No 1 Cold Elm

No 1 Cold Elm is no longer with us but shouldn’t be confused with Norton Court Estate, No 1 Cold Elm Cottages, that will be covered elsewhere.

In the early 1800s the piece of land where No 1 Cold Elm once stood was Plot No 374, known as Cold Elm Ground, was 1a 1r 1p in area and was owned by Thomas Rudge.  There were no buildings on this plot, in fact, the only building on that side of the old road was directly opposite Wainlode Lane.  Thomas Rudge also owned other land around the village at that time including Plot Nos 373, 375 and 386 on the following plan.

Extract from the 1807 Inclosure Act map for Norton

Thomas Rudge does not appear on the Land Tax schedules for Norton in 1796 so must have been a new arrival in the village around this time.  The plot of land can’t be identified any earlier than 1807.

The divisions between Plot Nos 373, 374 and 375 get a little blurred at this time but a Norton Court Estate plan from 1856, see above, roughly records this area of Cold Elm. Lewis owned the cottages that are now Conquest House and Enderleigh, then Richard Vick with The Laurels, then the Mealings with the other group of cottages opposite the Wainlode Lane junction.

There had been a family of Lewis blacksmiths at Newent since the early 1700s and Joseph was descended from these.  On 15 April 1837, Joseph Lewis, then innkeeper of Newent, let the property to John Horlick of Twigworth, wheelwright, carpenter and blacksmith.  The lease included a messuage, garden and blacksmiths shop on the turnpike road from Gloucester to Tewkesbury in the parish of Norton late in the occupation of Joseph Lewis.  The rent was £11 for a term of 21 years, determinable after 7 or 14 years.

Joseph Lewis was a wheelwright of Norton when on 18 May 1811 he swore an allegation to marry Sarah Humphries at Shipton Oliffe.  On 16 May 1823 Joseph was a 25 year old carpenter of Norton and a widower when he swore an allegation to remarry Alinda Bisco, a 25 year old spinster of Norton, at St Mary’s, Norton.  [Perhaps the age of 25 was meant as ‘at least 25’ as Joseph was born in 1780 and Alinda in 1795].  Alinda was likely the daughter of Benjamin and Martha Bisco, a farmer of Norton.  Benjamin witnessed her marriage allegation and stood bond to the sum of £500.  Benjamin was still farming at Norton in 1826 but I can find nothing more about the Biscos at Norton although Martha has a memorial in the churchyard from her death in 1835 aged 83.  She may have suffered a long illness as her memorial reads; “Affection sore so long I bore physicians help was vain till God alone did hear my moan and ease me of my pain”.

By 1841 Joseph and Alinda Lewis had moved to Newent and were living at Broad Street with two children and extended Bisco family including Alinda’s father Benjamin.  Joseph died at Newent in 1843 as did Benjamin Bisco and by 1851 the widowed Alinda and son John had returned to Cold Elm, Norton, where she had become a Post Office keeper.

1st Edition OS 25”, 1844-1888

The property we are discussing is shown to the right side of Plot No 292 on the above map.  The pink squares are the residences whilst the black are outbuildings, workshops, etc.  The ‘smithy’ was actually located in a lean-to structure adjoining the end of No 3 Cold Elm Cottages.

On 13 February 1841 John Horlick sublet the property to Charles Healing, of Hatherley, for the consideration of £10.  Charles Healing, of Condicote, Stow on the Wold, married Ann Critchley in 1841 at St Mary de Lode, Gloucester, and they appear to have arrived at Norton straight after marriage. 

There had been Healings in the village some 100 years previous when on 18 August 1766 John, also a blacksmith of Norton, swore an allegation to marry Elizabeth Pew of Norton at St Mary’s.  By 1851 Charles Healing was living with his family on the Turnpike Road, in the area near The Kings Head, employed as a wheelwright; no doubt at No 1 Cold Elm.  Wife Ann died in 1858 and in 1861 we find Charles, widowed and living at a wheelwrights shop still on the Turnpike Road with his son, William, joining him as a wheelwright.  The Healing family are still at Norton in 1871 but are then calling themselves carpenters. 

The Gloucestershire Chronicle newspaper of 23 May 1868; “Norton, near Gloucester. to be sold by private contract, a comfortable and convenient dwelling-house, with roomy Workshops, Smith's Shop, Yard, and Garden, now and for many years occupied by Mr Healing, wheelwright, together with three cottages and gardens adjoining.  The property, which is freehold, is pleasantly situated near the Kings Head, Norton, and may be seen on application to the tenants”.

By 1871 Edwin Nash, a blacksmith of Staverton, had arrived at Cold Elm, likely after the 1868 sale.  The carpenter’s workshop was adjoining No 1 Cold Elm whereas the blacksmiths workshop was adjoining No 3 Cold Elm Cottages so perhaps Edwin was living in the latter cottage and he will be discussed elsewhere.  It appears that the Nash family owned both properties at this time but they were in different occupancy.

Through the 1870s Charles Healing remained at Cold Elm, was the Gloucester Board of Guardians, Assistant Overseer at Norton, and in 1881 Charles was calling himself a master wheelwright.  The Healing family were at 1 No 1 Cold Elm for approaching 50 years but their time here was to be brought to a premature end.  The Citizen newspaper of 4 February 1888 reported; “Fire At Norton – A carpenters shop, belonging to Mr Charles Healing, of Norton, was totally destroyed by fire on Friday night.  The shop, which adjoins the dwelling house of Mr Healing, was first discovered to be on fire at about 10:30, and despite the efforts of the villagers to extinguish the flames, the structure was burnt to the ground by 11:30.  The fire is supposed to have originated from the chimney of a stove in the centre of the shop, and which was alight during part of Friday, becoming heated and igniting the roof, which fell in soon after the flames were observed.  The buildings, tools, fixtures, etc, were insured in the Norwich Union for £50, which is, as far as can be ascertained, about the amount of the damage.  The fire brigades were informed of the outbreak, but owing to the limited supply of water near the spot, it was not thought advisable to take the engines out”.  The fire would most likely have brought an end to the family business on this site and Charles was not to live long enough to start again as he was to die just some six months later, aged 76 years.

Charles' son William was left to pick up the pieces from the fire and the death of his father but things were not to go well for him as reported in the Gloucester Journal newspaper of 13 July 1889; “In bankruptcy. Norton, near Gloucester, J W C Brewer has received instructions from the official receiver in bankruptcy, to sell by auction, on Tuesday next, July 16th 1889, - The neat and useful household furniture, also 2-knife machine, quantity of blue bricks and squares, sundry timber, 3 pairs wheels, and numerous other outdoor effects, upon and about the premises in the occupation of William Healing, farmer, carpenter, &c.  Selling to commence at 3 o’clock pm”.

Frank Stubbs, a carpenter and blacksmith, appears to have been resident here between 1897 and 1906 although he may have been living elsewhere at Cold Elm and renting the smiths premises.  Francis Herbert was born in 1863 at Norton, the illegitimate son of Hannah Stubbs, and was brought up by his grandparents, William and Comfort Stubbs, in Norton.  Frank married Eliza-Ann Hancock in 1886 at Stow-on-the-Wold, and they had six children; Francis George, Herbert William, Norah, Harold Gilbert, Sidney Wallis and Susan Mary.  In the 1880s lived at Twigworth but by 1891 he was living at Spring Cottage, Norton, employed as a carpenter.  

Francis (Frank) seemed to be doing well in business although he appears to have found it difficult to retain staff judging by the number of advertisements he placed in local newspapers through the 1890s.  10 May 1892; “Wanted, at once, good wheelwright, for country work. – Apply F H Stubbs, Norton, near Gloucester”.  6 August 1898; “Wanted. Steady young man for blacksmiths shop, must be able to nail on well.  Apply F H Stubbs, Norton, near Gloucester”.  7 September 1899; “Wanted.  Good shoeing and jobbing smith, with good references.  Mr F H Stubbs, Norton, near Gloucester”.  13 June 1900; “Wanted.  Good wheelwright.  Apply F H Stubbs, Norton, near Gloucester”.  He must also have been renting land and selling the fruit.  17 September 1898; “Bruton Knowles & Co, will sell by auction, at the Elms Farm, Norton, on Wednesday, 20th September, 1898, … the crop of fruit growing in an orchard at Norton, about 2½ acres, and a rick of well-made hay and clover, the property of Mr F H Stubbs.  To view, apply to Mr F H Stubbs, Norton”.  26 August 1899; “Monday, August 28th, 1899, Bruton Knowles and Co, will sell by auction, at 10 o’clock punctually … the choice crop of fruit growing in the orchard on the above farm, about 2½ acres.  The property of Mr F H Stubbs, Spring Hill Villa, Norton”.  This last advertisement suggests that Francis was living at Spring Hill Villa and not No 1 Cold Elm in 1899.

Frank was being paid a salary as the sexton at St Mary’s, Norton, in the 1890s when he received payment for various miscellaneous repairs including the roof of the churchtower, a new flue and new internal woodwork.  He ceased to be sexton at the Easter Vestry meeting on Thursday, 17April 1901.  He stood for election as a Parish Councillor in 1896 but did not receive enough votes to be elected and withdrew his candidature. 

Widowed in 1899 Frank remarried Norah Ellen Buttle in 1901 at Temple Guiting, and had four further children; Dorothy Hannah, Edith Emily, Lilian Comfort and Agnes Irene.

1904 signalled a change in fortunes for Francis, however.  5 January 1904; “Gloucester Bankruptcy Court. A Gloucester Carpenter.  Re Francis Herbert Stubbs, carpenter, wheelwright, and blacksmith of 19 Edwy Parade, and Priory Road, Gloucester.  Mr Treasure was for bankrupt.  Debtor’s deficiency was £118 2s 8d.  He first started in business at Norton as a carpenter in 1890, and came to Gloucester in 1900 with very little money in hand.  He made a mistake in leaving Norton at all; he could make a living there.  The examination was closed on the usual terms”.  This suggests that Francis had moved to Gloucester in 1900 although he still appeared in a cottage near the Kings Head at Norton in the census of 1901 and on the electoral roll for Norton until 1903 so perhaps he maintained the business here as well as in Gloucester.

Frank stood for election to the post of School Manager in April 1904 but was defeated by three votes to two by Albert Henry Stubbs.

13 June 1904 sees his second wife Norah taking a lead; “To Blacksmiths.  To Let, Blacksmiths Shop, with good connection, tools, and in working order; splendid opening for single young man; must be good shoing, general and wheelwrights smith.  Apply N E Stubbs, Norton, near Gloucester”.

On 7 February 1905 things got worse for Francis at Gloucester County Court.  “Henry Jones, blacksmith, Norton, sued Mr Frank Henry Stubbs, Norton, for £3 2s 1d, for wages due.  Mr J T Jones was for the plaintiff.  Plaintiff and his wife gave evidence as to the arrangement between the parties, and said plaintiff was to receive 24s a week.  Defendant said he was an undischarged bankrupt.  He disputed the plaintiff’s evidence, and no arrangement was made to pay 24s after defendant’s bankruptcy when he lost his shop.  He had had no claim for these arrears made upon him until he sent word to plaintiff to the effect that if he was not satisfied he could look for another job.  His honour gave judgement for the amount claimed, saying that if the defendant meant to alter any rate of wages, he should have told plaintiff”.

Perhaps Francis tried to get the Norton business going again in 1906.  9 March 1906; “Smith wanted, for country shop; must be good shoer, used to wheelwrighting work.  Apply F H Stubbs, Norton, near Gloucester”.  17 July 1906; “Wanted, a wheelwright.  Apply F H Stubbs, Norton, near Gloucester”.

By November he had given up.  The Gloucester Journal newspaper of 17 November 1906 advertised; “Norton. Bruton, Knowles and Co, are instructed by the owner to sell by auction, at the New Inn Hotel, Gloucester, on Friday, November 23rd, 1906, at 3 for 4 o’clock, in one Lot; - The dwelling house, blacksmith’s and wheelwright’s shops, garden and land, in all about 0a 3r 24p, conveniently situated on the main road at Cold Elm, Norton, near the King’s Head, and in the occupation of Mr. F. H. Stubbs. Possession on completion”.  29 November 1906; “Norton (near bus terminus). George Packer and Co are instructed by Mr F H Stubbs to sell, by auction, on Monday next, at 2 o’clock, his wheelwrights and blacksmiths tools and effects.  On view morning of sale”.

In 1907 the family left Norton to live at Tewkesbury.  Frank died at Upton St Leonards in 1945 but was buried at St Mary’s, Norton, where he has a memorial along with his second wife.

In October 1907 it appears that No 1 Cold Elm was put up for auction by Messrs Bruton, Knowles and Co; “A detached freehold dwelling house, with blacksmiths and wheelwrights shop, large garden, and pasture orchard, situated on the main road at Cold Elm, Norton, the house, garden and orchard of which is let to Mr James Slatter at £15 a year, the blacksmiths shop being let to Mr J C Cake at £3 a year, landlord paying rates in each case”.  The blacksmiths shop was sold to Mr John Heath for £255 but perhaps the house itself wasn’t sold.

It is interesting to note that the sale in 1907 seemed to separate the blacksmiths shop from the property at No 1 Cold Elm. Indeed, looking at early maps for this area the blacksmith shop was located in a lean-to structure adjoining No 3 Cold Elm Cottages.  This is further confirmed by an account written by Denis Williams, reproduced in more detail later, who purchased No 3 Cold Elm Cottages in 1954; “No 3 had a lean to extension towards Mr Goulters cottage.  This was originally the blacksmiths shop with an entrance from the lean to across the cobbled drive”.

The J C Cake who was tenant at the blacksmiths shop was Charles Cake who was living with his wife and three children at Church House, Priors Norton.  Charles was employed as a shoeing and general smith and his eldest son Edwin was assisting him in the forge.

Photograph taken in 1954 showing Nos 3, 2, and 1 Cold Elm Cottages with the lean-to blacksmiths shop to the left.

Following the information from the 1907 auction, I can find no record of a James Slatter at Norton but from approximately 1895 there was Charles, a cowman, and Ellen Slatter living in a 6 room property at Cold Elm with their six children.  Charles died in January 1907 so by the time of the October auction maybe James was a relative handling his affairs.  Later the Slatter descendants lived at Nos 1 and 2 Cold Elm Cottages. 

In 1889 I find the first reference to Joseph Nash in the Norton Electoral Rolls as living at Staverton but qualified to vote at Norton due to ownership of a freehold house and garden at Cold Elm.  Joseph also qualified through ownership of a dwelling house at Norton.  These would most likely have been No 1 Cold Elm and No 3 Cold Elm Cottages.  Joseph Nash died in 1912, aged 94, causing the property to be put up for sale again.

On 1 July 1912 the property was sold into the Norton Court Estate for £160 and details from that time help to confirm some of its history. The Conveyance from Edwin Nash and Harry Nash, as personal representatives of Joseph Nash deceased, to George Norton Walker detailed “a dwelling house with the workshops, outbuildings and garden adjoining in the parish of Norton then formerly in the occupation of Charles Healing and then of W J Teakle as tenant bounded on west by road leading from Gloucester to Tewkesbury on the north east by garden to the Kings Head Inn then in the occupation of Walter W James (which garden together with the said garden conveyed then formerly formed part of a meadow known as Cold Elm Piece) and on the south by a smithy then or late belonging to the vendors as such personal representatives”.

The Gloucester Citizen newspaper of 13 May 1912 reported; “John G Villar is instructed by the executors of the late Mr Joseph Nash to sell by auction, at the Queen’s Head Inn, Longford, near Gloucester, on Thursday, May 23rd, 1912, at 7 o’clock in the evening precisely, - Parish of Norton. Lot 1 – The freehold brick-built and slated dwelling house, together with large detached carpenters and wheelwrights shop and a wagon shed adjoining, and with the garden land in front and rear of the buildings, as now in the occupation of Mr W J Teakle at a rental of £13 per annum.  Rates paid by the landlord”.  Lot 2 at the same auction was the row of three cottages next door also owned by the late Joseph Nash.

In 1911 Walter Teakle was living with his family in a six roomed property at No 1 Cold Elm.  Walter was employed as a hedger, his two sons as cowmen, and a daughter who was in service at Norton Court Farm.  Walter James Teakle was born at Chalford in 1857, he married Esther Ann Newman at Sandhurst in 1886 and they were to have eight children.  In 1901 Walter was employed as a farmer living with his wife and seven children at The Downs, Sapperton, coming to Ivy House Farm, Norton, shortly afterwards.  By 1904 Walter was having financial difficulties that resulted in the farm owner, Edwin Taylor, seizing and selling his farm stock to cover the rent he was owed and eventually Walter was declared bankrupt.  By October 1905 Walter was living at Coombe Hill when there was a fire in the cottage where he was living after which only ‘the mere shell of the cottage remained’.  In July 1906 Walter was at The Leigh before returning to Norton and Cold Elm.  Walter died at Cheltenham in 1935.

A document detailing the deeds of various properties that were owned by Capt Norton Walker states that in 1923, No 1 Cold Elm was ‘in the occupation of Goulter’.  This would have been Percy Reginald Goulter who had married Mabel Evelyn Purveur in 1905 and they had two children, Mabel and Ivor Granville.  The property was in use as the village Post Office at this time with Mrs Goulter being employed as the Post Office assistant.  Percy was employed as an estate carpenter with the Norton Court Estate and I was once told he “smoked a pipe like a chimney”.

Mabel Goulter at the rear of the house

The Old Road through Cold Elm in simpler times, early 1930s.  The chimney stacks of No 1 Cold Elm can just be seen to the right of the horse cart.

Sheila Maidment (nee Mullens) who was born at Yew Tree Cottage in 1923 remembered Goulters running the post office in a cottage next door to the Kings Head Inn.  “The cottage was painted white and was attached to a double doored garage – I never saw inside that but none of the Goulters drove”. 

Although Percy was the registered sub-postmaster he was actually employed as the Norton Estate carpenter and it was his wife who ran the post office, the counter of which was located in the family living room.  Percy Goulter is still listed as sub-postmaster in Kelly’s of 1939.

In June 1952 the Norton Court Estate was sold at auction and the cottage was described as follows; "Situate in the Old Road close to the Kings Head Inn, a brick and tiled double fronted detached cottage, known as No 1 and containing: passage entrance, sitting room, kitchen, back kitchen and pantry, wash house with furnace and 4 bedrooms, two having fireplace.  Coal shed, EC, well of water, garden with fruit trees and a brick and tiled wheelwrights shop.  In the occupation of Mr P R Goulter at a rent amounting to £15 per annum". 

In 1954 No 3 Cold Elm Cottages – the house on the right of the photo where the lady is looking out of the front door - came into the ownership of Denis and Lily Williams who were to own several properties along the old road in the following 70 years.  In 2000 Denis wrote an account of his memories from this time from which the following is an extract;

“Adjacent to the Kings Head (South) was a cottage end ways on to the road, double fronted, built of brick, painted white with a tiled roof, occupied by Mr Percy Goulter, his daughter Mabel and son Ivor.  To the right of the property was a well which was in daily use.  The Post Office was situated here after the fire at the village shop, later it was again transferred to the village shop at the top of Wainlode Lane, this was after World War II.  In the garden facing the road was a large workshop, built of brick with large windows and double doors which was the original wheelwrights shop.  Mr Goulter was the Estate carpenter; it was he who made the gates for the church entrance.  During the First World War he had served in the RFC (Royal Flying Corps) as an aircraft rigger.  He told me that the area fronting the workshop had originally been cobbled but Captain Norton Walker had them removed and the ground cultivated during the First World War.  Inside the workshop on the wall was a wooden aircraft propeller which had belonged to a Russian aeroplane.  At the entrance gates to the cottage there was a large laburnum tree which always looked magnificent when the golden chains were in bloom.  A previous occupant had planted this tree many years previously on his wedding day.  Miss Goulter (Mabel) was the church organist for 40 years, always cheerful she devoted herself to looking after her father and brother.  The first person we met at Norton she remained a much loved friend of the family.  Her greatest ambition was to play the organ in Gloucester Cathedral.  I am pleased to record that she achieved her dream, it was one of the memorable days of her life.  Her sudden death was a great shock to us all, a lovely lady”.

Ivor Goulter lived at No 1 Cold Elm until his death when the property was put up for sale with Graham & Son’s Estate Agents in 1986;

It would have been around this time that the cottage was demolished to make way for the access road into the new development of Kings Elm.