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Toms (Tombs), Richard

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Cecil Sharp visited ‘Richard Thomas Toms’ of Fairford aged 85 at Cirencester Union (workhouse) on 2 November 1911 when he sang Botany Bay and A Virgin Unspotted.

‘Richard Toms’ was probably Richard Tombs who was born in Kempsford and baptised there on 25 September 1825. He was the son of John Tombs, a labourer and his wife, Amy. In 1850 he married Elizabeth Evans in the Cirencester Registration district and by 1861 they were living in East End, Fairford with three children, Eliza born about1849 in Horcutt, John born about 1852 in Fairford and Caroline born about 1854 in Fairford. In 1871 they were still living at East End, Fairford . John was still living at home and they had another two children, Ann born about 1863 and Rose Ellen born about 1868 both born in Fairford. Richard and John were both working as labourers. In 1881 they were still living at East End, Fairford where Richard was working as a labourer and Rose Ellen was the only child still living at home. In 1891 Richard and Elizabeth were living at 9 London St., Fairford and at home with them was a grandchild, George Richard lee who had been born in London.

By 1901 Elizabeth had died and Richard, still described as an agricultural labourer was living in London Road, Fairford with his daughter, Annie, and her husband, Albert Winstone, also an agricultural labourer, born in Quenington and their five children. However by 1911 he had gone to the workhouse in Cirencester where he died in the infirmary in 1915.

Richard Tombs’ children

Richard Tombs’ daughter Eliza married Andrew Easeley in Highworth, just over the border in Wiltshire, in 1869.In 1871 they were living at 11 Union Street, Swindon with a daughter, Charlotte born about 1868 and 2 lodgers. Shortly afterwards they moved to Cheltenham where in 1881 they were living at 10, Bloomsbury Street with six more children . About 1888 the family moved to Cardiff and in 1891 were living at 3 Maud Street, Roath, Cardiff with another four more children. They had eleven children. They then moved to the Rhondda Valley where Andrew became an underground coal miner. In 1901 they were living at 41 Edmund Street, Tylorstown. Andrew and his sons, Charles and Walter, were colliery hewers and Edwin and James were underground colliery horse drivers.  Andrew Easley died in 1908 and Elizabeth Easley died in 1910 in the Pontypridd registration district.

Eliza’s daughter Charlotte married James John Down on October 20, 1888. They had five children in 16 years. She died on July 19, 1917, at the age of 48 in Tylorstown when she committed suicide.

Eliza’s son James married and lived at 53 Street Tylorstown in 1911 with his wife, Mary and four sons. Another coal hewer with his wife and son were boarding with them. He died in June 1930 in Bournemouth, Hampshire, at the age of 48.

Eliza’s daughter, Mosselina (Mossie) married James Hoskins, a colliery hewer in 1906, had at least one son and died and was buried in the Penrhys Cemetery in the Rhondda Valley in  June 1955 at the age of 68.

Eliza’s daughter Lily Maud married Thomas Gillgrass a coal miner hewer in about 1907 and in 1911 was living at 21 Penrhys Road, Tylorstown with a son and a daughter. She had four sons, Abraham, Emrys, Glyn and Trevor and three daughters, Florence, Eirwen and Beryl between 1906 and 1922. She died on July 15, 1965, in Tylorstown, Glamorgan, at the age of 78 and was buried in Penrhys Cemetery in the Rhondda Valley. Abraham married Mary Louise Tilley in Bristol on16 March 1935 and she died in Tylorstown in 1978. They had one son. According to the Gillgrass family tree on Emrys Gillgrass died in the West Midlands in October 1997,  Glyn Gillgrass died at sea on 24 August 1941, Trevor Gillgrass died in Wales on 12 November 1966, Eirwen Gillgrass died in Tylorstown on 10 March 1953 and Beryl Gillgrass died on 22 January 1923.

Richard Tombs’ daughter, Ann Tombs, married Albert Winstone in 1882 in Gloucester, when she was 19 years old. In 1891 they were living at 23 Mount Pleasant, Fairford where Albert was working as an agricultural labourer. They had four children, Rosie, Frank, Foster and Frederick and a boarder who was also an agricultural labourer. All the family were born in Fairford. In 1901 the family were living on London Road, Fairford with two more sons, Francis and Charles. Albert, Frank and Foster were all working as agricultural labourers. Richard Tombs was also living with them, described as an agricultural labourer. By 1911 they were living at Swyre Farm, Aldsworth where Albert was working as an agricultural labourer and Frederick and Francis were working as horsemen on a farm.

Richard Tombs’ daughter, Rose Ellen Tombs, married Benjamin Davies, a railway porter from Bromyard, Herefordshire, on 6 June 1896 at Fairford. By 1901 they had settled at Kirkham Villas, Bromyard and had a daughter, Florence Alice, and a son, Richard John. Benjamin was working as a railway signalman. They also had a boarder who was a painter. By 1911 they had moved to Newbury Park, Ledbury where Benjamin was still working as a railway signalman.

Notes by Carol Davies March 2016