Stroud Subscription Rooms

The bank book only contained surnames and initials but, fortunately, the Shareholder Register cleared up any ambiguity or confusion about who these men were. This huge, bound and gold-leafed ledger at the Gloucestershire Archives contains not only the name and home of every subscriber, but also over 300 pages recording all subsequent share transactions and a copy of the original deeds that set up the Subscription Room trust. In the list below I have added brief notes to the names, to put the men in the context of Stroud at that time.

BAMFORD Robert of Newhouse, Stroud: woollen yarn manufacturer at Hope Mill; also on the Board of Guardians.

BAYLIS Augustus Keppel of Rodborough: Glos Archives connects him to a malting business, property in Cirencester and Gloucester, and farms on Minchinhampton common.

BRISLEY John Pierce: bookseller/printer/stationer/insurance agent in High St, elected to the 1853 management committee, supplied newspapers to the Reading Room.

BUCKNALL Benjamin: bookseller/stationer/printer in High St; elected to the 1853 management committee; supplied newspapers to the Reading Room.

BURDER Revd John: Minister of Old Chapel, lived on Whitehall; lecturer at the Mechanics Institute and prolific writer of religious pamphlets.

BUTT James of Stroud: ironmonger in the High St; fitted many of the gas lamps around the town and worked on the Rooms 1857-1872.

COSHAM William of Cainscross: benefactor of St Matthew’s church Cainscross (built in 1837, the architect was Charles BAKER).

CROOME Thomas of Cainscross: solicitor, secretary of the parish church vestry. The family owned property around Painswick and his son Thomas Myers CROOME set up the first tin church at Uplands.

DAVIS Handy of Chalford: clothier (lessee of Iles Mill, Bisley, in 1836)

DAVIS Jesse of Chalford: clothier (lessee of Iles Mill, Bisley, in 1836)

DUCIE Lord of Spring Park: the house was later demolished and replaced by the incomplete Woodchester Mansion.

FERRABEE John of Thrupp: iron founder, engineer and millwright at Thrupp Mill. In partnership with employee Edwin BUDDING to make the world’s first lawnmower.

FISHER Joseph Timbrell of New Lodge, Mount Pleasant: brother of Paul Hawkins FISHER; his house at the top of Hollow Lane was later the home and surgery of Dr Newton (for whom the bypass was named).

FISHER Paul Hawkins of The Castle: solicitor, perpetual diarist and author of the Stroud Journal columns by ‘An Old Inhabitant’ – the basis of his 1871 Notes and Recollections. Along with William STANTON, he laid the foundation stone of the re-built parish church.

HALLEWELL Edmund Gilling of Stratford Park: grandson of brewer Joseph WATTS and a founding Trustee, Lt Colonel in the Crimean war.

HAWKER & FRYER Peter and William: solicitors in High St; invested jointly.

HELME Mashiter of New Mills, Slad Rd: a woollen cloth manufacturer.

HELME William of New Mills, Slad Rd: a woollen cloth manufacturer; a founding Trustee and member of the first Building Committee. In 1835, took a 5-year lease on Standish House from Lord Sherborne.

HEWLETT Daniel: painter/plumber/glazier in King St; earlier involved with others in leasing parts of the Kendrick landholdings in and around the town (see p2); worked regularly on the Rooms 1857-1872.

HOPSON William of Church St: in the 1821 census he was listed as a maltster in Stroud; by 1841 he was described as ‘of independent means’. In 1835 he (or another of the same name) was found Not Guilty of assaulting a police officer! His executors appeared in the Gloucestershire Banking Company’s 1846 list of shareholders.

HUGHES Robert of Beeches Green: a clothier and owner of Little Mill, later of Rodney House, recorded as using the upper rooms of Market House for his spinning jennies. He was treasurer of Stroud Institution in 1834 and a benefactor of Stroud charity schools.

HYETT William Henry of Painswick House: MP for Stroud till Jan 1835 and a founding Trustee; he and architect George BASEVI married two sisters. His eldest daughter married Sebastian Stewart DICKINSON.

IRELAND William of The Hill: a clothier and owner of woodland at Minchinhampton.

LEWIS John of Brimscombe: a woollen cloth manufacturer.

LEWIS William of Brimscombe Port Mill: a woollen cloth manufacturer, member of the first Building Committee. He bought Lypiatt House from Sir Paul Wathen/Baghott in 1825. When he died his Subscription Rooms share was assigned to Daniel HEWLETT, following an 1845 Chancery ruling.

MACLEAN Donald of King's Stanley: clothier, Chairman at the Subscription Rooms celebration of Russell's election 1835. In 1825 he was asked to interview a Kings Stanley man on behalf of an Australian agricultural company. He recommended the man, who promptly set sail (we were given this storyby the man’s great-grandson in Australia).

MARLING John Figgins of Ebley New Mill: a woollen cloth manufacturer who campaigned against slavery. He was taken to court in 1833-5 for diverting water from neighbouring mills, and gave detailed evidence to the 1834 Parliamentary Factories Inquiry into the employment of children.

MARLING Nathaniel Samuel of Vatch Mills: a woollen cloth manufacturer and member of the first Building Committee; brother of Thomas and Samuel Stephens Marling, he later lived at Stonehouse Court

MARLING Thomas of The Field, Stroud: a woollen cloth manufacturer at Ebley Mill and a founding Trustee (the Ebley Mill floor collapse in 1836 filled Stroud Casualty hospital). He was also on Board of Guardians. His second wife was a PLAYNE of Longfords.

MORETON Henry of Woodchester Park: son of Lord DUCIE, he was elected Stroud’s MP in 1852 then went to the House of Lords on his father’s death. A keen plant collector, his garden at Tortworth Court became one of the country’s best arboretums. A GWR steam locomotive was named after the house.

PAINE John of Corbett House, Castle Street: a banker, father of Dr PAINE.

PARIS William Thomas of Nelson Street: attorney and clerk to various local bodies. Fisher’s diary recorded his death aged 41 as “generally regretted”. Edwin WITCHELL took over the practice.

PARTRIDGE John William of Bowbridge: a woollen dyer at Bowbridge Mill, member of the first Building Committee. He was a supporter of HYETT in the 1832 election.

PARTRIDGE Joseph of Bowbridge: a woollen dyer at Bowbridge Mill.

PARTRIDGE Nathaniel of Bowbridge: a fancy dyer at Bowbridge Mill. He was much involved in local politics and invited HYETT to stand for the new Stroud constituency. In 1830 was fined 2s 6d, with 11s 6d costs, for assaulting a toll-gate collector!

READ Paul: owner of Stroudwater Academy (a gentlemen’s boarding school) on the east side of George Square. He was elected to the 1853 Management Committee. The first ever balloon ascent in Stroud took place from his orchard on 24th Aug 1834.

RICARDO David of Gatcombe Park: son of the famous economist and MP for Stroud 1832-33. His father had commissioned BASEVI to do work on Gatcombe Park in 1820.

SANDYS Richard of The Slad: owner of Newcombe Mill at Bowbridge. He was one of the instigators of the bankruptcy proceedings against Charles Kendrick that had made the Rooms site available. He died in 1848.

STANTON Charles of Thrupp: a woollen cloth manufacturer at Stafford's Mill. He was the son of William, chaired anti-Corn Law meetings, and bought Field Place in 1840.

STANTON John of Thrupp: son of William, also on the Board of Guardians. He died in 1847 under what Fisher described as “sudden and melancholy circumstances”.

STANTON William of Thrupp: a woollen cloth manufacturer at Stafford Mills. He built the house called The Thrupp and laid the foundation stone for Holy Trinity Stroud in 1838.

STANTON William Henry of Stratfords: son of William, was elected MP for Stroud in 1841; owned Stafford's Mill and was a long-time Chairman of the Board of Health. Along with Paul H Fisher, he laid the foundation stone of the re-built parish church.

STEPHENS Charles of Haywardsfield, Stonehouse: clothier at Stanley Mill

SUTTON Charles of Thrupp: linen draper, High St. He was one of the three instigators of the bankruptcy proceedings against Charles Kendrick that had made the Rooms site available.

SWEETING Charles Page of King St: surgeon, and a founding Trustee. Bedford Street chapel was built on what had been his back garden. He surfaced in earlier research as a Trustee (jointly with Joseph WATTS) of the 1813 inheritance of The Field estate after the death of James ARUNDEL. He died in Jan 1839.

THORNTON John: builder, carpenter and innkeeper of the Duke of York in Nelson Street, had the Black Boy clock on his pub, then sold it in 1844 when the National school (always known as the Black Boy school) was built.

WAKEFIELD James Ezekiel: innkeeper of The Lamb then the Royal George; co-owner of the Royal Mail stagecoach started in 1824.

WASON James: banker of Rowcroft, died 1843.

WATHEN George of The Grange: attorney, clerk to various local bodies. On 6th June 1837, he proclaimed Princess Victoria as Queen in Stroud Market. He died in 1847.

WATTS Joseph of Stratfords (owner of Stratford House): maltster and brewer, sole proprietor of Stroud Breweries from 1819; banker and joint account-holder with Richard Wyatt. He owned the Marlborough Head pub and changed its name to the Bedford Arms in honour of Lord John Russell. He surfaced in earlier research as Trustee (jointly with Charles SWEETING) of The Field estate after the death of James ARUNDEL. At the age of 78 he re-married. His new wife - Miss Brown of Cirencester - was 75. He died in 1855 and over 6,000 mourners filled the churchyard.

WILLOUGHBY Thomas of Stroud: builder and carpenter of George St. In 1839 he came bottom of the poll in the election for Stroud’s Poor Law Guardians.

WILSON George of Stroud: grocer and bootmaker (his wife kept the grocer’s shop).

WITHEY James of Stroud: chemist and druggist, High St. Died in 1845.

WYATT Henry of Farmhill and Fennels: earlier the owner of Vatch Mill and, in 1845, purchaser of the Middle Lypiatt estate. He was a shareholder of the Stroudwater Bank, the Treasurer of the Stroud Union, and a member of the first Building Committee. He built the Slavery Arch as the entrance to his home at Farm Hill. He was elected a Feoffee in 1844; died in 1847.

WYATT Richard: attorney, New Road [London Rd?]. Owner of Coneygre quarries, he was the lawyer for the Subscription Rooms and joint account-holder with Joseph WATTS; later a JP. He was named as the residual beneficiary when the legal agreements concerning the building were drawn up.

Marion Hearfield, February 2015