to home page«Home
South Gloucestershire
CSS coding on this page meets W3C standardsThis page has been labelled to ICRA standards

A History of Winterbourne: H W N Ludwell 1972

Wilf Ludwell was a keen local historian. He wrote a series of articles for the new Community Association magazine in 1967 and produced a booklet "A Brief History of Winterbourne". He went on to write a further series of articles between 1968 - 1971.
He died in November 1972 and as a tribute the Community Association produced a booklet combining all his work entitled "A History of Winterbourne"

To mark the 30th anniversary of Wilf Ludwell's death, the Community Association has re-issued this history for display on the world-wide web. We hope it will be an interesting source of reference for generations to come.

» to original illustrations by Brian Sanders

A History of Winterbourne: H W N Ludwell 1972

Top of page | Preface | Ancient Parish | Early settlers | Field names | Past industries | Old houses and occupiers | Population | Church-at-the-Barn | St Michael's Church | Watleys End and Ebenezer Chapel | Facing the 1870s | St Michael's Room | Local Government Act 1894 | 19th century closes | 20th Century



Wilf Ludwell's death last month evoked many tributes from the various bodies with which he was connected and we should like to add our appreciation of the assistance he so freely gave to the Association.

As an ex-editor of the BAC newspaper, he showed a great interest in the launching and subsequent development of "New Look". I well remember his kindly criticisms, suggestions and encouragement which greatly helped a struggling amateur like myself.

The History of Winterbourne which he wrote for the Association during his retirement will provide a living memory to a man who was so deeply interested in so many aspects of life and people. The History appeared in monthly instalments in the Magazine and was later published in booklet form and then again reprinted. It is interesting to note that requests for copies were by no means limited solely to the Village.

We extend our Deepest Sympathy to his Wife and Daughter in their great loss. Winterbourne has truly lost one of its cornerstones.

December 1972. PDB

A History of Winterbourne: H W N Ludwell 1972

Top of page | Preface | Ancient Parish | Early settlers | Field names | Past industries | Old houses and occupiers | Population | Church-at-the-Barn | St Michael's Church | Watleys End and Ebenezer Chapel | Facing the 1870s | St Michael's Room | Local Government Act 1894 | 19th century closes | 20th Century



(Ecclesiastical Parish comprising Winterbourne and Watleys End)

This Booklet is not intended to be a complete History. It is simply a reproduction, in book form, of the Articles which have appeared in the Community Association's Magazine "New Look" from June to December 1967.

The writer wishes to emphasize the fact that far from being an Author, he has written in his own "Amateurish Way", a few facts concerning Winterbourne hoping that they might be of some interest to Readers.

Much of the information has been acquired during his long and happy life in Winterbourne. Sincere and grateful acknowledgment, however, is made for the kind permission given to refer to the writings of the late Dr CHB Elliott and the late Henry G Ludwell. Also for information and statistics so willingly supplied by Mr A C Dunn, the offices of the Gloucestershire County Council, Sodbury RDC, and Church Records.

HWN Ludwell
2nd December 1967.

Editorial Note - a series of articles which Mr Ludwell later wrote between March 1968 and April 1971 has been combined with the original booklet described above to form this tribute to his unbounded interest in the history of Winterbourne.

A History of Winterbourne: H W N Ludwell 1972



It gives the writer considerable pleasure to write and contribute a monthly article on the "History of Winterbourne" to this welcome New Magazine. At the outset of the series of articles it is emphasized that there is no intention of making Parishioners feel that they are being asked to "Live in the Past", but rather that the new and overgrowing population shall know at least a few historical and present facts concerning the Parish in which they have come to live - a Parish with centuries of fascinating history of which it can be justly proud.

The Civil Parish of Winterbourne situated six miles north of Bristol is in the County of Gloucester and extends three miles from North to South and two miles east to west with an acreage of approximately 3300 acres.

On the north side it is bounded by Frampton Cotterell and on the south by Begbrook and Stapleton, the boundary line being Matford Bridge, Northwoods, the Stream, Court Road (North) and Frenchay Hospital (South) respectively.

The eastern boundary is the River Frome, which divides it from another part of Frampton Cotterell, just below Nightingale Bridge, then from Westerleigh as far as Damsons Bridge and finally Mangotsfield to the Bristol boundary with the exception of where the river's course runs at the foot of Bury Hill which is now part of Winterbourne. On the western side of the Parish is Stoke Gifford.

From North to South through the Parish from West View (North) to Frenchay Hospital (South) runs the stretch of 3 miles main road leading to Stapleton and Bristol. Incidentally, it is six miles from the top of Winterbourne Hill to the old Lawfords Gate, Stapleton Road, Bristol. Also through or rather around the Parish runs the River Frome and the Bradley Brook, the two meeting at a point behind the Blackhorse Inn at Hambrook.

Winterbourne is believed to have derived its name from Bradley Brook - a brook or burn which used to dry up in the summer. The name also appears as Wintreborn, Wynterbourne, Winterburn and Winterborn. There are 20 other Winterbournes in the counties of Wiltshire and Dorset - eg Winterbourne Abbas, Winterbourne Gunner, Winterbourne Monckton. Also in Berkshire there is a Winterbourne St James. Our own Parish of Winterbourne is the only one without any addition in the name.

Watleys End has been known as Watlers End, Wadley's End, Walter's End and Wattlays End. There is no clear evidence, however, of what the original name was, but this is a small matter when compared with its interesting history which will be dealt with in a subsequent issue.

The Civil Parish is divided into three Ecclesiastical Parishes viz:

(1)Winterbourne and Watleys End with the Railway Line dividing it from

(2)Winterbourne Down which includes Whiteshill.

(3)Frenchay including that part of Hambrook south of the stream which joins the River Frome at the rear of the Black Horse Inn.

Each of these Ecclesiastical Parishes has its own C of E Church and other places of worship and each place is full of interest. The mother or Parish Church is, of course, the beautiful ancient Winterbourne Church, formerly dedicated to St Mary and later to St Michael The Archangel.

For the moment it is intended to deal only with the Ecclesiastical Parish of Winterbourne, and this will be adhered to except where necessary to refer to the other two parts of the Civil Parishes.


At the present time there are four Schools, but plans are being prepared for extensions to these schools and for new schools.

However, the present schools are The Ridings Secondary Modern School (High Street), the C of E St Michael's Junior School (High Street) which one is proud to write celebrates its centenary in October 1968, the new Elm Park Primary School and the Greenfields Infants School both in Nicholls Lane.


In 1920 the then Rector (Canon C J Burrough) provided a Sports Field for the use of Sports Clubs in the Parish including Watleys End and for the children. The Ecclesiastical authorities sold this field (6.2 acres) to the Parish as a Recreation Field in 1952/3 under the control and management of the Parish Council.

The foregoing may be sufficient to serve as an introduction to Chapters dealing with Points of Interest, Historical Houses, Industries, Agriculture, etc and the general growth of the Parish.

A History of Winterbourne: H W N Ludwell 1972


Fortunately there is evidence to take us back even to 8 centuries BC when the Iberians lived in this land. The Iberians, of the stone and bronze age, were hunters who clothed themselves in the skins of bears, foxes, and wolves, and lived in holes in the ground, with coverings of brushwood.

They cultivated the soil in a small way (in Winterbourne) and reared a few domestic animals. These people had something in common with people at the present time in that some believed in burial. Instead however of burial in separate graves the Iberians buried their dead in large round mounds called "Barrows".

It is believed that we have one such mound in the grounds of Hill Crest (the highest point in the Parish) near Winterbourne Down Church.

From the 7th Century BC onwards, however, there were a number of invasions by Celtic tribes from north west Germany and the Netherlands who defeated the Iberians largely on account of their superior weapons. The Iberians built strong defences against invaders and in recent years evidence has come to light that the Camps (7.5 acres) at Moorend was one of their defences.

Equally it is known that the Celtic tribes also used the Camp as a place of defence and even today the ramparts of earth are well preserved on three sides, the fourth side having gradually disappeared as stone quarrying developed over the centuries.

We now come to the year 43 AD when the Romans, who had previously made a short visit, returned, and having conquered the Country made it part of the Roman Empire. Again Winterbourne has something to offer as evidence of the Roman Invasion. It is known that the Romans who enlisted many of the Celts in their armies strengthened and maintained the Moorend Camp as a link between their line of forts along the hills facing the Severn and their Camps in the Cotswolds. The line of forts facing the Severn were built as a defence against the "Silures" of South Wales.

About 400 AD the Roman Armies were recalled to defend other parts of the Empire, leaving this Country to the Anglo-Saxons from Denmark and Germany.

It would here be appropriate to note that during the present century extensive digging and research has revealed fascinating discoveries at the Moorend Camp, confirming the occupation of the Iberians, Celtic tribes and Romans. Briefly these discoveries included what were large "Huts", a foundation wall of 4 or 5 courses of Pennant Stone about 1 foot high, metals, coins and even glass of the Roman period.

Of Winterbourne itself it is difficult for anyone to visualise what the Parish looked like so many centuries ago. We know however that until 1228 the Parish was included in the Royal Forest of Kingswood which stretched from the River Severn to Kingswood. Incidentally Winterbourne Church, or at least part of the present Church, existed at that time and most probably many inhabitants lived near the Church.

A great change came about in 1228 when King Henry III granted a Charter of Disafforestation and most of the Forest was converted into Common Land a small part being retained as a Royal Chase.

It was however during the Saxon period that the greater part of the land was divided into "Tithings" each Tithing being probably regarded as sufficient for ten households and ten tithings forming a "Hundred". The Parish of Winterbourne is in the Hundred of Langley and Swineshead and comprises the tithings of Winterbourne and Hambrook which are divided by Bradley Brook.

As a result of the Feudal system introduced into Britain by William the Conqueror, the King, in theory, became owner of all the land in the Kingdom most of which he apportioned among his Barons as Tenants in Chief.

G M Trevelyan in his book "The History of England" writes that the Domesday Book (1086) fully recognises one organ of Saxon Life - the "Shire" or "County" through which the King acted. The officers of the Shire or Hundred made their demands from the Lord of the Manor, who "answers for the manor" in the matter of taxation from his tenantry as best he may.

Hence in Winterbourne we know of three Manors, namely (i) The Manor of Winterbourne, (ii) The Manor of Hambrook, and (iii) The Manor of Sturden.

More will be written in a later Chapter concerning these Manors but suffice it to write at the moment, the Parish owed a great deal to the various Lords of the Manor over Centuries, eg Winterbourne Church, Whiteshill, and Frenchay Commons.

An appropriate conclusion to this chapter is a reference to the Bradeston Family, various members of which were Lords of the Manor of Winterbourne.

In 1393 the King granted to Blanche Bradeston Lady of the Manor of Winterbourne the right of holding a weekly market and two fairs yearly "In the Town of Winterbourne". These were held near the Manor Court adjacent to Winterbourne Parish Church.

When the markets were abolished is not known but the Fairs continued until about 1870 although for many years had been held in the open place in front of the George and Dragon and Royal Oak. It is assumed that they were transferred to this spot as the Parishioners began to move here when quarrying commenced in Winterbourne Hill.

A History of Winterbourne: H W N Ludwell 1972


The Charter of Disafforestation granted by Henry III in 1228 literally created the birth of a new Winterbourne and inevitably an influx of new inhabitants.

The clearing of large parts of the Forest provided an opportunity for Agriculture and farming generally to be 'opened up' on a much larger scale, particularly as the soil was found to be extremely suitable for growing wheat and barley. This opportunity was most certainly taken and Winterbourne soon became noted for these two crops as indeed it was for centuries ahead. In addition, however, large crops of flax were also grown, hence the lane known as Flaxpits Lane; here it was grown, beaten and stored near the property now known as Flaxpits House. Large crops were also grown at Northwoods. Incidentally the 'Flax Pits' undoubtedly date from the reign of Henry VIII, when an attempt was made to force the growing of flax on every Parish (Ref: JC Cox).

Over the centuries the open spaces gradually became separate fields (16th Century) bounded by hedges which have always enhanced the beauty of the English countryside. It became necessary, therefore, for Map and Record references to suitably name all fields. Some of these names were self explanatory and others were so named that even today many people are curious or rather interested to learn their possible origin. The same could be said of various places and houses within the Parish. Lists of these appear with the Survey Map of 1827 (a copy of which fortunately we still have in the Parish)[1] and with the Tithe Apportionment of 1842 although there are a few variations. The writer feels that before writing about other industries such as Stone Quarrying, Iron Mining, and the Hat Industry, all of which helped to make Winterbourne a Parish with rather an interesting history. Readers might like to know the origin or meaning of some of the 'Field Names'.

[1] The Survey Map was surrendered to the County Archives in January 1985 » more information

At the southern end of the Ecclesiastical Parish is the British Railway Line (opened 1902) and adjacent to the railway arches which cross the main road and brook is Bear Grove (Bushes). This most likely dates from the time when the Brown Bear existed in Britain (a Mr GB Grundy writes of a 'bear Wood' in Elberton). A Winterbourne list gives the name as 'Bear Grove Bushes'. (Bere was an Anglo-Saxon term for Barley (Ref: Dr C H B Elliott) and we know that for years Barley was grown in the field adjoining Bear Grove.

WAYLANDS is the name given to three fields south of Bradley Bridge, apparently because they lie between two ways - the old Gloucester Road and a road leading out of it to Beacon Lane. Incidentally, Beacon Lane derived its name from the fact that it was part of the highway leading from Almondsbury Hill to Hillcrest - two high points or places where Beacons used to be lighted.

"RIDEINGS NEXT YE ROAD" and "INNER RIDEINGS" are opposite Church Lane. There may have been a "Ride" or "Track" through them at one time but it is also believed that there may have been Three Fields - Ridings of course being a corruption of Thriding, a third part.

For very many years and even in the present century these fields produced excellent crops of wheat. On the Rideings next ye Road now stands the Secondary Modern School and it is gratifying to note that the name "Ridings" has been incorporated in that of the School.

The "Inner Ridings" (6.2 acres) is of course the Parish's Recreation Field opened as a Sports Field in 1919/20 (Football 1919, Cricket and Tennis 1920).

BEGGARS REST This name was given to a piece of ground in the High Street on which Sunset View, the property of Mr D Fitz, is built. It was just an ordinary field before the 1920s and was given the name "Beggars Rest" as for many years Tramps or Beggars made two small disused stone built sheds a comfortable (?) resting place.

The CONDEMNED FIELD is situated in Nicholls Lane and built on it are the Elm Park Primary School and the new Infants School. This field is thought by some writers to have been so named at a time when a butcher fattened his beasts here before killing. The name, however, is a very old one and is more likely to have been given as far back as 1230 when the Lords of the Manor had "Rights of Gallows, Pillory, and Tumbrell".

Cloisters and Little Cloisters are below Hicks Common. Cloisters Common ran down to the Frome and this portion is called "Cloisters Rivulett", but the name also appears as Claysters, which is probably connected with the comparatively stiff nature of the soil.

The Butts. This is another rather historical name given to the field on the right hand side of High Lane (off Swan Lane) and may date from an enactment of Edward IV requiring butts for the practice of archery to be erected near every village.

These are just a few examples of interesting names but there are many others, some of which are self-explanatory, eg Six Acres, Five Long Acres and Tobacco Field (yes, Winterbourne grew its own Tobacco Plants).

A History of Winterbourne: H W N Ludwell 1972

The last chapter commenced with the early part of the 13th Century when, following Henry III's Charter of Disafforestation in 1228, a new Winterbourne was created and an influx of new inhabitants.

Round about that time there were two small communities in the Civil Parish, one living around the Parish Church (then dedicated to St Mary and later to St Michael The Archangel) and the other at Hambrook. Both communities lived on the produce of their holdings and within the communities could be found craftsmen able to make agricultural implements and provide household furniture, while some inhabitants attended to spinning and weaving in their own homes.

Mention has already been made of the growth of agriculture and that Winterbourne soon became noted for its wheat, barley and flax. During the Stuart period, however, another industry namely Quarrying of Pennant Stone, was developed, and this in the centuries to follow well and truly placed Winterbourne 'On the Map'.

In the Ecclesiastical Parish of Winterbourne probably the first quarry 'opened' was in Winterbourne Hill (on the left hand side going towards Hambrook). The immediate result was that people began to leave their homes around the Parish Church and build new ones near the Hill. From then onwards and indeed until the first quarter of the present century (up to the 1930s) numerous small quarries were 10 opened' and 'closed', many of which appear on the Ordnance Maps, and quarrying became a flourishing industry.

The following is an interesting quotation from the late Dr C H B Elliott's book on Winterbourne history:

"The Tillett family, whose name appears soon after 1600 was prominent in this industry; Benjamin Tillett was holding the Flaxpitts property in 1827 and it is probably due to his quarrying that we have the pool on Hicks Common (The Fishpond) which owes its attractive appearance to the efforts of the late Alderman Henry Matthews (Down Farm) and the late Mr Henry Pendock (Harcombe Farm)"

Not only was this 'Spot' made to look attractive but it also served to perpetuate or become a memorial to the generations of Tilletts who quarried in Winterbourne for over 200 years.

Another quarry used for many years was the one in Swan Lane. There was also a small quarry in the Ridings Secondary Modern School Playing Field. The quarry 'Hole' is situated in that part of the Field opposite Flaxpitts House and we can be thankful that over the past 40 years this hole has been gradually filled in.

The larger quarries however were (1) In the field adjacent to the now demolished Railway Station (2) On both sides of the River Frome near the Winterbourne Down Mill and The Camps (3) Frenchay. These quarries were worked on a large scale until the 1930s and provided stone for some very important building work - not only in the Bristol District but also at Newport (Mon) and Weston-Super-Mare. Side by side with the Stone Industry were those of Iron Mining (Frampton Cotterell), Coal Mining (Coalpit Heath) and Hatting (Beaver Hats) at Watleys End and Frampton Cotterell.

All three of these industries provided employment to many people from Winterbourne and Watleys End. The Iron Mine (near Frampton Church) was closed in 1875 owing to flooding and the property was afterwards acquired by the West Gloucestershire Water Company Incidentally, one can still trace the old Railway Line leading from the Iron Mine to Iron Acton Station. Part of the 'embankment' can be seen in a field on the right hand side of the road leading from Winterbourne to Iron Acton - about 200 yards before reaching the Iron Acton/Thornbury Line Railway Bridge.

The Hat making industry flourished from 1770 at Watleys End and Frampton Cotterell, in fact Christys of Stockport set up their first Hat Factory at Frampton Cotterell largely because the water was very suitable.

In 1866 however the first Forming and Blowing machines were introduced and it was decided to close down our factories in 1871. The men, however, were offered work either at Christys' Stockport or London factories.

Beaver hats were made on a large scale at Watleys End in Factory Road where a man named Vaughan and later a Francombe employed more than 100 men. Mr and Mrs Vaughann were known as the King and Queen of Watleys End.

It is interesting to note that at one time about 500 hatters used to meet near the Quarry in Swan Lane to discuss Trade Rules and afterwards adjourn to the basement of the first of Norman Cottages for a tankard of ale (brewed locally and probably an inducement to attend the meeting?).

The loss of the industry was a sad blow to Watleys End in particular as there were only a few houses there at the end of the 18th Century and these considerably increased while the trade flourished.

Gradually, however, other employment or work began to flourish, this time for the women in the form of 'Trousering' or making clothes for Bristol firms which supplied ready made clothing. This work was done in very many homes and in two small factories - one in Factory Road, Watleys End, and one in Manor House, Winterboume Hill. This work continued until about 40 years ago.

A History of Winterbourne: H W N Ludwell 1972


Having dealt briefly in the last chapter with the main Industries over a period of about ' four centuries and giving at least some indication of the importance and general effect of Stone Quarrying, readers may now be interested to know something about the older houses - built with local stone most probably - in the Parish together with brief notes of some of the owners or occupiers.

For the present it is hoped that the following may be of some interest:

(1) The Henroost Farm: Built on the Bradley Brook side of the old Gloucester Road Northwoods this Farm House is also known as "Little Purden". It is not the oldest house in the Parish but nevertheless there is a stone, which probably once stood in the wall, bearing the date 1709. Tradition has it that the House was formerly an Inn at which coaches made their fast stopping place on the journey from Gloucester to Bristol.

(2) Winterbourne Court Farm: A whole chapter could be devoted to this Site, the houses which stood on it and the people who lived there.

The present house was built in 1881 on the site of the older house destroyed by fire, and on the same site as the old Manor House which was held from 1337 onwards by Thomas, Lord Bradeston. His descendants occupied it until 1601 when the Manor was conveyed to the Buck family. Other occupiers of note were:

(a) Dr William Vassall (born there in 1780), Staff Surgeon in the Peninsular War.

(b) Ebenezer Ludlow, tenant in 1803 and during the period he was Cornet in the Winterbourne Troop of Cavalry and Yeomanry. He was later called to the Bar and succeeded Samuel Worrall as Town Clerk of Bristol, holding that office during the Bristol Riots of 1831.

A very important note concerning the original building is that before 1281 it was the home of Monks (Carmelite Friars) who came from Bristol. Evidence of this still exists in the Monks Walk (new Churchyard), the Monks Fishing Pool now overgrown but traces of which remain adjacent to Bradley Brook and the underground tunnel leading from the house to Winterbourne Church.

In the garden is a large Dove Cot, used in the days when beasts not required for ploughing were killed and the meat stored after salting for winter use by the Lord of the Manor. Large numbers of Pigeons were also kept here to supplement his supply of "Fresh Food".

(3) Snailum's Farm: Situated on the Bristol Road this old house is occupied by Miss M Lloyd. There is a stone bearing the date 1653 over the entrance to the house and the name is most probably derived from Samuel Snailum whose family lived in the Parish between 1725-80.

(4) Crossley Farm: Formerly known as Hill's Tenement this property was purchased by the Bristol Corporation in 1602 from a Henry Butler, citizen and draper of London. It has formed one of the endowments of the Winterbourne Chantry.

Edward T Parker, founder of the Bristol Dogs Home was born here in 1855.

At the commencement of the present century it was occupied by Mr Geoffrey Matthews, well known for his Prize Winning (Championship) sheep. These were reared and prepared for the "Big Shows" under the expert supervision of Shepherd Wall in the Star Barn Field.

(5) Crossley House: Rebuilt or modified in the Georgian Period, records (Rudge 1803) reveal that the original house was occupied by the Tucker family for over 300 years. William Tucker was a keeper on the Stapleton side of the Kingswood Chase in 1615 and Jonathan Tucker donated a peal of Bells to Mangotsfield Church in 1687.

Writing of Crossley House one cannot omit mentioning the pleasing fact that the long line of owners and occupiers have all been actively and indeed generously interested in the Parish Church and Social life of Winterbourne, not least among them being:

(1) Mrs Callaghan and her daughter who lived here for many years until 1893, Miss Callaghan was Organist at the Parish Church where a Brass Tablet to her memory may be seen on the South Wall.

(2) Brigadier and Mrs Innes (1946-62), the value of whose work and devotion to the Church and Parish in so many ways cannot be over-estimated or fully appreciated.

The same comments apply also to the various owners of The Mount, now owned by Lt Col and Mrs EMK Mead whose well known interest in Parish affairs needs no clarification in this article.

The house was formerly known as The New House and later as Hill House. In very early days it appears to have been owned by the Hicks family. Their names are in the Winterbourne Registers from 1601 onwards. It is from this family that Hicks Common derived its name.

During the present century Mr A Clarke Jones and family lived here from 1909-22. To them we owe the beauty of the Sanctuary in the Parish Church and to Mr Clarke Jones for his great interest in the Cricket Club and in the School as Correspondent.

His successor Brigadier Charles HU Price, CB DSO was largely instrumental in the formation of the local branch of the British Legion, a keen member and Captain of the Cricket Club 2nd XI (in spite of Anno Domini), the Bowls Club and a worthy Churchwarden.

Nearby is Hicks Common Farm; unfortunately little information is known of this old property as there appears to be no available deeds before 1871. There is, however, evidence of the great age of the house itself as over the entrance is a stone bearing the date 1630 and some initials. These most likely relate to Benjamin Tucker and his wife Jane.

At the commencement of the present century this was a typical village farm occupied and well kept by a Mr Hawkins, his wife and two daughters.

During more recent years extensive alterations - more particularly to the interior - have been carried out and the name changed to The Bartons but fortunately this old house still retains its fascinating appearance.

Cloisters Farm: In the early part of the 19th century this was known as "Warren House" and was occupied by Jason Howes. Cloisters and little Cloisters lie below Hicks Common; Cloisters Common ran down to the River Frome and was called "Cloisters Rivulett". It was also known as "Claysters" probably so called owing to the stiff nature of the soil. John Wadham when Lord of the Manor claimed the rabbit warren on Cloisters Common. In lieu of this he was granted six acres of land on the east side of the river Frome, by the Commissioners under the Enclosure Act in 1831. Several other persons held or claimed portions of the Common about this period.

Winterbourne Lodge and Victoria Lodge: The site of these two houses in Nicholls Lane, with the then-existing buildings, was among the endowments of the Chantry Chapel of St Michael in 1351/2, which were later exchanged for Fee Farm Rents.
The first known recorded owner appears to be John Rainstorp about 1643. It was he who built on part of the property, namely, the second house "Garibaldi House" now known as Victoria Lodge.

In 1792 Winterbourne Lodge was owned and occupied by Edward Probyn who became Lord of the Manor and later by his nephew William Perry (until 1811) who was known as Squire Perry. The latter kept a pack of Harriers and was Captain of the Winterboume Troop of Yeoman Cavalry in 1803.

Incidentally it was Wm Perry's grand-daughter - Mrs Mary Anne Jones, widow of the Rev J W Jones - who conveyed land and ten cottages which were in course of erection in 1851 (Dragon Road) to the Rev WB Allen (Rector), Henry Marsh, William Tanner and Dr WC Fox MD as homes for aged people of Winterbourne, subject to specified conditions. By her wish these cottages were named "The Perry Almshouses".

Much of the land formerly part of the Winterbourne Lodge property has been built on during the past few years forming Friary Grange Park.

No history of Winterbourne would be complete without a special reference to The George and Dragon Hotel and Bourne House. The George and Dragon was occupied before 1786 by George Maggs. The name, however, has been altered several times, eg in 1815 it was described as The Green Dragon and in 1827 as the Dragon Public House held by Elizabeth Maggs.

Two special features of this house are (1) the old Skittle Alley (2) the Club Room in which very many important meetings have been held over a period of at least 150 years. Many older Parishioners of the present century know the "Dragon" as the Headquarters of the Football and Cricket Clubs and the Branch of the British Legion for a number of years.

Most important of all is undoubtedly a meeting held there in 1813 at which The Winterbourne National School Society was formed and a Committee elected. It is of special interest to note that the then Bishop of Bristol was elected President and that one of the Vice-Presidents elected was W Wilberforce Esq well known for his activities against the Slave Trade.

The Society went into immediate action and under the supervision of Mr William Matthews (Treasurer) a school was built and named Bourne House. To assist the Society still further, Mrs Elizabeth Maggs allowed the Club Room to be used as a temporary school while Bourne House was being built. The building was completed and opened as a school for boys in January and girls in February 1815. This was certainly a gratifying achievement and Bourne House continued so to be used until the present C of E School, High Street (St Michael's Primary School) was opened in 1868.

Since 1868 a number of people have owned or occupied Bourne House the majority of whom have taken a great interest not only in Social and Church affairs but also in the welfare of people generally with a special thought for children and the aged. These owners include Miss Crockford, the Misses Clarke and Admiral Clarke, Mr and Mrs G F Todd and lastly but by no means least, the present owners, Major J and Dr Peggy Thornton.

Down Farm: The present house now owned by Dr HL O'Sullivan was built in 1826 and took the place of a very old house which stood further back and held by the Bristol QEH Trustees as far back as 1657. In this year (1657) a 99 years lease was granted to "Samuel Perry, Gent" and at that time the property was described as being "A very fair house, another tenement habitable, two large barns and a handsome stable. A spacious common, sweet and healthy, just before the door of the said house with 78 acres of ground".

One of the barns of course still remains and has been very much in the Winterbourne "News" during the past 3 years - and still is!

The "new" 1826 house was held by Thomas Perry, Attorney who died in that year. Later the Matthews family took over the property, firstly William Matthews secondly his daughter Miss Sarah Matthews (1876) and then Alderman Henry Matthews JP who held the lease from 1890 until 1920 when he purchased the property.

Winterbourne Rectory: There appears to be no real evidence as to where the very early Rectory stood. It is known however that one early Rectory stood on the site of one or perhaps two of the present Church Cottages which were built in 1828. The next Rectory according to the Rev Austen-Leigh was a very old house near the junction of Church Lane and the High Street. This Rectory however was demolished in 1834 in which year the Rev Whitfield built the present Rectory. Unfortunately he died soon after its completion. Additions were made by the Rev Austen-Leigh but in 1954/5 it was found necessary to demolish part of the Rectory house mainly on account of its size and ever-increasing cost of maintenance.

Included in the Rectory Property is the large 18th Century Tythe Barn now used for some of the Church Services (Under Licence). It is known now as St Mary at the Barn having been converted for church use in 1954/5, and dedicated to St Mary on Palm Sunday 1962.

The Swan: Although unfortunately no early documents are available relating to this "Inn" mention certainly should be made because of its important connection with Transport during the latter part of the 19th Century and the first few years of the present Century before and for a while after the opening of the Railway through Winterbourne.

We know however that the property was advertised for sale in 1817 when in the tenure of Mr Thomas Rickards. In 1856 it was purchased by Mrs G Harcombe, whose husband was a Hambrook Builder, and in 1885 the property was conveyed to the Pearce family who occupied the House for a number of years. The Bristol (Georges) Brewery Company purchased the property in 1911.

Like the George and Dragon, the Swan was used for Smoking Concerts, Dinners (including Choir Suppers) and other meetings but was better known as "Pearce's Bus" Headquarters, and where one booked "The Carriage and Pair of Grey Horses" for weddings. Again similar to the George and Dragon, the Landlord and his Lady have for very many years not only been popular and generous but also very interested in Parish affairs and this can certainly be said of Mr Alf Williams and his wife known with respect as Marion.

Winterbourne House:
Winterbourne is fortunate to still possess a number of lovely old and historic houses, among them being the real "Gem", Winterbourne House. This charming and attractive house with its equally charming grounds dates back at least to 1698. Naturally the property has been owned or occupied by a great many people over the past 270 years and indeed a whole book could be written both of the property and its many distinguished owners and visitors. In this present totally inadequate write up one must mention that in 1778 the property was conveyed to a Mrs. Elizabeth Fry and soon after that date John Wesley commenced his frequent visits over a number of years, one visit being of very special importance viz. In his Journal September 17th 1787 John Wesley wrote "I preached at Winterbourne on the foundation of a New Preaching House". This of course related to Salem Chapel at Watleys End which was registered on January 29th 1796.

During the present Century it has been owned by a number of people all of whom have been greatly interested in the Church and Social Life of the Parish.

Over the years of course, additions, alterations, etc have been effected, particularly by Sir Henry White Smith who purchased the property in 1919.

For the past 25 years Winterbourne House has been known as The Collegiate School concerning which more will be written in a future article. For the moment sufficient to say that countless former pupils now living in this Country and indeed in various parts of the world remember with a very deep sense of gratitude not only their "HOME" at the Collegiate School but also all that Mr and Mrs Rex Hopes meant and still mean to them and through whom they learned above all else, the real meaning of faith, hope and love.

A History of Winterbourne: H W N Ludwell 1972


The earliest reference which could be applied to the population of Winterbourne appears to be a recording made in 1548 viz "in the Deanery of Bristol, the Parish of Winterbourne where are houseling people 203". This figure, however, really relates to the number of persons who received Holy Communion in that year so possibly the actual population may have been more in the region of 300.

No other figures than appear to be available until the year 1700 when the population is given as approximately 500 and in 1770 as 567. (Ref: Rudge 1803).

In 1801 rather more importance was given to ascertaining the population with an improved degree of accuracy. In this year the first Census was taken by the Overseers of the Poor who continued to make Census returns for three further periods up to and including 1831. The figures quoted from 1801 to 1831 are 1592, 2333, 2627 and 2889 respectively, but even so the accuracy of the figures appear to have left much to be desired.

The method of taking the Census was completely changed in 1841 and was placed under the superintendence of Registration Officers. The total population of the Civil Parish of Winterbourne was in that year given as 3151. The increases given in successive periods were surprisingly small for in 1921 after 80 years the population was only 3406 and in 1931 was 3554. During the War Years the population was estimated to be approximately 4000 and the Census of 1951 reveals the figure of 4150.

At that time rapid housing development began to take place on a large scale and the population began of course to grow with equal rapidity, hence the 1961 Census gives a figure of 6421. There has been a tremendous increase since 1961 and the latest authoritative figure which can be quoted is that of mid-1966, namely 8859 for the Civil Parish.

A History of Winterbourne: H W N Ludwell 1972


For a number of centuries the inhabitants of Winterbourne lived in cottages around or in the vicinity of the Parish Church, but in the 17th Century the old cottages were abandoned in favour of others near Winterbourne Hill and Winterbourne Down where stone quarries were being exploited. The present highway was made and within a few years the Church became almost isolated in the fields. but certainly not forgotten or neglected. However, this isolation led to the building of St Michael's Mission Room in 1887/8 on a site in the High Street, largely through the generosity of the Rev Austen-Leigh (Rector). The building was to be used "for the performance of Divine Service, the administration of the Sacraments and for Church meetings etc." In 1936/7 it was "'opened up" for Church social activities of various kinds but over the years, with the rapid increase of population and the acute problem for social life, it has become practically a Parish Hall.

For Church Services its place has now been taken by "The Church at the Barn" which is well worth the visitors inspection, indeed this building is not without at least a little interesting history.

When tithes were paid in kind, the Rector of a Parish needed a place in which to store corn and other produce for his living. About 1780 Edward Warneford, the then Rector erected behind his Rectory (not the present Rectory but a building near the junction of Church Lane and High Street) a very large and substantial barn for the purpose presumably replacing an older one.

In 1842 under a recent Act of Parliament, an Award commuting all the tithes in Winterbourne for an annual payment in money, rendered the barn useless, except for the Rector's own needs. So this solid and well-built old barn was used for various purposes until 1955, when it was taken in hand by the Rev Leslie Stevenson and eventually with the help of many hands was converted into a striking Chapel of Ease.

Its dignified and austere interior remains. A memorial window, the gift of a parishioner, has been inserted in the old opening at the South end, above the Altar which stands clear from the wall and was the gift of another parishioner. Altar rails were constructed by a skilled craftsman (Mr Bailey) in the Parish who also reshaped old benches for use. The majority of the pews were purchased very cheaply from the Methodist Church in the Boulevard, Weston-Super-Mare. The old lancets were filled with glass provided by a former Church Warden, and a Vestry was formed in one of the old transepts which crossed the Barn.

A very expensive item was that of laying a concrete floor and raised portion to form the Sanctuary. This however, was overcome by the generosity of Mr John Bryant who was born almost a stones throw from the Barn.

Special mention must be made of two outstanding and noteworthy features.

(1) The Triptych behind the Altar, representing Our Lord on the Cross between St Mary and St John. This is the work of Michael Braund, in collaboration with David Hensler and J Withers of the West of England Academy of Art and is the gift of St John's College, Oxford, the patrons of Winterbourne Church.

This work attracted much public attention of a very favourable kind and a reproduction appeared in The Times newspaper of October 29th 1956. The iron cross on which the Figure hangs was the work of Mr Fred Tuck, a well-known blacksmith of Winterbourne.

(2) The other notable feature is the Pre-Reformation bell which calls to worship and hangs in a bell-cote built by local effort. This bell hung for many years in the tower of Alveston old church, now ruined, and is here on permanent loan from the Church Council of that Parish.

The Church-at-the Barn was dedicated to St Mary by the Lord Bishop of Bristol (Oliver) on Palm Sunday 1963, and a yearly licence is granted to the Rector authorising Services to be held.

A History of Winterbourne: H W N Ludwell 1972


In response to the requests which have been received for information concerning the History of the Parish Church, it is proposed to publish an article on this subject in the present and the next two issues. Naturally in three or possibly four monthly articles it will only be possible to deal very briefly with the vast amount of fascinating history the beautiful and ancient Church of St Michael the Archangel holds. The writer, however, will gladly enlarge upon any particular item upon which more information is desired.


The actual date of the foundation of the Parish Church is quite uncertain. We can be sure, however, from the traces to be found in its architecture that some parts at least of the present building date back before the Norman Conquest and that no part, except the present Vestry (1880) and Organ Chamber (1894), is later than about the year 1380. The earliest remains are:

(1) The Priests Door and Doorway on the South side of the Chance] on the Lintel of which can be traced tiny crosses but in the stone where the Holy Water had fallen during the process of consecration or reconstruction and crosses made by Crusaders on their return from Crusades.

(2) The very ancient framework of the Doorway within the Porch (South) the upper portion of which may possibly be older than the Priests Doorway which is Norman. The Doorway in the Porch however, was brought thither from the old West Entrance - abolished in 1847.

(3) The Chancel Arch.

(4) The Arch to the Chantry Chapel under the Tower.

There was undoubtedly a Church here in the very earliest times, in the midst of the Great Kingswood Chase Forest which then stretched from the River Severn to the River Avon.

The first certain date we have[2] is that of 1112 AD in which year Robert Gernour gave the Patronage of the Parish to the Great Abbey of Gloucester, but the building probably owes much of its present beauty to a period about two hundred years later through:
[2]This has now been discredited- it actually refers to Winterbourne in Wiltshire. » more information

(a) William de Headingdone (Rector) who resigned the living in 1332 owing to old age and blindness. It was ordered that he should receive a Pension of £20 per annum because of his "Great service in the erection of noble buildings and in their defence".

(b) Thomas de Bradstone a retainer of the Great Earl of Berkeley and very possibly implicated in the murder of King Edward II in Berkeley Castle. He obtained in 1328 the Patronage of the Rectory. Afterwards he became a Peer of the Realm, Governor of Gloucester, one of the heroes of Cressy and a famous Commander both by land and sea.

To him the Church owes the creation of The Manor Chapel (to the north of the Chancel) and probably the Tower. We know too that he founded a Chapel of St Andrew within the Church - under the Tower. (Ref: Rev ATS Goodrick). The walls of the Chapel or Chantry were decorated with paintings, portions of which still remain eg a figure of St Michael trampling on the Dragon, the device of the Bradstones the boars head - and their coat-of-arms (a plain shield with a rose in the top right hand corner). Quite clearly can also be seen a knight in armour.

The Tower is early English and decorated. It stands in an unusual position, over the South Transept. The spire was struck by lightning in 1583 and again in 1827. A few years later (1853) it was found to be unsafe and was taken down to within a few courses of the Tower and re-built. The old stones of the steeple may still be seen (rebuilt) in the orchard of Hambrook House. The present Church steeple was restored in 1922 and 1951.

The Church itself remained unaltered until 1847 when it was restored, the roof rebuilt and the West Doorway removed to its present position in the South Porch. The Gallery at the West End was pulled down and the Vestry converted into a South Porch. A new Vestry was built at the North East end of the Manor Chapel but this was demolished when the present Vestry was built in 1880.

The Chancel was restored in 1856. At that time the East Wall was rebuilt by the Rev JW Jones and raised two feet to allow for the insertion of a loftier window. This window and the beautiful Reredos was presented by Mrs JW Jones to commemorate her husband's work as a curate for 22 years in the Parish.

Major restoration work was carried out in 1952 and again in 1961/2 at a cost of over £2000. Sums of money have been spent each year since on necessary repairs in addition to the £1500 (approx) for providing a new heating installation.

On the right of the Chancel Arch, the pillars of which are three inches out of perpendicular, will be observed two deeply embrasured windows, one above the other, which before the Organ Chamber was built (1894) communicated directly with the open air.

The lower of these may have been a "SQUINT" or "LEPER" window through which persons excluded from the Church could see the little Altar on the south side of the Chancel Arch (the Piscina still remains), but the purpose of the upper window remains a mystery except that it may have served to add light to the Rood Loft.

Manor Chapel:

Notice on the left of the entrance to this Chapel traces of the staircase which led to the Rood Loft.

The Manor Chapel was restored by the late William Tanner of Frenchay and it was again restored and refurnished in 1919/20, by his daughter Miss Tanner, as a memorial to the Winterbourne Men who Fell in World War I.

Perhaps the chief interest in the Church, however, centres in its Monuments. Of these, the best preserved are within the Manor Chapel, where only members of families who have held the Manor are buried. The oldest which is nearest to the entrance is that of the First Baron. Thomas de Bradstone (who built the Chapel) and Agnes his wife. He died in 1360. His son Robert died in 1355 and the latter's monument is seen by the side of his wife's lsabella. It will be noted that the lady's feet rest on a Lap Dog.

On the South Wall of the Manor Chapel is a large "Brass Effigy" which is believed to be the oldest brass in the County. It was removed from the floor and affixed to the wall when the altar was placed in the Chapel (1919/20). The "Brass" dates from 1370 and represents one of the Bradstone ladies, probably Blanche wife of Sir Edmund Bradstone. The lady wears the Veil Head-dress, then in fashion. Her gown is peculiar in having pocket holes in front and through these is seen the Cincture (Girdle) of the Kirtle worn beneath.

Note also the fine Mural Monument of James Buck, a Lord of the Manor (d.1611) who had one son killed in the siege of Bristol and was himself ruined by the heavy fines imposed on him by Parliament for having supported the King.

In the NORTH AISLE (near the Vestry Door) is the most remarkable Monument of all - that of "Hickenstern" or Hugo de Sturden (so called), the "Hero" of the Gloucestershire Legend, whose elopement with the heiress of the Bennetts of Syston Court, is celebrated in the well-known Winterbourne Glee "Oh, who will O'er the Downs with me". He is most likely a younger brother of the owner of Sturden Court about 1320. Having died all but excommunicated (receiving the Communion only at the point of death) he was buried half within and half without the Church. His monument stood originally at the entrance to the tower until the restoration of the Church (1843/7) when it was placed in its present position (Ref: A T S Goodrick).

Rudge's History (1803) reveals that Hugo de Sturden must have been quite a character, eg "A legend is preserved that this man had sold himself to the devil; and it was among the articles of the contract that he was to be carried to the church, after his death, neither with his feet or his head foremost, nor to be buried in the church or churchyard; to cheat the devil of his due, he directed that his body should be carried sideways to burial and that it should be buried in the wall of the church".

The Chapel contains memorials of the Symes, Guise and Cholmeley families. The Sanctuary however as at present is a memorial to the Clarke-Jones family (1919) who for some years occupied the Mount.

The Silver Cross and Candlesticks were presented by the Burrough family to the memory of the Rev Canon C J Burrough, MA (Rector 1915-31).

The Font of rather unusual design dates from the latter part of the 17th Century.

The Church was re-seated in 1877 and in the same year the present pulpit was presented by the late Mr HW Marsh of Winterbourne Park.

The Windows: Not least among the interesting features of the Church is its stained glass windows which give almost a complete illustrated story of Our Lord's Life.

In the south aisle is "The Annunciation", this window having been given in memory of members of the Marsh family (Winterbourne Park, late 19th and early 20th century).

Under the Belfry is a window portraying one of "The Miracles'. This window was given to the memory of Mrs Wm Tanner (d.1855) and her daughter.

The windows in the Manor Chapel include "The Three Kings Offering Gifts" and "The Sermon on the Mount".

In the north aisle there are two stained glass windows, representing firstly "Our Lord Praying in the Garden of Gethesemane" and secondly "A Soldier praying at the foot of a Wayside Cross", near Ypres (Belgium) during World War I. In the background can be seen the Town's famous Cloth Hall on fire. This window now represents part of Winterbourne's Memorial to its men who made the Supreme Sacrifice during the two World Wars.

Turning to the East we see "The Ascension of the Risen Lord". As mentioned earlier on, this window was presented by the wife of the Rev JW Jones (1785-1862) who as curate gave us much of his time and ability as a curate and friend for so many years.

Finally, there is the magnificent West Window erected by his sons and daughters to the Memory of William Tanner who died in October 1887 a very generous benefactor to the Church. The design illustrates the Hymn of Praise "Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious name".

At the top of the window our Lord is represented sitting on his Heavenly Throne. Below in the smaller lights and canopies are angels with musical instruments. The large figures are intended for the four Archangels;

(1) Gabriel: (The man of God) with a white lily
(2) Michael: (The God like) trampling on the dragon
(3) Raphael: (The Divine Healer) with Pilgrim's Staff
(4) Uriel: (The Fire of God) with trumpet

In the four lower compartments are pictures of various scenes of angelic ministration in the New Testament.

(1) The Annunciation - Luke I.19.
(2) After the Temptation - Matthew IV. 2.
(3) ln the Garden - Luke XXII.43.
(4) At the Sepulchre - Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.

In the Winterbourne Parish Magazine of May 1889 the Rector, Rev Austen-Leigh also writes "The glass is by Messrs Bell of Bristol, and is very delicate and harmonious in colouring. The window is a great ornament to the Church, and a lasting memorial to one who loved Winterbourne Church dearly; and who has left his record in the restored Manor Chapel, and in the Endowment Fund for the support of the services."

Bells: The Six Bells housed in the upper part of the Tower form what is known as a Maiden Peel - all six having been cast at the same time by the same founder - Mr William Evans at Chepstow 1747[3] - and have not been re-cast since that date. They were however re-hung in 1890 and in 1922 expensive work was carried out on the frame and the bearings.

On each Bell is an inscription doubtless made by Mr Wm
Treble Bell "Glory to God in the Highest"
2nd Bell: "And on Earth Peace'
3rd Bell: "Goodwill towards Men"
4th Bell: "Prosperity to this Parish"
5th Bell: "We were all cast at Chepstow by Wm Evans (1747)[3]
6th Bell: "God preserve our King and Kingdom and send us Peace".

[3]The actual inscription on the bell is 1757

A History of Winterbourne: H W N Ludwell 1972


This section concentrates on Watleys End and in particular Ebenezer Methodist Church which has now reached its 100th Anniversary.

Members and many Parishioners are proud of this fact and to mark this special occasion a very attractive programme included a magnificent Floral Display, an excellent Tea and a feast of music. Notes concerning the Church's History was given very generous coverage in the Local Press namely the Bristol Evening Post and The Gazette.

Built in 1868 the building stands now not only as a place of worship but also as a memorial or reminder of the years 1770 - 1871 when the Beaver Hat making Industry (for Christy's of Stockport and London) flourished at Watleys End and in the adjacent parish of Frampton Cotterell. It is known that over 500 people were employed in this Industry during the 1860s. Iron Mining at Frampton Cotterell was also flourishing and this provided employment for many Watleys End and Winterbourne men.

Among them were a number of Methodists who felt the need of a Methodist church at Watleys End as far back as the 1780s. They soon took action as evidenced in John Wesley's Journal dated September 17th 1787 in which he writes "I preached at Winterbourne on the foundation of a new preaching house". A certificate dated January 15th 1796 was sent to the Bishop of Gloucester that "Some of His Majesty's dissenting subjects have set apart for the service of God, a room or building called the Methodists Chapel in the Parish of Winterbourne which they desire may be registered in the Bishop's Court according to an Act of Parliament of William and Mary". The Chapel was registered on January 29th 1796 as The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Watleys End. For very many years Religious activities and Industries continued to flourish and with the growing population there arose the feeling in 1860s that another new Methodists Chapel was needed at Watleys End. Some of these Methodists were joined by some of their Frampton Cotterell friends and held services and meetings in the house now occupied by Mr and Mrs John Lewis (next to the site on which Ebenezer now stands). It was decided in 1867 to build the New church and 20 Perches of land were purchased for the sum of £15 from George and Henry Vaughan of London.

To help meet the cost of building the New Church it was decided to sell the cottage or house in which meetings had hitherto been held and Mr Bert Howell of the Day House, School Road, Frampton Cotterell kindly allowed meetings to be held there until the new Church could be opened.

At the opening in 1868 the name "Ebenezer" (Hitherto hath the Lord helped us) was given to this well-built and attractive place of worship and present day members sincerely believe that no better name could have been chosen as over the whole century there has been a magnificent example of faith that problems large or small could or would be solved and indeed they have in many unexpected ways.

Much good work was done in the early days of Ebenezer with the result that improvements have been made from time to time and a spacious Sunday School added, the costs of which were met mainly by Gifts and a Free Will Offering Fund, the latter having been started in 1883!

A classical example of "giving" is that of the Bazaar held on October 5th and 6th 1911 when. the Receipts amounted to £66-14-1 1/2d, Expenses only 13/7 1/2d leaving a profit of £66-1-4d.

Whilst finance is obviously a necessity for maintenance purposes, both Salem and Ebenezer Churches have always placed this as secondary to the imparting of Christian knowledge and moulding the lives of human beings and in doing so have done work of immense value.

It now appears that the time has come for the two Churches to unite, and a New larger Church built.

Congratulations then to those who prepared or contributed to the Ebenezer Centenary Celebrations and very best wishes to the Minister Rev HJ Brandon and all members of both Methodist Churches.

A History of Winterbourne: H W N Ludwell 1972



It is generally accepted that Parishioners, as a whole, and the 800 members of the Community Association can justifiably face the 1870s with enthusiasm, optimism and determination.

With this same optimism and determination the Winterbourne people faced the 1870s. Let us then turn back the pages of history about 100 years and find out a little of the Life and Events in Winterbourne at that time.

Firstly a word about the population and how Parish affairs were run. The population of the whole Civil Parish was around the 3200 mark and came under the authority, of the Clifton Union - Winterbourne being allowed two elected representatives. The Local Government Board ordered on the 14th March 1877 that the name of the Clifton Union shall be changed to Barton Regis Union with its offices at Southmead (now part of Southmead hospital). It would perhaps be appropriate to add that Winterbourne, together with the Parishes of Stoke Gifford and Filton were transferred to the Chipping Sodbury Union in 1904. There were no Parish Councils in the Country and these did not come into being until 1894.

By 1870 the Winterbourne Civil Parish had been divided into 3 Ecclesiastical Parishes, the Winterbourne Down Ecclesiastical Parish having been formed in 1861.

Parish affairs were discussed at Parish Meetings and of course at the Annual Vestry Meetings and this appears to have worked very well as the following examples will give proof:

1. In 1861 a Day School was built and opened at the rear of Whiteshill Congregational Church.

2. In 1866 the Rev FW Greenstreet gave a piece of ground for the building of the Winterbourne Down C of E School. This was built but was closed a few years ago when Elm Park Primary School was opened.

3. In 1867 the Methodists decided to build a new Church at Watleys End. Within a few months a piece of land was purchased and in the following year (1868) Ebenezer Church was built and opened for worship.

4. In 1868 Sir John Greville Smyth conveyed to the Rector and Churchwardens of Winterbourne a piece of land on which to build the St Michael's C of E School and only one year later 1869 the building was built and opened.

These examples reveal how very similar the 1860s were with the 1960s. The buildings were of course built for Educational purposes but were allowed to be used for meetings, social events etc. and thus created a New Era in the Social Life of the Parish and quite soon, new organisations began to emerge.

Even so, Sacred Musical Evenings continued to be held in the Churches and Chapels and smoking concerts in the Licenced Houses continued to be very popular and remained so even into the early 1900s. Every man of course was provided with these concerts with a "clay pipe" and a "Pipe of Baccy". The very popular Chairmen were Dr Edward Crossman (Hambrook) and his brother-in-law Henry Wm Marsh to whom Winterbourne Park passed in 1872 on the death of his father Captain Godfrey Marsh. Both families were keenly interested in cricket and Hy Wm Marsh gave Winterbourne Cricket Club the use of his field in front of his house (more details later in a special article on Cricket).

As had been the case for the past four or five centuries the most important event each year was the Winterbourne Fair which undoubtedly played an important part in the everyday life of the times, providing as it did, entertainment, conviviality and an opportunity for re-unions, as well as having a commercial value.

Two fairs were held annually.

In those days practically the only method of local transport was by horse-drawn vehicles. To travel by train meant first of all a journey to the Fishponds or Bristol stations by Gilbey's Bus which commenced its journey from The Old Coach House, High Street and finished at the White Hart, Old Market Street. However there appears to have been a grand social life and atmosphere throughout the Parish and about this period, a Choral Society, orchestra and brass band were formed.

Among the many popular events and pastirnes were:

1 The Annual Harvest Home Tea attended by about 160 children and 270 adults.

2. The Frenchay and South Gloucestershire Horticultural Show usually held in August at Yate with classes for adults and children

3. Choir and Sunday School teas and outings, usually by 4 horse brakes or by train from Fishponds.

4. Evenings of readings and songs (local talent) in the school rooms.

5. Night School - 3 evenings at 3d. per week.

6. Winterbourne and Hambrook Mututal Benefit Society.

The foregoing are just a few items concerning the Parish 100 years ago, from which it is hoped readers will agree that by 1870 Winterbourne had embarked upon a New Era and that even to-day in 1970 we owe much to their enthusiasm and determination.

Unfortunately in 1870 several dark clouds began to appear in respect of local industries.

Firstly, the Beaver Hat making industry which had flourished for 100 years, closed down in 1871 for several reasons, the main one being due to the introduction in 1866 of the first forming and blowing machines. Other reasons were (a) The rise in price of Beaver fur from which the hats were made and (b) The introduction of the cheaper French Silk hats.

On closing down the local factories in 1871, Christys of Stockport offered the Watleys End and Frampton employees similar work at their Stockport and London factories. Losing this industry was a disappointing set back to the whole Parish and Watleys End in particular for as the trade flourished so too did the building of houses and the population increased considerably. It was indeed a most anxious time for the 500 men who lost their jobs and for their families.

There appears to be no actual record as to the number of men who accepted work at the Stockport or London factories but it is known that many found other employment in the Stone quarries, and in the coal mine at Coalpit Heath or South Wales, but the "Golden Trophy" goes surely to the men who, with determination, walked daily (with "Rest" intervals!) to and from Avonmouth Docks. Also to the womenfolk who found employment in the making of ready-made clothing for Bristol firms. Many of these women did this work in their own homes and often worked from dawn to dusk for many years.

The second set back came in 1875 when the Iron Mine at Frampton Cotterell (Nr. Church) became flooded and was closed down. Incidentally the property was soon taken over by the West Gloucestershire Water Company and a few years later (1886) water was "laid on" in Winterbourne.

About this time came the beginning of the end, up and down the Country, of the Centuries-old fairs for Pedlery. The Winterbourne Fairs on June 29th and October 18th and the weekly market were held on the open piece of ground in front of the George and Dragon, but around the 1870s they were becoming just cattle markets. Even so the real value of these fairs and markets (granted by King Richard II to Lady Bradeston, the Lord of The Manor in 1393) held in Winterbourne from 1393 to 1897 can never be over-estimated whether commercially or for adding zest to the social life or nourishing the community spirit of the Parish.

Winterbourne's social and working life began to settle down to quite a new pattern following the great improvements effected in the 1860s, as mentioned in the last chapter.

During the ten years between 1870 and 1880 the social life continued to grow in many ways with music perhaps a prominent feature, particularly "Glee" singing.

Cricket appears to have become more and more popular all over the country and records show that in a number of neighbouring villages cricket clubs were formed. It is interesting to note that both the Winterbourne Club which played at Winterbourne Park and the Winterbourne Down Club shared the same Hon Sec Mr W Jones - he evidently was a very popular secretary too for on leaving the Parish in 1878 he was presented with a gold watch, chain and seal together with an illuminated address in the presence of 200 people at the Winterbourne School.

Of other sports there appears to be no written records but doubtless many older Parishioners would agree with the writer's statement that at least in the 1880s a Winterbourne football club played in a field adjoining the Beacon Lane Allotments with headquarters at "The Lion" also in Beacon Lane. A rugby club existed in the 1880s at Winterbourne Down.

Before turning to another aspect of life in Winterbourne about 100 years ago, mention should be made of a much respected Rector, Rev Frank Burgess BD whose death occurred on July 17th 1875. He was a keen politician with Liberal interest and was elected several times on the Board of Guardians. He also worked tremendously hard for the founding of our C of E School.

Rev Burgess was succeeded by the Rev Arthur Hy Austen-Leigh who over the years to 1890 displayed a tremendous interest in both the Church and social life of the Parish coupled with financial generosity. Within four years of his coming to Winterbourne, the C of E Primary School was enlarged (1879), he himself providing the lion's share of the total cost.

In the same year he provided and opened a lending library on Sept 3rd 1879 in the Parish Room in North Road, Watley's End (now the property of Mr Cameron/Mrs G Bisp). The subscription was 1/- per year and books could be changed twice per month. Incidentally as from July 6th 1879 the rector conducted a short service in this room every Sunday at 3.30pm especially intended for those who were unable to attend the services at the Parish Church.

Next came the Cottage Allotments in Beacon Lane, the soil of which has yielded over the years some "amazing" produce (and stories!). In November 1879 the rector (Rev Austen Leigh) announced that he would be letting out a field at Winterbourne as Cottage Allotments, in about 20 lots, the tenancy to be considered as beginning on Michaelmas Day. The rector himself selected his tenants from applications made and gave preference to those who had large families and small gardens. Accordingly he prepared a list of Conditions and Rules which make interesting reading eg No. 3 "The land must be dug - not ploughed - and must be manured and cultivated in a proper and husbandlike manner."

So far the writer has dealt briefly with the more important events failures and successes - of the 1860s and 1870s with a few glimpses of how the people themselves coped with the many human problems mainly hardship and poverty - in an age very far different to the 1970s. It is thought that the following item, mainly the writings of the then fairly new Rector, Rev AH Austen Leigh, might help in this respect - his summing up of the year 1879.

THE OLD YEAR: The year 1879 has not been an unimportant one in the annals of Winterbourne. In the first place it will be always remembered here and elsewhere for its WEATHER. The long frost during the early part of it brought great distress upon our poor. The trial was borne well and patiently and it called forth much generosity among those who were able to give. A sum of nearly £20 was raised by the Churchwardens for public distribution and much was given away privately in money, food and soup.

Note: Soup was obtainable by the poor at "Mrs Manns at Watleys End (North Road) at the rate of a penny a quart on Tuesdays and Fridays at 12 o'clock. Wholesome food will thus be put within the reach of the people at less than half the cost price. Those who wish to make use of this means for helping the distressed during this severe season can buy tickets for soup, which they can themselves give to those who want them. These tickets can be bought at the Post Office at the rate of 2d each".

For some years soup kitchens were opened at Winterbourne and Winterbourne Down during the months of January and/or February.

The Spring and Summer did not bring as much work with them as was hoped, owing to the wet and to the bad state of trade generally and so the year 1879 has been marked by its bad weather, its bad harvest and its want of work.

It must not be forgotten, however, that the months of October and November have been unusually fine, and that so good a season for wheat sowing has rarely been known. This makes it possible that the harvest of 1880 may be as good as that of 1879 was bad.

In the second place, the past year and years have been marked in this Parish by earnest and persistent endeavour to carry out the law in education matters, and oblige careless parents to send their children to school. These endeavours have met with some success, but have been hindered partly by the advantages of regular attendance not being thoroughly understood.

"if children are kept at school regularly from the age of 5 they will probably be able to go to work at 10 and certainly at 11 years old. The difficulty always arises in the case of irregular children. It is to be noted that parents who are unable to pay for their children's schooling are to apply to the Committee, which will meet at Hambrook on the last Monday of every month at 5pm.
Gifts to the poor. It is right that those who live in that portion of the Parish of Winterbourne which is still attached to the Mother Church, should know what has been done by former generations, and what is being done now, towards helping those in need. The money that goes to this object is derived from three sources. Voluntary Gifts, Charitable Endowments and the portion of the Poor Rates that is devoted to the maintenance of the poor by means of indoor and outdoor relief; for these rates, although the payment of them is compulsory and is no sign of a self-denying or loving disposition in those who pay them, are so much taken from those who are better off and given to the poor.

From these sources the following sums were derived the last year (1883/4):
Voluntary Gifts - £98. 0. 4.
Endowments - £159. 7. 10.
Poor Rates - £400. 0. 0. £657. 8. 2.

This sum has been distributed over the Parish in two ways:

(1) In the way of Relief to the sick and poor, including Aims, Clothing, Coal and Blanket Clubs, gifts of bread, the Almshouses and Poor Rates. Under this heading £597. 1. 7. was paid last year.

(2) Towards maintaining the School. It is for the sake of those who are not able to pay the whole cost of their children's education that National Schools are maintained partly by the Government and partly by Voluntary Contributions. Under this head £52. 7. 5. was paid last year by Voluntary subscriptions and £7. 19. 2. from Endowments making £60. 6. 7. in all.

The object of this statement is - Firstly to show a sample of what goes on more or less in every parish in England. Secondly to remind those who are poor, perhaps in want, that they are not neglected, but are cared for both by the Law of the Land and by Christian Charity and that in one form or another nearly £700 is given to them every year".

Even so, it must be emphasized that the poorer people themselves most certainly contributed to the various Clubs eg Members of the Coal Club made 30 weekly payments of 2d, 3d, 4d or 6d, and members of the Clothing Club (average 90 members per annum) paid or deposited fortnightly sums, and at the end of November each year received tickets entitling them to purchase clothes to the value of their deposit plus a bonus.

A popular and most useful Club was the Blanket Club. For very many years even up to 1914 this Club loaned an average of 130 blankets to Parishioners. They were issued during the first week of November with a request for return, washed and in good order on the Wednesday before Whit Sunday each year.

The expenses of the Club were met by subscribers (usually about 20) other than the poor to whom the blankets were loaned. This same comment applies to most of the other Clubs.

Much more could be written concerning the wonderful spirit of cooperation and generosity, together with a great friendship in those days between people who were blessed with an abundance of this worlds goods, and people who were not.

In view of the important events which will be taking place in 1970, including the Community Association, Schools and Local Government Elections. the writer again quotes the Rev A Austen-Leigh who wrote when summing up the 1870s and 1879 in particular:-

"May our losses and gains, our successes and our failures, our patience and our activity, fit us all for doing our duty, and becoming more wise and prudent and good during the year 1880."


The Spirit of co-operation, generosity and friendship so evident during the 1870s was certainly deep rooted with the result that during the next decade there may have been setbacks, but the successes were of far greater value and importance than the failures.

Perhaps the major items or events of the 1880s concerned the Church, the School, the celebration of the Jubilee of Queen Victoria's reign and the commencement of the building of what is now St Michael's Church Hall (formerly called the Mission Room).

The last section concluded with a quotation by the then Rector, the Rev A Austen-Leigh, summing up the 1870s and the writer feels that, as this generous and popular priest was so much involved in Church and Parish affairs during the 1880s, it would be appropriate to commence this present article with a quotation from his Church Magazine dated June 1880,

"It must be a cause of thanksgiving to all who wish to see true religion flourish in this parish to notice the increased number of those who attend the services. Those who love their Parish Church will rejoice at the work which has just begun, comprising:

(1) The restoration of the Manor Chapel and the removal of the vestry to the north side of the church by W Tanner, Esq.

(2) The re-seating of the chancel by the Rector.

(3) Re-building the organ and improving its tone and power."

Incidentally, readers may be interested to know that the present Church Organ was built in 1894, in the Organ Chamber built during the same year.


The recently enlarged "National School" with its average attendance of 130 was proving most satisfactory (in 1880) and an asset to the Parish in very many ways.

It was a matter of regret, however, when the Headmaster Mr Charles Rickards after five years valuable service, left to become headmaster of a school in Cheltenham in September 1882.

His musical ability and teaching of music had been much appreciated in the Parish and unfortunately for Winterbourne, his successor, Mr Thomas Underdown (and his family) was a keen musician, but his stay in Winterbourne as Headmaster was short. Owing to ill health he resigned in December 1884. His wife continued to teach in the School. With the reputation of being a good needlewoman, and having earned grants for needlework in other schools, Mrs Underdown taught sewing, this being taken up as one of the extra subjects in which the school was respected.

Of her three sons, Thomas HJ became a pupil teacher at Winterbourne, and after training at St Luke's College, Exeter, ultimately became a Head Master in Bristol, was a past president of the National Union of Teachers, elected as Lord Mayor of Bristol 1940/41, and wrote a book on "Bristol during the Blitz - World War II". Incidentally, he played the organ for church services at Winterbourne at the age of twelve years.

Following Mr Underdown's resignation, Mr Alfred Day, an assistant master at Redcliffe School, was appointed as Head Master and commenced duties in January 1885, and held office for 30 years (1915).

Although a strict disciplinarian, Mr Day was a very kindly and helpful gentleman, and was well regarded, both as a Headmaster and Parochial Worker, whether for boys or mens Social Clubs (cricket in particular) concerts or the church.

Mr Day's organising ability was found to be most valuable in connection with the Jubilee of Queen Victoria's reign celebrations held on 19th July 1887, for the united parishes of Winterbourne and Winterbourne Down in two adjoining fields between Winterbourne and Watleys End. One of them which has hitherto been known by the name of "The Condemned Ground" ought for the future to be called "The Jubilee Ground" - writes Rev Austen Leigh. The chief features of the day were the procession of over 700 children (with banners) headed by the Winterbourne Brass, and free tea, races and dancing "kept up with great spirit till well past midnight to the music of Mr Hill's Winterbourne String Orchestra". Although water had first been laid on in Winterbourne in 1886, it was necessary to carry 400 gallons of water to the fields for boiling. This was carried in Mr Samuel Matthew's water cart. The tea itself was a great success and at the final "settling up" meeting and audit of accounts, it was revealed that teas had been provided and given to 742 children, 1134 adults, and 30 sick and infirmed parishioners.

The accounts revealed a surplus of £6 which was divided equally between the Winterbourne, Winterbourne Down and Whiteshill schools.

A History of Winterbourne: H W N Ludwell 1972


At this meeting, held in September 1887, the Rev Austen Leigh was able to announce that it was hoped to commence building the Chapel of Ease or Church Room in the autumn to mark this Jubilee Year. A site had been given by Sir Greville Smyth and the plans were being prepared by H W Marsh, Esq.

Few Parish or Church Halls up and down the country can have been called upon to withstand or face more abuse or criticism than St Michael's Church Room, more particularly over the past 35 years or since the Church allowed it to be more widely used for Social purposes. Equally true would it be to write that few halls have proved to be such a valuable asset as St Michael's Room has since it was first built.

It was in April, 1887 that the then Rector, the Rev A H Austen Leigh, MA, put forward his idea to the Parishioners through his Church Magazine, the following being an extract from his Ietter:

"I am anxious to mark this, the Jubilee Year of our good Queen's reign by the erection of a Chapel of Ease or Church Room, - The Parish Church is so far off that I cannot have as many Services as I would wish, and you cannot go to it as often as you would wish... We want, therefore, a building of such a character that it can be made to look like a church and in such a situation that it may be handy both to the Winterbourne and Watleys End Folk."

The idea "caught on" and after several legal problems had been surmounted, Sir Greville Smyth (Ashton Court) gave the site and plans were prepared by K W Marsh (Winterbourne Park). This announcement was made by the Rector in September 1887, and he also announced that the work would be commenced in the Autumn. The total cost would be in the region of £500.

In December 1887, the Accounts revealed that £397.12.7d had been donated and that several valuable gifts had been received for use in the room.

The good work continued and in spite of delays through bad weather, the building of St Michael's Church Room was completed, equipped and opened for Divine Service on Easter Sunday, April 1st 1888, and was licensed accordingly by Charles John, Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol on April 18th 1888. "For the performance of Divine Service and the administration of the Sacraments according to the ritual of the Church of England."

It may or may not be a matter of interest for readers to know that this Licence is still valid.

Finally a printed letter of thanks and Audited Statement of Accounts (fully detailed) was published on July 27th, 1888 revealing that the total cost of the Hall and equipment was £505. 3. 2d.

Thus, St Michael's Room, only a suggestion in 1887, became a reality only eleven months later. There is a "long story" attached to or relative to St Michael's Room, as it has been called for so many years. Suffice it to write that this is a Church Hall, the Trustees of which (since 1937) are the Parochial Church Council and the Diocesan Authority. No Church Services are held there now, thus allowing more Social Events, Meetings, etc to be held. Incidentally, in the Deeds drawn up at that time, 1937, the building is called St Michael's Mission Room.

Whilst many people helped and gave for this project, the only man who stood out above everyone else was the greatly beloved Rector, the Rev AH Austen Leigh who generously donated £252. and the following year donated £100 towards the cost of building a New Infant's Room at the C of E School. Previously he had himself paid for the re-seating of the Parish Church Chancel but the poor and the children of the parish were his great love.

It was indeed a great disappointment to everyone, when he announced in April, 1890 that he would be leaving Winterbourne to become Vicar of Wargrave. His last sermon was delivered at Evensong on Easter Day April 6th, 1890.

The Rev A H Austen Leigh was succeeded by the Rev A T S Goodrick MA Fellow and Tutor of St John's College, Oxford. He was instituted to the Rectory on September 28th, 1890.

He came at the commencement of the last decade of the 19th Century to a Parish which had changed and progressed considerably in recent years. He found too, a co-operative and friendly community still unselfishly devoting many leisure hours to -

(1) The expansion and growth of social life in its many aspects.

(2) The various spheres of Church life including restoration work to the church building itself the re-hanging of the bells by Messrs Lewellyn and James (Bristol) and the provision of a new lighting system (oil lamps) both completed in 1890 and paid for by the subscriptions from 363 people.

(3) Raising money to meet the cost of the new Infant Room and Cloak room built 1889 at the National School completed and paid for in 1970 (now known as St Michaels Infants School).

The above could almost (except for the oil lamps!) be a 1970 report instead of 1890 and the writer feels confident that just as the Rev A T S Goodrick felt encouraged in finding such a happy state of affairs in the Parish.

A History of Winterbourne: H W N Ludwell 1972


So far mention has only been made of items and events relating to Winterbourne itself but in 1894 came a major change in the management and administration of local affairs in the whole of England and Wales by the new Local Government Act which was passed and took immediate effect as from 5th March 1894.

By the Parish Councillors Election Order of 1894 the Local Government Board fixed Tuesday 4th December 1894 as the day for the first election of Parish Councillors and. if no poll was held, Thursday the 13th December 1894 as the day when persons elected as Parish Councillors came into office. This gives rise to at least the two questions:

(1) What definition can be given to a "Parish".
(2) What is the constitution of a "Parish Council"

The following are probably the briefest answers respectively -

(1) A Parish is a place for which a separate poor rate is or can be made and may comprise of one or more villages as eg the Winterbourne Civil Parish.

(2) A Parish Council consists of a chairman and such a number of councillors not being less than five or more than fifteen, as may be fixed from time to time by the County Council. The number of members may be one more than the number of Parish Councillors fixed by the County Council, as the Chairman may be elected from outside the body of councillors.

Undoubtedly over the years since 1894 much good work has been done by Parish Councils generally. This however, is a controversial subject concerning which many people hold strong views.

However, soon after the "Birth of Parish Councils", statistics indicated that many more allotments were being provided and Parishes without village greens or other available recreation grounds acquired the necessary open spaces by gift, hire, or purchases.

It might be appropriate to mention that Mr William George Tanner (Frenchay) made over to the Winterbourne Parish Council the control of Frenchay Common about this time, a course which was continued by his successors as owners of the Manorial Rights and property of the soil of this Common. The last owner of the Manorial rights was a Mr Percy G Davies who lived at Frenchay in the 1920s and who, some years later generously gave these rights to the Winterbourne Parish Council.

The Manorial Rights (Manor of Sturden) of Whiteshill Common are held by the Lords of Westerleigh who made over the Control of the Common in the 1890s to the Winterbourne Parish Council.

Unfortunately the Parish Council is not a spending authority but with the support of resolutions approved by Parish meetings advantage may be taken of the provisions of the Baths and Wash Houses Acts in addition to the Public Libraries Acts, also giving fair attention to Footpaths, Rights of Way and other matters. In this way Parish Councillors are able to indicate a healthy interest in Parish Affairs.

It would be futile for me to attempt to write concerning the multitude of items or matters which a Parish Council can deal with, either partially or completely, and in any case there are others living in the Parish far more capable of doing so than myself.

In spite of changes over the years, probably 80% of the Local Government Act 1894 remains unaltered and this article deals briefly with several matters applicable to Winterbourne in more recent years just as they were in the 1890s.

Commons: Earlier, mention was made to the effect that the Winterbourne Parish Council had acquired control of Frenchay and Whiteshill Commons, from or through Mr William George Tanner and the Lords of Westerleigh respectively in the 1890s.

Having acquired this control, the Parish Councils' next duty was to use its power to make Byelaws for the regulation of the Commons.

The purpose of these Byelaws was, and still is, to help them uphold the People's Rights to use the Commons for Free Recreation at all times without interference or obstruction.

Even organised Clubs, eg Football, do not have to apply to the Parish Council for permission to play on the Common but must apply for permission to erect Goal Posts.

Incidentally, the mere fact that a piece of land is a village green does not give a Parish Council control over that green.

Other important items for which certain powers were given to Parish Councils includes -

Nuisances: To deal with any pond, pool, open ditch, drain or place containing any drainage, filth, stagnant water or matter likely to be prejudicial to health, but not to interfere with any Private Right or the sewage or draining works of any local authority

Gifts: To accept and hold any gifts of property, real or personal, for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Parish or any part thereof, eg The Tuckett Memorial Field at Frenchay.

Recreation Grounds: To purchase land for recreation purposes or public walks by the consent of a Parish Meeting which may be convened by the Chairman of the Parish Council or six Parochial Electors, eg The Winterboume Recreation Field.

Rights of Way: To acquire by agreement any right of way whether within the Council's Parish or adjoining Parish for the benefit of the inhabitants.

Footpaths: This is an important, lengthy and delicate subject, hence the following notes are extracts from the Local Government Acts of 1894 and 1929. Also from The Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society's Booklet "The Maintenance of Public Ways".

Repairs: "A Parish Council is under no obligation to repair any footpaths but has the power to do so" (Ref: Sec 13(2) LGA 1894).

A Parish Council cannot, however, exceed the limits of expenditure prescribed by statute which, under Sect. 75 LGA 1929 are 4d in the £ without or 8d with the consent of a Parish Meeting.

Obstruction: "Any act or wilful omission whereby the public passage over the full width of a highway (footpath) is appreciably restricted amounts to an obstruction. Where a Parish Council have reported the existence of such obstructions to a Rural District Council it is the duty of the latter body to take proper proceedings accordingly (Ref: Sec 26(4) LGA 1894).

Closure: NB The Consent of the Parish Council shall be required for the stopping in whole or in part or diversion of a public footpath (Ref: Sec 13 LGA 1894).

In this statement lies the key to the question of closing footpaths, a question dealt with at some length in the LGA 1894.

Preservation: Field paths, when well kept, are of so much advantage to the community that it should be the aim of every Parish Council to place those within its area beyond reproach. The powers of Parish Councils to do good are severely restricted in many directions, but they are sufficiently broad to enable such Councils to undertake at least three tasks of real and lasting public advantage namely, repairing footpaths, getting them freed from unlawful obstructions or the proximity of dangerous excavations or animals (Ref: Booklet "The Maintenance of Public Ways").

A History of Winterbourne: H W N Ludwell 1972


Although for many years good and encouraging progress had been made, the fast decade of the 19th century and the dawn of the 20th century brought mixed and anxious feelings as well as sadness to people all over, the county, firstly through the major changes in Local Government, secondly the South African War and thirdly by the passing of Queen Victoria at the age of 81 years in 1901, after a glorious reign of 63 years.

For the people of Winterbourne, however, the year 1897 brought additional sadness, when the last Winterbourne Fair was held on the "Island" in front of the George and Dragon. This was not altogether surprising, because since 1870 Fairs throughout the country had practically become cattle markets. Even so there was an understandable sadness when this Fair finally "Closed Down" - a Fair held twice a year (29th June and 18th October), for five centuries or ever since King Richard II on January 30th 1393 granted a Charter to Blanche Bradeston lady of the Manor of Winterbourne giving the right of holding a weekly market and two fairs annually "in the town of Winterbourne."

However well written, it would be difficult to adequately explain exactly how much these fairs meant to the people of Winterbourne or the important part they played in the peoples' every day life whether socially or commercially, throughout the centuries. No history of Winterbourne would be complete without special reference to these fairs and the places where they were held (1) near the Parish Church (2) the island in front of the George and Dragon from the 16th Century onwards, when the "new" village of Winterbourne sprang into being. Particularly during the past 50 years this "island" has come back as the "hub" of the Ecclesiastical Parish of Winterbourne as well as being one of the most historical spots in the Parish.

At the south end of this historical island stands the over 200 years old 'George and Dragon". It was in the clubroorn of this building that a old,', committee (including the Bishop of Bristol, and the well-known Wrn Wilberforce) met in 1813 and decide to provide a New School (Bourne House) for Winterbourne.

At the North end, where the Dragon Road joins High Street, is an Oak Tree, planted to mark the accession of Edward VII (Edward the Peacemaker) in 1901.

On the East side is an old house now known as West View but known to older inhabitants as formerly "The Prince of Wales" public house, and almost adjoining was the "Barbers Shop"!

On the West side is yet another public house "The Royal Oak" which like "The George and Dragon" has over the years been used as the Headquarters of a number of Parochial organisations. Added to these, in the 1890s was the Lion Public House in Beacon Lane used in those days as the HQ Winterbourne Football Club.

Obviously for very many years these buildings played a great part in helping the Winterbourne Fairs to be a success.

So we have now come to the end of the 19th Century and the dawn of the 20th Century and the writer apologises if some of this material has already been published in earlier articles and for perhaps again quoting from J M Veale's excellent "History of Winterbourne Fair".

"But the spirit of the Winterbourne Fair still lives in the hearts of the inhabitants of the Winterbourne area. Five hundred years of tradition cannot be wiped out that easily. It is embedded in our history, in our soil. It will certainly continue to flourish".

Certainly it flourished during the 19th Century and continued to flourish in the present century - the strongest evidence being provided by the Community Association which in recent years has brought new life and inspiration to Winterbourne.

A History of Winterbourne: H W N Ludwell 1972


Firstly, mention must be made of the shadow of sadness which passed over the whole Country with the passing of Queen Victoria in 1901. Some of the main achievements and events of her long reign of 63 years have already been dealt with in previous articles.

Following the accession of King Edward VII in 1901 and during his reign of 9 years some very important changes were made up and down the Country and enhanced progress considerably in Winterbourne.

Before writing in brief of some of the more important events etc let us take a look at the Social Life of the Parish which was definitely very active, with plenty of good music provided mainly by a first rate Church Choir comprising ten men, eight ladies and twelve boys, the organists over the years 1901 - 1914 being Messrs F Calway (Music Master, Colston Boys' School), G R Vaughan, Hamilton Clarke and Philip H Turner (who took over the duties in 1913 after a number of years rest).

Of course, during those early years there were the usual village Concerts, Smoking Concerts, Dances and other entertainments, in addition to a well organised Mothers' Union, District, Visitors, Blanket and Coal Clubs for those who unfortunately suffered financial hardships, Sick Benefit Clubs and in November 1911 a Local Branch of the Red Cross Society was formed under the Leadership of Major Eustace T and Mrs Hill (Winterbourne Park).

The football and cricket clubs appear to have been in an "On and Off" position during the first decade mainly owing to lack of Playing Field facilities. However the Cricket Club was more firmly established in 1910 and a Football Club reformed about this time (known as "The Flies"! The ground difficulties were not actually solved until the Rev Canon CJ Burrough provided the 6.2 acres Sports Field in 1919/20, now owned by the Parishioners, purchased in 1954/5 on their behalf by the Winterbourne Parish Council.

Shops and Tradesmen.

The population of the Ecclesiastical Parish at the commencement of the Century was about 1,400. Many of the men were engaged in the Stone Quarries, Coal Mines (locally and South Wales) while quite a number of our women "did trousering" at home, or in two Factories, one at Watleys End and one in Winterbourne Hill. There were also quite a few people of Winterbourne employed in Bristol and Avonmouth.

In many ways the population was better served than it is today by Shops and Tradesmen. The Shops may not have been "Palatial" buildings as we have today, but "The Goods" were available and what is more, were delivered to people's homes. The Shops were scattered about over the Parish and included five Boot and Shoe Shops (and Repairs), six Grocers, three Millinery, nine Sweets, a Chemist Shop which later became a Leather Shop, two Paper Shops, "Sargent and Sons" Butchers Shop and a Telegraph and Money Order Post Office which, of course, will be sited somewhere else when Miss Ludwell (the owner of the premises) retires in the very near future.

In addition to the Shops there were two Carriers operating between Winterbourne and the White Hart, Old Market Street, Bristol, eight Bakers, five Butchers, two Oil and Hardware Merchants, a Fishmonger and four Coal Merchants, all of whom could be called Travelling Salesmen. Space does not permit the publication of names, but the writer has them all recorded, if required.

The major changes during the early part of the Century included the following:

1) Transport - In 1902/3 the Great Western Railway Line running through Winterbourne and a new Railway Station (Winterbourne) was built and opened. It was quite a Red Letter Day for Winterbourne when in July 1903 the Local Sunday Schools went by train from Winterbourne to Weston-Super-Mare. This new method of Transport benefitted everybody and was welcomed, but nevertheless there must have been a few sad thoughts as "Pearce's Horse Drawn Bus" "faded out".

Ten years later (1913) the method of transport was improved still further by the Bristol Tramways and Carriage Company's introduction of a two hourly bus service from the Tramway Centre to The Swan, Winterbourne.

Telephone System - In 1908 the first telephone exchange was opened in Winterbourne. It was installed in the Post Office with 20 Subscribers Lines and three connecting lines direct to Bristol and Trunks, Fishponds and Frenchay. Naturally, in course of time, the number of Subscribers increased and approximately twenty years later a New Switch Board was installed and in 1946 the whole Exchange changed over to Automatic. Undoubtedly the tremendously improved facilities provided by the building of the Winterbourne Railway Station in 1902/3 (GWR) and by the introduction of the Bus Service in 1913 meant much to the people of Winterbourne and were warmly welcomed, as also was the opening of a Telephone Exchange in 1908 at 47 High Street (The Old Post Office!) Incidentally in 1911 and until 1923 this building was used as an Employment Exchange covering an area comprising the parishes of Filton, Stoke Gifford, the Civil Parish of Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell and Iron Acton. In 1923 a separate building was used in Nicholls Lane and after a short period the Exchange was transferred to Frampton Cotterell. It is hoped that readers will not feel confused by the writer reverting back to 1910, a year which could not be overlooked in any historical write up. It was during 1910 that the announcement was made to the effect that "The British and Colonial Aeroplane Company" had been formed or founded with its offices at Filton House. No further comment is necessary except to write that very many Winterbourne men and women over the years have been and still are proud of their past or present association with this world famous company changed though its name has been several times. To the "Old Uns" it will for ever be known as the BAC! The happy village life and Winterbourne family spirit received a bitter blow, as indeed the whole country, when World War I broke out in August 1914. The men of Winterbourne however were not slow in "joining the colours" and records show that between August 1914 and August 1917 Winterbourne Ecclesiastical Parish Service Men numbered 151, Winterbourne Down 77, Hambrook and Frenchay 134, total 362. This total was slightly increased by the men who joined the Forces in 1918 but the actual numbers are not known. There is however a complete record of the names of those who made the supreme sacrifice viz. Winterbourne 24, Winterbourne Down 16, Hambrook and Frenchay 13, total 53. The names are recorded on the respective Ecclesiastical Parish War memorials and on the Civil Parish Memorial which stands on Whiteshill Common. Incidentally the Civil Parish Memorial is "Winterbourne" in every respect - stone, design, shape and erection. During the war years Winterbourne most certainly played its part in spite of inevitable changes the first of which the coming of a new Rector, the Rev Charles James Burrough MA in February 1915, as successor to the Rev ATS Goodrick MA who had died in June 1914. The next change was that the schoolmaster, and there was a note and feeling of sadness in the Parish when Mr Alfred Day a loyal and much respected head master resigned in July 1915 after 31 years of service. He was succeeded by Mr Henry Carratt in September 1915. A keen gardener (as well as sportsman and brilliant organist), Mr Carratt was authorised in 1916/7 to use the triangular piece of school land on which now stands the kitchen and dining room, as a school garden and boys were taught gardening for a good number of years.

It is interesting to note that in 1917 and 18, children were encouraged to pick blackberries for the Red Cross and the troops." The Winterbourne children put up a wonderful effort by picking 250lbs in 1917.

At the end of the war and during the early 1920s in particular Winterbourne went "all gay" with its weekly dances, whist drives, concerts,' etc. to help raise funds for improvements to the school, school yard and offices, the church and bells repairs. In addition Winterbourne became full of sporting activities and even a "Musical Parish", but these items have been previously dealt with.

To conclude may a note be added concerning the Post Office in the High Street. Earlier it was stated that the Post Office would be sited somewhere else when Miss Ludwell (the owner of the premises) retires in the very near future.

The date for her retirement was to have been 31st March 1971 and she had informed the Head Office of her wish on 31st December 1970. Unfortunately she passed away on 8th February but the executors offered the use of the premises to be continued until 31st March or for a short while after that date if required.

However, the Post Office and Sorting Office have now been resited and the building used throughout the present century closed and so the chapters concerning the Ludwell family's 68 years very happy association with the Post Office and Parish affairs are closed with it.

In this series of articles roughly 50 years of the 100 years have been partly covered so this appears to be the appropriate moment for the writer to thank the editor for allowing him space in New Look - a fine magazine covering the activities of a fine community association.

Thank you with good wishes.

H W N Ludwell.

A History of Winterbourne: H W N Ludwell 1972

Places appearing in the text

Sketchmap of Winterbourne

A History of Winterbourne: H W N Ludwell 1972


Perry Almshouses
The Perry Almshouses

The Fishpond

Winterbourne Court Barn
Winterbourne Court Farm Barn

Winterbourne House staircase
The magnificent eighteenth-century staircase at Winterbourne House

Nightingale Bridge on the River frome
Nightingale Bridge