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Signalmen
and Signalman Porters

Selected biographies

A G S Bamford
T Barnett
H Bassano
N Bending
J Bullock
J J Cooper
W Cooper
C Freeman
R R Haynes
T Heard
G A Horne
W H Payne
G E Starks
M W Washbourne
R Wicks

Note, Signalmen were called pointsmen in the earliest days. For consistency all will be referred to here by the later term signalman

A. Signalmen and Relief Signalmen

A "pointsman" post was established at Ashchurch in 1864. When Ashchurch became a junction four signal boxes were required, and this was relfected in an increase in posts, including a relief signalman, by 1871. New posts continued to be created so that by the early years of the twentieth century there were eight or nine posts and two relief signalmen. During the 1890s two porter-signalman posts were created, to assist in the signal-boxes and learn the trade. The holders went on to become signalmen in Ashchurch and elsewhere.

Ashchurch Junction before 1871 (2 posts) 1875 (1)
Level Crossingbefore 1871 (2 posts)  
Evesham/Tewkesbury Junction before 1871 (1 post) 1891 (1), 1903 (1)
Evesham Junction 1887 (1)
Relief signalman*before 1871 (1) 1891 (1)
Porter signalman  1891 (1), 1895 (1), 1899 (1)(very brief)

The men who filled these posts tended to be mature, often with wives and families. For some Ashchurch was one in the series of career postings, but for many it was their final position, staying for many years, some for decades. They had usually been signalmen at previous locations, and those that moved on did so to similar posts elsewhere. A number had occupied porter signalmen and gatekeeper posts, which would seem to part of the career progression. A few were local men (Gloucestershire general rather than Ashchurch), but many were from distant parts. They were major occupants of the railway cottages at Ashchurch station.

The information in the tables here is from the railway documents, specifically the Ashchurch station lists of the Coaching Department. Perhaps unexpectedly the signalman posts come right at the end of the listing, after such as clerks and porters; almost a race apart. Because of their length of stay in Ashchurch the signalmen also feature regularly in the national censuses and in local records (electoral registers, parish etc), and it has been possible to generate biographies that show the kind of man that occupied the posts. See the biographical details below.

NameJoined Ashchurch frompay incrementsnext known posting
Signalman (Ashchurch Junction)
Watts before 1871 Gloucester
Wood W19/8/73`Methely signalman1873/74/76Chesterfield post unknown
Heard J16/4/78 Moorhampton signal porter 1878-1903settled in Ashchurch, see biography below
 
Signalman (Level Crossing)
Harding (H) before 1871 1872Birmingham signalman 19/8/73
Bratherwick H31/3/74 Stanton Gate signalman   Basford goods porter 18/7/76
Wicks R18/7/76 Lincoln signalman1879-911909, Gloucester, see biography below
Langham J 2/1/08 unclear unknown
 
Signalman (Level Crossing)
Freeman Cbefore 1871 Blackwell stationmaster 14/6/81
Hampton W3/5/81 Bredon signalman1890-97 
Bassano H 20/4/99 Ashchurch relief signalman  remained in Ashchurch, see biography below
Cooper J J 14/3/07 Ashchurch relief signalman remained in Ashchurch, see biography below
 
Signalman (Ashchurch Junction)
Dowell R before 1871   tfer to Goods Dept 29/1/74
Jones E jnr31/3/74 Birmingham signalman1875/76Ashchurch porter 16/10/77
Bonsey J E16/10/77 Horton in Ribblesdale signalman 1879Bristol St Philips gateman 17/5/94
Bending NLM14/6/94 Broom Junction signalman 1895/97/1903c 1909, Gloucester, see biography below
It is not certain which incoming signalman replaced N Bending at Ashchurch.
 
Signalman (Evesham & Tewkesbury Junction)
Webber before 1871 1878 Ashchurch relief signalman 11/1/81
Bassano H 4/1/81 unknown  Ashchurch relief signalman 18/11/85
Bowyer W 15/1/91 Rolleston porter signalman 1891/92/93resigned 30/9/97
Smith J 2/1/98Sutton Junction signalman   Gloucester
Haynes RR16/3/05 Hinton signalman  settled in Ashchurch, see biography below
 
Signalman. New appointment 20/4/75 (Ashchurch Junction)
Jones E sen 20/4/75 Birmingham signalman1875 discharged 7/9/76
Higginson WH 15/5/77 Birmingham unknown 1877/79 Glais stationmaster 3/6/79
Humphris AH18/3/79 Pinxton signalman  resigned 27/9/80
Chave J4/1/81 Calville 1881/90/97/1903died 12/2/07
(S)illey WJ4/3/07 Kirkstall Forge   
 
Signalman. New appointment 18/5/87 (Evesham Junction)
Buckler 19/5/87 Stoke Woods signalman 1887/90/97died
Spreckley 14/4/98 Birmingham New St  Birmingham relief signalman 24/7/02
Williams JW 15/5/02 Charfield signalman  Mangotsfield signalman 16/3/05
Bamford AGS16/3/05 Cheltenham High St porter signalman   Ashchurch relief signalman 17/1/07, see above
Newman F 17/1/07 Broom Junction signalman 1907  
F Newman porter was a signalman porter on an earlier posting in Ashchurch, see below. Was not in Ashchurch in 1911, presumably had left. It is not certain which new signlaman replaced him in this post
 

Signalman. New appointment 5/6/91 (Evesham & Tewkesbury Junction)
Amos F 5/6/91 Broom Junction signalman   resigned 30/6/92
Aldridge WJ 17/11/92 Gresley signalman 1893/94/97  
[grade] reduced 6/2/05
 
Signalman New appointment 17/02/03 (Evesham and Tewkesbury junction)
Newbury V 17/12/03  Vincent Newbury, settled in Ashchurch, see biography below
post generated from Porter Signalman, see below
 
Relief signalman
Salmon Hbefore 1871, origin unknown  deceased 11/12/72
Hodges14/5/72 Ashchurch porter1873/74
Dix J31/3/74 Manchester foreman "discharged ex porter" 5/7/74
Mills J18/8/74 Defford signalman1874Gloucester relief signalman
Cooper J5/10/75 Gloucester signalman1878/79unknown
?Hatter?11/1/81 Ashchurch  Gloucester
Bassano H19/11/85 Ashchurch signalman1891Ashchurch signalman 20/4/99, see below
Jones RG27/9/99 Eckington signalman 1900Gloucester
Bullock J18/4/01 Broom Junction signalman 1902/03settled in Ashchurch, see biography below
 
Relief Signalman New appointment 27/9/91
Cooper JJ 27/9/91 Ashchurch relief signalman 1892Ashchurch signalman 14/3/07
Bamford AGS 17/1/07 Ashchurch relief signalman 1908 

Selected Biographies

Albert George Samuel Bamford

Albert spent some eight years in Ashchurch in mid-career as a railway signalman. He was born in Cheshire in 1874, his father William an agricultural labourer. He remained at home until at least 1891 when, at the age of 16, he was working as a gardener's lad. By 1897 he had moved to Gloucestershire and he married in the Stroud area. Children were born in Cheltenham in 1898 and 1900 and in Gloucester in 1902. In 1901 he was in Gloucester, a railway signalman, after which, in 1905, he moved to Ashchurch via Cheltenham. He was there in 1911, living in one of the railway cottages and still working as a signalman. In 1917, when his son Ernest Charles, enlisted in the army, he was living in Birmingham, occupation unknown, his son still at home and working as a railway signalman, and was till there in the early years after the war. He is then lost until the 1950s, when he was living in Stonehouse, and still there when he died in the Gloucester Royal Hospital in 1956 at the age of 82.

His replacement in Ashchurch may have been Martin William Washbourne who probably moved there at the beginning of, or during World War 1. See details below.

Albert's oldest son Ernest followed him into employment in the railways and was a signalman in Birmingham when he enrolled in the army in 1917. During the war he served as a signalman with the Railway Troops of the Royal Engineers in the Middle East. Details here

Thomas Barnett

Thomas Barnett was a signalman in Ashchurch for some 25 years at the beginning of the 20th century. It has not been possible to determine which of the signalman posts he filled.

He was born in Salford Priors, Gloucestershire, in 1871, his father a railway porter. In 1892, at the age of 19, he himself was a porter, boarding at Ilkestone, Derbyshire. He married in about 1902, probably in Bristol, and remained in the area. He was there in 1911, now a railway signalman and with three children. He had moved to Ashchurch by 1914 where he would be until 1933, living in one of the railway cottages (number 5) at the station Confirmation of his occupation comes in documents relating to the marriage of his daughter Kathleen in Ashchurch in 1935, when he is shown as a railway signalman. He has not subsequently been identified.

Henry Bassano

Henry was born in 1843 in Hampton-in-Arden, Warwickshire, where his father was a porter at the local railway station. He was at home in 1851 but had left by 1861 and the next record comes with his marriage in Birmingham in 1871. At the time he was living in Yate, near Bristol, and had followed his father's occupation, working as a railway porter there. Three daughters were born there, the last in 1878. By 1881 he had moved to Ashchurch, where his father was a railway gateman, he himself working as a railway signalman and living at the railway cottages near the station. Here he would remain until 1907, when he was replaced as a signalman at the level crossing. This probably marks his retirement, as he would have been aged 64 that year.

He remained in the village. In 1911 he was living in retirement at Ashchurch Farm near the station, sharing with another railway family, and was probably still there in 1918. That year his wife died, age 76, the death registered locally. He died the following year in Newton Abbot, Devon, at the age of 78; it is not known whether he had moved there following his wife's death or whether he was on a visit.

There were three daughters. They married locally, but not to railwaymen.

key to column 2 (sources): cen=census; er=electoral register; gro=General Records Office; par=parish; rly=Midland Railway doc
1843gro birth registered Meriden, Warks, 1st quarter, baptism Hampton, Warks, 19 March, father James porter at Hampton station
1851cen at home at Hampton in Arden, father a railway porter
1871gro 20 Mar, marriage to Fanny Humber, 29, registered Christ Church, Birmingham, age 26, porter, address Yate by Bristol, father James, porter. Fanny address 49 Paradise St, Birmingham, father William, carpenter.
1871cen at home in Yate, Somerset, with wife and daughter of 4 months, 28, railway porter.
1874-78 gro birth of daughters registered at Keynsham, Somerset
1881cen at home, 4 New Buildings, Ashchurch, with wife, daughter and nephew, 39, signalman
1891cen at home in "new building" at Ashchurch with wife and daughters, plus lodgers (railway staff), 49, signalman
189xrly date uncertain, relief signalman at Ashchurch
1899rly appointed level crossing signalman at Ashchurch level crossing at salary of 24 shillings
1900-03 gro,par daughters married at Ashchurch, Henry a railway signalmen
1901cen at home in Ashchurch with wife
1907rly 14 Mar, replaced as level crossing signalman by J J Cooper
1911cen at home at Ashchurch Farm with wife, 68, retired signalman
1918grodeath of wife Frances registered Tewkesbury, 2nd quarter, age 76
1918er living in Ashchurch "near church"
1921gro death registered at Newton Abbot, Devon, 2nd quarter, age 78

Norman Bending

Norman Le Mesurier Bending was born in Devon in 1866, his father a police officer in 1871 and a gardener ten years later. By 1891 he had left home and was in Redditch, a railway signalman. He had been in the Tewkesbury area the previous year to marry Martha Marden, a native of Cheltenham, and the two of them had clearly moved to his work area. He was back in Gloucestershire, in Ashchurch, by 1898, and from then until 1909 was living in one of the railway cottages there, still working as a signalman. In 1911 he was living in Gloucester, again a railway signalman. He remained there until 1929, when he and his wife emigrated to Australia.

There was one son, Edwin Norman, but there is no evidence that he followed his father into employment with the railways. In 1911 he was still at home, unmarried, and working as an electrician. At some point he followed (or preceded) his parents to Australia if he is the person of that name whose death was registered there in 1976.

Joseph Bullock
(as James in two documents)

Joseph was born in Upton-on-Severn, Worcestershire, in 1865, his father a gardener, and in 1881 at the age of 15 was himself a gardener's boy, presumably working with his father. In 1888 he married in the Alcester district if Warwickshire, perhaps at Broom village within the district, where they were living in 1891, he working as a railway signalman. Probably in 1901 they moved from Broom to Ashchurch, and here they would remain, he still railway signalman and living in one of the railway cottages near the station. They were there until at least 1927. Perhaps he retired around this time. He and his wife Eliza are later (1934-36) found at an address in Tewkesbury. Eliza died there in 1936, Joseph at another address in the town the following year. They were both 71. There were no children.

key to column 2 (sources): cen=census; er=electoral register; gro=General Records Office; rly=Midland Railway doc; prob=probate record
1865gro,cenborn Newland, Worcs, birth registered Upton-on-Severn, 2nd quarter
1871cen at home at Ripple, Ryall, Worcs, 5, father James, gardener
1881cen at home at The Grove, Upton-on-Severn, with parents and siblings, 15, ?garden boy?, father James, gardener
1888gro marriage to Eliza Matilda Mitchell registered Alcester, Warks, 4th quarter
1891cen at Broom Village, Alcester, with wife, age 25, railway signalman, as James
1901cen at Midland Cottages, Ashchurch, with wife, age 35, railway signalman, as Jas
1901-03 rly18 Nov, employed at Ashchurch from Broom
1911cen at 3 Midland Cottages, Ashchurch, with wife, 45, relief signalman, plus Walter Hancox (lodger), ticket collector, no children in the marriage
1918-27 erat 3 Midland Cottages, Ashchurch, with wife
1934-36er at 8 Spa Gardens, Tewkesbury, with wife
1936gro,prob25 Nov, death of wife Eliza M, registered Tewkesbury 4th quarter, age 71, address 8 Spa Gardens, Tewkesbury. Probate Gloucester 8 Dec, to husband Joseph, effects £210.
1937gro,prob2 May, died, death registered Cheltenham 2nd quarter, age 71, address 42 The Oldbury, Tewkesbury, probate 31 July to Louise Attwood, spinster and Edgar Jesse Smith, railway signalman, effects £3258 7s 0d

Joseph Joel Cooper and son William

Joseph was born at Winterbourne in Gloucestershire in 1857, his father an agricultural labourer. In 1871, at the age of 13, he was working as a grounds boy for a local doctor and on census night was resident at the doctor's house. He married locally in 1878 and two days later was in Derby, where he passed a test and obtained employment with Midland Railway. He remained in Derby until at least 1884 , a railway signalman. By 1886 he was in Ashchurch, where his fourth child was born, and here he would remain for the rest of his life, a railway signalman occupying one of the railway cottages at the station. His wife Elizabeth died in 1913 at the age of 53, he continued with his unmarried daughter Ethel Ada living with him until her death in 1935 at the age of 48. He had retired by 1935 but continued to live in the railway cottage, alone until at least 1937 and presumably beyond. He died in 1939 at an address in Tewkesbury, not his home address, at the age of 83. Probate was awarded to his eldest son Joseph William.

Son Joseph William followed him into railway-related work, though not specifically as a railwayman and not at Ashchurch. Born in 1880 he had left home by 1901 when he was boarding in Gloucester and working as a railway bookstall clerk. Ten years later he was the manager of the WH Smith bookstall at South Worcester. When he was granted probate of his father's estate in 1939 he was a bookseller's manager, perhaps in Llandaff, Cardiff, where probate was granted.

key to column 2 (sources): cen=census; er=electoral register; gro=General Records Office; par=parish; rly=Midland Railway doc; prob=probate record
1857gro,par birth registered Clifton, Bristol, 4th quarter, baptised at Winterbourne Down , Gloucestershire, parents Absalom and Sarah
1861cen at home in Winterbourne, 3, with parents and older sister, father an agricultural labourer
1871cen servant (grounds boy) at the house in Winterbourne of Edward Crossman, general medial [practitioner], age 13
1878par 4 Nov, at Berkeley, Gloucestershire, married Elizabeth Roberts, 21, gardener
1878rly 6 Nov, passed unspecified (test), appointed as [?Ptholder] at Derby, wage 18 shillings, age 21 on 10/9/77, height 5ft 8in, married
1880gro,cen son Joseph William born Weston on Trent, Derbys, birth registered Shardlow 2nd quarter
1881cen at home at 3 Chelston Lane Cottages, Weston on Trent, (apparently railway cottages) with wife Elizabeth and one son, 23, railway signalman
1882gro,cen daughter Muriel Anne born Weston on Trent, Derbys, birth registered Shardlow 1st quarter
1884gro,cen daughter Catherine Elizabeth born Weston on Trent, Derbys, birth registered Shardlow 3rd quarter
1886gro,cen daughter Ethel Ada born Ashchurch, Gloucs, birth registered Thewkesbury 4th quarter
1888gro,cen son Frederick Charles born Ashchurch, Gloucs, birth registered Tewkesbury 2nd quarter
1888er probably to 1915, at a house near the railway station
1891cen at home in Midland Railway Cottages, Ashchurch, with wife Elizabeth and five children, 33, railway signalman
1891-1914er in Ashchurch "near the railway station"
(1898)rly relief signalman at Ashchurch
1901cen at home at 11 Railway Cottages, Ashchurch, with wife and 5 children, 43, railway signalman
1907rly 14 Mar, appointed level crossing signalman at Ashchurch
1909par 12 Apr, daughter Catherine married at Ashchurch, father Joseph Joel signalman
1911cen at home at 11 Midland Cottages, Ashchurch, 53, railway signalman, with wife Elizabeth and visiting married son Joseph William, manager WH Smith bookstall, South Worcester station
1913gro death of wife Elizabeth, age 53, registered Tewkesbury
1918-34er at 11 Midland Cottages with unmarried daughter Ellen Ada
1935gro,prob 3 Mar, daughter Ethel Ada died unmarried at Tewkesbury Infirmary, age 48. Death registered Tewkesbury 1st quarter. Administration of estate (£381) to Joseph Joel, retired railway signalman
1935er to at least 1937, alone at 11 Midland Cottages, Ashchurch
1939gro,prob died 28 December at Holmewood House, Tewkesbury, home address 11 LMS Railway Cottages, Ashchurch. Death registered Tewkesbury 4th quarter. Probate Llandaff 21 February to Joseph William Cooper, bookseller's manager, estate £2471 6s 11d

Charles Freeman

Charles Freeman spent some ten years in Ashchurch as a signalman on his way to becoming a stationmaster elsewhere. He was born in 1841 in Draughton, Northants, his father a labourer. He was at home to at least 1861. When he married in 1862 he was a labourer living at Wold in Northants. By 1871 he was in Ashchurch as a railway "pointsman". He was still there in 1881, a signalman living in one of the railway cottages with seven children five of which had been born in Ashchurch. By 1884 he had moved to Fishponds, Bristol, where he was stationmaster; his wife having there in 1889. He remarried in 1893 and was still stationmaster at Fishponds in 1901. In 1911 he was living in retirement in Weston-super-Mare.

One son is known to have followed his father into employment with Midland Railway. In 1889 at the age of 15 Albert David was appointed machine youth at Fishponds where his father was stationmaster, then an office youth, and railway clerk in 1891. But he died in 1893 at the age of 18.

Raymond Richard Haynes
(as Haines in some documents)

Raymond was born in Sherborne, Gloucestershire, in 1874, his father a shepherd. The family moved from place to place, and in 1891 he was with them in Baunton, Gloucestershire, working as an agricultural labourer. He joined the Midland Railway in 1896 as a gateman at Gloucester. He then had at least two further jobs, as a porter signalman at Bitton, and from late 1899 a signalman at Hinton-on-the-Green in Worcestershire. Here he married in 1904, and the following year the family moved to Ashchurch where they settled, he working as a railway signalmen, a job that he would do for the rest of his working life. He occupied one of the railway cottages at Ashchurch station. Three more children were born in Ashchurch. In 1918 he lost his wife at the early age of 36 and married again the following year. He continued to occupy the cottage at the station until his death in 1950 at the age of 76. The marriage certificates of the two sons who married in 1936 show him still to be working as a railway signalman.

It would appear that none of his three sons followed him to work on the railways. Raymond William was a farm labourer when he married in Tewkesbury in 1936, Percival Ronald a college porter when he married in Cheltenham the same year. When he attained his majority youngest son Cecil Ernest appears as an absentee military voter at his father's address from 1932, compatible with his being a regular in one of the armed services.

key to column 2 (sources): cen=census; er=electoral register; gro=general records office; par=parish; prob=probate records; rly=Midland Railway records
1874gro birth registered Northleach 1st quarter
1874par 8 Feb, baptised at Sherborne, Gloucs, father John, labourer, mother Fanny
1881cen at home at Eastington, Gloucs, with parents and siblings, 6,father John shepherd
1891cen at home at Baunton, Gloucs, with parents and siblings, 17, farm labourer, father shepherd
1896rly passed (test/interview), gateman at Gloucester
unkrly porter signalman at Bitton
1899rly 16 Nov, moved to Hinton on the Green, Worcs, signalman
1901cen boarding with the stationmaster at Hinton-on-the-Green, Gloucs. 26, unmarried, railway signalman
1904gro marriage registered at Evesham, Worcs, 4th quarter, to Ellen Elizabeth Cole
1905gro birth of son Raymond William J registered Gloucester 1st quarter
1905rly 16 Mar moved to Ashchurch, signalman at Evesham/Tewkesbury junction
1906gro birth of daughter Daisy registered Tewkesbury 2nd quarter
1908gro birth of son Percival Ronald registered Tewkesbury 4th quarter
1911cen at Ashchurch, with wife Ellen and four children, 37, railway signalman
1911gro birth of son Cecil E registered Tewkesbury 2nd quarter
1918gro death of wife Ellen registered Tewkesbury 4th quarter, age 36
1918er at 10 Midland Cottages with wife Ellen Elizabeth
1919gro,par 11-25 May, banns at Ashchurch for marriage to Elizabeth Jane Brooks, spinster, of St Francis Church, Ashton Gate, Bristol
1919gro ,marriage to Elizabeth Brooks registered Bristol 2nd quarter
1919-39er at 10 Midland Cottages with second wife Elizabeth Jane, also son Cecil Ernest listed as absentee military voter from 1932 (erroneously at 10 Council Cottages 1932-37)
1936par son Raymond William, farm labourer, married in Tewkesbury, father shown as railway employee
1936par son Percival Ronald, college porter, married in Cheltenham, father shown as signalman
1950cen,prob died 4 Oct at The School House, Albert Road, Cheltenham, address 10 Midland Cottages, Ashchurch. Death registered Cheltenham 4th quarter, age 76. Probate Dec Gloucester to Florence Barrett, wife of Albert Barrett, effects £358 0s 1d

Thomas Heard

Thomas was born in Devon in 1850, son of an agricultural labourer and he himself was working there as such in 1871 at the age of 20. In 1875 he was in Herefordshire to marry and the following year had a son at Moorhampton in that county. There is no information on his occupation, but in the light of his subsequent career it could well have been a posting with the railways. By 1879 he, or at least his wife, was in Ashchurch for the birth of a second son and two years later the family was registered there, he working as a railway pointsman. He would now remain in Ashchurch for the rest of his life, working as a railway signalman and living in one of the company cottages near the station while in railway employment. He had three more children, two sons and a daughter.

His wife died in 1903 and he was living as a widower in 1911. In 1917 he married again and after the war was still at the railway cottage with his wife Laura. In 1923, presumably on retirement, they moved to an address in Tewkesbury and to another there in 1925. In 1930 Laura died and he moved again, living alone until his death was registered in Dursley, Gloucestershire, in 1934 at the age of 83.

Two of Thomas's sons had careers with the Midland Railway but did not serve in Ashchurch. Edmund Thomas became a telegraph clerk, starting at Gloucester and then posted in the normal way across the network, settling finally at Skipton in Yorkshire. Raymond Richard started as a clerk at Malvern Wells and then transferred to the Mineral Office in Derby, where he may have remained.

1850gro birth registered Tiverton, Devon, 4th quarter
1851cen at home in Oakford, Devon with parents, age .. months, father Rickard agricultural labourer
1851cen at home in Oakford, Devon with parents, age 10, father Rickard agricultural labourer
1871cen at home in Oakford, Devon with parents, 20, agricultural labourer, father Richard agricultural labourer
1875gro marriage to Sarah Elizabeth Blayney registered Weobley, Herefordshire 4th quarter
1876gro,cen son Edmund Thomas born Moorhampton, Herefd, birth registered Weobley, Herefd, 2nd quarter
1879gro,cen son Ernest Blayney born Ashchurch, birth registered Tewkesbury 1st quarter
1881cen at home at Northway, with wife. four children and two railwayman boarders, 30, [railway] pointsman
1882gro,cen son Raymond Richard born Ashchurch, birth registered Tewkesbury 4th quarter
1885erto at least 1898, living near railway station, Ashchurch
1890gro,cen daughter Elsie Elizabeth born
1891cen at home at Midland Cottages, Ashchurch, with wife and four children, 40, signalman
1901cen at home at Northway, Ashchurch, with wife and two children, 48, railway signalman
1903gro death of wife Elizabeth registered Tewkesbury 2nd quarter, age 49
1911cen at home at 8 Midland Cottages, Ashchurch, with unmarried daughter Elsie Elizabeth as housekeeper, 59, widower, railway signalman
1917gro,par27 Jan, married Laura Ford in Cheltenham, see below, marriage registered Cheltenham1st quarter
1918-22erliving with Laura at 8 Midland Cottages, Ashchurch
1923-24erliving with Laura at 41 High St, Tewkesbury
1925-29er living with Laura at 77 Barton St, Tewkesbury
1930grodeath of Laura registered Tewkesbury 2nd quarter, age 82
1930 er living alone at 77 Barton Street, Tewkesbury
1931-34erliving alone at 1, Providence Place, Tewkesbury
1934gro death registered Dursley, Gloucs, 3rd quarter, age 83
second marriage:
St Luke's Cheltenham, 27 January 1917:
Thomas Heard, full age, widower, signalman, address 8 Midland Cottages Ashchurch, father Richard (deceased) farmer
Laura Ford, full age, spinster, no occupation, address 8 Whitecross Square Cheltenham, father William (deceased) coachman

George Aubrey Horne

George, sometimes appearing as Aubrey, a railway signalman, lived in Ashchurch for two to three years in the 1930s. He was born in Nottinghamshire in 1890, his father William a railway signalman. He was at home in Water Orton, Warwickshire, in 1911, a railway porter. Presumably he underwent military service in World War 1 but his records have not been identified.

He is next found in Chertsey, Surrey, with his marriage to Susan Smith, and in 1931 he was living in Tewkesbury with Susan. His wife died at the beginning of 1932, after which he moved to Ashchurch where he remained until 1934, lodging at one of the railway cottages, number 4, at the station and presumably working as a signalman. In 1935 he was in Bishop's Cleeve, near Cheltenham where he married, giving his address as Water Otley and his occupation as railway signalman. He died in Water Otley in 1981 at the age of 91.

Vincent Newbury

Vincent was born in Somerset in 1871. Ten years later he was living in the Rhondda valley with his family, his father working as a timberman in the coal mines. He himself was a coalminer in 1891. By 1900 he had changed occupation and was in Stonehouse in Gloucestershire, working for the Midland Railway as a gateman. He transferred to Ashchurch later that year, now a porter signalman. In 1903, when his post was abolished he became a full signalman in a newly established post at the Evesham junction, see under Signalman Porters below. In 1909 he married Alice Chew and was living with his wife in 1911 at Natton, a railway signalman. In at least 1910 and 1912 he was the owner of a freehold property at Homedowns. This is presumably the house where he would remain at least during the war and interwar years and which was described in various documents as located at Natton, Newton and Homedowns. This is slightly confusing, as these, while all just south of Ashchurch, are separate locations. His ownership of a house would explain the fact that, unlike most of the signalmen, he did not live in one of the Railway Cottages near the station.

The Newburys were still there after the war. Alice died in 1923 and a John Newbury, presumably a relative, moved in with Vincent. The following year Vincent married Clara Nightingale in Gloucester, after the reading of banns in Gloucester and Ashchurch. He was still working as a railway signalman and living in Ashchurch. The pair lived in Newton, presumably Vincent's old house, until at least 1939. Vincent was living in the Tewkesbury district when he died in 1947 at the age of 75. There were no known children, and the absence of his wife in the probate record may suggest that she had predeceased him.

William Henry Payne

William was a railway employee, most probably a signalman, in Ashchurch from about 1912. It has not been possible to determine which signalman post he held. He was born in Wiltshire in 1872,, his father a miller. He was still at home in 1891 working as a domestic gardener. He had become a railwayman by 1903, a "railway servant" living in Bitton near Bristol, when he married in Bath. In 1911 he was in Ashchurch, now a railway signalman. Here he remained, living after the war in one of the railway cottages (number 13), presumably as a railway signalman. He was there until his death in 1957 at the age of 85.

George Edward Starks

George Edward Starks was a signalman in Ashchurch for some fifteen years in the first part of the 20th century, though it has not been possible to show which of the signalman posts he occupied. He was born in Hutton, Somerset, in 1868 and a railway signalman in Evesham and Bredon in the 1890s and early 1900s. He arrived in Ashchurch by 1914 and moved into one of the Midland Railway Cottages, probably number 6 which had been vacated by Robert Hamblin and where he was after the war. Confirmation of his occupation as a signalman was given in the documentation relating to his daughter's marriage in Ashchurch in December 1918. He remained in the village, living at one of the railway cottages, until about 1928, when he moved to Gloucester. He died there in 1934 at the age of 60.

There was a son who became a railwayman, though probably not in Ashchurch. Donald George was with the family in Bredon in 1911, working not as a railwayman but as a domestic chauffeur. There is nothing to say whether he followed his father to Ashchurch (he would have been 22 in 1914), but the following year he volunteered for the Royal Navy, which he joined in March 1915 for a 12-year engagementm when his papers show that he was then working as a shunter, but for the Great Western Railway. This is consistent with his being in Carmarthenshire where he would spend his life after the war. He was released from service in 1920 or 1921 (two sources differ). He is likely to have gone to live in Carmarthenshire where he had married in 1917, remarried in 1934 and died in 1970. When he was granted probate for his father's estate in 1934 he was still working as a railwaymen, as a rail crossing keeper.

Martin William Washbourne

Martin Washbourne spent two periods of railway employment in Ashchurch. The first, his initial post, was as a porter, the second, after work elsewhere on the railway network, was as a signalman over perhaps three decades. He was born in 1872 in Bishop's Cleeve near Cheltenham, his father a carpenter. In 1890 at the age of 17 he was employed by the Midland Railway as a porter at Ashchurch. He was still there in 1896 when he married. From then until about 1912 he worked as a signalman at Yate, Bristol and Mangotsfield, possibly also briefly at Ashchurch (the sources are confusing).

He appears to have returned to Ashchurch during the First World War, the first known reference being his listing in the 1918 electoral register (implying residence in late 1917). He was living in the railway cottage (number 4) previously occupied by Albert Bamford, perhaps suggesting that he had filled the post vacated by Bamford. He then remained at this address in Ashchurch until at least 1950, the entry in his daughter's marriage record in 1933 confirming his employment as signalman. He died in 1952 in Staffordshire.

Robert Wicks

Robert Wicks was born in 1843 in South Cerney, near Cirencester, his father John a labourer. He had left home by 1861, when he was working as a cowman on John Gibbs's farm in the village. When he married in 1865 he was living in Rodborough, Gloucestershire, and working as a carter. His first son was born there in 1866. In 1871 Robert was in Lincoln, working for the Midland Railway as a "pointsman" (ie signalman). A daughter had been born there two years previously. He transferred to Ashchurch in 1876, where, until 1908, he worked as a railway signalman, living in one of the railway cottages there. He moved to an address in Gloucester in 1909 and died there in 1910. His wife had predeceased him.

Three sons followed him into employment on the railways. The eldest, Henry John, having started as a baker's lad in Rodborough at the age of 15, then worked as a locomotive fireman at Gloucester until at least 1911 and probably beyond. Similarly with youngest son Edmund, in Long Eaton in 1901 and Derbyshire in 1911. Son William Robert was initially a railway stores boy in Gloucester in 1891 at the age of 14, but then transferred to the police force, in which he was a constable in Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, in 1901 and in Cheltenham in 1911.

B. Porter Signalmen

New appointment 16/2/93
Harnell C16/2/93 Evesham porter  Evesham signalman porter 18/1/94
Pitt I 18/1/94 Ashchurch porter   Evesham signalman porter 14/10/97
Salisbury AE 14/10/97 goods checker   Hinton signalman 16/3/99
Hamblin R 16/2/99 Ashchurch Defford 24/7/02, but see last entry
Newbury V15/11/00 Stonehouse gateman  Ashchurch signalman 17/12/03 see above
17/12/04 appointment dispensed with, see signalman post above
Robert Hamblin was back in Ashchurch in 1911 as a signalman. It is not certain whch departing signalman he replaced, and his stay was short - he was not there in 1914 and has not been traced postwar. His replacement, living in his cottage (6 Midland Cottages) in 1918, was George Edward Starks, who had been a signalman in Harvington and Bredon. He settled in Ashchurch where he lived until 1927. He then moved to Gloucester, where he died in 1934.
 
New appointment 19/12/95 (Level Crossing)
Washbourne19/12/95 Ashchurch (porter shunter)  Mangotsfield date unknown
Pepper H2/1/98 Gloucester  Resigned 11/4/1900 "Calling out of reserves"
Newman F19/4/00 Beckford porter signalman  Broom junction 7/8/02 signalman
Phipps JE14/3/01 Beckford porter signalman  Hinton 27/4/08 signalman
Smith JF22/4/08 Beckford porter signalman   
F Newman signalman on later posting, see above
 
New appointment 10/8/99
Williams J 10/8/99 unknown 1900Ashchurch parcel porter 1/10/01
grade altered to parcels porter 18/1/01

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This data has been researched and produced by Brian Harringman. Comments, additions, and especially corrections would be gratefully received.