1897 Letters from Emma in Halmore to Daughter Bessie in Bristol

My grandmother Bessie (Elizabeth) Davis Smith left Halmore in 1897 at the age of 18 to go into service in Bristol 15 miles away. I have maybe a dozen letters written to Bessie by her mother Emma in the months following in 1897.  They are written in a "Gloucestershire dialect", mostly without punctuation, and describe life in Halmore and nearby and provide a wonderful snapshot of life in Halmore for a few months in 1897. I have transcribed and “translated” them as best I can.  I have tried to identify the people mentioned from the censuses and the events described from articles in the local paper (Gazette) at the time.

This is ongoing.  I have a lot more to research and add and the original letters to add as well.

There are ~16 letters which including some bits from younger children, not in any order yet. They are transcribed faithfully with spelling mistakes etc.  There is no punctuation and I have added “/“ to help delineate sentences.

July 10th 1897


Apri?? 1897

Feb 10th 1897

June 1897


June 1897

Written by Herbert

Halmore 1897

Halmore May 1897

2 fragments

Halmore 1897

Halmore June 25th

Halmore May 1897

Halmore June 1897

Halmore April 1897

Children of Emma and James Davis Smith in 1897

Approximate year born and age in 1897 when the letters below were written.

Elizabeth (Bessie) 1878 aged 19 (in service in Bristol)

Elias 1880 aged 17 (away at work)

Thomas 1884 aged 13 (at work locally)

Herbert 1886 aged 11 (at school in Berkeley)

Gerald 1889 aged 8 (at school, Purton?)

Ethel 1891 aged 7 (at school, Purton?)

George 1893 aged 4

Florence Annie 1894 aged 3

Dorothy (1899,  not yet born)

Letter 01.

Halmore 1897

so long? my dear girl your ever loving Ma E. Smith

My dear Child Just a line or two in answer to your most welcome letter / we where very please to hear you got to your Journeys end alright and i do hope and trust your are much better and that you will like your new home / your Grandmother is about the same / i got on better then i expected getting her (p2) in to bed / your Aunt P? and uncle Jim was up there an Saturday night and Maggie sleeps there and stayed there all day Sunday / the children is aften talking of Bessie / i havent picked up  my appitite yet but i hope i shall soon / i feel a bit better now / Tom is gone to work and the children to school and i hope and (p3) trust we shall be alright / i dont think i have much more to tell you / i thought i would have stopped and wrote tomorrow but i knew you would be thinking about us / it is nothing but natral for you to say theres no place like home but i do hope and trust my dear girl that you will have a good and Comfortable (p4) home where you are / dear Bessy i was glad you had someone to meet you / talk of enquiring friends i think that is every one your father or me as droped in with / yet you must tell more about your home when you have time / i must say good bye and God Bless you my dear girl / it is no use for me to tell you about our love/ you know that


This appears to be the first letter as Emma talks about the journey and Bessie’s new home.  Bessie used to look after her grandmother so Emma and the family are getting used to coping with out her.  Grandmother Elizabeth Phelps nee Barrett had bad rheumatoid arthritis.

Aunt P? and uncle Jim must be Emma’s brother James and second wife Mary Ann.  Polly is a diminutive of Mary so this could be Aunt P.  Aunt Polly is referred to in another letter.

Maggie could be Margaret Phelps, James Phelps daughter aged about 12 in 1897?

Tom could be Bessie’s brother aged about 13 in 1897 and if so was at work.

It seems that both her mother and Bessie were unwell when she left and she elaborates on her own illness in a later letter.

Letter 02

Halmore feb 1897

My own dear child Just a few lines in answer to your most welcome letter i suppose your father was wating for the postman for he Brought it in before i seen him go bye the children was delighted with the percels my dear child i am a lot better then when i wrote to you before my cough is so much better your Gran is about the same as usal dear B dont think of coming back in this hole i dont think your Grandfather as brought home a penny since you went away we have got on very well up till now your Aunt Polly is so good to help in any way she can i am glad your mistress helped you with your (p2) dress for i know he gave you a drilling i think it is very good for you to go out with the little boy some times because you have alaways been used to plenty of fresh air Elias was over Sunday morning  and Geore and Anne in the afternoon i did not mention it in the last letter but i think it would be very good for you to go to the Wesleyan Chapel as you will feel more at home dear B i had a few lines from Elias but such a scribble i would not take the trouble to send it when he sends a proper one i will send it on to you The weather is a little finer this week now my dear child i do wish you would leave off worrying your Self about us i think you have got a good home and i do hope (p3) and trust you will make yor Self Happy no doubt you have troubles but we all have them the time sem to go bye fast with me you will soon have been gone three weeks Mrs Knight told me your Mistress was rather hasty temper but soon over if you did not answer wich i hope you wont my dear Child you now very well my whole thought is for your happyness and welfare and now dear Child i cannot tell you much about Mr Harding but  i have been told it will take every thing he as got about eight thousand pounds  Mr Rake???? was over hear and called to see us last friday came and fetch pooly?? Hyde over there (p4) Emma Hughes has been at the point of death 4 or 5 days but she is a little better this morning / it is very hard with all them children / the Halmore people about the same / you mentioned about Toms new shoes / i never seen such a difference in my life / he was out driving with the Mrs on Monday and going again to morrow / so he is getting a swell / their servant is going to leave / now my dear child i think i have told you all the news / now to make your self Happy and Comfortable / i dont see if you was hear you could do more for your Gran  / i thank you for flos socks/ if you make any more a pair for George but dont hurry your self


Gran – probably Gran Elizabeth Phelps nee Barrett (or Emma Smith nee Davis)

grandfather – who hasn’t brought in any money, is this Emmas father Charles Phelps or William Smith?

Aunt Polly (Polly is a diminutive of Mary) I think this is James Phelps, Emmas brother, second wife.

Mistress (presumably Margaret Stallon), little boy (presumably Raymond Stallon aged about 3)

Elias – (Elias Phelps? or is this her younger brother gone away somewhere)

George and Anne  - George (Emma’s brother) and Annie Phelps

Mrs Knight – Jane Wright next door neighbour – see below

Mr Harding at Acton Hall in Halmore

Letter Feb 1897, says “soon will have been gone three weeks” – so Jan/Feb 1897 left to go into service?

In 1891 Samuel Rake is a gardener/domestic servant living in Halmore at Acton Hall Lodge next door to Acton Hall where the Jones family lived. Richard Jones 70 was a retired Medical Practicioner born in Awre Glos married to Ella Sarah 64 born in London St Dunstans in the East

Emma Hughes point of death there was a Emma Hughes in Halmore but she is there on both the 1891 and 1901 so either she lived or it is not the family.  There is a lot of children though.  Another letter says she is better.

flos socks – I still have a pair of socks ( thick khaki green ones, good for Wellington boots) that Bessie (my Gran) knitted me which I keep for sentiments sake.  She used to knit me lots so was obviously very good at it.  She was always knitting and I used to sit on her lap while she was doing it.  She taught me a bit but I don’t think I ever made anything worthwhile but I will always remember “in, round, through and out”

Letter 03.

Halmore 18(97?)

My dear Girl / it is no use to tell you how thankful i was to hear this morning you arrived safe and sound / my dear Girl / i think the walk done me good / i do not wonder your feet ache ing and see where you walked and ran / flo very soon gave out crying but she has not forgoten you / i was going down the road yesterday and Alice Smith was coming in the distance she cried out Basse Basse / Alice is going back to day / if my Bessie was coming home i should not like her to act like her about the road all day nearly (2) you will see Li got home but i shall be looking forward to Agust now / i was glad Li was at the station to see you in the train / Bessie Neal got knocked up against a lamp post at Berkeley Road and her eye was hurted and she had to come home / dear Bessie i am so please with the pinafores and things you brought me i hope you thanked your Mrs for them / your Gran is as well as can be expectyed after so much excitement / i dont think Li was looking so well as i have seen him but you my dear Child look better the i () ---ld have beleived / Alice Smith came home with a Harry Plum i dont think she is improved in her ways much i seemed ????? yesterday morning when the postman brought your letter because i fancy you may have thought one unkind not sending the children or coming to meet you / dad wanted to come but i thought it was no use and you will see i had to pay a penny for it contained communication / i sent the envelope for you to see if Kate? posted it sunday night the post did not go out because it is stamped ----- you will see the 19th but you must not think i missed paying the penny only if we could have met our dear girl i would not have cried?  but it does not matter now / dad said you saw Nelly at the point and Li / i dont think I have any more news to tell you / i thought i would answer your welcome letter at once / the weather is very damp and miserable today / i am going to enclose yours in Lis so i must conclude with may God Bless my dear child your loving mother E Smith XXXXXXXX

Notes:  mentions

flo – younger sister aged 2 or 3

Li – brother Elias aged about 16 or uncle Elias Phelps 

Alice Smith was William and Emma Smiths youngest daughter in 1891 aged 11 (say 17 in 1897) and so is Emma’s sister in law and Bessie’s aunt although she is just younger.  With such big families the generations overlap in age.

Bessie Neal – hurt her eye at Berkeley Road

Harry Plum – friend of Alice Smith

Nelly – saw at point – probably Ellen, Elias Phelps wife as she is mentioned in the same breath as Li?

“at the point” - could be Point to Point Horse Racing

Dursley Circuit Methodist Baptism Register:

 1919 Oct 7th Baptism at Halmore, Walter Lewis John (son of) Henry James Plumb and Alice his wife, Halmore, born Aug 2nd 1919,  by P. S. Burrow.

Letter 04 – 3rd April 1897.

Halmore Apr 1897

i will write more next time

My dear Girl Just a few lines in answer to your ever welcome letter that we are alway please to receive and so thankfull that my dear Girl is so well and happy / you was afraid i had my head bad but i am thankfull to tell you i have not had a really bad day with my head since you went away but i may as well tell you but i did not mean to but you know i was not well when you went away / i kept up for nearly a fortnight after you went away but how i went up and down to your gran i dont know /  but one night i was (p2) taken with something in my side and i think Dad thought he was agoing to lose me / i could scarely speak or Breathe so he left his work and fetched the Doctor and i was in bed 5 day / he said i was very ill and had been ill along time / completely run down he said so he sent me some medicine and it did me such a lot of good i have not been the same since and he gave your Dad some tablets? for my head / aunt polly done for Gran very well while i was ill so dont fret no more about me / i am spack? as a bee? up till now and i ?? hope my dear Girl i should? keep so / it was no use (p3) worrying you about it because i know perfectley well no one would not have kept my girl away if she only knowed how ill i was / i must not stop to write you a long letter to day tis saterday  but i thought if i did not write till Monday you would think what was up / your poor Gran is about as usal tis her birthday to day / i was to tell you from her not think of coming back  i to this poverty struck  hole so you see she is about the same in temper / Granch got no work so that does not improve her / Nelly comes over ever week  now because she said Elias said it gave me a chance to go home and do any thing but do not fret? about us my darling (p4) we get along Bettar than you think  for Hardings people left yesterday / their sale is on Monday / i think it would be nice for you to go to the Ladys class when you can on Sundays / Edard knight is going to Alice Wright place / i dare say it would have put my  dear Bessie longing for home if she had seen Eliz Browning / i have no perticles news to tell you / Jim Bennet is gone to Jail for the money he owes Hester Fryer/ dad has some work this week and he hoping to go Hudding? on Monday  Easter will soon be hear  / i hope you will be very happy it is bitter cold hear to day ?? i must say good bye my darling girl and god bless you  your loving mother E Smith XXXXXXXX

Notes: Bessies Gran, Emma’s mother, Elizabeth Phelps nee Barrett was born April 3rd 1835 according to the Barrett Family Bible so this letter was written on April 3rd 1897.

Aunt Polly I think is Emma’s brother James second wife Mary Ann.

Granch is grandfather Charles Phelps

Hardings are selling up - see the notice of the sale and list of contents

Edard Knight  (Edward Knight) this is pure Gloucestershire, next door to the Bothy where we lived in Eastwood Park Falfield, was who we called Edard, Edward (Ted) Tucker). For the Edard in 1897 a possibility is Albert Edward Knight who was 14 in 1881 in Halmore and son of Mary Knight  widow.

Alice Wright in service nearby.

Jim Bennet gone to Gaol for money he owed Hester Fryer:

In 1881 Hester Fryer 46 was a grocer in Halmore unmarried living with her brothers, Henry 41, Basket Maker and Rueben 25, supercargoman of Grain at shedule 63 in Hamfallow.

We haven’t been able to find any report in the Gazette about Jim Bennet gone to prison.

Elizabeth Browning

Edward Harding

From the Gazette 20JUN1891    page 4    col. 3

BIRTH - Harding - June 14 at Moorend, Slimbridge, the wife of Mr. E. Harding - twins: boys.

From the Gazette 22JUL1893    page 4    col. 4

BIRTH - Harding - July 16 at Actree House, Berkeley, the wife of Edward Harding - a daughter.

From the Gazette 12MAY1888

Report of wedding of Edward Harding and Annie Robinson at Dursley.

WEDDING AT DURSLEY, - On Wednesday morning a congregation of considerable size assembled in Dursley Parish Church to witness the nuptials of Mr Edward Harding, of Moorend, Slimbridge, with Miss Annie Robinson, neice of Mr George Robinson, of Woodmancote, by whom the bride was given away.  The dresses of the bride and bridesmaids were very pretty, that of the former, being grey.  As the wedding party left the church they were greeted by showers of rice from their friends, while others strewed flowers in the path to their carriage.  At the conclusion of the ceremony a merry peal was rung.

On the same page was

FOR SALE, 200 gallons of very fine Butt PERRY. – Apply to B. FOXWELL, Ivy Farm Breadstone.  (Ivy Farm was next to Green Farm where we lived)

Harding" bankruptcy" - found 3 APR 1897 page 4 col 1       

    Advert for sale of property of Mr. Edward Harding "who is leaving Acton Hall"  

Letter 05.

Halmore April 1897

My dear Girl i am writing these few lines to you hoping it will find you quite well and Happy as it leaves us all hear about as usal Grans back is very troublesome to her my dear Girl we are all pleased to hear ther is a chance of seeing your dear face soon i do hope we shall not be disapointed and i do hope it will be fine and warm dear bessie i 

sent you those few flowers they where not much i hope you received them before they were withered my dear Girl the children was please to hear you had bought something for them Tom danced a jig over is front if you get one for Herbert is size is 12 ½ and my dear Girl if you go into the city before you come home will you please Bring me some more Blands pills i think they are very good and your Dad takes some of them your Dad says he shall write and tell you to send his kisses strait to him or keep them till you come and bring them as i never give him what you send dear Bessie i am glad you are at a house where you can go out without so much bother i dont seem to have much news to tell you yes your Gran Smith was very good to do what she could when i was ill the weather keeps very cold and stormy your dad started Monday?? yesterday My dear girl if you are not going to whear those two chemise of yours you may bring them for me and i can make you two more fallnet?? ones when you want them do not be disapointed my dear girl if you cannot come the time soon goes by but i know you would feel it so should we but we cannot get all we want so good bye and God Bless my dear Child with all our love from your ever loving mother E Smith


Blands Pills -?

Grans back – probably Emma’s mother Elizabeth Phelps, nee Barrett, as Gran Smith is mentioned by name.

Gran Smith is Emma Smith nee Davis married to William Smith, dock labourer, and James Davis Smith’s mother.

Brother Tom still there in 1897 aged 13.  I am still looking for him on the 1901 Census.

Letter 06.

Letter From Herbert and Emma

[the first page and a half of this letter is written in pencil by Herbert and the rest in ink by his mother]

My dear sister I now write to you as long as I have not wrote to you before My ears have been very bad and I think Mother would like me to go back to purton school after our examination Grandmother is about the same I havent had the nightmare for a good time now Esther Fryer said to me that Mother will want you to come back before long I told her that I could look after Flo

Rose Nash is going to leave Mrs Field Mr Sanders is going to preach here all this week and he’s going to try to get some converted a lot was converted at Cam about 20 was converted at Cam (p2) from your loving and affectionate brother Herbert a kiss for you X please write back

Thank you dear Bessie for the pills how much did they cost

The boys told me Anne Miles was at Chapel on Sunday night with Mr and Mrs Barys?? now good Bye and God Bless you my own dear Bessy with lots of love from all of us your ever loving mother E Smith



Herbert aged 11 takes letters and parcels into Berkeley in the morning so I expect he goes to school there.  He must have gone to a school in Purton before that.

Esther Fryer

Rose Nash leaving Mrs Field (I will have to look up the letter but I remember Rose Nash in Rosemary Smiths (Newport) family tree- I sent her a copy of this letter)

Mr Sanders preaching and converting many to Wesleyan Methodists.  See notice in paper.

Anne Miles with Mr & Mrs Barys??

Rosina Nash married Thomas Henry Smith in 1909

Thornbury, June Quarter, 6a 480

Dursley and Circuit Wesleyan Methodist Baptism Register

1912 June 30th at Halmore Doris Eliza dau of Thomas Henry and Rosina Smith of Halmore Lane, Halmore, born June 2nd, by Finlay Mackenzie.

There is a Thomas Henry Smith born 1862 who is the brother of James Davis Smith.  This may be him but I will need to get the marriage certificate, will also have to check Rosemary Smiths family tree.

Letter 07.

Halmore 1897

My own dear Bessie i write in answer to your always welcome letter i did not expect one this morning been washing day yesterday but suppose it was your Sunday evening in / i was only to pleased to hear from you My dear Child i am glad to tell you that Gran is much Better she was please when i read your letter to her this morning / Maggie passed last thursday so she can stay at home altogether / Nelly was over last week and she said you had not written to her / you would not have a minute to spare and take a little fortune in stamps (p2) / dear B i have not seen Kate?? to speak to her i saw her agoing to chapel on Sunday  night i do hope she will soon be back  because i expect you miss her when you go out i am glad my dear child that you joined the Bible class it must seem large to you so many i have not been to any of Mr Sanders meetings i went to chapel on Sunday morning dear B your father is in work this week but not done much this last fortnight / now is vessel is the only one in the Dock / work is very scarce at Sharpness / i have heard it will not be so bad with the Hardings as expected / i heard is brother is offering one Shilling in the pound / Mrs Harding came in to Grans yesterday (p3) morning and brought her a rabbit she said she thought she would bring her one while she had one / she may not have another one / she is alt?? Gran told her how sorry she was for her and she nearly Cry?? The two little boys she said was gone to London and the two little girls was going away she said frends was very good to have them / the governess and the servant and (?? looks like perrett or ferrett!) are under notice to leave / dear b Elias was over sunday morning and George and percy all the afternoon / E Hughes is better / i am so glad you try to please the Mrs / i think thre is not much fear? of your stopping / i think Halmore gets  worse dull every week / i was sorry i told you Clara? (p4) Knight had left but it seem you must not say a word that comes from your Gran Smiths / she went back in two or three days/ i am glad you liked the flowers i told dad you would think a lot of them / they would seem like home / dear B i must tell you i am much better and i have not had one of my bad days since you went away so that will be good news to you / i dont know that i have any more news to tell you / i sent Emma letter up by George? / she been withy sorting / it is very poor times with them / i dont think there is any thing else so i shall say  good bye and God Bless you my own dear Child your ever loving Mother E Smith




Nelly, probably Elias wife Ellen


Elias, George (Emmas brothers) and percy (eldest child of George and Annie)

?? Knight – 

in 1881 a Knight family in Halmore was at schedule 60 all born Glostershire Berkeley:

Mary Knight Head Widow 46 Washerwoman

William Knight son25 General labourer

Thomas Knight son20 ditto

Albert Edw Knight son14 ditto

Mary Knight Dau12 scholar

Francis John Knight son10 ditto

Alfred Knight son 3

but more likely? is at schedule 68, two schedules away from Halmore Chapel

all born Glostershire Berkeley except Ruth Lusty b. Cromhall

James Knight39 Mariner b. Berkeley

Emma Knight36

Fred. Geo. Knight6

Rhoda Annie Knight4

Clara Jane Knight2

Flor. Louise Knight2mo

George KnightBrotherFarm Labourer

Daniel LustyFather in lawLate Canal Pilot

Ruth Lusty Mother in law

re-reading the letter it could be Clara Knight

in 1901 she was a servant in Great Malvern to a William Mays and family:

Clara J. Knight single servant 22 General servant domestic b. Halmore Glos

incidently her sister Rhoda was a servant at Alkington to Janus Brown and family at Blanchworth House. 

Rhoda C?. Knight single   Servant 24 Parlour Maid b Halmore

Two schedules away is Kits Green Farm where Thomas Powell widower 48 farmer born Breadstone with his sister Mary Powell 45 also born Breadstone.

Green Farm Breadstone, is where my parents were living when I was born and where we lived until I was 12.

George POWELL of Green Farm, Breadstone,

7 Nov 1900, 81, 1819

Catherine, 10 Oct 1908, 80, 1820

E Hughes – in 1881 in Halmore schedule 84 there are:

William Hughes 52 Dock labourer b. Berkeley

Matilda A. Hughes 42 b Thornbury

Eliza’th A M Hughes 22b. Berkeley

Walter W. Hughes 17Dock labourer b. Berkeley

or it could be Emma Hughes nee Tyrell at schedule 86:

Henry TyrellHead44 agricultural labourer b. Berkeley

Mary Ann Tyrell Wife48 seamstressditto

Emma HughesDau20 seamstressditto

Lewis Hughesson in law 20 dock labourerditto

Thomas Tyrrell Son18 dock labourerditto

Harding Family

It is apparent that something major happened to a Harding family locally in 1897.  This would appear to be a bankruptcy to the tune of £8,000 pounds, a lot of money in those days.  I presume that it is a bankruptcy because Mr. Hardings brother is offering to pay a shilling in the pound ie a twentieth of the sum owed.

There are several Harding families in the vicinity.  I presume that the obvious candidates the fitzHardings of Berkeley Castle didn’t bring Gran a rabbit.  The only other substantial family is the Hardings of Sanigar Farm but it is a bit far away near Sharpness.  Also there doesn’t seem to be any difference between 1891 and 1901 i.e. they are all still there in 1901 so maybe not.  I would expect them to have broken up.

It is possible that their stay in Halmore was between censuses and I suppose Acton Hall is a possibility. Yes this is borne out by the newspaper.

I also see in Sanigar Lane that there is a Henry Plumb age 11 in 1897.  Is he the Harry 

Plum that was rather friendly with Alice Smith in the letters

October 17th 1919 at HALMORE

Walter Lewis John, 

Letter 08. May 1897

Halmore May 1897

My dear Girl i write you these few lines hoping it will find you quite well as it leaves me about as usal. and your poor old Gran is about the same / my dear i did not say anything about the Anniversary last week / i thought it would only set you thinking but it is all over now and they had the tea meeting yesterday / i dont think it was very sucesseful the singing went wrong at night and last week it was the same as usal disturbances Kat ? Jones wanted one particular seat where Jenny Naish have set two or three years and then yesterday Tom Tyrrell had something against Emma and would not let her go in his house to help cut up / you cannot tell my dear Girl how thankfull i am that you my dear Child is out of the way of it all / dear Bessie i am told that flo smith is come to live very close to you / i want to tell you my Child not to have any thing to do with her / she tell such fibs and makes enought much Mis Chef / not that i dont want to say any thing against her but she is not safe to have much to do with but i know i can trust you / i always seem able to do that dear bessie / i have sent your blouse  i thought i may as well put the B? one / it may be of use to (p4) you / i was not able to go to Anniversary/ i had one of my bad days / you used to say if any thing was going on Mother was always bad but i dont trouble when it is over now / i now then i have not to fear that pain again and it is better for me when your Dad is at home / Master Tom had the praise as usal for reciting is piece on Sunday night / i dare say you remember old Mifs?  Jones at purton she went out of her mind once / she is dead to day / i dont think i have much news to tell you and this is an


Anniversary last week, tea meeting

Kat Jones, Jenny Naish

Tom reciting his piece

Tom Tyrrell and Emma?

Flo Smith going to Bristol

Mrs Jones at purton died

Letter 09. June

I know you will write soon

Halmore 1897 

poor Gran about as usal hoping you are quite well

My dear Child i dare say you think that i am rather idle not writing to you be fore but i thought i should have heard from E before now / you will see by uncle Charlie letter wich i have inclosed that he has another Chance but i have not heard from E to know what he will think about it but i should think it would be a very good thing for him dont you dear Bessie / i dont seem to have much news to tell you but i must tell (p2) you that night after i came from you E Smith G Carter had been to Cam and they heard that Hetty Bennet was going to be married at Berkeley Chapel on tuesday morning and sure enough they walked there and back / Charlie Allens sister and Jack Bennet walked with them / it was the quietist job done at Halmore some time and Tom? Tyrrell wife has got a daughter / My dear Child i suppose you are having your dress made by now / Mrs Wright sent Alices off by Herbert this (p3) morning / dear B i dare say you will be surprised to hear Toms Master went off rather sudden last Saturday morning / Tom had three shillings gave him by visitors last week / i must tell you dear Bessie that Toms birthday his the twenty fourth  but i know you cannot  send him much but they think so much of it if it is only mentioned / Elias and Nelly was over on friday / your granch is gone haymaking for a day or two / i went to Purton Chapel and Dad on Sunday night Mr Winter preached it was full (p4) My dear Girl i hope the Mrs or  Master said anything about our coming like that it was rather to much of it but you know i am not much for getting about but if my dear girl stays out at service  i shall expect to get one only fancy? that was the first Railway ticket i ever took my self but i did in joy my self  and to see you looking so well  it did me good / Annie Knight little charge is much better but Annie has had the tooth ache ramping /  i don know that i have any thing more to scribble about because it is scribbling so with all our dear love i must say good bye and god Bless dear Bessie your loving mother E SmithXXXXXXXX


Hetty Bennett married on the 8th June 1897

Thomas Davis Smith birth was the 25th June 1883 according to the certificate.

E – Elias Phelps?? or son Elias?

Uncle Charlie had another Chance?  must be Charles Phelps , Emmas brother in Birmingham but what hid he have another Chance at.  The census says he was a chemists assistant

E Smith G Carter had been to Cam (a G. W. Carter was an insurance Agent in Halmore 1901) married Emma Eliza Smith in 1898

heard Hetty Bennet getting married - Charlie Allen his sister and Jack Bennet walked with them

Hettie is a diminutive of Henrietta, which fooled me for a time but I saw that a Hesther Bennett was on the Halmore Sunday School list the same year as Bessie joined in 1881.  I couldn’t find a Hesther Bennet on the census but on the same page on the Sunday School register was a Kate Bennett and looking her up on the census showed an Esther in the same family.  I could then find that Esther married Charles Allen in 1897, Apr-May-Jun quarter registered at Thornbury 6a 443. 

The marriage certificate says that they married on the 8th June 1897 at the Union? Chapel Berkeley.  The witnesses were John Henry/Harry? Bennett and Eliza Allen.  Charles Allen is 25 and a Master Blacksmith, father Alfred Allen, deceased, a Marine Store Dealer.  Esther (Hester crossed out) aged 23, father James Bennett, general Labourer.

In 1901 in Halmore we find the family living at schedule 234 which is two schedules away from Halmore Lane:


Charles Allen Head 29 Blacksmith b. Cam

Esther Allen Wife 27 b. Berkeley

David nephew 18 blacksmiths apprentice b. Cam

Charles is a blacksmith working on his own account at home.  I thought that there might be a child to account for “it was the quietist job done at Halmore some time” but no sign!

I went to Sharpness Primary School (Hinton Newton County Primary School) with a David Allen whose family were farmers down Slimbridge Lane (maybe Halmore Farm or Pool Farm) and I wonder if there is any connection.  

The 1880 map only shows one, whereas the 1903 map shows two Smithies in Halmore.  One, at the top end near the Fox & Goose, and the other, at the bottom opposite Slimbridge Lane (the one which is not on the 1880 map).  This was still a Smithy when I was a child (1940s) but I think I remember it closing up.  The bus to Sharpness School used to stop there and pick up a number of children and you could see right in so I presume it was open in some way to the front.  Halmore Lane was the road leading to Wanswell where Rose Cottage was (still is) and, further along the Cider House.  This fits with the lower Smithy being the one where Charles Allen lived.

Tom? Tyrrell wife got a daughter 

This would be Hilda – in 1901 Thomas and Kezia Tyrrell living next to Acton Hall with daughter Hilda aged 3 and Alice 8 months.

Cam and Elsewhere Methodist Baptism Register:

1897 August 8th at Halmore Baptism of Hilda Keziah daughter of  Thomas and Keziah Tyrrell born June 11th 1897 by John H. Sanders

“Mrs Wright sent off Alice’s dress by Herbert”

Jane Wright lived next door to Emma and James in Halmore, 

the schedules on the census page go:

Brookend Farm, (Robert Neale and family), 

142 Damas Down (Charles Griffey? and family, Hauler),  

143 Halmore (Joseph and Ann Browning and lodgers, William Hall 60 and George Summers19).

144 Jane Wright and family

145 Emma and James Davis Smith and family

146 James and Ellen Phelps and family

147 Fox and Goose, Harvey Phillips and Family, Publican and Grocer

In 1891 she was a widow, working as a Laundress. 

Jane Wright Head Wid. 57 Laundress, b. Devon, Tiverton

William Son S 27, General Labourer, b. Glos, Hinton

Charles Son S16, Gardener, b. Glos, Hinton

Alice Dau 12, ?? Girl (Dom) b. Glos, Hinton

Alice H. Wright, born about 1879, Halmore.  In 1901 she was 22, a servant, domestic cook, in Bristol working for the Glanall family in Clifton at 34 Woodstock Road, Redland Westbury on Trym.  In 1897 she would have been about 18 so about the same age as Bessie and not far away in Bristol.

This must be her at the Bristol Sunday School.

wright alice 34 woodstock rd 20 1897


Howard Wreford Glanall 42, Secretary of Manchester ??? Co, b. Devon Exeter

Hannah Glanall45, b. Devon Exeter

Heyman W Glanall16,b. Glos, Clifton

Howard S. W. Glanall15b. Devon, Exeter

Alused J. W. Glanall11b. Devon, Exeter

Marjory A. W. Glanall 9, b. Birminham

Alice H. Wright22, Cook, Domestic,b. Glos, Halmore

Evangelina Gabitas16, Housemaid, Domestic, b. Glos, Bristol

Toms Master, visitors gave him 3 shillings

Toms birthday 24th

Elias and Nelly over – Emmas brother Elias Phelps and wife Ellen

granch gone haymaking – grandfather Charles Phelps

(I would guess that this letter is written about June - as granch – gone haymaking)

Purton Chapel with dad.  Mr Winter preached.  Annie Knight looking after a/her infant??

Herbert mentioned that Mr. Sanders, a Preacher, had converted many at Cam.  The notice of the Anniversary (above) must have been very similar to that of Halmore or Berkeley.  Underneath the Anniversay notice is an advertisement for a Midland Railway Excursion to Bristol.  I wondered whether this was the outing to Bristol that Emma had taken.  Maybe it was another time but she must have been tempted to take this one or maybe Bessie came back to Halmore for Easter.

Letter 10. May 15th or after, 1897

Halmore May 1897

M dear Child I write these few lines to you in answer to your ever welcome letter that is always welcome come when it will / I am thankfull that you are well and getting on so well my dear Child we are all about as usal / the weather is getting very warm and if course that makes poor (gra?)ns back very bad / I do hope Alice Wright will get on alright for (p2) for the sake of her Mother because she makes trouble of every thing / I was very pleased you was in time for your dress peice it will make you a nice dress it seems about here that dress and Cape of the same stuff is very much worn / Laura? Gaston as been home I seen she had a Navy Blue dress and cape / my dear Bessie I dare say if the Mrs goes out and leave you at home she will let you have a Haliday afterwards and (p3) it will be always welcome when ever it is / I don’t know that I have much news to tell my dear Girl / there was a sad thing at Brookend a woman hanged her self and left a large family a poor dear baby only 6 weeks old / I dare say you will be surprised to hear Gran had a letter from poor Aunt Annie at Broadmoor she writes ? well as ever and as? sensible / dear B I got on very well with my journey to Gloster I bought brown oxfords for Ethel and slippers for Flo and shoes for Dad and my self / Alice told you about Ethels hat / I have just finished? her a new frock and cape it is a Green one  I have put in a bit / dear B I am glad to tell you Granch is still at work but I don’t know how long it will last I am afraid it will not be many  days more / Master Herb says you have not answered his last letter you know how queer he is / I am glad you can get out so well on a Sunday you cannot always find places like it but if course it is so

(there is another smaller piece of paper transcribed below which could be the end of this letter, but I cannot be sure)

(on one side)

you say G and flo are cautious / I rather expect they are / George is so Mischevous and every thing he does flo try to do the same but you Cannot help but love her / she is very good if by her self / if my dear girl cannot get her holidays when Li do we must save enough money for some af us to come with him and see you if all is

(on the other side)

well / I expect I must Conclude now has Herbert is going to take it to Berkely / I suppose this is the time dear old Bess is getting up about 20 past six so now good bye and God Bless My dear Child with all our love and ??? Mother from your ever loving Mother E Smith XXXXXXXXXXXXXX what a scribble 


Alice Wright

Laura? Gaston – The only L. Gaston  I can find is Louisa, this could well be the name in the letter.   A Louisa Gaston was born in Halmore in about 1887. The family obviously lived in Halmore but must have moved to Slimbridge after Louisa was born and before Francis was born in Slimbridge. On the 1991 census the family are living in Slimbridge at/in something called Cats Castle next to Moorend Farm:

William H Gaston, 27, Gamekeeper b. Glos, Halmore

Minnie Gaston, 27, b. Glos, Berkeley

William G. Gaston 8, Scholar b. Glos, Halmore

Frederick T. Gaston 6, Scholar b. G;os, Halmore

Louisa A. Gaston 4,b. Glos, Halmore

Francis H. Gaston 1,b. Glos Slimbridge

In 1901 Louisa is living at the Newport Towers (in Newport where my parents used to drink!) working as a nurse for Thomas G. Mathews and family, a retired Drysalter (Drug) and Oil Merchant. Louisa is 14, b. Berkeley.

suicide at Brookend

grans back

granch working

who is poor Aunt Annie at (in?) Broadmoor who is writing to Gran?  Broadmoor was an asylum for the criminally insane in Berkshire?  You had to have done something really bad to get in there.  The Attendants and inmates are listed on the 1901 census but the inmates, for some reason, are only listed by their initials and birthplace.  As there are some 700 I need more clues.

It turns out she is Emmas brothers wife in London.  She killed her youngest child. 

Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper (London, England), Sunday, March 1, 1896; Issue 2780. 

Old Bailey Trials.

SAD CASE OF SUICIDE AT BROOKEND. – On Thursday afternoon last, Annie the wife of William Cann, an engineer on board the steam Tug “Thames” aged 48 years, and residing at Brookend, committed suicide under sad circumstances.  It appears she had been in delicate health for the last five years, and had been in a depressed state since the birth of her child six weeks ago.  At about 4pm she was talking to a neighbour named Gaston, and then went into the house and was not seen again alive.  Between five and six her daughter Mabel, aged 11 years, came home from school, and on looking for her mother, found her hanging in the staircase.  She raised an alarm and Thomas Rodderick and Samuel Phillips went in and found her suspended with a rope by the neck to the bannisters.  They at once cut her down, but found life extinct.  Her husband, who was away with his vessel, was communicated with, also the Coroner.  She leaves six children, the youngest six weeks old.

from the Gazette Saturday May 15th 1897.

Letter 11.

XXXXXXX Halmore June 1897

My own dear Girl i write these few lines to you hoping it will find you quite well and happy as it leaves us about as usal / the weather is hot and trying but my dear girl i am more thankfull then i can tell you that you are where you can do your self some good and be indepandant of every body because what you work for your welcome to / dear Bessie your poor gran is about the same of course the warm weather always makes her back worse / your granch (p2) is out of work again / it was purton Club on Wensday  but it is come to nothing very near there was no amusement / the children could not so much as buy a penny cake / i went down for a walk at night and i went to chapel twice on Sunday  Mr Barnes preached and next Sunday it is Mr Edwards from fishponds / my dear Girl i dont know that i have much news to tell you / we have had a splend/splash? rain / the gardens is looking Better now as else it was getting very dry / i shall Be glad when we (p3) some young potatioes i dare say you had some / my dear B you must not think of sending me any af your money / you will be surprised what you will want and whatever you do keep your shoes or Slippers alright not for your feet to get damp / i should rather think of sending you some then you send me / i must tell you Mrs Wright so pleased to think Alice likes her place and by what her mother told me she is not over worked / My dear girl i do hope you recieved your blouses fit for you to wear (p4) sure?? you doing them up again  / we did not think six months that we should be writing to one another / yes your father and Tom Herbert and Master Gerald helped at the Anniversary / your Grandfather Smith stopped with me at night and your gran in the afternoon but i did not want anyone but your father is such a fidget / dear B i have heard since af Tom Tyrrell not liking Em to go in to is house because her head was not clean? ???  it not disgracefull they talked of taking him to Berkeley he said he did not care he would fell


Letter 12. 25th June 1897

We are all about as usal

Halmore June 25

My dear Child i am writing these few lines to you in a hurry while gran is having her breakfast / it is only to be a note i will write more next time / i was very glad to see by toms letter that you seen some of the Jubilee sights i did not  i stayed with gran but i suppose it was very fair at berkeley but i dare say you know by the papers more than i can tell you / (p2) i have sent this cotton dress we thought it would be cool for you it has been so very hot but it is nice and cool this morning and will you please give this white shirt to Alice Wright for Mrs Wright / dear B you will be suprised to hear cousin bessie from Gloster came down to see gran/you? last week and this is an apron she brought you / she was going to ask you up to Gloster to stop from Monday till Wensday but you was gone / (p3) she was very suprised but very glad to hear you was doing so well / i thought you would like for me to send it my dear Girl / i am so glad you got your dress made / they were all delighted with their bows?? your dad had his put up in his cap / he helped the Berkeley band?  / i must not stop to write more herb is going to carry this to Berkeley let me know soon if you get it alright dont hurry? yours all ??? love Mother E Smith good bye and god bless Bessie


Toms letter, was Tom in Bristol?? brother Tom was 13?


Alice Wright who must be close by in Bristol

cousin bessie from Gloster  is this the bessie mentioned in the herbert jenner letter

herb – younger brother

Jubilee sights – QV diamond jubilee 60 years

Letter 13: June 1897

Halmore June 1897

My dearest Girl i am writing to you hoping it will find you quite well ? / i was so sorry to hear of your fall but thankfull that it was no worse but i know it must have frightened you / my dear Girl your Gran is about the same / i had one of my bad days Sunday / it is rather fourtnate when it happens on a Sunday because i have some one to look after the Children / i am got over it again now / your uncle Charlie ran down on Saturday and Li? sent H? a bike or rather (p2) i should have said Tom he takes most charge of it and cause Jealousy / dear Bessie i want you when you go shopping to buy me a bit of velvet Biding? / you said it cost you ¾ a yard to do your brown one / it cost a penny a yard at Berkeley / i shall want enough for three but i dont want it all at once but now you can send up to a quarter of a pound for a penny / you may send me a bit with a letter / My dear Girl you say you look out for a letter so do we for yours / i am often thinking when my dear Girl his coming home and often (p3) when i get tired that comes into my mind and you cannot tell how that freshens me up again / i think it is nice to have some nice Girl friends / you have many now you would not have had if you had stayed in this old place / dear B dont think of sending money we are getting on alright / up to now your Dad is at work / i was to be sure and give his love to you / i dont know off any news to tell you/ every thing and every body seem to be about as usal / i see Sarah Weaver is at Coxs i dont know wether she has left er/or? holidays  she has got such a Lady but i dont think it is (p4) any thing to be proud off and her sister not married / dear bessie I shall want about ten yards off Binding but you need not send it all at once / it is black i want if you can get it / there is no hurry / i know how that fall must have shaken you up and i expect the poor little boy was frightened / now i must say again i am thank full my dear Child has not got any bones broken / dear B dont mention about understanding your letters  it is so plain / i often wonder you can understand mine / G and percy was over Sunday / Elias and Nell often over / i think Alice gave a lot for her hat / i dont see the use to work hard for money and then spend it so foolish


1881 Census Sarah Jane Weaver 7?? b. Berkeley dau of Mar Weaver Bricklayers wife b Oxford living near Fox and Goose

Letter 14.

XXXXXX Halmore July 10’ 97


My dear Child i write in answer to your ever welcome letter / i was very glad to hear you got your dress alright we thought it would be better thin that thick one you had off Annie / your Gran keeps about the same as usal so do all of us / the weather as been very hot but it is a bit cooler to day / the children at Purton had their treat on Wensday and broke up ??????? so i have Ethel and Gerald at home / dear Bessie i don’t seem to have any news to tell / there as been a strike (2) at Sharpness so it has spoilt the work there for this last week or two but i dare say you have seen it n the paper i sent / you may forward it to Elias for the cost of ½ penny but i thought it would ?interest? you more then Li / pleas yourself about sending it / i had a letter from Li he thinks he shall have his holiday the first week in Agust if he can / dear Bessie i dare say you were surprised to see Emma / i suppose it a outing for her for i don’t believe she (3) thought any more about going to service then i do / she went the first thing the morrow morning and agreed with Mrs Burnett to go back there to work / Anne Knight went back yesterday her ?mother? went with her / My dearest girl you cannot tell how thankfull i am that you have such a comforable home away from hear /  i think your Granch? get lazer every day he his a bed all day to day he goes and does a bit of hay making and gets the drink / he was a bed nearly two days after Jubilee and he may stay then? I never asks him if he wants anything (new page) neither do i intend to dear B / Mother had a letter from uncle Charlie / he his going to run down and see her for the day / Their is a trip to Sharpness /  they say it is to be rather grand at Berkeley to day a foreign Prince coming to visit the Lord at the Castle they are decorating the town for the occasion / dear B The paper was ?full? with the notice of the Aniversary / i made Ethel a overall with that Brilliant you gave me to wear to the Jubilee / you know dear Bessie we keep talking off when Basse is coming home / you will see a difference in the children when you do come they all grow so (end of page 4)


Annie – from whom she got a dress

Gran – either Elizabeth Phelps nee Barrett, or Emma Smith nee Davis

Ethel – younger sister

Gerald – younger brother

Elias (Li) – younger brother

Emma – could be her Aunt of about the same age

Mrs Burnett – something to do with service?

Anne Knight -  check on census

Mother – Elizabeth Phelps nee Barrett

uncle Charlie (Phelps? in Birmingham?)

Granch – either Charles Phelps or William Smith

Children’s treat at Purton

Strike at Sharpness

Foreign Prince visiting the Lord at the Castle

Jubilee – Queen Victoria

The Anniversary -  10 JUL 1897 page 4 col 1

     Advert:- Wesleyan Church, Berkeley, Sunday School Anniversary on Sunday 11 July.

     17 JUL 1897 page 5 col 3

     Report of the Anniversary Service.

     Also 10 APR 1897 page 4 col 6

     Report of the quarterly meeting of the Dursley Wesleyan Circuit.



His Highness The Maharajah of Kapurthala, His Highness The Thakhore Sahib of Morir, and The Rajkumar Umaid Singh of Shahpura, accompanied by Colonel Trevor, General Sir Edward Stanton, and Captain French, with their attendants, were yesterday expected to arrive from London via Bristol on a visit to Berkeley Castle, as the guests of Lord and Lady Fitzhardinge.

They were timed to arrive at Berkeley Road Station by special train at 6.20 p.m, and here the Berkeley Troop of the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars under the command of Captain W. Playne, paraded to form a mounted escort, and proceed to Berkeley Castle, and afterwards entertained to supper at the Berkeley Arms Hotel.

The inhabitants of Berkeley have taken great interest in the event and decorated the town with a profusion of bunting in honour of the occasion, and the streets presented a very gay appearance.  In addition, flags were flying on the flag-staffs of the Castle, the Church Tower, the Town Hall, the Berkeley Arms Hotel, and the George Inn, much of the material at the Jubilee festival being again brought into requisition.  An important feature of these decorations was a grand triumphal arch erected at the entrance to the town , between Mr Legge’s and Mr B. Fear’s, the four uprights being adorned in Venetian-mast style, and the canopy was a framework being covered in red, white, and blue drapery, surmounted by six handsome flags, Union Jacks, and British Ensigns, the two in the centre extending to a great height.  On either side of the canopy were the arms of the Berkeley Family bearing their motto, “Dieu avec nous,“ with a bordering of festooned coloured drapery, and across the arch the words Welcome to Berkeley,” and on the reverse side “India, England,” with clasped hands between.  Large rosettes of various tints added a more brilliant appearance, and on either side rows of flags hung over the side-walks.  The distinguished guests will be afforded every facility for inspecting the old baronial Castle, and today (Saturday) will, amongst other things, inspect the foxhounds, stables, kennels, shorthorns, Clydesdales, pheasantries, the deer in Whitcliffe Park, from which elevated spot is presented a magnificent view of the beautiful Vale of Berkeley, the River Severn, and surrounding hills.

The scene at Berkeley Road Station was a very gay one.  Hundreds of persons who had arrived in carriages, by cycle, and on foot assembled to witness the arrival of the distinguished visitors, in honour of whom the Midland Railway officials had very prettily decorated the station yard.

Mr Peter, steward to Lord Fitzhardinge, was present on behalf of his lordship.

The Prince of Wales Hotel had a very pleasing appearance, the front of the building being almost hidden by a profusion of bunting.  As the open carriage containing the Princes and their suites drove away the crowd raised a hearty cheer, which was cordially acknowledged.  A second carriage contained the attendants.

The Rajkumar Umaid Singh of Shahpura was unavoidably detained in London.

All along the line of route people turned out to see the procession pass, and on reaching Berkeley the visitors received quite an ovation the streets being lined with sightseers.  Lord Fitzhardinge heartily welcomed his guests at the Castle, and the visitors expressed themselves very pleased with their reception.  They were dressed as civilians with Oriental Turbans, but said they would have worn full regimentals had they expected such a reception.

Last evening the church bells were ringing and the town full of visitors.

The Yeomanry who formed the escort, in addition to Captain Playne and Sergeant-Major Parker, included Quarter-Master Bennett, Sergeants G. Adams, M. Pearce, R. Baily, A. Adams, Goodwin and Cornock; Corporals Prout, Cox; Farrier-Sergeant Gabb; Troopers Smith Churchill, Neale, Cullimore Harris, Woodward, Sneeth, Hodder, Baker, Hooper, &c.

The guests leave Berkeley Castle this evening, when the mounted escort will again be in readiness to accompany them to Berkeley Road Station.

The Yeomanry parade at five o’clock.


As we stated in our last, His Highness the Maharajah of Kapurthrariah and his Highness the Thakore Sahib of Morvi were very pleased with the reception accorded them at Berkeley, and soon after their arrival of Friday evening they dispatched a special messenger to London for their full dress Oriental costume and their attendant Indian officers.  Among the guests present at dinner at the Castle on Friday evening were the Princes, Lord Fitzhardinge, Mr. A. Wood (in attendance on the Rajah of Kapurthariah), Captain Chenevise French (representing the Indian Government), Captain Cope Smith (in charge of Imperial Officers), General Sir Edward Stanton, Colonel Chester Master, Hon.Edgar B. Gifford, Captain Playne, Mr. H. M. Bridgman, the Rev. J. L. Stackhouse, and Dr. Awdrey. The Earl of Ducie and Sir J. Dorington Bart., M. P., were unavoidably prevented from being present.On Saturday morning the guests were shown the stables, kennels, Shorthorns, Clydesdales &c., and were driven to Clapton and back through Whitecliffe Park.  At 2 p. m. the Commandant Officers of the Imperial Service arrived at the Castle, viz., Sunyat Singh, of Kashnur, Govino Rao, of Indore, Mirza Karim Beg, of Jeypore, Dhump at Bai, of Jeypore, Mand Singh, of Patalia, Didar Singh,  of Jhind, Kisben Singh, of Nahka, and Hara Singh, of Kapurthariah.  After luncheon Lord Fitzhardinge, with his distinguished guests, walked from the Castle through the shubbery to the Castle Meadow, where many people had assembled, who were able to view with advantage the Indian visitors in full oriental costume, the attire and jewels of the princes meeting with much admiration.  After seeing the foxhounds exercised, Lord Fitzhardinge introduced to the princes Mr. and Mrs H. B. Winterbotham (Acton House), Mr and Mrs T. G. Matthews and Miss Mathews (Newport Towers), Mr and Mrs Parnell (Wickselme), Mrs Awdry, Mrs Stackhouse,  Miss Green, &c.  The whole company afterwards strolled on the lawn and terraces, and partook of tea at the Castle.  At 5 p. m. the Berkeley Troop of the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars, under the command of Captain W. Playne, paraded and formed an escort for the princes and their followers, who left Berkeley Castle at 6 o’clock accompanied by Lord Fitzhardinge in open carriages for Berkeley Road.  Previous to entering the special train to London the whole party were photographed by Mr. T. H. Price, of Dursley.  The Princes and suite having expressed their appreciation of their visit to Berkeley, thanked Lord Fitzhardinge for his kindness, and with many adieus the train steamed away amid the loud and hearty cheering of the large number of persons assembled.  The Yoemanry were afterwards entertained to dinner by Lord Fitzhardinge at the Prince of Wales Hotel, Berkeley Road Station.

Wesleyan Church Berkeley

SUNDAY SCHOOL ANNIVERSARY. – On SUNDAY, JULY 11th, Two sermons will be preached in the above place by REV. J. H. SANDERS of Cam.  Service to Commence in the Morning at 11, and in the Evening at 6 o’clock.  – A JUVENILE SERVICE in the Afternoon at 2 30.  Scriptures, Forms, and Dialogues by the Children.  Special Hymns and Anthems by the Choir.  –Collection after each Service in aid of School Funds.  On the following Wednesday the Children will have their Tea in a Field kindly lent by Mr. Hall, to be followed by a Public Tea a 5 o’clock. Tickets 9d each.

Letter 15.

Halmore June 1897

My dear Child i write these few lines to tell you we arrived home quite safe / our train was very late and then E Smith and G Carter was at the station and i went into Berkeley so Dad and me arrived home about ½ past 10 very tired but i thourley enjoyed my self dear Bessie it was rather so wrong all three of us coming to your house but i did not like to leave them i must try and come different next time i cannot tell you how thankfull i was to see you looking so well / i do hope and trust you arrives home Alright / i wish i had seen Kate Spiers / dont forget to give her the rubber? as soon as you can / i dont know of any news to tell you it doesnt seem real that i have been to see you goodbye and God Bless you / your loving mother E Smith / will you look out and try and get Herbert a little Cricket ball praps? Master Percy has our old one


E Smith and G Carter – see above letter

Kate Spiers: the only candidate I have found is Kate Bow Spiers?

In 1881 in Halmore, schedule 3

Thomas Spiers Head 24 Farm Labourer b. Gloucestershire Ashton under Hill

Mary Jane Spiers Wife 22b. ditto Newport

Kate BowDau 3b ditto Halmore

This Kate would be about 19 in 1897

Schedule 1 is James and “Eliza” Smith, daughter Eliza and son Elias aged 10 months.  This must be James and Emma Smith daughter Elizabeth (Bessie) and son Elias.  Despite the miss-transcription the ages appear to be right and it is the same address as in 1891

Jane Wright and family are at schedule 2

Jane Wright Head widow 41 Charwoman b. Devon Sanford Peverel

Williamson17 General labourer b. Glos Berkeley

Louisa Sophia Wright dau11 scholarditto

Charles Albert Wright6 dittoditto

Alice Hannah Wright dau2ditto

In Schedule 1 there is

James Smith head 24 General Labourer Gloucestershire Hinton

Eliza Smith wife 21ditto

Eliza Smith dau 2 ditto

Elias Smith son 10mo ditto

Herbert – Bessie’s younger brother aged 11 in 1897

Percy – Emma’s brother George’s little boy aged about 3 in 1897

Part of a letter from Herbert?  


My dear Bessie I now write in answer to your most welcome letter. Dear Bessie you said my drawings were beautiful last time but this time I going to put some better still.  Dear Bessie my ears is about the same and Tom will try to get some moss? and I don’t think the primroses will be all gone Grand day at Berkeley on Wednesday and I had a haf-days holiday it was confirnation day


probably written by Herbert as he talks about his ears - see other letter

on the back is a side portrait of his mother?

Must be written in spring as the primroses are out

confirmation :

from the Church of England website:

“As a separate rite, confirmation marks the point in the Christian journey at which the participation in the life of God’s people inaugurated at baptism is confirmed by the bishop by the laying on of hands, and in which those who have been baptised affirm for themselves the faith into which they have been baptised and their intention to live a life of responsible and committed discipleship. Through prayer and the laying on of hands by the confirming bishop, the Church also asks God to give them power through the Holy Spirit to enable them to live in this way

© Barclay Barrell 2014