Phelps Family History

My Phelps ancestry in Avening, Slimbridge, South Wales and Halmore, Berkeley.

(my direct ancestors are in red)

To summarise:

Thomas Phelps married Elizabeth ?

Son Charles marries Elizabeth Barrett

Daughter Emma marries James Davis Smith

Daughter Elizabeth marries Frederick Henry Kemshaw

Daughter Freda Marjorie marries George Barrell (my parents)

Thomas Phelps Marriages to Sarah ? and to Elizabeth ?

From the 1841 and 1851 censuses we know that Thomas Phelps married an Elizabeth born in Avening and had 6 children:

David (1820)

Fanny (1824)

Ellen (1827)

Charles (1828)

 Job (1835)

Henry (1837)

Derek Benson, a researcher in Gloucestershire, searched Avening parish register 1820-1840 (Glos. Record Office ref: PFC 29) for me and found the following:


p.34 # 270    25 DEC 1820    David son of Thomas & Sarah Phelps of Avening, Labourer.

page 45 # 355    20 FEB 1823 (private)     Frances Ann and Caroline daughters of Thomas & Elizabeth Phelps of Avening, Labourer.

page 52 # 410    9 MAY 1824     Richard son of James & Hannah Phelps of Avening, Labourer.

page 54 # 436    25 JUL 1824     Fanny daughter of Thomas & Elizabeth Phelps of Avening, Labourer.

page 71 # 565    17 JUN 1827     Ellen daughter of Thomas & Elizabeth Phelps of Avening, Labourer.

page 76 # 605    27 APR 1828    Charles son of James & Hannah Phelps of Avening, Labourer.

page 88 # 698    17 JAN 1830     Charles son of Thomas & Elizabeth Phelps of Avening, Labourer.

page 23 # 183    12 APR 1835    Job son of Thomas & Elizabeth Phelps of Avening, Labourer.

page 36 # 282   18 JUN 1837      Henry son of Thomas & Elizabeth Phelps of Avening, Labourer.

page 36 # 287    9 JUL 1837       Joseph son of William & Marianne Phelps of Avening, Labourer. (there are some later entries for this couple under the name of Phipps)



page 24 # 189    13 MAR 1823    Frances Ann and Caroline Phelps of Avening, infants.


As for the marriages of Thomas Phelps, it is unclear as to the facts. The Glos. Family History Society has indexed all marriages in the county for the period 1800-1837 (apart form the Bristol area). The following entries appear for Thomas Phelps marrying Sarah’s and Elizabeth’s.


Dursley 1 NOV 1818 by banns, Thomas Phelps and Sarah Parker, widow.


Bisley 30 OCT 1825 by banns, Thomas Phelps and Elizabeth Bidmead.


Hartpury 14 NOV 1822 by licence, Thomas Phelps and Elizabeth Chandler.


I would think that the 1818 marriage is correct for the parents of David baptised 1820. However, there is no burial at Avening or Berkeley for a Sarah Phelps prior to the advent of the children of Thomas and Elizabeth.


The Bisley marriage is relatively close to Avening but is some years after the first children of Thomas and Elizabeth at Avening.


The Hartpury marriage is in the expected time period, but Hartpury is a long way off from Avening.


It would appear that Thomas first married Sarah Parker, a widow, in 1818 and that David was the son of this marriage.  We do not know what happened to Sarah but then Thomas teamed up with Elizabeth whose surname is unknown.  In 1823 she gave birth to Frances Anne and Caroline, twins, who died as infants.  The next year she gave birth to Fanny and went on to have Ellen, Charles, Job and Henry.

I checked the 3 Thomas Phelps marriages:


A copy of the Sarah Parker marriage is in the post - I feel confident that this is your Thomas.


The marriage at Hartpury is clearly not your Thomas as the marriage licence (Q3/94 p122) describes him as a bachelor farmer born in Hartpury.


The Bisley marriage also appears not to be your Thomas as he is described as a bachelor of Bisley. He also makes his mark whereas Thomas marrying Sarah Parker signs his name.


It would appear that the marriage to Elizabeth either took place outside of Gloucestershire or did not take place at all. This sometimes happened when the first marriage ended in separation; divorce in those days was out of the question for the vast majority of people and subsequent unions were not formal marriages. If we could find a burial for Sarah Phelps, that might help to clarify matters.  


I searched Slimbridge and Avening burials for Thomas Phelps and found him at Avening (PFC 29 in 1/12 2): (photocopy is in the post).

I looked further into the origins of Thomas Phelps and checked the baptism at Dursley (PFC 124 in 1/7 1) that I mentioned:

9 JUN 1791    Thomas son of Susannah Phelps a bastard baptised. (photocopy is in the post).


I then found a marriage for a Susannah Phelps at Bisley (PFC 47 in 1/8 6) to an Isaac Gregory in 1796. I checked the Glos. marriage index which covers 1800-1837 for a Thomas Gregory marriage to an Elizabeth in the hope that if your Thomas was the son of Susannah he might have married as Gregory - did not find such a marriage.

However, as Susannah and Isaac married at Bisley, that does give some support to the marriage of Thomas Phelps to Elizabeth Bidmead at Bisley being your Thomas.


A way forward with this would be to see whether there are more than one Susannah Phelps originating in the Dursley and Bisley areas.

I also noticed some entries in parish overseers indexes for Isaac Gregory so took a look:

P47 ov 5/3/7     11 AUG 1801    Betty Walker delivered on 24 June of male bastard child and Isaac Gregory of Painswick, wheelwright is the father and to be apprehended.  

P47 ov 5/1/52    9 SEP 1801     Examination of Betty Walker of Bisley that Isaac Gregory of Bisley wheelwright adjudged father of male bastard child delivered  24 June.


Thomas Phelps was aged 52 when he died. He was buried 27th March 1844, therefore he was born 1791-1792. Aged 45 on the 1841 census then he would have been born between 1791 and 1796 which is consistent.

I could only find one Susannah Phelps born at the right time in Gloucestershire, 25th May 1766, father John, at Bisley.  This fits with her marrying in Bisley.



Slimbridge, Old Hurst

Thomas Phelps             45                    Ag. Lab.

Elizabeth Phelps           45

David Phelps                 20                   Sawyer

Fanny Phelps                 15

Charles Phelps               11

Job Phelps                       6

Henry Phelps                  4     

Slimbridge Gofsington

William Rose and Family

Ellen Phelps                  15                            F. S.   (Family Servant ?)


Slymbridge, Hurst

Schedule 37

Betty Phelps                   Head      Wid     59             Formerly Ag. Lab.           Gloucestershire, Avening

Ellen Phelps                    dau                     23             Dress Maker                                 “                      "

Charles Phelps                son                     20              Ag. Lab.                                        “                      "

Job Phelps                       son                      16                    “                                               “                      "

Henry Phelps                  son                      13                    “                                               “                      "


Slimbridge, Gossington

Schedule 6

Elizabeth Phelps    Head            Wid        -             Invalid                              Gloucestershire, Avening

Charles Phelps (1830, Avening) married Elizabeth Barrett (1835, Slimbridge ) on the 2nd March 1857 at St John the Baptist, Gloucester. Witnesses were Job Phelps and Emma Barrett.  Both are described as Labourer, Charles’ father, Thomas is a labourer and Elizabeth’s father, Henry, is a farmer.

Berkeley, Hamfallow, Schedule 60.

Charles Phelps            Head                     28           Butter Dealer                 Gloucesters. Avening

Elizabeth Phelps         Wife                      26                                                                 “         Slimbridge

Thomas Phelps            son                          2                                                                 “          Berkeley

Emma Phelps              dau                         1                                                                   “             "

Esther White              Servant                 10            Nursemaid                                  “          Slimbridge


Aberystruth, Garmach, Blaina.

Schedule 136, Boot Row.

Charles Phelps            Head         mar          39        Labouring                     Slimbridge, England

Eth       Phelps              wife           mar          36                 “                                        “                “

James Phelps               son                               8        Scholar                          Parish of Berkeley

Henry Phelps               son                               6                 “                           Parish of Llangattock, Wales

Charles Phelps             son                               4                 “                                              “                       "

Elias Phelps                  son                               1                                                                 “                       "

Emma is in Halmore with Elizabeth and Thomas Barrett

Thomas is in Halmore with Harry and Elizabeth Barrett

© Barclay Barrell 2014