The Green family were a constant in the village of Norton during the Victorian era. In 1841 Henry Green was a 40 year old miller living with his 12 year old son John. The 1851 census tells a little more about him. Born at Barnwood and still living at the mill on Tewkesbury Road he was recorded as a widowed farmer of 108 acres employing 4 labourers and as well as son John his 19 year old daughter Elizabeth was also in residence. By 1871 Henry was still recorded as the village miller and son John had married and was living with his growing family at Norton House Farm. By 1897 Mrs Mary Ann Green, widow of John, was recorded as the farmer with Ernest Edward Green, son of John, recorded as running hunting stables at the farm. There is no record of a Green in the village by 1901, however, four graves in the churchyard at St Mary’s stills preserves their presence in Norton.
“Sacred to the memory of Henry Green of this Parish who died April 3rd 1874 aged 76 years”.
“In loving memory of Gertrude Mary sixth child of John and Mary Ann Green of this Parish who died March 12th 1875 aged 2 years and 2 months. Suffer little children to come unto me”.
“In loving memory of John Green of this Parish who died August 15th 1890 aged 61 years. I am the resurrection and the life”.
“In loving memory of Ellen second daughter of John and Mary Ann Green born March 4th 1864 died Novr 22nd 1912. Also of Laura Green their elder daughter died 22nd February 1939”.
The upkeep of these graves became the subject of debate by the St Mary’s, Norton, Parochial Church Council during the 1940s as a result of a legacy recorded in the minutes of the PCC from 6 March 1940; “The Vicar told the meeting of a legacy of £100 left by the late Miss Laura Green formerly of Norton to be invested by the Vicar and Wardens for the upkeep of the family grave of the Green family. The Vicar thought it would be advisable to hand the money over to the Diocesan Trust who would pay the annual interest to the Vicar and Wardens. This was agreed to”.
It would appear that keeping these graves in a tidy condition was troublesome as the following minute extracts suggest. On 16 September 1941 we find; “Miss Mullens asked if any income from the legacy for the upkeep of the Green family grave as it was in a very untidy condition. Capt Walker said a small sum had been received and it was decided to instruct Mr Slatter (Sexton) to put the grave in order and pay him for the work”. Again, on 16 February 1944 we have “Miss Mullens asked if the Green family graves were being kept in order. The Chairman and Capt Walker had inspected them some weeks ago when they were tidy. After some discussion Mr Cook proposed (and Miss Perrott seconded) that the Secretary should ask Mr W Piff to undertake the regular clipping of the grass and keep them tidy generally for the sum of £2 per annum. This was carried. It was also decided to pay J Slatter £1.1.0 for cutting the grass on the graves last year”. Finding a volunteer to maintain the graves was a recurring problem and on 19 April 1944 we find; “The Vicar reported that Mr W Piff would not undertake the care of these graves and Slatter had recently clipped the grass and they were now in fair order. The Secretary was asked to write to Mr Slatter asking him to take over the work at a salary of £2 per annum provided the work was carried out to the satisfaction of the Church Council”. Everything went quiet for a few years until 6 July 1948 when “Miss Mullens spoke of the untidy state of the Green family graves and said as the PCC were trustees of the legacy for their upkeep the PCC should see that the work was carried out. The Secretary said Mr Birt had given up this work. It was decided to ask G Jordan to undertake this at a payment of £2 per annum and the Secretary said she would see Mr Jordan as soon as possible and put the matter in hand at once”.
Only a single year later the subject arose again on 4 July 1949; “It was reported that the Green family graves were neglected until recently when Miss Cook and Mrs Tombs had cut the grass and tidied them. The Secretary said she understood that Mrs Tombs would undertake the care of these raves. Miss Mullens proposed she be asked to do so at the same remuneration as Mr Jordan received viz £2 per annum”.
There is no mention of these graves after that date so either maintenance became less of an issue with someone doing a good job or perhaps the graves were left to fall into a state of neglect.