A tribute to the life and work of Brian Torode
MARLING FAMILY OF WOODCHESTER, CLIFTON, BERKELEY AND SHARPNESS
with thanks to the late Ken Marling of Bromyard and Bev Rock from Australia
Samuel Marling of Woodchester
Robert Marling (1752-) of Woodchester / Rodborough
George Marling (1782c-1861) and Sarah Gould (1794-1855)
(He ran a Guest House in Clifton and from about 1840 was a Grocer of Berkeley)
Oliver George Marling (1827-1892) and Martha Eley (1834-1914)
(Clerk of Sharpness Docks)
Frank George Marling (1863-1954) and Sarah Catherine Eley (1865-1951)
(Secretary of Sharpness Docks, Pilotage Agent & Agent for Capital and Counties Bank)
Kenneth George Marling (1904-1986)
Article by F.G. Marling dated 25th February 1943:
‘The story of our Marling antecedents, as told me by my father when I was a boy, began with the apprenticeship on the same day of five cousins in the Stroud district (their home district) to the cloth manufacturing trade. I quite think there were five, there may have been only four but my impression was five. Three of the five did not like it, and ran away. Those who remained made their fortunes, the others did not!
One of those who ran away was our ancestor, either my grandfather George Marling or his father, but I always thought it was my grandfather. One of those who remained and made his fortune was either Sir Samuel Marling or his father, but I always understood it was Sir Samuel and that George and Samuel were cousins.
My grandfather and grandmother Marling died before I was born, but the story was always confirmed by my father’s sister, my aunt Eliza Marling (a spinster) who lived at Stonehouse (Glos) and died there in 1892. She once took me to Rodborough Tabernacle and showed me the tablets to the memory of the Marling family – our connections.
She used to relate the story of great-uncle Joab Marling, brother to George, who was a soldier, took part in the battle of Trafalgar, was pinned through the leg to the side of a ship he was boarding, but was released and recovered subsequently being one of Napoleon’s guards on St Helena and married Napoleon’s housekeeper. He (Uncle Joab) eventually lived retired at Stonehouse. Grandfather George once took my father to see him, driving all the way from Clifton where he (George) lived. To impress the distance on my father, then a boy, George gave my father a sweet every time they passed a milestone.
Grandfather George kept a Guest House in Royal York Crescent, Clifton. He married Sarah Gould of Christchurch, Hampshire, on the 14th Aug. 1819, at St John’s Church, Bristol (I have their marriage certificate). St John’s Church, at the bottom of Broad Street, was built on the City Wall and its tower rises above the only gate of Bristol that is left. I believe it has survived the enemy air raids on Bristol.
Sarah Gould’s family and relatives emigrated to New Zealand, presumably in the middle of the nineteenth century, and helped to found Christchurch, N.Z. As I have stated my grandfather (George) kept a guest house. His patron was Lady Tobin who lived also in Royal York Crescent, Clifton, and whose surplus guests were always sent to sleep at my grandfather’s. A treasured possession is the “black” picture which shows Lady Tobin and her two daughters – the elder, who became Mrs…. (I do not remember the name) and the younger, who became Lady Oliver.
My father was named Oliver George Marling, the “Oliver” being after Lady Oliver. When my father was a young boy (? 12-14) there was a parliamentary election in Clifton. Lady Tobin wanted my grandmother to drive round Clifton with her, on behalf of the Tory candidate, bedecked with blue ribands, etc.. Grandfather George was a staunch Liberal so Grandmother declined to accompany Lady Tobin, to the latter’s great annoyance. Feeling ran high in those days consequently Lady Tobin withdrew her patronage and no longer sent her guests to my grandfather, whose business therefore so much declined that he had to look around for something else.
This is why he went to Berkeley and took a small grocery business when my father was a young lad, presumably about 1840 or thereabouts. My father was the only son, his sister Eliza the only daughter. My father, Oliver George, married Martha Eley at Berkeley Union Chapel on 6th January, 1859. (I have their marriage certificate)
They had six children: 1. Allan Lancelot (died aged 74) 2. Frank George (myself) 3. Percy (died in infancy from an accident) 4. Grace Emily (died aged 14) 5. Alice Maud Mary (still living) 6. Kate Millicent (died aged 21). I Frank George had the good fortune to marry Sarah Catherine Eley, at Mount Pleasant Chapel, Falfield, Glos, on 7th September 1893 (I have the marriage certificate!)
This being our golden wedding year we are presenting to Mount Pleasant Chapel as a pulpit chair, our black oak hall chair which was in our house at Sudbury Court Drive when the house was wrecked by an enemy bomb falling on the other side of the road during the attack on London, on 20th October, 1940. Reverend Frank Quick, our son-in-law, is preaching at Mount Pleasant on Mch 14th, and will, on our behalf, make the presentation.’
Gould Family Dates – A page probably ripped from a Family Bible. The Goulds seem to have come from Christchurch in Hampshire.
Samuel Gould born February 7th 1756
Sarah Gould born March 9th 1761. Died March 14th 1843 aged 87 in 4 days
(In 1841 Sarah was living from her own means at Ringwood)
Sophia Gould born October 4th 1787. Died May 17th 1844
Ann Gould born January 13th 1790
John Gould born June 13th 1792
Sarah Gould born December 6th 1794
Mary Gould born January 24th 1797. Died June 1st 1848
Priscilla Gould born March 13th 1799 and died February 3rd 1826
Samuel Gould born November 20th 1801 and died July 20th 1827.
George Marling died November 23rd 1861 aged 79.
“The Marlings have lived in the Stroud area of Gloucestershire at least since the 16th century, for many years involved in the manufacture of woollen cloth. Samuel Marling died at Woodchester in 1748 and the Bishop’s Transcripts reveal many of the family there during the 18th century, including a George born in 1784. It was always understood that my great-grandfather George (shown in the 1851 Census as born at Woodchester in 1788) was one of several cousins learning the business, and that he and another ran away to find a more adventurous life. George’s brother, Joab apparently fought in the battle of Trafalgar, was pinned to the side of his ship through the leg, but survived and later became one of the garrison guarding Napoleon on St Helena. My aunt Alice had several Napoleonic relics, which were unfortunately sold on her death, including a carved ivory pen case. Joab and a colleague ran a market garden, supplying ships with fresh vegetables, but while Joab was on furlough his partner sold up and decamped with the proceeds!
George seems to have lived in London for a while, but later became butler to Lady Tobin in Clifton, Bristol. He married her maid, Sarah Gould, at St John’s Church, Bristol, on 14th August 1819, and I have the printed certificate issued by that church. George and Sarah opened a boarding house in Clifton under Lady Tobin’s patronage, which prospered until the Hon. Grantley Berkeley (a Liberal) was allowed to have his committee rooms there during a parliamentary election. This displeased Lady Tobin and her Tory friends and the business dwindled in consequence. Aunt Alice had a delightful pastel drawing of Lady Tobin’s daughter and a silhouette painted on glass of her and several of her family.
Eventually George moved to Berkeley where he opened a grocery business, probably encouraged by the Hon Grantley, with whom he was clearly on good terms, as I have a letter from Grantley to George written on 1 May 1855, expressing condolences on Sarah’s death, and addressed to “My good old friend”. Grantley was the youngest, and one of the few legitimate, sons of the 5th Earl of Berkeley, and the celebrated Mary Cole. It is said that Mary and her sister, a courtesan, were molested in London, and that Mary (then a teenager), finding her calls for help answered by the Earl promised that if he paid the 100 guineas demanded by their attackers he could have his way with her. This he did, and she bore him four sons before he married her. She was a very capable girl and gradually took over the Earl’s household and business affairs. He was much in love with her and to please her forged an entry in the Berkeley Marriage Register to prove that all the children were legitimate. A lengthy law suit was the result. A portrait by Hoppner of Mary Cole hangs in Berkeley Castle.
Grantley, who was a well-known “Corinthian”, was tall and heavily built, and handy with his fists – a contemporary wrote, “One of the drawbacks of walking with Berkeley was his liability to knock you down if you disagreed with him.”
Grantley’s letter goes on to describe a fire 6 miles long in the New Forest, the work of incendiaries. He says “every night there are the most dreadful fires, and all on account of the harsh bad management of the present Government and their Acts of Parliament”…”I fear too bad news from the seat of War (Crimea) and all owing to this Government, Yours faithfully and truly, Grantley F. Berkeley.” These sentiments have a very modern sound!
Oliver George was born at Clifton on 1st December 1826. At Berkeley he married Martha Eley in 1859. He worked for the Gloucester and Berkeley Canal Company for 44 years, much of the time walking 3 miles each way from Berkeley to Sharpness daily. For a time Martha kept a Baker’s shop, but she was too generous with poor payers and the venture was given up. They had three boys and three girls, my father being the second son. In September 1875, soon after the New Docks at Sharpness were opened the family moved there, where Oliver was Chief Clerk and Sub-Postmaster. He was concerned at the waste in the Pilotage service, rival pilots cruising in competition almost as far as the coast of France to pick up a vessel, and worked for an amalgamation which my father organised, under which a rota system worked, with the pilots sharing the income on a seniority basis.
Oliver died in 1892 and Martha survived him until 1914 – for most of this time she lived with my parents, but when Alice opened a Millinery business at Sharpness she moved to Newtown with her, but did not live long after. “Nana”, as we knew her, was part of my early childhood, and we were very fond of her.
Then the Gloucester Pilotage Board was formed in 1862, Oliver and the Harbour Master were asked if they would leave their remuneration to be settled until after the results of the first year’s working were known! Hardly modern trade union practice, but apparently accepted then.”
Extract from the Reminiscences of Frank George Marling:
‘The Sharpness New Docks were opened on Wednesday 25 November 1874, between eight and nine in the morning. I was to have gone with my Father to the opening but it turned out such a pouring, wet morning that it was felt inadvisable that I should go. It would have meant walking nearly three miles each way besides standing about in an exposed place in the rain. My Father’s duties, as Clerk to the Dock Company, called him there, so of course he went. In the evening he told us how the “Director” was the first ship to enter, followed by the “protector”, both sailing vessels, assisted by tugs. Up to then the Dock Company’s Sharpness office was at the Old Dock, where Father was in charge, he being assisted by a young man names Joseph Sturge. With the opening of the New Docks the Dock Company decided to have an office there and to transfer my father there, giving him a young man, Harry Hall, to assist him, Mr. Sturge remaining at the Old Dock office, and to be accountable to father. The Dock Company said they would build an office, with dwelling house attached, for my father, as they wished him to live on the spot instead of walking from and to Berkeley as he had done for some 25 years. Meanwhile they fitted up the ground floor of one of the houses originally intended for lockmen, but till then occupied by the dock contractors, and the house next door forming part of the same block, together with two of the bedrooms over the offices, was allocated to father as a dwelling house, and thither we moved in September 1875. (The new office and dwelling house was never built).’
Extracts from the Running Tide by Kenneth Marling:
‘In my grandfather’s time the river pilots worked individually, or in small groups, running their own cutters in which they cruised around for vessels bound for Sharpness, sometimes sailing nearly to the coast of France to outdo rivals. The Gloucester Pilotage Board was formed in 1862, when the Harbour Master at Sharpness was appointed Collector of Dues, and Grandfather his clerk. A letter from the Board of 16 May of that year enquired whether they would be will for the amount of their remuneration to remain to be settled when the results of the first year’s working were known! It appears that they were – a modern shop steward’s comments on such an arrangement would be worth hearing! There was much waste in the competitive system, and both Grandfather and my Father urged them to amalgamate, which they eventually did in my Father’s time. He was appointed Agent to arrange rotas, calculate the charges payable, and divide the net income between the pilots on a basis involving seniority. Many and varied were the problems involved, but when I came to take an interest things were working smoothly…’
Grandfather had been the Chief Clerk at the Old Dock and Father followed him in serving the Dock Company for a time, but later her kept on only the Pilotage and Bank Agencies…’
‘Nana, Father’s mother, died in 1914, and we all walked over to the Church at Newtown for the funeral service, the girls in white silk dresses, and black stockings and boots. They went on to the Cemetery at Berkeley, but I was considered too young, and Mother tooke home.’
MARTHA MARLING, nee Eley, wife of Oliver George Marling
Martha Eley was born on 31st October 1834 at Berkeley. She married Oliver George Marling at the Union Chapel, Berkeley, on 6th January 1859. He was born in 1827, the son of George Marling, a grocer in Berkeley from 1841-1863 (David Tandy’s ‘Berkeley – A town in the marshes’). On the marriage certificate Oliver George Marling was described as a 31-year-old Clerk whilst she was a 24-year-old woman with ‘no calling’.
At the time of the 1861 census they were living in Canonbury Street, Berkeley. Oliver G. Marling was aged thirty-four-years and described as a Clerk in the Canal Office and Telegraph Clerk, born in Clifton. Martha was his twenty-six-year-old wife, born in Berkeley and there so was Alan L. Marling, aged seven months, and born in Berkeley. In 1863 Oliver George Marling was described as a baker and confectioner of Berkeley (David Tandy’s ‘Berkeley – A town in the marshes’) He worked for the Canal Company at Sharpness for forty-four years and he became Secretary to Sharpness Docks.
At the time of the census in 1871 Martha Marling was staying with her brother Edward at 14 Dighton Street, Bristol. She was described as a married thirty-six-year-old sister who was born in Berkeley. She had with her two of her children Grace aged three years and Frank George aged eight years, both born in Berkeley. Meanwhile Oliver George was back at home in Salter Street, Berkeley, a forty-four-year-old Clerk in the Canal Office, born at Clifton. Their son Alan Lancelot Marling was also at home aged ten-years, a scholar, born in Berkeley.
In 1881 Oliver George Marling was the fifty-four-year-old Postmaster and Dock Office Clerk at Sharpness, born in Clifton. His wife Martha was aged forty-six-years and born at Berkeley; Allan L. Marling, a twenty-year-old Postmaster’s Clerk; Frank G. Marling an eighteen-year-old Postmaster’s Clerk; Grace E. aged thirteen a scholar; Alice M. M. aged nine years a scholar and Kate M. aged six years a scholar. All the children were born in Berkeley.
In 1891 they were shown in the return as living at 9 Dock Row, Sharpness. Oliver G. Marling was the Company’s clerk aged sixty-four-years and born in Clifton; Martha was the fifty-six-year-old Sub Postmaster. Frank G. Marling was described as a twenty-eight-year-old Clerk; Alice M.M. Marling was a nineteen-year-old Postmistress’s Assistant and Kate M. was aged sixteen years.
Oliver George Marling died on 31st August 1892.
In 1901 Martha Marling was living with her son Frank and his family at 9 Dock Row, Sharpness. She was described as a sixty-six-year-old Widow born in Berkeley.
Martha died on 6th July 1914. The Marling Family knew her as “Nana”.
‘In Loving Memory of Oliver George Marling, for 44 years in the service of the Gloucester & Berkeley Canal Co. who entered into rest 31st August 1892, aged 65 years’
Frank G. Marling: ‘The First Fifty Years of Union Church, Sharpness 1880-1930, published by T & W Goulding, Printers and Publishers, Nelson Street, Bristol, 1930.
In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the church, a Re-union was held on 25th January, 1905. Many old scholars and teachers were present in response to over 400 personal invitations sent out.
After a capital tea, Mr. Geo. Field presided at the Re-union Meeting, supported by Rev. W. Bailey, …, F.G. Marling, …
Others present included … Mrs. M. Marling…
‘Marling – On July 6th at Sea View House, Sharpness, after long suffering, Martha Marling, widow of Oliver George Marling, aged 79.’
‘Death of Mrs Marling, Senior. – The death of Mrs Marling, Senior. Early on Monday morning last, removed one of the oldest residents of Sharpness, Mrs Marling, who was well on in her 80th year, having come with her husband (the late Mr O.G. Marling) to reside in Sharpness in September 1875.
The late Mr Marling, who died in 1892, was for over 40 years connected with the Dock and Pilotage Services, and for some years was also sub-postmaster. Since her husband’s death, the deceased lady for the most part resided with her second son, Mr F.G. Marling, at the Bank, but some nine months ago went to live with her surviving daughter who had come to Sharpness and had purchased a business at Sea View house, Newtown, where Mrs Marling passed away, surrounded by her family, after a long illness, patiently borne.
The funeral took place on Wednesday last, amidst every token of respect. The Rev. W. Bailey conducted the first part of the funeral service in the Union Church, whither the body was carried by six pilots of the Port, namely Messrs. T.H. Price, T. Langford, A Price, J. Williams, J.G. King and R.W. Everett, who acted as bearers throughout. The mourners included Mr Allan L. Marling, Mr F.G. Marling (sons), Miss Marling (daughter), Mrs A.L. Marling and Mrs F.G. Marling (daughters-in-law), Miss Connie Marling, Miss Kathleen Marling and Miss Ruth Marling (grand-daughters), Master Kenneth Marling (grandson), Mr Ernest Eley (cousin), Mr L. Davies etc. Others present were: Mr J.V. Thomas (traffic manager), Capt. F. Field (Harbour Master), Mr J. Sturge, Mr Hy Mills (pilot), Mr J. Tanner (pilot), Mr E. Phillips (pilot), Mr H. Atkins (deacon), Mr F. Wakeham, Mr A.J.T. Chandler, a number of ladies connected with the Church and other friends.
As the coffin was carried into and out of the Church, Miss Field (Church Organist) played the Dead March in Saul and other appropriate music. After the service the body was placed in a glass hearse and covered with flowers and with the male relatives and friends in coaches the cortege proceeded to Berkeley Cemetery, being joined en route by the Rev T Wesley Brown (Pastor of Union Church, Berkeley, with which the deceased was connected in her early days), Mr B. Fear (Senior Deacon, and a life-long friend), Messrs. George Morgan and E. Morgan (pilots).
The committal service was read by the Rev. W. Bailey and prayer offered by the Rev. T. Wesley Brown. The coffin was of solid unpolished oak with brass fittings, and was supplied by Messrs. H. Price and Son, Wanswell, who carried out the whole of the funeral arrangements in a most efficient manner. The wreaths were as follows:- In sacred memory of dear mother from Allan, Mab and Connie. In loving memory of dear Mother , from Frank and Kate; In loving memory of a devoted Mother, from Alice; In loving memory of dear Grandma, from Lancelot; In loving memory of dear Grandma, from Donald; In loving memory of dear Grandma, Reg and Rene; From the old garden, in loving memory of dear Grandma, from Kathleen, Ruth and Kenneth; In very kind memory, Mr and Mrs J.S. Eley; With deepest and loving sympathy from the Ayliffe Family; With loving memories, Mrs Davies. Beautiful floral decorations were also arranged at the house and in the Church by the Rev. W. Bailey.’…’
Allan Lancelot Marling was born in 1860 at Berkeley and died in 1935. He was baptised on 16th April 1884. He was at home for the 1861 census aged seven months and for the 1871 census when he was at home with his father and described as a ten-year-old scholar. In 1881 he was still at home and was a twenty-year-old Postmaster’s Clerk. He was baptised as an adult at Berkeley Parish Church on 16th April 1884 at Berkeley. He was described in the register as a clerk of Shrpness, son of Oliver George Marling, a clerk, and his wife Martha.
He became Postmaster at Sharpness in the days when trunk calls had to be routed through manually, and someone had to get up to connect to the next exchange any night calls. He married Mary Annie Bryant. Their children were baptised at Berkeley Parish Church and he was described in the Register as Postmaster at Sharpness.
At the time of the 1891 census Allan L. Marling was at the Post Office, Sharpness, aged thirty-years. His wife, Mary A. Marling was aged thirty-one-years and born at Newbury. Their children included Allan L.G. aged three years and born at Berkeley and Constance aged one and born in Berkeley. Catherine long was living with them as a companion and Adelina Spill was a female servant.
In 1901 Allan L. Marling was still the Postmaster at Sharpness. He was aged forty-years and born at Berkeley. His wife Mary A. was aged forty and born in Berkeley; Allan L.G. Marling, aged thirteen, Constance M. aged eleven and Kathleen I. M. Marling aged seven years. Laura Peglar was described as their ‘Mother’s Help’
Allan and Mary Ann had three children – Allan Lancelot George Marling or Lance, who was born on 13th November 1887 at Berkeley, baptised at Berkeley Parish Church on 13th November 1887, and who married Elsie Lister and had three children Bobbie, Margaret and John; Constance Mary who was born on 13th April 1890, Baptised on 13th April 1890 at Berkeley Parish Church and Kathleen Irene Martha who was born on 25th March 1894, baptised on 25th March 1894 at Berkeley Parish Church and died in 1916. Irene married Reginald Miller in 1913 but after her death in 1916 he married her younger sister, Constance in 1919.
Allan Lancelot Marling later married Mary Ann Bratton (1863-1946). They are buried in Berkeley Public Cemetery. The inscription offers these details – Allan Lancelot, Husband of M.A. Marling, nee Bratton 23rd May 1935, aged seventy-four-years, and Mary Ann who died 11th September 1946, aged eighty-two-years. The grave stone includes a Masonic symbol.
Extract from the Reminiscences of Frank George Marling:
‘Soon, however, the Dock Office was established next door, and with Father so close at hand Mother felt more secure. With the advent of the Dock Office, my father, who was in charge of the same, was also appointed Sub Postmaster, and the Post Office was moved from the wooden shop where it had till then been located, near the old “Shanty” (a Public House overlooking the canal near the Old Dock) to one of the rooms in the Dock Offices side of our block. The old Post Office and shop had to be pulled down to make way for a coal tip. Allan had left school by the time we went to Sharpness, and he was installed as Father’s assistant in the Post Office work while Father had a young man named Harry Hall to help him in the Dock Office. It will be realised that in those early days there was hardly any permanent residents at Sharpness other than Dock officials, so it was natural that the Dock Company had to nominate one of their staff to take over the postal duties. The letter box was cleared once a day, at five o’clock, and there was one delivery, the letters being sent out from, and despatched to, Berkeley (by a postman on foot) under which office Sharpness was a sub-office.’
Extract from the Running Tide by Kenneth Marling:
‘Next came the Post Office, my uncle Allan being the Postmaster. Telegrams were transmitted by Morse key, an experienced operator being able to reach a high speed. Arranging trunk telephone calls was a slow business, as each stage had to be manually connected and a long distance call could involve several stages. Often in the night uncle or Aunt Pollie had to get up to connect a call through. Next to the Post Office was a tin tabernacle, a branch of St. Andrew’s Waterside Mission, at which my uncle assisted as Lay Reader. He often took the services at Purton, about three miles up river, being driven there by Joubert Miles, our local Jehu.’
Frank G. Marling: ‘The First Fifty Years of Union Church, Sharpness 1880-1930, published by T & W Goulding, Printers and Publishers, Nelson Street, Bristol, 1930.
Mr. William Francis, who was superintending the erection of the stonework of the Severn Bridge, was chosen as the first Sunday School Superintendent, Mr. A. L. Marling Secretary, and Mr. F.G. Marling, Librarian, with Mrs. Johnson (now Mrs. Atkins) Treasurer.
Dursley Gazette January 26th 1935 ‘Local Personalities’:
‘Mr A.L. Marling who, as reported elsewhere in this issue, is shortly retiring after nearly 60 years’ association with Post Office work at Sharpness. Mr Marling’s father, Mr O.G. Marling, was the first operator appointed when the Electric Telegraph Service was introduced between Sharpness and Gloucester in 1858, and he remained in charge when the Government took over the service. Mr A.L. Marling, who entered the Postal Service on June 1st1867 was appointed postmaster on his father’s death in 1892, and he has thus held the appointment for over 40 years. Mr Marling is well-known as a lay reader in the Sharpness and Berkeley districts and for 14 years he was in charge of St John’s Church, Purton.’
Newspaper March 27th1913:
‘Interesting Wedding at Sharpness – Miller- Marling. Great interest was taken in the marriage solemnized at St Andrew’s Church, Sharpness, on Thursday last – the bide being a well known and popular young lady, whose family has for many years taken a prominent part in the business and social life of the Port.
This was Miss Kathleen Irene M. Marling, younger daughter of Mr and Mrs Allan L. Marling, of the Post Office, Sharpness, and the bridegroom was Mr Reginald A. Miller, youngest son of Mr H. Miller, of “Glen Helen,” Rugby.
A curious fact transpired in connection with the marriage, this being that Miss Irene Marling was the first Miss Marling of this branch of the family to become a bride for at least 130 years.
The Church, which was tastefully decorated, was crowded for the ceremony. The Rev A.C.R. Clarke (Chaplain of the Port) officiated and during the service hymns 350 and 280, A and M., were sung. Miss Heaven presiding at the organ.
The bride was given away by her father, looking charming in her dress of ivory satin, with pearl and guipure lace trimmings, white tagel hat with ostrich plume, and wearing an amethyst and gold pendant, the bridegroom’s gift. She carried a shower bouquet of choice arum lilies and azaleas.
There were four bridesmaids. Miss Connie Marling (sister of the bride), and Miss Amy Miller (sister of the bridegroom) wore dresses of blue satin, with black tagel hats and ostrich plumes. Their bouquets were of pale pink carnations and white tulips. The Misses Kathleen and Ruth Marling (cousins of the bride) wore pretty white embroidered silk dresses with hats to match, and carried baskets of carnations and white tulips. They all wore gold brooches, the gifts of the bridegroom.
The bouquets – which were much admired – were the gift of Mr Allan L.G. Marling (the bride’s brother) who was unavoidably prevented from attending the ceremony.
Mr George Spragg of Worcester (friend of the Bridegroom) acted as best man, and Mr Ronald Smith was Master of Ceremonies. The guests at the reception included: The Rev A.C.R. and Mrs Clarke; Miss Clarke; Mr and Mrs Miller; Miss Miller; Mr and Mrs F.G. Marling; Master Kenneth Marling; Miss Marling; Mrs and Miss Benton; Miss Bratton; Miss Brinkworth; Miss Carmen Brinkworth; Miss Ada Davis; Mr J. Vincent Thomas; Miss Thomas; Capt and Miss Field; Mrs Johnson; Miss Saunders; Miss Tilley; Mrs Robert Smyth; Mrs W.J. Pepworth; Miss Gasser; Miss Ada Starr; Miss Cissie Wilkes; Mrs Barrett; Mr Stan Field; Mr Aubrey Wakeham, Mr Ronald Smith.
Mr and Mrs Miller were given a hearty send off on leaving for their future home, 33 Penbury Street, Worcester. The bride’s travelling dress was a pale grey cloth costume with purple tagel hat.
Flags were flown on the ships and public buildings of the Port to mark the occasion. During the day, numerous congratulatory telegrams were received. Miss Field of Saul made the bride’s dress and that of the bride’s mother. The bridesmaids’ dresses were made by Miss Organ of Sharpness. Miss Marling of Seaview, Sharpness, supplied the hats for the bridal party. The wedding presents were of a handsome and useful description, as follows…’
Obituary Notice 1916:
‘Miller – December 9th at the Post Office, Sharpness, Irene Miller, the beloved younger daughter of Allan and Mary Marling, and wife of Sapper R.A. Miller (on active service) late of Penbury Street, Worcester, Aged 22’
Births, Marriages and Deaths Jan 1919:
‘Miller-Marling – At Thornbury on Saturday 11th inst., Sapper Reginald A. Miller, R.E. to Miss Constance Mary Marling, only surviving daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Allan Marling. The Post Office, Sharpness (By licence).’
‘Marriage of Miss Constance Marling – The Wedding took place at Thornbury on Saturday last of Sapper Reginald A. Miller (Royal Engineers), of Rugby, to Miss Constance Mary Marling, only surviving daughter of Mr and Mrs Allan Marling of Sharpness Post Office. Owing to recent bereavements in the bridegroom’s family, the ceremony was of a quiet character, only intimate relatives being present. The happy couple subsequently left for the honeymoon, which is being spent at Bath. They were the recipients of numerous presents, the bridegroom especially being exceedingly popular among a wide circle of friends. Sapper Miller has seen considerable service in France and on the Italian front.’
Frank George Marling was born in Berkeley. At the time of the 1871 census eight-year-old Frank was staying with his Uncle Edward at 14 Dighton Street, Bristol. He was accompanied by his mother and sister Grace. In 1881 he was at home aged eighteen years and described as a ‘Postmaster’s Clerk’ and in 1891 still at home, a Clerk, aged twenty-eight-years. Frank Marling married his second cousin, Sarah Catherine Eley on 7thSeptember 1893 at Mount Pleasant Chapel, Falfield, and had issue.
Details: 7th September 1893, Frank George Marling, 30 years, bachelor, Dock Clerk, Sharpness, Berkeley, son of Oliver George Marling (deceased) Dock Clerk and Sarah Catherine Eley, 28 years, Spinster, Tortworth, James Eley (deceased) Farmer at Mount Pleasant Chapel, Falfield, rites & Ceremonies of the Independents, by certificate. Witnesses: James Shield Eley, Florence Mary Eley, Allan Lancelot Marling. Minister – W.H. Jones, Henry Codrington – Registrar
(Rev W.H. Jones was probably the Minister at Berkeley Union/Sharpness Union – Marlings were largely responsible for setting up of Sharpness Union Church)
Frank later became Secretary of Sharpness Docks, Pilotage Agent and Agent for the Capital and Counties Bank. He was also a Founder Member, Deacon, Sunday School Superintendent, and Secretary of Sharpness Union Chapel.
At the time of the 1901 census Frank and his family were living at 9 Dock Row, Sharpness. He was described as a thirty-eight-year-old Dock Clerk and Bank Agent, born in Berkeley. His wife Sarah c. Marling was aged thirty-five-years and born in Berkeley. Their children included Donald J. aged six years; Kathleen A. aged five years and Ruth M. Marling aged one year. All the children were shown as born in Sharpness. With them was his mother, Martha Marling, a sixty-six-year-old widow, born in Berkeley.
When Frank retired in 1931 he and his wife moved to Esk House, Coombe Terrace, Wotton-under-Edge Later they later moved to Gloucester and then to Harrow. Sarah died on 2nd March 1951 at the age of eighty five. Frank felt lonely after his wife’s death and formed an attachment with a woman in Harrow, whom he married at 89. Frank married Elizabeth Weaver (Lewis) who was to survive him twenty six years. Sarah Catherine and Frank had four children.
‘Mr and Mrs Marling send loving greetings to their four children and partners; to their eight grandchildren, to their surviving brothers and sisters and to other relatives and friends on the 80th Anniversary of their first meeting at Morton, Nr Thornbury, Glos. The first week in May 1867. Vividly remembered by the first named. Happy still to be spared to each other at 55, Radnor Road, Harrow, Middlesex May 1947.
Frank George Marling of Sharpness, Glos. (Born at Berkeley, Glos., 7th January 1863) Sarah Catherine (Kate) Eley of Tortworth, Glos. (born at Morton 17th April 1865) Became Engaged at Tortworth Lake, 1st May, 1893. Married at Mount Pleasant Chapel, Falfield, Glos on 7th September, 1893’
‘September 7th 1893 Sarah C. (Kate) Eley – Frank G. Marling – with Mr & Mrs Frank G. Marling’s Compliments – Ivy Lawn, Sharpness’
Kate Eley was born on 17th April 1865 at Morton and baptised on 18th September 1881 at St Mary’s Church, Kingswood at the age of sixteen years. She married her second cousin Frank George Marling at Mount Pleasant Chapel, Falfield, on 7th September 1893. She was descended from Thomas Eley and her husband, Frank Marling, was descended from Thomas’s brother James Eley.
For more details about her family see my blog:
Extracts from the Reminiscences of Frank George Marling:
‘With the exception of the brief visit on 18 July 1877 I did not see Kate again until March (I think) 1881 when she came to stay at our house at Sharpness for a week. She was sitting on a chair on the left of our sitting room not far from the door when I went in, and directly we saw each other we fell in love with each other. I was too young and shy to say anything but we both understood. One night as I was going to bed we accidentally met at the bottom of the stairs and I kissed her hand. Strange to say, and to my great annoyance, it was Allan who had to go everywhere with her, to Berkeley and to Gloucester, and even to the station to see her off when she returned home. She was then living at Mireford Farm, Kingswood, near Wotton-under-Edge and had lost her father some years before from typhoid fever. We corresponded for a couple of years, and then Uncle Henry, then in business as a saddler in Colston Street, Bristol, invited us both to visit him and his wife for a week. I suppose he saw how things were, and had a serious talk with me, saying he did not think we ought to marry as we were too nearly related, etc. As I was then only 20, and I suppose easily persuaded, I gave up all thought of Kate, and ceased to correspond.
Some years afterwards, when I was about twenty five, I became engaged to Emmie Fear, a daughter of Father and Mother’s old friends at Berkeley, Benjamin and Emma Fear. In the autumn of 1892 I went to London to see Emmie (where she was Assistant Matron of a home for girls) to arrange for marriage. She told me her feeling for me was like that for her brothers, so when I got home I wrote breaking off the engagement. There were other differences, particularly on religious matters. In the spring of 1893 I asked our choir at Union Church, Sharpness, if they would like to repeat a Service of Song that they had given at Sharpness, at a country place of worship. They were willing, I arranged with Shield Eley, who had the management of Stone Room (where I sometimes conducted services) to give the Service of Song there, he to take the choir. I arranged conveyance and took the choir over, and I did the reading. Shield brought his sister Kate, and seeing her again, unexpectedly, brought all my love back again, and I determined to try and win her. Her Mother, some time widowed, had not long before taken a large farm at Tortworth with the help of Shield and Ernest. Soon I found excuses for going to the farm and found…’
‘This led to a movement for a nonconformist place of worship, and my Father and others approached the Union Chapel, Berkeley, who decided to build a branch chapel at Sharpness. Just at that time a field at Oldminster was offered for sale in building plots, and the Chapel Committee secured a plot on which was built the first temporary Union Church. Houses were built forming a little centre, and the newly built place was named “Newtown.” I have dealt with the history of the Sharpness (Newtown) Union Church in my booklet entitled “The First Fifty Years of Sharpness Union Church, 1880-1930”, which I wrote in 1930 at the request of the Minister and Deacons, so there is no need to repeat it here.
In 1879, when I was sixteen and a half I commenced Sunday School teaching at Pitbrook Sunday School, transferring to Sharpness in February 1880, when the latter was opened. In 1929 I was given the National Sunday School Union Diploma for fifty years continuous Sunday School service. The Sharpness Union Church was opened on 25 January 1880 and on the following Sunday a Sunday School was started. The Rev. W.J. Humberstone was the Minister at Berkeley and became automatically Minister of Sharpness. On 29 February the first communion service was held, and at that service I was amongst those received into Church membership. I remained a member until February 1932, when, with my wife, I was transferred to the Church at Old Town, Wotton-under-Edge. From the latter we were transferred on 4 March 1934 to Southgate Congregational Church, Gloucester. From the first I took an active part as teacher in the Sharpness Union Chapel Sunday School, and in 1893 was appointed to the position of Superintendent, a post which I held until the end of July 1929 when I left Sharpness on retiring from business. It is impossible to tell a hundredth part of one’s experience and activity in the Sunday School, of the hundreds of boys and girls whose careers I watched from their earliest infancy till they grew up, some of them into grandparents!’
Extract from ‘The Way I came’ by Kenneth George Marling:
‘My father, Frank George, was born in Berkeley on 7 January 1863 and has written an extended account of his childhood there, and of “characters” he remembered. He survived a serious illness from typhoid fever, and escaped an epidemic of smallpox in the town. After a period at a private school, he attended the Fitzharding School at a charge of 3d per week! After finding at 18 that he was too old to start with the Gloucestershire Banking Co in Berkeley, an opening came for him in the Sharpness Dock Office. He was appointed Agent for the Capital and Counties Bank, and the Gloucester Pilots, and left the Dock Company, having his new office next door at No 8 Dock Row, where his family was born. He joined the Union Church when 17 and until he retired to Wotton-under-Edge in 1929 he was deeply involved in the work, as Secretary, Treasurer, or Sunday School teacher, and then Superintendent. He married Sarah Catherine Eley in 1893 and died in 1954…
My mother Sarah Catherine, although brought up on the farm, was not an outdoor girl – she would not learn to milk or deal with the animals, but was an excellent housewife – cooking, dairying, baking, and generally keeping the home as it should be. She and my father provided a warm, happy, home, which I have described in detail in the story of my childhood – “The Running Tide”.
Extracts from the Running Tide by Kenneth Marling:
‘Father was the Pilotage Agent, and Agent for the Capital and Counties Bank. Our house was on what was called “The Island”, a part of Sharpness on the riverside of the docks, approachable only over lock-gate or bridge…’
‘Our house had been built as two semi-detached ones, in which the Dock Company retained the ground floor half nearest the river for their office. When Father left their employ our ground floor front room became his office, some extensions were made, and the bedroom over his office became our sitting room. The whole of the rest of the house was ours, so that we had six rooms upstairs, with living room, kitchen, two sculleries and various pantries downstairs, as well as many cubby-holes and cupboards where passages and stairs had been closed up. Father’s mother, Nana, lived with us for some years, and when quite small I remember her dozing in front of the living room fire after lunch, while the marble clock on the mantelpiece ticked away the slow hours. It was a pleasant room, looking onto the garden, and outside the window, beneath the cedar tree, grew large ferns, and laurels bearing clusters of scarlet berries. Just under the window lay a stone path, which I had to scrub on Saturday afternoons to keep it clear of green growth. Most of our life was centred on this room. There we had our meals and spent our evenings together – although on many nights Father was at Chapel organising something or other. There was a large table, to which we sat on bentwood chairs, always laid with white cloths for meals, with serviettes in silver rings. Mother never could persuade me to use mine properly – I just scrubbed my mouth with the unopened end. Father’s was hooked into his lapel with a silver clip.’
‘Mother, firm principled and strong of purpose, but loving and kind and gentle, and ever ready to understand and comfort, and so proud of her children. Honest as the day in other things, but an incorrigible cheat at card games, to Father’s intense annoyance. He never swore, but he would colour up and say “Kate” with as much feeling as if he had! Mother, hardworking as anyone, but liking good clothes – model hats and coats from Bristol. Mother broken-hearted as we all in turn left home to make our way in the world, and overjoyed whenever we came home for a visit, always too brief for her liking. Father with his tales at bedtime, and opening our eyes to the beauty and wonder all around. With his sick headaches on Christmas Eve allowing him time to withdraw to bed, and return unrecognised by us in tender years, as Father Christmas. Scrupulously honest, conscientious and competent, yet with a great sense of fun. A natural leader, he gave many hours each week to the work of the church. They will both live on in our memories…’
Extract from the Running Tide by Kenneth Marling:
‘Later that year (1948?) Father and Mother came to stay with us, and much enjoyed being with the children. We drove them down to stay with Mother’s brother Shield, taking them to Sharpness on the way. They were thrilled to see the old place, and so was I. While we were there a man fell into the dock from one of the baulks on which we youngsters loved to prance, rocking it as we went, and to see a grown man get a ducking when we had managed to keep our feet was a tonic! Fortunately, he managed to scramble out safely. We picnicked in the Castle Fields below the Castle at Berkeley, before going on to Falfield, where Uncle lived. Mother was very tickled when Irene changed the youngsters into fresh, clean clothes a mile or so before we arrived.’
‘Father was quite alert at 90, but had a fall while perched on a log trying to split another, which involved a mild stroke, and he never fully recovered…’
1929 Sharpness Presentation:
‘Tributes to Mr and Mrs F.G. Marling – In view of the impending departure for Wotton-under-Edge of Mr and Mrs F. G. Marling, the former of whom has laboured for no fewer than 50 years in the Sharpness Union Church and its Sunday School, and for 46 years has acted as Pilotage Agent for the Sharpness New Docks and Gloucester and Birmingham Navigation Company, an enthusiastic valedictory meeting under the presidency of Mr S. Dalby was held on Monday at the Union Church Intermediate School room.
The proceedings were opened with the singing of a hymn and prayer was offered by the Union Church Minister (the Rev. J.G. Palmer B.A.). A pianoforte solo was rendered pleasingly by Mr K. Bulled. Then followed a joint presentation to Mr & Mrs Marling by the Rev J.G. Palmer on behalf of the friends and members of Sharpness Union Church and its Sunday School, and also a presentation to Mr Marling by Mr E. Phillips on behalf of the Pilotage Authority and the pilots of the Port.
Church and Sunday School Presentation – This presentation took the forms of a Black ebony walking stick, bearing the inscription “Presented to Mr F.G. Marling by friends of Sharpness U.C. and S.S., 1929” and an umbrella bearing the inscription “Presented to Mrs F.G. Marling by friends of Sharpness U.C.S.S. 1929” and the umbrella bearing the £10 in notes. The Rev J.G. Palmer in making the presentation said that only a month previous the privilege had been his to present to Mr Marling a Diploma of Honour given by the National Sunday School Union for 50 years of continuous service in the Sunday School cause. It was intensely interesting to note that the whole of those 50 years of service had been spent in their own Sunday School and in their own Church. As to Mrs Marling, the Minister said that they all knew that though she had not been able to take such a prominent part in the work as Mr Marling had done, she, by her love and loyalty and devotion to him, had enabled him to do so much as he had done. Representatives of more than 150 families said the Minister, had contributed towards the presentation fund, and the walking stick and umbrella were meant to indicate their sincere wishes to Mr and Mrs Marling. They all wished them God’s richest blessing in their new home.
Mr Cyril Barnfield, in supporting the Minister, pointed out that Mr and Mrs Marling had done excellent service for the Sunday School. He said that Mr Marling had not only laboured in the School, but had lived in it, and he was proud to think that he himself had passed through the School under the superintendency of Mr Marling. Mr Barnfield also expressed his appreciation of the fact that it was due to the efforts of Mr Marling that the “House System” was introduced into the Sunday School, and in concluding he made it clear that Mr Marling had not laboured merely for his own financial betterment, nor for such letters as O.B.E., but his great object and achievement was the propagation of Christian principles in the lives and characters of the children.
Pilotage Presentation: This presentation took the form of an oak writing bureau bearing the inscription: “Presented to Frank George Marling by the Gloucester Pilotage Authority and the Pilots of the Port on his retirement, in recognition of his valued services as Pilotage Agent for the past 46 years. Sharpness 31st July,1929.”
Mr E. Phillips, in making this presentation, said that Mr Marling had served the pilots well during his 46 years of office, and during that time he had seen between 30 and 40 pilots retire from their work. Mr Marling’s duties, he said, had been many and varied, and oftentimes he had gone beyond what was expected of him in helping them as pilots. Mr Phillips proceeded to recall that about 32 years before Mr Marling had been appointed as Pilot Master, and in that connection he read the following extract from a letter dated March 8th, 1897: “If the Pilot Board think it necessary to appoint a Pilot Master at Sharpness, we suggest Mr. F.G. Marling, who knows more about pilotage business than any other man other than the pilots themselves, and since we have unlimited confidence in him we would like you to appoint him with power to give permission to do so, or not to do, as the case might be, between any two Board Meetings, the Board to give a final decision at their next meeting.”
“That,” said Mr Phillips, showed what the pilots thought of Mr Marling in 1897, and they were gathered together that evening to show what the pilots of 1929 thought of him. The following was an extract from a letter sent by the Pilotage Authority: “It has always been recognised by the Authority that they were exceptionally fortunate in having as the Agent a man of sterling character who combined with a genial manner a thorough knowledge of his duties. They hope Mr and Mrs Marling will have many happy years of health and happiness in their new home.” An extract of a letter from Sir James Bruton was also read. Mr Phillips was supported in his remarks by Mr W.C. Smith.
Mr Marling’s Reply: In the course of his very witty reply on his own behalf and on behalf of his wife, Mr Marling, who is still youthful in spirit, said that since he was of such a retiring nature he wanted very much on that occasion to get inside the bureau presented to him. It was true, he said, that his family connections with Sharpness reached back many years, in fact, he had documentary evidence to prove it, and he proceeded to read from an old document details of the relations between Mr O.G. Marling and Sharpness commerce during the past century. In thanking the pilots and members of the Pilotage Authority for their presentation, he said that he had enjoyed his work as Pilotage Agent, and that throughout the whole of the 46 years he had found in the pilots men who were more to him than friends. But it was perhaps in the work of the Church and Sunday School that he had found his greatest joy, and he thanked the friends of the U.C. and S.S. for their presentation. He was, he said, a Sunday School teacher and Church worker as soon as the Church and Sunday School buildings were erected in Sharpness in 1880, and that he had continued as such ever since. He saw the School go ahead in leaps and bounds, and during his fifty years of service he had seen no fewer that 1,000 scholars go through the school, and he was pleased to note that at present the school in scholars and teachers were as much as 230 strong. He was glad also to note that the children welcomed enthusiastically the new General Superintendent which they had in the Minister (the Rev J.G. Palmer).
In concluding, Mr Marling said that he was quite optimistic in saying farewell to Sharpness friends, nut he knew that he would soon meet them again. He had he moved, been elected as Vice President of the Sharpness Union Church Sunday School, and was therefore expected to visit the school occasionally. Also he hoped to retain his position as a manager of the Hinton Newtown Council School.
The reply on the part of Mr Marling was followed with prolonged applause, and after this the Pilots struck up “For he’s a jolly good fellow,” which in turn was followed with three cheers for both Mr and Mrs Marling, the meeting was closed with the singing of the hymn “Blest be the tie that binds” and the pronouncing of the Benediction.’
Tuesday March 6th 1951 – Marling – March 2nd at 55, Radnor Road, Harrow, Middlesex, Sarah Catherine (Kate), wife of F.G. Marling, late of Sharpness, in her 86th year. Service in Union Church, Sharpness, on Wednesday March 7th at 2pm followed by interment in Berkeley Cemetery.’
‘Mr F.G. Marling of Harrow. The death has taken place of Mr Frank G. Marling (91), at Grosvenor Nursing Home, Harrow, after a long illness. Mr Marling was a well-known and highly respected inhabitant of Sharpness, being bank manager there for many years. Many will remember him as the much-loved superintendent of Sharpness Union Church Sunday School; also as a devout member of the church, which, with his family, he attended regularly. He was also the agent for the Gazette over a considerable period.
The funeral service was held in Sharpness Union Church on December 11th, the body being placed in the church the previous day. The Rev. W.C. Stacey of Berkeley conducted the service and also the interment in Berkeley cemetery. Mr L. Crook was the organist.
Family mourners: Mrs E E Marling (widow), Miss K Marling (daughter), Mr and Mrs K.G. Marling (son & daughter-in-law), Rev F E Quick (son-in-law), Mrs E Weaver (step-daughter),
Mr S Weaver (stepson), Mrs Connie Miller (niece), Mr and Mrs G Durn (niece and nephew), Miss M Durn (great niece),
Friends attending included: Messrs A. Bennett, F White, A Turl, F Lewis, A Sturge, T Hicks, V Savage, J Ferris, L Mahoney, E Dimery, H Field, W. Price, W Cole, S Smith, Mrs A Bennett, Mrs F White, Mrs H Field, Mrs G Williams, Mrs J Summers, Mrs J Workman, Mrs Davey, Mrs A Morgan, Mrs Rowles, Mrs T Grey, Mrs J Tandy, Mrs J Portlock, Mrs C Skidmore, Mrs F Francis, Miss H Savage, Miss V Chandler, Mrs W Cole, Mrs S Smith, Mrs M Pullen, and others.
The following were unable to be present: Mrs F.E. Quick (daughter), Mr D.J. Marling (son), Miss A M Marling (sister), Mr Eley (brother-in-law), Mr L Taylor (rep Lloyds Bank), Mr F Price (Channel Pilot, retired).
Floral Tributes: To the kindest of husbands from Betty; Ruth and Frank, Mary and Den, Muriel and John; Ken and Irene; Donald, Lily and Molly; Kathleen and Doris; Alice (sister); Connie and Lance, Marjorie and Derek (Worcester); John, Joan, Robin, Hazel, Heather and Christopher Marling; Walter and Maud; Joyce and Sydney; Patricia; Linda; Hettie; Eileen; Officers and Church Members of Sharpness Union Church; Teachers and scholars of Union Church Sunday School, Sharpness.
Messrs. Walter H. Price & Son, of Wanswell, carried out the arrangements.’
Genealogical Notes of Frank George Marling:
‘Tombstones in Graveyard at Baptist Church, Thornbury (noted 27 April 1945)
James Eley died Jan 13th 1803 aged 67 yrs
James Eley (Grandson of above) died Sept 5th 1794 aged 4 yrs
Elizabeth Bruton, wife of John Bruton (died 1848) (daughter of above) died Jan 24th 1826 aged 56 yrs
James Eley died Dec 6th 1831 aged 69 yrs
Elizabeth (his wife) died July 16th 1814 aged 51 yrs
James (their son) died Oct 24th 1803 aged 5 months
Selina (daughter of above) June 12th 1810 aged 18 yrs
Mary (daughter of above) May 14th 1822 aged 21 yrs
Ann (daughter of above) Dec 2nd 1823 aged 27 yrs
Martha (daughter of above) Jan 9th 1850 aged 63 yrs
Elizabeth (daughter of above) Mch 1st 1850 aged 52 yrs
James Eley (of Berkeley) died 3rd Sept 1861 aged 56 yrs
Ann Eley (his widow) died 19th July 1877 aged 67 yrs
Alice (their daughter) died 7th Mch 1865 aged 19 yrs
Lewis George (their son) died 11th Mch 1853 aged 1yr 7 months
Mary Eley died Nov 23rd 1838 aged 66 yrs
Thomas Eley died Dec 7th 1839 aged 70 yrs
Sarah Eley died May 18th 1872 aged 94 yrs.’
‘1880 started in a bleak way! The weather was cold, but people were enjoying skating on Mrs. Browne’s lake at Uley. The nation had been deeply shocked by the Tay Bridge Disaster but Victorian society was used to such news. There was peace at home but British soldiers were involved in the Afghan War. It was the second period of Gladstone administration. The Liberals found support from Nonconformist churchmen, especially the Congregationalists. It was a period when many chapels were built… so we read in a Sharpness circular:
“A considerable population has already gathered at Sharpness Point on the Severn, since the New Docks were opened and the new Severn Railway Bridge constructed. A Nonconformist place of worship is very urgently needed to meet the spiritual welfare of the growing population; and this has led the friends connected with the Congregational Church at Berkeley to try to meet the felt want. A freehold site has been obtained and a good iron church erected to be opened on January 25th 1880 at a cost of £600 of which £400 or more is still to be raised…”
The Rev. W.J. Humberstone of Berkeley was the preacher at the opening service. The year saw an eager and bright response to the work. A Sunday school was started which grew to 150 in six months. Elsewhere there was brighter news as well. England beat Australia in a “Test” match and Dr. W.G. Grace scored 152!
It wasn’t until 1898 that the Sharpness Union Church had its own minister, having shared with Berkeley to that point. The Revd. William Bailey provided inspired leadership for nearly 20 years. In his ministry the present buildings were erected, costing £2000 and opened on 4th June 1902. In 6 years the debt was paid off! The work progressed. The Sunday school work was at a peak encouraged by the lay leadership of Mr. F.G. Marling and a lively band of teachers.
Mr. Bailey’s long and much appreciated ministry proved a worthy example for succeeding pastors.
The chapel was a centre of local community life. Organizations like the Christian Endeavour, the Choir, the “Working Party” (not labouring on the docks, but for the annual sale of work!) all played their part. Out of the chapel life also came the Sharpness Band.
Both wars had a lasting effect on church life. The roll of Honour is evidence of the losses to church and community. The work between 1918 and 1939 was enlivened by the dedicated ministry of three pastors. Mr. F.E. Quick was a very popular student pastor, then the ordination and ministry of the Revd. A.C. Collins-Williams, and in 1928, the Revd. J.G. Palmer who took the church through its 50th year. Much strenuous work was done by these men, ministries still remembered by many today…’
Letter from the Revd. Lionel G. Anderson B.A., Barnsley, South Yorkshire (Minister 1961-70):
‘To me across the years, the people of Sharpness fit so accurately Mr. Marling’s description of ‘plain matter-of-fact folk, plenty of grit and determination, a way of surmounting difficulties. This is how I always found them, and it must be one of the reasons why they are able to celebrate the centenary of their Church this year…’
Donald Marling was born about 1894 at Sharpness and was at home aged six years for the 1901 census. He married Lilian Theodore Furley before 1927 and they had a child, Molly Elizabeth Marling. Donald was alive in 1959.
Extract from the Running Tide by Kenneth Marling:
‘Donald left home when I was only six, I have no recollection of him before then. When he came home for the weekend he shared my bed, and I disliked this intensely. He slept very much more soundly than I, and seemed to take up most of the bed, and I was glad when it was time to get up! We spent a holiday with him in Calne, where he was on the staff of the Capital and Counties Bank, and while on a trip to see the White Horse on the Wiltshire Downs we passed a farmhouse completely smothered in Wisteria in full bloom – a sight I have never forgotten. I remember there too a lovely garden with long sloping lawns, and a stream running through, and a pet tortoise. From Calne Donald joined the army in 1915, but saw no active service, as, although perfectly fit on enlisting, his health was ruined from contracting cerebra meningitis in an infected, and condemned Army Camp. This resulted in 18 months in hospital, and permanent damage to his system, which hastened his death.’
Kathleen was born in about 1895 at Sharpness. She was at home aged five years at the time of the 1901 census. She was alive in 1959.
3. RUTH MILLICANT QUICK
Ruth Marling was born in about 1900 at Sharpness. She was at home aged one year at the time of the 1901 census. She married Rev Frank E. Quick M.A. in the Union Church, Sharpness, on August 6th 1923 and they celebrated their Golden wedding in 1973. Ruth died on September 2nd 1978 aged seventy-nine-years. In 1976 they were living at Pandal, Yealmpton, near Plymouth. They had two daughters.
Extract from the Running Tide by Kenneth Marling:
‘For some years after he (Rev. William Bailey) left, our services were conducted by Students from Western College, Bristol, whom we often entertained for the day. I was always anxious to introduce them to the beauties of our local scene, and loved nothing better than to take them home after Sunday School in the afternoon via the Old Dock… This involved scrambling down the rocks round the Point, and along the shore, and invariably left the victim plastered to some degree with Severn mud – but to my mind that was a minor item compared with the delights he had enjoyed, and few of those young men cared to show an enthusiastic youngster that they shrank from the ordeal. Mother couldn’t see that I was just sharing some of my treasures with them – I sometimes wonder if they did either!’ One of them – Frank Ernest Quick – became our Student Pastor, and later my brother-in-law. He was a self-taught, but talented musician, who could play fiddle, piano and organ, and repair and build organs, too. He played entirely from ear, and could improvise on almost any tune, to our great enjoyment. He enjoyed messing about with anything mechanical, and produced a succession of motorcycles and cars, including a massive 8 hp ex-Italian Army Rex, which could be heard a mile away. As its sound approached, folk took refuge in the hedges, and the ladies responsible for cleaning the church took a very dim view of his habit of stripping down and cleaning his bikes in the back porch. Among the many machines he owned at one time or another, were several Douglas flat twin cycles, an NAG car, and a single cylinder De Dion Bouton – he spent many happy hours under the last named veteran. While he and my sister Ruth were courting, they took me with them on a picnic, and in order to direct my attention away from his own to Ruth, Frank challenged me to make a camp fire and keep it alight for, say, an hour. I delightedly rose to the bait, and produced a splendid fire, and fortunately managed to avoid burning down the surrounding wood. He one preached a sermon on the virtues of being– Frank, Ernest and Quick! Needless to say Ruth appreciated that more than I did…’
Sharpness United Reformed Church 1880-1980 – Letter from Revd. Frank Quick, Rodborough, Plymouth:
‘What memories flowed back when I was asked to write a hundred or so words for the Centenary! And what wonderful stories could be written if all those who have been blessed and guided through the life and witness of the church were able to publish records!
William Bailey, after a faithful ministry, had moved to Newent when I – a young student at Western College, was sent as the first “Supply” of the interregnum. It was a turning point in my own life; for on the first Sunday I was received by the Marlings at Bank House on the docks, and before the summer was over, I was taking their younger daughter for delightful walks to Berkeley Pill, Framilode and the ‘Decoy Pool’! We were married in Union Church on August 6th 1923 and celebrated our Golden wedding in 1973 – happy years of love and service. Ruth died on September 2nd 1978 aged 79.
My student pastorate lasted only about four months although I visited you often afterwards. Names that flash into my mind as I write are: Mark Allen, Nesta Allen, Rene Turl, Corney Halliwell, Jolbert Miles at the garage, the Marmots at the shop, Harry Pridey of ‘Union’ fame, Mr. and Mrs. Phillips, Alice Marling at her shop a few doors from the chapel, Mr. Millard, who gave his life to save a colleague in the grain silo; Mrs. Tandy who painted the church door and ‘grained’ it with a comb! The Clutterbucks at the farm and the carriage builder at Wanswell who rebuilt one of the first ‘De Dion’ motor cars and chugged about in it successfully – but though memory has not dried up – my space has!
I shall hope to share the Centenary with you and expand my memories! “The Lord bless and keep…” Fear not little flock… on for the next Century! Frank Quick
Frank G. Marling: ‘The First Fifty Years of Union Church, Sharpness 1880-1930, published by T & W Goulding, Printers and Publishers, Nelson Street, Bristol, 1930.
Mr. F.E. Quick, Student Pastor
The departure of the Rev. W. Bailey left a great blank, but the church kept together, and maintained essential work.
Some time in 1918 it was arranged that Mr. Frank E. Quick, a Student at Western College, should become Student Pastor for a time. He became exceedingly popular, especially with the young people, and did great things in keeping interest in the work and preparing for post-war activities. He returned to Western College on its re-opening after the War, in September, 1919.
He wrote to me in 1976:
I am a Free Church minister. Our training course was for six years – three in Arts and three in Theology, and I read for a degree in Philosophy, attending courses in Bristol and Liverpool Universities. I was ordained over 50 years ago, have been very actively ‘retired’ for almost twenty years, and am in my 81st year. I conduct public worship most Sundays throughout the year. My ministry is in the “United Reformed Church” – which is the coming-together of the sometime Congregational and English Presbyterian Churches.
You ask about our family: we have two daughters, both graduates. The elder trained as a teacher and the younger trained at Oxford and is a medical doctor. They both married. The younger married a theological student she met at Oxford, and together they went as missionaries for some ten years to Samoa where my Son-in-law Dr Bradshaw was Principal of the Theological College at Malua, and our daughter was doctor and surgeon. Their three children were born in Samoa and they all came home later for the education of the two boys and one girl. The elder boy is reading Physics and Maths at Bristol University and is now in his final year. The daughter of our elder daughter graduated last year taking a BSc in Social Sciences and she now has a job in Bristol…
In my student days I sometimes preached at Forest Green Congregational Church, Nailsworth. I see that it later united with Baptists to form a Union Church…’
Ken Marling was born in 1904 and died in 1986. He was educated at Lydney Grammar School. Whilst working in Lloyd’s Old Bank in Worcester he met Nancy Johnson (1903-42) who was then teaching at St Clement’s School. They married at St Clement’s Church on 18th February 1928.Nancy died and shortly afterwards Kenneth married Irene Alice Glover (1911-) at Olton Congregational Church on 7th June. He worked in banking and retired first to Suckley and then to Bromyard. He was Secretary of Malvern Baptist Church for some years. There were two children of his first marriage and four children of his second.
Extracts from ‘The Running Tide’ by Kenneth Marling:
‘I was born in 1904 – at Sharpness, an inland port on the River Severn some 14 miles south west of Gloucester – about a furlong from the banks of the river, where it begins to widen into an estuary. It all started with my sister Ruth – or so she thought – when she posted a letter to Father Christmas up the chimney. She must have been impatient for Christmas to arrive, for her request for a “real live skin baby” was granted on 15 November of that year, at 10 o’clock in the morning I imagine there was great joy in the family, as my brother Donald had greeted the birth of my elder sister with the remark that he would sooner have had a puppy dog, and having had another
sister since, he surely welcomed a brother at last – at that time at any rate. Kathleen, then aged eight, all her life talked with pride of being the first to be allowed to hold the new baby, and as I was the answer to Ruth’s request one must suppose that she was delighted too. No doubt they revised their opinions later! Father was obviously excited also, for he rushed off a picture postcard to my grandmother before lunch, saying that the first thirteen words of Isaiah 9.6 accurately described the events of that morning. They were clearly not without their disadvantages though, for he added that “he could not come to the Show now”. I found the postcard in the pages of Grannie’s Bible nearly seventy years later. I have no doubt Mother was past bothering very much!…’
‘Our doctor had advised my parents not to send me to school at five, but to let me “run wild” for a few years. Father was Correspondent to the local School Managers, of whom he was one, and when a visit by a School Attendance Officer was imminent I was instructed to keep out of sight! However, Kathleen and Ruth taught me much of the three “R”s, and a good deal besides, so that when I eventually went to school at nine I was at no disadvantage.
‘Kenneth George Marling (1904-1986) was born in Sharpness in Gloucestershire in 1904 where his father was Pilotage Agent at the docks there. He started work for Lloyds Bank in Worcester in 1922 and remained there until 1936 when he was transferred to the Executive and Trustee Department in Birmingham. In 1947 it was decided to open an E. and T. Department in Worcester, and Ken Marling was the one entrusted with this new venture as Manager, and he remained there until his retirement in 1964.
He was a man of many and varied activities and interests including Gardening, Photography (who in Malvern can ever forget his enormous collection of slides so meticulously organised and catalogued?), Stamp collecting, Butterfly collecting, to mention but a few. It was not unknown for him to take his butterfly net with him on his visits as Manager to see clients around his area, and on occasions to be seen chasing across country in pursuit of some eagerly sought specimen.
He was brought up a Congregationalist as a young man, and he was associated for many years with Angel Place Congregational Church in Worcester. Their followed a number of ecclesiastical excursions of varied nature, and his spiritual pilgrimage was a remarkable one to say the least, embracing at one time the Christadelphian sect. His questing, open and adventurous mind was however not one which could be imprisoned or confined and, in 1954, he came to us at Abbey Road Baptist Church in Malvern and found in Baptist freedom and flexibility a climate much to his taste. He was a Deacon for almost twenty years, Sunday School Superintendent for several years, and Church Secretary from 1957-1969, one of the longest reigns as Church Secretary this century. It is difficult to exaggerate the contribution he made to Abbey Road and the impact he left upon us. Life has never been quite the same without him. He was a human dynamo, and his enthusiasm, good humour and transparent honesty and integrity won him universal affection. He still found time to hold office on the Malvern Christian Council for some time, and to be Treasurer of the Worcestershire Baptist Association for many years.
After his retirement he became Treasurer of the Friends of Worcester Royal Infirmary in 1968 and continued indeed until just a few months ago. Since he came to Bromyard he has become known to many people, winning a large circle of new friends, and his work for the Vietnamese refugees and the Samaritans is remembered with admiration and affection.
This is the main basic framework of his life but what of the man himself? How can one possibly do justice to this remarkable and beloved person whose life we were privileged to share? There are no words which can release for us what we saw in him, what we feel about him. He once said to me years ago when he was Church Secretary – “If you are the one who takes my funeral service, now think on, I don’t want any misery I want there to be laughter and rejoicing!”. And so, in a sense, I got my brief a long time ago. Yes, he would want us to laugh! I will remember one Sunday morning after morning service he came up to me and said, “My lad, (he always seemed to call me that!), I’ve got a bone to pick with you!”. “What have I done now?” I enquired. With a completely deadpan face he said, “I wonder if it would be possible for you to preach a little more quietly – you woke me up twice this morning during the sermon!”. It was said of Lloyd George that he could sleep anywhere and at any time if he put his mind to it. Ken Marling didn’t have to put his mind to it – he just dropped off, and many’s the time I’ve looked down from the pulpit and seen Rene save his bacon by giving him a dig in the ribs!
He had an infectious gaiety and zeal for life, and he lived life to the full. He drank deeply from His Creator’s cup and his heart was always full of deep gratitude for the sheer joy and wonder of being alive, and this he never lost right up to the end. Things, people, everything seemed to come alive when he was around. He even had the knack of making the Church Notices sound exhilarating, and that takes some doing. You felt that you expanded in his presence, and the colours of the world were richer and deeper. He was as good as gold through and through, free from cant and humbug, honest as the day is long, utterly devoted to wife and children, a truly noble and loyal friend.
I am glad to put on public record my personal debt to him as counsellor and father confessor. He shepherded me through more than one sticky patch, and I knew that if I wanted to let my hair down, as I frequently did, I could go to him at any time and be assured that no confidence would ever be broken, and that his mature experience of life and people would restore the perspective for me. And there must be many more like me who bless his name today and who feel that part of them has been taken away.
He had a deep and sensitive Christian faith, all the stronger because he reached it through varied and at times painful experience. His conscience, honesty, devotion to truth meant that he could never rest in any position which was not real and genuine for him. So he was never frightened of unorthodoxy, never afraid to follow where truth and honest searching took him. His faith was intensely personal and therefore vivid and deep and a sure anchor of the soul which stood him in good stead in his last days.
So we take our earthly leave of him with Love and Gratitude in our hearts that it was our privilege to have shared our lives with this fine and winsome servant of God – and we say to Rene and the children and relatives:
“Lift up your hearts! There is glorious morning beyond the night.” “Love is immortal, Life is eternal. And death is an horizon, and an horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.” Thanks be to God.’
Percival James Marling – Little Percy – fell onto a pair of scissors, which pierced his jugular vein, and he bled to death in a few minutes.
Extract from the Reminiscences of Frank Marling:
My Father and Mother’s third child, my brother Percy, was born on 1st April 1865. He was a bright, intelligent little fellow, and was a great delight to my Father who, when he returned home of an evening, found much pleasure in nursing and playing with him. Alas! The happiness was short-lived. One day on 7 March 1867, when little Percy was a year and eleven months old, my Mother was sewing by the sitting room window, with Percy standing on his chair by her side. Mother had put her scissors where she thought he could not reach it, but unnoticed by her he managed to get it, over-balanced himself, and fell on the floor, the points of the scissors entered his jugular vein. Instantly he was bleeding profusely. The nearest skilled assistance was a Chemist not many yards away. Someone ran for him, and he tried to stop the bleeding, but could not do so, and before a Doctor could be obtained the poor little child had bled to death. Indeed, had a doctor been on the spot it is doubtful if he could have saved the dear child’s life. This was a great blow to my Mother, and a terrible shock to my Father when he arrived home not long after.
I can see now the pathetic funeral procession as it passed round the corner of the Market Place into Marybrook Street on the way to the cemetery. My brother Allan was among the followers but I was too young to go to the funeral. Years afterwards, I used to lie awake at night and wish, oh so much, that I had my brother Percy. Especially was this so when the two years and more by which my brother Allan was older than me, for a time put him beyond me in choice of chums and playmates.
Grace Emily Marling was born in Berkeley. At the time of the 1871 census three-year-old Grace was staying at her Uncle Edward’s at 14 Dighton Street, Bristol. She was accompanied by her mother and brother Frank. In 1881 she was at home and described as a thirteen-year-old scholar. Grace Emily was buried at Berkeley Parish Church on 15th July 1882 aged fourteen years.
Alice Maud Mary Marling was born on 28th May 1871 at Berkeley. At the time of the 1881 census she was at home, aged nine years, a scholar and in 1891 she was a nineteen-year-old Postmistress’s Assistant and living at Home. She lived for a time at Seaview, Sharpness and died aged ninety-five-years.
Extracts from the Running Tide by Kenneth Marling:
‘Father encouraged an interest in Natural History, teaching us much on our rambles, both in our own neighbourhood and over the river in the ancient and beautiful Forest of Dean. We were sometimes joined by his sister Alice, a rather vinegary old maid and not welcomed by us children. Her horror when confronted by a bullock with wide sweeping horns, as we rounded a corner in a hedge near Berkeley Pill, filled us with glee.’
‘My Aunt Alice kept a milliners shop at Newtown, and in her sitting room behind the shop she made up hats from the narrow coils of plaited straw at an amazing speed. This room was well stocked with books, which were much nearer to her heart than the business, and for my part I spent many hours poring through “Harmsworth’s Popular Science” and Arthur Mee’s “My Magazine”, both issued periodically. There are now no children’s periodicals to equal the latter, which was full of beautiful illustrations and interesting articles for children. Most weekends Aunt Alice succumbed to a bilious attack, and bound a vinegar bandage round her head. Visiting her in this state, in a darkened bedroom, was an ordeal we dreaded, but Mother considered it was our duty to visit the sick…’
Extract from the Flowing Tide by Kenneth Marling:
‘In 1933 Father and Mother came to Gloucester, and Father’s sister, Alice, sold her millinery business at Sharpness and followed them to live not far away. She had clung to them and her other brother, Allan, since returning to Sharpness from Swansea, and later followed them to Harrow. She was always a clinging vine.’
… Others serving as assistant organists have included Miss A. Marling…
Missionary Secretary – Miss A.M. Marling
Vice-President – Mr. F.G. Marling
Pianists – Miss A.M. Marling and …
SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS
Intermediate Dept. – … Miss A.M. Marling, …’
Kate Millicent Marling was born in about 1875 at Berkeley. In the 1881 census she was at home aged six years and ten years later still at home aged sixteen.
‘In loving memory of Kate Millicent Marling, ‘who fell asleep in Jesus’ 1st June 1895. Aged 21 years. “The Lord had need of her.” Interred in Berkeley Cemetery.’
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