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Hannis, Gwen

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Reg Hannis was visited by Gwilym Davies on 20 January 1975 and 8 October 1987 when he sang , Father and the Cock-A-Doodle Do, The Gate Song, I Felt Very Sorry For My Uncle Jim, Lather Father, Little Billy Williams, Misery Farm, The Old Sow and Seaweed. He was a friend of Bill Cooper of Witcombe and they were regular singers at the Black Horse pub in Cranham.He had a large collection of bellows instruments and played the melodeon. On 8 October 1987 his wife, Gwen, sang Buttercup Joe and Your Baby Has Gone Down the Plughole.

Reginald John (Reg) Hannis was born in Cranham in 1928, the son of Edwin John Hannis. The Hannis family had lived in the area of Witcombe and Cranham for many generations. The first record of the family is in 1793 when William and Elizabeth Annis’s daughter, Sarah, was baptised at Great Witcombe on 6 December. William and Elizabeth Annis then had a son, Solomon, who was baptised on 16 August 1795 and died the following year. The writing in the Great Witcombe registers then changes with a new incumbent at Great Witcombe and following this Reg’s great great grandfather, William Hannis, was born in Great Witcombe, the son of William and Elizabeth Hannis, and baptised there on 27 January 1801.With the Gloucestershire accent and standards of literacy at the time it is easy to see that the spelling could well have varied between Annis and Hannis. William Hannis had a further three sisters, Febe (sic) born 1802, Rachel born 1804 and Betty born 1806. By 1841 he was working as a gardener in Great Witcombe and living there with his wife, Ann, who was born in Somerford ,Wiltshire, and four children, John born about 1830, Mary born about 1833, Edwin born about 1938 and Thomas, Reg’s great grandfather who was born 30 June 1839.All the children were born in Witcombe. By 1851 William was still living in Great Witcombe, working as a gardener and Thomas was a stable boy. They also had another daughter, Martha born about 1845.

By 1861 Reg’s great grandfather, Thomas Hannis, had married and was living with his wife, Ann Hannis formerly Randell, who was born in Brimfield, at no 5 The Row, Cowley, Gloucestershire, working as a Carpenter’s assistant. They had a one-year old son, William, who had been born in Cowley. By 1871 Thomas and Ann had moved to Birdlip Road, Badgeworth where he was working as a carpenter. They had another four children, Mary born 1863, Ernest James born 1865, Reg’s grandfather, Emily born 1866 and Elizabeth born 1869. All these children and another three of their children, Ann Edith born 1872, Selina Ellen born 1875 and Lucy born 1878, were baptised in Cranham on 11 August 1878. The family had moved to Washbrook, Cranham about 1875. Thomas’ father, William Hannis, remained in Great Witcombe where he was a head gamekeeper in 1871 and his wife, Ann, was a schoolmistress. He died and was buried in Great Witcombe on 22 October 1873. In 1881 Thomas Hannis was working as a carpenter in Cranham and he and his wife had another son, Henry Paul, born 1880, who died at a young age in 1901, the same year that his mother, Ann, died. Thomas lived to a good old age dying in Shurdington in March 1931 aged 91.

Reg’s grandfather, Ernest James Hannis, married Bessie (Elizabeth) Hulbert on 20 July 1890 in Cranham. By 1891 they were living at the Tump, Cranham where Ernest James was working as a labourer and had a daughter, Millicent Elsie born 1891. By 1901Ernest was a wood dealer working on his own account and they had moved to Crayfield Farm, Cranham. They had another four children, Jonney (James) born 1890, Charles William born 1894, Edwin John, Reg’s father born 4 October 1895, and Martha Phillis born 1900. By 1911 Bessie was the postmistress at Cranham and Ernest James was sub postmaster as well as a wood dealer and his sons, Jimmy, Charles and Edwin John, were working as assistants in the post office.

Reg’s father, Edwin John Hannis, married Elsie Alice Large, the daughter of a smallholder, at Cranham on 31 October 1925. At the time he was a farmer at Brotheridge Farm, Cranham and his father Ernest James Hannis was also described as a farmer. Edwin and Alice continued to live at Brotheridge Farm.and had three children, Reg born in 1928, Edwin Ernest born 9 May 1930 and David William born 18 June 1934. Reg’s grandfather, Ernest James Hannis, died in 1939.

Edwin John Hannis, continued to farm at Brotheridge until at least 1959 and at his death on 27 February 1976 he was described as a farmer of Crayfield. Cranham. His son, Edwin Ernest, Reg’s brother, lived at Ladlecombe, Cranham with his wife, June Violet and their two daughters until his death at Cranham on 13 March 2009.

Reg Hannis married Gwendoline J.Brind, known as Gwen, in 1950 probably in Cranham. They had three children, Edwin Ernest Hannis born 1930 and James W. P. and Christine Hannis born 1954. Reg was a wood dealer. Reg Hannis died in the Gloucester registration district at the end of 1997.

Notes by Carol Davies January 2016