Alfred William Sealy (in some records the name appears as Sealey) was born in Tetbury on 15th June 1876. He was the son of Alfred Thomas Sealy, an ironmonger, and his wife, Ellen. In 1881 the family lived in Church Street in Tetbury. Alfred Thomas was aged 40, Ellen aged 33 and they had George Edward aged 3 and James Sparks aged 2. His father, Alfred Thomas died in 1883 aged 42. In 1891 his widowed mother Ellen was living in Back Lane, Tetbury. She was living on her own means with Alfred William, a printer’s apprentice aged 14 and his brother James. Throughout his life, most records show he used the name of ‘Alfred’ but there are some records where he used the name of ‘William’.
In 1899 Alfred married for the first time. His wife was Mary Matilda Harris, the daughter of Charles Harris, a labourer of Thornbury. They married in Thornbury in St Mary’s Church on the 23rd April. In the 1899 rate book, the year of his marriage, he was listed as the tenant of number 3 St John Street but he was shown as the owner of number 1 St John Street.
The birth of their son George Alfred Charles Sealy was registered in the Bristol area in 1900. In the 1901 census they were living at 12 Paul Street, St Pauls, Bristol. They were sharing the house with a widow Lydia H Bailey who was working as a “paper boy” aged 55. Alfred was described as a ‘Printer and Refreshment Room Keeper’. He was aged 24 and Mary was 34 born in Stanton Drew. Living with them was their son, George Alfred Charles aged 10 months, Alfred’s brother, James, a general labourer, two boarders and a servant, Ella W Gough who aged 17 and born in Thornbury.
It would appear that Alfred and Mary had at least two more children: Gilbert Hughes Sealy was born in 1903 and his birth was registered in Thornbury. Sarah Ellen Mary Sealy was born in 1906. There is a possibility that the family lived for some time in Berkeley. Their son, George was admitted to the Council School in 1903 when his guardian was given as his uncle George Hughes living in St John Street. He left in same year to go to Berkeley.
The 1905 and 1910 rate books show that the Sealys now owned both 1 and 3 St John Street and it is interesting to note that ‘Mary Sealey’ is listed as the owner and that both properties were let to tenants.
The 1910 trade directory gives their address as the High Street and the 1911 census shows that Alfred and his wife Mary with their children George and Ellen were living at the Castle Temperance Hotel with Mary’s sister Sarah Ann Hughes. The Census also shows that Alfred and Mary had had three children but that one had died. The records show that their son Gilbert’s death was registered in Thornbury in 1904. Mary died on 25 January 1913 aged 46 years. She was buried in the same grave as her two sisters, Sarah Ann who had married George Hughes and Selina. Sarah Ann had died two days before Mary.
During the First World War, Alfred served with the Army. We understand he served in the 4th Gloucesters. He was “with his Regiment at Northampton” when his sister-in-law, Selina, died in March 1915.
Alfred married for a second time in 1917. His wife was Alice May Watts and they married in the Dursley area. Alice was born on 4th May 1893, the daughter of George Nathaniel Watts. The photograph at the top of the page shows Alfred with Alice.
We note that on 22 May 1925, Alfred’s daughter from his first marriage, Sarah, married Edward George Watts, coal merchant and son of George Nathaniel Watts, haulier of Morton. Edward was aged 29 and Sarah aged 20. Thus it seems possible that Alfred’s second wife had a brother who was also her son-in-law!
The 1921 electoral register shows ‘William’ and Alice were living at Crossways.
Alice and Alfred were together in 1 St John Street in the 1925 electoral register. The 1925 Valuation list and 1926 rate book show ‘William Sealey’ owned the two houses which later became known as 1 and 3 St John Street. He appears to be living in number 1. The 1927 electoral register shows them living in St John Street with Alfred’s son, George Alfred Charles. We suspect that Alice’s father, Nathaniel George Watts was also living in the house for some time. He is listed as living in St John Street in the 1931 Electoral Register and was shown as living there in the report of his funeral printed in the Western Daily Press on 1st November 1932.
The 1939 register compiled in preparation for the war lists Alfred and Alice and one other person living in the house. The details of the third person are ‘blacked out’. Alfred is described as a letterpress printer (journeyman).
Alice died on 13 February 1940 aged 46 years. Alfred married his third wife on the 15th March 1941. She was Charlotte May E Eacott, the daughter of Philip Edward Eacott, a labourer and his wife, Minnie Louisa (nee Pick). At the time of their marriage, Alfred was aged 64 and Charlotte aged 38.
Alfred worked as a printer for Prewetts and a neighbour, Francis White, thought there was a connection with the Horder family.
Alfred died in Southmead Hospital on July 11th 1954 aged 78 years. Probate was granted to his son George, an engineers stores assistant and to Robert Edward Eacott, a contractors engineer. His widow, Charlotte, continued to live at number 1 for another 34 years. The electoral registers shows that a Mary E Phipps was also living with Charlotte in 1954 and 1957. We are not sure of the relationship between Mary and Charlotte.
In 1988 Charlotte sold the house and moved into Quaker Court, the sheltered housing scheme just across the road from number1. She died there on June 22 1992 aged 89 years.