Chapter 11

Sydney Ponting

Sydney Ponting was born on 11 May 1847 at Hengaston Farm in the parish of Breadstone, the son of Henry Ponting, farmer and Jane Jones of Hengaston Farm (Reg Gen June 1847 Thornbury 11 445) (Chapter 4). He was baptised on 6 June 1847 at Berkeley Parish Church. .

The 1851 census shows Sydney, aged 4, born Berkeley living with his widowed mother Jane and his siblings at Appleridge, Highfield, Gloucestershire (Chapter 4)

There is no trace of Sydney in the 1861 census, he would have been around 14 or 15 at the time.

In 1871 it appears Sydney was still learning his trade. Sydney Ponting, aged 25, unmarried, born Berkeley was an apprentice living at High Street, Ethan, Surrey with the family of William Hunt, a 37 year old draper.

In 1875 a Sydney Ponting witnessed the marriage of Thomas Ponting and Alice Weeks (Appendix J) in Thornbury, Gloucester.

In October 1878, according to papers at Gloucestershire Archives, S Ponting of 125 and 127 High Street, Kensington agreed to lease the property at 3 Holland Park Terrace, Notting Hill. At the time he gives his address as 125 and 127 High Street, Kensington. Writing to the auctioneers, E & F Swain, Sydney sets out the agreed conditions

The lease will run for 14 years from 29 September 1878 (terminable at the end of the first 7 years by either party provided 6 months notice has been given).

  • Rent is £85 per annum excluding "sewer rate and all other rates" except property tax, payable quarterly on the normal quarter days.
  • The property is to be kept in a good state of repair and Sydney is to paint the outside every third year and inside to be "painted, grained, varnished and whitewashed" every 7th year and papered at the end of the tenancy.
  • The premises can only be used as a private dwelling and no alterations or additions made or any "plates or notice" displayed without written consent from the landlord.
  • Nothing is to be done on the premises that may cause damage, nuisance or annoyance to the landlord or the neighbours
  • The lease will be prepared at Sydney's expense and contain the conditions stated
  • Sydney is to pay for insurance against fire and all rates and taxes
  • "The lessors title will not be demanded"
  • If the lease is terminated in 7 years by the landlord, Sydney will not need to decorate the inside
  • The landlord will paint the outside of the house during this or the next year, "where the drainage in the basement now stopped is to be unstopped and left in order and damaged paper caused by overflow of pipes to be made good"
  • The rent is to commence from 11 November 1878

Gloucestershire Archives has in its possession a number of papers deposited by the Cullimore family in 2002 (D9400). The Cullimore family had farmed in Manor Farm, Morton for many centuries, but in 1907 the estate came into the hands of John Cullimore (1845 - 1931) who was also a highly respected lawyer based in Chester. In his time John Cullimore acted for the Cowley family (see below) and seemingly Sydney Ponting. It was within these papers that the deed terminating the partnership with his brothers was located as well as various letters, etc referred to here. John Cullimore was Sydney's cousin, nephew of Jane Ponting nee Jones (Chapter 4) and son of Eliza Cullimore, Jane's sister Eliza (Appendix K).

Included in the Cullimore papers listed as held at Gloucestershire Archives are

  • a copy of an indenture between Sydney Ponting of Holland Park Terrace and Emily Amelia Cowley and others concerning the intended marriage between Sydney Ponting and Emily Amelia Cowley drawn up in 1879 
  • Marriage settlement between Emily A Cowley and Sydney Ponting in 1879

However on inspection there is only 1 page of the in indenture surviving and the 1st page of the marriage settlement is missing. These fit together and I believe that it is one and the same document.

The indenture is between Sydney Ponting, mercer, of 3 Holland Park Terrace, the first party, Emily Amelia Cowley of 34 Maitland Park Villas, the second party, Emma Cornock Cowley (Emily's aunt) of 34 Maitland Park Villas. Alfred Nichols Hillier, clock importer, of 54 Great Ormond Street, Middlesex and Clarence George Beardsworth (Chapter 12), warehouseman, of 66 Foulden Road, Stoke Newington, the third parties.

It begins by setting out the following

  • That the marriage of Sydney and Emily has been agreed and will take place shortly 
  • Sydney has certain furniture, plate, pictures, prints, books and other household effects at 3 Holland Park Terrace
  • Emily has certain furniture, plates, pictures, prints, books and household effects now at 34 Maitland Villa's but which are intended to be moved to 3 Holland Park Terrace
  • That in order to complete the furnishing of 3 Holland Park Terrace it is necessary and intended to purchase other furniture articles and things.
  • Emily is entitled to £1,100 capital stock of The East and West India Dock company, to £100 consolidated stock of the Bombay Baroda and Central India Railway Company, to "£24 £5 per cent" consolidated preference stock of the Great Western Railway Company and to 624 shares of £5 each (fully paid up) in the Colorado United Mining Company Ltd
  • Emma Cornock Cowley has issued a bond on 3 July 1869 requiring her executors to pay Emily the sum of £1,000 with 6 months of her death with interest of 5% until paid.
  • Sydney has taken out an insurance policy on his life with the London Assurance Corporation number 7186 in the sum of £1,000 and under an annual premium of £26.13s.4d.
  • It is agreed that the property to which Sydney and Emily are entitled (and any other present and future property ) is to be settled on Sydney upon their marriage subject to the powers and provisions within the indenture.
  • Emily's stocks and shares referred to above are to be transferred into the names of Emma Cornock Cowley, Alfred Nicholls Hillier and Clarence George Beardsworth.

It goes on to say that the indenture made in anticipation of the intended marriage witnesses and declares

  • Sydney and Emily assign to Emma Cornock Cowley, Alfred Nicholls Hillier and Clarence George Beardsworth (or their executors or administrators) (hereafter the trustees) all their furniture, plate, plated articles, linen, glass, china, books , pictures, prints, musical instruments and other household articles or ornaments of any description plus any interest. The beneficial interest in the assets is to remain as it was until after the marriage and after the intended marriage this is to remain with Emily having separate use and enjoyment of her assets unless she appoints otherwise. After the death of either Sydney or Emily the assets are to be held in trust for the other. The trustees are indemnified against any risk or loss connected with the assets. They are not to get involved in their preservation or insurance. Sydney and Emily will be free to dispose of any of the assets and do what they wish with the proceeds 
  • Emily assigns to the trustees, the £1,000 due to her on the death of Emma Cornock Cowley and any interest due thereon and the benefit.
  • Emily assigns the trustees her various stocks and shares for her benefit to the date of marriage and thereafter as set out in the indenture.
  • The trustees will require payment to them of the £1,000 and interest on it as soon as due and of any amounts due on the stocks and shares immediately following the marriage. The trustees may retain the assets in their current form or change them with Sydney's and Emily's written consent. These assets become "the trust funds"
  • The trustees pay the income from the trust funds to Emily for her sole and separate use. If Emily' dies and there are children then the trustees will pay Emily Cornock Cowley the sum of £50.00 in ½ yearly instalments the first payable 6 months after Emily's death. There is then part of the document missing which I suspect confirms Sydney's right to the remainder of the income until his death.
  • After both Emily and Sydney's death's, subject to continuing to pay Emma Cornock Cowley her £50.00 per annum the trust funds will be held for the children of the marriage to be divided as Sydney and Emily appoint (but not being earlier than the children reaching 21 or in the case of daughters marrying) or failing such an appointment between the children equally.
  • If Emily survives and remarries she can make provision for income to be paid to her new husband, although they would need to continue paying Emma her £50.00 per year from income. Whilst the income can be provided for a subsequent husband, the capital is to be divided between the children of the first or subsequent marriages, the amounts determined by the number of children concerned .
  • Provision is also made for the maintenance of any minor children from the share of the trust funds that would become theirs on reaching maturity.
  • Parts due to children on maturity can be paid in advance provided that Sydney and Emily authorise this, or if following the Emily's death, the trustees authorise this and, it is agreed with any future husband who would have benefited from the income.
  • If there are no children of marriage who get absolute entitlement to the funds, then the trust funds will be distributed in accordance with Emily's will or in the absence of a will to her next of kin.
  • Anything that Emily becomes entitled to after initial settlement (except jewels, trinkets, ornaments of person, plate, linen, china, furniture, pictures, prints, books and other items personal in nature which belong to Emily for her sole and separate use or any legacy or property acquired not valued above £50.00s.0d) will be transferred to the trust (at the cost of the trust) and the trustees will be free to sell, call in , convert, etc. if this includes leased property which is not sold then the trustees will collect any income and pay any rents due. The income will be payable to Emily during her life or to any other person who becomes entitled to it after her death.
  • Sydney to assign to the trustees the policy of insurance referred to earlier and the £1,000 and any other money received from the policies by bonuses etc. On Sydney's death the trustees will receive the money and firstly pay any expenses incurred in getting the insurance payout. The balance of the moneys are to be dealt with in the same manner as other moneys within the trust except for the powers contained in clause 7 relating to provision for a future husband. Sydney will do nothing to nullify the policy. If anything happens to nullify this policy Sydney will take out another one in the name of the trustees for the same amount and pay all premiums necessary
  • All moneys that fall to be invested under the trust agreement may be invested in any stock, funds or securities of the government of the United Kingdom, or British colony or dependency or any foreign state or in securities of any railway company in the United Kingdom, the colonies, the dependencies or any foreign state or in any municipal or other corporation or public body or in or upon real, heritable or leasehold property in the United Kingdom.
  • Sydney and Emily may appoint new trustees during their joint lifetime and then whoever survives can do so alone. The number of trustees can be altered but it must never be less than two.

The document seen is a draft prepared by Cullimore and is noted "as altered in red ink and subject to our marginal notes we approve this draft on behalf of Mr S Ponting. Tippetts and Co 24 July 79"

In summary the indenture maintains Emily's rights to her assets and income despite the laws regarding property and marriage in place at the time, but gives Sydney and their or other children rights following her death. This seems to be supported by later documents relating to income and expenditures within the Cullimore papers.

On 9 August 1879 Sydney Ponting and Emily Amelia Cowley married at St Saviours Church, South Hampstead (Reg Gen Sept Qtr 1879 Hampstead 1a 1210). Sydney is described as a bachelor, aged 32, a merchant, of St Mary Abbotts, Kensington. His will and other documents indicate that he was living at 3 Holland Park Terrace at the time. His father is shown as Henry Ponting, a deceased farmer. Emily is described as a spinster, aged 31 from South Hampstead. Her father is shown as Giles Cowley, deceased gentleman. The witnesses were James Heritage and Mary Jane Ponting (Chapter 7).

Below is Sydney and Emily's marriage certificate taken from the parish records and showing their actual signatures and that of sister Mary Jane Ponting.

Emily's father, Giles Cowley had married Lydia Halling in 1839 (Reg Gen March Qtr 1839 Kensington 3 192). Their first daughter Lydia Elizabeth Cowley was born in 1841 (Reg Gen June Qtr 1840 Clifton 11 293). In 1841 the family are living in Henbury, Gloucestershire and Giles is described as "independent". Giles and Lydia's second daughter Juliet Louisa Cowley was born in 1842 (Reg Gen June Qtr 1842 Clifton 11 326) and Sydney's wife, Emily Amelia Cowley was born in 1848 (Reg Gen June Qtr 1848 Clifton 11 326).

Giles Cowley died in 1850 (Reg Gen June Qtr 1850 Clifton, Gloucestershire 11 254) and at the time of the 1851 census his 37 year old widow, Lydia, an annuitant is living at Henbury with her daughters, Lydia, aged 10, Juliet aged 8, Emily aged 3, all described as "at home". Also at the same address were Louisa Cowley, aged 33 and Mary Cowley aged 24, two of Giles Cowley's sisters.

Emily's mother, Lydia died in 1859 (Reg Gen Sept Qtr 1859 Clifton 6a 86) and by the time that the 1861 census was taken 13 year old Emily and her 20 year old sister Lydia were living in St Marylebone, London with their uncle, William Halling, aged 43, a proprietor of houses and his sister in law, Emily's aunt and William's housekeeper, Emma C Cowley, aged 37. Both Emily and her sister are described as a fund holders. Emma C Cowley who later becomes a trustee of the trust set by the marriage indenture (see above).

It is assumed that Emily's wealth as described in the marriage indenture was inherited on the death of her parents. On 26 March 1869 she is able to write to an unknown recipient "Dearest auntie" and sends her all Grandma Halling's plate and "the interest of £1,000 for your life" "for recompense for all your kindness during my minority"

By 1871, Emily, aged 23 was living with her aunt Emma C Cowley, aged 47 at 34 Maitland Park Villa's, St Pancreas, London with two boarders and two servants. Both Emma and Emily's source of income is described as 'dividends from railways'.

Emma Cornock Cowley, spinster aged 56 died in 1880 (Reg Gen Dec Qtr 1880 Kensington 1a 94). Emma's will, made in 1879 when she was still living at Maitland Park Villa's as I assume Emily was, leaves her niece £500 plus all her furniture, plates, jewels, trinkets, linen, china, glass , books, etc. In addition she leaves £300.00s.0d "upon trust for Mr George Cowley and his children" and if no children then to Mrs E A Ponting. The balance is left on trust to pay the income to William Cowley for his life and thereafter to divide the income and pay 2/10 to Mrs E A Ponting, 3/10 to Hannah Cowley, 1/10 upon trust for George Cowley and his children and Mrs Ponting (as the £300.0s.0d) and 3/10 to Decimus Cowley subject to the payment of £50.0s.0d free of duty to Samuel Cornock Cowley. The will makes no reference to the bond issued on 3 July 1869 but perhaps this is to be paid with other debts before dividing the residue? Sydney Ponting of 3 Holland Park Terrace is one of the witnesses of the will.

So Sydney and Emily married and move into Holland Park Terrace. However they do not stay there long. Despite the fact that Sydney would only have been 3 years into the tenancy, by 1881 Sydney and Emily have left Holland Park Terrace and are living at 1 Cheniston Gardens, Kensington. The entry reads:

  • Sidney Ponting, head, married, aged 33, draper and outfitter, born Gloucester
  • Emily A Ponting, wife, aged 33, drapers wife, born Gloucester
  • Mara Wilcocks, housekeeper, aged 43
  • Elizabeth Barrett, aged 30 and Susannah Goist, aged 19, domestic servants
  • Florence Williams, aged 21, Agnes Jaleston, aged 31, Edith Jones, aged 18, Sarah A Draper, aged 26 and Clara Davidge, all drapers assistants

Cheniston Gardens is just off Wrights Lane at the opposite end from Kensington High Street.

In 1881 Sydney was still in partnership with his brothers William and John Jones Ponting as drapers trading from Kensington High Street, but he retired from the partnership on 19 February 1884 and he and Emily move back to Gloucestershire. The details of the dissolution of the partnership is in Chapter 5.

On 11 July 1884 a solicitors letter addressed to Mr Sydney Ponting of Alveston confirms that he can take Alveston House from 25 March next (1885) with the land being occupied by Watkins. The rent will be £60.00s.0d per annum (only about £4K in 2006), but before taking the house the landlord will lay out £300.00s.0d in repairs including

  • New front door
  • New windows in front
  • Rough casting and painting the whole of the outside
  • Putting roof and gutters in order
  • New WC outside house in east corner
  • Renewing woodwork of the stable
  • Repairing outbuildings and walls

Plus other work subject to the landlords approval. Sydney was to rent the property for either 5 or 7 years and the other usual terms of a lease were to apply including "restrictions on sale of hay".

Later receipts include those which show that on 16 November 1886 and 13 April 1887 Sydney paid Crossman & Lloyd solicitors ½ yearly rent of £32.00s.0d due to B S Ogle.

Alveston, Gloucestershire is a small village 1½ miles south of Thornbury. According to "The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales 1894 - 95" it had a population of 759. The church of St Helens was in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol and the parish includes the hamlets of Earcott and Rudgeway (part). There is now the "Alveston House Hotel" which sits just outside the village on what is now the A38. Is this where Sydney and Emily lived? (www.alvestonhousehotel.co.uk). 

Despite the move back to Gloucestershire, it appears that Sydney had not so easily divested himself of all his responsibilities in London. On 5 October 1885 he receives a letter addressed "Dear Syd". it is not clear who the writer is, but it appears that Sydney had tried to terminate the lease on Holland Park Terrace, Notting Hill only to be advised by the writer of the letter that he remains liable for the rent and all the covenants for the period of the lease. At this point Sydney was 7 years into the lease taken out in 1878. Was he trying to give the notice allowed by the original agreement? What had happened to the property in the interim? Censuses show that in 1881 William F Craies, a 26 year old law student was living their with his wife and servants. Presumably Sydney was subletting the property to him. Interestingly the census shows that the property had been named "Appleridge".

Then, as late as 10 January 1889 solicitors, Sweet & Sweet (acting on behalf of Messrs Arthur Chesterton & Sons of Kensington) write to Sydney at Alveston House requesting £60.00s.0d commission for the sale of 1 Cheniston Gardens, Kensington, which had been sold in February 1884. The money is demanded in a week. Sydney fails to make the payment. On 18 January 1889 Edward Chesterton and Sidney Rawlins Chesterton issue a writ to Sydney Ponting demanding the £60.00s.0d and £3. 10s.0d costs for "commission on the sale of a house at No 1 Chesterton Gardens, Kensington to Captain De La Hyde in 1884".

The next document found relating to this matter is a letter dated 23 January 1889 addressed to William Ponting accepting his offer to pay £50.00s.0d in full discharge of the debt provided it is paid by the following Tuesday. This £50.00s.0d is shown on the statement of Sydney's account with Ponting Bro's referred to in Chapter 5 as paid on 25 January 1889.

Following their move to Gloucestershire Sydney and Emily presumably lived off their investment income. The source of Emily's income is detailed at the time of her marriage. Sydney, one presumes, invested the proceeds of the disposal of his interest in the partnership in 1884 to provide further funds to meet their living expenses, and although no detail is held, it appears that he may have invested in property. The '1885 Special Drainage District of Thornbury Special Expenses Rate Book' shows Sydney Ponting as the owner of three houses (with gardens) possibly 55, 57 and 59 St Mary Street, Thornbury. At the time the properties were occupied by Joseph Alexander, Thomas Powell and Thomas Pointing.

Accounts of Emily Ponting's income and the amounts paid away to her were kept by Birch, Cullimore and Tonyers (later Douglas) solicitors. These show that in the year ended 31 December 1889 Mrs Ponting received income from dividends from East and West India Dock company, Bombay Boarder and Central India Railways, Great Western Railway Company, London, Chatham and Town Railways, and moneys from the Victoria Government, the New Zealand government, from a Brinklock Bond and from moneys advanced to J Taylor at 5%. Her income totalled £176.6s.3d and it was distributed to Emily as follows

Payments to Mrs Ponting

  • 9 January 1889 - £12.1s 11d 
  • 2 February 1889 - £2.10s.0d
  • 20 February 1889 - £15.15s.10d
  • 9 March 1889 - £12.3s 9d
  • 15 July 1889 - £18.£14s 11d
  • 16 August 1889 - £13.11s.10d
  • 22 August 1889 - £2. 8s.9d
  • 5 September 1889 - £12.3s 9d
  • 12 October 1889 - £25.0s.0d
  • 1 November 1889 - £50.0s.0d
  • 12 December 1889 - £7.13s 6d
  • Total £174.4s 3d

It is not clear whether the distributions were based on receipt or need. However in addition to these income and receipts accounts Emily also held separate cash accounts with Birch and Cullimore and in 1890 this indicates that £255.9s 3d had been advanced to and was owed to Mrs Ponting. Why was such a large amount required in advance?

At the time of the 1891 census was taken, Sidney and Emily Ponting were living in Alveston, Gloucestershire. The entry for Sydney shows him as head of the household, aged 43, born Berkeley. His occupation was originally given as 'living on own means', but this has been crossed out and 'retired draper' written instead. His wife is firstly shown as 'Sarah A', but Sarah has been crossed out and 'Emily' written instead. This seems to be a transcription error in the original return, because also listed are servants, firstly, Sarah A Driver, aged 25, a housemaid, 20 year old Alice E Bagatt, cook and 18 year old Mark Cole, groom and gardener.

In 1891 Birch Cullimore receive £139.12s 0d on Emily's behalf of which £136.10s 0d is paid to her and £2.2s.0d are Birch's fees.

In addition in the year there is an account with Birch Cullimore described as "Mr and Mrs Ponting's settlement". This account indicates that on 21 March 1891 they received £800.00s.0d from James Taylor "in repayment of balance of the mortgage". It is not clear how this fits in but interest from J Taylor had formerly been part of Emily's income. The £800.00s.0d is then invested/paid away as follows;

  • 500 Midland Ord stock at 1.4874 - £741.5s.0d
  • Stamp fee - £3.18s.0d
  • Commission - £3.14s.0d
  • 31 North Eastern Railway stock at 1.621/2 - £50.7s.6d
  • Stamp fee - 5s.0d
  • Commission- 10s.0d

Sidney Ponting died on 18 August 1891 at Kinston House, Alveston. aged 44. At the time of his death he is described of 'independent means'. The cause of death is given as apoplexy (a stroke). The informant was Emma Bell who was present at the time of death. She gives her address as General Hospital, Bristol (Reg Gen Sept Qtr 1891 Thornbury 6a 110). It is not clear what or where Kinston House is or was. Later records indicated that Sydney and Emily had not moved from Alveston House.

In his will dated 9 August 1879 (the date of his marriage), Sydney appointed John Jones Ponting, draper of Hyde House, Shakespeare Road, Acton (Chapter 9), George Clarence Beardsworth, commission agent, of 66 Foulden Road, Hackney (Chapter 12) and James Heritage, draper of 45 Tottenham Court Road, as his executors and as his trustees .

Probate was granted to John Jones Ponting, draper, of 123 High Street, Kensington on 12 April 1892 with the provision that it could still be granted to the other named executors if required. Sydney's estate was valued at £447 (approx. £33K in 2006) .

The will states that Sydney's trustees were to retain his assets (or income from their disposal) in trust and out of the income pay

  • His mother Jane an annuity of £60.00 per year during her life (or the whole of the income if less than £60.00)
  • His wife, the residue of the income and after her death his children or grandchildren in whatever shares and in whatever manner his wife states in her will
  • In the absence of any children, after the death of his wife the residue to be paid to the child or children of his brother John Jones Ponting (One must ask why John Jones children, Thomas, William, Susanna and Ashfield all had children by that time, although John's were the oldest and he had the largest family)

He appoints his wife Emily Amelia Ponting as guardian of his infant children, and after her death his trustees to be guardians. However it does not appear that Sydney and Emily had any children.

Sydney also states that any business interests he has, either on his own account or in partnership, may be sold to the partners or to another party at a valuation made by two different people, one to be appointed by his executors (excluding John Jones Ponting) and one by the purchasers. Presumably John Jones is excluded because at the time Sydney made the will they shared an interest in what was to become Ponting Brothers Ltd. Again this clause seems to have been redundant by the time he died.

Sydney was buried at St Helens Church, Alveston, Gloucester (memorial inscriptions via internet)

Following Sydney's death, Emily received an insurance payout, presumably from the policy referred to in the marriage indenture. Another separate account with Birch, Cullimore shows she received £1,091.14s 0d on 10 October 1891 described as "London Assurance policy money" which was dispersed as follows (clearly some before receipt of the funds and now being reimbursed to Birch, Cullimore)

1891

  • 1 January 1891 - To Birch, Cullimore & Douglas £426.1s1d. This was made up of balance of last account £255. 9s 3d
  • 5 January 1891 - "cash to you" - £75.00s.0d,
  • 1 July 1891 - "cash to you" - £21.13s. 11d
  • 15 August 1891 - "cash to you" - £25.00s.0d
  • 19 August 1891 - "Premium on Mrs Ponting's life policy" - £23.17s.11d
  • 21 August 1891 - "cash to you" - £25.0s.00d
  • 2 October 1891 - Jno William's bill - £13.12s 6d
  • 14 October 1891 - E Samsbury bill - £1.1s.6d
  • 14 October 1891 - J Arnold & Sons bill - £2.19s.6d
  • 14 October 1891 - Councell & Westcombe bill - £14.5s 6d
  • 20 October 1891 - M Savory & Son bill - £1.10s.4d
  • 30 November 1891 - T Gaynor bill - £22.10s.9d
  • 30 November 1891 - Dr Grace bill - £17.16s.0d
  • 30 November 1891 - T H Ponting & Co bill - £17. 7s.8d (see below and appendix H)
  • 30 November 1891 - A E Workman bill - £2.1s 5d
  • 30 November 1891 - Jno Williams bill - £7.1s 5d

And perhaps of more interest, the following which relates to the winding up of Sydney's estate

1892

  • October 1892 - Messrs Tippetts & Co - £22.7s 0d, made up of Probate £8.2s.0d and executorship expenses £14.5s.0d
  • October 1892 - To Mrs Finemore - £421.4s 9d - I wonder how they became indebted to sister Mary Jane? (Chapter 6).
  • 31 December 1892 - To R Howell - £20.14s 0d
  • 31 December 1892 - Birch & Co - Expenses of the estate £ 10 5s 6d
  • 31 December 1892 - Stamp duties, etc - £3.11s 0d
  • 31 December 1892 - Birch & Co - Expenses of transfer of settlement funds and release of trustees - £14.18s 0d.
  • 31 December 1892 - Stamp duties , transfer fees, etc - £5. 10s 2d
  • 15 November 1892 - Brunton & Co expenses on Victoria and New Zealand transfer - £2. 2s 6d
  • 31 December 1892 - Cash paid to you personally - £50.00s.0d

1893

  • 12 January 1893 - Cheque to you herewith - £4.14s.4d

This last transaction balanced the account at £1,091.14s 0d, but there is also a note that "Mrs Ponting still owes Birch & Co the £50 advanced on 27 July 1892.".

It is not clear whether the transfer of the settlement and transfer of Victoria and New Zealand shares refer to Sydney's personal investments or were these his wife's assets held by the trust which had to be transferred back to her after his death?

The account does suggest that Birch, Cullimore & Douglas were paying bills on the couple's behalf after Sydney's death. However this does not seem to have been the norm. There is no similar account either before or after his death. Whilst the household bills after Emily is widowed end up in her solicitors hands, there is no evidence that they were being paid on her behalf and being reclaimed. In fact the contrary is true, her accounts with Birch Cullimore for 1892 indicate that they received £127. 10s. 7d on Emily's behalf of which £125. 8s 7d was paid to her and £2.2S 0d were paid to Birch in fees.

In 1893 her income was £275 7s 10d of which

  • £190 5s 10d was paid to Emily,
  • £50.00s. 0d was repaid to Birch Cullimore (which had been an advance on 26 July 1892 - see above),
  • £2 2s 0d was paid to Birch & Co for fees ,
  • £50.00s.0d was paid to Barnes Brothers for carriage, and
  • £3.00s. 0d was paid for railway charges.

In 1894 Emily's income is £217 24s 0d, all of which was paid to her.

The household bills within the Cullimore papers cover the period 1890 to 1900 and include:

  • Licence from Inland Revenue authorising Mrs Emily Ponting to "employ one male servant" from 15 January 1892 to 31 December 1892 - 15s 0d. This tax on male indoor servants, grooms, gardeners etc was introduced by the Revenue Act of 1869 and not abolished until the Finance Act of 1937.
  • The rates bill from the 'Thornbury Union' dated 31 May 1892 charges 7s 2d. The rate being made on a £4.5.00 assessment at 9d in the pound. A further rates bill dated 14 June 1892 but for the same period charges 6s 0d rates on £8.0.00 at 8d in the pound.
  • Licence from Inland Revenue allowing Mrs Emily A Ponting to keep 1 dog from 15 January 1892 to 31 December 1892. 7s 6d.
  • Licence from Inland Revenue authorising Mrs Emily Ponting to keep "one carriage with 4 or more wheels to be drawn by 1 horse or mule only" from 15 January 1892 to 31 December 1892. £1.1s.0d
  • Licence from Inland Revenue authorising Mrs Emily A Ponting to "wear and use armorial bearings and to have the same painted, marked, or affixed on or to any carriage" from 23 February 1892 to 31 December 1892 - £2.2s. 0d
  • Income tax bill charging Mrs Ponting of Alveston 5s. 6d income tax on Schedule A income of £8.6s 0d for year ended 5 April 1895.
  • From John Williams for work around the house, including putting up a wash line and fastenings, cupboard doors in breakfast room, door frame for dog kennel and 9 ½ hours putting up the dog kennel, etc - £8.1s 2½d
  • From 'Bristol Times and Mirror' for newspapers
  • From 'Woman' based at 1 Cecil Court, St Martins Lane, W2, dated 16 October 1896 and addressed to Mrs Ponting at Alveston, '6 months subscription'
  • There are also a number of diary sized 'account books' with local traders listing goods obtained and containing receipts "stamps" when payments made covering the period 1891 to 1899. These include
  • Councill & Westcombe, wholesale and retail grocers, Thornbury, which list items such as 3 inches of bacon, 3 tea brands, 4 V H cocoas, 1 tea, 6 sugar and 5 cheeses delivered on a daily basis or at most every couple of days
  • G Saxton, who supplied pints of ale and other beverages
  • John Taylor, Butcher, High Street, Thornbury
  • Geo Witts, suppliers of bread and flour

On 20 September 1892 Emily writes to Mark Watkins "Sir. I hereby give you notice to quit and deliver up to me on 25 March 1893 the piece of land you now hold or rent off me called Walnut Tall Field situated in the parish of Alveston , county of Gloucester. Emily Ponting". Watkins had been in the land since Sydney and Emily moved in in 1885

On 30 November 1896 J Williams bills Mrs Ponting for "examining and reporting upon sanitary condition of a dwelling house at Rudgeway, Alveston" . If this is a precursor to moving then it seems to take some time.

On 6 May 1897 Emily receives a letter from William Penduck(?) stating "I agree to remove your furniture and effects from Alveston to Rudgeway, take apart and refix same, take all risk and make good any damage £8.0s.0d".

Mrs Ponting is included in the 1897 Kelly's directory and her address given as "Glan Mor", Rudgeway.

Rudgeway is a small "village" approximately a mile south of Alveston. It is part of the parish of Alveston and until the new church of St Helen's was built in 1885 the parish church of Alveston (the old St Helen's) was situated within Rudgeway. This remains but is now derelict.

The following household bills in Cullimore papers seem to relate to the period after the move.

  • Dated 1897 bill from W A Ward for alterations to Fir Cottage, Rudgway
  • Dated 1897 and addressed to Mrs S Ponting, bill from W M Embley, sadler and harness maker, 17 February 1897, new upholster for carriage and harness, 24 February 1897, new thing and whip, 3 November 1897, new silver plated buckle, etc,  16s 0d. Paid 19 February 1898
  • Dated 1898, bill from John C James Veterinary Surgeon for various treatments from 27 March 1897 to 19 May 1898 including examining terrier and bottle dressing, examining pug and bottle dressing for skin, extracting teeth and operating on claws £2.1s.0d. Paid 14 September 1898.
  • Dated 1899 and addressed to Mrs Ponting at Rudgeway, bill from Edward J Ponting, plumber, glazier, gas fitter, bell hanger for "putting new bucket to hard water pump , leathering and redressing to soft water pump" - 6s 6d. Edward J Ponting was the son of George Ponting and Marianne Harris. Edward Ponting and Sydney Ponting's grandfathers were brothers, both sons of William Ponting and Mary Pearce. (Appendix H).
  • Dated 17 May 1899 Dunlop, Mackie & Co, wine and spirit merchants, supplying amongst other things Guinness and Bass pale ale.
  • Dated March 1900 and addressed to Mrs Ponting, a bill from W H Ponting, draper from Norwich House, Thornbury for alterations, satin ribbons, shoe laces, silk flannel, lining and thread £1.17s.11d. William Harris Ponting was the brother of Edward J Ponting, son of George and Marianne Ponting. (Appendix H).
  • Dated 6 June 1900 and addressed to Mrs Ponting at Rudgeway, a bill from W M Whiteley of Westbourne Grove & Queensway, Bayswater, London for "4 yards of silk, 11s. 10d and postage 4d". Emily buying from the old competition!!!

Emily A Ponting died on 16 February 1901 aged 53 (Reg Gen March Qtr 1901 Thornbury 6a 189). Probate records indicate that she was living Rudgeway, Gloucestershire. Probate was granted to Clarence George Beardsworth, merchant (Chapter 12) and John Cullimore, solicitor (Appendix K). Her effects were valued at £4,216 in May 1901. Probate was resworn in December 1901 and the estate valued at £4,370 0s 5s (worth approx £326K in 2006).

A copy of her will, originally made 16 September 1896, in which she describes herself as "of Alveston" is held at Bristol Record Office along with associated correspondence. Her original will sets out

  • "I desire to be buried at Alveston aforesaid"
  • Clarence George Beardsworth of 25 Hamsell Street, City of London and John Cullimore of the City of Chester, are appointed as her executors and trustees

She bequeaths

  • Clarence George Beardsworth and John Cullimore £100.00 each.
  • "My sister in law Mary Jane Finemore £200.00"
  • Sarah Ann Coates £100.00
  • Eliza Evans of Shurland Road, St Peters Park, Paddington, London, £50.00
  • Alice Emma Raggatt (now Judge) "latterly in my service" £100.00
  • "To each of the my domestic servants in my service at the time of my death £20.00"
  • Her friend Louisa Lucy Smith of Geneva Road, Brixton, Surrey, spinster, an annuity of £50.0s.0d to be paid by her trustees ½ yearly. If at any time her income is insufficient this is to be paid out of capital.
  • "If I shall own any dogs on my decease" then the trustees are to arrange to take care and maintain them out of the trusts income, paying the annual licence fee an 2s 6d per week for their care and maintenance for as long as they shall live.
  • The trustees are to call in, convert, etc the estate to pay funeral expenses and the specific legacies and thereafter to invest the residue and pay Louisa Lucy Smith during her life with the balance going to the vicar and churchwardens of the parish of Alveston to be applied to and for the benefit of the poor inhabitants and parishioners of the parish.
  • After the death of Louisa Lucy Smith, the trustees will convert all moneys and pay them to the "Official Trustees of Charitable Funds" to be invested with the Charity Commissioners with the income to be paid to the vicar and churchwardens of Alveston who in turn will apply it for the benefit of the poor inhabitants and parishioners of the parish and "the maintaining, clothing, educating, apprenticing and bringing up of orphan children born in the parish and the provision of pensions and houses for aged poor persons, inhabitants or parishioners of said parish and as far as the law will allow providing land and buildings and books and papers and other articles for aforesaid homes and for the education, improvement recreation and enjoyment of the inhabitants of all classes and all ages of the same parish, as the vicar and churchwardens see fit".

The will is witnessed by William Cullimore (Appendix K) and Robert Comely (Appendix K), both of Moreton, Thornbury.

In the first codicil dated 17 June 1898, in which Emily describes herself as "lately of Alveston, now of Rudgeway", she

  • directs her executors to distribute her wearing apparel amongst female domestic servants in her service at the time of her death
  • bequeaths all her plate and plated articles to her godson, Charles Cullimore (Appendix K) of Christleton, Cheshire
  • directs that any legacy duty is to be paid by the estate.

The codicil was witnessed by Edward Mills Grace, physician and surgeon of Park House, Thornbury and Marian Emily Reynolds, hospital nurse, Falfield R.S.O. I wonder what gave rise to the codicil.

The second codicil is dated 26 April 1900 by which time Emily describes herself as "of Rudgeway, widow" and in which she bequeaths the following legacies

  • To Blanch Gough (now in her service) £200.0s.0d
  • To Mrs Dyer (who sometimes worked for her) £20.0s.0d
  • To Elizabeth Mills, of Galveston, widow, £50.0s.0d and Emily directs her trustees to hold this and apply the capital and income to pay Elizabeth the sum of 10s 6d per week for either as long as she lives or as long as the money lasts (an account held with Cullimore shows that there is still £16.9s.7d in hand in 1903).
  • To her goddaughter, Dorothy Alice Judge, her gold watch and chain and £100.0s.0d which her trustees are to apply all or in part to her education.
  • To Ellen Till of The Parks, near Thornbury, her diamond ring set in black (Appendix I - Subsection 1)
  • To Mary Elizabeth Cullimore of Christleton, Cheshire her "big diamond ring" set in gold and her diamond hoop (with 5 diamonds therein) and the two square fancy scent bottles in her dressing room (John Cullimore's wife - Appendix K)
  • To Charles Cullimore of Christleton, the ebony clock in her dining room (Appendix K)
  • To Mary Comely of Clifton, her gold cable bracelet
  • To Ann Comely of Clifton, her gold band
  • To Elizabeth Comely of Clifton, her gold bangle (Mary, Ann & Elizabeth may have been the children of Elizabeth Comely, John Cullimore's sister - Appendix K)
  • All legacy duties are to be paid out if the residuary estate. 
  • To Louisa Lucy Smith, her gold brooch, her little cameo brooch and all my oil paintings in the dining room
  • Directs her executors not to sell her old horse but to find a home for him with someone who will use him in light work on land and to maintain him out of the residue of her personal estate.
  • Directs her executors to pay Louisa Lucy Smith the sum of £50.0s.0d "which I borrowed from her"
  • Revokes her previous legacy to Mary Jane Finemore and in lieu bequeaths her £50.0s.0d (previously £200.0s.0d)

On 17 February 1901, her solicitor John Cullimore writes to the Rev'd E Langley

"Dear Sir

"Will you kindly arrange with the churchwardens about attending at Mrs Ponting's house after her funeral to hear her will read.

I am one of the executors and I should prefer to have you present without the church wardens because in my opinion the quieter these things are the better it is - but having intimated as much to you, I will leave you to arrange it as you and the church wardens may think best

Yours faithfully

John Cullimore"

Emily were buried at St Helens Church, Alveston, Gloucester (memorial inscriptions via internet)

On 24 February 1901 John Cullimore writes again to Rev'd Langley

"Dear Mr Langley

Will you kindly look through Mrs Ponting's house and things and look after them (as chief legatee) until the sale.

Please look through the books and prints, etc . You may like to have the prints for your village jubilee. Also please consider if the books or any of them and the bookcase would be suitable for your village institute.

It would I am sure accord with Mrs Pontings views if the books can go there- and be of service to the young people and although the executors are not empowered to give them we may arrange to buy them and pay the capital account for them out of the final income available.

If any other ideas occur to you please give me the benefit of them and I will consider them

I am

Yours very faithfully

John Cullimore"

There is then the following post script

"There are 3 or 4 very good engravings (I took a fancy to the one of the late queen). Are they suitable for the institute"

(Queen Victoria, to who I assume Cullimore refers, had died on 22 January 1901 aged 81, having reigned since 20 June 1837, all of both Sydney and Emily's lives!)

This is not the end of the story for there is the estate to resolve and the question of the ongoing charitable trust. The correspondence and documentation referred to below is predominantly held at Bristol Archives (P.Alv/ch/2a,b,4,6 & 7) having being given over by the church or is from other sources quoted.

An account of Emily's estate with Cullimore, Birch, within the papers, shows the estate had receipts of £4,464.14s 10d (slightly more than probate indicated) which included cash in the house of £9.11s.0d and furniture and effects valued at £502.4s.6d. There was no cash at the bank and the balance of the estate was the value of various stocks and shares held and dividends and other income received from these since Emily's death. This included amounts due under the will of L E Cowley (Emily's sister?), 2/10 of the estate of E C Cowley dec'd (Emma) and the reversionary interest Emily was expected to inherit on G Cowley's death without children.

After payment of

  • Estate duty - £126.7s.0d
  • Court fees and expenses - £27.10s.4d
  • Funeral expenses - £36.10s.0d
  • Debts - £168.5s 9d
  • Legacy duty - £331.6s.2d
  • Specific legacies - £108.7s.0d
  • Old horse - £6.0s.0d
  • Pecuniary liabilities - £950.0s.0d
  • Executorship expenses - £66.2s.4d

There was left a balance £2,644.6s.3d in trust to provide firstly for Miss Smith and thereafter the parishioners of Alveston.

The bulk of the receipts for furniture and effects comes from the proceeds of sale by auction but it does include £10.10s.0d received from Revd E Langley for bookcase, books and prints, a total of £13.7s.0d received from J Cullimore for books, photo's etc and "articles mentioned in unexecuted codicil and given by him" and "jewellery mentioned in unexecuted codicil and given by him" and £1. 1s.6d received from F Hawkins for plants.

The funeral expenses include £32.9s. 0d due to the undertaker, £2.2s.0d to the bell ringers for "muffled peal" and £1.19s 0d to F K Howell for "lettering stone".

Of the debts, £50.0s.0d is owed to Miss L L Smith, £13.15s 4d is owed to Cullimore & Co, but the bulk of the remainder are household expenses including £24.0s.0d rent to W A Ward to 24 June and staff wages £4.1s.0d due to W Poole, £3.6s.8d due to Blanche Gough and £1.7s.5d due to Beatrice Gainsworthy

The specific legacies are distributed in accordance with the will (Blanch Gough, Kate Day and Beatrice Gainsworthy take the "wearing apparel" ). Blanch Gough also takes the pug dog (which is to be maintained by the estate) and John J Ponting takes the old horse valued at £6.0s.0d.

Of the further documentation held which includes

  • Accounts prepared by Cullimore showing the income of the estate and how it has been distributed
  • Account books showing how the funds received by Mrs Ponting's charity were distributed.
  • Various correspondence and other documents relating to will, the beneficiaries and with the Charitable commission.

The following is the most notable

  • An account book recording the amounts distributed by "E A Ponting's Charity, Alveston". This starts with an entry recording that on 12 December 1903 a meeting was held at 5.30 for "the churchwardens to consider the distribution of the money (forwarded by John Cullimore) from the late Mrs Pontings estate there being a balance after all the annuities had been paid". The attendees included Rev E Langley and J Gardiner.
  • There follows a list of names and the amounts the individuals are to receive. The amounts vary between £1.10s.0d and 10s. No reason is given for the various payments. The only notable amount is £4.16s 0d paid to Mrs Mills which seems to refer to an amount of £2s per week. Again it is not clear what this relates to, but it appears to be in addition to her specific legacy. The total distributed was £19.6s 0d.

Later years distributions are listed in the charities account book. Again these are a list of names with the amounts each are to receive but it now gives some indication of what the payment is for, referring mainly to food, milk, clothing.

Accounts prepared by Birch, Cullimore & Douglas of Chester showing the estate's income and expenditure are held for the years ended 31 December 1904 to 1907. These show income of between £82.3s.7d and £90.3s.7d. After the payment of the annuity to Miss Smith and expenses to Mrs Gough in connection with the dog as well as various expenses this leaves between £14s 1d and £38.16s 11d due to the vicar. The amount due to the vicar is paid by cheque.

In the year ended 31 December 1906 the additional expenses include £10. 10s.0d in respect of the bookcase and books to be taken to Jubilee Hall and £28. 7s 1d payable to H French for "repair of Cowley Monument". On 10 January 1903 Cullimore had written to Rev'd Langley suggesting that the trust funds should be used to repair the monument to Mrs Ponting's mother and father at Henbury church which had been damaged.

There is an invoice dated 8 June 1906 from Willett & Son for "brass engraved memorial tablet 24" to 16". Emily A Ponting to sketch, quotation and fix complete £3.10s 0d" Is this a memorial to Emily or part of the cost of repairing her parents memorial?

On 13 October 1906, John Cullimore (of Friars, Chester) writes to Rev'd E Langley stating "I heard of the death of the dog. Blanche Gough (its custodian) wrote to inform me of it the day after it happened" . This seems to in response to a letter from the Rev'd. I wonder how quickly he wrote this and what was his motivation.

On 14 April 1908 Cullimore writes to the Rev'd Langley confirming that Miss Smith "the annuitant under Mrs Ponting's will died on Friday last" and that this " terminates the trust and the estate now passes to the Charity Commissioner"

The charities account book records that Miss Smith died on 10 April 1908 and in September 1908 the proceeds of Mrs Ponting's estate was invested with the Charity Commissioners in the name of "The Official Trustees of the Charitable Funds"

On 19 May 1911 the Charity Commissioners write to John Gardiner at 3 The Elms, Rudgeway saying

"Dear Sir

Referring to your letter of 21st ultimo I am to say that the sum of £120.00s.0d would be in the view of the charity commissioners be quite insufficient for building almshouses.

Upon reference to the accounts rendered to this office they notice that apparently the trustees expend the greater part of the income of the charity in doles of food and money, a mode of application which the commissioners regard as of doubtful advantage to the beneficiaries.

I am to point out that after expressing the desire to benefit the poor the testatrix, in addition to more general words, specifically mentions the support of orphans and the provision of pensions and almshouses giving her trustees power to confine themselves to any one of these objects and I am to suggest that in view of this power the trustees should concentrate their work upon one of the specified purposes. The amount of the endowment seems to point to such a mode of application and if the trustees should choose to devote their funds to pensions and almshouses it might be possible to make substantial provision for the aged poor by building almshouses and securing to the inmates stipends enabling them to live in comfort

I am, sir,

Your obedient servant

Henry W M Bowyear

This advice does not appear to have been heeded for distributions continue in much the same way, although payments include

  • In 1911 "expenses of sending Mrs Walter Clarke's child to infirmary £3,3s,8d"
  • On 30 September 1918, to "Mrs Williams for late husband 5s"
  • On 20 March 1930 the clerk of Alveston parish council write that "at the annual general Meeting of this parish held at the Jubilee Hall on Tuesday March 18th, a resolution was passed that a letter be written to the trustees of Mrs E A Ponting's charity, suggesting that the income as received be spent on gifts and not kept as a bank balance" In addition to the more normal payments in later years, the following were noted
  • In 1931 £10.00s .0d to be paid to the Alveston Nursing Association. In 1910 there had been a public meeting in Jubilee Hall to see if a Village Nurse for the parish was desirable. This was to be paid for by subscription.
  • On 17 September 1931, £4.7s.6d for "costs nursery homes Mrs Biddle"
  • On 28 April 1932 "Lamp fitting Jubilee Hall. £2.4s.0d"
  • On 28 May 1932 "Laying school yard £19.7s.0d"
  • On 19 September 1932 "share of school fees - Rodney Webb £2.0s.0d". There are further contributions to Webb's School fees in later years .
  • On 11 November 1932 a payment of £12. 5s. 0d to Rev Walmsel for repairs at Earthcott School.
  • On 18 June 1934 £15.00s.0d for the "nursing fund". This is repeated annually. 
  • On 7 September 1934 £91.00 for school alterations. Followed by on 22 October 1934, repairs to school £34.0s.0d 
  • On 16 April 1935, £85.16s 1d to R Curtis and Sons for Jubilee Hall
  • On 30 September 1935, H Oxley "dental fees £3.0s.0d"
  • On 13 January 1937 to H Hendy and Sons for Earthcott School £31.17s.0d
  • On 14 March 1939 15s for Bristol City and Marine Ambulance

A statement from the Charity Commission for year ended 31 December 1944 shows that it still holds £1,309.12s 8d of 2% consolidated stock in Mrs E A Ponting's name. The investment is increased by further stock purchases using the dividends received in the year.

Payments continue

  • On 28 March 1946, £1.0s.0d is paid to Rev Walmsley for Mrs Coleman's journey to visit her injured son 
  • On 8 October 1948 R A Pitcher is paid £24.16s.9d for repairs to Rudgeway school
  • On 16 January 1949 H W Clark is paid £16.8s.0d for repairs to walls and old church yard
  • On 30 December 1949 £20.00 is paid towards "Jubilee Hall heating apparatus". in addition an annual subscription of £10.00s.0d is paid and this is repeated in later years.
  • On 10 July 1950 £3.00s.0d is paid to Mrs Tandy Dyer for "holiday help"
  • On 6 April 1953 £400.0s.00d is paid to Alveston parish council as "contribution to cost of playing fields"
  • On 3 June 1955 £20.00s.0d is paid towards Jubilee roof repairs
  • On 24 October 1960 £80.00s.0d is paid to the Jubilee Hall committee for chairs,

And finally

  • On 14 February 1964 £100.00s.0d is given to the Jubilee Hall Improvement fund.

The records seen stop at 1970 and it is not clear how the charity was finally wound up, although I assume that by now it has.

Jubilee Hall, which features heavily in relation to the payments made, was given to the parish (along with the adjoining recreation ground) by Edward Bush who lived in the Grove, Alveston on 22 June 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria's jubilee. Edward also contributed towards the cost of the new church of St Helen's built in 1885.

Click here to go to "Chapter 12 - Ashfield Ann Beardsworth nee Ponting".

To find out more about the Ponting's store, click here to go to "Chapter 5 - Ponting Brothers  Ltd"

To find out more about the Cullimore's click here to go to "Appendix K - Jones of New Park"

To find out more about William Harris Ponting and Edward Ponting, click here to go to "Appendix H - The Children of George Ponting and Hester Cullimore". 

Click here to go back to "Chapter 4 - Henry Ponting and Jane Jones"