that he had died as a result of ‘an unsound state of mind associated with Asthma’. He was buried in the churchyard at North Cerney where his body lies with that of his wife, Martha, who died on 13th June 1978 aged eighty-eight years and who was buried on 19th.
According to the probate records James Ernest Eley, of Manor Farm, Woodmancote, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, died on the 21st August 1952. Probate was granted at Gloucester on 14th October to his sons-in-law, Jack Fry Thomas and George Reginald Stanley Jeffes, Farmers. Effects were valued at £24, 489.8s
Crash caused by Trailer: (Possibly from Gloucestershire Echo Friday March 18 1938)
‘A road collision resulted in Mr. James Ernest Eley, of Manor Farm, Woodmancote, North Cerney, being fined £5 at Cirencester Police Court on Wednesday for having a trailer drawn by a motor-car in an unsafe condition. Mr. O.A. Logie appeared for Eley, who pleaded not guilty.
Mr. John A. Hall, (Clerk to Cirencester R.D.C.) stated that on March 9 he was driving his car in the direction of Stratton, when by the Gloucester-road garage he saw a black motor car approaching and suddenly he observed four wheels emerging from behind the car. The wheels were diagonally across the road.
Seeing that a collision was inevitable the witness stopped his car and crouched down. After the impact he found that considerable damage had been done to his car. Eley helped him to get out of his car. Witness sustained minor injuries.
P.C. Newman, of Cirencester, said that he found that the trailer had become detached from Eley’s car, the pin which was put in the draw-bar having worked out. He saw Eley on March 15 and in a statement Eley said that when negotiating the Stratton turning the pin in the draw-bar broke.
Eley in evidence said that it was a light tractor trailer. He had driven trailers many times without accident. A good strong nail turned out was generally used in the draw-bar. The pin that had been put in the draw-bar that morning had probably become loose and caused the trailer to be separated from the car.’
Gloucestershire Echo 16th December 1950:
Page 1: Severe Frost – Snow hit Local and National Sport
‘Mr. J.E. Eley of Manor Farm Woodmancote near Cirencester slipped in Cirencester Market place yesterday and fractured a leg. He is being detained in Cirencester Memorial Hospital …’
Gloucestershire Echo, Thursday 21st August 1952:
‘Man found drowned near Cirencester – After a search during the night by P.C. Harold Morgan, of North Cerney, the body of Mr. James Ernest Eley, aged about 60, of Manor Farm, Woodmancote, near Cirencester, was found in a water tank outside the house at 4.30 a.m. today. The search began after the police had been notified of a disturbance at the farm.
Mr. Eley was well known in the Woodmancote district. He had farmed there for many years until he retired, when he sold most of his land. He leaves a wife and several children.
The facts have been reported to the Coroner for the Stroud Division (Mr. H. House)’
Gloucestershire Echo, Friday 22nd August 1952:
‘Deaths. Eley – Suddenly on August 21st, 1952. James Ernest Eley, beloved husband of Nelly of The Manor Farm, Woodmancote. Funeral service at North Cerney Church on Monday, August 25, at 2.30.’
‘In loving memory of a dear husband and father James Ernest Eley died 21st August 1952 aged 56 and a loving wife and mother, Martha Helen Bridget died 13th June 1978 aged 88. ‘Until the day breaks’.’
Dorothy Frances Eley was born 15th June 1896 within the Thornbury Registration District. In the 1901 census return Dorothy was listed as being at home, aged four years, and born in Berkeley. In 1911 Dorothy was still at home with her parents, aged fourteen, attending school and the return tells us that she was born at Tortworth.
Dorothy married Francis Lionel Harman, on 25th May 1926, at St Mary’s Church, Kingswood. Francis was born on 30th July 1898 at Freshford in Somerset. In 1901 he and his family were living at Dunkirk Mill, Freshford, near Bath. His father was described as forty-three-year-old mattress manufacturer and employer, a native of Trowbridge. His mother, Clara, came from Newnham in Gloucestershire and his siblings included Violet, aged five and born at Bradford, Wiltshire, and his twin, Stewart S. Harman, aged two years.
Frank Harman first joined the Training Reserve and then served as a Private in the Somerset Light Infantry, Regimental Number 28255, and received the Victory and British medals at the end of the war. In his papers we find that he enlisted at Stroud, on 29th July 1916, when he was aged eighteen years and five months. At that time he was living at Upton House, Kingswood, and working as an electrical engineer. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall, had a chest girth, when fully expanded, of thirty-six and a half inches and weighed 130 lbs. He had good physical development.
During April 1917 Frank spent twelve days at Chisleden Hospital suffering with Influenza and, from October until December of that year, he spent seventy five days in hospital at Paisley suffering from a gunshot wound to his right hand. Frank spent a further 103 days with a S.S.W. to his right hand, in Scottish General Hospital, together with another 108 days at Sutton Coldfield; three days at Oakbank War Hospital with Influenza and, finally, thirty-four days at the War Hospital at Smithston, Greenock. On demobilisation Frank was transferred to the Army Reserve.
Frank Harman was living at High Street, Kingswood at the time of their marriage. He was described on the marriage certificate as the son of Henry Harman, a Mill Manager. In 1926 Frank was working as an Electrician with the M.E.B., then at Mawdsleys of Dursley, and later as an Electrical Engineer in Bath. At the time of the 1939 Register for England and Wales the Harmans were living at ‘Honiton’, Jubilee Road, Kingshill, Dursley. Frank was listed as, ‘Maintenance Electrician – Electrical Engineering,’
Frank Harman died during the last quarter of 1978. Dorothy was still alive in 1982, and was then aged 86 years, and living at 25, Honeylands, North Weston, Portishead.
Margaret Grace Eley (sic) was born on 30th July 1897 at Hengaston, Berkeley Road, Berkeley, the third daughter of Ernest Edward Eley, a farmer, and his wife, Emily (formerly Yarnold). Her mother registered her birth on 11th September. According to the Kingswood Confirmation Register, Grace was baptised at Tortworth on 12th September 1897. According to the 1901 census return, Grace was at home, aged three years, and born in Berkeley. In 1911 Grace was at home with her family, aged thirteen, and born at Berkeley. Grace was confirmed at St Mary’s Church, Kingswood, on 15th April 1913. She was described in the register as aged fifteen and living at Haroldsfield Farm, Kingswood.
On 17th October 1925 Grace married William Edward Terrett at St Mary’s Bathwick, Bath. At the time, she was aged twenty-eight-years and was described on the marriage certificate as of no occupation. She was living at 11 St George’s Road, Fairfield Park, Bath. Her husband was described as a Watchmaker of 7 Forester Avenue Bath. The witnesses were George Edward Jotcham and Ernest Edward Eley.
From about 1927 until 1936 William and Grace Terrett had a Watchmaker and Jewellery business at 7 Church Street, Tetbury, – ‘Repairs a speciality’. He was a Member of the National Association of Goldsmiths of Great Britain & Ireland – A Union of Licensed Gold & Silversmiths, Jewellers, Watchmakers & Opticians.
Their four children were born between 1926 and 1931. However, Grace died in Gloucester Royal Infirmary on 4th September 1940 and was buried at North Nibley Cemetery. A gravestone was erected in 2005 incorporating a marble flower vase given by her children sixty-five years earlier.
Daisy Eley was born in the second quarter of 1901 in the Thornbury Registration District. In 1911 the census reveals that Daisy was at home, aged nine, and born at Berkeley. She was tragically killed, as a result of being hit by a swing in the schoolyard, and buried on 29th October 1919 at Kingswood, aged seventeen years.
Norah Eley was born in June 1902 within the Thornbury Registration District. Her burial took place at Berkeley Parish Church on 21st July 1902 and she was described in the register as of Peddington, Berkeley, and as being just one month old.
Jack Eley was born on 30th March 1905 at Park Farm, Peddington, and in the 1911 census he was listed as being at home with his family, aged six years, and born at Berkeley.
He married Annie Rosia Harper on 8th June 1932 at Wotton-under-Edge. She was born on 8th October 1913, the daughter of the Publican of the Black Horse Inn, North Nibley, and later of The Falcon in Wotton-under-Edge.
During the 1920’s Jack took over the tenancy of Nibley House Farm and then he bought Wick House Farm where he and Annie were living at the time of the 1939 Register for England and Wales. This he sold in 1940 when he bought Nibley House Farm. Jack Eley supported and encouraged his nephew, Jack Terrett, in becoming a farmer.
Jack and Annie retired to the Bungalow at the rear of Nibley House, which had been converted from the stables, and his son John and his wife Diana moved into “the Big House”. Sadly Annie died on 25th February 1984 at North Nibley. Her funeral took place at St Martin’s Church, North Nibley on Friday 2nd March – ‘Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves.’
John Shield Eley died in 1990.
‘Colonel Noel purchased the “Big House”at North Nibley in 1902, and took up occupancy there. During his time the drawing room was used to display his art collection, which apparently included a number of Gainsboroughs. Colonel Buckton succeeded Colonel Noel, and the Bucktons occupied the house until the death of the widow in 1940. The property was left to the Church in Wales, which was pleased to cash in their asset and sold it. John Shield Eley made an offer for the “Big House” which was accepted in 1940. Almost immediately afterwards it was requisitioned by the Ministry of Works. The Monmouthshire Regiment was stationed in the house for the duration of the war and they were engaged in Searchlight and anti-aircraft fire duties. Whilst the army was in residence the gardens were covered with Nissen huts and many other buildings were erected which included the ammunition store, which still exists, and also concrete floors were laid in the attics.
After the cessation of hostilities the army moved out and Prisoners of War were then accommodated there prior to repatriation. These included Italians who were then followed by Germans, some of whom stayed in the district, as they were unable to return to their families who were in the Russian sector of Berlin. From the latter part of 1947 John was able to live at Nibley House and considerable reparation was needed to the house and time was also required to remove most of the sheds, latrines, water towers etc. to be able to see the garden again. Most of the garden and pleasure grounds were badly overgrown. However, the empty house, numerous outside buildings, and a jungle for the garden, “were as near heaven as you can get” for young John Ernest Eley.’
Gloucester Journal July 4th 1931
Wedding. The wedding has taken place at Wotton-under-Edge Parish Church of Miss Doris Rosamund Lewton daughter of the late Mr. Augustus Lewton of North Nibley and of Mrs. P. Harper the Falcon Hotel, Wotton-under-Edge to Mr. Estcourt William Halling,, youngest son of Mr. W.C. Halling of Wick. The chief attendant Miss Marion Harper wore green floral ninon and two other bridesmaids Miss Annie Harper and Miss Tatna Halling, floral pink ninon. Mr. E.S. Eley (sic), of North Nibley, performed the duties of “best man.” Following the reception at the Falcon Hotel Mr and Mrs Halling left for a motor tour in the North. Their future home is to be at Tantalloy Farm, Charlton Kings’
Citizen, Thursday June 9th 1932
Wotton Wedding – A large congregation witnessed the wedding at Wotton-under-Edge Parish Church of Miss Annie R. Harper, youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Percy S. Harper of the Falcon Hotel, Wotton-under-Edge, to Mr. John S. Eley, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Eley of Cranham.
The Rev. A.J. Hodson (vicar) officiated. The bride who was given away by her Father was wearing Princess Mary blue georgette with hat to match and carried a bouquet of yellow roses. Her attendant was Miss Marion Harper (sister), whose dress was of floral georgette, with hat to match carrying a bouquet of lilies of the valley and azalias. Mr. Estcourt Halling of Charlton Kings, was “best man”. The honeymoon is to be spent at Torquay.
Newspaper article Dursley Gazette December 1976:
‘Fifty years in local government. The world has changed a great deal in the last fifty years… rarities such as air travel and motorcars are commonplace, television has taken over the role as ‘the’ entertainment and extra terrestrial travel is accepted without a blink of an eye. But on a more down to earth level, the last fifty years has seen a great change in our way of life… services once usual in towns have become accepted all over England as necessities. But the introduction of these services – water, gas, electricity and sewers did not happen overnight. They needed people to guide them to where they needed, and just such a person is Jack Eley of North Nibley who this week celebrates fifty years in local government.
He is not celebrating alone, the villagers have organised a wine and cheese party and a coffee evening to raise funds for a presentation gift, with the excess money going to a new extension on the village hall. The village hall itself was built with Jack as one of the leading lights guiding its progress.
A rotund smiling figure Jack is well known throughout the area. His keen interest in farming is only equalled by his keen interest in local affairs and getting things done.
He moved to North Nibley in 1920 (sic) when he took over the tenancy of Nibley House Farm. “I took over 75 acres with as many pounds in my pocket,” he told the Gazette during an interview in front of a blazing log fire in his bungalow at Nibley House. His beliefs in the Young Farmers’ Club remained with him, and he was a founder member of the Wotton branch.
In 1925 he joined the Parish Council and later served as chairman for various periods totalling 15 years. When he started farming, Nibley lacked a mains water supply sewerage and Jack remembers the introduction of the water supply as one of the most important ventures. It was in the hunt for water on one of his farms that Jack met an almost comic situation – looking back. His wife, Annie was ‘expecting’ and he was digging a channel between two ponds, when he hit a spring. He was so engrossed, that he forgot to take Annie to the hospital until the very last minute.
During the war, Jack was in the Home Guard. “Dad’s Army may seem like a joke but it was really that funny,” he said. Patrolling at night gave Jack a chance to look at the improvements of neighbouring farms and get a little bit of shooting practice on Cam Long Down on Sunday mornings. But the war did have its casualties. A bomb fell in Nibley and the shock shook Jack’s peach tree and all the fruit fell off. “The peaches were not even ripe,” he said ruefully.
Back to the farm, and Jack took his chance for prosperity when the cattle began to be Tuberculin Tested. The herd was one of the first ten in the County to be accredited as clear and this gave him the opportunity to win a contract for a Bristol hospital for 1,000 gallons of milk a day. Sometimes Jack was left alone to milk his herd of 30 cows and he had them all milked by 7.30am. Even now he gets up at the most unearthly hours on summer mornings to tend his garden. As well as looking after the village, Jack recalled his pleasure in sitting on the Housing Committee of the former Dursley RDC. “I’ve seen how bad things can be,” he said, “and I was determined to make them better.” His 30 years on the Council saw Dursley jump ahead in council house accommodation. The housing list was cut, it was one of the first areas in England to have all the council houses cavity insulated, and the council pioneered the old age pensioners’ group dwelling schemes. These pleased Jack especially.
On re-organisation, Jack joined the Stroud District Council, for two years, retiring at the May elections. But the taste of the council was not to his liking. Always standing as an independent, Jack was determined never to let his political opinions interfere with his duty to his constituents. “Local Government is no place for party politics,” he said. He commented that even committee chairmen seemed to be elected on their political beliefs and not their council capabilities. “Any party in power would do this, so I do not see that party politics should enter into this level of government.”
Even in retirement Jack is active, although he takes time off to watch the television on some afternoons. “I watch the women’s programmes, and tell my wife how to do things,” he said with a grin. But seriously, he said, Annie had helped a great deal over the years when he was on the farm during the day and at council meetings in the evenings. Jack did admit to one more ambition. “I’ve had a full life,” he said, “and I’d like to write a book, if I could find a secretary to put up with me.”’
‘Enjoying his well earned retirement, Mr Jack Eley and his wife Annie relax in their bungalow at North Nibley.’
‘Jack Eley and his wife Annie head this group of friends at a wine and cheese party in North Nibley House held to mark Jack’s 50 years service with local councils.’
Advertisement: – Stroud District Council Election – North Nibley and Stinchcombe – As a candidate duly nominated to stand in the coming election for the above parishes, I ask the electorate for their full support. If elected I will do my utmost to further the interests of both parishes in the new council, and if I can be of any assistance at any time please contact me at The Bungalow, Nibley House. Tel. Dursley 2103. Polling Day Thursday, June 7th Vote for Jack Eley (Independent) Published by J.S. Eley, The Bungalow, Nibley House.
(Elected 349 votes Opponent 179 votes)
‘Tiger’ retires. Four generations of the Eley Family at Nibley House have been served by Mr Stanley Millard. Christened “Tiger” when he first arrived at the age of fifteen, the name has stuck through more than 50 years until his retirement this week.
The name was given to all youngsters who arrived to work at Nibley House by the grandfather of the present owner Mr John Eley. “He could never remember any of their names, so he used to call them all ‘Tiger’ and Stanley’s nickname has stuck” explained John.
Born in the village, Stanley still lives in the same house at Millend. He went to the village school and stayed at home a year to help with the family smallholding before going to work at Nibley House.
“Life then was much harder than it is now,” said Stanley. “There is so much machinery to do the work these days, but we used to do it the hard way years ago.” Getting up early in the morning has never worried Stanley, who expects to continue rising about 5 am each day. “I have always got up early and if I stay in till 5.30am I think I have had a lie-in,” he said.
He will be taking life a little easier when he stops going to Nibley House – but not that much – he will still be looking after his cattle and smallholding. He does not envisage his work stopping completely for the Eley family and will be available when needed for extra jobs. He will be joining the little pool of local pensioners who enjoy helping out now and again on the 200-acre farm, which grows potatoes, and corn, and rears beef and sheep. “They will not get rid of me that easily,” said Stanley “I shall still be around.” A regular at the New Inn, Waterley Bottom, Stanley used to play for their skittles team “The Yokels” and next Monday, members will be joining with the Eley family celebrating “Tiger’s” fifty years.’
Photo: ‘Mr Stanley Millard with three of the four generations of the Eley family for whom he has worked at Nibley House, North Nibley during the past fifty years. Behind Stanley is Bernard with Walter and John and their mother Mrs Annie Eley.’
Obituary in the Dursley Gazette of Mrs A.R. Eley of North Nibley March 1984:
‘The funeral service of well-known North Nibley resident Mrs Annie Eley took place at St Martin’s Church, North Nibley, on Friday. Mrs Eley, who was 70, lived at Nibley House. She is survived by her husband Jack, a daughter and a son. Mrs Eley spent her early life at the Black Horse Inn in the village and when her mother took over the licence of The Falcon, the family moved to Wotton-under-Edge. She was educated at North Nibley School and Katherine Lady Berkeley’s Grammar School. After her marriage she lived at Wick House, Wick and then moved to Nibley Farm, then Nibley House where she died on February 25. Mrs Eley was an active member of Wotton WRVS, president of the Tyndale Club, and took a keen interest in all community life.
The funeral service was followed by cremation at Gloucester. The Rev. Lamb officiated and the address was given by the Rev. W.F. Burlton. Mrs Griffiths was at the organ. Family mourners present were Mr and Mrs G Smith (daughter and son-in-law); Mr and Mrs John Eley (son and daughter-in-law), Mr Allan Smith (also rep. Miss Stephanie Smith), Miss Judith Smith, Miss G. Pearce, Mr Walter Eley, Mr Bernard Eley (grandchildren); Mrs M. Wood (sister), Mr and Mrs J. Terrett, Mr and Mrs K Terrett, Mr and Mrs J. Belcher, Mr and Mrs J. Barton, Mr and Mrs J Thomas, Mr and Mrs S Jeffs, Mr and Mrs R Huck, Mr and Mrs B.E. Randall, Mr and Mrs A.W. Randall, Mr and Mrs R Bunting, Mr and Mrs R Key and Carol, Mr and Mrs N Ellis (nieces and nephews).
Mr F. Harper (Mrs Harper and family), Mr and Mrs J Money and Julie, Mrs R Keynton (Mr R Keynton), Mr and Mrs F Day, Mr and Mrs Claypole, Mr and Mrs C Harper, Mr and Mrs R Wise (cousins); Mr and Mrs N.S. Savage (cousins also rep Lieut Col and Mrs J.C. Milner), Mr and Mrs P.J. Terrett, Mr and Mrs M Terrett, Mrs A. J. Honeyborne (cousin also rep Mr J Honeyborne and Mr and Mrs A Barker), Mr Richard Barton, Mrs C Wyatt (sister-in-law), Mr Colin Randall (Andrew and Robbie), Mrs M.I. Smith (Mrs A Dunn), Miss Vanner.
The following were unable to attend: Mr J.S. Eley (husband), Mr and Mrs E Halling (sister and brother-in-law), Mrs D. Harman (sister-in-law); Mr M. Harman, Mr S Harman (nephews), Mr Malcolm Harper, Mrs G Harper (cousins), Mr George Terrett, Mr R Woodward etc…’
Phyllis Eley was born on 30th May 1907 in Thornbury Registration District. At the time of the 1911 census she was at home with her family, aged three, and born in Berkeley.
She married Cyril Manning Wyatt during the third quarter of 1930 in Dursley Registration District. He was born on 27th March 1905 in Long Ashton Registration District, Somerset.
According to the 1939 Kelly’s Directory and also the Register for England and Wales they were dairy farming at Cooper’s Hill Farm, Brockworth. Later they farmed Home Farm, Shurdington.
Cyril died on 15th February 1975, aged sixty-nine-years, and was buried at Ashchurch. Phyllis moved to Woodmancote, Bishop’s Cleeve, and then to Knights Way, Tewkesbury, before going to live with her daughter Anne at Prestbury Farm, Bully Lane, Churcham. She died in March 2000 and the funeral took place at Churcham. She is buried at St Nicholas’s Church, Ashchurch, near Tewkesbury.
Betty Randall was born on 27th March 1909 within Thornbury Registration District. At the time of the 1911 census she was at home with her family, aged two, and born at Berkeley.
She married Edward Bernard Randall, a Farmer of Manor Farm, Wick, during the third quarter of 1928 in Dursley Registration District. Bernard was born on 8th June 1903 within the Tewkesbury Registration District.
According to the 1939 Kelly’s Directory and also the Register for England and Wales they were dairy farming at Crockley’s Farm, Charfield and Bernard was listed for A.R.P. Rescue and Demolition. Later the Randalls farmed at Woodend Farm, Cromhall, and Betty also mentioned in a letter as being at Michaelwood Farm during the 1930s. Eventually, Bernard acquired Hunt’s Court at North Nibley.
Bernard Randall died during the second quarter of 1972 in Cirencester Registration District and Betty moved to Tilnor Crescent, Dursley, in November 1972. She was buried on 29th October 1982 aged 73 years.
Betty wrote to Kenneth Marling on a couple of occasions in 1982 and this is an edited summary of her letters:
23 Tilnor Crescent, Norman Hill, Dursley, 10th January 1982:
‘I remember you very well from your visits to us at Haroldsfield Farm – “your Uncle Ernest & Aunt Emmy”. Also Donald and your sisters and your dear Mother and Dad – My Uncle Frank with Auntie Kate – who was my Dad’s sister.
Ted was christened at Wotton-under-Edge Church and we went to Esk House to tea afterwards to your Mother & Dad’s. They used to visit us at Michaelwood Farm when the boys were little I expect some day you would like to have your parents’ photo. I have a lovely photo of them. They lived at Bank House, Sharpness at that time. I paid a visit to your parents with my Mother and Dad. I even remember we had a blackcurrant tart for our Sweet. I was not very old then and we went by train. Dad got out at a stop for a few moments and lo and behold the train went off without him and he had our tickets and we were very worried but the ticket officer said we had “honest faces” and let us continue. Dad arrived late to your home. Funny the things we remember.
I have heard Dad say when they lived at Mereford Farm, Kingswood, they used to get up to all manner of mischief & his Mother used to give them all the strap so as to be sure of getting the right one, sound logic?? I left Park Farm, Berkeley, at the age of 3 I think to go to Haroldsfield & moved to Wick House when I was 16. I was brought up on my many sisters’ love affairs & used to ride on Gilbert Durn’s shoulders. I think (Father’s) grandmother was buried in the Kingswood Chapel Yard.
Dad bought a nice small farm at Wick when I was 17 and my boy friend lived at Manor Farm, the next farm from Wick House Farm. We were friends when I was 14 years of age at Haroldsfield and fell in and out many times but we married when I was 19. Bernard was 6 years older than I.
My husband, Bernard Randall, bought Hunts Court Farm, North Nibley, Wotton-under-Edge, which is mentioned in the doomsday book I am told, also William Tyndale’s Monument adjoined our woods there – built on a hill. He translated the Bible from Latin into English & married a Miss Hunt. He had a terrible end – was burnt at the stake for his religious views. Probably you know all about it. It is a wonderful landmark & had its centenary a few years ago.
Bernard and I were so happy together for many years and we had two sons Edward after my Dad who we call Ted who was born in 1930 and Tony who was born in 1932. Ted was christened Bernard Edward.
Jack lives at Nibley house bungalow and is far from well & like you 77. Jim had 4 daughters – now all married. He passed away many years ago. Dad died at 80 and Mother at 82. Uncle Shield Eley & Aunt Minnie & second wife Rose – all dead – also Uncle Walter and Aunt Alma.
Uncle John Eley had two sons, Bernard & Wilfred and a daughter, Maud. They were the family that were on the wireless broadcasts. Also their wives. They have all passed away but both cousins have married again and their wives Margery and Sybil are alive. Sybil has married again. Maud never married and finally went to Uncle Walter to keep house when Aunty Alma died. Uncle Walter left Maud all his money but she died soon after leaving it all to Alma. Uncle Shield left us all something and was very kind to us all and we often visited each other.
Jack also has a son John who lives at the Great House, North Nibley, near the Church. He has two sons, who will be helping on the farm when they leave school, it is a blessing to Annie her family are close at hand. Jack will not see anyone now if he can help it. He used to be on the Council and in everything possible and now this. He did go to John’s for Xmas, so I am hoping all will get well for him as it did for me.
I expect you know Annie and Gilbert and their daughter Mary all passed away, a great grief to us all. Also Grace and Daisy. I have a lovely photo of them.
Grace left 2 sons and 2 daughters now all married. She died at the age of 42. Daisy died at 17.
Dorothy who is now 85 her next birthday lives at Portishead and is a widow with two sons.
Phyllis is also a widow and she has three married daughters and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. She lives at Knights Way, Tewkesbury, and is 75. I am 73 in March.
I have snaps & an older photo taken of Grace, Annie, Dor & Daisy & that same postcard of the Bernard Eley wedding with Aunt Florrie & others, I expect it belonged to my mother and Dad. Phyll has more photos one of Annie sitting on a table about two I should think with an Aunt Selina. She also had large Albums with clasps. She could tell you more than I could, I have a lovely snap of my & your Grandma Eley, and she was certainly very elegant in her pretty lace caps. We often went to see her when we were little & had to behave at our best.’
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