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THE CURTIS FAMILY OF CHEWTON MENDIP AND
BRISTOL, ENGLAND

designed & written by Mike Matthews © 2000-2011
No material contained in these pages may be used elsewhere without prior permission.  

CONTENTS

Introduction

Acknowledgements & Disclaimer

Meaning Of The Name

Robert CURTIS (1711-1799)

James CURTIS (1736-1825)

Charles CURTIS (1769-1823)

Lamrock CURTIS (1774-1820)

John CURTIS (1801-1877)

Charles Anstee CURTIS (1806-1869)

Richard Hippisley CURTIS (1799-1871)

Thomas CURTIS (1808-1891)

Frederick William CURTIS (1834-1894)

Richard Hippisley CURTIS (1843-1905)

Henry CURTIS (1845-1929)

William Frederick CURTIS (1854-1939)

Frank CURTIS (1864-1939)

Annie Frances Clayhills CURTIS (1873-1962)

Introduction

The CURTIS family of Chewton Mendip and Bristol is one of my most intriguing lines, as family legend suggests that they once had wealth and land. Several of my relatives have previously attempted to trace the history of the CURTIS family, although their motivation for doing so was more financial than genealogical! While my main interest has been to discover where my CURTIS ancestors were born, where they lived and what kind of people they were, the notion of wealthy connections has always been at the back of my mind, and now it seems as though those family myths may have some basis in reality ...

Acknowledgements & Disclaimer

This webpage would not have been possible without the assistance of my grandaunt MARY PIKE (nee MATTHEWS), who has provided me with a great deal of information about our CURTIS ancestors, and DIANE LAWRENCE, who has done a vast amount of research into the CURTIS and HIPPISLEY families. I am also grateful to the following individuals - MIKE CASWELL, who kindly provided the material that he has collected about the CURTIS family; PETER SPEED and RICHARD NORMAN, for sending me their exhaustive information about the SPEEDs of Chewton Mendip; NORMAN DAVIES, for providing me with some titbits about Lamrock CURTIS, as well as a splendid family tree showing the descendants of Lamrock's brother, Charles; FRANK CURTIS for providing me with information about the family of John CURTIS and Ellen HOUSE; ALAN MORGAN and his daughter DEBORAH for providing me with information about Frederick MORGAN and Elizabeth Annie CURTIS; ARTHUR MOYES, Archivist at Hatfield Hall, University of Durham, KATE TAYLOR, Wakefield Diocesan Historian and BR. STEVEN, Archivist, Community of the Resurrection for information about Robert Hippesley BAKER; PHILLIP and RICHARD DUDDEN for their recollections about Cornelius, Reasey, Arthur and Margaret CURTIS; DIANE ROWLAND for providing me with information about Frank GREGORY, the first husband of Emma Bacon CARDWELL; PAUL TOWNSEND at Bristol Past for the photograph of 92 Recliff Hill; NIVARD OVINGTON for helping me understand what became of Alfred and John CURTIS in World War One; JOHN FLOWER, for sending me a copy of an article by JOHN & JEAN FLOWER entitled "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?" which provides a possible expanation for the origin of the name "Lamrock"; PETER MORGAN for providing me with extracts relating to the HIPPISLEYs of Ston Easton from "Somerset, The Complete Guide" by ROBIN BUSH; DAVID BROMWICH of the Somerset Studies Library for finding the newspaper report covering the inquest into the death of Thomas Hippisley CURTIS; PAUL VIVASH for providing extracts from various sources with regard to the derivation of the name "CURTIS". I am also indebted to the members of the Gloucester, Bristol & Somerset and Wessex Genealogy Mailing Lists, as well as the Bath & North East Somerset Register Office, the Bristol Register Office, the Mendip Register Office and the North Somerset Register Office.  The photos on this page come from my own family album with the exception of the photo of John and Ellen CURTIS and their family which was kindly provided by FRANK CURTIS, the photos of Cornelius CURTIS which was kindly provided by PHILLIP DUDDEN, and the photos of Charles Anstee CURTIS, Elizabeth CURTIS (nee DREDGE) and Frederick William CURTIS which were kindly provided by NORMAN DAVIES. Much of the information on this page has no primary source and while I believe that it is accurate, I cannot take responsibility for any errors or omissions. I will be updating this page regularly as new information comes to light.

Meaning Of The Name

Both P.H. REANEY in "The Oxford Dictionary of Surnames" and Dr BASIL COTTLE in "The Penguin Dictionary of Surnames" agree that CURTIS derives from the Old French "corties" meaning courteous or well bred. COTTLE states that some variants might come from the Old French for short hose, stockings or breeches. Early examples of the name are:  CURTEIS de Capella (Pipe Rolls, Warwickshire 1130),  Richard CURTEIS (Pipe Rolls, Bedfordshire 1166) and Robert le CURTEIS (Pipe Rolls, Devonshire 1168).


Chewton Mendip Parish Church
(click image to enlarge)

Robert CURTIS (1711-1799)

Robert CURTIS was baptised in Chewton Mendip, Somerset on 27th September 1711. Queen Anne, the last of the Stuart dynasty, was on the throne of England at the time. Robert was the second son of James CURTIS and Elizabeth WITCOMBE who married in Chewton on 1st May 1709. In 1746 Robert underwent a settlement examination as a result of which we know something about his early life. When he was twelve he was sent to Somerton as a Covenant Servant for one year, then returned to Chewton Mendip where he lived as a Covenant Servant for a further five years. In about 1730 he went to Emborough where he hired himself to Robert HIPPISLEY. In about 1733 he married his first wife - a lady called Ann - and returned to Chewton Mendip.

Robert and Ann had at least four children together, all baptised in Chewton Mendip - Thomas, baptised 6th November 1734, buried 13th January 1763; James, baptised 26th September 1736; Ann, baptised 3rd September 1738, and Betty, baptised 1st March 1741. Robert's first wife Ann died in about 1743 and was buried in Emborough on 27th April of that year. Robert subsequently married Love CARTER in Wells Cathedral on 1st September 1745. Robert and Love had at least five children together, again all baptised in Chewton Mendip - John, baptised 25th December 1745; Martha, baptised 5th August 1750; Joseph, baptised 26th April 1752; Sara, baptised 1st January 1756, and John, baptised 3rd May 1761.

Love CURTIS died in about 1795 and was buried in Chewton Mendip on 19th May. Robert CURTIS died in about 1799 and was buried on 26th March.

Joseph CURTIS (b. 1752) married Lucy HILBURD on 9th January 1780 in Priddy, Somerset. Joseph and Lucy don't appear to have had any children together. She died in about 1794 and was buried in Chewton Mendip on 22nd June. Joseph subsequently married Elizabeth HOUSE on 26th July 1795 in St Cuthbert, Wells, Somerset. Elizabeth was born in Somerset in about 1764. Joseph and Elizabeth had at least six children together, all born in Chewton Mendip - John, born 20th September 1795; Lucretia, born 13th July 1797; Daniel, born 18th June 1800; Jofabolah, born 7th March 1802; Mary Ann, born 24th February 1804, and Sophia, born 10th September 1807. Joseph Curtis died in about 1835 and was buried in Chewton on 22nd March. In 1841 Joseph's widow Elizabeth was living in Bathway:

Bathway, Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Elizabeth CURTIS aged 75 Born in County
Louisa CURTIS aged 40 School Mistress Born in County

Louisa was probably Elizabeth's daughter Lucretia, who was also shown as Louisa on later censuses. Elizabeth CURTIS (nee HOUSE) died in 1843 and was buried in Chewton Mendip on 13th March of that year.

James CURTIS (1736-1835)

James CURTIS was baptised in Chewton Mendip, Somerset on 26th September 1736. He was the second son of Robert CURTIS and Ann. James married Susanna ANSTEE on 23rd December 1762 in Chewton Mendip. Susanna was probably the Susanna ANSTIS baptised in Chewton Mendip on 10th April 1744, the daughter of Robert ANSTIS and Elizabeth PEARCE who married in Camerton, Somerset on 12th May 1734. Susanna's father was probably the Robert ANSTEE who appears as a parish overseer in the Chewton Mendip vestry books. James and Susanna had six children together, all born in Chewton Mendip - Robert, born 16th May 1763; Ann, born 1st July 1765; James, born 6th June 1767; Charles, born 3rd November 1769; Lamrock, born 28th April 1774 and Joanna, born 17th April 1777. Susanna CURTIS (nee ANSTEE) died on 22nd July 1806. James CURTIS died in 1825 and was the buried in Chewton Mendip on 29th May.

Robert CURTIS (b. 1763) probably married Sarah SLEE on 2nd January 1785 in St John, Bedminster, Bristol. Robert and Sarah had at least seven children together - Harriott, baptised 16th April 1786 in St James, Bristol; Susannah, baptised 20th May 1787 in St James; Sarah, baptised 8th March 1789 in St James, buried 11th December 1789 also in St James; Sarah, baptised 15th August 1790 in St James; Amelia, born 23rd October 1794; Robert Anstee, born 8th May 1796, and Harriett, born 23rd April 1799. The last three children were all baptised in St Peter, Bristol on 12th April 1816.

A Robert CURTIS of St James, Bristol voted for the Whig politician Henry CRUGER in the 1781 Bristol by-election which was prompted by the death of the sitting M.P. Sir Henry LIPPINCOTT, but it isn't certain whether this was Robert CURTIS of Chewton. CRUGER was defeated in the election by his Tory rival George DAUBENY.

It seems that Robert became a cheese-monger in Bristol, as Matthews's New History of Bristol or Complete Guide and Bristol Directory for the Year 1793-4 shows "Curtis, Robert & Co., Cheese and Butter-factors" in Peter Street.  On 30th September 1799 Robert CURTIS, cheese-factor, was made a Bristol Burgess by Vote of the Council, and the following advertisement appeared in the Bristol Mercury on 22nd June 1807:

"Bacon and cheap cheese for sale. BACON FOR SALE. ABOUT ONE THOUSAND FLITCHES of Cumberland and other Bacon, either dried or otherwise, a Part of it cut after the Country Manner, with the Bone out, and is very suitable for Harvest Use. The Quality is excellent. Price from 7d. to 6d. per Pound. Apply to ROBERT CURTIS, at his Warehouse in Peter Street. Also a Quality of Old faded Navy and other CHEESE, very cheap. A few Casks of choice old IRISH VELLS."

The undated advertisement below has also been discovered:


Robert Curtis, Cheese-Factor
(click image to enlarge)

Robert appears to have worked with various business partners over the years as notices appeared in the London Gazette in 1796, 1803 and 1806 reporting the dissolution of three such partnerships. In the 1796 and 1803 notices the partnerships were referred to as "Robert Curtis and Co".

The following notice appeared in the London Gazette on 24th March 1812: "Notice is hereby given, that the retail trade or business of Cheese and Butter Factor, lately carried out by me in Peter-Street, in the City of Bristol, was assigned and made over by me to Susannah Curtis and Sarah Curtis, of Bristol aforesaid, spinsters, on the 20th November last past; and that such trade or business hath been carried on by them ever since that day on their own account; and that I have had no concern or interest in the said retail trade or business since, the said 20th day of November last. – Witness my Hand this 21st day of March 1812, Robt. Curtis."

Susannah and Sarah CURTIS were presumably Robert's daughters. On 22nd September 1812 the London Gazette reported that "a Commission of Bankrupt is awarded and issued forth against Robert Curtis, of the City of Bristol, Cheesemonger, Dealer and Chapman, and he being declared a Bankrupt is hereby required to surrender himself to the Commissioners in the said Commission named, or the major part of them, on the 28th day of September instant, at Ten o'Clock in the Forenoon, on the 12th day of October next, and on the 7th day of November following, at Twelve o'Clock at Noon, at the Commercial Rooms, Bristol, and make a full Discovery and Disclosure of his Estate and Effects."

Robert CURTIS, cheese factor of Peter Street, Bristol, voted for the Whig politician Sir Samuel ROMILLY in the 1812 general election. ROMILLY was defeated by his Tory rival Richard Hart DAVIS who became M.P. for Bristol.

Robert CURTIS appears to have been buried in St Peter, Bristol on 11th April 1820 at the age of 58. His widow Sarah died on 10th January 1838 in Bedminster.

Joanna CURTIS (b. 1777) married William LIGHT on 21st April 1800 in St James, Bristol. Joanna and William had at least two children together, both baptised in Chew Magna, Somerset - William, baptised 25th December 1802, and Christian, baptised 14th June 1804. William LIGHT was buried in Chew Stoke, Somerset on 24th February 1839. His widow Joanna (nee CURTIS) was buried in Chew Stoke on 23rd November 1864.

Charles CURTIS (1769-1823)

Charles CURTIS was born 3 November 1769 in Chewton Mendip, Somerset. He was the son of James CURTIS and Susanna ANSTEE. He married Martha KERSLAKE on 21st May 1793 in Chewton Mendip.  Martha was born on 10th August 1774 and was the daughter of John and Martha KERSLAKE. Charles and Martha had at least seven children together - Constantine, born c. 1795 in Chewton Mendip; Christiana, born 14th October 1796; Charlotte, born 14th August 1798; Joseph, died c. 1800; Benjamin, died c. 1800; John, born 14th December 1801 in Chewton Mendip; and Charles Anstee, born 1806 in Litton near Chewton Mendip.

Charles CURTIS appears to have worked as a glazier in Ston Easton. He appears in the Ston Easton church warden's account books in 1794 where he is shown being paid seven shillings "for glazing". This suggests that he moved to Ston Easton shortly after his marriage. He then regularly appears in the account books until around 1804, with all entries showing him being paid various sums for glazing services. He then probably moved to Litton where his youngest child was born and where he was living in 1815. The Ston Easton account books also show a John KERSLAKE being paid for glazing services; this was probably Charles' father-in-law, and suggests that he either learned his trade from John, or met his future wife through his trade.

Charles's wife Martha and sister-in-law Sarah jointly held a lease for a cottage and garden on Lower Street in Chewton Mendip. An 1807 survey of Chewton manor shows that the lease was granted on 18th November 1779 when Martha and Sarah were only children, and it therefore seems likely that their father John originally held the lease and that it passed down to them upon his death. Martha still held the lease for this property at the time of the 1839 tithe apportionment survey with her son Charles shown as the occupier. This cottage no longer stands and the site is now occupied by the Social Club. 

Charles CURTIS died in 1823 in Ston Easton, Somerset and was buried on 12th February 1823 in Chewton Mendip. His widow Martha died in 1839 in Ston Easton and was buried in Chewton on 7th July of the same year.

Constantine CURTIS (b. 1795) married Elizabeth CHURCH in Bristol in 1841. Elizabeth was born in Litton in about 1804. The family lived in Litton near Chewton Mendip where Constantine worked as a farmer, as seen here in the 1851 census:

Lilly Comb, Litton, Somerset

Constantine CURTIS aged 55 Farmer Of 16 Acres born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Elizabeth CURTIS wife 46 born Litton, Somerset
Caroline CURTIS 6 born Litton, Somerset

Constantine CURTIS died in 1859 and was buried on 13th October of that year in Litton.

Christiana CURTIS (b. 1796) married William Culliford SALVIDGE on 22nd February 1819 in Chewton Mendip. He was born in Litton, near Chewton Mendip in about 1794. William and Christiana had at least eight children together - Thomas, born c. 1819 in Chewton Mendip; William, born c. 1823 in Chewton Mendip; James, born c. 1824 in Chewton Mendip; Charles, born c. 1826 in Chewton Mendip; Hannah, born c. 1827 in Chewton Mendip; Cornelius, born c. 1829 in Chewton Mendip; Mary Ann, born c. 1833 in Emborough, Somerset, and Martha, born c. 1839 in Emborough. This is how the family appears in the 1841 and 1851 censuses:

Red Hill, Emborough, Somerset (1841)

W.C. SALVIDGE aged 45 Farmer Born in County
Christiana SALVIDGE aged 40 Born in County
Thomas SALVIDGE aged 21 Born in County
William SALVIDGE aged 15 Born in County
James SALVIDGE aged 15 Born in County
Charles SALVIDGE aged 15 Born in County
Hannah SALVIDGE aged 14 Born in County
Cornelius SALVDIDGE aged 11 Born in County
Mary Ann SALVIDGE aged 7 Born in County
Martha SALVIDGE aged 1 Born in County
Eliza HOSKINS aged 15 Female Servant Born in County

Red Hill Farm, Emborough, Somerset (1851)

William Culliford SALVIDGE aged 56 Farmer Of 169 Acres born Litton
Christiana SALVIDGE wife 54 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
James SALVIDGE son 27 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Hannah SALVIDGE daughter 23 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Cornelius SALVIDGE son 21 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Mary Ann SALVIDGE daughter 17 born Emborough, Somerset
Martha SALVIDGE daughter 11 Scholar born Emborough, Somerset
Hellen GARDNER visitor 12 born High Littleton, Somerset

William Culliford SALVIDGE died in Emborough on 29th March 1861. This is how his widow appears in the 1861 census:

Red Hill, Emborough, Somerset

Christiana SALVIDGE widow aged 64 Farmer of 120 Acres Employing 4 Labourers born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Mary Ann NORRIS daughter 27 born Emborough, Somerset
Martha SALVIDGE daughter 21 born Emborough, Somerset
James NORRIS son-in-law 28 born West Pennard, Somerset
Eli GARDENER servant 18 Carter & Shepherd born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Sarah MAGER servant 77 General Servant born Backwell, Somerset

In 1871 and 1881 Christiana was living with her daughter and son-in-law in Chewton Mendip:

Blackman's Farm, Chewton Mendip, Somerset (1871)

John J. HABGOOD aged 32 Farmer of 160 Acres Employing 2 Men & 2 Boys born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Martha HABGOOD wife 31 born Emboro, Somerset
Christiana HABGOOD daughter 5 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Susan HABGOOD daughter 3 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Christiana SALVIDGE mother widow 74 Annuitant born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Martha SALVIDGE cousin 15 Dairymaid born Hinton, Somerset

Habgood's Farm, Chewton Mendip, Somerset (1881)

John HABGOOD aged 41 Farmer of 220 Acres Employing 6 Men & 1 Boy born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Martha HABGOOD wife 40 Farmer's Wife born Embrow, Somerset
Christiana HABGOOD daughter 15  Farmer's Daughter born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Susan HABGOOD daughter 13 Farmer's Daughter born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Margaret HABGOOD daughter 5 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Ernest J. HABGOOD son 6 months Farmer's Son born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Christiana SALVIDGE widow 84 Formerly Farmer's Wife born Chewton Mendop, Somerset
Emily DURBIN servant 15 Farmer's Servant born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Christiana SALVIDGE (nee CURTIS) died in 1889.

Lamrock CURTIS (1774-1820)

Lamrock CURTIS was born on 28th April 1774 in Chewton Mendip, Somerset and was the youngest son of James CURTIS and Susanna ANSTEE. He was baptised with the name "Lamarock" but appears as "Lamrock" in later records. His name is said to derive from Sir Lamorak, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table. Arthurian legend has always been popular in the West Country, nowhere more so than in Somerset which boasts a possible Camelot (Cadbury Camp), Isle of Avalon (Glastonbury Tor) and burial place for Arthur himself (Glastonbury Abbey).  Sir Lamorak was a son of King Pellinore and is described as "a knight peerless" and "big and well-breathed", although he meets a rather unfortunate end when he falls for Queen Morgause. Her son Gaheris discovers the lovers in bed and beheads his mother, though he lets Lamorak go. However the Queen's other sons Gawain, Agravaine and Mordred later ambush Lamorak in the belief that it was he who killed their mother, and hack him to death.

Lamrock acted as a collector for the 1795 Chewton Mendip Land Tax Assessment when he was about 21, suggesting that he already had some standing in the local community. It is possible that he secured this position through the influence of his ANSTEE relatives who were greatly involved in the daily administration of parish affairs. Lamrock carried out the same role again for the 1805 and 1806 assessments, and was also an assessor for the latter of these.

On 1st February 1798, Lamrock married Ann HIPPISLEY in Chewton Mendip Parish Church. Ann was born in Chewton Mendip on 7th January 1777 and was the daughter of Richard HIPPISLEY and Martha HIPPISLEY, who married on 28th December 1775. It is through Ann that I believe I may have illustrious forebears as perhaps demonstrated by the fact that Lamrock and Ann's marriage was reported in the Monthly Magazine. For further information about her and the HIPPISLEYs please see my HIPPISLEY Family of Chewton Mendip and Bristol, England page.

Lamrock and Ann had six children together, all born in Chewton Mendip - Richard Hippisley, born 5th June 1799; Ann, born 16th February 1801; Mary Ayerbury, born 7th February 1803;  Elizabeth, born 9th August 1806; Thomas, born 28th June 1808, and Martha, born 29th June 1810. On 9th September 1799 the Sherborne Mercury printed a list of game certificates issued in Somerset between 1st July and 2nd September of that year, and Lamrock appears on the list. He is shown as a "gent". Lamock also appears in later lists of game certificates issued in Somerset printed in the Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette on 6th September 1804 and 10th September 1807; in both cases he was again shown as a "gent". 

The Chewton Mendip Land Tax Assessments show Lamrock as the "owner and occupier" of land in East End in the late 1790s until his death in the 1820s. Lamrock's future wife was shown as the "proprietor" of the same piece of land in the 1796 and 1797 assessments,
and it therefore seems likely that Lamrock came into possession of this property through his marriage to Ann. There is evidence to suggest that this property might have been a tenement called A Neat Place which included Dudwell Field Farm ("neat" being the Old English word for "cattle", implying that this was a dairy farm). A survey of Chewton manor carried out in the late 1790s lists an Ann HIPPISLEY as the tenant of Neat Place, but the name HIPPISLEY was later corrected to CURTIS, suggesting that she was Lamrock's wife. In addition, a note written much later by one of Lamrock's descendants refers to "Lamrock Curtis, Dudwell Field Farm, Chewton Mendip Nr. Bath". It isn't clear whether Lamrock and Ann were the leaseholders of the Neat Place tenement or whether they were merely renting the property, though the latter seems more likely as an 1807 survey of Chewton manor shows Ann's uncle William HIPPISLEY as the leaseholder of A Neat Place.

From the late 1790s the Land Tax Assessments also show Lamrock as the "proprietor" of a field called Maltmead in the Town division of the parish with Mary HART and later James FLOWER as the "occupiers". This corresponds with the 1807 map of Chewton manor which shows Lamrock as the owner of a field on the hill above Chew Down, and there were several fields called Maltmead in this area. This field is mentioned in the will of Ann's great-grandfather William HIPPISLEY, and earlier Land Tax Assessments show Ann's grandfather as the "proprietor" of the same property, but it isn't clear whether Ann had inherited it, or if Lamrock was renting it from his HIPPISLEY in-laws.

A map tentatively dated to around 1800 of an area called Chewton Hill shows an L. CURTIS as the owner or occupier of two fields; this was also probably Lamrock. Chewton Hill was in the old Middlesex division of Chewton Mendip and was very close to the border with the neighbouring parish of Priddy. Also appearing on the Chewton Hill map are the names ANSTEE, who was clearly some relative of Lamrock's mother, and E. HIPPISLEY, who was probably Lamrock's wife's uncle.

Lamrock CURTIS died in 1820 and was buried in Chewton Mendip on 30th January. The subsequent Land Tax Assessments show his widow Ann as the "proprietor" of the same property in East End that had previously been associated with her husband, as well as the Maltmead field in the Town division, though by 1822 she was no longer listed as the proprietor of the latter property. When Ann's uncle William HIPPISLEY died in 1827, his holdings reverted to the WALDEGRAVE estate, and this included the Neat Place tenement. The Land Tax Assessments suggest that the tenement was broken up and rented out to various individuals, leaving Ann as the occupier of just a single field. It isn't known where she lived after this. Ann died in 1836 and was buried in Chewton Mendip on 13th March of that year. All of Lamrock and Ann's surviving children were mentioned in the will of Ann's aunt Mary HIPPISLEY who died less than a year after Ann.

Ann CURTIS (b. 1801) married Robert SPEED on 3rd March 1823 in Chewton Mendip. Robert was born in Farrington Gurney, Somerset in about 1797 and was the son of Robert SPEED and Mary JORDAN. Robert and Ann had ten children together, all born in Chewton Mendip, apart from Lydia Jordan, Edward and Eli Albert, who were born in Priddy - Robert Curtis, born c. 1822; Mary Ann, born c. 1824; Jonathan, born c. 1825; Thomas Curtis, born c. 1827; Elizabeth, born c. 1829; George Herbury, born c. 1832; Stephen, born 3rd December 1834; Lydia Jordan, born 30th June 1838; Edward, born 5th September 1840, and Eli Albert, born 22nd December 1843. This is how Robert and Ann appear in the 1851, 1861 and 1871 censuses:

Priddy, Somerset (1851)

Robert SPEED aged 52 Farmer of 120 Acres born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Ann SPEED wife 50 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Jonathan SPEED son 25 Agricultural Labourer born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Elizabeth SPEED daughter 22 Dairy Maid born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
George SPEED son 19 Agricultural Labourer born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Stephen SPEED son 17 Agricultural Labourer born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Lydia SPEED daughter 12 Scholar born Priddy, Somerset
Edward SPEED son 10 Scholar born Priddy, Somerset
Eli SPEED son 7 Scholar born Priddy, Somerset

Fair Place, Priddy, Somerset (1861)

Robert SPEED aged 62 Farmer of 85 Acres born Farrington Gurney, Somerset
Ann SPEED wife 60 Farmer's Wife born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Jonathan SPEED son widower 35 Ag Lab born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Edward SPEED son 19 Ag Lab born Priddy, Somerset
Mary Ann SPEED granddaughter 6 born Blagdon, Somerset

New Inn, Fair Place, Priddy, Somerset (1871)

Robert SPEED aged 71 Farmer & Publican born Farrington Gurney, Somerset
Ann SPEED wife 69 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Mary Ann SPEED niece 16 Servant born Blagdon, Somerset

Robert SPEED (b. 1797) died on 29th September 1876 in Priddy. His wife Ann SPEED (nee CURTIS) died on 9 July 1882, also in Priddy. They were both buried in Chewton Mendip. For further information about the SPEED family please refer to Norman Family Tree, the website of my fifth cousin RICHARD NORMAN.

John CURTIS (1801-1877)

John Curtis was born on 14th December 1801 in Chewton Mendip, Somerset. He was the son of Charles CURTIS and Martha KERSLAKE and worked as a farmer. John married Lucy DREDGE on 26th September 1825 in St James, Bristol. Lucy was born in Ston Easton in about 1798. John and Lucy had at least seven children together, all born in Ston Easton - Charles, baptised 25th December 1826; Martha, baptised 25th December 1828; Constantine, baptised 6th November 1831, died 20th May 1839; John, baptised 27th July 1834; William, baptised 26th February 1837; James, baptised 21st May 1839, and Robert, baptised 18th October 1840. This is how the family appears in 1841 and 1851:

Ston Easton, Somerset (1841)

John CURTIS aged 40 Farmer Born in County
Lucy CURTIS aged 41 Born in County
Charles CURTIS aged 14 Born in County
Martha CURTIS aged 12 Born in Counry
John CURTIS aged 8 Born in County
William CURTIS aged 4 Born in County
James CURTIS son 2 Born in County

Ston Easton, Somerset (1851)

John CURTIS aged 48 Labourer born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Lucy CURTIS wife 52 born Ston Easton, Somerset
John CURTIS son 17 Labourer born Ston Easton, Somerset
William CURTIS son 15 Labourer born Ston Easton, Somerset
James CURTIS son 12 Labour born Ston Easton, Somerset
Robert CURTIS son 10 born Ston Easton, Somerset

John CURTIS died on 24th November 1877. In 1881 his widow Lucy was living with her son Robert in Chewton Mendip (see below census extract). Lucy died on 17th June 1882.

Charles CURTIS (b. 1826) married Matilda PURNELL in 1860. She was born in Clutton, Somerset in about 1830. Charles and Mathilda had at least three children together - John, born c. 1861 in Rhymney, Monmouthshire; George, born c. 1864 in Beaufort, Brecknock, and James, born c. 1866 also in Beaufort. The family lived in Rhymney, Monmouthshire where Charles worked as a collier, as seen here in the 1861, 1881 and 1891 censuses:

8 Mannest Row, Rhymney, Monmouthshire, Wales (1861)

Charles CURTIS aged 33 Coal Miner born Ston Easton, Somerset
Matilda CURTIS wife 29 born Ston Easton, Somerset
John BROWN lodger 50 Ostler born Ston Easton, Somerset
William CURTIS lodger 25 Coal Miner born Ston Easton, Somerset
Martha TROLLOP lodger 25 House Servant born Rhymney, Monmouthshire

6 Upper High Street, Rhymney, Monmouthshire, Wales (1881)

Charles CURTIS aged 55 Collier born Somerset
Matilda CURTIS wife 53 born Clutton, Somerset
John CURTIS son 20 Shoemaker born Rhymney, Monmouthshire
George CURTIS son 17 Collier born Beaufort, Brecknock
James CURTIS son 15 Collier born Beaufort, Brecknock
Herbert WEEKS boarder 20 Collier born Hereford

67 Upper High Street, Rhymney, Monmouthshire, Wales (1891)

Charles CURTIS aged 65 Coal Miner born Ston Easton, Somerset
Matilda CURTIS wife 58 born Clutton, Somerset
John CURTIS son 29 Fireman born Rhymney, Monmouthshire

John CURTIS (b. 1834) married Ellen HOUSE on 12th August 1856 in Ston Easton, Somerset. Ellen was born in about 1832 in Ston Easton and was the daughter of John HOUSE, a labourer. At the time of their marriage John was living in Rhymney, Monmouth where he was working as a miner. John and Ellen had twelve children together, all born in Rhymney - Frederick William, born c. 1858; Frank and Fanny, both born on 7th March 1860; John, born c. 1862; Charles, born c. 1865; Annie Louisa, born 8th February 1865; James, born c. 1866; Albert, born c. 1867; Martha Ellen, born c. 1869; Lucy Ann, born c. 1871; Robert Henry, born c. 1874, and Isabella, born c. 1876. By 1861 John had abandoned the coal mines and had become a shopkeeper, as seen here in the census for that year:

1 Morgan's Row, Rhymney, Monmouthshire, Wales

John CURTIS aged 27 Provision Dealer born Stone Easton, Somerset
Ellen CURTIS wife 29 born Emborough, Somerset
Frederick William CURTIS son 3 born Rhymney, Monmouthshire
Frank CURTIS son aged 1 
born Rhymney, Monmouthshire
Fanny CURTIS daughter aged 1 born Rhymney, Monmouthshire
Elizabeth HOUSE servant 13 born Emborough, Somerset


John and Ellen CURTIS and family
(click image to enlarge)

John owned a store at 62 High Street, Rhymney where he sold fruit, furniture, and smoked herring. He also owned a stable of horses and carts. He imported fish from Cardiff which he smoked in the back warehouse, but he was later banned because of the smell! This is how the family appears in the 1871 and 1881 censuses:

62 High Street, Bedwellty, Monmouth, Wales (1871)

John CURTIS aged 34 Provision Merchant born Stone Easton, Somerset
Ellen CURTIS wife 35 born Embrow, Somerset
Frederick W. CURTIS son 13 Scholar born Rhymney, Monmouth
Frank CURTIS son 11 Scholar born Rhymney, Monmouth
Fanny CURTIS daughter 11 Scholar born Rhymney, Monmouth
John CURTIS son 9 Scholar born Rhymney, Monmouth
Anne Louisa CURTIS daughter 7 Scholar born Rhymney, Monmouth
Charles CURTIS son 5 Scholar born Rhymney, Monmouth
James CURTIS son 4 Scholar born Rhymney, Monmouth
Albert CURTIS son 2 Scholar born Rhymney, Monmouth
Martha Ellen CURTIS daughter 1 born Rhymney, Monmouth
Martha Matilda BEAT servant 11 Domestic Servant born Bath, Somerset

62 High Street, Rhymney, Monmouth, Wales (1881)

John CURTIS aged 47 Green Grocer born Ston Easton, Somerset
Ellen CURTIS wife 48 born Ston Easton, Somerset
Frederick W. CURTIS son 23 born Rhymney, Monmouth
Frank CURTIS son 21 born Rhymney, Monmouth
John CURTIS son 19 born Rhymney, Monmouth
Annie L. CURTIS daughter 17 born Rhymney, Monmouth
Charles CURTIS son 16 Pupil Teacher born Rhymney, Monmouth
James CURTIS son 14 Scholar born Rhymney, Monmouth
Albert CURTIS son 13 Scholar born Rhymney, Monmouth
Martha CURTIS daughter 11 Scholar born Rhymney, Monmouth
Lucy A. CURTIS daughter 9 Scholar born Rhymney, Monmouth
Robert CURTIS son 7 Scholar born Rhymney, Monmouth
Isabella CURTIS daughter 5 Scholar born Rhymney, Monmouth
Elizabeth WILLIAMS servant 19 General Domestic Servant born Tredegar, Monmouth

Ellen CURTIS (nee HOUSE) died in 1890. This is how the now widowed John appears in 1891:

62 High Street, Rhymney, Monmouthshire, Wales

John CURTIS aged 57 Fisher born Stone Easton, Somerset
John CURTIS son 29 born Rhymney, Monmouthshire
James CURTIS son 24 Carpenter born Rhymney, Monmouthshire
Albert CURTIS son 23 Fisher's Assistant born Rhymney, Monmouthshire
Martha E. CURTIS daughter 21 born Rhymney, Monmouthshire
Lucy A. CURTIS daughter 19 born Rhymney, Monmouthshire
Robert H. CURTIS son 17 Fisher's Assistant born Rhymney, Monmouthshire
Isabella CURTIS daughter 15 born Rhymney, Monmouthshire
Emma POWELL servant 16 General Servant (Domestic) born Swansea, Glamorgan

John married Elizabeth OGBORNE in 1893. Elizabeth was born in Ston Easton in about 1841 and was the daughter of Thomas and Mary WILLCOX and the widow of William OGBORNE. This is how John and Elizabeth appear in 1901:

44 High Street, Rhymney, Monmouthshire, Wales

John CURTIS aged 67 Living On Own Means born Ston Easton, Somerset
Elizabeth CURTIS wife 60 born Ston Easton, Somerset
Mary Jane JAMES servant 19 Domestic Servant born Tafarnaubach, Brecon

John CURTIS died on 26th May 1906 at 44 High Street, Rhymney. John and his first wife Ellen were the great-grandparents of my fifth cousin once removed Frank CURTIS.

William CURTIS (bapt. 1837) married Louisa CHAPMAN in 1861. She was born in Ston Easton in about 1829. William and Louisa also lived in Rhymney as seen here in the 1881 and 1891 censuses:

4 Havards Row, Rhymney, Monmouth, Wales (1881)

William CURTIS aged 45 Fitter born Somerset
Louisa CURTIS wife 51 born Somerset
Sybil CHAPMAN niece 7 born Somerset

4 Havards Row, Rhymney, Monmouth, Wales (1891)

William CURTIS aged 55 Fireman born Ston Easton, Somerset
Louisa CURTIS wife 62 born Ston Easton, Somerset
Sybil CHAPMAN niece 16 born Ston Easton, Somerset

Robert CURTIS (b. 1841) married Eliza THYER in 1869. She was born in Huntspill, Somerset in about 1841 and was the daughter of John and Elizabeth THYER. Robert and Eliza had at least three daughters together, all baptised in Chewton Mendip - Mary Louisa, baptised 17th July 1870; Emily Jane, baptised 5th June 1872, and Florence Fanny, baptised 10th September 1882. Robert worked as a blacksmith and lived in Chewton Mendip, as seen here in the 1871, 1881, 1901 and 1911 censuses:

Chew Head, Chewton Mendip, Somerset (1871)

Robert CURTIS aged 29 Blacksmith born Ston Easton, Somerset
Eliza CURTIS wife 30 born Huntspill, Somerset
Mary L. CURTIS daughter 10 months born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
James CURTIS widower brother 31 Engine Driver born Ston Easton, Somerset
Emma THYER niece 11 Nursemaid born Huntspill, Somerset

Chewton Hill, Chewton Mendip, Somerset (1881)

Robert CURTIS aged 39 Blacksmith born Ston Easton, Somerset
Eliza CURTIS wife 40 born Huntspill, Somerset
Mary L. CURTIS daughter 10 Scholar born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Emily J. CURTIS daughter 8 Scholar born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Lucy CURTIS mother widow 82 born Ston Easton, Somerset

Chewton Hill, Chewton Mendip, Somerset (1901)

Robert CURTIS aged 59 Blacksmith (Own Account) born Ston Easton, Somerset
Eliza CURTIS wife 60 born Huntspill, Somerset
Florence CURTIS daughter 18 Shop Assistant born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Chewton Hill, Chewton Mendip, Somerset (1911)

Robert CURTIS aged 69 Blacksmith born Ston Easton, Somerset
Eliza CURTIS wife 70 born Huntspill, Somerset

Eliza died on 24th July 1915 and her husband Robert died on 24th November 1916. They were both buried in the churchyard of St Mary Magdalene.

Charles Anstee CURTIS (1806-1869)


Charles Anstee CURTIS
(click image to enlarge)

Charles Anstee CURTIS was born in 1806 in Litton near Chewton Mendip, Somerset. He was the youngest son of Charles CURTIS and Martha KERSLAKE. He married Elizabeth DREDGE on 24th June 1833 in St James, Bath, Somerset. Elizabeth was born in Ston Easton in about 1803 and was the daughter of James and Martha DREDGE. Charles and Elizabeth had three children together, all born in Bath - Frederick William, born 7th July 1834 in Milk Street; Cornelius, born 9th August 1836 at 3 Abbey Gate Street, and Elizabeth Martha, born 5 July 1839, also at 3 Abbey Gate Street. The family later moved back to Chewton Mendip.

Charles worked as a blacksmith and it appears that at the time of the 1839 tithe apportionment survey and the 1841 census he was living in Lower Street in what was presumably a smithy, though he could have been working elsewhere. The tithe survey shows that Charles' mother Martha was the leaseholder of this property at the time, and the KERSLAKE family had held this lease since at least 1779. This property has since been demolished and the site is now occupied by the Social Club. This is how Charles appears in the 1841 census:

Chewton Mendip, Somerset (1841)

Charles CURTIS aged 35 Smith Born in County
Elizabeth CURTIS 35 Born in County
Frederick CURTIS 8 Born in County
Cornelius CURTIS 5 Born in County
Martha CURTIS 2 Born in County

In 1851 the family were still living near the village centre, though it isn't clear from the census whether this was the Social Club site:

Chewton Mendip, Somerset (1851)

Charles CURTIS aged 45 Blacksmith born Litton, Somerset
Elizabeth CURTIS wife 46 Butter Dealer born Ston Easton, Somerset
Frederick CURTIS son 16 Carpenter Apprentice born Bath, Somerset
Cornelius CURTIS son 15 At Home born Bath, Somerset
Martha CURTIS daughter 11 Scholar born Bath, Somerset

Charles' wife Elizabeth was mentioned in the Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette on 17th November 1859: "Bath Police. Saturday. - John Alexander, was brought up under remand, charged with embezzling the sum of 1l. 12s. 8d., the moneys of his mistress, Mrs. Elizabeth Curtis, of Chewton Mendip. It appeared that he was employed in Bath by prosecutrix, to take butter to her customers on Market days, and, on the day in question, was sent to Captain J. Evans, Park Street, with some butter, where he received the money in question, which he had retained. Committed for trial."

In 1861 Charles and his family were living at the Folly:

The Folly, Chewton Mendip, Somerset (1861)

Charles CURTIS aged 54 Blacksmith born Litton, Somerset
Elizabeth CURTIS wife 58 born Ston Easton, Somerset
Elizabeth M. CURTIS daughter 20 born Bath, Somerset

It is believed that in the 1860s Charles built the house that would eventually be called Homedene, and the following story from the Wells Journal dated 26th December 1863 perhaps relates to this building: "Chewton Mendp. - Wonderful Discovery. - On Monday last as some men were engaged in digging a foundation for a house for Mr. Curtis, in a piece of ground adjoining Mr. Blenins, they came upon something of an unusual nature, and upon examination it proved to be an urn of very curious workmanship, and when opened was found to contain a large number of coins, evidently of ancient date. The state of the coins at present is such that it is not known exactly in what reign they were struck, but to all appearance they must have belonged to a very remote period, probably as far back as that of Hardicanute, a circumstance which, if found to be correct, will render this interesting discovery invaluable to all connoisseurs and collectors of relics of far off ages. The same may be inspected at any time by applying to Cornelius Curtis, poultry dealer, or to Mrs. Betsy Curis, butter dealer, Chewton Mendip."

It seems that Homedene may have originally been called Butter Villa, perhaps because Charles' wife Elizabeth was a butter dealer, and Charles himself seems to have assisted with his wife's business in his later years as he was described as a 'dealer in butter' in his will. The house was renamed Chewton Villa in the 1880s.


Elizabeth CURTIS (nee DREDGE)
(click image to enlarge)

Charles Anstee CURTIS died on 6th July 1869 in Chewton Mendip. In his will he bequeathed the house that would later be known as Homedene to his widow Elizabeth, although it seems that the house was rented out to various tenants and was not actually lived in by a member of the family until Cornelius CURTIS retired there in the early 1900s. In 1871 Elizabeth was still living in Chewton Mendip:

The Folly, Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Elizabeth CURTIS widow aged 69 Retired Butter Dealer born Ston Easton, Somerset
Emily S. CHARD granddaughter 5 Scholar born Temple Cloud, Somerset

However in 1881 Elizabeth was living with her daughter and son-in-law in the Temple Inn at Cameley, Somerset:

Temple Inn, Cameley, Somerset

William CHARD aged 48 Publican born Ston Easton, Somerset
Elizabeth CHARD wife 42 born Bath, Somerset
Charles CHARD son 12 born Cameley, Somerset
Bessie CHARD daughter 15 born Cameley, Somerset
William CHARD son 9 Scholar born Cameley, Somerset
Ada CHARD daughter 7 Scholar born Cameley, Somerset
Kate CHARD daughter 1 month born Cameley, Somerset
Elizabeth CURTIS mother-in-law widow 77 born Ston Easton, Somerset
Lilly FORD servant 15 General Servant born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Alfred P. WALLER boarder 25 Officer Of Inland Revenue born Southampton, Hampshire

Elizabeth CURTIS (nee DREDGE) died on 30 December 1883.

Cornelius CURTIS (b. 1836) was a farmer who owned a considerable amount of property around Chewton Mendip. He was also a parish councillor, an overseer of the poor, a member of the Chewton Mendip Friendly Society and served as a church warden at St Mary Magdalene for 37 years. His initials are carved in the wall beside the lane leading up to the church. In 1861 he was living in Litton:

Ford, Litton, Somerset

Cornelius CURTIS aged 22 Farmer of 20 Acres Employing 1 Man born Bath, Somerset
Ann THATCHER servant 68 born Litton, Somerset
John HEAD servant 17 Agricultural Labourer born Chewton Mendip, Somerset


Cornelius CURTIS Gallery
(click image to view)

Cornelius married Emily HARRIS on 23rd February 1863 in Chewton Mendip. Emily was born in about 1840 in Widcombe, Somerset and was the daughter of James and Sarah HARRIS. Emily's mother was shown as the tenant at the Manor Farm in the 1861 census, and it seems that Cornelius took over the tenancy from his mother-in-law. The 1871 census shows Cornelius and Emily living in a property neighbouring Rock House which was probably the Manor Farm, and Cornelius held the tenancy until the early 1900s when it was taken over by Richard Mogg DUDDEN. This is how Cornelius and Emily appear in the 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 censuses:

The Street, Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Cornelius CURTIS aged 35 Farmer Employing 4 Men & 1 Boy born Bath, Somerset
Emily CURTIS wife 30 born Widcombe, Somerset
Sarah HARRIS mother-in-law widow 69 Annuitant born West Harptree, Somerset
Elizabeth HARRIS sister-in-law 35 born Widcombe, Somerset
Matilda BATTLE servant 22 General Servant born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Herbert A. LOVELL servant 17 Farm Servant born Camely, Somerset

Manor Farm, Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Cornelius CURTIS aged 44 Farmer Of 236 Acres With 5 Labourers born Bath, Somerset
Emily CURTIS wife 40 born Widcombe, Somerset
Reasey CURTIS nephew 17 Farmers Assistant born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Elizabeth HARRIS sister-in-law 46 born Widcombe, Somerset
Bessie ORAM servant 27 Dairymaird born Wiltshire

Manor Farm, Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Cornelius CURTIS aged 55 Farmer born Bath, Somerset
Emily CURTIS wife 50 born Widcome, Somerset
Elizabeth HARRIS sister-in-law 56 Living On Her Own Means born Widcombe, Somerset
William Reasey CURTIS nephew 27 Farmer's Nephew born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Margaret Bithia CURTIS niece 21 Farmer's Niece born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Manor Farm, Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Cornelius CURTIS aged 64 Farmer born Bath, Somerset
Emily CURTIS wife 60 born Widcome, Somerset
Elizabeth HARRIS sister-in-law 50 born Widcombe, Somerset
Reasey CURTIS nephew 37 Farmer's Nephew born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Margaret CURTIS niece 31 Cheesemaker born Chewton Mendip, Somerset


The Manor Farm, Chewton Mendip
(click image to enlarge)

Cornelius is mentioned several times in the Chewton Mendip school log book. He made several goodwill visits to the school in his capacity as church warden, but in July 1881 the incumbent school master George TREDAWAY recorded a visit from Cornelius on a more serious matter: "Mr. C. Curtis called on Friday to ask that I would caution the children not to go into his orchard for apples. I found that several of the younger children had already been there, and I spoke to the whole school upon the sin of stealing, and the disgrace they would bring upon themselves and the school if they yielded to the temptation."

By 1902 Cornelius had retired to Chewton Villa, which he later renamed Homedene, the name by which it is known today. Cornelius died on 17th July 1910 at Homedene. A memorial plaque inside St Mary Magdalene church records that following his death a window was filled with stained glass by his many friends. This is how his widow Emily appears in the 1911 census:

Homedene, Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Emily CURTIS widow aged 69 Private Means born Widcombe, Somerset
Reasey CURTIS nephew 46 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Margaret CURTIS niece 39 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Emily CURTIS (nee HARRIS) died on 20th July 1921 at Homedene.


Homedene, Chewton Mendip
(click image to enlarge)

Elizabeth Martha CURTIS (b. 1839) married William Frederick CHARD on 30th March 1865 in Chewton Mendip. He was born in about 1832 in Ston Easton. William and Elizabeth had at least seven children together, all born in Cameley, Somerset -  Emily Elizabeth, born c. 1866; Charles Ansty, born c. 1868; William Frederick, born c. 1871; Mary Jane, born c. 1872; Ada Louise, born c. 1873; Harry, born c. 1875, and Dora Kate, born c. 1881. Mary Jane and Harry both died in infancy. In 1881 the family was living in the Temple Inn at Cameley where William was the publican (see above census extract).

William Frederick CHARD died in 1882. This is how his widow Elizabeth Martha appears in 1891 and 1901:

Temple Inn, Temple Cloud, Cameley, Somerset (1891)

Elizabeth CHARD widow aged 53 Licensed Victualler & Farmer born Bath, Somerset
Charles CHARD son 23 Farmer's Son born Cameley, Somerset
Ada CHARD daughter 17 born Cameley, Somerset
Kate CHARD daughter 10 Scholar born Cameley, Somerset
Rose BATTLE servant 14 General Servant born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Temple Cloud, Cameley, Somerset (1901)

Elizabeth Martha CHARD widow aged 62 Innkeeper born Bath, Somerset
William Frederick CHARD son 29 born Temple Cloud, Somerset
Ada Louise CHARD daughter 26 born Temple Cloud, Somerset
Dora Kate CHARD daughter 20 born Temple Cloud, Somerset
Emily CARTER servant 19 Domestic born Paulton, Somerset

Elizabeth Martha CHARD (nee CURTIS) died in 1904.

William and Elizabeth's son Charles became the publican at the original Waldegrave Arms Inn in Chewton, which once stood directly opposite the present Waldegrave Arms but which was pulled down in the 1930s to make way for widening of the road. This is how Charles appears in the 1901 and 1911 censuses (Mary Annie and Arthur Edwin CHARD where not Charles's sister and brother, but were instead the half-sister and half-brother of Charles's wife Florence):

Waldegrave Arms Inn, Chewton Mendip, Somerset (1901)

Charles Ansty CHARD aged 32 Publican & Farmer born Temple Cloud, Somerset
Florence CHARD wife 27 born Farrington Gurney, Somerset
Hannah Culliford CHARD mother-in-law widow 47 born Farrington Gurney, Somerset
Mary Annie CHARD sister 9 born Ston Easton, Somerset
Arthur Edwin CHARD brother 7 born Ston Easton, Somerset
Eva HARRINGTON servant 17 General Servant (Domestic) born North Cadbury, Somerset

Waldegrave Arms Inn, Chewton Mendip, Somerset (1911)

Charles A. CHARD aged 46 Farmer & Innkeeper born Temple Cloud, Somerset
Florence CHARD wife 36 born Farrington Gurney, Somerset
Hannah CHARD mother-in-law widow 56 Retired Farmer's Widow born Farrington Gurney, Somerset
Mary Ann CHARD sister-in-law 19 Help in the Business born Ston Easton, Somerset
Arthur Edwin CHARD brother-in-law 17 Help On Farm born Ston Easton, Somerset
Elizabeth BARTLETT servant 21 General Domestic Servant born Dorset
Donald L. DICKS nephew 8 born Taunton, Somerset

Charles CHARD was still listed as the proprietor of the Waldegrave Arms in the 1914 Kelly's Directory of Somerset, but he died later that year.

Richard Hippisley CURTIS (1799-1871)

Richard Hippisley CURTIS was born on 5th June 1799 in Chewton Mendip, Somerset. He was the eldest son of Lamrock CURTIS and Ann HIPPISLEY. He married Ann CURTIS on 6th February 1822 in Chewton Mendip. She was born on 21st November 1801 in Chewton Mendip and was the daughter of John CURTIS and Dorinda CHURCH. Richard and Ann had seven children together, all born in Chewton Mendip - Lamrock, born 1822; Dorinda Ann, born 1825; John, born 1830; James, born 1834; William, born 1837; Richard, born 1841, died 1842, and Richard Hippisley, born 26th September 1843. The family lived in various properties in and around Chewton Mendip, as seen here in the various censuses:

Town, Chewton Mendip, Somerset (1841)

Richard CURTIS aged 40 Born in County
Ann CURTIS 35 Born in County
Lamrock CURTIS 15 Born in County
Dorinda CURTIS 15 Born in County
John CURTIS 10 Born in County
James CURTIS 7 Born in County
Richard CURTIS 1 month Born in County

Cutler's Green, East End, Chewton Mendip, Somerset (1851)

Richard CURTIS aged 52 Agricultural Labourer born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Ann CURTIS wife 49 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
John CURTIS son 20 Agricultural Labourer born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
James CURTIS son 17 Agricultural Labourer born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Richard CURTIS son 7 Scholar born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

The Folly, Chewton Mendip, Somerset (1861)

Richard CURTIS aged 61 Agricultural Labourer born Chewton Mendip
Ann CURTIS wife 60 born Chewton Mendip
Lamrock CURTIS son 39 Agricultural Labourer born Chewton Mendip
Richard H. CURTIS son 18 Carter born Chewton Mendip

Barrow Hill, Chewton Mendip, Somerset (1871)

Richard CURTIS aged 71 Agricultural Labourer born Chewton Mendip
Ann CURTIS wife 69 born Chewton Mendip

Richard Hippisley CURTIS died on 26th December 1871 in Wells, Somerset and was buried in Chewon Mendip. In 1881 his widow Ann was living in Wells, as seen here in the census for the year:

5 Morgans Court, St Cuthbert Out, Wells, Somerset

Ann CURTIS aged 79 Farmers Widow born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Lamrock CURTIS (b. 1822) enlisted in the army on 12th June 1843 in Bath, Somerset and served with the Scots Fusilier Guards for nearly 13 years. He was discharged on 10th June 1856 having been declared unfit for further service, with his medical record noting that "Private Lamrock Curtis suffers from general dropsy. Has been treated in General Hospital at Portsmouth since December last. It arises from organic disease of the heart and kidney and is incurable. His disease was contracted in the service." His service record also noted that "his conduct has been that of a good and efficient soldier, trustworthy and sober. Is in possession of two good conduct badges since the 1st March 1854." Lamrock died in 1864 and was buried in Chewton Mendip on 14th November.

John CURTIS (b. 1830) enlisted in the Royal Artillery in 1852 aged 21. He married Caroline FRANCIS on 23rd July 1864 in St Thomas, Wells, Somerset. She was born in Wells in about 1840. John and Caroline had at least eight children together born in various different locations around the UK, notably in Woolwich, the 'home' of the R.A. - Flora Augusta, born c. 1866 in Woolwich, Kent; Edith Millicent, born c. 1868 in Wells; Annie Maria, born c. 1870 in Netley, Hampshire; Martha, born c. 1872 in Woolwich, Kent; John Richard Hippisley, born c. 1874 in Wells; Francis Charles, born c. 1875 in Flat Holm, Glamorgan, Wales; Lilian Elizabeth, born c. 1878 in Wells, and Caroline Ruth, born c. 1881 in Wells. 

After retiring from the army John worked at a coal yard in Glastonbury. This is how the family appears in the 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 censuses:

91 High Street, Weymouth, Dorset (1871)

John CURTIS aged 40 Sergeant Royal Artillery born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Caroline CURTIS wife 30 born Wells, Somerset
Flora A. CURTIS daughter 5 Scholar born Woolwich, Kent
Edith M. CURTIS daughter 2 born Wells, Somerset
Annie M. CURTIS daughter 4 months born Netley, Hampshire

19 St John Street, St Cuthbert, Wells, Somerset (1881)

John CURTIS aged 50 Labourer (Chelsea Out Pensioner) born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Caroline CURTIS wife 41 Dressmaker born Wells, Somerset
Florance A. CURTIS daughter 15 born Woolwich, Kent
Edith M. CURTIS daughter 12 Scholar born Wells, Somerset
Annie M. CURTIS daughter 10 Scholar born Netley, Hampshire
Martha H. CURTIS daughter 8 Scholar born Woolwich, Kent
John R.H. CURTIS son 6 Scholar born Wells, Somerset
Francis C. CURTIS son 4 Scholar born Flat Holm, Glamorgan
Lilian E. CURTIS daughter 2 born Wells, Somerset

21 Magdalene Street, St Benedict, Glastonbury, Somerset (1891)

John CURTIS aged 60 Foreman in Cole Yard born Chewton Mendip
Caroline CURTIS wife 51 born Wells, Somerset
Flora A. CURTIS daughter 25 born Woolwich, Kent
Annie M. CURTIS daughter 20 born Netley, Hampshire
Martha H. CURTIS daughter 18 born Woolwich, Kent
John R. H. CURTIS son 16 Timber Merchant's Clerk born Wells, Somerset
Lilian E. CURTIS daughter 12 Scholar born Wells, Somerset
Caroline R. CURTIS daughter 9 born Wells, Somerset

42 Magdalene Street, St Benedict, Glastonbury, Somerset (1901)

John CURTIS aged 70 Army Pensioner born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Caroline CURTIS wife 61 born Wells, Somerset
Caroline CURTIS daughter 19 born Wells, Somerset
John T. FREEMAN boarder 20 Builder's Apprentice born Wincanton, Somerset

William CURTIS (b. 1837) married Anne HARVEY on 5th May 1868 in Bristol.

Thomas CURTIS (1808-1891)


Thomas CURTIS
(click image to enlarge)

Thomas CURTIS was born on 28th June 1808 in Chewton Mendip, Somerset. He was the youngest son of Lamrock CURTIS and Ann HIPPISLEY. Thomas was probably the Thomas CURTIS who in 1831 witnessed the will of Henry HIPPISLEY, the first cousin of Thomas' mother. Thomas was also mentioned in the will of his maternal great-aunt Mary HIPPISLEY who died on 10th January 1837. She bequeathed to him her "testament with Mr. Wesley's commentary" and also an equal part of the "rest and residue of my real and personal estate."

The 1839 Chewton Mendip tithe apportionment map shows a Thomas CURTIS as the owner of a field in Tor Hole in the Middlesex division, with George SALVIDGE as the occupier. This ties in with the 1846 register of persons entitled to vote which shows Thomas CURTIS as the owner of freehold land at Tor Hole. It seems likely that this individual was Thomas born 1808, though what became of the land he owned is unknown.

In 1841 he was living in Nedge near Chewton Mendip with his sister Elizabeth, as seen here in the census for that year:

Nedge, Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Thomas CURTIS aged 30 Agricultural Labourer Born in County
Elizabeth CURTIS 30 Female Servant Born in County
Fanny WILLIAMS 30 Staymaker Born in County

Thomas married late in life - he was 35 when he married Mary FLOWER in St Mary Magdalene Church, Chewton Mendip on 12th February 1844. She was born in Chewton Mendip in 1823 and was the daughter of John and Elizabeth FLOWER. John FLOWER was a labourer, but he died sometime before 1851. Thomas and Mary had no less than twelve children together, although two - William Frederick, born 26th August 1844, and George James, born 14th May 1847 - died in infancy. William died of whooping cough on 14th September 1844 while George was accidentally drowned on 10th July 1848. The other ten children, all born in or near Chewton Mendip, survived into adulthood. They were: Henry, born 22nd August 1845; Elizabeth Annie, born 12th March 1849; Mary Hippisley, born 13th March 1851; Hippisley, born 12th January 1853; William Frederick, born 20th July 1854; George James, born 13th November 1855; Alice Martha, born 21st September 1857; Albert John, born 1st May 1859; Charles Cornelius, born 19th October 1861, and Frank, born 21st March 1864. Here are Thomas and Mary in 1851, with their children as well as Mary's mother and sister:

Nedge, Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Thomas CURTIS aged 42 Farmer Of 16 Acres Employing 1 Labourer born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Mary CURTIS wife 27 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Henry CURTIS son 5 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Elizabeth Ann CURTIS daughter 2 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Infant CURTIS daughter 1 month born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Elizabeth FLOWER mother-in-law widow 50 Dressmaker born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Ann FLOWER sister-in-law 16 House Servant born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

As well as being a farmer, Thomas also served as an Overseer, elected by the parish vestry to help look after the poor. Overseers were unpaid but had a number of powers, including the power to raise money for the needy by collecting a tax known as the Poor Rate from other parishioners. They could also remove any newcomers to the parish if the local Justices of the Peace deemed that they were likely to become dependent on poor relief. Below is a page from the Chewton Mendip overseers account book signed by Thomas CURTIS.


Chewton Mendip Overseers Account Book
(click image to enlarge)

However it seems that on at least one occasion Thomas fell foul of the authorities, as reported here in the Wells Journal on 17th October 1857: "Richard Selway and Thomas Curtis, of Chewton, were summoned for neglecting to pay certain contributions to the Treasurer of the Wells Union. Ordered to pay the same, with costs."

The parish registers also record that Thomas was working as a publican in 1855, and he was also the enumerator for the West End district of Chewton Mendip in the 1861 census. In about 1860 Thomas and his family moved to Ford, a small village on the road between Chewton Mendip and Litton. This is how they appear in the 1861 census:

Ford, Litton, Somerset (1861)

Thomas CURTIS aged 51 Farmer of 12 acres born Chewton Mendip
Mary CURTIS wife 37 born Chewton Mendip
Elizabeth A. CURTIS daughter 12 born Chewton Mendip
Mary H. CURTIS daughter 10 born Chewton Mendip
Hippisley CURTIS son 8 born Chewton Mendip
William F. CURTIS son 6 born Chewton Mendip
George J. CURTIS son 5 born Chewton Mendip
Alice M. CURTIS daughter 3 born Chewton Mendip
Albert J. CURTIS son 1 born Chewton Mendip

Thomas was probably living in what is now known as Ford Cottage, which at the time was owned by General Robert Henry LOWTH, whose family had held parts of Litton since the eighteenth century. Ford Cottage and the adjoining Ford House Farm were once part of a single property known as Ford House Litton, but it is believed that the frontage of Ford House Farm was built in the late 1860s, suggesting that Thomas was living in the older Ford Cottage part of the property. On 31st January 1862 LOWTH sold the plot of land on which Ford Cottage stands to Henry Richard SHEPPARD; it's possible that LOWTH may have sold other properties to SHEPPARD at the same time, though evidence for this has not yet been found. On 26th April 1862 an advertisement appeared in the Wells Journal for an auction due to take place at the Waldegrave Arms in Chewton Mendip in which several lots of freehold property were to be sold. One of these was for a "messuage or dwelling house with the outbuildings, garden, and yard thereto adjoining ... situate at Ford, in the Parish of Litton aforesaid, numbered 102 on the said Tithe Map, and now in the occupation of Mr. Thomas Curtis". The house numbered 102 on the Litton tithe map corresponds with Ford House, and presumably the vendor was Henry SHEPPARD.

It appears that Thomas CURTIS purchased the house as there is a record of him taking out a mortgage on 23rd May 1862 for £88 in the Ford Cottage deeds. However Thomas apparently subsequently conveyed the cottage to his eldest son Henry; while no evidence has yet been found of any transaction taking place between father and son, it is Henry’s name which appears in later records relating to the property. Why Thomas handed the property over to his son is not known, though Henry had recently set himself up as a wine, spirit and beer merchant and Thomas may have been trying to help Henry get his business up and running. The house seems to have been extended in the late 1860s with the frontage that later became Ford House Farm built alongside the existing cottage, though whether this work was instigated by Thomas or Henry is not known.

Ford House Litton
Ford House Litton c1920
(click image to enlarge)

The enlarged house was eventually put up for sale when Henry went bankrupt, though in 1871 Thomas and his family were still living in Ford, and while the name of their house is not shown on the census, their neighbours were the same as in 1861, and so it seems likely that they were still living in Ford House Litton:

Ford, Litton, Somerset (1871)

Thomas CURTIS aged 62 Agricultural Labourer born Chewton Mendip
Mary CURTIS wife 47 born Chewton Mendip
Henry CURTIS son 25 Wine Merchant born Chewton Mendip
Albert J. CURTIS son 11 Scholar born Chewton Mendip
Charles CURTIS son 9 Scholar born Chewton Mendip
Frank CURTIS son 7 Scholar born Chewton Mendip

By 1881, all of Thomas and Mary's children had left home, apart from Albert John, and they were living at The Folly, the estate hamlet on the hill above the village, as seen here in the 1881 census:

The Folly, Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Thomas CURTIS aged 72 Retired Farmer born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Mary CURTIS wife 58 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Albert John CURTIS son 21 Ironmonger (Unemployed) born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Annie Frances CLAYHILLS boarder 7 Scholar born Weston-super-Mare, Somerset


The Folly, Chewton Mendip
(click image to enlarge)

In 1891 Thomas and Mary were living at Bray's Batch with their granddaughter Annie, as seen here in the census for that year:

Bray's Batch, Chewton Mendip

Thomas CURTIS aged 82 Living on Own Means born Chewton Mendip
Mary CURTIS wife 67 born Chewton Mendip
Annie Frances CURTIS daughter 17 born Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

Thomas CURTIS died on 7th April 1891 in Chewton Mendip, aged 82. In 1901 his widow Mary was living in Ford, possibly in the part of Ford House Litton now known as Ford Cottage:

Ford, Litton, Somerset

Mary CURTIS widow aged 77 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Annie F. CURTIS granddaughter 27 Dressmaker born Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

Mary CURTIS (nee FLOWER) died on 13th March 1907 in Chewton Mendip, and was buried in the graveyard of St Mary Magdalene Church.


Mary CURTIS (nee FLOWER)
(click image to enlarge)

Elizabeth Annie CURTIS (b. 1849) married Frederick MORGAN on 11th August 1875 in St Mary Magdalene Church, Chewton Mendip. Frederick was born on 14th June 1849 in Worcester and was the son of David, a carpenter, and Sarah MORGAN. Elizabeth and Frederick had eight children together, all born in Talgarth, Brecon, Wales - Frederick Thomas, born 14th June 1876; Gertrude Ethel, born 11th October 1877; Alice Mary, born 24th May 1879; Louise, born 14th December 1881; Ivor Rhys, born 21st February 1884; David Hippisley, born 14th December 1885; Kate Winifred, born 14th October 1887, and Edgar Ralph, born 6th April 1889. Louise and Edgar Ralph both died in infancy. The family lived in Talgarth where Frederick worked as an ironmonger, as seen here in the 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911 censuses:

Swan Inn, Talgarth, Brecon, Wales (1881)

Frederick MORGAN aged 31 Ironmonger born Worcester
Elizabeth A. MORGAN wife 31 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Frederick T. MORGAN son 4 Scholar born Talgarth, Brecknock
Gertrude E. MORGAN daughter 3 born Talgarth, Brecknock

Alice M. MORGAN daughter 1 born Talgarth, Brecknock

Bell Street, Talgarth, Brecon, Wales (1891)

Frederick MORGAN aged 41 Ironmonger born Worcester
Elizabeth A. MORGAN wife 42 born Chewton, Somerset
Frederick T. MORGAN son 14 Ironmonger's Assistant born Talgarth, Brecon
Gertrude E. MORGAN daughter 13 Scholar born Talgarth, Brecon
Alice M. MORGAN daughter 11 Scholar born Talgarth, Brecon
Ivor R. MORGAN son 7 Scholar born Talgarth, Brecon
David H. MORGAN son 5 Scholar born Talgarth, Brecon
Kate W. MORGAN daughter 3 Scholar born Talgarth, Brecon

Bell Street, Talgarth, Brecon, Wales (1901)

Frederick MORGAN aged 51 Ironmonger born Worcester
Elizabeth A. MORGAN aged 51 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Frederick T. MORGAN aged 24 Ironmonger born Talgarth, Brecon
Alice M. MORGAN daughter 21 born Talgarth, Brecon
Ivor R. MORGAN son 17 Ironmonger born Talgarth, Brecon
David H. MORGAN son 15 born Talgarth, Brecon
Kate W. MORGAN daughter 13 born Talgarth, Brecon

Dan-y-garth, Talgarth, Brecknockshire, Wales (1911)

Frederick MORGAN aged 61 Private Means born Worcester
Elizabeth Annie MORGAN wife 62 born Chewton, Somerset
Gertrude Ethel MORGAN daughter 33 born Talgarth, Breconshire


Elizabeth MORGAN (nee CURTIS)
(click image to enlarge)

However, it also seems that Elizabeth had another daughter, Annie Frances Clayhills CURTIS, by an unknown father. Annie was born on 24th July 1873 in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, and was living with her grandparents in Chewton Mendip in 1881 (see above census extract).

Frederick MORGAN died on 21st March 1931 at 6 Dan-y-garth, Talgarth. His widow Elizabeth Annie MORGAN (nee CURTIS) died on 22nd March 1934 in Talgarth. Elizabeth and Frederick were the grandparents of my second cousin twice removed Alan Rhys MORGAN.


Frederick MORGAN
(click image to enlarge)

Mary Hippisley CURTIS (b. 1851) married twice. Her first husband was Edward Brickel HARRIS whom she married on 28th November 1876 in St James, Poole, Dorset. Edward was born in about 1829 and was the son of Daniel HARRIS. Edward died on 23rd November 1879 in Lower Cottage, Parkstone, Poole. In 1881 Mary was living in Poole, Dorset with her younger sister Alice, as seen here in the census for that year:

Mendip, Ringwood Road, Longfleet, Poole, Dorset

Mary H. HARRIS widow aged 30 House Owner born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Alice M. CURTIS sister 23 Companion born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Mary subsequently married William Henry BAKER, a ship broker, on 28th June 1881 in Longfleet. William was born in Poole, Dorset in about 1832 and was the son of Robert BAKER. William and Mary had at least three children together, all born in Parkstone - Robert Hippisley, born 25th March 1882; William Henry, born 10th December 1883, and Bertha Mary, born 3rd August 1885. William Henry BAKER was a ship broker, Lloyd's agent and vice-consul for Denmark. This is how the family appears in the 1891 and 1901 censuses:

Monghyr, Commercial Road, Parkstone, Poole, Dorset

William H. BAKER aged 59 Ship Broker & Lloyd's Agent born Poole, Dorset
Mary H. BAKER wife 40 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
William H. BAKER son 7 Scholar born Parkstone, Dorset
Bertha M. BAKER daughter 5 Scholar born Parkstone, Dorset
Bertha BAKER sister 74 Living On Own Means born Parkstone, Dorset

227 High Street, St Marys, Longfleet, Poole, Dorset

William H. BAKER aged 69 Ship Broker born Poole, Dorset
Mary H. BAKER wife 50 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
William H. BAKER son 17 Timber Merchants Apprentice born Parkstone, Dorset
Bertha BAKER sister 84 born Poole, Dorset


Mary Hippisley BAKER (nee CURTIS)
(click image to enlarge)

Mary Hippisley BAKER (nee CURTIS) died of uterine cancer on 15th September 1904 at 227 High Street, Longfleet aged 53. It seems her widowed husband William died on 22nd September 1905, also in Longfleet. Their son Robert Hippesley BAKER became an employee of the London and South Western Railway on 27th April 1897, working at the company's carriage works at Nine Elms Station in south London. The 1901 census shows him as an apprentice mechanical engineer living with the NEWBY family in Clapham, London. Robert resigned from the railway on 4th Aprl 1903 and became a student in theology at Hatfield Hall, Durham in 1904. He was subsequently ordained deacon in 1906 and ordained priest in 1907. He was curate at St Swithin, Lincoln from 1906 to 1912, and was then admitted as a novice at the Community of the Resurrection in Mirfield in the Diocese of Wakefield, West Yorkshire. He took his vows in the Community Chapel in 1915, and then became a missioner at the St Augustine Mission in Penhalonga, South Rhodesia from 1915 to 1947. Upon his return to England he became a licensed preacher at the Priory of St Paul in Holland Park, London, and by 1953 had retired to the Community of the Resurrection in Mirfield. He died at the Community's House of the Resurrection on 21st December 1953 and was buried in the Community's cemetery on Christmas Eve.

Hippisley CURTIS (b. 1853) was working at the Imperial Hotel in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset in 1871, as seen here in the census for that year:

Imperial Hotel, South Parade, St John, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

Annie STACEY manageress aged 30 Manageress of Hotel born Wincanton, Somerset
Hippisley CURTIS servant 18 Waiter born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Jane HARRIS servant 31 Nursemaid born Ilminster, Somerset
Frank SMART servant 18 Billiard Marker born Taunton, Somerset
Elizabeth ADAMS servant 18 Cook born Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

Hippisley immigrated to America in 1880, sailing from Liverpool aboard the 'City of Berlin' and arriving in New York on 1st December. His younger brother Charles accompanied him on the journey. Hippisley and Charles both settled in Pennsylvania and the 1887 Plymouth and Nanticoke directory shows Hippisley living at 560 West Union Street, Nanticoke with his occupation shown as 'labourer'. Hippisley married Elizabeth Ann JONES at Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania on 7th March 1887. As yet it isn't known when or where Elizabeth was born or who her parents were. Hippisley became a US citizen on 2nd July 1892. His wife Elizabeth died sometime before 1900, as in the 1900 US Federal Census he is shown as a widower living with the THORN family in Nanticoke:

151 West Ridge Street, Nanticoke, Luzerne, Pennsylvania

Abraham THORN aged 48 Coal Miner born England
Mary 
THORN wife 43 born Wales
Idris 
THORN son 18 Mule Driver born Wales
Matthew J. 
THORN son 8 At School born Wales
Benjamin 
THORN son 3 born Pennsylvania
Ipsley CURTIS boarder widower 43 Day Labourer born England

The 1903 and 1904 Williamsport directories show Hippisley living in Duboistown and in both years he is listed as a 'plasterer'. In 1910 he was living with the BURNETT family in Scranton, Pennsylvania and was working as a railroad labourer:

320 Keyser Avenue, Scranton City, Lackawanna Co, Pennsylvania

Albert BURNETT aged 38 Miner In Coal Mines born England
Mary BURNETT wife 38 born Wales
George H. BURNETT son 15 Labourer In Coal Mines born Pennsylvania
Albert J. BURNETT son 9 born Pennsylvania
David E. BURNETT son 7 born Pennsylvania
James BURNETT son 5 born Pennsylvania
Hannah BURNETT daughter 3 born Pennsylvania
Betty BURNETT daughter 18 born Pennsylvania
Hepsley CURTIS boarder widower 52 Labourer On Railroad born England

He later lived at 113 Bromley Avenue in Scranton. Hippisley briefly returned to England in 1923 to visit his relatives, sailing from New York on 14th July aboard the White Star Line's Majestic and arriving in Southampton on 20th Julybefore heading back to the States, departing from Southampton on 22nd August aboard the Majestic and arriving at the Port of New York on the 28th. The 1929 Scranton directory shows Hippisley living at 112 Bromley Avenue, and at present it is unknown what became of him thereafter. 


Hippisley CURTIS
(click image to enlarge)

George James CURTIS (b. 1855) was working at the Royal Hotel in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset in 1871, as seen here in the census for that year:

Royal Hotel, South Parade, St John, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

George CURTIS servant 15 Page born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

George also married twice. His first wife was Emma Myra ELLIOTT whom he married on 11th March 1875 in Sidmouth, Devon. Emma was born in about 1856 in Hendon, Middlesex and was the daughter of John Pike ELLIOTT and Amelia FARRANT. In 1881 George was working at the Swan Hotel, Wells, as seen here in the census for that year:

Swan Hotel, 9 Sadler Street, St Cuthbert In, Wells, Somerset

Servants
Fanny McCOY aged 27 Barmaid born Ireland
Rosa Charlotte JULLION 29 Barmaid born London
George James CURTIS 25 Boots Domestic Servant born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Mary Anne RAINER 26 Cook Domestic Servant born Fairford, Gloucester
William LINNEY 40 Chef Domestic Servant (N D) born Hordle, Hampshire
Emma HOLLOWAY 24 Waitress P Domestic Servant born Wells, Somerset
Agnes Mary FRANCIS 18 Chamber Maid Domestic Servant born Wells, Somerset
Anne LUFF 20 Kitchen Maid Domestic Servant born Blanavon, Monmouth
Thomas DOWLING 14 Page Domestic Servant (Inn) born Frome, Somerset
Annie Adlam MASTERS 17 Nurse Domestic Servant born Wookey, Somerset

In the same year George's wife Emma was a patient at the Royal Infirmary in St James, Bristol, as seen here in the 1881 census:

British Royal Infirmary, Marlborough Street, St James, Bristol

Emma CURTIS aged 25 Female Patient born Hendon, Middlesex

Emma CURTIS (nee ELLIOTT) died of phthsis in New Street, Sidmouth, Devon on 19th September 1882 aged only 26.


George James CURTIS
(click image to enlarge)

George subsequently married Emma ELLIOTT's younger sister, Caroline Amelia, on 15th April 1888 in Temple Church, Bristol. She was born in Hendon in about 1861.  Caroline had formerly worked as a nurse at Greenfield House in Sidmouth, Devon, as seen here in the 1881 census:

Greenfield House, Sidmouth, Devon

Caroline A. ELLIOT aged 20 Nurse born London, Middlesex

In 1891 George and Caroline were living with Frank CURTIS and his wife Elizabeth at 50 Windsor Terrace, Bedminster, Bristol (see below census extract).


Caroline CURTIS (nee ELLIOTT)
(click image to enlarge)

George and Caroline had at least one child together - George Thomas, born 23rd March 1896 at 42 Green Street, Bedminster. Caroline also suffered a miscarriage. In the late 1890s George and Caroline moved to London, and in 1899 they were living at 5 Fosters Place, Hendon. However by the end of the century George's health had begun to decline and on 4th July 1899 he was admitted as a patient at the Bristol Lunatic Asylum. His case book reveals that he was suffering from "mania", adding that he said he could "command Heaven" and that he had "a clock inside him". The assigned causes were listed as "influenza" and "business trouble".

George's case book provides the following description of his condition: "Restless look. Talks incoherently. Says his wife is a bad wicked woman, that had to be harsh with her because she behaves so badly to him. Says he is possessed of money (which he has not got). Complains of headaches and want of sleep. Mrs Caroline Curtis, wife of George Curtis of 5 Fosters Place, states he has been bad for 9 weeks with influenza (third attack), getting gradually worse in his mind, spends money recklessly although all he possessed is £5. Says he has 140 in bank. Uses very bad language to her which ne never used to do. Has threatened her so that she goes about in fear of her life, does very strange actions such as bringing home no end of rubbish as nettles, dandelions and paper, says they are ferns and water lilies and that he is going to take them home to Bristol. Eats in a strange way and enormously, which he never did before. Went fishing yesterday and brought home frogs with intention of taking them to Bristol. Says 150 bullies broke into his house and stole all the things at his home."

His notes also described some of his "grandiose ideas"; he apparently claimed that he was going to construct an electric railway at Wandsworth, that he could control the weather for cricket, and that he was in possession of millions and billions of money. George was still a patient at the Bristol Lunatic Asylum in 1901:

Bristol Lunatic Asylum, Stapleton, Bristol

G.C. patient aged 45 Tram Car Driver born Chewton Mendip, Somerset Lunatic

George's wife and son were living in Knowle in 1901:

150 Wells Road, Holy Nativity, Knowle, Bristol

Alexander CARR aged 61 Retired Medical Proditioner born Longbridge, Wiltshire
Edward WRIGHT Joint Tennant 34 Medical Dispenser born Redcliff, Bristol
Amelia C. CURTIS servant 40 Housekeeper (Domestic) born Hendon, Middlesex
Thomas G. CURTIS boarder 5 born Bedminster, Bristol

George died of phthsis on 8th September 1902 at the Lunatic Asylum aged 46. The informant was his brother Frank.

Alice Martha CURTIS (b. 1857) was living with the LIGHT sisters in Regent Street, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset in 1871:

Regent Street, Emmanuel, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

Ann LIGHT aged 39 Dressmaker born Weston-super-Mare, Somerset
Ellen LIGHT sister 28 Dressmaker born Weston-super-Mare, Somerset
Alice CURTIS apprentice 13 Dressmaker & Apprentice born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

In 1881 she was living with her sister Mary in Longfleet, Dorset (see above census extract), and later worked at her brother William's shop in Redcliffe, Bristol. In 1891 she was a patient at the Bristol General Hospital:

Bristol General Hospital, Commercial Road, Bedminster, Bristol

Alice CURTIS patient aged 32 Baker's Shopwoman born Mendip, Somerset

Alice never married and died of typhoid on 10th May 1891 in Bristol General Hospital aged only 33. She was was buried in Chewton Mendip four days later.


Alice Martha CURTIS
(click image to enlarge)

Albert John CURTIS (b. 1859) was still living with his parents in Chewton Mendip in 1881, where he was an unemployed ironmonger (see above census extract). He married Elizabeth PRICE on 21st August 1889 in All Saints, Hereford. Elizabeth was born in about 1866 in Aberllynfi, Brecon, Wales and was the daughter of Thomas and Fanny PRICE. Albert and Elizabeth's first child, Thomas Hippisley, was born on 11th July 1891 at 32 St Thomas Street, Wells, but died on 27th September aged 11 weeks. An inquest was held into the circumstances surrounding the baby's death and reported in the Wells Journal on Thursday 1st October:

"'Sudden death of an infant'. An inquest touching the death of Thomas Hippisley Curtis, aged 11 weeks, was held before S. Craddock, Esq., coroner, at the Lamb inn, St. Thomas-street, on Monday afternoon. – Mr. E. Middle was chosen foreman of the jury. – Elizabeth Curtis, wife of A. J. Curtis, a tinplate worker, of 32, St. Thomas-street, said the deceased was her son and was 11 weeks old last Saturday.  On Sunday morning she awoke about 7 o’clock, and picked the child up as usual.  She noticed that it looked rather strange and was very quiet, and then found that it was dead.  The child was lying between her and her husband.  She fed it with a bottle at 11.30 the preceding night, and it took it all.  She awoke between two and three o’clock, and the child was then alive.  The child, ever since it was six weeks old, had been fed with a bottle, as her milk was not nourishing enough. – The Coroner briefly reviewed the evidence, and remarked that the placing of babies between the father and mother was a very dangerous practice; should the child turn over on its face it would surely die.  He would recommend the jury to return an open verdict of 'Found dead in bed.' – The jury returned a verdict accordingly."

Albert and Elizabeth had three more children together - Francis William, born 31st August 1892 at 32 St Thomas Street, Wells; Albert Bryan, born 2nd July 1894 at 70 St Thomas Street, Wells, and Thomas Price, born 18th November 1900 in Cole Brook, Bronllys, Talgarth, Brecon, Wales.  This is how the family appears in the 1901 and 1911 censuses:

Cole Brook, St Mary, Bronllys, Brecon, Wales (1901)

Albert J. CURTIS aged 41 Copper Smith In Chemical Works born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Elizabeth CURTIS wife 35 born Aberllynfi, Brecon
Francis Wm. CURTIS son 8 born Wells, Somerset
Albert B. CURTIS son 6 born Wells, Somerset
Thomas P. CURTIS aged 4 months born Bronllys, Brecon

Brecon Road, Bronylls, Brecon, Talgarth, Wales (1911)

Albert John CURTIS aged 51 Tinsmith born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Elizabeth CURTIS wife 46 born Aberllunvy, Breconshire
Thomas Price CURTIS son 10 Scholar born Bronllys, Breconshire

Albert John CURTIS died on 31st October 1933. His son Francis William married Kathleen GRAY on 8th February 1921 in St Mark, Gabalfa, Glamorgan, Wales.


Albert John CURTIS
(click image to enlarge)

Charles Cornelius CURTIS (b. 1861) moved to Bristol in the 1870s where he worked as a waiter at the Temple Meads refreshment rooms. On 12th September 1880 Charles was found suffering from serious injuries on the railway near Midsomer Norton. He had been travelling with one of his brothers from Bristol to Hallatrow, the nearest station to Chewton Mendip, but while his brother had disembarked at Hallatrow, Charles remained on the train. The Bristol Mercury on 21st September 1880 reported how "he was next seen by the engine-driver and some packers standing on the step of the carriage with the door open. The driver shouted to him and pulled up his train, but [Charles] sprang from the step before the train could be stopped, and whilst it was still going at a rapid rate. The place where he fell was at Old Mills siding. He was picked up, placed on a trolly, and taken to Welton station, and in reply to an observation by one of the men, said he ought to have done it before. He was conveyed to Paulton Hospital. On him was found 1s 7½d, four keys, several letters, and his will." Charles was tried at Wells Crown Court on 20th October where he admitted that he had attempted suicide. Newspaper reports of the case stated that he "was suitably admonished by the chairman" and "released on his own recognisances of £100 to come up for judgment when called upon". The Western Gazette on 22nd October 1880 also revealed that at his trial Charles had stated "that he intended to go abroad", a plan which he followed through later that year.

Charles immigrated to America in late 1880 with his brother Hippesley. In about 1886 he married a lady called Catherine PALAMOUNTAIN, although no record of their marriage has been found as yet. Catherine was born in Tywardreath, Cornwall in 1865 and was baptised with the name 'Kitty' in the nearby church of St Mary, Par on 17th September. She was the daughter of Bennett PALAMOUNTAIN, a smelter, and Jane BARTEL. Catherine had arrived in New York on 9th April 1872 aboard the Wisconsin along with her mother and siblings Louisa, Eliza, Sarah, Bennett and Philip, her father having already emigrated a few years earlier. Her younger brother John James appears as a sponsor on the baptism record of one of Charles and Catherine's children, and her siblings Philip and Sarah were witnesses to the will of her husband Charles CURTIS. 

Charles and Catherine settled in Pennsylvania where Charles worked as a coal miner. The 1887 Plymouth & Nanticoke directory shows Charles living at 565½ West Union Street, Nanticoke. Their daughter Alice Martha was born in Nanticoke on 2nd December 1887. Alice died aged around ten months and was buried in Nanticoke Cemetery on 16th September 1888. It is probable that an unnamed, stillborn child of Charles and Catherine was buried in the same cemetery on 12th March 1890. Charles and Catherine subsequently moved to Carbondale City in about 1891 where they had at least six more children - Charles James, born 12th January 1892; Philip Frederick, born 30th August 1893; Ethel May, born 11th April 1895; Franklin Niles, born 11th May 1897; George Omer, born 27th July 1899, and Pearl, born c. 1907. It is known that Charles and Catherine had twelve children in total, of whom only six survived into adulthood. Ethel and Franklin were both baptised in Trinity Church, Carbondale on 16th June 1897, and George was baptised in the same church on 19th November 1899. Charles and Catherine appear to have subsequently become members of the First Methodist Church in Carbondale. 

In 1900 the family was living in Carbondale City as tenants of the VREELAND family, as seen here in the 1900 US Federal Census:

150 South Main Street, Carbondale City, Lackawanna Co, PA, USA

Benjamin VREELAND Coal Miner born May 1862 in New Jersey
Mary VREELAND wife born March 1864 in Pennsylvania
Earl VREELAND adopted son born July 1895 in Pennsylvania
Charles CURTIS Coal Miner born October 1861 in England
Kate CURTIS wife born June 1865 in England
Charles CURTIS son born January 1892 in Pennsylvania
Philip CURTIS son born August 1893 in Pennsylvania
Ethel CURTIS daughter born April 1895 in Pennsylvania
Niles CURTIS son born May 1897 in Pennsylvania
Omer CURTIS son born June 1899 in Pennsylvania


Charles CURTIS Gallery
(click image to view)

Charles and Catherine later moved to 34 Columbia Avenue in Carbondale, and are shown living at this address in the 1903 Carbondale directory. Charles CURTIS died of pneumonia at 34 Columbia Avenue on 16th March 1910 aged just 48. His funeral was reported in the Carbondale Leader on 21st March 1910: "CHARLES CURTIS LAID AT REST. Friends and Relatives Pay Tribute of Respect to Well Known and Respected Resident. The funeral of Charles Curtis, whose sad death on Wednesday last caused such widespread feeling of regret, took place yesterday afternoon and the large number of relatives and friends, together with the many floral offerings, attested in a high measure the esteem in which he was held. The procession moved from the home on Columbia Avenue to the First Methodist church, where services were conducted by Rev. Dr. T. F. Hall. The Shield of Honor and the Foresters attended the funeral and the pallbearers were selected from the members of these two lodges. Interment was made in Brookside Cemetery."

The 1910 census was conducted less than a month after Charles died; this is how the widowed Catherine appears: 

28 Columbia Avenue, Carbondale City, Lackawanna Co, PA, USA

Kate CURTIS widow aged 44 born England
Charles CURTIS son 18 born Pennsylvania
Philip CURTIS son 16 born Pennsylvania
Ethel CURTIS daughter 15 born Pennsylvania
Niles CURTIS son 14 born Pennsylvania
Omer CURTIS son 10 born Pennsylvania
Pearl CURTIS daughter 4 born Pennsylvania

In 1920 Catherine and her daughter Pearl were still living in Carbondale, though they were living at a different address:

73 North Church Street, Carbondale City, Lackawanna Co, PA, USA

Catherine CURTIS widow aged 48 born England
Pearl CURTIS daughter 14 born Pennsylvania

The 1923 Carbondale directory shows Catherine living at 34 Columbia Avenue once more. As yet it is not known whether Catherine subsequently remarried or when she died.

Frederick William CURTIS (1834-1894)

Frederick William CURTIS was born on 7th July 1834 in Stall Street, Bath, Somerset. He was the eldest son of Charles Anstee CURTIS and Elizabeth DREDGE. He married Elizabeth FRY on 12th February 1861 in St Nicholas, Bristol. She was born on 14th September 1838 at 30 Somerset Street, Cathay, Bristol. Frederick and Elizabeth had six children together - Charles Frederick Curtis, born 11th September 1861, died 13th September 1861; William Reasey, born 10th December 1863 in Chewton Mendip; Arthur Salmon, born 15th January 1866 in Litton Road, Chewton Mendip; Ernest Charles, born 5th November 1867 in Litton Road, Chewton Mendip; Margaret Bithiah, born 17th May 1869 in Litton Road, Chewton Mendip, and Cornelius Frederick, born 8th February 1876 in Chewton Mendip.

Frederick CURTIS was a master carpenter, wood carver and builder. He was also a chorister and a devoted supporter of the parish church. For many years he served as Secretary of the Chewton Mendip Friendly Society. This is how he appears in the 1861 census:

Chewton Street, Chewton Mendip, Somerset (1861)

Frederick CURTIS aged 26 Carpenter born Stall Street, Bath, Somerset
Elizabeth CURTIS wife 22 born New Cut, Bristol

By 1871 Frederick had moved to Litton Road, also known as Lower Street, and may have been living in what is now called Batch Cottage:

Litton Road, Chewton Mendip, Somerset (1871)

Frederick CURTIS aged 36 Carpenter born Bath, Somerset
Elizabeth CURTIS wife 32 born Bedminster

William CURTIS son 7 Scholar born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Arthur CURTIS son 5 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Ernest CURTIS son 3 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Margaret CURTIS daughter 1 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

The 1881 and 1891 censuses show Frederick living at Batch Cottage, then known as Batch House:

Batch, Chewton Mendip, Somerset (1881)

Frederick CURTIS aged 46 Carpenter born Bath, Somerset
Elizabeth CURTIS wife 42 born Bristol

Arthur CURTIS son 15 Carpenter born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Charles CURTIS son 13 Scholar born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Margaret CURTIS daughter 11 Scholar born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Cornelius CURTIS son 5 Scholar born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Batch House, Chewton Mendip, Somerset (1891)

Frederick CURTIS aged 56 Carpenter born St James, Bath, Somerset
Elizabeth CURTIS wife 52 born St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol
Arthur CURTIS son 25 Carpenter born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Charles CURTIS son 23 Grocer's Assistant born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Cornelius CURTIS son 15 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

In 1884 Frederick suffered an accident which resulted in him breaking his right leg; this might explain why he appears with a walking stick in the photo below. This is how the incident was reported in the Wells Journal on 4th December: "Chewton Mendip. Accident. - On Saturday evening last Mr. Frederick Curtis, builder, was returning from a business visit to Blagdon. In stepping out of the trap the step gave way, and Mr. Curtis fell heavily to the ground, breaking both bones of his right leg. The limb was set by Mr. Waugh, of Midsomer Norton, and it is hoped that Mr. Curtis will soon recover the use of his leg."


Frederick William CURTIS
(click image to enlarge)

Frederick William CURTIS died on 6th July 1894 in Chewton Mendip. The Wells Journal on 19th July reported on his funeral : "Funeral of the late Mr. Curtis. - On Wednesday afternoon the remains of Frederick William Curtis, carpenter and builder, were interred in the parish churchyard, Chewton Mendip. Deceased, who died suddenly on Friday week, was for over 40 years a member of the parish choir. He was also secretary of the Friendly Society for many years. His oak carving was of no small repute, and specimens of his work can be seen in the church he so devotedly served, and which building has been from time to time renovated under his eye. The service was full choral, the coffin being met at the gates by the choir, singing the processional anthem, 'I am the Resurrection and the Life.' The hymn 'Peace, perfect peace,' was sung in the church, also the Psalm, and at the grave, 'I heard a voice from Heaven' and 'Now the labourer's task is o'er.' Several wreaths from friends and relatives were placed on the coffin, which was of panelled elm, and bore the inscription, 'Frederick William Curtis, died July 6th, 1894, aged 59 years.'"

Frederick's widow Elizabeth died on 5th February 1896, also in Chewton Mendip.

William Reasey CURTIS (b. 1863) never married. He worked as a farmer for his uncle Cornelius at Manor Farm (see above census extracts) and served as a parish councillor between 1907 and 1928. He was also a newspaper reporter, carrying a notebook with him wherever he went. The 1910 Chewton Mendip electoral register shows Reasey as the occupier of a furnished first floor bedroom at Homedene, his uncle's house. Reasey inherited Homedene following the death of his Aunt Emily in 1921 and spent his retirement there. A Poor Relief assessment dated 15th October 1921 shows Reasey as the owner and occupier of Homedene and the owner of a piece of agricultural land called Griffins Fields. He died on 10th October 1932 at St Mary's Private Hospital, Clifton, Bristol.


William Reasey CURTIS
(click image to enlarge)

Arthur Salmon CURTIS (b. 1866) married Catherine WHITCHURCH on 28th July 1896 at St Mary, Olveston, Gloucestershire. She was born on 6th September 1864 at Yew Tree Cottage, Oldown Hill, Olveston. Arthur and Catherine had three children together - Kathleen Victoria Elizabeth , born 13th May 1897 in Batch Cottage, Chewton Mendip; Marie Emily Curtis, born 5th December 1899 in Batch Cottage, Chewton Mendip, and Dorothy Olive, born 2nd July 1902 at 16 Havards Row, Rhymney, Monmouthshire, Wales. Arthur became the head of the household at Batch Cottage following his father's death and was living there in 1901 with his wife and daughters, as seen here in the census for that year:

Batch House, Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Arthur Salmon CURTIS aged 34 Carpenter (Own Account) born Chewton Mendip, Som
Catherine CURTIS wife 38 born Olveston, Glos
Kathleen Victoria Elizabeth CURTIS daughter 3 born Chewton Mendip, Som
Maria Emily CURTIS daughter 1 born Chewton Mendip, Som

Later that year the family moved to Rhymney in Wales where Arthur worked as a carpenter for the Rhymney Iron Company. This is how the family appears in the 1911 census:

16 Havards Row, Rhymney, Monmouthshire

Arthur CURTIS aged 44 Colliery Carpenter born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Catherine CURTIS wife 46 born Olveston, Gloucestershire
Kathleen CURTIS daughter 13 born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Marie CURTIS daughter 11 Scholar born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Dorothy CURTIS daughter 8 born Rhymney, Monmouthshire

Arthur Salmon CURTIS died on 29th September 1949. His widow Catherine died on 11th August 1945 at the Royal Infirmary, Bristol. Arthur and Catherine CURTIS were the grandparents of my fifth cousin once removed Norman DAVIES.

Ernest Charles CURTIS (b. 1867) married Harriet FLOWER in 1891. She was born on 4th December 1866 in Litton, Somerset. In 1901 Ernest and Harriett were living in Chewton Mendip where Ernest was working as a postman, as seen here in the census for that year:

Lower Street, Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Ernest Charles CURTIS aged 33 Postman born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Harriet CURTIS wife 34 born Litton, Somerset
Walter William RILEY lodger 20 Farm Apprentice born London

Ernest and Harriet later moved to Westbury-sub-Mendip where Ernest worked as the village shopkeeper, as seen here in the 1911 census:

Cross House, Westbury-sub-Mendip, Somerset

Ernest Charles CURTIS aged 43 Shopkeeper (General) born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Harriet CURTIS wife 44 born Litton, Somerset
Wilfred FLOWER wife's brother 29 born Litton, Somerset
Betty CROSSMAN assistant 27 Shop Assistant born Chilton-super-Polden, Somerset

Ernest Charles CURTIS died on 21st September 1940 and his widow Harriet died on 28th May 1946.


Margaret Bithiah CURTIS
(click image to enlarge)

Margaret Bithiah CURTIS (b. 1869) never married. She lived with her uncle Cornelius at Manor Farm and later lived at Homedene. The 1921 Chewton Mendip Poor Relief assessment shows Maggie as the owner of two cottages at Bray's Batch, one of which she was occupying, as well as Ford House, which was occupied by Dr. Alfred Edward DRURY, and agricultural land at Kingshill, Maltmead and Chewton Hill. Ford House was later occupied by Dr. Albert Robert Henry HARRISON, and he was still the tenant when Maggie sold the house to Gilbert PRIOR in 1930. Maggie subsequently lived at Tudor Cottage, which was built in the garden of Homedene in 1938. According to Phillip DUDDEN she was "very short and round with more than a passing resemblance to 'grandma' in the Giles cartoons." The 1939 Register shows Maggie living at Tudor Cottage with her occupation listed as 'unpaid domestic duties'. Maggie died on 17th April 1962 at Priory Hospital, Wells, Somerset. It is believed that she was the last member of the Chewton CURTIS family to live in the village.


Tudor Cottage, Chewton Mendip
(click image to enlarge)

Cornelius Frederick CURTIS (b. 1876) married Susan DAVIES in 1901. He worked as a painter and decorator in Gwmavon, Glamorgan, Wales.

Richard Hippisley CURTIS (1843-1905)

Richard Hippisley CURTIS was born on 26th September 1843 in Chewton Mendip, Somerset. He was the youngest son of Richard Hippisley CURTIS and Ann CURTIS. He married Emma Bacon GREGORY (nee CARDWELL) on 3rd April 1865 in St John The Baptist, Glastonbury, Somerset. Emma was the daughter of Charles and Sarah CARDWELL and was born in Wells, Somerset in about 1826. Her first husband was Frank Henry GREGORY, who she married on 12th October 1847 in Wells. Frank and Emma had three children together - Elizabeth Singer, born c. 1849 in Paulton, Somerset; Henry John, born c. 1852 in Wells, and Walter Penry, born c. 1857 in West Harptree, Somerset.

Richard and Emma had at least two children together - Henry, born c. 1866 in Wells, Somerset, and Charles Hippisley, born 13th February 1868 in St Thomas Street, Wells, Somerset. In 1871 the family was living in Wells where Richard worked as a gardener:

42 St Thomas Street, St Cuthbert Out, Wells, Somerset

Richard H. CURTIS aged 27 Gardner born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Emma B. CURTIS wife 40 Dressmaker born Wells, Somerset
Henry J. GREGORY son-in-law 18 Tailor born Wells, Somerset
Walter P. GREGORY son-in-law 14 Masons Labourer born West Harptree, Somerset
Elizabeth S. GREGORY daughter-in-law 21 Dressmaker born Paulton, Somerset
Henry CURTIS son 5 Scholar born Wells, Somerset
Charles H. CURTIS son 3 Scholar born Wells, Somerset
Ellen K. GREGORY daughter 1 born Wells, Somerset

Ellen Kate GREGORY was not the daughter of Richard CURTIS - she was in fact the illegitimate daughter of Elizabeth Singer GREGORY!

The family was still living at 42 St Thomas Street in 1881, although by this time Emma's GREGORY children had moved away from home:

42 St Thomas St, St Cuthbert Out, Wells, Somerset

Richard H. CURTIS aged 37 Domestic Gardener born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Emma CURTIS wife 49 born Wells, Somerset
Henry CURTIS son 15 Solicitors Clerk born Wells, Somerset
Charles H. CURTIS son 13 Scholar born Wells, Somerset

Richard later became the gardener at the cemetery on the Portway in Wells, as seen here in the 1891 and 1901 census:

Cemetery Lodge, Portway, St Cuthbert In, Wells, Somerset (1891)

Richard H. CURTIS aged 47 Gardener born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Emma CURTIS wife 60 born Wells, Somerset

The Cemetery, Portway, St Cuthbert In, Wells, Somerset (1901)

Richard H. CURTIS aged 57 Gardener born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Emma B. CURTIS wife 74 born Wells, Somerset
Frank CURTIS grandson 14 Gardener born Wells, Somerset

Richard Hippisley CURTIS died on 14th June 1905 at Cemetery Lodge, Wells. His widow Emma died on 27th March of the following year at 10 Portway, Wells.

Henry CURTIS (b. c. 1866) married Adelaide Emma HAYES in St Pancras, London in 1890. Adelaide was born in St Pancras in about 1865. Henry and Adelaide had at least three children together, all born in Wells - Reginald, born c. 1891; Florence, born c. 1894, and Percy, born c. 1898. This is how the family appears in the 1891, 1901 and 1911 censuses:

5 Jubilee Terrace, St Cuthbert In, Wells, Somerset (1891)

Henry CURTIS aged 25 Solicitors Clerk born Wells, Somerset
Adelaide E. CURTIS wife 26 born St Pancras, London
Harry CURTIS son under 1 month born Wells, Somerset
Caroline TUCKER visitor widow 62 Nurse born Wells, Somerset

10 Portway, Wells, Somerset (1901)

Henry CURTIS aged 35 Probate Court Clerk born Wells, Somerset
Adelaide E. CURTIS wife 36 born London
Reginald CURTIS son 9 born Wells, Somerset
Florence CURTIS daughter 6 born Wells, Somerset
Percy CURTIS son 2 born Wells, Somerset

10 Portway, Wells, Somerset (1911)

Henry CURTIS aged 45 Probate Court Clerk born Wells, Somerset
Adelaide Emma CURTIS wife 46 born Bloomsbury, London
Reginald CURTIS son 19 born Wells, Somerset
Florence CURTIS daughter 16 born Wells, Somerset
Percy CURTIS son 12 born Wells, Somerset

Charles Hippisley CURTIS (b. 1868) married Mary Jane YOUNG. She was born on 30th November 1863 in Whitnell, Wells, Somerset and was the daughter of Thomas YOUNG and Harriet GEORGE. Charles and Mary had no less than fifteen children together - Arthur Ernest, born 23rd February 1885; Frank Hippisley, born 29th October 1886 in Wells; Richard Tom, born 9th July 1888 in Pilton, Somerset; Martha, born 26th January 1890 in Westholme, Pilton; Lily, born 5th January 1892 in Shepton Mallet, Somerset; Charles, born 26th January 1894 in Wells; Edith Mary, born 30th January 1896 in Easton, Somerset; Christopher, born 20th November 1897 in Easton; Walter, born 12th May 1899 in Easton; James, born 12th July 1900 in Easton; George, born 2nd January 1902 in Easton; Frederick John, born 9th May 1903 in Easton; Leonard Cornelius, born 24th December 1904 in Easton; Elsie May, born 7th May 1906, and Annie Margaret, born 16th July 1909, died 7th September 1916. This is how the family appears in the 1891, 1901 and 1911 censuses:

9 Coombe Lane, Shepton Mallet, Somerset (1891)

Charles CURTIS aged 24 Gardener born Wells, Somerset
Mary J. CURTIS wife 27 born Wells, Somerset
Arthur E. CURTIS son 6 born Wells, Somerset
Frank H. CURTIS son 4 born Wells, Somerset
Richard T. CURTIS son 2 born Shepton Mallet, Somerset
Martha CURTIS daughter 1 born Shepton Mallet, Somerset

Shortwoods, Easton, St Cuthbert Out, Wells, Somerset (1901)

Charles H. CURTIS aged 33 Gardener born Wells, Somerset
Mary J. CURTIS wife 36 born Wells, Somerset

Tom R. CURTIS son 12 born Pilton, Somerset
Martha CURTIS daughter 11 born Pilton, Somerset
Lily CURTIS daughter 9 born Shepton Mallet, Somerset
Charles CURTIS son 7 born Wells, Somerset
Edith CURTIS daughter 5 born Easton, Somerset
Christopher CURTIS son 3 born Easton, Somerset
Walter CURTIS son 1 born Easton, Somerset
James CURTIS son 8 months born Easton, Somerset

Shortwoods Cottage, Easton, Nr Wells, Somerset (1911)

Charles Hippisley CURTIS aged 43 Gardener (Domestic) born Wells, Somerset
Mary Jane CURTIS wife 46 born Binegar, Somerset
Charles CURTIS son 17 Mill Hand born Wells, Somerset
Edith Mary CURTIS daughter 15 born Easton, Wells Somerset
Walter CURTIS son 11 Scholar born Easton,Wells, Somerset
James CURTIS son 10 Scholar born Easton, Wells, Somerset
George CURTIS son 9 born Easton, Wells, Somerset
Frederick John CURTIS son 7 born Easton, Wells, Somerset
Leonard Cornelius CURTIS son 5 born Easton, Wells, Somerset
Elsie May CURTIS daughter 4 born Easton, Wells, Somerset
Annie Margerite CURTIS daughter 1 born Easton, Wells, Somerset

Charles CURTIS died on 23rd April 1935 at 10 Alfred Street, Wells and was buried on 27th April 1935 in Wookey, Somerset. Mary Jane CURTIS (nee YOUNG) died on 23rd April 1920 at 2 Haybridge, Wells and was also buried in Wookey.

Henry CURTIS (1845-1929)

Henry CURTIS was born on 22nd August 1845 in Chewton Mendip and was the second child and eldest surviving son of Thomas CURTIS and Mary FLOWER. In 1861 Henry was working as a groom for the DAVIS family in Cotham Road, Bristol, as seen here in the census for that year:

Chandos Villa, Cotham Road, St Andrew, Bristol

Rosa Angelina DAVIS daughter 3 born Bristol
George Chandos DAVIS son 1 born Bristol
Jane Beddows MORGAN servant 25 Head Nurse born Brecon, Wales
Caroline GIBBS servant 19 born Hook, Wiltshire
Henry CURTIS servant 15 Groom born Chewton Mendip, Somerset

It appears that in the mid-1860s Henry set himself up as a wine, spirit and beer merchant. On 20th June 1867 he acquired several plots of land from the MORGAN family, most of which were adjacent to Ford House, though he also bought a plot at King's Hill in Chewton Mendip and two further plots in Litton village, one of which contained a house. Around the same time he appears to have acquired Ford House itself from his father. The house was apparently extended in the late 1860s, though it isn't known whether Thomas or Henry instigated this work. The following advertisement appeared in the Bristol Mercury on 16th May 1868: "To be let, a pleasantly-situated residence, containing entrance-hall, two sittings-rooms, five bedrooms, and very convenient offices, together with stable and other outbuildings, and from 12 to 40 acres of land, with immediate possession. Apply to Mr. Henry Curtis, Chewton Mendip". This seems to refer to just the new extension of Ford House, presumably because Henry's parents and siblings were still living in the older part of the house.

In May of the following year advertisements appeared in both the Bristol Mercury and the Bath Chronicle for the sale of various fields in Litton "in the occupation of Mr. Henry Curtis" which correspond with most of the plots Henry had purchased from the MORGANs less than two years previously. It is possible that Henry was trying to raise money to further enlarge Ford House, though it may have been that he was struggling to keep himself in business and needed the money to pay off his debts. The fields were conveyed to Robert TIMBRILL of Beckford, Gloucestershire on 16th September 1869.

Unfortunately it appears that by early 1871 Henry's business had failed. On 11th February 1871 the following story appeared in the Bristol Mercury: "Litton, Chewton Mendip, Somersetshire, in liquidation: in the matter of Henry Curtis, of Ford House, Litton, Chewton Mendip, in the county of Somerset, Wine and Spirit Merchant. Mr. E. A. Collins will sell by auction, at the Waldegrave Arms, Chewton Mendip, on Monday, the 6th March 1871, at five o'clock in the evening precisely, the following desirable freehold property, viz.:- a newly-erected dwelling-house, called Ford House, situate at Litton, Chewton Mendip, about six miles from Wells, comprising two roomy parlours, kitchen, cellarage, and the usual domestic offices, three bed and two dressing-rooms; with a small orchard, large walled garden, well stocked with choice fruit trees; stable, coach-houses, and other outbuildings; and a first-class cottage, adjoining the dwelling-house, having a communication therewith, and containing five additional rooms. The property comprises about three-quarters of an acre (more or less), and a first rate trout stream runs through a portion of the premises. By bricking up the doorway which connects the premises, the cottage may, if desired, be separated from the dwelling house." The reference to the house being "newly-erected" probably relates to the 1860s frontage of what is now Ford House Farm.

A further story appeared in the Mercury on 3rd June 1871: "The bankruptcy act, 1869. In the County Court of Gloucestershire, holden at Bristol (transferred from the County Court of Somersetshire, holden at Wells), in the matter of Henry Curtis, of Chewton Mendip, in the county of Somerset, wine, spirit and beer merchant. The creditors of the above-named Henry Curtis, who have not already proved their debts, are required, on or before the 10th day of June, 1871, to send their names and addresses, and the particulars of their debts or claims, to me, the undersigned John Cother, of No. 5, Pembroke Street, St Paul’s, Bristol, Accountant, the Trustee under the Liquidation; or in default thereof they will be excluded from the benefit of the dividend proposed to be declared. Dated this 1st day of June, 1871."

It isn't known who subsequently bought Ford House, though George SPEED was probably living there at the time of the 1881 census, and bequeathed it to his niece Martha CLAVEY when he died in 1892. George was the brother-in-law of Henry's aunt Ann SPEED (nee CURTIS).

When the 1871 census was taken in April of that year, Henry was living with his parents in Ford and was described as a "wine merchant". On 10th October 1874  Henry bought a property in the Chewton Hill area from Robert FOSTER. It isn't clear what property this was, but it was probably either the Old Methodist Chapel, which is now known as Chewton Hill Cottage, or the property immediately to the south of the former Chapel, which is now called Magdalene Cottage. However Henry didn't live in his new house for long as in the summer of 1875 he acquired the leasehold for the Antelope Hotel in Poole, Dorset. On 17th May 1876 Henry took out a mortgage on his Chewton Hill property, borrowing the money from Henry Newmen COOPER, trading as Wyld & Co., wine merchants of Bristol Bridge, Bristol, possibly to finance his business venture in Poole. 

Henry married Ellen HOSKINS on 9th June 1877 at St James, Litchurch, Derby. Ellen was born in about 1858 in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire and was the daughter of George and Ellen HOSKINS. Henry and Ellen soon returned to Poole, and the following advertisement appeared in the Bristol Mercury on 7th July 1877: "Antelope Hotel, Poole - Wanted, Under Barmaid, Kitchenmaid, Waitress and Chambermaid - Apply Mr. Henry Curtis."

Henry was a freemason and on 18th October 1876 he became a member of Amity Lodge in Poole. In 1880 Henry hosted two masonic dinners at the Antelope Hotel, the first of which took place following the meeting of the Provincial Grand Chapter at the Masonic Hall in Poole on the 26th June and which was described by The Freemason on 10th July 1880 as an "excellent banquet at the Antelope Hotel, provided by Bro. Curtis." The second dinner followed the meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge on 1st July to celebrate its centenary and was also described in The Freemason on 10th July 1880: "A Masonic dinner took place at the Antelope Hotel in the afternoon… There were about 100 members present, and a very pleasant and agreeable evening was passed… The repast was served in very superior style by Mr. Henry Curtis, who, as caterer on these occasions, invariably affords the highest satisfaction." 

Henry and Ellen's first two children were both born in High Street, Poole, presumably in the Antelope Inn itself. They were Helen Mary, born 31st May 1878, and Dorothea, born 25th April 1881. This is how the family appears in the 1881 census:

High Street, St James, Poole, Dorset

Henry CURTIS aged 36 Hotel Keeper born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Ellen CURTIS wife 22 born Burton On Trent, Stafford
Elizabeth BENDALL barmaid 24 born Gussage All Saints, Dorset
Maryann COOMBS domestic servant widow 59 Cook born Poole, Dorset
Able Ann HAYTEN domestic servant 20 Housemaid born Fordingbridge, Hampshire
James Eaneas BURGE domestic servant 19 Boots born Bishop Watham, Hampshire

The following advertisements appeared in the Western Gazette on 13th May 1881: "Chambermaid and Waitress wanted. Good character. – Mrs Curtis, Antelope Hotel, Poole. Nurse wanted, a young country girl. Used to children. – Apply to Mrs. Curtis, Antelope Hotel, Poole. Pleasure Boat. - For sale or hire, a capital fast-sailing, half-deck pleasure boat, copper fastened, lead keel and ballast, and well found. - Apply to Mr. Henry Curtis, Antelope Hotel, Poole." The nurse was presumably wanted to help look after Dorothea, who would only have been a few weeks old at the time. Henry ran the Antelope for around seven years, but in late 1881 he moved to Wareham, Dorset where he ran the Black Bear Hotel. The following advertisement appeared in the Western Gazette on 23rd December 1881: "Bear Hotel, Wareham. Barmaid wanted, trustworthy and industrious. Also Boots; one who can mark billiards, and drive occasionally preferred. – Apply to Mr. Henry Curtis."


Header for Memorandum from Henry CURTIS to
Frank CURTIS dated 28th June 1883

The following advertisement appeared in the Western Gazette on 7th July 1882: "Swanage. - To Be Let, furnished, for the season, with option to purchase, an eight-room Freehold House, commanding splendid marine and inland scenery. - Apply to Mr. Henry Curtis, Wareham." This presumably relates to the "freehold land at Swanage" mentioned in later correspondence between Henry and his brother Frank.

Henry became a member of the Lodge of Unity in Wareham on 24th October 1882. On 28th June 1883 Henry sent the following memorandum to his brother Frank: "From Henry Curtis, Black Bear Hotel, Wareham. Received of Mr Frank Curtis the sum of ten pounds. Being a deposit on the purchase of a piece of freehold land at Swanage." Henry appears in the 1883 jury list for Wareham, but it seems that later that year he became bankrupt for a second time, as reported in the Western Gazette on 2nd November 1883: "Liquidations by arrangement. - Henry Curtis, of East Street, Wareham, Dorset, hotel keeper." Henry's membership of the Lodge of Unity ceased in 1883, presumably as a result of his bankruptcy as lodge members were required to pay an annual subscription. However Henry remained a member of Amity Lodge in Poole until 1st March 1886.

In December 1883 Henry sent the following letter to Frank: "West Street, Wareham. Dear Frank, I should have written before but have been wanting to sell the other piece of land first, it will not be decided for a day or two. I see you have paid altogether on your plot £12-13-0. I give you receipt as enclosed for £15. You can send me £2-7-0 balance later on. You will then take up the £35 from the Society. I will write you further in a few days. I should like to run up to see you and may possibly do so shortly. We shall be very glad to see you here at Xmas if you can come. You know I suppose I am now out of business & looking out for something. I think I have something suitable at Bristol if I can get it. I should like a Daily Press if you will kindly send one I shall be glad. Mrs. C., May & Dollie join in me sending love & in haste I remain. Your affectionate brother, Henry Curtis."

Henry did indeed move to Bristol and on 3rd September 1884 he sent another receipt to his brother Frank, this time for five pounds, "on account of plot of land at Swanage". On 11th September 1884 the Bristol Mercury reported that the license of the Royal Fort Tavern on St Michael's Hill, Bristol had been transferred from George OBORNE to Henry CURTIS. The Royal Fort Tavern was at 17 St Michael's Hill, though when the road was renumbered it became no. 55. This building and the adjoining no. 57 were sadly both demolished in the 1950s. On 6th March 1885 Henry sent a third receipt to Frank "on account of plot of freehold land at Swanage", this time for a further ten pounds.

Henry ran the Royal Fort for less than six months, and on 12th March 1885 the Western Daily Press reported that the license had been transferred from Henry to Thomas Alexander WOOD. Henry and Ellen's third child, Bertha Louise, was born on 20th March 1885 at 54 Queen Square, Bristol. On 15th October 1886 Henry sent another note to his brother: "Dear Frank. I find I owe you 16 months interest on the £20 from June 15 1885 to October 15 1886 which amounts to £1-6-8, also cash income 10-6, [total] £1-17-2."Unfortunately the rest of the note is missing, but Henry's address is shown as 42 Prince Street, Queen Square. This was once the Assembly Rooms Tavern, but it appears that it had ceased to operate as a public house in around 1884 and was later run as a coffee tavern and dining rooms. While it is possible that Henry briefly ran a business from here, there is no evidence for this and it seems more likely that he was merely lodging at this address at the time.

The 1886 note presumably relates to the freehold property at Swanage which Frank had been investing in, but no more receipts have been found and it is not known what subsequently became of this land.

On 6th April 1887 the Mercury reported on a hearing at the police court in which Henry applied for a licence to sell beer, wine and spirits at St John's Porter House, St John's Bridge. The article revealed that in addition to running the Antelope and Royal Fort Tavern, Henry had also applied for managership of the Clifton Down Hotel. He further supported his bid by saying that he "stood very high as a Freemason, and as their worships new, Freemasons were always very good men". Unfortunately this last remark appears to have been met by laughter from the court, and in the end his application was unsuccessful. The Mercury of 11th October 1888 reported that a Henry CURTIS had been granted the license of the Freemasons' Arms in Avon Street, St Philips, though we cannot be certain that this is our Henry. On 11th July 1889 the Western Daily Press reported that the license has been transferred to William COX. Also, on 4th December 1890 the Mercury reported that the license of the Garibaldi in Dale Street, St Paul has been transferred from Henry CURTIS to G. CRINKS, though again we cannot be certain that this was our Henry. By 1891 the family were once again living in Poole, as seen here in the census for that year:

22 Commercial Road, St Peter, Parkstone, Poole, Dorset

William HABGOOD aged 56 Carpenter & Joiner born Wimbourne, Dorset
Rose A. HABGOOD wife 57 born Kinson, Dorset
Henry CURTIS boarder aged 45 Retired Hotel Keeper born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Ellen CURTIS boarder 32 born Burton on Trent, Staffordshire
Helen M. CURTIS boarder 12 Scholar born Poole, Dorset
Dorothy CURTIS boarder 9 Scholar born Poole, Dorset
Bertha L. CURTIS boarder 6 born Bristol, Gloucestershire

Having twice become bankrupt it is difficult to understand how Henry could have retired by the age of 45, though perhaps the transactions relating to the land at Swanage hold the answer in that he may have made a considerable sum of money through property dealings. By 1901 the family had moved to Bournemouth, Hampshire, as seen here in the census for that year:

6 York Road, St James, Pokesdown, Bournemouth, Hampshire

Henry CURTIS aged 55 Retired Hotel Keeper born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Ellen CURTIS wife 42 born Burton On Trent, Staffordshire
Dorothy CURTIS daughter 19 Assistant School Teacher born Poole, Dorset
Bertha L. CURTIS daughter 16 Monitress born Bristol

Ellen CURTIS (nee HOSKINS) died in about 1910. By 1911 Henry had moved to Farnham, Surrey, as shown here in the census for that year:

Ormonde Villa, Winton Road, Park Road, Farnham, Surrey

Henry CURTIS widower aged 65 Retired Hotel Proprietor born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Helen Mary CURTIS daughter 32 Teacher at Elementary School born Poole, Dorset

Family legend suggests that Henry CURTIS was also a taxidermist and that he spent some time in Africa as a big game hunter! He died on 8th January 1929 at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford, Surrey.

All three of Henry's daughters became teachers. Helen Mary CURTIS (b. 1878) was working as an elementary school teacher in Farnham in 1911 (see above census entry). She married Frank William GOHERY in 1917. Frank was born in Aldershot, Hampshire on 7th August 1888 and was the son of Martin and Elizabeth GOHERY. Helen and Frank had no children together. An envelope has been found addressed to Helen's uncle Frank CURTIS at 46 Martin Street, St Paul, Bristol, postmarked Farnham, Surrey, 2nd September 1931, with the name "Mrs. Gohery" written on the back. Sadly the letter it once contained has not been found.

The 1939 Register shows Frank and Helen living at Elbury, Wrecclesham Hill, Farnham, Surrey with Frank's occupation listed as 'market gardener' and Helen's as 'certificated teacher'. Frank GOHERY died in Surrey on 7th September 1942, and his widow Helen passed away on 5th May 1960 at 44 Hale Road, Farnham, Surrey, having outlived both her younger sisters.

Dorothea CURTIS (b. 1881) was working at the Royal Deaf & Dumb Institution in Derby in 1911:

The Royal Deaf & Dumb Institution, Friar Gate, Derby

Dorothy CURTIS aged 29 Teacher born Poole, Dorset

The 1939 Register shows Dorothea living in West End House in Blagdon, Somerset, which was a boarding house run by Ellen CHRISTEN, with her occupation listed as 'specialist deaf instruction (retired)'.  Dorothea died unmarried on 13th August 1956 at Clevedon Hospital, Somerset.

Bertha Louise CURTIS (b. 1885) was living with the CLUER family in Boscombe, Dorset in 1911:

92 Gladstone Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth, Dorset

Robert CLUER aged 40 Grocer born Woolwich, Kent
Ellen CLUER wife 42 born Whitestaunton, Somerset
Stella CLUER daughter 13 Scholar born Aldershot, Hampshire
Desmond CLUER son 4 Scholar born Aldershot, Hampshire
Bertha CURTIS boader 26 Municipal School Teacher born Bristol, Somerset

The 1939 Register shows Bertha living at 12 Charminster Avenue, Bournemouth with her occupation listed as 'assistant school teacher'. Bertha also never married and died on 22nd June 1945 at 12 Charminster Avenue.

William Frederick CURTIS (1854-1939)


William Frederick CURTIS
(click image to enlarge)

William Frederick CURTIS was born on 20th July 1854 in Chewton Mendip and was the seventh child and fifth son of Thomas CURTIS and Mary FLOWER. In 1871 he was living with the DENMAN family in Lyncombe and Widcombe near Bath, Somerset, as seen here in the census for that year:

Springfield Villa, Lyncombe & Widcombe, Somerset

John DENMAN widower aged 39 Baker born Bath, Somerset
Elizabeth FLOWER housekeeper widower 72 Housekeeper born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Charles DENMAN son 17 Baker born Bath, Somerset
John DENMAN son 15 Son of Baker born Bath, Somerset
Emily DENMAN daughter 14 Scholar born Bath, Somerset
Clara DENMAN daughter 6 Scholar born Bath, Somerset
Alice DENMAN daughter 4 Scholar born Bath, Somerset
Ernest DENMAN son 2 born Bath, Somerset
Augusta FLOWER servant 14 General Servant born Timsbury, Somerset
Frederick CURTIS servant 16 General Servant born Chewton, Somerset
Mary BISHOP servant 16 General Servant born Camerton, Somerset

William married twice. His first wife was Emily Jane DENMAN, whom he married on 7th January 1879 in the Congregational Chapel, Clevedon, Somerset. Emily was born in Bath in about 1857 and was the daughter of John DENMAN, a baker, and Jane CROMWELL. She is shown above living with her family in Lyncombe and Widcombe. William and Emily had at least two children together, both born at 7 Old Market Street, Bristol - Ethel Louise, born 31st October 1879, and Gwendoline, born 1st August 1881. Sadly Gwendoline died on 21st January 1882 aged just five months. In 1881, William and Emily were still living in Old Market, where William was working as a baker:

7 Old Market, St Philip & Jacob In, Bristol, Gloucester

William F. CURTIS aged 26 Baker born Chewton, Somerset
Emilie CURTIS wife 24 born Bath, Somerset
Ethel L. CURTIS daughter 12 months born St Philips, Bristol
Sidney P. PRING boarder 14 born St Philips, Bristol


Emily Jane CURTIS (nee DENMAN)
(click image to enlarge)

William and Emily moved to 20 Redcliff Hill, St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol in about 1883, which became 92 Redcliff Hill in 1888. Emily CURTIS died of phthsis on 30th September 1889 at 92 Redcliff Hill. In 1891 William and his daughter were living in Redcliff Hill, as seen here in the census for that year:

20 Redcliff Hill, St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol

William F. CURTIS widower aged 36 Baker born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Ethel L. CURTIS daughter 11 Scholar born Bristol


92 Redcliff Hill
(click image to enlarge)

William subsequently married Georgina Hannah THOMAS on 20th June 1892 in St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol. She was born in Kennington, London on 30th May 1865 and was the daughter of George THOMAS and Ann DURLING. Several advertisements for William's business appeared in the Western Daily Press from August to October 1892, such as this one printed on 6th October: "Guaranteed. - Dr. Allinson's Pure Wholemeal Bread; also best quality White Bread. - W. F. Curtis, 92, Redcliff Hill."

William and Georgina had six children together. The two eldest were both born at 92 Redcliff Hill - Frederick Cyril Selden, born 31st March 1893, and John Oscar Thomas, born 6th May 1894. However the family then moved to the London area and it was here that the four other children were born - William Harold Hayden, born 11th June 1896 at 48 Bexley Road, Belvedere, Kent; Dudley Lamrock, born 30th May 1903 at 118 Graham Gardens, Hanwell, Middlesex; Mary Edith Amelia, born 26th November 1904 at 27 Steerforth Street, Springfield, Wandsworth, London, and Dorothy Evelyn, born 10th December 1913 at 103 Strathville Road, Southfields, Wandsworth, London. In 1901 the family was living in Henry Street, Portland Town, which has since been remaned Allitsen Road:

80 Henry Street, Portland Town, St Marylebone, London

William F. CURTIS aged 48 Baker & Confectioner born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Georgina H. CURTIS wife 36 Baker & Confectioner born Kennington, London
Cyril F. CURTIS son 7 born Bristol, Somerset
John O. CURTIS son 6 born Bristol, Somerset
William H. H. CURTIS son 4 born Belvedere, Kent
Mr. NORTH visitor 30 Baker born Not Known

By 1911 the family had moved to Wandsworth:

103 Strathville Road, Southfields, Wandsworth, London

Frederick CURTIS aged 56 Journeyman Baker born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Georgina CURTIS wife 45 born Shepherd's Bush, London
Cyril CURTIS son 18 Cook's Assistant in Hotel born Redcliff Hill, Bristol
John CURTIS son 16 Apprentice to Printer born Redcliff Hill, Bristol
Harold CURTIS son 15 Milk Boy born Bexley Road, Belvedere, Kent
Dudley CURTIS son 7 Scholar born Graham Gardens, Hanwell, Middlesex
Mary CURTIS daughter 5 Scholar born Steerforth Street, Earlsfield, London

Tragically, William and Georgina lost two of their sons as a result of World War One. John Oscar Thomas CURTIS (b. 1894) joined the King's Royal Rifle Corps, having previously been an apprentice at the printing company Spottiswoode & Co of 5 New Street Square, London. He was posted to the 7th Battalion on 9th September 1914 but on 21st September he transferred to 'C' Company of the 10th (Service) Battalion which formed part of the 59th Brigade, 20th (Light) Division. John was reported missing in May 1918 and it was initially thought that he had been taken prisoner by the Germans. However the Red Cross were unable to find any trace of him, and it was subsequently decided that he had in fact been killed several months previously during the Third Battle of Ypres.

John's service record gives 10th August 1917 as the date of his death, however this was probably a clerical error as the war diary for the 10th Battalion shows no fatalities for that day. It is more likely that he, and around forty other soldiers serving in the same battalion who were also recorded as having died on 10th August, actually perished the following day in an attempt to cross the Steenbeek River near Langemark in Belgium. The 20th Division had been trying without success to establish a footing on the eastern bank of the river, and in the evening of 10th August John and his comrades moved up to relieve the 11th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade with the aim of crossing the Steenbeek the following day. The war diary describes the events of 11th August:

"Zero hour at 4.15. About 3/4 of an hour before Zero, 2nd Lt. Langley came back and exported that 'A' Coy, which was on the right, had been caught by the Boche while assembling and were dis-organised by machine gun fire. Every effort was made to re-organise the platoons, but when our own barrage came down, only one platoon was able to get forward under Capt. Jones, the other platoons being cut off from their objective by the enermy barrage which was put down about 3 minutes after our own opened. A message was received from Capt. Jones by pigeon later in the day, stating that he and six men were in a dug-out on the Eastern bank of the Steenbeek surrounded by the enemy. This is the last we heard of him. Patrols were pushed out the next night to look for him, but were unable to find him. From information obtained from prisoners it is believed he is a prisoner of war.

"On the left 'C' Coy under Capt. Tate [in which John served] started off and succeeded in crossing the Steenbeek, pushing on to their objective where they started to dig in, since when no trace has been found of them. Wounded men who returned from the left state that the Coy took their objective leaving in rear of them several conctere 'pill boxes' to be dealt with by the moppers up. The moppers up apparently failed and 'C' Coy were probably taken in rear. Prisoners report that 4 officers and 41 other ranks were taken prisoner after that attack. 2nd Lt. Lovatt was last seen apparently wounded on the Eastern side of the Steenbeek with about 12 men digging in. Of Capt. Tate and 2nd Lt. Haycroft no trace has been found. Our casulaties in this attack were eight other ranks killed, one officer and 32 other ranks wounded, four officers and 85 other ranks missing. The night of the 11th was spent in pushing out patrols to try and clean up the situation but this was met with little success."

It seems likely that John was one of the men from 'C' Company thought to have been taken prisoner by the Germans, but who had in fact been killed.


Steenbeek River in World War One
(click image to enlarge)

William Harold CURTIS (b. 1896) also joined the King's Royal Rifle Corps. He was initially posted to the 14th (Reserve) Battalion on 30th April 1915 but in September 1915 he transferred to the 10th Battalion in which his older brother had already been serving for about a year. After suffering from trench foot and twice being wounded in 1916, he was admitted to hospital on 25th December 1916 with his condition described as "melancholic, dull, depressed, reticent and suspicious; irrational in behaviour". On 4th January 1917 he was admitted to the Lord Derby War Hospital in Warrington, Lancashire where it was noted that he "hears two voices belonging to God and the Devil [and has] visions of angels". He was diagnosed with 'dementia praecox', a condition that would eventually be relabeled as schizophrenia, and discharged on 12th February 1918. His medical report stated that his condition was caused by the stress of his service during the war. William died on 5th April 1919 at Claybury Mental Hospital, Woodford Bridge, Essex having been admitted there from the Lord Derby War Hospital. The cause of death was recorded as pulmonary tuberculosis.

The 1939 Register shows William as a patient at St. Bernard's Hospital, Southall, formerly Hanwell Mental Hospital. Georgina was living at 17 Shepherd's Bush Place, Hammersmith with her daughters Mary and Dorothy. William Frederick CURTIS died on 21st December 1939 in St Bernard's Hospital, Norwood, Middlesex, formerly the Middlesex County Asylum. His widow Georgina died on 22nd July 1947 in The Hospital, Ducane Road, Hammersmith, London. 

Ethel Louise CURTIS (b. 1879) was living with her grandparents in Bath in 1901:

42 Southgate Street, St James, Bath, Somerset

John DENMAN widower aged 69 Baker & Corn Dealer born Bath
John DENMAN son 45 Ironmonger's Assistant born born Bath
Louisa DENMAN daughter 41 born Bath
Ethel CURTIS granddaughter 21 Baker's Assistant born Redcliffe Hill, Bristol
Elizabeth HALES servant 42 General Servant (Domestic) born Bath

Ethel married Frank William GODWIN on 1st December 1907 in St James, Bath. Frank was born in about 1882 and was the son of Albert GODWIN and Hester MAGGS. In 1911 Ethel was living with her parents-in-law in Bath:

1 Norfolk Crescent, Bath, Somerset

Albert GODWIN aged 58 Chair & Sofa Maker born St George, Bristol
Hester GODWIN wife 57 born Paulton, Somerset
Jessie GODWIN daughter 19 Draper’s Clerk born Walcot, Bath
Reginald GODWIN son 15 Draper’s Apprentice born Walcot, Bath
Ethel GODWIN daughter-in-law 31 born New Market Street, Bristol

Ethel and Frank had at least three children together, all born in Bath - Harold Frank, born 8th July 1915; Edith Louise, born 24th February 1919, and Arthur Dennis, born 8th July 1921. Frank William GODWIN died on 3rd September 1938 at the Forbes Fraser Hospital in Bath and his widow Ethel died on 23rd January of the following year at the Metropolitan Hospital, Kingsland Road, London.


Ethel Louise CURTIS
(click image to enlarge)

Frederick Cyril Selden CURTIS (b. 1893) married Lucy Kathleen HALDANE  in 1922. Lucy was born in Fulham, London on 25th February 1900 and was the daughter of James and Hannah HALDANE. Frederick worked as a baker's pastry cook and died on 13th August 1958 at 134 Trinity Road, Southall, London. His widow Lucy died in 1995. Dudley Lamrock CURTIS (b. 1903) never married. The 1939 Register shows him living at 7 Woodfield Road, Paddington with his occupation listed as 'general labourer'. He died in 1978. Mary Edith Amelia CURTIS (b. 1904) also never married. The 1939 Register shows her occupation as 'general office clerk'. She died on 4th May 1945 and was buried in Hammersmith Cemetery.

Frank CURTIS (1864-1939)

Frank CURTIS was born on 21st March 1864, the youngest child of Thomas CURTIS and Mary FLOWER. His birth certificate shows his birthplace as Litton, but it is likely that he was in fact born in the hamlet of Ford which spans the boundary between the parishes of Chewton and Litton. In 1862 Frank's family was living in what is now Ford Cottage on the Litton side of the parish boundary, and it is probable that he was born there.Frank enrolled at Chewton Mendip School in February 1869 and attended for about six years, leaving in early 1875. He subsequently moved to Bristol where in 1881 he was working and living at the Refreshment Rooms at Temple Meads Station:

Refreshment Rooms, New Terminus, Temple, Bristol, Gloucester

Frank CURTIS aged 17 Waiter born Chewton, Somerset


Frank CURTIS
(click image to enlarge)

Frank was a member of the Ancient Order of Foresters, a friendly society which still exists today. It isn't known when he joined the Foresters, but in a letter sent to Frank dated December 1883 his brother Henry mentions "the Society", which could be a reference to the Foresters. Also, in a note dated December 1888 Frank himself appears to mention the Foresters, though the writing isn't very clear. It's possible that Frank joined the Foresters before leaving Chewton Mendip, as a branch of the Society once existed in the village. Frank's brother Charles was a member of the Foresters branch in Carbondale, Pennsylvania and may have been a member of the Society prior to emigrating, and it seems likely that Henry was also a member.

The Chewton Mendip electoral registers shows that Frank CURTIS owned some freehold land at King's Hill. He is first listed in the register for 1890, suggesting that he acquired the land around this time. On 21st May 1889 the Western Daily Press advertised an auction to be held that day at the King's Arms in Litton and amongst the lots being sold was one consisting of "three piece of pasture and arable land, situate in the parishes of Litton and Chewton Mendip, known as King's Hill, Park Batches and The Four Acres." It is possible that this was when Frank acquired the land at King's Hill, though the proximity of the dates could just be coincidental. Frank appeared in the Chewton Mendip electoral registers for the last time in 1915, however a Poor Relief assessment dated 15th October 1921 shows him as the owner of just over two acres of argicultural land at King's Hill occupied by Walter CORNELIUS. It is not yet known what became of Frank's land at King's Hill after 1921.

Frank married Elizabeth MATTHEWS of 62 Cotham Road, Kingsdown on 1st January 1891 in Temple Parish Church, Bristol. She was born on 3rd June 1863 in Christian Malford, Wiltshire and was the daughter of Alfred William MATTHEWS and Mary HEAD. By April 1891 Frank and Elizabeth were living at 50 Windsor Terrace, Bedminster, Bristol, with Frank's brother and sister-in-law, George and Caroline CURTIS, as seen here in the 1891 census:

50 Windsor Terrace, Holy Trinity, Bedminster, Bristol

George J. CURTIS aged 35 Driver of Tram Car born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Caroline A. CURTIS wife 30 born London, Middlesex
Frank CURTIS aged 27 Waiter born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Elizabeth CURTIS wife 27 born Foxham, Wiltshire

In July 1891 Frank and Elizabeth moved to 97 Clarence Road, Bedminster, Bristol, and it was here that their eldest child Amy Gwendoline was born on 29th January 1892. They had two more children together - Alfred, born 20th June 1895, and Alexandra Elizabeth, born 13th July 1902.


Frank and Elizabeth CURTIS
(click image to enlarge)

Frank and Elizabeth CURTIS lived in Clarence Road, Bedminster until about 1894, then moved to a house called "Foxham" in Lilymead Avenue, Bedminster. On 21st February 1900 the Bristol Mercury reported that the license of The Pilgrim at 22 Orange Street, St Paul had been transferred from Albert BLANNING to Frank CURTIS. This is where the family was living in 1901, as seen here in the census for that year:

22 Orange Street, St Clements, Bristol

Frank CURTIS aged 37 Licensed Victualler born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Elizabeth CURTIS wife 37 born Foxham, Wiltshire
Amy G. CURTIS daughter 9 born Bristol
Alfred CURTIS son 5 born Bristol


The Pilgrim
(click image to enlarge)

Documents held at Bristol Records Office indicate that Frank obtained a seven-day license for The Pilgrim in 1904. Frank was still running The Pilgrim in early 1911, but on 6th March of that year the seven-day license and the spirit license were transferred to the Waverley in Lawrence Hill. The Pilgrim is not listed in subsequent street directories, and it seems likely that Frank was the pub's last landlord. By the time the 1911 census was taken, Frank and family were living at 34 Wilson Street, St Paul, as seen here:

34 Wilson Street, St Paul, Bristol

Frank CURTIS aged 47 Casual Waiter born Chewton Mendip, Somerset
Elizabeth CURTIS wife 47 born Foxham, Wiltshire
Alexandra Elizabeth CURTIS daughter 8 born Bristol
Mary PONTING widow mother-in-law 75 born Lowbridge, Wiltshire.

Three years later Frank and Elizabeth were living at 46 Martin Street, St Paul, which would be his home for the rest of his life. It seems that by this time Frank was quite a wealthy man, and owned a number of stocks and shares. But when his wife Elizabeth died on 11th July 1924 at 46 Martin Street, it is claimed that Frank drowned his sorrows in alcohol, and when he died on 12th February 1939 at 46 Martin Street he had relatively little wealth and few possessions left for his children to inherit. Frank CURTIS was interred at Greenbank Cemetery, Bristol.


Gwennie CURTIS Gallery
(click image to view)

Amy Gwendoline "Gwennie" CURTIS (b. 1892) attended the Bristol School of Cookery at 3 Great George Street in the early 1900s. In 1911 she was living as a servant with William and Mary MILNE in Clifton, Bristol, as seen here in the census for that year:

12 Downfield Road, Clifton, Bristol

William Proctor MILNE aged 29 Mathematical Master born Longside, Aberdeenshire
Mary Deas MILNE wife born Echt, Aberdeenshire
Amy Gwendoline CURTIS servant 19 Maid Servant born Bedminster, Bristol

Gwennie married William MATTHEWS on 23rd June 1915 in St Paul, Bristol. William was born on 5th July 1888 in Brinkworth, Wiltshire and was the youngest son of Richard MATTHEWS and Emma WEBB. William and Gwennie had five children together - Alfred William Hippesley, born 15th July 1916 in Purton, Wiltshire; Elizabeth Eleanor Mary, born 21st October 1917 in Stapleton, Bristol; Eleanor Elizabeth, born 13th February 1920; Mary Olive, born 3rd February 1922 at 46 Martin Street, St Paul, Bristol, and George Albert, born 11th April 1928 in Bristol. For more information on the children of William and Gwennie MATTHEWS, please see my MATTHEWS & WEBB Families of Brinkworth and Bristol, England page.

William MATTHEWS died on 23rd January 1957 in Ham Green Hospital. Gwennie MATTHEWS (nee CURTIS) died on 11th March 1959 at 46 Martin Street, St Paul.


Alfred CURTIS Gallery
(click image to view)

Alfred CURTIS (b. 1895) followed in his father's footsteps and worked as a waiter at the Railway Refreshment Rooms. When the First World War broke out he joined the 12th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment, leaving behind his fiancée. The 12th Battalion was known as 'Bristol's Own' as it was formed by the Bristol Citizens Recruiting Committee in 1914. Alfred served in the 9th Platoon of 'C' Company. He was posted abroad for the first time on 21st November 1915 and was reported as having been wounded in the Western Daily Press on 2nd June 1916, 6th October 1916 and 15th January 1917.

In the spring of 1917 the 12th Battalion fought in the Battle of Arras, a major British offensive in which troops from across the Empire attacked German trenches near the French city of Arras. On 6th May Alfred and his comrades were occupying trenches east of Fresnoy in French Flanders. The battalion's war diary for that day states: "enemy's shelling although quieter was still continuous. Enemy aeroplanes were very busy, two machines evidently photographing and reconnoitring our lines while a squadron of fourteen remained high up guarding them. Enemy put down a heavy barrage at 6pm and Captain Jeune was wounded dangerously. One German N.C.O. was captured by D. Co. this morning. Two other ranks killed, 25 other ranks wounded." It appears that Alfred CURTIS was one of the two 'other ranks' killed on that day, aged just 22. Frank and Elizabeth had lost their only son. The St Paul's Parish Magazine of January 1918 noted that the church funds had received a donation of 15 shillings and 6 pence from Mrs. CURTIS in memory of her son.


Alexandra Elizabeth CURTIS Gallery
(click image to view)

Alexandra Elizabeth CURTIS (b. 1902), known as "Auntie Queen" because she was named after two Queens, married Albert Arthur MAPSTONE on 12th July 1922 in St Barnabas Parish Church, Bristol. Albert was born on 17th March 1901 in Bristol and was the son of Arthur John MAPSTONE and Mary Annie DAVIES. He was living in Grosvenor Road, Bristol at the time of his marriage and worked as a French polisher. Alexandra and Albert had three children together, all born in Bristol - Joan, born 1923; Edward, born 1930, and Robert, born 1940. The 1939 Register shows Albert and Alexandra living at 10 Gratitude Road, Easton, Bristol with Albert's occupation listed as 'credit draper's collector and motor driver'. Albert died in Bristol in 1978 and Alexandra passed away in 1993.

Annie Frances Clayhills CURTIS (1873-1962)

Annie Frances Clayhills CURTIS was affectionately known as "Auntie Annie". She was born on 24th July 1873 at 3 Carlton Street, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, and seems to have been the daughter of Elizabeth Annie CURTIS (b. 1849) and an unknown father. It would appear that Annie was "adopted" by her grandparents, as in 1881 she was living with Thomas CURTIS and his wife Mary at The Folly in Chewton Mendip (see above census extract). Annie attended a private school at Chewton Cottage in Lower Street run by Emily Amelia BARFF, whose sister-in-law Martha HABGOOD (nee SALVIDGE) was Annie's second cousin, once removed. Annie's son Fred would later work for Martha's son Ernest at Chewton Cottage, which by then had become Veal Farm.

Annie married Thomas SPEED, a farmer of Ashwick, Somerset, on 12th November 1901 in Chewton Mendip Parish Church. On the marriage certificate Annie's "father" is shown as Thomas CURTIS, suggesting that she had come to regard him as her father. Tom SPEED was born on 22nd July 1872 in Emborough, Somerset and was the son of Francis SPEED and Sarah Jane CLAVEY. Tom and Annie had four children together - Thomas Edward, born c. 1902; Donald, born c. 1906; Ivor Francis, born 11th May 1909, and Nathaniel Fred, born 3rd April 1913. In 1911 Annie was living with the RUSSELL family in Binegar (Tom's whereabouts at the time is not known):

Shores Hill, Gurney Slade, Somerset

George RUSSELL aged 27 Haulier born Wells, Somerset
Rose RUSSELL wife 22 born Emborough, Somerset
William RUSSELL son 1 born Wells, Somerset
Henry DIMENT boarder 48 Farmer born Exeter, Devon
Anny SPEED boarder 38 Dressmaker born Weston-super-Mare, Somerset
Edward SPEED boarder 8 birthplace not shown
Donald SPEED boarder 4
birthplace not shown
Ivor SPEED boarder 1 birthplace not shown

Tom had briefly served in the 4th (Militia) Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry in the late 1880s, and at the outbreak of World War One he attempted to join the regiment's Special Reserve battalion. He signed up in Taunton on 16th September 1914 at the age of 42. However just two months later on 20th November he was discharged on the grounds that he was "not likely to become an efficient soldier". His medical record states that he suffered from synovitis in his right knee, had flat feet, bunions and a deformed toe, and was therefore unable to march.

However, as the war dragged on and the casualties mounted, so the required standard of medical fitness was lowered, and on 11th May 1915 Tom re-enlisted. He appears to have served in the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and later transferred to the Southern Command Labour Corps, however the exact details are unclear as it appears that his service record was one of those destroyed when a German bomb struck the War Office in 1940. It therefore also isn't known for certain what overseas action Tom saw, however his family believe that he spent some time recuperating from injuries in a hospital in Mesopotamia, and the 1st Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry did serve in Mesopotamia. 

Tom was discharged due to sickness on the 14th September 1917 and received a Silver War Badge, which was awarded to men who had been discharged because of wounds or illness. Tom appears in a photo captioned "The returned heroes of Chewton Mendip" (see below). 

The Returned Heroes of Chewton Mendip
The Returned Heroes of Chewton Mendip
(click image to enlarge)

The 1915 Chewton Mendip electoral register shows Thomas SPEED living at Red Hill, but in the 1918 register Tom and Annie were living at the "Poor House". This was on Lower Street at the junction with King's Hill Lane and was also known as King's Hill Cottages. The Poor House was probably the equivalent of a modern council house and the people who lived there were not necessarily paupers. Tom and Annie later moved to Bray's Batch. Their house was located between 4 Bray's Batch and Stanley Cottage, but was sadly demolished shortly after Annie's death as the owners could not get permission to install modern services. The 1939 Register shows Tom and Annie living at Bray's Batch with Tom's occupation listed as 'general farm work (retired)'.

Local people remember how Annie would sit next to a fireplace that dominated the front room doing her needlework. She used to do sewing and mending for other people and had a sewing machine in front of a window that gave her a plenty of light and a good view of the village. Thomas SPEED died in 1951 and Annie passed away in 1962. They were both buried in the churchyard at Chewton Mendip.


Annie CURTIS Gallery
(click image to view)

Thomas Edward SPEED (b. 1902) moved to Wales where he married Hilda Bessie COOK in 1922. Hilda was born in Cardiff on 2nd January 1907. The 1939 Register shows Thomas and Hilda living at 219 Lansdowne Road, Cardiff with Thomas' occupation listed as 'milk roundsman'. Thomas died in 1977 and Hilda died in 1985. Donald SPEED (b. 1906) immigrated to Canada, departing from Southampton on 18th June 1927 aboard the Alaunia bound for Montreal, Quebec. He died on 16th October 2000. Ivor Francis SPEED (b. 1909) married Alice Catherine Thirza HARRIS in 1933. Alice was born on 20th June 1914 in Midsomer Norton, Somerset and was the daughter of Harry and Kate Louisa HARRIS. The 1939 Register shows Ivor and Alice living in Bayford near Wincanton with Ivor's occupation listed as 'butcher's roundsman'. Ivor died in 1990 and his wife Hilda passed away in 1997.

Nathaniel Fred SPEED (b. 1913) married Elizabeth BAINBRIDGE in 1940. Bessie was born in Washington, County Durham in July 1920 and came to Chewton Mendip in around 1936 to work as a housemaid for Geoffrey Noel WALDEGRAVE, the 12th Earl, at Chewton Priory. At the outbreak of World War Two the WALDEGRAVEs sought safety in Canada, and Bessie went to work for a family in Chew Magna before becoming a housemaid for Lady Mary STRACHEY at Navestock in Chewton Mendip. Lady Mary was the wife of the Hon. Major Thomas Anthony Edward Towneley STRACHEY, son and heir of the 3rd Lord O'Hagan, and in 1944 was appointed Lady-in-Waiting to Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth II. After the war the WALDEGRAVEs returned to Chewton Mendip and Bessie resumed working for them, initially only part-time as she was also raising a family at the time. However when her children were older she began working full-time as both cook and housekeeper at Chewton House, the dilapidated Priory having been pulled down in 1953. Bessie continued to work for the WALDEGRAVE family until the death of Lady WALDEGRAVE in 1995.

The 12th Earl's youngest son, the Rt. Hon. William, Lord WALDEGRAVE, described Bessie as a "remarkable person" who became his parents' "closest friend", and referred to her several times in his autobiography "A Different Kind of Weather". In this extract, he recalls the rituals of Christmas Day when he was a child: "Lunch would be a huge turkey followed by curtains drawn for the Christmas pudding, brought in by Bessie not much assisted by my father ... Bessie would return for the toasts before leaving to join her own family and repeat the whole meal for them." William also recalls a wartime "family legend" involving Bessie: "It was said that when the US Army arrived in the village in 1943 ... a group of villagers led by our beloved Bessie Speed, lifelong Labour stalwart and then a feisty youngster, prepared to hold a party for them in the village hall. Back then - and for many years thereafter - the US Army maintained its own strict apartheid, so Bessie was told that no black soldiers would be allowed to attend the party. 'Right,' she said, 'there'll be no party then'. And America crumbled. I have no way of knowing if this story is true, but I hope it is. I do know that it was told us as evidence of one of Bessie's many heroic attributes."

Bessie was held in high regard by many people in Chewton Mendip. Bessie SPEED died on 7th December 1999, her husband Fred having passed away on 23rd October 1991. They were both interred at Chewton Mendip. 


Fred SPEED Gallery
(click image to view)


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