Edgar Beeston and the Uley Wassailers

Edgar Beeston sang the Uley Wassail to Andrew Kennett in 1975. The other singers who had accompanied him wassailling were Gilbert Boddie, Harry Elliott, Mr Beeston (Edgar’s father), “Rattle” Fisher, and Samuel Lloyd. There were 3 or 4 other similar groups in Uley: one from top – Lower Crown, one from “Sheepshearers” at the bottom of turnpike and one from King’s Head. The wassailing tradition in Uley was very vigorous up to the time of WWII.

Edgar and Herbert Beeston

Albert Edgar Beeston’s father, also a Uley wassailler, Herbert Beeston, was born in 1878 in Lilleshall, Shropshire. His parents were Henry and Ruth Beeston who had probably married in 1865 in the Stafford Registration District. By 1891 Henry’s family were living in Earls Croome, Worcestershire near the school where Henry was a gardener, domestic, born in Child’s Ercall, Shropshire. Living with him were his wife, Ruth, born in Lilleshall and their children, Abraham, Christiana and Herbert, born in Lilleshall and Ernest  and Ruth born in Sheriffhales, Shropshire. By 1901 Edgar Beeston’s father, Herbert, had married and was living at 25, Sully Terrace, Penarth, Glamorganshire. Herbert was a gardener working on his own account giving his place of birth as Muxton, Staffordshire. His wife, Ellen, was born in Gloucester City.  Albert Edgar had been born on 14 March that year in Penarth. Also living with them was Mary Gough, Herbert’s sister, a domestic servant,  born in Littledean and  Henry Chivers, a boarder,who was  a shop assistant born in Gloucester City.

In 1911 Herbert was living at The Green, Uley, a machine moulder (Iron works). His employer had an agricultural implements works. His wife, Ellen Sarah, was on house duties and the three eldest of his five children were at school. Herbert was born in Shifnal, Newport, Shropshire, Ellen Sarah in Littledean, Gloucestershire, and of the children, Albert Edgar was born in Penarth, Glamorganshire, Victor Regnald Arthur and Evelyn in Stinchcombe and Ernest Henry in Uley. As Ernest Henry was two years old, presumably the family had been living in Uley since 1909. In 1915 Albert Edgar Beeston living at The Green, Uley, signed up for the 13th Gloucester Regiment for the duration of the First World War. He married Mary A. Heaney in 1933 in the Dursley Registration District and he died in late 1978 in the Stroud Registration District. His mother, Ellen, possibly died at the age of 92 in Dudley, Staffordshire.

Gilbert Boddie/Body/Bodey

Gilbert Body’s family came from Newington Bagpath near Uley. Their surname was spelt at various times ‘Boddie’,’Body’ or ‘Bodey’. Since 1901 the family appear to have used the spelling Boddie which has been used here.

In 1851 Gilbert’s father, Andrew Boddie aged 13, was living with his widowed mother, Elizabeth aged 46 and his brother, John, aged 20, in Newington Bagpath. Elizabeth ‘works on farm’ and was born in Aylsworth, Gloucestershire. The children were born in Bagpath. By 1861 Andrew had married and aged 25 was living with his wife, Priscilla, aged 24 and their daughter Sarah aged 8 months in Bagpath near Ludgershall Farm. Andrew was a journeyman mason. All the family were born in Bagpath.

Gilbert Boddie was born in 1867 in the village of Newington Bagpath. In 1871 he was living with his father, Andrew then aged 36, a mason, and his mother, Priscilla, aged 34 and their other children, Susan aged 10, Mary aged 8, William aged 6, all scholars and Norah Mary A. aged 8 months.  In 1891 aged 23 Gilbert was still living in Newington Bagpath village with his father, Andrew, aged 55 a mason, his mother, Priscilla aged 53 and his sister, Norah, a pupil teacher. At that time Gilbert was a gardener. All the family were born in Newington Bagpath.

By 1901 Gilbert’s mother, Priscilla, was a widow. Gilbert was still living at home aged 33, with his brother, William, a stone mason, and his sister, Norah Weston, who was married, and her 2 children, Norah aged 3 and Constance aged 2,  who were born in Uley . Gilbert was then a general labourer. At the end of 1903 Gilbert married relatively late in life in Dursley and by 1911 aged 43 he was living in Clapgate Lane, Uley, with his wife, Sarah. They had been married for 7 years but had had no children. Gilbert had taken after his father and was an estate mason and Sarah was born in Dursley and was a dressmaker working on her own account.

Gilbert Boddie died in 1937 in the Dursley Registration District. Gilbert’s sister, Norah Weston, died in Horsham, Sussex, in 1952 aged 81.It is possible that her daughter, Constance, married Tom S. Grave in Steyning, Sussex in 1930.

Harry Elliott

A Harry Elliott was born in the Dursley Registration District in 1914. There were also two other Harry Elliotts in the area, both older. One, Harry C. Elliott aged 5, was living with his grandparents, James and Caroline Elliott in Clapgate lane, Dursley in 1901. James was a woodman. The other Harry Elliott was 18 in 1901, living in Shadwell Lane with his grandparents, George and Ann Elliott. George worked in a sawmill.

‘Rattle’ Fisher

We do not know Rattle’s Christian name so it is difficult to identify him further. However there have been several families called Fisher in Uley, for example, in 1911 there were the following families:

–           John and Annie Fisher. John was a turner, iron, in an electrical works living in Whitecourt, Uley

–          Francis and Emma Fisher with children Elsie may, Norah Edith and Albert Charles living at Cross Banks, Uley. Francis was a machine packer in a dairy engineering works. They had been married for 16 years and  had 3 children all of whom were alive

–          William and Kate Fisher living at Cross Banks with children William aged 17 and Eva aged 19.  William was a metal polisher in a cycle works. They had been married for 20 years and had 2 children both of whom were still alive.

Samuel Lloyd

Samuel Lloyd was stated by Edgar Beeston as having moved to the Uley area during his lifetime. He died 7  October 1943 when his address was given as Bassett House, Uley  and probate was granted  to Leslie Walter Frank Horler, electrician and Kenneth Samuel Lloyd, fitter.