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Carpenter, Robert

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Robert Carpenter sang The Pretty Ploughing Boy to Alfred Williams at Cerney Wick between 1913 and 1916. Alfred Williams noted that Mr Carpenter gained the prize for singing this in a competition held at Kemble Flower Show in the year 1893.

Robert Carpenter’s family were originally from Colesbourne. His great-grandfather, Robert Carpenter, and his wife, Esther were living there on the birth of Robert’s grandfather James, in 1797. James and his wife Sarah, from Winchcombe, moved to Duntisbourne Abbots where James worked as an agricultural labourer and they were living there with their family, including Robert’s father, Thomas, in 1841.  Thomas worked as a shepherd and married Hannah who was born in London and they moved to Duntisborne Rouse where Robert Carpenter was born and baptised on 22 December in 1850. Between 1851 and 1861 the family moved to Cote Road, Aston and Cote, Oxfordshire where Thomas was described as an agricultural labourer. By then Robert also had two sisters, Sarah born about 1857 in Beverstone, Gloucestershire and, Mary born 1860 in Sherborne, Gloucestershire.

By 1871 Robert had left home and was working as an agricultural labourer living in Shipton Oliffe village, lodging in the household of Josiah Cross, a shepherd, and his family. In 1876 Robert Carpenter married Ellen Gardiner born in Coates and by 1881 they were living in Colcutt. They had moved around the area and had four children: Charles, age, 4 baptised 7 January 1877 in Coates, Fanny E. born about 1878 in Clapton, Alice M. born 1880 in Farmington and Susannah born in 1881 in Coln St Dennis. The family continued to move around and in 1891 they were living in Ewen Road, Kemble. They then had two more children: Walter G. Born about 1884 in Preston, Gloucestershire and John born about 1887 in Sapperton. Robert was still working as a shepherd and his son, Charles, was a farm labourer. By 1901 the family had moved to Number 13, Driffield. Whilst Robert continued to work as a shepherd, his son, Walter, was a hall boy (domestic) and his son John was a farm labourer. These were the only two of his children still living at home. Charles, his son, had moved to live with his married sister, Alice in Corston, Wiltshire, and was out of work.

Robert’s health obviously deteriorated after this as in 1911 he was a patient in Gloucester County Lunatic Asylum. He was still married and described as a farm labourer(shepherd).His wife, Ellen, was living at Poulton, and listed as head of the family and at age 62 was working as a farm labourer and living with her grandson, Robert Watts, age 7, born in Driffield, She had been married for 26 years and had six children all still living. He was, however, still able to sing to Alfred Williams after this date. Robert Carpenter died of heart failure at the end of 1920 at the Stableton Institution in Bristol, the former workhouse which was mainly used for people with mental problems.

Robert Carpenter’s son, John Thomas Carpenter, married Agnes Dyon on 3 April 1909 in Malmesbury and in 1911 was living at 3, Quenington Rd, Quarry Farm, Poulton with his wife and their one year old son, Reginald, who was born in Poulton on 24 January 1910. By 1920 they had moved to Caudwell, Malmesbury, and had another son, Elwin Frederick born 7.11.15. John worked as an auxiliary postman but was then called up in 1915.

Robert Carpenter’s daughter, Fanny Elizabeth Carpenter, married George Smith, a labourer from Coln St Dennis, in 1901, had one daughter and subsequently died in Cirencester Cottage Hospital on 31 January 1921.

Robert Carpenter’s daughter, Alice Carpenter, married Ernest James Watts, a groom and son of a labourer, on 4 April 1903. They lived in Corston, Wiltshire where Alice had a daughter, Mabel, in 1906 and three sons, Robert, born 1904, Leslie born 1907 and Cecil born 1910 and probably died in Bristol in 1930.

Robert Carpenter’s daughter, Susannah Carpenter, was married twice, firstly to Thomas Painter, a labourer, at Driffield on 21 November 1904 and then after she was widowed to Maurice Eldridge, a shepherd whose wife had died the previous year, on 17 November 1915 in Preston, Glos..

 

Notes by Carol Davies September 2016

For further biographical information, see

http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getfolkbio.php?collect_from=Carpenter,%20Robert