Without following the Walker family back into the lists of time this account will start with the birth of Charles Betteridge Walker as it was he who was later to purchase the Norton Court Estate and his parents.

Charles Betteridge Walker was born on 28 August 1842 at Matson House, Gloucester, the only son of Charles and Jane Hill Walker.  Charles Walker Snr was born in approx 1809 in Gloucester and Jane Hill Goodwyn was born in 1807 to John and Jane Goodwyn and was baptised on the 12 July 1807 at Tetbury. The couple married at Tetbury on the 18 October 1834 and were to have three children; Elizabeth Ann (1836-1847), Jane Edwards (1839-1893), and Charles Betteridge (1842-1893). 

In 1841 the family were living at Alfred Place, South Hamlet, Gloucester, with Charles employed as a ship owner.  By 1851 they were living at 1 Sherbourne Villas, Spa, Gloucester, and Charles had become a timber merchant, a trade he was to follow for the rest of his life and pass on to his son.  By 1861 they had moved again to Matson House, Matson, Gloucester, and by 1871, once again, to live at Hillfield House, Denmark Road, Gloucester, by which time Charles was a partner with Price Washbourne & Co of Gloucester.


Hillfield House, Denmark Road, Gloucester [Debbie Hotchkins]

Hillfield House was rebuilt specifically for Charles Walker in 1867 by Albert Escort, master builder. It can still be found in Denmark Road, Gloucester, just along from the junction with London Road and has extensive gardens in the form of a park joining the two roads.  Whilst it was employed as office space for a number of years, more recently I believe it has been converted into apartments.

Charles Walker (1809-1877)

Jane Hill Walker died on 25 November 1873, aged 66, and was laid to rest on 29 November 1873 at St. Swithun’s Church, Hempsted.  Charles Walker died on 11 October 1877, aged 68, and was laid to rest on 15 October 1877 also at St. Swithun’s.

The Walker family graves in the churchyard at St Swithun's, Hempsted, Gloucester. [Debbie Hotchkins]

Nearest the camera with the raised ledger stone is; "Sacred to the memory of Elizabeth Anne Walker eldest daughter of Charles Walker Merchant of the City of Gloucester and of Jane his wife who departed this life January 20th 1847 aged 11 years and 5 months.  Also Jane Hill Walker wife of Charles Walker who departed this life November 25th 1873 aged 66 years.  Also of Charles Walker Merchant who died October 11th 1877 in his 69th year.  Also Charles Betteridge Walker only son of the above who died November 7th 1893". 

Behind the family memorial is a coped ledger above the grave of their daughter; "In memory of Jane Edwards the second daughter of Charles Walker and beloved wife of Peter Kerslake Seddon.  Died November 27th 1893 aged 54". 

Their son, Charles Betteridge Walker, had the following stained-glass window erected at St Swithun's in remembrance of his parents.  Above the pulpit and next to the window, there is also a white marble memorial tablet dedicated to their daughter; "In remembrance of Elizabeth Ann Walker eldest daughter of Charles Walker Esq. and Jane his wife of 1 Sherbourne Villas, Spa, Gloucester. She departed this life January 20th 1847 aged 11 years and 5 months. “Though lost to sight, to memory dear”.  “Thy will be done”.

[Debbie Hotchkins]

[Thanks to Debbie Hotchkins of St Swithun's for the photographs at the church and some of the background information about Charles snr and his wife Jane].

Continuing with their son, Charles Betteridge Walker, who initially attended school at Edgbaston, Birmingham.   In 1861 Charles could be found lodging in a household at Victoria Street North, Great Grimsby, Lincs, employed as a timber merchant's clerk before going to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he achieved his Bachelor of Arts in 1868 and Master in 1874.  

At the time he took on Norton Court, in 1871, Charles Betteridge Walker was a JP living at Hillfield House, Gloucester, and remained there letting Norton Court to others.  I have heard it said that when looking from the tower at Hillfield House it was(is) possible to see the tower at Norton Court and vice versa and whilst this seems a possibility I have never had the opportunity to test this out.

Charles married Fanny Harding Neame, daughter of George Friday Neame, a merchant of Norwood, Surrey, on 2 June 1870 at All Saints with St Margaret, Upper Norwood, Surrey, and they had four children George Norton, Alice Neame, Charles Francis and Mary Evelyn.  In 1881 Charles and family were living at Beaumont, Shurdington Road, Leckhampton, where he was employed as a timber merchant.

Charles Betteridge Walker and youngest child, daughter (Mary) Evelyn

When Charles Betteridge Walker died on 17 November 1893 he was living at Wotton House, 4 Denmark Road, Gloucester, and an obituary appeared in The Citizen newspaper of 7 November 1893 telling us a little more about Charles; “Mr C B Walker, JP, whose condition we announced in our late editions yesterday to be most critical, died at his residence, Wotton House, Gloucester, at six o’clock this morning after a long and painful illness.  The deceased gentleman, who was 51 years of age, leaves a widow and four children (two sons and two daughters) to mourn his loss.  During his illness he has been attended by Dr Batten.  Mr Charles Betteridge Walker was the only son of the late Mr Charles Walker of Hillfield House, Gloucester, and was born in the year 1842.  He was educated at Birmingham and afterwards went to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he took his degree in 1867.  Three years later he became associated with the timber trade, joining the firm of Messrs Price & Co (now Messrs Price, Walker, & Co) at Gloucester.  In June, 1870, he married Miss Neame, of Upper Norwood, Surrey, eldest daughter of Mr G F Neame, the then senior partner of Messrs G F Neame & Cos business.  Mr Walker was a Justice of the Peace for the city and county of Gloucester, and in politics was a Conservative, and in November, 1885, he unsuccessfully contested the South Ward, the results of the election being; Seekings (L) 517, Peters (L) 514, Walker (C) 482.  In the following year, when the Conservative party in the City Council were in the majority, Mr Walker was made an alderman, but he resigned before the expiration of his term. Mr Walker was recently elected President of the Bristol Channel Timber Importers’ Association”.

The same newspaper also included the following ‘in memoriam’ signed only ‘H Y J T’, Constitution House, Gloucester, [The Conservative Club];

“His native city mourns his early and his much-lamented end;

The Docks have lost a man of enterprise, it’s labourers a friend.

He was a model merchant, who despised subterfuge and ruse;

A man, indeed, the city and the port could ill afford to lose.

No sycophant, he no spurious euphemistic parlance made;

He boldly spoke his mind, and told the truth, and called a spade – a spade.

He hated cant and humbug, and he could not tolerate or laud

For interest or creed, or party’s sake, the counterfeit or fraud.

He was pleasant, affable, benign, and he loved a cheerful joke –

His wit though pungent, yet the golden chain of friendship never broke.

In business shrewd, where honour, probity, had never absent been,

He was far too magnanimous, and far too noble to be mean.

Instinctively benevolent, and yet the generous hand he his

Which gave to honest need or worth what his princely disposition bid.

Alas ! Alas ! he has departed – has not, could not leave behind

An ardent soul, more sympathetic, or more gentle, or more kind.

I am not rich enough to purchase costly wreaths to deck his bier,

I’ll give him all a loving friend can give – true sorrow and his tear”.

Charles' funeral was also reported in The Citizen newspaper; “The funeral of the late Mr C B Walker took place yesterday afternoon in Hempsted Churchyard, where a large number of friends of the deceased assembled to pay their last tribute of respect.  The service was conducted by the Rev B S Dawson (vicar of Hempsted) and the Rev G C Kebble (St Catherines, Gloucester, of which parish Mr Walker was one of the churchwardens).  After the service in the church the Dead March in ‘Saul’ was played on the organ.  The remains of the deceased gentleman were interred in the family vault, where those of his father, mother, and sister lie”.

Born on 29 March 1871 Charles' eldest child, son George Norton Walker, inherited the Norton Court Estate upon his father's death.  

In 1902 George married Louisa Henrietta Oliver at Kensington, London, and they came to live at The Limes, Barnwood, Gloucester where they had one child; Charles Seddon, in 1904.  Unfortunately Louisa was to die shortly afterwards in 1906 at the age of 44.

On 26 November 1908 George remarried Meta Baird Hastings of County Down, Ireland, at The Queen's Chapel of St John the Baptist in the Precinct of the Savoy, London.  They settled to live at Wotton House (a 20 room property at the time), 4 Horton Road, Gloucester, with George employed as a timber merchant and importer but they had no more children.

During the First World War George served as a Captain in the 5th Gloucesters and the East Yorkshire Regiments spending time in Bermuda from May 1917.

It is not clear if they were on holiday or if George was sourcing timber but in 1927 he visited East Java with his wife returning to Southampton from Surabaya aboard SS Patria on 31 March of that year. 

George and Meta Baird Norton Walker

[I would like to add better photos if anyone can help]

The following article appeared in a local newspaper upon the death of Capt George Norton Walker on 24 December 1956;

“Well-known Gloucester director.  Death of Captain G Norton Walker.  One of Gloucestershire’s best known landowners and business directors, Captain George Norton Walker, died at his home, Courtfield, Charlton Kings, on Christmas Eve, aged 85.  Captain Walker, who moved to Charlton Kings from Norton Court, near Gloucester, four years ago, was a director of Price Walker and Company, the well-known firm of timber importers of Gloucester, for 60 years.  He was chairman of directors for about 50 years and when he retired from that office a few years ago he remained on the board.  Another important county undertaking with which Captain Walker was associated was the Gloucester and Sharpness Docks Company of which he was a director until it was nationalised.  As a young man Capt Walker became an officer in the 1st Gloucestershire Royal Engineer Volunteers and in the First World War he served with the 4th/5th Gloucesters and then in Bermuda with his East Yorkshire Regiment.  Captain Walker inherited from his father the extensive Norton Court estate which had been bought by his grandfather nearly 100 years ago and he largely devoted himself to the pursuits and affairs of the countryside.  He was very keen on shooting and fishing and took a great interest in forestry, sustaining the woodlands at Norton.  He was churchwarden at Norton for about 30 years and for many years served on the Diocesan Board of Finance.  Since moving to Charlton Kings he was a regular churchgoer there last attending service only a fortnight ago.  Captain Walker’s first wife died in 1906 and he is survived by his second wife.  The only son by the first marriage is Major C S Norton Walker”.

In 1961 Mrs Walker expressed her desire to donate a sanctuary light to the church of St Mary's, Norton, to burn perpetually in memory of her husband.  Receiving the approval of the PCC, the faculty applied for “the hanging of a sanctuary lamp of silver plated bronze in the chancel of the parish church of St Mary the Virgin, Norton, in front of the altar in memory of Captain George Norton Walker for many years churchwarden.  The lamp being given by his widow.  It is to be perpetually lighted by electricity”.  The diocesan committee approved the request with the footnote that “though they are not enamoured of the use of electricity for this purpose they realise there is ample precedent and, in view of the difficulties of maintaining a continuous light in a country parish, do not oppose it”.

Due to an entry in the Parish Magazine of March 1973 we know that it was still in place and kept perpetually lit at that time.  The lamp, no longer kept lit, still hangs in the chancel above the altar.  It would appear that it was an oil lamp and not electric at all so the Diocesan committee would have been pleased.

Son Charles Seddon Norton Walker was born on 27 July 1904 whilst they were living at The Limes, Barnwood.

The following announcement is taken from The Times newspaper of 12 January 1939; “The engagement is announced between Charles Seddon Norton Walker only son of Mr and Mrs G Norton Walker of Norton Court near Gloucester and Elizabeth Rachel (Jane) younger daughter of Mr and Mrs C L Beaven of Oakwood Lodge, Chislehurst and RMA Woolwich”.

The following announcement is taken from The Times newspaper of 15th August 1939; “On Aug. 12, 1939, at Christ Church, Chislehurst, Charles Seddon Walker, only son of Mr and Mrs G N Walker, of Norton Court, Gloucestershire, to Elizabeth Rachel (Jane), younger daughter of Mr and Mrs C L Beaven, of Chislehurst, Kent”.


Capt Walker was buried at St Mary’s, Norton, where he has a family memorial in the churchyard; “George Norton Walker of Norton Court 24th December 1956.  Meta Baird Norton Walker 11th December 1971.  Also his son Charles Seddon Norton Walker 25th July 2000”.