Mount Pleasant

At the time the Inclosure Act arrived at Norton in 1807 this was recorded as Plot No 271 and was a cottage and garden of 35p.  The plot was owned by the parish of Norton and it not known who was occupying the cottage at that time.

We find Mount Pleasant again in 1837 when a Guy Westcot is entitled to be on the village electoral list on the grounds of a freehold house and garden in Marlpit Lane.  The identification of this house as Marlpit can be made from the 1838 ‘terrier and valuation of the messuages, lands, and other hereditaments liable to poor rate in the parish of Norton’.  The property is still not named in 1838 but its owner was recorded as Guy Westcot, for the parish, and it was still a cottage and garden of 35p.  At this time it was occupied by a Frances Herbert but she is not here by 1841.  In 1841 and 1851, however, there was a Robert and Elizabeth Herbert living in this part of the village who may have had a family connection and been at Mount Pleasant.

If it is the same person, and it likely is, Guy Westcot was an interesting person.  Born at Box, Somerset, of Ephrain and Betty Westcott in 1806, he married Mary Herbert at St Nicholas, Gloucester, in 1828.  In 1831 they had a son Ephrain Guy John Herbert baptised at Birmingham at which time he was a cordwainer, and in 1837 they had a daughter Eliza baptised at Tewkesbury, still a cordwainer but then living at Oldbury.  By 1842 his fortunes had changed, he was still a shoemaker but was being held in gaol having been found guilty of receiving stolen goods and had been sentenced to serve 10 years.  He had returned to Bath to see his wife and a report that appeared in the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette newspaper of 19 May 1842, calling him notorious, claims that he was almost singlehandedly responsible for a crime wave in the city of Bath that ceased upon his capture.  On 4 August 1842 he was transported from Woolwich aboard ship Triton to Van Diemen’s Land, Australia, to serve his time, arriving on 19 December.

I have not identified a connection but perhaps the Frances Herbert who was at Mount Pleasant in 1838 was a relative of Guy’s wife Mary.  Robert Herbert who was here in the 1840s had been born at Norton in 1781 and his wife Elizabeth nee Cawdle/Caudle at The Leigh in 1765 so there is certainly a local connection there and maybe they had been living at Mount Pleasant earlier than the 1840s.  Elizabeth died in October 1856 and Robert the following month and both were buried at St Mary’s, Norton.

With the property not being named at this time it has proved impossible to follow its owners and occupiers through the remainder of the nineteenth century with any degree of certainty.

In 1901 Denis and Ada Day were living in a cottage here.  Denis Martin had married Ada Margaret Wadley in 1900 at St Mary’s, Norton, at which time he had been living at Kingsholm, Gloucester and Ada in Norton.  Ada was the daughter of James and Eliza Wadley and between 1897-1902 the family were living at The Lodge, Norton, with James employed as a cowman.  James Wadley had left Norton prior to 1911 but Denis and Ada settled here at Mount Pleasant but always as tenants.

Denis and Ada outside Mount Pleasant in the 1930s.

Ada stood at the door of Mount Pleasant in the 1930s.  They used to call the adjoining lean-to 'the swill'.

On 20 June 1942, Bruton, Knowles, & Co, were instructed by the executors of the late Miss L H Moule, to sell the property at auction at the New Inn, Gloucester.  It was Lot 4 and was described as; “Mount Pleasant, Norton, a brick and thatched cottage situate close to the previous Lot and consisting of a detached brick built and thatched cottage containing :- living room, bedroom, attic store, lean-to store with furnace and bread oven and a timber and corrugated iron EC.  There is a good piece of garden ground having a total are of little over a quarter of an acre.  Let to Mr Denis Day, a tenant of over 40 years standing at a rental of £9-2-0 per annum.  Landlord paying rates”.

Denis, who worked at Sharpness docks for 40 years and later was a gardener, was still at Mount Pleasant with Ada in 1949.

Ada and Denis at the time of their 50th wedding anniversary.

Ada died in 1951 and Dennis in 1953.  In the 1990s they were remembered by Betty Oakley (nee Jordan) who had grown up at High View, Marlpit Lane; “Further up Marlpit Lane lived Mr and Mrs Day who had no family. This was a pretty two roomed cottage having a large range for cooking.  They carried their water from the mill stream in two buckets hanging from a yoke.  …  Mrs Day helped out at ‘High View’ with washing etc, always wearing a man’s cap and a sacking apron.  She was a very private but kind person”.

The ‘Miss L H Moule’ whose death had resulted in the sale of the property in 1942 cannot be identified and I believe the name to have been wrongly recorded.  A William Henry Moule of Cheltenham had died in September of the previous year leaving his estate to two married daughters.  William was a porter at Cheltenham and had married Bertha Louise nee Ralph in 1879.  When Bertha died in 1896 he remarried Ellen Austin in 1898 and they had two daughters, Alice and Ellen, remaining at Swindon Street, Cheltenham, for the remainder of his life.

Some years ago I was told that Mr Eagles, a bricklayer, lived here but I have not been able to positively identify him.

Between at least 1954 and 1956 Charles A and Lucy E Osborne were here.  Charles Albert Osborne had married Lucy Edith Jordan at St Mary’s, Norton, in 1945, and they had three children; Clive, Carol and Sandra.                                                               .

In 1958 Louis Henry and Maud Elizabeth Gingell were here.  The Gingell’s had married in 1929 at Churcham and by the following year had come to Norton where they were at Barn Farm but appear to have ‘swapped’ properties by 1935 when they had moved to Ivy House Farm with Owen Randall moving the other way.  They continued to farm Ivy House till at least 1956 and perhaps they initially retired to Mount Pleasant when they gave up farming.

Miss Elsie E M Wilkes had been at The Orchards on Tewkesbury Road in 1958 but was at Mount Pleasant by 1960 with the Gingells having moved to 30 Wainlode Hill.  Elsie Wilkes was still here in 1963 when she died. Elsie was a member of The Leigh and District British Legion who formed a Guard of Honour at her funeral at St Mary's, Norton, where she has a memorial in the churchyard; "In loving memory of my dear sister Elsie Wilkes died June 24th 1963.  RIP".

Mary Rose Emma Couzens was Elsie Wilkes' sister and she appears to have been living here in 1965/66 and probably from Elsie Wilkes' death if not earlier.

In 1965 the house was the scene of a burglary as reported in The Citizen newspaper of 25 June; "Mrs Mary Emma Cousins, widow, said she lived at Mount Pleasant, Priors Norton, Gloucester.  She had gone out visiting that evening and had made her house secure before leaving.  On her return she found the back door open.  The lock was damaged.  She telephoned the police, and found a watch valued at £5 to be missing.  Josephine Boodle (19), Hill Cottage, Norton, told the court that Miss Cousins' bungalow was visible from her bedroom window.  At 9:40pm on June 14 she was in her bedroom doing her hair and as she glanced out of the window she saw a car go up the lane.  'I had never seen the car before or the driver, who stopped and got out.  He examined Miss Cousins' house and then came out and drove away.  I went out for a walk with my father and he telephoned for the police after I had told him what I had seen'.  Mr James Boodle, her father, a dental mechanic, said his daughter told him of the happenings in the lane.  He, his wife and daughter, went out for a walk.  As they walked past Miss Cousins' house, he went into another house and made a telephone call to the police.  He saw a car, of which he took the number, parked further along the lane.  He added that he thought there were two men in the car".  The culprit was arrested and the watch returned.

In October 1986 the property was put up for sale with Brinkley Thompson estate agents of Gloucester; "Priors Norton.  Quality detached 3 bedroom bungalow in fine elevated position with commanding views. Approximately 1/3 acre landscaped gardens with double garage and swimming pool.  3 principal bedrooms (master with en-suite), splendid lounge with picture window, well fitted kitchen and bathroom. £83,000".

Was marketed by Alder King, Black Horse Agencies, in January 1991 at £210,000; "Delightful detached bungalow, elevated position, extensive views, swimming pool and changing room, equal distance from Gloucester and Cheltenham".

Was marketed by Bell & Sage, Gloucester, in February 1991 at £119,000 (offers); "Luxurious detached bungalow, 3 double bedrooms, 3 luxury bathroom suites, 2 large reception rooms, utility room, fitted kitchen / breakfast room, double garage, swimming pool, ½ acre gardens with panoramic views".

Was marketed again by Steve Gooch, Tuffley, in July 1996 at £198,000; "Detached bungalow set in a rural position on an elevated plot with views towards the Malverns offering 2 receptions, 3 bedrooms with en-suites, oak fronted kitchen, well kept gardens, detached double garage, outdoor swimming pool".

Was marketed by Farr & Farr, Gloucester, in February 1998 at £179,000; "Individual detached bungalow occupying an elevated position with extensive views, 3 bedrooms, en-suites, 2 receptions, utility, double glazing, heating, double garage, swimming pool".

From 2000 Paul R Alcock and Janine E Bennett were in residence.