John Packer Stinchcombe Senior was born in Stone and baptised on 2 May 1824, the son of John Stinchcombe, labourer and his wife, Ann (nee Hayward). John and Ann had been married in Berkeley on 13th July 1818. The middle name of ‘Packer’ that they gave to their son came from Hannah Packer, John’s grandmother.
On 28 Sep 1846, John married Eliza Hobbs, daughter of James Hobbs of Thornbury labourer and his wife, Mary. Eliza had been born in Aust about 1828. John was a labourer at the time of his marriage.
In the 1851 Census, John and Eliza were living in 9 St John Street. John was aged 26, working as a porter to a spirit merchant. They had two children: Henry Thomas aged 2 and John aged 4 months.
By 1861, John and Eliza had moved to Gillingstool where he was working as an agricultural labourer. John and Eliza now had five children: John aged 9 and Mary Ann aged 7, both baptised on 23rd March 1853, Fanny aged 6 baptised on 2nd March 1856, George aged 2 baptised on 2nd February 1859 and Hannah aged 5 months baptised on 23rd August 1861.
John and Eliza went on to have four more children including Ellen who was born in 1864, Daniel, baptised on 2nd August 1868 who died and was buried on 11th June 1871 aged 2 years 11 months and another son named Daniel who was born in 1873. Another son, William, was born in 1863. We only know that he was a member of this family from references to him and his family living in Bedminster (see below).
By 1871 they were back in Thornbury living in 8 Upper Bath Road. John and Eliza were living there with their sons, George aged 13, Ellen aged 6 and Daniel aged 2. In 1881 two of their sons were living with them: John now aged 30 and the second son to be called Daniel aged 7. Although we have given this property the address of 8 Upper Bath Road we note that a letter sent from Daniel in March 1890 clearly gives the address as 4 Upper Bath Road. The numbering system of properties in Thornbury is known to have changed at least once.
They were still there in 1891 Census although only Daniel of their children was living with them now aged 17. In 1896 John and Eliza celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary. A party was arranged at the Cossham Hall and guests were asked to pay 6d for their tickets. Music and dancing was arranged for the guests and the Bedminster Brass Band volunteered their services. We were thrilled to get a wonderful photo of that event showing most of the family.
In 1901 John and Eliza were living in the Toll House adjoining the Market House on the High Street. John was described as a retired gravel quarryman. Eliza died aged 81 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 21st September 1908. The Gazette newspaper of September 18th 1908 reported on the end of their sixty two years of marriage. Eliza had got up to light the fire in the morning and when her husband came down he found her lying dead.
John died in Thornbury Hospital on 16th February 1912 aged 88.
Of John and Eliza’s children:
John Packer Stinchcombe Jnr
Known as ‘Jack’ in the family. He was baptised on 23rd March 1853 although he was born in 1850. Unlike his siblings who drifted off to distant parts, John appeared to stay close to Thornbury. He was living with his parents in the 1881 Census.
In 1886, John married Rosa Whitchurch in Clifton. The 1891 Census shows them living in Hackett Lane. John was a quarry labourer. His age is given as 48 which must be a mistake. Rosa is aged 38 from Olveston. In the census they had two children: John aged 1 and George William aged 1 month. They later had one other child, a daughter, Mary Kate, born 29th May 1892. The school records for the Thornbury National School show that the family moved from the Hackett to Castle Street and this was shown as their address when George and Kate started school in 1896.
1896 was an interesting year in Thornbury. Mary Kate’s grand-daughter Paula Stanley has contacted us and told us that Mary Kate was able to remember a very unusual event – an earthquake that was felt quire strongly in Thornbury. Mary Kate says she can remember going to church on that day. Paula tells us that Mary Kate was able to recall that there was damage to a window sill and wall caused by the earthquake. We have some confirmation of this memory in a newspaper article of 18th December 1896 that says:
‘yesterday morning at 5.35 an earthquake was experienced at Thornbury its approach was heralded by a low rumbling noise like a heavy wagon being drawn along the road at a little distance. Then the shock came. Most of the inhabitants were in bed at the time. Some were awakened from their slumbers, very much frightened at the unusual occurrence. No damage was done in the neighbourhood.’
The 1901 Census shows that the family of John and Rosa Stinchcombe was occupying 4 Crispin Lane at that time. John Stinchcombe was a gravel merchant aged 50, and Rosa was aged 48. In 1901, they had three children, John Thomas aged 11, George aged 10 and Kate aged 8. The 1905 Rate Book for Thornbury shows that John owned a gravel quarry – the small quarry located between the old Grammar School field and the site of the Workhouse and Hospital grounds. The quarry now forms part of the streamside walk gulley.
It appears that the Stinchcombes didn’t stay in Crispin Lane long before moving off. Around 1904 they are moved to Woodbine Cottage, Gillingstool later known as The Dingle. Then by 1913 they moved again, from Gillingstool to Crossways. They appear to have been living at Crossways in 1911 when Daniel came from Russia on a visit with his wife and three children. The 1911 census merely describes the address as ‘Sibland.’
Rosa died on 28th August 1926 aged 74 and John died at The Glen, Stoke Bishop, Bristol on 10th February 1929 aged 78.
Of John and Rosa’s children, we know that John Thomas Stinchcombe worked for Councell & Sons, the grocers in Thornbury, but he went off to join the Army on 31st December 1906. He signed up for the Royal Fusiliers Artillery for six years and for a further six in the Reserves. We understand he left the Army before the War to take up a position of a manager at a pigeon fancier’s establishment. Whilst there he was was appointed a judge at Luton Pigeon Show and gained several cups at Crystal Palace for his own birds. In 1915 John Thomas married Ethel A. Wilding in Luton. Then in 1916 he joined the Army again serving with the Royal Field Artillery 6th Reserves London where he spent time working with the military police. He was sent to France, initially as an officer’s servant but then transferred to become a gunner. He was killed when an enemy shell hit his battery at the battle of Ypres and he died on 15th August 1917 when he was aged 27. He is remembered with honour at the Gwalia Cemetery. Mary Kate Stinchcombe went into service. In 1911 she was in Redland. On Christmas Eve 1914 she married William Wilfred Clifford, a gardener from Westbury on Trym in Thornbury St Marys Church. They had four children, William George Mervyn (known as Mervyn) in 1915, Stanley W in 1920, Hilda O in 1923 and Arthur Ronald (known as Ronald) in 1930.
Known in the family as Thomas or Tom, he was baptised on 20th August 1848. It appears that he had a difficult start life. On 8th November 1860 he was charged with stealing four scarves, one cap, one shirt and other articles from his employer, John Williams on the 4th November. At the Gloucester Quarter Sessions on 2nd January 1861 he pleaded guilty to larceny and was sentenced to one month’s hard labour. Thomas was only 12 years old at the time! He was described as a labourer 4ft 6.5 inches with brown eyes, hazel eyes, oval face and sallow complexion. He had a scar on the centre of his forehead and a large cut right eye. It was noted that he was a native of Thornbury, that his parents lived at Crossways and his father worked for Mr Salmon, the surgeon and that he was of Independent religion. His conduct whilst in gaol was recorded as being ‘indifferent’.
Thomas was released from prison on 1st February 1861. Within two months he was back in trouble with the police. On 27th March 1861 he was charged with stealing one sovereign, the property of George Harwood, on 23rd March and sentenced to one month’s hard labour in the Penitentiary and five years at Hardwicke Reformatory School. He was now described as being aged 13, 4ft 6.75 inches tall, and he was employed as a servant to George Harwood. His conduct whilst in prison was recorded as being ‘orderly’.
The 1861 Census shows Thomas in North Hamlet prison. His occupation at that time was given as farm labourer. In 1871 the census shows that he was a farm servant at Nupdown Farm near Hill. On November 11th 1878 he married Emily Smith in Bethnal Green. By this time he was living in Bethnal Green and working as a colour maker. The 1881 Census shows that he had moved to Bedminster in Bristol and become a colour maker in a paint and dye works. Emily was then aged 25 and they had a son called Frederick James aged 6 who was born deaf and dumb. Frederick James Stinchcombe died in Bedminster and his death was registered December quarter of 1881.
We know from a letter that he wrote home in 1885 that Thomas had gone to Moscow alone. We do not know the reason why he went to Russia. In 1890 he was joined by his brother, Daniel. The letters sent home by Daniel appear to show that the two brothers were in business producing pickles in Moscow. By 1897 Thomas had moved to work in a Chemical Works about 75 miles from Daniel in Moscow. Initially Emily had stayed behind in England but she later joined him in Russia. In June or July 1898 he sent a telegram to his parents in Thornbury with the words ‘Today my Jubille mother Tom Aleksandra Stinchcombe’. Presumably this referred to his 25th birthday. We assume he may have adopted the Russian middle name whilst in Moscow.
None of the letters home indicate that Thomas and Emily had had any more children. We understand Thomas died in Russia, but we don”t know what happened to Emily. Click here to read a letter from Tom Stinchcombe in Russia
Mary was baptised on 23rd March 1853. She went off to London and married John Lazina in Bethnal Green on 1st June 1873. John and Mary Ann’s marriage certificate shows he was a brewer at the time of the marriage. After the marriage they settled in Manchester where they had two daughters: Francis and Hannah.
John died in 1880 aged 40 when Hannah was only one and Mary re-married in 1881, this time to Alfred Myerns, a Jewish tailor from Warsaw in Poland who had been married twice before. The 1891 census shows ‘Alfred and Mary Myrens’ with Francis and Annie Lazina living at 22 Flag Row, Manchester. Alfred was a waterproof maker and Francis was a cigar maker. However we can find no record of this marriage and Mary Ann Lazina died in the Manchester area in 1911 aged 59 so they may not have formalised the marriage. Alfred also died in 1911 aged 70.
Fanny was baptised on 2nd March 1856. The 1871 Census shows her working as a dairymaid and living on a farm at Wapley called Chescourt Farm. She married Thomas Wilkins Browning in St Mary’s Stratford Bow in London in 1876. Thomas was a colour maker and the son of John Stephen Browning. the witnesses at the wedding were Thomas Stinchcombe and Mary Lazina.
In 1881 the census shows that Thomas was a boilermaker from Bristol aged 29. They already had three children at this time Henry, George and Anne. The 1891 Census shows that they were still living in Stratford, West Ham but Thomas had become a warehouseman. Two of their children seem to have died as they now have William G, Walter, Alfred, Arthur and Charles. Their eldest son, George, had become a locomotive machine hand. Walter is a stationers’ packer and John is a slater’s porter in the building trade.
In May 1903 Fanny and Thomas sailed from Liverpool to Quebec in Canada with three of their sons, John a labourer aged 17 , Arthur a labourer aged 15 and Charles 11. From a letter dated 1902 we understand that their son George had already sailed from Liverpool. Their travels involved crossing the continent in a covered wagon. Walter also appears to have sailed to Halifax, Canada on an earlier sailing in March 1903. He was aged 21.
We were able to trace the military records of their son, Alfred John, who fought in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces in WW1. This showed the family had got as far as Alberta as he had joined the Alberta Regiment in Calgary in November 1917. He was described as ‘a driller, height 5ft 7 1/8th inches, with dark complexion, blue grey eyes and black hair.’ He was a spiritualist by religion, and his next of kin was given as his mother.
George was baptised in the church of St Mary in Thornbury on 2nd February 1859. He married Annie Halls in West Ham in the June quarter of 1877. In the 1881 Census they were still living in West Ham and they had a daughter, Eliza E. The 1891 Census shows George and Mary aged 13 and 11, who should have been in the earlier census and the later arrivals; John Ann Ellen Henry and Lily. George was providing for this substantial family on his wage as a bricklayer.
Trade must have been good as by 1901 George and John had become bricklayers like their father. The family were all living in East Ham and had now been joined by daughters Ivy and Gladys aged six years and two and a somewhat unfortunate son who was registered in the December quarter of 1892 as Gloucester Poole Stinchcombe.
Hannah was baptised on 23rd August 1861. In the 1871 Census the ten year old Hannah was living with her grandmother, Mary Smith. Mary Hobbs married Thomas Smith on 16th May 1830 after her first husband, James Hobbs, had died.
We understand that Hannah may have gone to Manchester to work in service. She married William Davies, a carter on the railway on 25th April 1886 in the parish church of St Catherine’s in Manchester and the marriage was registered in the Prestwich district. Her mother Eliza was one of the witnesses.
They had one daughter who died young. When Hannah’s sister, Ellen, died in her 30’s, Hannah and William took care of Ellen’s daughter, Annie, and brought her up.
William was born in 1863. His birth was registered in Thornbury district in June quarter 1863. We can’t trace William living with his parents in any of the censuses, but we know he was a member of the family from its collection of letters which refer to him living in Bedminster with his wife ‘Jane’ and their children ‘Nellie’ and Ethel.
We can’t trace William in he 1871 census. The 1881 census shows William was working as a milkman and lodging in Clifton. William married Mary Jane Cullen in St John’s Church, Bedminster on 22nd October 1882. The marriage record gives his father’s name as John Stinchcombe. In 1891 the family were living in Alfred House, West Street, Bristol. By this time William was working as a labourer and they had three children: Annie aged 6, Ellen aged 4 and Ethel aged 2 months.
The 1911 census shows the family living at 19 Milford Street, Bedminster. William was an engine driver and they now had Ellen was a tobacco packer and Ethel Florence Kate was a boxmaker. They had another daughter, Winnifred May was a tobacco stripper aged 15. The census record shows that William and Mary Jane had seven children, two of whom had died by the time of the census.
William’s death was registered in Bristol in 1930 aged 67.
Ellen was born on 15th November 1864. We understand that she may have gone to Manchester to work in service. In 1881 the census shows that she is 18 years old and living as a housekeeper for Jesse Murphy who at that time was a warehouseman aged 21 years. She appears to have married Jesse, although we have not yet traced the marriage. In 1891 they were living in 56 Tatton Street, Salford where Jesse was employed as a newsagent. They had 2 children then: Nellie aged 3 and Jessie aged 10 months.
They went on to have seven children, two of whom died young. Ellen died on 10th January 1897 aged 32. The 1901 census shows Jesse was a newsagent and shirt cutter living in the same house with four of the children including Thomas Henry aged 7 and Frances aged 6. Their other daughter, Annie was brought up by Ellen’s sister, Hannah and her husband William Davies.
It is interesting to note that the Manchester connection seems to have continued with this branch of the Stinchcombes as little Jessie (Ellen and Jesse’s daughter) married George Morris in 1914 and two of their children became MP’s for Manchester.
Daniel was born on 9th October 1873, the youngest of John and Eliza’s children. On 30th March 1886 Daniel had an accident whilst working a machine on the farm of Mr T. Hignell. His hand was crushed and he was taken to Bristol Royal Infirmary. We understand from the family that they believe his hand had to be amputated and he lived the rest of his life with a wooden hand. This setback didn’t stop Daniel continuing his education. On 19th July 1886 he was admitted to Thornbury Grammar School.
As can be seen in family letters, Daniel went off to Moscow in March 1890 to join his older brother, Thomas, and to run a pickle factory. In December 1896 he married a Russian girl, Claudia. Her family lived in Serpukhov about 60 miles south of Moscow. We know from the header of several letters written by Daniel that he owned an ‘English factory’ producing mustard pickles. In 1902 this factory was located at ‘Dom Pong’ in Pyatnitskaya Street in Moscow. By 1907 the factory was at Bakhmetyevskaya and in 1911 and 1914 it was based in Lazarevskiy Per, Moscow.
Daniel’s letters show he and Claudia had shorts visits to England to visit the family in 1902 and 1911. The letters indicate that there was increased tension in Moscow with many strikes and public demonstrations. By the time of the Russian Revolution, Daniel and Claudia left Moscow and settled in the Bristol area of England. The family bought a house at 14 Richmond Avenue, Monteplier, Bristol and Daniel became a confectioner and tobacconist. Daniel died in Bristol on 25th April 1920 aged 47. Claudia continued to live at the same house until at least 1931 and during that time the family continued to run their shop.
We are grateful to Daniel’s great grand-daughter, Sherry Miller, for telling us that Daniel and Claudia had six children: Leza (Lizzie), Helen, Zena, Seraphine (Cema), Walter (born 23rd February 1911) and George. We know from the collection of family letters that one daughter was also known as Kate and that she married Ernest Rawlins in Bristol in 1931. We suspect that this would have been either Zena or Helen because Cema married Arthur Hamblin in Bristol in 1930 and Lizie was still unmarried and living at home in 1931.
A passenger list shows George sailed on SS Carmenia from Southampton to Halifax, Canada in April 1927. The list shows that George was born in Moscow, Russia about 1903 . He had been working in engineering, but was seeking work in farming. At that time George’s mother was living at 14 Richmond Avenue, Montpelier, Bristol.
We have been told that Claudia never learned to speak English, but we find that surprising as she lived to the age of 93. She died in Camelford in Cornwall in 1965. She had moved there presumably to live with, or near, her daughter, Seraphine (Cema) who was a pottery designer and decorator in Bossiney .