Bradley Cottages (Norton Court Estate Cottage No 23)

It is not until more recently that these cottages have been identified individually by Estate number and their early history will be taken in common.

 At the time the Inclosures came to Norton in 1807 Plot No 69, where the three Bradley Cottages can now be found, was recorded as a single house and garden in the ownership of Edward Webb of the Norton Court Estate.  The representation of the Plot on the following map extract shows a number of buildings and it is assumed that this was a farm with associated outbuildings at this time.

[Inclosure Map 1807]

The next helpful document after the Inclosure Act is found in 1838 with a Poor Law Terrier for Norton.  This identifies ‘Bradleys’ as No 57, 1 rod 20 perches, with two cottages and a garden plot all owned by Edward Webb of the Norton Court Estate.  The first cottage and garden was let to John Bailey, the second cottage and garden was let to Hannah Roberts and the garden was let to Richard Taylor who was at Green Farm.

The census of 1841 confirms that Hannah Roberts, aged 60, was widowed and living here with her son Thomas, an agricultural labourer.  Hannah’s husband Thomas had died in July 1835.  Next door was John Bailey, a 40 year old agricultural labourer with his wife Hannah and baby son George.  John Bailey had married Hannah, the daughter of Thomas and Hannah Roberts, in October 1838.  Samuel Roberts, a 70 year old brushmaker, was also in this area with his wife Esther, two adult sons and daughters.

A document that appears to date from the late 1840s, when Miss Elizabeth Frances Webb held the Norton Court Estate, records who occupied each of the farms on the estate and who and how many people lived in the cottages that were located on each of the farms.  The first three cottages were located at Bradley’s and in the first of these we have Hannah Roberts, her son and his wife, the second John Bailey, wife and child, and the third Samuel Roberts with two sons and a daughter.

The census of 1851 has Hannah Roberts, aged 75 and a retired shopkeeper, living with her now married son Thomas, his wife Hannah and their three young children.  John Bailey is still next door with his wife Hannah and two children.  Samuel Roberts, now 81, a widower, and still a brushmaker, was also still here with son Charles.

The Census from 1861 has Hannah Roberts, now 86, still living with son Thomas and his family of five children.  John and Hannah Bailey are still next door with one child.  Samuel Roberts died, aged 89, in April 1859 but son Charles is still here living alone.

Things have changed by 1871.  Hannah Roberts died in September 1862 but her son Thomas and family are still here.  John Bailey died in June 1867 and although widowed Hannah and daughter Eliza are still in the area I believe them to have been living elsewhere.  Charles Roberts is now living at Smithfield and it is not clear who was living in his cottage at Bradleys.  Thomas Bainbridge jnr of Benges Farm, Priors Norton, married Louisa Hayward in May 1863 and they moved to what was then being called Bradley Farm, most likely what was to become No 22.  By 1871 Thomas and Louis, who was using the name Susan, had three children.  The property adjacent to them was recorded as being ‘void’.

[2nd Edition, OS 25” Map, 1844-1888]

Thomas Bainbridge died in November 1880 and by 1881 widowed Susan Bainbridge had moved to Yew Tree Farm.  James Piff, a 50 year old market gardener from Staverton, is at Bradley Farm Cottages with his wife Emma and seven children.  This is the only property recorded as Bradley Farm in the census.

In 1901 there are four properties described as Bradley Farm Cottages.  Samuel and Sarah Preston were in No 22, Charles Griffiths, a farm carter, wife Mary Ann and five young children in another, William Piff, a market gardener, wife Esther, four children and William’s father James in No 23, and William Stubbs, 83 year old living off his own means, with his wife Comfort, a daughter and grandson in the fourth.

We are now reaching the time when the cottages can be identified by Norton Court Estate Nos and the following account will be tailored for each cottage.  Whilst it becomes possible to identify the occupants of individual cottages this isn’t always possible and the following were all living in one of the Bradley Cottages but it is not known which one.

In 1924-26 Arthur Sims and wife Susanna who died aged 67 in July 1924.

In 1924 Edwin Shadrack and Margaret Alice Beard.

In 1924 William and Elizabeth Mary Freeman.

In 1924-26 Seth Roberts.

In 1926 Evan Phillip, Emily Mary and John Samuel Coles

In 1927-29 Albert, Leah, Adelaide and William John Giddings

In 1927 Jack Redvers Stubbs.

In 1881 James Piff, a 50 year old market gardener from Staverton, is at Bradley Farm Cottages with his wife Emma and seven children.  This is the only property recorded as Bradley Farm in the census and is likely to have been No 23.  James still appears to be here in 1891 when he is living with his wife and three sons all employed with him in market gardening.

In 1901 William Piff, one of James and Esther’s sons is in residence.  James is now a retired widower and living with William, still a market gardener, his wife Esther Maria and four young children.  James died in July 1901. 

The occupancy of No 23 changed prior to 1908 when ‘Mrs Piff’ paid £5 to the Norton Court Estate for the Ladyday rents.  Another of James and Emma Piff’s sons was Thomas, born in 1854 at Norton, he married Annie Calcutt at St Mary de Lode, Gloucester, in 1890, and they appear to have first lived at Priors Norton before moving to Wainlode.  Thomas died in 1903 and soon after this Annie and family went to live at 23 Bradley Cottages.  One of Thomas and Sarah’s sons was William Thomas.

William Thomas Piff and Ethel Margaret (Maggie) nee Taylor at 23 Bradley Cottages, Norton

William Thomas, was born on 16 June 1895 at Norton, son of Thomas Piff and Sarah Ann nee Calcutt.  His father Thomas died when William was only 7 years old and he grew up in the household of his mother at Bradley Cottages, near The Green, Norton.  William served with the army during the First World War returning to Norton after the conflict ended.  In 1922 he married Ethel Margaret Taylor at St Mary de Crypt, Gloucester, and they were to have three children; Arthur, Ronald and Betty. 

On 16 July 1925, William Piff of Norton, cottage Estate No 23 in occupation of Mrs S A Piff signed a tenancy agreement continuing from 24 June 1925 at yearly rent of £5 12s 6d payable monthly.

The following are some memories of her time at Norton that William’s daughter Betty has shared with us;

“William worked at Norton Court as a labourer and also looked after some livestock. Betty (born 22/06/1928) remembers going to the Norton Court house at Christmastime to sing carols and when the door was opened the singers were given an orange each.  At Bradley Cottages, William had a large garden where he kept pigs and bantams and also grew a variety of vegetables; potatoes, carrots, greens, peas, rhubarb, along with apple, plum and pear trees. Betty loved apple pies made from the Blenheim apples on Sundays.  The pigs were fed on boiled potatoes, which Ron, the middle brother, would help himself to, as a young boy he would always be hungry. The pigs were walked to Gloucester market and half a pig would be hung up in the kitchen resulting in lovely liver and bacon meals. Even the fat from fried bacon spread on bread was a treat.  William also grew flowers… just for the garden and not to be picked for the house much to Maggie's dismay.  The toilet was in the garden. William would dig a trench and inside the shed would be a long plank of wood with two holes; one for adults and one for children !  No toilet tissue, just newspaper that you ripped up yourself.  Near the front door of the cottage was a water pump and a big stone which was sat on and the neighbours, the Hoopers, would chat to the Piffs”.

In 1939 William Piff was still here, employed as a private gardener, with wife Margaret (Ethel Maggie), son Arthur William a rate fixers clerk, son Ronald, and daughter Betty.  William’s mother Sarah Piff died in November 1939 and still has a memorial in the churchyard at St Mary’s, along with her husband Thomas. 

In June 1952 the Norton Court Estate was sold at auction and the cottage was described as follows; "A brick and tiled cottage known as No 23 situate close to the Estate yard.  The accommodation comprises: a partitioned sitting room with fireplace, oven and cupboard, back kitchen with furnace, larder, and two bedrooms (one having a fireplace) one being partitioned to make a third room.  Coal shed, EC, two pigscots and well kept garden.  Water is obtained from a pump in common with the two adjoining properties.  In the occupation of Mr Piff at a rent of £5 12s 4d per annum.  This Lot is sold subject to the owner of this property bearing one third of the cost of maintaining the gate and well both used in common with the cottages Nos 22 and 24".

William Piff’s garden must have given him pride and at the village horticultural show in 1948 he won the largest number of prizes.  In 1951 their daughter Betty married George Reginald Gilroy at St Johns, Gloucester, and in 1955 Betty was also listed at No 23.  William died in 1959 and was interred at Norton.  Wife Ethel followed him in 1976, living at that time in Cheltenham, and they still have a memorial together in St Mary’s churchyard.

Between 1985-2002 Samuel C and Hilda G Tasney were here.


In 2016 No 23 was put up for sale at £350,000 by C J Hole estate agents.  It was described as follows;

“A beautiful farmhouse style cottage situated in a rural location with stunning views and bursting with charming character. Bradley Cottage is a large three bedroom semi-detached cottage with ample living space indoors and outdoors. The ground floor boasts a beautiful farmhouse kitchen with terracotta tiled flooring, exposed wooden beams and a range style double oven, there is a handy utility room with a cloakroom, and a large lounge with a charming brick fireplace and woodburner, there are double doors opening out onto the rear garden with stunning far reaching views. On the first floor the master bedroom benefits from built in wardrobes and an ensuite shower room, there are a further two bedrooms and the luxurious family bathroom. Outside, there is a double garage with a converted attic making an ideal playroom. To the front of the property is a gated cobbled footpath and patio with an enclosed lawn. To the rear is a decking area perfect for outside dining overlooking the countryside.
Kitchen/Dining Room Front door, double glazed window, terracotta tiled flooring, tiled splash backs, matching base level and wall mounted units, integrated microwave, range style double oven and gas hob with extractor hood, sink and drainer, radiator, large storage cupboard, space for fridge/freezer, door to:-
Utility Room Three double glazed windows, slate flooring, tiled splash backs, base level units, sink and drainer, loft access, space for domestic appliances, plumbing for washing machine, underfloor heating.
Cloakroom Tiled flooring, tiled splash backs, WC, wash hand basin, wall mounted combination boiler.
Lounge Door to front garden, French doors to rear garden, double glazed window, fitted carpet, wood burner in surround brick fireplace, TV point, radiator, under stairs cupboard, stairs to first floor.
Landing Double glazed window, fitted carpet, radiator, fitted storage unit, doors to:-
Master Bedroom Two double glazed windows, fitted carpet, two radiators, built in wardrobes and drawers, door to:-
Ensuite Two Velux windows, slate flooring, part tiled walls, heated towel rail, WC, wash hand basin, double shower cubicle, underfloor heating.
Bedroom Two Double glazed window, fitted carpet, radiator, fitted wardrobe and drawers.
Bedroom Three Double glazed window, fitted carpet, radiator, fitted wardrobe and drawers.
Bathroom Double glazed window, slate flooring, part tiled walls, heated towel rail, WC, wash hand basin, corner shower cubicle, freestanding bath.
Garden Front: Gated cobbled footpath to front door, cobbled patio area, gravelled patio area, lawn, flower beds and shrubs, side access to rear.
Rear: Decking area, gravelled area, enclosed by fencing.
Garage Double garage with two up and over doors, power and lighting, parking to the front, ladder up to:-
Playroom Double glazed window, two Velux windows, fitted carpet, power, lighting, TV point”.