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Aldridge, ‘Old Harry’

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Gender: Male

Peter Shepheard recorded The Waysailing Bowl from ‘Old Harry’ Aldridge (originally noted as Aldrich) on 25 April 1966 at the George Hotel, Frocester. He also sang him The Blackbird’s Nest. In an interview with Cotswold Life Magazine written in 2008/9 Diana Prout from Church Farm, Frocester said that in his youth, Harry was one of the group of Wassailers who would travel from door to door with a wooden wassail bowl filled with ale. Thereafter, every January, he would see in the New Year at the George pub by giving a rendition of the Wassail song.   See

Harry Aldridge came from a family of mariners from Frampton on Severn. Frampton is situated on the River Severn and near the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal so there would have been much movement of shipping and barges in the area. Harry Aldridge’s grandfather, William Aldridge, married Sophia Hawkins, the daughter of a mariner in Frampton on Severn on 26 December 1859. They were both living in Frampton on Severn at the time.

Their son, Harry Aldridge’s father, William Aldridge, was baptised in Frampton on Severn on 15 May 1864. By 1871 William was working as a waterman and he and Sophia were living in Frampton on Severn with William and three other children, Mary Ann baptised 17 January 1861, Edwin baptised 26 July 1867 and Ann Sophia born 30 July 1871.  In1881 the family were still living in Frampton where William was working as a mariner and his son, William, was working as a labourer.

On 1 Feb 1890 the son, William, married Rosa Kate Wilkins, the daughter of  Giles Wilkins, a bricklayer at All Saints Church, Gloucester . Both were living at Twyver Street, Gloucester. At the time William was working as a mariner and his father was working as a labourer. Rosa Kate already had four children born out of wedlock ; Albert Edward Wilkins baptised in Frampton on  26 November 1878, Hilda Wilkins born 1888 in Frampton, Ethel Annie Wilkins born 1890 and  Stanley Groves Wilkins baptised in Frampton 5 August 1892. Hilda and Ethel Wilkins were baptised in 1902 in Frampton and on their baptismal entry the father is first given as William but then he was scratched out and Hilda and Ethel are both described as ‘daughter of Rosa Kate’.

By 1891 William and Rosa Kate were living at ‘Street’, Frampton with a daughter, Lilly May aged 1. At that time Stanley, Ethel and Hilda Wilkins were living with Rosa’s parents, Giles and Eliza Ann Wilkins in Vicarage Lane, Frampton who were also looking after Rosa’s sister Annie’s illegitimate daughter, Plevina, and another grandchild, Adolphus Wilkins. William and Rosa Kate then had four more children in Frampton; Alice Sophia born 1891, Edith born and died in 1891, Francis William born 1896 and Harry Giles Aldridge who was born 23 September 1900. Lily, Alice, Francis and Harry were all baptised together in Frampton on 23 May 1903. In 1901 William and Rosa Kate were living in Splatt Lane, Frampton with their four children and William’s stepdaughter, Hilda. Also living with them was Rosa Kate’s mother, Eliza. At that time William was described as a ‘sailor seas’ Splatt Bridge Moorings lie to the south of Frampton-on-Severn village, on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal. In 1911 William and Rosa were still living in Splat, Frampton on Severn. Their son Francis William Aldridge was still living at home, working as a farm labourer. Harry Aldridge was also living at home as was another daughter, Phyllis Rosa aged 4. Rosa Kate’s mother, Eliza, was also still living with them.Harry Giles Aldridge married Kate Hannah Grace Patzer from Slimbridge on 25 February 1923 in Slimbridge.  Harry Aldridge’s father, William, died in 1935 in the Wheatenhurst Registration District which included Frampton. Harry and Kate had a son, William, on 18 June 1924.

Fron at lease 1926 to 1929 Harry Aldridge was living in Nupend, Horsley (Nupend is on the West side of Horsley where Nupend Farmhouse still exists) but in 1930 he and his wife, Kate Grace, moved to Frocester where  another son, Ronald Walter, was baptised on 1 November 1930. Four years later on 4 November 1934 their daughter Peggy Doreen was also baptised in Frocester.

From 1930 to 1939 HarryAldridge and his wife Kate GraceAldridge were living in Peter Street, Frocester and then from 1946 until 1951 they had moved to Church Street, Frocester, In 1939 Harry was working as a cowman. His two sons were living at home.William was working as a tinsmith and Ronald was at school. From this date on this must have been the period mentioned by Diana Prout to Cotswold magazine when Harry was wassailling when she said that Harry and his son Ron were Church Farm’s labourers. In 1947 and 1948 Ronald was not living at home.

Harry’s wife, Kate Aldridge. died towards the end of1951 in Gloucester and by 1952 Harry was living at 86 Bath Road Frocester and his son, Ronald was living at 86 Bath Road, Frocester. In 1953 Ronald married Violet E. Woodward in the Glocuester Rural Registration District and by 1954 Ronald and his wife had moved into 86 Bath Road, Frocester and Harry had moved to 36 Bath Road, Frocester. However by 1955 Harry moved back to 36 Bath Road, Frocester and he, Ronald and Violet all lived there until at least 1964.

Harry Aldridge died in 1979 in the Stroud Registration District.

Harry’s son, Ronald, died in 1999 also in the Stroud Registration District.


Note by Carol Davies 2020