In no specific order ...
27 February 1763, baptism of John, son of Anne Butt, “whose Husband, if living, has left her, & served his Majesty as a Soldier five years last past”
On 18 September 1796 we find documents from His Majesty’s 10th Regiment of Foot in respect of William Bliss, originally from Norton. The documents signed by the Reiment at Newport, Isle of Wight, read “These are to Certify, that the Bearer hereof Wm Bliss, private, in Lieut Colonel Jeffery Amhurst’s Company of the aforesaid Regiment, Born in the Parish of Norton in or near the Market Town of Norton in the County of Gloucester aged 26 years, and by Trade a Labourer, hath served honestly and faithfully in the said Regiment for three Years: But by reason of being Consumptive, having lost his health in the West Indies, is hereby discharged, and humbly recommended as a proper Object of His Majesty’s Royal Bounty of Chelsea Hospital. He having first received all just Demands of Pay, Cloathing, &c. from his entry into the said Regiment, to the Date of his Discharge, as appears by his Receipt on the Back hereof”. A pencil written note at the foot of this certificate states that Thomas Bennion, Surgeon to the 10th Regiment of Foot, certifies that the above-mentioned man was unfit for service for the reason given.
I have checked my records for the presence of a Bliss family at Norton and have found several references that at least confirm that a family of this name was living here. In 1779 a William Bliss was amongst those liable to do statute duty in Priors Norton for repairing and widening the roads. I could find no baptisms at Norton for the Bliss family but on 4 October 1748, a John Bliss was baptised at Churchdown to parents William and Elizabeth. An Elizabeth was buried at Norton on Christmas Day 1778. In 1789 there is a burial for Thomas, son of Esther Bliss, base born and in 1791 a burial for Elizabeth Bliss from The Leigh. William Bliss Snr was himself buried in 1793 and I can find no further reference to Bliss at Norton after this date. This seems most likely to have been the family in question however.
In 1851 George Merriman was one of four young children living with his parents at Wainlode Hill, Norton. The place of birth of the children were all recorded as being Norton but this may not have been the case. George was baptised on 3 May 1846 at St Nicholas, Gloucester, son of Joseph, a waterman, and Patience Merriman of St Nicholas.
By 1861 George was living with his widowed mother near the Red Lion Inn at Wainlode employed as an agricultural labourer. Perhaps farm work wasn’t to George’s liking as by 1871 we find him serving as a Private, 2nd Battalion, Scots Fusilier Guards, stationed at Chelsea Barracks. Unfortunately I have not been able to identify anything further about his military life other than this passing reference.
With his army service complete George returned to Gloucestershire and on 12 October 1881 he married Mary Ann Belcher at St Mary’s, Norton. By 1891 the couple had settled at The Leigh, were living with four children; Sidney, Daniel, Caroline Jubilee and Mary Ann with George employed as a farm labourer again.
George died in 1910.
On 9 March 1816 we find documents from ‘His Majesty’s Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards’ in respect of one John Harding, originally from Norton. The documents read; “These are to certify, that John Harding, private, in Lt Col Hamilton’s Company, in the Regiment aforesaid, born in the Parish of Norton in or near the Town of Gloucester in the County of Gloucester, was enlisted at the Age of Eighteen Years; and hath served in the said Regiment for the space of Fifteen Years and One hundred and thirty four Days, as well as in other Corps, after the Age of Eighteen, according to the following Statement, but in consequence of having been badly wounded in the left hand at the battle of Talavera is rendered unfit for further Service, and is hereby Discharged; having first received all just demands of Pay, Clothing, &c from his Entry into the said Regiment to the date of this Discharge, as appears by the Receipt on the back hereof.
And to prevent any improper use being made of this Discharge, by it falling into other Hands, the following is a Description of the said John Harding. He is about thirty three Years of Age, is five Feet eight Inches in height, brown Hair, hazel Eyes, fair Complexion, by Trade a labourer”.
John was baptised at Norton on 30 May 1782, the son of William and Joyce Harding. William and Joyce had at least five other children baptised at Norton; Mary (13 October 1776), Joseph (14 May 1780), Amy (4 April 1785 – 7 October 1788), William (9 March 1788) and Henry (13 July 1794). In the minute book of the trustees for repairing and widening the roads from the City of Gloucester towards Cheltenham and Tewkesbury 1 May 1778 – 30 Jan 1798 and accounts 1778-1797, we find in a list of persons liable to do Statute Duty in Priors Norton, 1779; William Harding, labourer; presumably John’s father. There appears to have been a number of Harding families in the village at this time with children being baptised to Giles and Mary, John and Hannah and William and Elizabeth Harding between 1756 and 1799. There were also references in the marriage and burial registers. The Harding family seems to have disappeared from our parish at around 1800. This coincides with the next known event in John Harding’s life, as his Statement of Service records that he enlisted into the Coldstream Guards on 28 October 1800. John served his 15+ years and was discharged on 9 March 1816. The next reference I have found to John comes many years after his discharge from the army, in 1851. We find John married to Mary and living at Hucclecote employed as an innkeeper. This is the last definite reference to John I have been able to locate.
On 17 March 1818 we find a document from His Majesty’s 100th Regiment of Foot in respect of Thomas Griffiths. The document reads; “These are to certify, that Corpl Thomas Griffiths, born in the Parish of Norton, in or near the Town of Gloucester, in the County of Gloucester, was enlisted for the aforesaid Regiment at Cumberland Fort in the County of Hants on the 24th Day of November 1806 at the Age of Twenty Eight for Unlimited Service”. The document continues; “That he hath served in the Army for the space of Seventeen Years and 138 Days after the age of Eighteen, according to the subjoined Statement of Service”. The Statement of Service actually shows that Thomas had served as No 19518, from 2 January 1801 till 23 November 1806 as a Private with the 52nd Regiment. This can be confirmed by an entry in the British Regimental Registers of Service, 1756-1900, Canada, from 19th April 1805 where we also find Thomas Griffiths. It was recorded that he was previously employed as a labourer, was then also serving with the 52nd Regiment of Foot, and had been in the line for 1 year. Upon completing his service with 52nd Regiment he enlisted with the 100th Regiment on 24 November 1806 and was discharged at Chatham on 17 March 1818 as a result of the Regiment being disbanded. He was assessed as being a ‘very good and deserving soldier’ and had served overseas in ‘the Indies’ for 1 year and 10 months. The document continued; “To prevent any improper use being made of this Discharge, by its falling into other Hands, the following is a Description of the said Corpl Thomas Griffiths. He is about 39 years of Age, is 5 Feet 7 Inches in height, Light Brown Hair, Blue Eyes, Fair Complexion; and by Trade or Occupation a Labourer”.
On 5 July 1778 Thomas was baptised, on the same day as his brother Benjamin, at St Mary’s, Norton, sons of William and Mary Griffiths.
The military discharge of William Brown of A Battery, D Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery, that took place at Bangalore, India, on 22 August 1868. “Proceedings of a Regimental Board, held this day, in conformity to the Articles of War, for the purpose of verifying the Services, Conduct, Character and cause of Discharge of No 146, Driver, William Brown, of the Regiment above-named”. “The Board having examined and compared the Regimental Records, the Soldier’s Book, and such other Documents as appeared to them to be necessary, report that after making every deduction required by Her Majesty’s Regulations, the Service up to this day, which he is entitled to reckon, amounts to 2 years, 123 days, as shown by the detailed Statement on the 2nd Page; during which period he served abroad 6 122/365. Viz; at India from 15 July 1862 to 14 Nov 1868, and further, that his Discharge is proposed in consequence of being unfit for further service”. His conduct was assessed as ‘Good’ although he hadn’t been awarded any Good Conduct Badges, and his name didn’t appear on any Defaulter lists neither had he been the subject of any Courts Martial.
William actually enrolled to serve as volunteer No 3089 in the Royal South Gloucester Regiment of Militia on 22 April 1861 before he attested into the Royal Artillery as a Driver, at Gloucester on 11 December 1861, was posted to ‘D’ Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery, on 6 October 1862, where he remained until 21 April 1866. His service was not allowed to reckon towards any Good Conduct Pay or Pension until he had completed his Militia engagement on 21 April 1866. As stated in his Discharge document, his service then continued till his discharge was final on 22 December 1868. On 2 December 1868 he underwent a medical examination that concluded he was suffering from pulmonary phthisis (TB) and that this had not been caused by but had been aggravated by the Indian climate and his service there. Upon his discharge he was described as being 5ft 4 ¼ ins tall, had a fair complexion, grey eyes, light brown hair, and was said to be returning to live at Norton and resume his trade of labourer.
William was born at Norton in 1843, son of John and Charlotte Brown. In 1851 he was living with his parents at Wainlode Hill where his father was employed as an agricultural labourer. By 1861 we find William, a farm labourer, as a prisoner in Gloucester Gaol.
On 5 July 1864 Thomas Cordwell applied for release from service in the Militia in order to attest in the Regular Army. A document from that time records; “Whereas No 3314 Thomas Cordwell a Volunteer in the Royal South Gloucester Regiment of Militia is desirous of enlisting into Her Majesty’s Regular Forces and has applied to me for a Conditional Discharge. Now I, the under-signed, in pursuance of the Regulations and Directions of the Secretary at War, do hereby authorise the said Thomas Cordwell to enlist into Her Majesty’s Regular Forces, and I declare that if the said Thomas Cordwell shall be enlisted into, attested, and finally approved for Her Majesty’s Forces within fourteen days from the date hereof, he shall be absolutely discharged, and become free from his Militia Engagement, bearing date the 25th day of October 1862; but if, within the period aforesaid, he be not so enlisted, attested and finally approved, this authority and discharge shall be wholly void”. A pencil note added to this document reads; “NB The Volunteer will be required to refund 18/6 the Amount of his Enrolment Expenses”. Everything seems to have gone to plan for Thomas and on 5 July 1864 we find a declaration made upon attestation into the Regular Forces; “I Thomas Cordwell now residing in the Parish of Norton in the County of Gloucester do solemnly and sincerely declare, That to the best of my Knowledge and Belief I was born in the Parish of Norton in or near the Town of Gloucester in the County of Gloucester and am 18 Years 6 Months of Age; That I am of the Trade or Calling of Boatman [Canal] … that I am not an Apprentice; that I am not married; that I do not belong to the Militia, or to the Naval Coast Volunteers, or to any Portion of Her Majesty’s Land or Sea Forces; that I have never served Her Majesty by Land or Sea in any Military or Naval Employment whatsoever, except South Gloucester Militia; that I have never been marked with the letter ‘D’; that I have never been rejected as unfit for Her Majesty’s Service on any previous Enlistment; that I was Enlisted at Gloucester on the 5th Day of July 1864 at 3 o’Clock PM, by Sergt N Creighton of Pension Staff and that I have read … the Notice then given to me and understood its Meaning; that I enlisted for a Bounty of £1.00 and a Free Kit, and have no Objection to make to the manner of my enlistment; that I am willing to be attested to serve in the 28 Regiment of Foot for the Term of 10 Years provided Her Majesty should so long require my Services, and also for such further term, not exceeding Two Years, as shall be directed by the Commanding Officer on any Foreign Station. [Most cases of human branding became obsolete and were abolished in 1829 except in the case of deserters from the army, who were marked with the letter D, not with hot irons but by tattooing with ink or gunpowder. Notoriously bad soldiers were also branded with BC (bad character). The British Mutiny Act of 1858 provided that the court-martial might, in addition to any other penalty, order deserters to be marked on the left side, 2 inches (5 cm) below the armpit, with the letter D, such letter to be not less than an inch long. In 1879 this was also abolished].
At the time of his attestation, on 5 July 1864, as Private, No 809, Thomas was described as being 5ft 5ins tall, with a fair complexion, hazel eyes and brown hair. When re-examined at Bristol on 8 July 1864 it was also recorded that he had a 36¾ inch chest and good eyesight at 600 yards and was considered fit for service.
Thomas was promoted to Corporal on 1 November 1865 and became entitled to 1st Good Conduct Pay on 7 July 1867 before being promoted to Sergeant on 11 May 1868. Thomas served in the UK until 22 September 1868 when he was posted to Gibraltar. He was arrested for a period of absence between 6 – 8 November 1869 and on 9 November was reduced in rank to Private also forfeiting his Good Conduct Pay. He was promoted back to Corporal on 9 August 1870 and had his 1st Good Conduct Pay restored on 9 November 1870. On 7 March 1872 he was posted to Malta and was awarded his 2nd Good Conduct Pay on 9 November 1872. On 1 July 1873 he married Ann Jane Heatson at Malta. On 16 January 1874 he re-engaged at Malta, in the rank of Corporal, to complete a total of 21 years’ service. Thomas was promoted to the rank of Sergeant on 12 February 1874.
On 18 December 1875 Thomas was posted to Hong Kong and had his promotion to Sergeant confirmed on 1 April 1876. On 8 July 1876, however, we find him confined and awaiting trial and on 11 July he was reduced to the rank of Private again also forfeiting his Good Conduct Pay. 11 July 1877 saw his 2nd Good Conduct Pay restored.
On 11 February 1878 he was posted to Straits Sett, Malaya, on 11 July 1879 he was awarded 3rd Good Conduct Pay and on 26 February 1879 he was appointed Lance Corporal.
On 12 May 1879 Thomas returned to UK and on 21 August 1879 he was promoted to Corporal, 28 July 1880 to Lance Sergeant, 15 September 1880 to Sergeant. He was appointed OR Clerk on 16 November 1880, confirmed as OR Sergeant on 1 July 1881, was entitled to his 4th Good Conduct Pay on 12 July 1882 and finally promoted to Colour Sergeant on 15 November 1883. He was promoted to Sergeant, Canteen Steward, on 12 December 1883 and remained in this rank until 22 June 1885 with a short period of additional service seeing him through to his final completion of service and discharge on 21 July 1885 having completed in excess of 20 years in the colours. He was discharged at York “in consequence of the termination of the second period of limited engagement” at which time his character was described as ‘good’.
Thomas was born at Norton in 1844, son of Phillip and Mary (nee Cook) who lived on Norton Hill and were employed in farm work.
The military discharge of Thomas Leach Brown of 46th Regiment of Foot, that took place at Enniskillen, Ireland, on 29 October 1856. “Proceedings of a Regimental Board, held this day, in conformity to the Articles of War, for the purpose of verifying the Services, Conduct, Character and cause of Discharge of No 2597, Private, Thomas Leach, of the Regiment above-named”. “The Board having examined and compared the Regimental Records, the Soldier’s Book, and such other Documents as appeared to them to be necessary, report that Private Thomas Leach, by trade a labourer, was Born in the Parish of Norton in or near the Town of Gloucester in the County of Gloucester and was Attested for the 46th Regiment of Foot at Gloucester in the County of Gloucester on the 1st October 1850 at the Age of nineteen years that after making every deduction required by Her Majesty’s Regulations, the Service up to this day, which he is entitled to reckon, amounts to one year, 252 days, as shown by the detailed Statement on the 2nd Page; during which period he served abroad 1 year, viz; at Malta from 15 March 1855 to 18 May 1855, 2/12 years; in the Crimea from 19 May 1855 to 8 March 1856, 10/12 years; and further, that his Discharge is proposed in consequence of a reduction in the Army and not being likely to become efficient”. When assessing his conduct it was noted that “he was convicted of Desertion by a District Court Martial at Manchester on the 27th December 1854 and sentenced 36 days imprisonment and marked a ‘D’. He is not in possession of any Good Conduct Badges and his conduct has been Bad. He is entitled to a Medal for the Crimea and Clasp for ‘Sebastopol’”.
His desertion took place on 2 March 1854 and he does not appear to have returned until 19 December 1854. At his Court Martial he also forfeited all reckonable service up to that date of 3 years, 152 days. [Most cases of human branding became obsolete and were abolished in 1829 except in the case of deserters from the army, who were marked with the letter D, not with hot irons but by tattooing with ink or gunpowder. Notoriously bad soldiers were also branded with BC (bad character). The British Mutiny Act of 1858 provided that the court-martial might, in addition to any other penalty, order deserters to be marked on the left side, 2 inches (5 cm) below the armpit, with the letter D, such letter to be not less than an inch long. In 1879 this was also abolished].
Prior to final discharge Thomas underwent a medical examination at Dublin that reported that Thomas Leach; “ … has ulcers on the spine of the tibia of the left leg from an injury received 1 July 1855 by a kick from his Master’s horse whilst passing behind him to go to his Master’s tent to perform some other duty. He was sent into the General Hospital at Balaclava from that … and Home as an invalid, where on sick furlough. On rejoining he was obliged to be again taken into Hospital so that since the accident he has been unable to perform any duty. – The ulcers heal up but immediately break out again in another place. He is unlikely to become an efficient soldier”.
Upon final description he was described as being 5ft 9ins tall, with dark brown hair, hazel eyes, and a fair complexion. His trade was reported as labourer and his tattoo of the letter ‘D’ was also recorded.
On 16 August 1869 we find a document recording the “Proceedings of a Regimental Board, held this day, in conformity to the Articles of War, for the purpose of verifying and recording the Services, Conduct, Character, and cause of Discharge of No 694, Sergeant Instructor in Gunnery Thomas Bamford of the Regiment above-named”. The Board took place at Gibraltar and the Regiment in question was No 8 Battery, 15th Brigade, Royal Regiment of Artillery. The document continues; “The Board having examined and compared the Regimental Records, the Soldier’s Book, and such other Documents as appeared to them to be necessary, report that after making every deduction required by Her Majesty’s Regulations, the Service up to this day, which he is entitled to reckon, is correctly shown by the detailed Statement on the 2nd page; during which period he served abroad 14 1/12 years, viz: at Cape of Good Hope 2 6/12 years, in Barbados 9 1/12 years, in Gibraltar 2 7/12 years, and further, that his Discharge is proposed in consequence of his having completed a period of twenty one years’ service. With regard to the Character and Conduct of No No 694, Sergeant Instructor in Gunnery Thomas Bamford, the Board have to report that upon reference to the Defaulter’s Book, and by the Parole testimony that has been given, it appears that his Conduct has been very good and he was when prosecuted in the possession of one Good Conduct Badge and would, had he not been prosecuted been now in possession of five Good Conduct Badges. His name appears twice entered in the Regimental Defaulters Book. He has been twice convicted by Courts Martial which form two entries in the Regimental Defaulters Book above quoted”. Examining his record in detail we discover that he had been born at Norton in March 1829 and was later employed as a labourer there. He attested into the Royal Artillery Regiment at Southampton on 21 April 1846, in 1851 was a bombardier based at Woolwich, and in total served for 22 years, 191 days until his discharge at Woolwich on 2 November 1869. At the time of his discharge he was described as being 5ft 10¼ins tall, with a fair complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. Almost immediately following his discharge from regular service he joined the Isle of Wight Artillery Militia and served between 8 November 1869 and 9 March 1874. He then transferred to the Royal Lancashire Artillery Militia and served between 10 March 1874 and 27 November 1876 when he transferred to the 1st Renfrew and Dumbarton Artillery Volunteer Corps and served between 19 December 1876 and 19 December 1881 where he was an Acting Sergeant Major, instructor on the permanent staff. Upon his final discharge, as a result of being ‘medically and permanently unfit for further service’ after nearly 36 years of service to the Crown, he stated that he intended to reside at Greenock.
On 20 March 1877 we find a document recording the “Proceedings of a Regimental Board, held this day, in conformity to the Articles of War, for the purpose of verifying and recording the Services, Conduct, Character, and cause of Discharge of No 1153, Gunner Henry Barker of the Regiment above-name”. The Board took place at Athlone, Ireland, and the Regiment in question was ‘D’ Battery, 14th Brigade, Royal Regiment of Artillery. The document continues; “The Board having examined and compared the Regimental Records, the Soldier’s Book, and such other Documents as appeared to them to be necessary, report that after making every deduction required by Her Majesty’s Regulations, the Service up to this day, which he is entitled to reckon, amounts to 21 years, 159 days, as shown by the detailed Statement on the 2nd page; during which period he served abroad 12 4/12 years viz, at India 11 5/12, in China 11/12 years; and further his Discharge is proposed in consequence of his having claimed it on termination of his second period of ? engagement. With regard to the Character and Conduct of No 1153, Gunner Henry Barker, the Board have to report that upon reference to the Defaulter’s Book, and by the Parole testimony that has been given, it appears that his Conduct has been good and he is in possession of four Good Conduct Badges and the China War Medal with Clasps for the Taku Forts and Pekin. He is also in possession of a School Certificate. His name appears seven times in the Regimental Defaulters Book. He has been tried once by Court Martial”. Examining his record in detail we discover that he had been born at Norton in approximately 1833 and was later employed as a farm labourer. On 19 March 1853 he had enrolled to serve as a Volunteer in the Royal South Gloucestershire Regiment of Militia and was released from this obligation to enable him enlist into the Royal Artillery. He enlisted at Portsmouth on 3 September and attested, also at Portsmouth, on 5 September 1853. He re-enagaged for a further 9 years with the Royal Artillery on 8 April 1867. Shortly after re-engaging he was sentenced to a period of imprisonment between 31 May and 27 June 1867 but there is no reference to what caused this. He seems to have alternated between being a gunner and a driver and throughout his service was described as being temperant (with regard to his alcohol consumption). In the 1870s we find him being admitted to hospital on a number of occasions at Clonmel, Curragh and Athlone, which suggests that his regiment would have been based in Ireland during this period. Through the course of his service he suffered from all the usual complaints of a soldier; bronchitis, abcesses, ulcers, diarrhoea, phlegm, contusions from accidents as well as syphilis. On completion of his service he was described as being 41½ years of age, 5ft 6¼ ins tall, 36¾ ins chest, with good muscular development, a fresh complexion, light blue eyes, light brown hair and having no marks or scars. He was to become a labourer and groom upon leaving the army and stated that he intended to return to Norton.
Henry was born at Norton in 1833, son of Isaac and Ann Barker. Father Isaac died in 1837 and in 1841 we find Henry living in the household of his widowed mother, Ann, who was employed as an agricultural labourer, at Norton Green. By 1851 Henry was a tenant of, and in the employment of, Richard Taylor at Green Farm.
Having completed his military service, in 1881 we find Henry, still single, living at Hempstead, Gloucester, as an army pensioner, in the residence of his brother William, a sawyer, and wife Sarah. A Henry Isaac Barker, assumed to be our man, died at Gloucester in 1892 aged 57 years.
WILLIAM JOHN BARKER
Previous Henry was probably his brother.
William was born at Norton in 1858, son of Isaac and Anne Barker, and by 1878 was employed as a railway labourer. Enlisted at Cheltenham on 17 December 1878 and joined the 1st Battalion, 16th Foot, 33rd Brigade, at Cork, Ireland, as Private, No 2262, on 24 December 1878. On attestation he underwent a medical examination that described him as being 5ft 6½ ins tall, weighed 147lbs, 38inch chest, fair complexion, light grey eyes and sandy hair.
On 27 March 1879 was posted to Athlone, Ireland, before leaving these parts to head to Malabar, South West India, on 20 September 1879, at which time he was transferred to 2nd Battalion, 16th Foot. Shortly after his arrival, on 24 September, he reported sick suffering from an ulcer on his scrotum caused by friction from his clothes. He was admitted to hospital in Malabar on 28 September where he remained until 9 October. On 26 October 1879, William was posted to Secunderabad, Telangana State, India, and on 7 February 1880 to Malappuram, Kerala, before two further postings, names unreadable on his records, still in India. On 20 March 1882 he was again admitted to hospital suffering from whitlow and remained until 25 March. On 19 December 1884 was awarded his first good conduct pay increase. On 6 January 1885 he boarded HMS Malabar which served as a troopship ferrying soldiers between the UK and India and back. William had officially served in the East Indies between 21 September 1879 and 2 February 1885. On 12 February 1885 was transferred to 1st Class Army Reserve at Bedford District until his final discharge on 18 December 1890. Whilst still in the reserve William married Sarah Ann Harding at Painswick on 4 May 1885.
The Barkers had been a Norton family for a long time. The earliest record I have identified that possibly relates to this family comes on 4 July 1769 with the marriage of William Barker to Edith Jordan and shortly afterwards, on 5 August 1770, when Mary, daughter of William and Edith Barker, was baptised at Norton. On 11 October 1774 we have an almost certain connection with the marriage between Isaac Barker and Sarah Hopkins, ‘both of this parish’. On 20 September 1775 we have Elizabeth, daughter of Isaac and Sarah Barker, died and was buried on 25 September. 23 July 1780 William of Isaac and Sarah, 6 June 1784 Elizabeth of Isaac and Sarah (private). The reason for this baptism being private maybe evidenced by an entry just a short time later when, on 18 July 1784, we find the burial of Sarah, wife of Isaac. From the minute book of the trustees for repairing and widening the roads from the City of Gloucester towards Cheltenham and Tewkesbury 1 May 1778 – 30 Jan 1798 and accounts 1778-1797, we find that in 1779 an Isaac Barker was liable to do Statute Duty in Bishops Norton as a road labourer. As Henry and William’s father was Isaac, I am making the assumption that this Isaac would have been their grandfather.
By 1861 brother Isaac had married Ann and they were living at Norton with three young children. In 1864 Ann Barker and a son were living in a cottage at Norton Green but this is the last mention of the Barkers at Norton. In 1871, Henry’s brother, Isaac, was living with his large family at Coombe Hill employed as an agricultural labourer. In 1881 and 1891 they were living at Church Road, The Leigh, with Isaac employed as a farm labourer.
Military service continued in the Barker family with Alfred Barker, born at Norton in 1863 (check parentage). In 1881 we find that Alfred had joined the Royal Navy and was serving as a private in the 1/16th Regiment aboard HMS Jumna.
Born at Norton in 1864, son of Thomas Juggins and Jane nee Dawe. In 1871 the family were living at Benges Farm Cottages, Priors Norton, and in the early 1870s the family moved to The Leigh. By 1883 Thomas was employed as a farm labourer.
Thomas decided to enlist in the Army and took a medical examination at Gloucester on 4 December 1883 at which time he was described as being 5ft 5¾ ins tall, weighed 126lbs, 34 inch chest, fresh complexion, brown eyes and brown hair.
On 6 December 1883, enlisted at Bristol, as Private, No 651, Gloucestershire Regiment. On 10 April 1884 was posted to Portsmouth, on 18 September 1884 to Tynemouth, on 5 February 1885 to York, before setting sail for India on 11 February 1885. Thomas landed in India on 12 March 1885 and was posted to Poona. Between 12 and 17 June 1885 he was confined to hospital suffering from ague. Completed his 4th Class certificate of education on 23 June 1885. On 30 June 1885 Thomas was posted to Alumednayan where his time was not to be pleasant. During the following 18 months he was admitted to hospital on 9 separate occasions for a total of 171 days, suffering from ague, orchitis, balanitis and frequent bouts of gonorrhoea. On 4 December 1885 Thomas was awarded his 1st Good Conduct Pay. On 19 July 1887 was appointed Lance Corporal but on 8 September 1887 reverted to Private at his own request. Thomas returned to Poona on 7 January 1888 then to Dessa on 11 February 1888. In April, May and June 1889 he was admitted to hospital twice more for a further 34 days with gonorrhoea. On 22 January 1891 Thomas returned to the UK and on 30 January 1891 was transferred to Gloucestershire Regiment, 1st Class Army Reserve before being finally discharged on 3 December 1895.
In early 1891 Thomas was boarding with Joseph and Caroline Green at Hill Court, Hill, Thornbury, employed as an agricultural labourer. Married his hosts’ daughter, Clara Green, on 12 April 1891 at Hill, Thornbury, Bristol. In 1901 and 1911 Thomas, his wife and family, were living at Sunday’s Hill, Falfield, where he was employed as a carter on a farm. Thomas died in 1940.
ALBERT JOHN MARSTON
Albert Marston was born at Norton in 1869, son of John and Elizabeth Marston, and later was employed as a labourer. On 8 March 1899 Albert Marston attested into the army as No 71307, Gunner, in the Royal Artillery (Welsh Division) at Newport, Monmouth. At a medical examination at Bristol on 5 March 1899 he was considered fit for service and was described as being 5ft 8¼ ins tall, 135lbs in weight, 35¼ ins chest, fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair.
He served in the UK between attestation and 17 February 1890. On 16 June 1889 he was apprehended by the civil powers and a week later was imprisoned for 61 days before returning to duty on 22 August 1889. He was to leave the UK bound for service in India on 18 February 1890.
He passed an ambulance course at Quetta on 7 September 1892. On 19 August 1896 we find him in confinement awaiting trial by District Courts Martial and on 16 September 1896 he was sentenced to 42 days imprisonment, returning to duty on 26 October. His Indian service finished on 31 January 1897 when he returned to the UK.
On 3 April 1897 he was apprehended awaiting trial and on 8 April he was imprisoned by civil power to serve 61 days at HM Prison, Gloucester, for inflicting grievous bodily harm.
On 1 January 1899 he was posted to the Field Artillery Reserve and then on 18 December 1899 he was recalled to Army service as a gunner, Royal Field Artillery, presumably as a result of the Boer War as on 18 January 1900 he left for South Africa. His troubles hadn’t finished, however, as on 21 April 1901 we again find him awaiting trial and on 26 April he was sentenced to 84 days imprisonment for being drunk whilst on active service. On 2 April 1902 he returned to UK and on 5 April 1902 he was discharged on termination of his first period of engagement having completed 13 years, 35 days, reckonable service. His character on discharge was assessed as ‘indifferent’.
He was awarded the Queens South Africa Medal with clasps Driefontein (10 March 1900), Johannesburg (29 May 1900), Diamond Hill (11 June 1900), Belfast (26 August 1900) and Cape Colony (11 October 1899 to 31 May 1902). He was also awarded the Kings South Africa Medal with clasps 1901 and 1902.
Whilst he was serving in the army his parents moved to live at The Leigh and it was here that Albert settled upon discharge, taking employment as a farm labourer. Albert married Mary Elizabeth Hickerton at Tewkesbury Register Office in 1902 and died on 23 September 1944 at The Leigh, aged 75 years.
HAROLD GEORGE NASH
Harold was born at Norton in 1890, son of William Nash and Eliza nee Wakefield of the Blacksmiths Cottage, Cold Elm. At the time of his brother Eustace’s [See additional WW1 fatalities] attestation into the Gloucester Regiment in May 1907 it was recorded that Harold was serving as Private, No 7935, in the 2nd Battalion, Gloucester Regiment.
2nd Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, E Company hockey team c1912. Private Harold George Nash, seated front row, far right