George Ponting was baptised in Berkeley on 23 December 1812. He was the son of George Ponting, a dairyman and his wife, Hester, who lived at Woodford.
By 1841, George had become a bailiff and had left left to live in North Nibley. He was living at Southend Farm with his sisters, Sarah and Emma. In December quarter 1846, George married Marianne Harris in Thornbury. Marianne was born in Swanswick, Gloucestershire about 1826.
By 1851 George had become a relieving officer, living in the High Street with Marianne and daughters, Elizabeth (aged 3) and Sophia (aged 2). The 1856 Thornbury Trade Directory shows George was also an insurance agent for the Agriculturist Insurance Company. The 1861 Census shows that the family had moved to 5 St John Street. George Ponting was the Clerk to the Board of Guardians and Relieving Officer. Living with them were their children: Sophia aged 13, William Harris aged 9 born in Alveston, George Charles aged 3, and Edward John aged 2, both born in Thornbury. A conveyance between John and George Hodges dated 1857 found in the deeds of 19 Pullins Green refers to the fact that George Ponting was a tenant of John Hodges at that time. The 1871 Census shows George had become a Water Bailiff and the family had moved yet again – this time they were in St Mary Street. They had added two more children to their family: Sydney James aged 8 and Annie Mary aged 3. Their older son, William Harris had become an attorney’s clerk aged 19. The 1881 Census shows George and Marianne living in 42 Castle Street. George was working as a water bailiff and gardener. Living with them were their sons, Edward, a plumber aged 22 and Sydney a solicitor’s clerk aged 18.
Marianne died on 22 December 1882 aged 57 years. The 1891 Census shows George was living alone in Cockmead on the Kington Road where he was living in one room. He was still working as a water bailiff at the age of 78. George died on 30 December 1892 aged 80 years.
Of George and Marianne’s children:
Edward John Ponting – Edward was baptised on 21 April 1859. He married Mary Meredith in the Chipping Sodbury area in June quarter 1888. Mary was the daughter of Mark and Mary Ann Meredith of Latteridge. In 1891 Edward and Mary were living in the High Street with their daughter, Beatrice Valentine Ponting baptised on 11 March 1889. Edward was working as a plumber and gasfitter.
Edward’s business hit hard times as in 1890 the Bristol Times and Mercury reported his bankruptcy. The alleged cause of this was ‘insufficient capital and heavy expense connected with county court proceedings’. The Official Receiver reported that the business had been started 10 years previously with £30 capital and that Edward had borrowed a large amount of money, most of which he claimed to have spent on his house.
On 21 February 1896, Mary acquired two houses in St John Street (nos 7 & 9) when she bought them for £140 following the death of her parents. She continued to let both properties. In 1899 Edward was appointed as one of the two ale-tasters for Thornbury at the annual Court Leet.
In 1901 Edward was listed as a plumber (shopkeeper) in the High Street. He and Mary had three more daughters, Mabel aged 9, Hannah aged 7 and Sophia aged 3. Edward was listed as a plumber in the High Street in various Thornbury Trade Directories up to 1923. He died on 16th August 1926 aged 67 years. Mary died on 3rd February 1927 aged 69 years.
Edward’s daughter, Sophia Annie Victoria was born on 27th July 1897 attended the Council school. She was awarded a free place at Thornbury Grammar School. She started there on 16th September 1909 and went through to the Sixth form there before leaving on 11th April 1913. When she left school she started working as a bookkeeper for a dairyman. Click here to read more
Sophia Ponting – was born in Thornbury on 17th February 1849. In 1871 she was a governess boarding on the farm of Ann Smith in Easton in Gordano. In the Census of 1881 she was shown as a certified schoolmistress lodging in in Salter Villa, Berkeley. In the Census of 1891 she was said to be a schoolmistress visiting a family in Berkeley. In 1901 she was living at Basset Court Farm, Nibley Green with her sister Elizabeth and her husband, William Frape.
Sophia never married. She later returned to Thornbury to live at 23 Gloucester Road with her sister, Annie Mary, who had married Robert John Sully, the brother of William Harris’s wife, Jemima Spiller Sully who both came from Stogumber in Somerset. Sophia and Annie Mary are listed as living in Gloucester Road in the 1937 Electoral Register and remained there until her death. Sophia died on December 10 1952 aged 103 years.
William Harris Ponting – William was baptised on 5 October 1851. He married Jemima Spiller Sully in the Williton area in December quarter 1880. Jemima came from Stogumber in Somerset. They had three children: Richard Sully Ponting baptised on 17th October 1873, Herbert Harris baptised on 24th March 1876, and Ralph baptised on 27th November 1889. William acquired several properties from Charlotte Morgan on 28th March 1878. These were various buildings now known as The Knot of Rope pub. In the 1881 and 1891 Censuses the family lived at the gabled house adjoining 59 High Street which William had bought. On 1st February 1893 William sold the fully licensed premises next door to the tenant, James Merrett Michael, for £995. James also bought the three cottages fronting Chapel Street. William was required to build a wall to divide off the premises to be retained by himself.
On 24th June 1893 William sold the old gabled building to Josiah Bennett for £630. It was still being described as a messuage, shop and premises, but there was a condition attached to the sale that it should not be used for the sale of drapery or millinery for a period of 12 years from June 1893. The sale included the coach house used as a coal depot by Ponting and Nalder, the large room let out to E. Stafford Howard and the rainwater cistern let to Mrs Smith next door.
By the 1894 Rate Book the Pontings had moved to 43 High Street which William had bought for £600 on 22nd December 1892 for £600. William was described as a coal merchant at the time of the purchase, but he seemed to want to use the new premises as a a draper’s shop and lived above. By 1910 he had let the shop to Basil William Bryant. We believe from about 1916 the lease of the shop was taken over by Harry Talbot. On 21st March 1923 William Harris Ponting of Elmhurst retired draper sold the property to Harry Talbot draper of Thornbury for £1350.
William was to have many different jobs in Thornbury. The baptism records of his three children show he was an accountant. His other jobs included draper, deputy superintendent registrar, coal merchant, agent for Norwich Union and Gresham Building Society, and secretary of the Church Institute. When William was living at 59 High Street, he also went into business as a coal merchant with Frederick William Nalder. They used the premises in the rear fronting St Mary Street as a coal depot.
The 1911 Census shows William and Jemima had moved to live in Newton near Rockhampton. William is now shown as being a retired draper. He was living there with Jemima and their two sons, Richard, a draper’s assistant and Herbert, a farmer. William was still at Newton in the 1913 Electoral Register. In the First World War, they were to lose their son, Richard Sully Ponting, who was killed in France in 1917.
The 1918 Electoral Register shows they had moved to live at Elmhust 62 Gloucester Road. Jemima died December 28th 1921 aged 72 years. William re-married – we think his second wife was Fanny Jane Broughton who he married in the Cardiff area in 1922.
William died October 13th 1936 aged 85 years. His obituary in the Gazette said that when he died he was one of the oldest men of the town. His many achievements were also listed. He was first chairman of the Managers of the Council School. He was the official correspondent of the Church School and for many years a member of the church choir. He conducted a drapery business at Norwich House in the High Street. In his younger days he was a solicitor’s clerk for Crossman & Co and for 40 years he was a bailiff of the Manor of Thornbury. Fanny Jane Ponting died 31st October 1943.
Emma Ponting was baptised 18th November 1855. She died almost immediately and was buried when a day old.
George Charles Ponting was baptised 18th November 1857. In 1861 George was three years old and living with his family in St John Street. In 1871 he was a school boy of 13 and the family lived in St Mary Street. By 1881 he had become a railway clerk and was living in Carlisle as a boarder with the widow Hannah Moses. By 1891 he had moved again and was visiting the family of John and Mary Phillips in Rickergate in Carlisle. He was still a railway clerk. By 1901 he lived in Kentish Town in London with his wife Mary and their son George aged 8. By 1911 he was aged 53 and had been married 19 years. Their son George then aged 18 had become a draughtsman. George Charles Ponting died in Sibland in Thornbury on 22nd August 1927. His funeral was reported in the Gazette. Probate of his will was granted on 23rd November to Mary Elizabeth Ponting his widow and his estate was valued at £303 15s 3d.
Sydney James Ponting was baptised 1st February 1863. In the Census of 1881 Sydney was living with his family and at 18 years old he was a solicitor’s clerk. The 1911 Census shows that aged 47 he was still single and was a dairyman. He had a housekeeper Amelia Camm aged 46 from Charfield and a general servant Hilda Goldstone aged 19. Sydney died in Spreyton Combe Rockhampton near Thornbury on 21st December 1923. Probate was granted to Amelia Camm and his solicitor George James dowse. His estate was valued at £33,173 11s 2d.
Annie Mary Ponting was baptised in Thornbury on 5 March 1865. The Bristol Times and Mercury 1881 reported that a daughter of George Ponting aged about 15 (so we assume this to be Annie Mary) was attacked the high road near Tytherington by a tramp. She was going to visit her aunt, Mrs Meredith and when on top of Stowe Hill she was accosted by a tall powerful fellow who asked her for a penny. After she gave him the coin, he asked for another and then another which she refused to give. He then knocked her down and on her screaming put his hands over her mouth then ran off.
In 1891 and 1901 she was living with her brother, William, in the High Street where she was employed as a draper’s assistant in his shop. Annie married Robert John Sully in the Dursley area in 1912. Robert John was the brother of Jemima Sully who had married Annie’s brother, William.
We don’t know where Robert John and Annie lived nor what happened to Robert John. Annie returned to Thornbury, and in 1937 she was living with her sister, Sophia, in 23 Gloucester Road. She remained living there until her death. Annie Mary died on September 30 1948.