Norton Court Estate Cottage - No 8

These two cottages on the Green belonged to the Norton Court Estate and were known as Nos 8 and 9 with cottage No 8 being the one nearest the Methodist Chapel.  

As can be seen on the following map extract, at the time that the Inclosures came to Norton in 1807 there were no properties on The Green.  Plot No 147 was described as being a garden and was owned by William Woodward who lived in the cottage opposite at Plot No 79.

The Ordnance Survey first mapped Gloucestershire at 25” between 1873-1884 and the resultant map shows that the two cottages now found on The Green had appeared by that date at Plot No 180.

From 21 January 1878 there is a statutory declaration by Esther Mann as to the title of Henry George Mann to 2 cottages, garden, etc adjoining Pound Green at Norton and 6 May 1878 a conveyance from Henry George Mann to Charles Betteridge Walker of two cottages ... respectively together with all rights etc.  It is said that in 1878 one of these cottages was in the occupation of William Leach.  So, in 1878, No 8 became a part of the Norton Court Estate.  [The record of this transaction in the Norton Court Estate papers states that in 1923 the cottage was occupied by Bradshaws which helps identify the cottage].

William was born in 1847, the son of Samuel and Esther Leach, and grew up at Yew Tree Farm.  He had married Mary Ellen Williford at St Mary's, Norton, in 1869 and in 1881 he was an agricultural labourer living at No 8 with his wife and six young children.  Mary, known ad Ellen, was also born in 1847, daughter of John and Hannah Williford, and had grown up living by the church at Norton.  They had left the village by 1891.

The earliest definite reference to No 8 has been found in 1908 when William and Clara Oakley were paying £8 10s Lady Day Rental to the Estate. 

William was born at Norton in 1857, the illegitimate son of Eliza Oakley and the grandson of Thomas and Ann Oakley who raised him and who had lived at The Green since the 1840s.  Thomas had died in 1884 and Ann in 1890.  William himself married Clara Burrop of Tewkesbury in 1880 and after a short spell at Twigworth had returned to live at Norton by 1885 possibly after the death of his father.  They originally lived in the thatched cottage at the green, No 16a and currently Goose Cottage.  

William and Clara Oakley with their children

By 1911 the family had crossed the village green and were living in a 5 room property at No 8 where William was employed as a bricklayer.  The Oakleys were still at Norton in 1924 but Clara was living at Sandhurst when she died in 1928 so they must have left Norton around that time although she was buried at St Mary’s.  William died in 1935.

Just after the First World War Alfred Peter Capon and Ada Mary Bradshaw came to Gloucester.  He was told that Capt George Norton Walker, of the Norton Court Estate, had a wish to employ ex-servicemen where possible so Alfred obtained a job on the Estate and moved to Norton to live.  Initially they had rooms, although not the whole house, at No 8, before moving on to Dunsworth Cottage where they remained throughout their lives.  Alfred died in 1955 and Ada in 1981 and both have a memorial at St Mary’s, Norton.

The next occupants have been found in 1939 when Frederick Donal and Violet Bendle were here.  At the time Frederick was the Estate’s 2nd gardener and also a Special Constable.  Also in 1939 the family had an evacuee lodging with them; Peter Doak.

In 1947-48 the residents were Arthur Reginald James and Lily Margaret Richardson and in 1949 Victor Baden and Irene Vera Harding.

At the time of the 1952 auction of the Norton Court Estate the house was described as follows;

“The under-gardeners cottage is pleasantly situated on The Green and is known as No 8.  It is well built of brick has a slate roof and contains; Porch, sitting room with two cupboards, pantry cupboard, and three bedrooms, two having a fireplace and one a cupboard.  Brick and slate shed, EC, soft water tank, garden.  Water is obtained from the village pump near-to”.

More recently; 1954-60 Gordon and Elsie M Morris, 1962 Graham Frederick and Patsy Elizabeth Harriet Spiers, 1963-85 Leonard Ernest and Marianne Hazel Prosser.


Elizabeth A Spiers was living here in 2002.

The photograph at the head of this article shows that an additional cottage has since been added to this pair leaving No 8 at the centre of a row of three.