Peter Gill

Peter Gill sang Christ Came to Christmas, The Moon Shines Bright, Dabbling in the Dew and Shepherds are the Best of Men to Cecil Sharp on 2 April 1912 at the Stroud Union workhouse.

Peter Gill’s father, Levi Gill, was born about 1799. His wife’s name was Ann, born about 1797. Both were born in Sheepscombe. Levi was a labourer who in 1820 was living in the cottage which used to stand on the hillside above Greycot as a tenant of Daniel Gill. They had at least five children:  Joseph and Andrew, twins, born in 1826, Priscilla born in 1827, Felix born in 1831 and Peter, who was the youngest, was born in 1835/6. His age was given in the 1841 Census as 5. In other censuses his age is variable as was often the case with people in those days. He informed Cecil Sharp that he was 83 in 1912, which was probably older than his correct age.

Peter married Sarah Ann Gibbons, a shoemaker’s daughter, in Sheepscombe in 1857. Both were living in Sheepscombe at the time.

In 1861 Peter  and Sarah, both aged 26, were living in Sheepscombe Village with their children Albert aged 3 and Alfred aged 1. Also living with them was Peter’s father Levi then aged 62 following his wife’s death in 1854. Peter, Sarah and Levi were agricultural labourers and Albert was a scholar. All the family except Sarah Ann were born in Sheepscombe whereas Sarah was born in Siddington.

By 1871 Peter and Sarah were  still living in Sheepscombe with their son, Albert, now aged 13 but they also then had Frederick aged 11, George aged 8, Mary aged 7, Emily aged 3 and Elizabeth Jane aged 11 months. Another child, Henry had died in 1866, making a total of eight known children. Peter’s father, Levi, aged 73 was also still living with them. Levi, Peter, Sarah, Albert and Frederick were all agricultural labourers and the younger children were scholars. Peter’s father, Levi Gill was buried 27 November 1879 aged 81 in Sheepscombe.

By 1881 Peter and Sarah were still in Sheepscombe. The children remaining at home with them were Frederick aged 21, Mary aged 17, Emily aged 13 and Elizabeth aged 10. Frederick was an agricultural labourer, Mary was a general servant and the 2 youngest children were scholars. All the family except for Sarah were born in Sheepscombe. Levi, Peter, Sarah, Albert and Frederick were all agricultural labourers and the younger children were scholars.

In 1891 Peter Gill was living in Magpie Bottom, Sheepscombe, employed as an agricultural labourer, with his wife, Sarah, then 56. Two of their daughters were still at home- Mary aged 27 and Elizabeth J. aged 20. Both daughters were domestic servants.

By 1901 after the death of Sarah in 1894 aged 60 Peter, as an agricultural labourer,  was a boarder at Bramble Farm, Cranham held by John Larner,  a farm shepherd born in Whittington, and Mary Larner his wife who was born in Syde. His fortune went downhill and by 1911 aged 77 as a widowed farm labourer Peter was an inmate at Stroud Union Workhouse, Bisley Road, Stroud where he was recorded by Cecil Sharp.

Peter Gill died on 17 January 1917 aged 80 in Stroud Union Workhouse and was buried at Sheepscombe on 22 January 1917.

Peter’s brothers and sisters

Peter’s brother, Felix, was a gardener and lived in Sheepscombe also until at least 1871. He married Mary Ann Hart in 1861. By 1871 he had moved to Chipping Barnet, Hertfordshire and he and Mary Ann had at least 4 children born between 1864 and 1872. He died in at Southampton in 1909.

Peter’s brother, Joseph, died at Sheepscombe at the young age of 19. Peter’s sister, Priscilla married William Long in 1853 at Newent.

Peter’s brother, Andrew, married Caroline George in 1850 in Dursley. He worked as a farm labourer and they moved around the area but apparently did not have any children. In 1851 they were living in Standish; in 1861 they were at Moreton Green, Moreton Valance. In 1871 they were back in Sheepscombe but by 1881 they were back in Standish, living at Mill Brook. By 1891 Caroline was working as a charwoman at Standish Court possibly as a widow.

Peter’s children

Peter had eight children between 1857 and 1870. Most went to Sheepscombe school; all seem to have been agricultural labourers or servants. Frederick was an agricultural labourer in 1881 but died in 1895. In 1881and 1891 George was boarding with an older agricultural labourer at Scrubbs, Bisley. Mary was a domestic servant living at home in 1881 and 1891 as was Elizabeth in 1891. Henry probably died aged 10 at Sheepscombe.

Peter’s son, Albert, was working as an agricultural labourer whist living at home in 1871 then he married Mary Elizabeth Brown in Sheepscombe in 1875 and had four children in Sheepscombe: Charles Robert, John William, Elizabeth Mary and Ann/Annie between 1876 and 1882.All the children went to Sheepscombe school. In 1880 he was living at ‘The Far End’, in 1886 ‘near the Malthouse’ in Sheepscombe and in 1882 they were living at The Scrubs, Bisley.

Peter’s daughter Emily married Ezekiel Durn, who was born in Dursley, in 1885 in Sheepscombe. In 1901 and 1911 they were living in Painswick. They had six children between 1885 and 1903: John Henry, Albert James, Emma Elizabeth, Florence, Edward and Frederik George.

In 1894 they were living at ‘The Grove’, Sheepscombe. John was an agricultural worker in 1901 and Emma Elizabeth was ‘assisting at home ‘ in 1911. Ezekiel was a gamekeeper on the Ebworth estate until 1917 when he went to work in Miserden for a short period. They lived at Elm Cottage, Forest View until 1904 and later at Tunley Cottage. Ezekiel died in 1930 in Stroud Registration District.and Emily died in 1954 in Gloucester Rural Registration District.

Emily’s son, Edward, married twice, firstly to Ivy G. B. Newman in 1924. Ivy died in 1958 in Gloucester. Edward’s second marriage was to Eveline Ruby E. Wright in 1938 possibly in Arlingham. Ruby died in June 1995 in Gloucester Rural Registration District.

In the 1881 Census Albert and Mary were both farm labourers and their household in Sheepscombe had the following children: Thirza Brown aged 8, Charles Gill aged 5, John Gill aged 3 and Elizabeth Gill aged 1. All the family were born in Sheepscombe.

By the 1891 census Albert, still an agricultural labourer, and his wife, Elizabeth M., were living in  ‘Cottage’ in Scrubbs, Bisley and Albert’s household had five of their own children and apparently two of their daughter, Thirza’s, children. The five extra children were all born in Bisley.

[Notes by Carol Davies October 2012 with thanks to Sheepscombe History Society]