Smithfield Cottage (Horse Shoes, Norton Court Estate Cottage No 10)

The area of land known as Smithfield can be found along the track from Yew Tree Farm to Sandhurst.  There is now just the one property there, Smithfield Cottage, but that wasn’t always the case.

In 1742 the house at Smithfield was occupied by John Allen and his wife Mary. John wrote a Will on 29th March 1739, proved on 12th March 1742, in which he wrote; “I John Allen of the parish of Norton … blacksmith … I give unto my daughter Elizabeth one bedstead … unto my loving wife Mary all my goods stock corn hay horses iron tools ready monies”. This identifies John as a blacksmith which is probably where the name Horse Shoes comes from. As he did not own the house but was just a tenant there is no mention of it in his Will. Shortly after John Allen died his widow Mary also succumbed. On 21st May 1743, Thomas Allen alleged that Mary Allen late of Norton widow died intestate and that he, Thomas, was the lawful and natural son “… but being in his minority to witt of the age of fifteen years he is not a fitt person … to take on him the admonition aforesaid … wherefore he prayed that William Lovering his uncle might be assigned guardian … during his minority …”. William Lovering and John Salcombe both yeoman of Sandhurst swore to Thomas’ claim and it appeared that he inherited. On 8/9th March 1744, however, we find a ‘lease and release’ from a John Allen to William Allen followed shortly afterwards on 29th January 1745 when a mortgage was transferred from William Allen to Sarah Tovey of what was described as “…a dwelling house with shop and orchard…”. On 14th May 1753 the mortgage appears to have been assigned to Rev M Taylor. In 1763 William Whitmore was Lord of the Manor for Bishops Norton and was in the process of renewing contracts on land that he owned here. On 1st May 1763 he agreed a counterpart lease for 99 years to a Richard Allen at a rent of 1/- per annum on what we assume to be the same property. The lease read; “… between William Whitmore of Lower Slaughter … and Richard Allen of Norton … blacksmith … all that cottage or tenement standing and being in the parish of Norton aforesaid commonly called by the name of The Horse Shoes. And also all that shop lately erected and built near or adjoining to the said cottage and likewise all that garden lately enclosed to the said cottage and shop also adjoining late in the possession of William Allen father of the said Richard Allen … together with all outbuildings courts and appurtenances to the said cottage shop and garden … which said cottage was many years since erected and built upon the west ground but the said shop and garden have been newly erected and built upon the enclosed and taken out of the west ground of and in the Manor of Norton otherwise Bishops Norton in Norton aforesaid and to the said William Whitmore belonging as Lord of the said Manor.”

The next identified reference is dated 5/6th April 1773 with a ‘lease and release’ from John Kemmett to Richard Allen followed by a document dated the next day recording a mortgage from Richard Allen to Elizabeth Cuffe “…for a term of 1000 years…”. 23/24th May 1782 sees a ‘lease and release’ from Richard Allen to William Salcombe “…of two messuages (formerly one) including all commons, common of pasture…”. On 7th April 1788 the ‘assignment of term’ passed from Elizabeth Cuffe to John Salcombe and on 3rd August 1799 we find a ‘feoffment’ from John Salcombe to William Marston.

A map of the Wallsworth Hall Estate dated 1801 records the land associated with the property now known as Yew Tree Farm. A lot of the land around the farm was owned by a gentleman by the name of Smith and it can be imagined that this is where the name Smithfield comes from. At this date most of the land in the village was still strip farmed with different people owning/farming small strips of land all unconnected and all over the village. This was one of the issues that the Inclosure Act sought to rectify.

The Inclosure Awards reached Norton in 1806 and have left us with a map of the village at this time, an extract from this plan showing the bridle road from Yew Tree Farm to Sandhurst etc follows;

It is described as a private carriage road and driftway through Smithfield. The Commissioners awarded that the road “shall be of the breadth of twenty feet and shall be for the use of Walter Wilkins and William Butt and also of Thomas Paytherus, William Vick, William Marston, Mr Griffiths and Samuel Preston and the future owners and occupiers of the respective allotments. It shall be kept in repair by and at the expense of William Butt”. The plan depicts three properties along the track. No 113 was owned by William Vick, was 1 rod 21 perches in size and was described as a house, garden and orchard and is included on this website under its own article; ‘Emmetts’. No 114 was gardens, 22 perches in size and in the joint occupation of Mr Griffiths and Samuel Preston. No 115 was owned by William Marston and was described as a house and garden, 2 rods 20 perches in size, and is most likely that plot that was discussed in the opening of this article. We will use the plot numbers recorded above throughout the rest of this piece to identify each of the three sites.

It would appear that William Marston died shortly after the Inclosure details were captured as a document dated 24th July 1806 records the transfer of the mortgage on No 115 “…by demise William Marston to John Salcombe…”. From the information discussed so far we know that No 115 originally had a single cottage that later became two and by 1806 had become one again. On 18th January 1834, however, a mortgage passed from John Marston to Thomas Lewis Poole “…of three messuages formerly one…”.

Samuel Preston, one of those who held the garden at Plot No 114 died in April 1818 and on 28 February 1823 there was a feoffment from Moses Preston, Samuel’s son, to Henry Tombs “…of piece of arable land 40 yards by about 10 yards as fenced with a quick set fence … at Norton”.

From 1838 we have the “terrier and valuation of the messuages, lands and other hereditaments liable to poor rate in the parish of Norton”. This terrier describes Plot No 114 as gardens, 22 perches in size and then in the joint occupation of Robert Williams and Henry Tombs.

The terrier names Plot No 115 as ‘The Horse Shoes’, it was 2 rods 20 perches in size and surprisingly records the presence of 5 cottages all owned by the Marston family :-

Description Owner Occupier

Cottage and garden John Marston John Marston

Cottage John Marston William Birt

Cottage and garden William Marston William Marston

Cottage and garden Richard Marston Richard Marston

Cottage and garden Henry Marston Henry Marston

The 1841 census supports this. John Marston was a 45 year old farmer living with his wife, Mary, and three children. John’s second house was still occupied by William Birt a 25 year old agricultural labourer, his wife Mary and four young children. William Marston was a 40 year old agricultural labourer living with wife Ann and three children. Richard Marston was a 35 year old agricultural labourer living with his wife Eliza and three children. Finally, Henry Marston was a 30 year old agricultural labourer living with his wife Mary and five children. Along with Daniel Juggins and Thomas Oakley’s families, who were living at Plot No 113, it is hard now to believe that 41 people lived in this area of the village.

On 27th February 1847 we find “…mortgage and assignment or merger of mortgage…” from John Marston and T L Poole to Francis Richards. On 6 March 1850 Henry Tombs conveyed his part of Plot No 114 to William Mann.

The census’ never refer to this area being known as ‘The Horse Shoes’ but this name does recur in the records of village electoral registration. In 1851/52 John and William Marston are both recorded as owners and occupiers of ‘freehold house and land’ at Horse Shoes.

It is believed that an indenture bearing date 28th October 1851 refers to one of the properties at Plot No 115. It is a conveyance from Richard Marston to Joseph Baylis of “a cottage being the cottage conveyed by last mentioned indenture (9th May 1835) and also a small piece of garden adjoining the land conveyed by the indenture and containing with the site of the cottage 2 perches together with the right to bring ladders and materials over the other land retained by Richard Marston when and as often as any repairs should be necessary to the cottage together with commons common of pasture and of all other commonable rights etc”.

From 11 March 1854 there is a contract between William Williams and William Mann whereby Williams section of Plot No 114 is sold.

In the electoral register for 1854/55 we find a Joseph Baylis of Twigworth with a qualifying property of ‘freehold house and land’ at Horse Shoes. In 1855/56 Joseph Baylis appears to have moved to Down Hatherley but is still listed as holding property at Smithfield. On 11 March 1854 William Williams, son of the deceased Robert Williams, who had held the second part of Plot No 114 sold also although the surviving records do not indicate who to. It is likely it was the same Mann family who had earlier purchased the previous half of the plot from Henry Tombs.

On 31st October 1857 we find a conveyance from John Marston to William Marston which suggests that there may have been three properties on the site at that time “…of a cottage, garden and land adjoining the cottage of John Marston and being part of the premises known as The Three Horse Shoes reserving to John Marston the use of a footpath leading through the garden…”.  If we include the property owned here by Joseph Bayliss that would be four properties.  It is interesting to note that in the electoral register of this year there is a clear differentiation between properties at Smithfield and Horse Shoes, perhaps the three Marston properties were the Horse Shoes and Bayliss’ property was simply recorded as Smithfield to separate it.  Indeed, the 1st Edition 25” OS Map, extract below, does record four properties here along with the grey building which was likely the blacksmiths premises.

1st Edition 25” OS Map, 1844-1888

 In 1861 we still see William, John and Richard Marston appearing together along with Joseph Baylis.

In early 1865 a piece of land at Smithfield was owned by James Bullock, an ‘out of business’ corn dealer of Gloucester. James Bullock died in February of that year and the lot was put up for sale in the March. It particularly related to two cottages that were then occupied by Charles Roberts and John Cresswell at combined weekly rents amounting to 2s 4d. The landlord, James Bullock, paid all rates and taxes on the properties such as the £1 per annum parish poor rate. It was reported at the time that “these cottages are very dilapidated and only fit to be taken down and no rents have been received for some time”. The sale price was estimated at £50. It is not clear what happened at this time although the properties seemed to pass into the hands of Bullock’s widow, Sarah. She in turn died in November 1878 and towards the end of 1880 the properties passed into the hands of Charles Walker for a price of £95 and were brought into the Norton Court Estate. At the time of the 1881 census, Charles Roberts and John Cresswell were both still living at Smithfield but whether or not they were in the same ‘dilapidated’ cottages we cannot be sure.

In short, From 28 October 1851 there is a conveyance from Richard Marston to Henry Marston of cottage with small piece of garden land adjoining part of the garden land conveyed by the release of 1835 and containing 4½ perches together with the right of road to bring ladders etc and together with all commons etc.  From 14 February 1856 a conveyance from Henry Marston to James Bullock of the same cottage and garden.  From 27 November 1880 a conveyance from Joseph Ford, as surviving trustee of the Will of James Bullock, to Charles Betteridge Walker of two cottages in the respective occupations of Charles Roberts and John Cresswell with the small piece of garden ground adjoining and containing 4½ perches.

There also exists an indenture referring to a piece of land at what is described as Pear Tree Patch, Norton. It is not known exactly where this was but a comment mentions that it was occupied by Enoch Stubbs in 1923 and it is known that Enoch was living at Smithfield Cottage at that time. Another indenture dated 8/9th May 1835 refers to this piece of land in a “conveyance by lease and release the release between John Marston of the one part, Patience Marston of the second part, Richard Marston of the third part and Richard Marston of the fourth part”. The land appears to have been sold in 1866 when a document dated 29th November 1866 records the “receipt by Richard Marston from Joseph Bartlett the purchase money of 3 perches of land”.

John Marston appears for the last time in the electoral register for 1867/68 and was still at Horse Shoes. The electoral register for 1874 records that William Simmons, who had also owned Courthay Farm and the Kings Head Inn, then also owned ‘a freehold house and land’ at Horse Shoes. William Marston last appears in 1874, the year after his death and was also still at Horse Shoes. In William Marston’s Will, written some years earlier in 1865, he left “… all that cottage garden land and hereditaments situate at Norton … now in my occupation unto my wife Ann Marston … and immediately after her decease then I give and devise the same … unto my son John Marston”. Ann predeceased her husband and John took receipt of the bequest upon his father’s death.

In 1871 there were several families living along the lane to Sandhurst at Smithfield. A William Dolly, 41 year old agricultural labourer, with his wife Mary and seven children. Mary Marston, a 76 year old widow who appears to have been living alone or could possibly have been living with one of the other families. Also George Padgett a 36 year old carpenter and his wife Ann.

On 21 March 1874 the mortgage of 1847, referred to above, was endorsed to show it transferring from Francis Richards to John Jenner and on 24 April 1878 the same mortgage was again endorsed with the transfer from John Jenner to Charles Betteridge Walker and into the Norton Court Estate.

In 1877 Joseph Baylis was still living at Norton and owned a freehold house and land at Smithfield but this is the last year he was so recorded. A further document dated 26th February 1877 records the conveyance from John Marston to George Padgett of “…the cottage, garden and land…” and this was quickly followed by another document recording the “…release of equity of redemption of 3 cottages and gardens … from George Padgett and others to Charles Betteridge Walker…”.

On 21 January 1878 Esther Mann, the wife of Henry Mann, made a statutory declaration as to tithe plan of plot No 114 and it was conveyed from Henry George Mann to Charles Betteridge Walker in total. At that time it was in the tenancy of John Baylis. Thus it was only a small part of Plot 115 that remained out of the Norton Court Estate at this date; but not for much longer.

A document dated 25th May 1878 records the “conveyance from Joseph Bartlett to Charles Betteridge Walker of piece of garden ground”.

An indenture bearing the date of 1st July 1878 refers to property including a cottage that was known to be in the occupation of Enoch Stubbs in 1923 and this must almost certainly have been part of plot No 115. The document is a “statutory declaration by Charlotte Baylis the widow of Joseph Baylis of title of Baylis his son as his heir at law to the cottage and garden. Conveyance of same cottage and garden from John Baylis to Charles Betteridge Walker”. This would record the time when Smithfield Cottage ceased to be privately owned and became part of the Norton Court Estate along with the majority of the houses and land in Bishops Norton at that time.

William Dolly was still at Smithfield in 1881 along with his wife and five children and so was a George Padgett with his wife and four children. In 1889 a William Padgett occupied a dwelling house at Sandhurst Lane and between 1889 and at least 1903 George Padgett occupied a dwelling house at Smithfield. At this time the track was described as Sandhurst Road.

In March 1895 the Gloucester Highway Board met to consider, amongst other things, a request from Capt Walker to make an alteration to the bridle road that runs through Smithfield from Yew Tree Farm to Sandhurst. At that time the road came to a dead end where there was a gate that was often kept locked, (see separate account of Smithfield Gate) and then continued to Sandhurst as just a bridle track. Capt Walker wanted to straighten the road, fence it, and widen it to make the lane possibly an important route. It was also suggested that a board be erected near the gate stating ‘bridle-road to Sandhurst’. The proposed changes were adopted and agreed to. Looking at a plan of the track from 1807 and walking it today, however, it can’t really be seen where the track was straightened so it may possibly never have happened.

An entry in the Parish Council minutes from 1898 stated that Ann Padgett lived in the last remaining cottage along this road which would probably have been that referred to as No 115. It would certainly appear that the Padgett family lived at Smithfield from their arrival in the village through to the early 1900s. At the time of the Census in 1901 a George Padgett, Ann’s widower and a 67 year old carpenter, was still living at Smithfield along with Agnes Bishop his 39 year old niece and a laundress.

By 1903 the plot was down to a single property again, had become known as Smithfield Cottage and was lived in by Enoch Stubbs senior so the property must have changed hands at around this time.

In 1906 Sidney Waite and his wife were at Smithfield Cottage and in 1908 they paid the Norton Court Estate, Ladyday, rent of £8 for the cottage.  Sidney was born at Sandhurst in 1863, son of John and Mary Waite, and grew up at Walsworth Lodge.  Sidney married Phoebe Pensam in approximately 1882 and had many children.  In 1901 and 1911 they were living at Sandhurst with Sidney employed as a farm worker so their time at Smithfield was likely brief.  Several of their children returned to live at Norton later.In 1910 Smithfield Cottage was still in the Stubbs family but was then occupied by a Harry Stubbs. There were several Harry Stubbs in the village at that time and it is difficult to be certain which of these it was although it is most likely to have been the 29 year old son of Henry Stubbs and Eliza (nee Burrop); Henry being the village Postmaster. 

Just after 1910 the cottage returned to the previous Stubbs family and was in the hands of Enoch Stubbs junior and his wife Eliza, remaining in his occupation until 1931.  Enoch was born in 1866 at Norton, son of Charles Stubbs and Emma nee Baynham.  He grew up at Norton and by 1881 was working as a farm servant for Ann Marsfield of Turnpike Rd, Norton, where he was also living.  Enoch was a labourer of Down Hatherley when he married Eliza Hamblett in October 1886 at Sandhurst and had nine children.  Eliza was born in 1865 at Sandhurst, daughter of Jeremiah and Mary nee Hamblett.  Enoch followed the work employed as a labourer of Sandhurst, Down Hatherley, and Twigworth, over the following years.  By 1903 he was a labourer living at Smithfield.  In 1911 Enoch was employed as a groom.  Enoch and Eliza Stubbs were here until 1932.

In 1923/24 it was recorded of Plot No 115, Smithfield Cottage, that “…there is only one cottage (an old one) … instead of three as heretofore…”.

Throughout the 1920s the Stubbs were placing lots of advertisements in the local newspapers.  24 April 1922; “Pure Indian Runner duck eggs, 3s dozen; grand layers, delivered in Gloucester. K Stubbs, Smithfields, Norton”.  16 September 1922; “For sale.  Black dog (retriever and spaniel crossed); good worker and retriever.  Stubbs, Smithfield, Norton”.  25 May 1923; “For sale. 5 strong store pigs, 12 weeks old – Stubbs, Smithfields, Norton”.  13 May 1924; “For sale. Large black boar pig, 8 months old, room wanted - Stubbs, Smithfields, Norton”.  12 May 1925; “Sale. Six pure-bred runner ducks, two Pekins (in full lay), selling on account of mowing grass – E Stubbs, Smithfields, Norton”.  23 June 1930; “FOUR springer spaniel puppies, 3 months, from registered parents – E Stubbs, Norton, Glos”.

In 1932 Alfred and Alice Byard were here and they were still here in 1934.

Smithfield Cottage became associated with farm labourers at Yew Tree Farm around this time and it is assumed that the next few tenants were fulfilling this work. In September 1934 Smithfield was being offered as accommodation with the employment and this is just one of many such adverts; "General farm worker, good milker; references required; cottage available. Clinton Phelps. Norton".

1935-1937 sees a Walter and Athelinda Roles at Smithfield and by 1939 they were at No 24 Bradley Cottage. Walter was originally from Apperley and had married Athelinda Daisy Freeman in 1929 at Tewkesbury having four children. Walter was born in 1897 at 1 Bath Cottages, Apperley, son of Charles and Mary Elizabeth Roles. Athelinda Daisy was born in 1909 at Homedowns, Ashchurch, daughter of Frederick William Freeman and Dorothy Mary nee Pates. Athelinda died in 1977 and Walter in 1978. In 1937 William Robert Freeman, Athelinda's brother, was also briefly here.

In 1938 Arthur and Mabel Wheeler were here.  Arthur John Wheeler had married Mabel Blanche Keylock at Barnwood in 1920.  

In 1939 Archibald, a farm labourer, and Edith Hooper were in residence.  Archibald Frank was born in 1902 at Eldersfield, son of Herbert George, a shepherd, and Emily Hooper, married Edith Alice Overbury in 1930 at Haresfield, and appear to have had 7 children.  Edith Alice was born in 1902 at Haresfield, daughter of William Sidney, a platelayer on the Great Western Railway, and Laura Overbury.  Their first child born at Norton was in 1937 suggesting their arrival here in that year.  Sheila Maidment (nee Mullens) who was at Yew Tree Cottage at this time remembered the Hoopers in 2000; "Arch Hooper, who worked at ‘Yew Tree Farm’, used to kill rabbits and sell to mother for 6d so we had lovely pies and stews during the war".  It is not known when the Hoooers left Smithfield but from 1947, if not earlier, they lived at 22 Bradley Cottage, where they remained until their deaths; Archibald in 1983, Edith in 1984, and they have a memorial at St Mary’s, Norton; “In loving memory of Archibald Frank Hooper 1903-1983 RIP also his wife Edith Alice 1902 - 1984.  Reunited”.

During the war years it is difficult to know who was here.  In September 1944; "Wanted, general farm worker (clean milker) for small herd; cottage with gas and garden available end of September, near farm, and bus route.  Clinton D Phelps, Norton".

In 1947 Arthur and Mary Arnold were here along with Bertram Walton and Lilian Doreen Butler. Arthur Arnold had married Mary Payne at Bristol in 1917 and, it is remembered, arrived in the village during the war years along with two grown up daughters who were married to servicemen. They moved into Smithfield Cottage and, it is remembered, their daughters moved into what is now Jasmine Cottage, just along the lane towards The Green. Bertram Butler had married Lilian in Gloucester in 1940 and she was one of the daughters of Arthur and Mary Arnold. The Arnolds stayed on after the war but the daughters left when their husbands returned from service in the military.

When the Norton Estate was sold off by auction in 1952 Smithfield Cottage was described as “0.726 acres … situate near the homestead (Yew Tree Farm)… It is built of brick, has a tiled roof and contains 4 rooms and a scullery. Meal house, wood shed, EC and garden. Well of water”. It was “in the occupation of Mr Arnold on a controlled tenancy at a rent of £16 per annum”.


The Arnolds remained until at least 1955 when the property came to the Phelps family.

Yew Tree Farm was in the hands of Clinton Phelps and his son Michael and wife Rachel moved to live at Smithfield Cottage upon marriage.  Michael was born in 1927 and married Rachel Adair Cook in 1955 at Norton.  Also born in 1927 Rachel was the daughter of Arthur and Vera Cook of Court Farm, Norton.

In April 1963, Michael was advertising; "Young laying ducks for sale.  Phelps.  Smithfield Cottage, Norton".

Later Michael moved to live at the farm itself and his son Jeremy with wife Sue moved into Smithfield.