Chapter 3

Henry Ponting and Hesther Wetmore

Henry Ponting was baptised at Berkeley Parish Church on 18 April 1785, the son of William Ponting of Hamsfield, yeoman. He was the son of William Ponting and Mary Pearce (Chapter 2).

Henry Ponting of Berkeley married Hester Wetmore on 22 June 1809 in Hill. The witnesses were Ann Wetmore, John Wetmore Snr (presumably her father) and John Hale (Chapter 2). Although no ages are given in the parish register, Henry would have been 24 and Hester around 21 years old at the time they married.

Esther (sic) Wetmore had been baptised on 28 March 1789 at Hill the daughter of Jno Wetmore and Esther Cullimore. Details of Hester's family are at Appendix I (Subsection 1).

The parish of Hill is in the Upper Berkeley Hundred, approx 4 miles southwest of Berkeley and 4 miles north of Thornbury. In 1801 its was home to 220 people. The parish church of St Michael, Hill, thought to date back to the 13th century but extensively repaired in 1759 is shown below .

The marriage was recorded in "The Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucestershire General Advertiser" on 6 July 1809.

The same edition reported on the lack of news from Napoleon's campaign in Danube against Archduke Charles and the Austrian Army and speculates whether any inactivity would favour the French or the Austrians.

This was published not long after Napoleon had suffered his first major defeat at the Battle of Aspern- Essling on 22 May 1809 which followed his hurried attempt to cross the Danube but before he regrouped and seized Vienna in early July 1809

Henry and Hesther had eight children that we know of:

  • Henry Ponting. Baptised 28 March 1810 at Berkeley (Chapter 4)
  • William Ponting. Baptised 31 October 1811. Buried 31 October 1811 at Berkeley.
  • John Ponting. Baptised 6 January 1813 at Berkeley
  • Thomas Ponting. Baptised 2 January 1815 at Berkeley
  • Charles Ponting. Baptised 15 May 1820 at Berkeley
  • William Ponting. Baptised 28 June 1826 at Berkeley. Buried 15 January 1827 at Berkeley aged 7 months.
  • Ellen Ponting. Baptised 10 September 1828 (as Helen) at Berkeley.
  • Sophia Ponting. Baptised 31 October 1830 at Berkeley.

At the time that his son Henry was baptised in 1810, Henry senior is described as a dairyman of Mobley. When William was baptised on 31 October 1811 and buried on the same day at Berkeley he is described as the son of Henry Ponting, dairyman of Mobley. At the time son John was baptised in 1813 Henry is described as a yeoman of Hinton. Thereafter he is described as a yeoman of Mobley, until the birth of Sophia when he is described as a farmer.

Henry is recorded as the occupying tenant at £50 per annum of Mobley Farm, Hamfallow in 1832/33.

He is the occupant of land as tenant at Mobley Farm, Hamfallow in 1834/35, 1837/38, 1844/45 and 1851/52. (Gloucestershire Register of Electors). Mobley Farm, a mid/late 17th century grade II listed building is pictured below. A planning application in July 1999 submitted by the Cullimore family (a name that appears frequently elsewhere in this account) states that Mobley Farm is rented on a lifetime tenancy from the Berkeley Estate and consists of a house, buildings and 352 acres of land. The only dwelling available is Mobley Farmhouse which is a six bedroom listed farmhouse situated beside the buildings at Mobley Farm. The application states that the Cullimore family had been farming there for four generations.

The 1841 census for Mobley, Berkeley shows the following occupants in the Ponting household

  • Henry Ponting, aged 56, farmer
  • John Ponting, aged 29
  • Thomas Ponting, aged 27
  • Sophia Ponting, aged 11
  • Ann Ponting, aged 25

At the time the census was taken Hesther was staying with her son Charles at Taynton and daughter, Ellen, aged 12 was a pupil at St Mary's School in the parish of St Mary's de Lode in the boundaries of the city of Gloucester. Son Henry's whereabouts are dealt with in Chapter 4 and Charles' below.

As Ann Ponting is listed last, I suspect that she is not one of Henry and Hesther's children, but possibly George Ponting and Hesther Cullimore's daughter (Appendix H)?

By 1851 the census for Mobley in the parish of Hamfallow includes entries for:

  • Henry Ponting, head, aged 66, farmer of 163 acres employing 1 labourer, born Berkeley
  • Hester Ponting, wife, aged 63, farmers wife, born Hill
  • John Ponting, son, aged 38, farmers son, born Berkeley
  • Ellen Ponting, daughter, aged 22, farmers daughter, born Mobley
  • Plus one house servant and two farm servants, James Ghoston and Thomas Godwin.

Daughter Sophia was staying with brother Thomas at the time (see below).

Ann Ponting was housekeeper to Thomas Cadle, a farmer in Adsett Tything, Westbury on Severn.

Henry Ponting died on 8 October 1854 aged 69 at Mobley (Reg. Gen. March Qtr 1855 Thornbury 61 171). Henry was described as a farmer and the cause of death is given as "the effects of accidental injuries from a horse". The informant was G Joyner Ellis, a coroner of Berkeley. What is odd is that the date the death was registered is originally shown as 10 October 1854. This is then crossed out and 28 February 1855 entered instead. Henry Ponting of Mobley was buried at Berkeley on 14 October 1854.

In his will, made on 21 February 1853 Henry describes himself as a farmer from Mobley. He appoints his son Thomas Ponting of Cheltenham, a draper as his executor and trustee and he makes the following bequests

His wife, Hester is to be allowed to carry on running his business either at its present farm or to use his capital to acquire another without being accountable for any loss or diminution in value

  • His wife is to receive the income and profit from all his property for her own use
  • After his wife's death, his trustees are to
  • a) invest £200 with the proceeds payable to his son John as his trustee sees fit. After John's death the proceeds were to be paid to his children as his trustees see fit. If John has no children then the proceeds were to be paid to Ellen and Sophia equally.
  • b) £100 to be paid to Ellen and Sophia
  • c) The balance is then to be divided and split equally between Thomas, Ellen and Sophia. If any of these children predecease his wife then their share is to be divided equally between Thomas, Ellen and Sophia. If any of these children predecease his wife then their share is to be divided between their survivor (husband, wife or children)

Following her husband's death, Hester does not appear to have stayed in Berkeley. At the time of the 1861 census Hester Ponting is living at Joy House Farm, Great Greenford, Berkshire. The entry includes:

  • John S W Pearce, head, aged 32, farmer of 214 acres employing 4 men and 2 boys, born Cam, Gloucestershire
  • Sophia Pearce (Henry and Hester's daughter), wife, aged 30, born Berkeley
  • Hester Ponting, mother, widow, aged 72, born Hill,
  • Alice Leach, general servant
  • Charles Self, cowman

Hester died on 5 October 1863 in Walsall. She was aged 74. She was buried at Berkeley on 9 October 1863. The burial register describes her as being "of Walsall"

However in her will made on 27 July 1862 and on the probate she is described as being of 'Greenford Green, Nr Sudbury, Middx' so possibly she was just visiting her son Thomas at the time of her death?

No executor was appointed in the will. Probate was granted to her son Thomas Ponting, draper of Walsall. Her effects were valued at less than £200 and she made the following bequests

  • £100 left in trust for her son John. The trust was to be administered by Thomas who will pay John the interest half yearly
  • The remaining estate to be divided equally between her son Thomas and her daughter Sophia
  • If John dies without leaving lawful issue then his £100 is to be divided between Thomas and Sophia.

Both Henry and Hester are buried in the family tomb (vault) which stands immediately to the left of the west entrance of St Mary The Virgin, the parish church of Berkeley.

The inscription reads "Sacred to the memory of Henry Ponting of Mobley Farm in this parish who died 8 October 1854 aged 69 years. Also of Hester Ponting, his wife who died 5 October 1863 aged 74." "Two of their children died in infancy". This would appear to be their two sons both named William. Son Henry is also commemorated on the same tomb - "In memory of Henry Ponting junior who died 5 February 1851 aged 39 years"

Our line continues through Henry and Hester's son, Henry Ponting who is considered in Chapter 4 and his descendents make up the remaining chapters of this account.

John Ponting

In 1851 John Ponting, aged 38, was living with his parents at Hamfallow and gives his occupation as "farmers son".

In 1861 John, aged 45 is lodging with Joseph Watts, a 25 year old agricultural labourer and his family at Upper Wick, Berkeley. John is described as "out of business". Although the age is incorrect I believe that this is 'our John'.

In 1871 56 year old John Ponting is boarding with Robert Allen, a 46 year cattle dealer and his family at Heathfield, Berkeley. He is now described as a "farmer out of business". Living next door at the time was Stephen Jenner, aged 76, the artist and painter referred to in Chapter 2, his wife Mary and their 24 year old son George, also an artist.

In 1881 John Ponting, aged 63 is boarding with William Hill, a 48 year old haulier and his wife at Newport, Berkeley. He is still described as a "farmer-out of business". Again the age is incorrect but I believe that this is 'our John'.

John Ponting died 18 February 1891 at Newport, Berkeley, aged 75 (Reg Gen March Qtr 1891 Thornbury 6a 172). On his death certificate he is described as "an annuitant" . This does tie in with what is known of the family. John is mentioned in his father and mother's wills, in his uncle Thomas Wetmore's will and in his brother Thomas' will and is seemingly provided with an income, but the death certificate yet again indicates that this John was born later than Henry and Hesther's son. As has been seen elsewhere, getting your age wrong was not uncommon. However it does also seem strange that on death John is described as "an annuitant" whereas in earlier years census returns he describes himself as "out of business", an unusual way to refer to yourself if you were of independent means.

Thomas Ponting and Charlotte Primer

By 1851 Thomas had moved to Cheltenham. The census for 390 High Street, Cheltenham shows 33 year old Thomas is working as a draper. Thomas's understates his age by 2 or 3 years. His 20 year old sister Sophia Is visiting him at the time. Also at the address are 4 assistants, 1 apprentice and 1 house servant

Thomas Ponting married Charlotte Primer in Cheltenham on 2 March 1852 (Reg Gen March Qtr 1852 Cheltenham 6a 11). Charlotte had been baptised on 2 December 1832 at All Saints, Southampton the daughter of David Primer and his wife, Sarah.


In his father's will, made on 21 February 1853 Thomas is described as 'Thomas Ponting of Cheltenham, a draper'

In 1861 Thomas and Charlotte are living at 3 High Street, Walsall. 45 year old Thomas is a draper employing 3 hands. His employees, Henry Bailey, aged 23, Henry Lion, aged 21 and Mary Bourne, aged 28 are living at the same address as are 2 general servants. Living next door to Thomas was Benjamin Love, a draper employing 5 hands, who would later marry Thomas's niece Susanna Ponting (Chapter 8).

Thomas and Charlotte are still in Walsall in 1871, but are now living at 11a Park Street, Walsall. 56 year old Thomas is a draper and living with them are 5 drapers assistants and 2 domestic servants. Also at the address is 22 year old Maud M Sheldon. Maud is described as Thomas's niece but the exact relationship has still to be established.

Thomas Ponting died on 15 September 1877 aged 62 at Park Street, Walsall (Reg Gen Sept Qtr 1877 Walsall 6b 369). He is described as a draper. The cause of death is given as alcoholism, chronic hepatitis and diarrhoea (?). The death was certified by J Day, 'Surgeon', rather than the 'more normal' 'MD'. I don't know if there was anything significant in this. The death was registered by Mary Pritchard, resident of Park Street, Walsall who was present at death.

Thomas's will written in his own hand on 1 March 1856 describes him as a linen draper of Walsall. In it he appoints his father in law, David Primer, warehouseman of Gloucester Station, executor and bequeaths

  • The property or share of property he received "under or by virtue of the will of his late uncle Thomas Wetmore of Oldbury, Gloucester deceased in remainder expectant on the decease of his widow now surviving" to his brother John
  • The remainder of his estate to his wife Charlotte absolutely

In a codicil to the will dated 22 February 1877 he states that David Primer has now died and so appoints his wife Charlotte Ponting as executrix. The will was proved on 24 December 1877 and probate granted to Charlotte Ponting.

The Thomas Wetmore mentioned in the will is Hester's brother (Appendix I - Subsection 1). His will includes legacies to John, Thomas and Charles, Ellen and Sophia "children of my sister Hester, wife of Henry Ponting".

In 1881 Thomas's widow Charlotte Ponting, aged 48 is visiting 62 year old widow Mary Ann Webb, a "Tea and coffee house keeper" at Bowmbrook, Northfield, Selly Oak. Nothing has been traced of Charlotte after that date. She remained a relatively young woman and may have remarried.

Charles Ponting and Sarah Hooper

By 1841 Charles Ponting was farming at Taynton Farm, Pound, Taynton. The census shows 

  • Charles Ponting, aged 21, farmer
  • Ester Ponting, aged 53
  • Hannah Ponting, aged 27
  • Mary Riddiford, aged 45, independent
  • Ann Wilks, aged 23, William Partridge, aged 19 and James Lewis, aged 15, servants

No relationship's are recorded at the time of the 1841 census, but Ester is of around the right age to be Charles mother, Hesther. Hannah would seem to be Charles's cousin, the daughter of George and Hester Ponting (nee Cullimore). The Ester cannot be George's wife and Hannah's mother (Appendix H) for she had died in 1840. Mary Riddiford (nee Wetmore) was Hesther Ponting's sister (Appendix I  (Subsection 1))

The "Gloucester Journal" records the marriage of Charles Ponting of Taynton, son of Henry Ponting of Berkeley and Sarah Hooper,the youngest daughter of William Hooper of Staunton at Staunton, Worcester on 20 May 1847.   

So by 1851, Charles had married and was living at Pound Farm, Taynton, Gloucestershire with his 33 year old wife Sarah and their 2 year old son Thomas Ponting. Also living with them were Caroline Hancock, aged 17, George Appleby, aged 13 and Andrew Coller, aged 18, all servants

At the time of the 1861 census Charles and his family were living at Lynes Place, Taynton. The entry records:

  • Charles Ponting, head, married, aged 40, farmer 170 acres, employing 5 men, 1 boy, born Berkeley, Gloucestershire
  • Sarah Ponting, wife, aged 42, born Redmarley, Worcestershire
  • Thomas Ponting, son, aged 11, scholar, born Taynton, Gloucestershire
  • Ellen Ponting, daughter, aged 3 months (should be weeks), born Taynton, Gloucestershire
  • Arthur Ponting, son, aged 3 weeks, born Taynton, Gloucestershire (see below)
  • Ann Jeffs, visitor, aged 61, lady, born Redmarley, Worcestershire
  • Anne Marie Ford, visitor, aged 22, farmers daughter, born Taynton, Gloucestershire
  • Mary Goode, nurse, aged 58
  • Elizabeth Roberts, aged 23 and Jonathan Hooper, aged 18, servants

Charles died on 18 January 1865 aged 44 years. His memorial stone can still be found in Taynton churchyard. Probate of his will was granted to his widow Sarah. His effects were worth less than £3,000. Still a sizeable sum in those days.

In 1871 Sarah, although widowed, was still farming in Taynton. All three of her children remain at home and also living with them were Selina Painter, aged 19, servant and John Harrison, aged 16, farm servant.

"Morris & Co's Commercial Directory & Gazetteer of Taynton" records Mrs Sarah Ponting as a farmer at Lynes Place in 1876.

Sarah Ponting died on 30 August 1876 aged 55 in Taynton. She shares her husbands memorial stone.

Charles and Sarah's children are considered at Appendix J

Ellen Pearce nee Ponting

In 1851 22 year old Ellen Ponting was still living with her parents in Mobley.

On 29 March 1856 Ellen married Thomas Taylor Pearce, yeoman of Mobley at Berkeley Parish church. Thomas was the son of Thomas Pearce, yeoman, of Mobley. The witnesses were Samuel Cadle and Sophia Ponting (Reg Gen March Qtr 1856 Thornbury 6a 243).

Tragically Ellen Pearce died less than 2 months later, aged 27. She was buried in Berkeley on 28 May 1856.

Thomas Taylor Pearce remained a widower in 1861 when he is described as a farmer of 140 acres and is shown as living at Mobley with visitor, John Ayres, aged 16, servant and dairymaid, Jane Niblett, aged 21, house servant Anna Pearce, aged 19 and James Gossam, cowman, aged 39.

In 1871, 44 year old Thomas is a malster employing 2 men. He is living with his 84 year old father Thomas, a farmer employing 1 man and his 39 year old sister at Hinton, Berkeley.

Thomas Taylor Pearce remarried in 1876. His bride was Sarah Elizabeth Pride (Reg Gen June Qtr 1876 Gloucester (1876-1937) 6a 553).

Thomas and Sarah Elizabeth had a daughter Edith Mary Pearce who was baptised on 8 August 1877 at Berkeley. Thomas gives his occupation as "innkeeper"

By 1881 54 year old Thomas and his 32 year old wife were living at the Railway Hotel, Sharpness, Hinton with their 3 year old daughter "Elizabeth M Pearce". However the next entry is for one of their servants "Edith Mary" so I believe that this has been incorrectly transcribed. Also at the address is Thomas's 45 year old unmarried aunt, Sarah Williams, described as a "retailer of wine and beer".

By 1891 Thomas and Sarah are living at Brook End, Hinton, Berkeley and 64 year old Thomas is described as a water bailiff. Their 11 year old daughter Edith was staying with her aunt Edith Pride, aged 68 and her two daughters at Glenview House, Christchurch, Newport.

Thomas T Pearce died in 1896 aged 69 (Reg Gen June Qtr 1896 Thornbury 1896 6a 134). Thomas Taylor Pearce of Brookend was buried at Berkeley on 16 June 1896

Thomas's daughter Edith married William Thomas Ord in 1898 (Reg Gen June Qtr 1898 Newport M 11a 245). In 1901 23 year old Edith Ord is living at Morden Road, Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales. She is shown as head of the household although she is still married. Living with her are her daughter Kathleen Mary Ord, aged 3 ½ months and visiting is her mother, 50 year old Sarah Elizabeth Pearce. It is not clear where husband, William was at the time. In 1911, 33 year old Edith Ord, a commercial teacher is living at 4 Helena Road, Redland, Bristol. Although the census shows that she has been married for 12 years it is not clear where her husband was at the time. By then Edith had two daughters, Kathleen Mary Ord, aged 10 and Marjorie Edith Ord, aged 8.

At 24 Kathleen Mary Ord married Arthur Howard Evans, son of Arthur Townlay Evans. The wedding took place on 16 April 1925 at Stoke Bishop, Gloucester. It is believed that they had 3 children.

Marjorie Edith Ord may have been born on 25 January 1903 and never married, she died in Somerset in November 1984 (Reg Gen November 1984 Weston Super Mare 22 1377).

Sophia Pearce nee Ponting

In 1851, 20 year old Sophia was staying with her brother Thomas at 390 High Street, Cheltenham. Sophia is described as a "farmers daughter"

On 29 March 1860 she married John Samuel White Pearce at Berkeley. Both were of 'full age'. James gives his occupation as yeoman. His father was Samuel Pearce, yeoman. The witnesses were Thomas Ponting and Thomas T Pearce.

In 1861 John and Sophia were living Joy House Farm, Great Greenford, Berkshire where 32 year old John was farming 214 acres with 4 men and 2 boys. Living with them were Sophia's widowed mother, 72 year old Hester Ponting.

By 1871, John and Sophia were living in Godlands, Tatsfield, Surrey where 43 year old John was farming 240 acres employing 6 men and 2 boy. They had by then three children

  • Harold Pearce, baptised 26 February 1866 at Holy Cross, Greenford
  • Percy Pearce, baptised 27 July 1868 at Holy Cross, Greenford.
  • Edith Pearce, baptised 18 August 1869 at Cam.

Also living at the same address was a general servant, housemaid and agricultural labourer.

By 1881 John and Sophia had moved to Street Farm, Stincombe, Gloucestershire where John was now only farming 19 acres employing 4 men and 2 boys. What had happened to reduce the size of the farm? The only children at home were 12 year old Percy and 11 year old Edith. 15 year old Harold was a pupil living at Ryde House Cottage, High Street, Ripley, Guildford.

Ten years later, in 1891, John is no longer farming. John and Sophia are living at 1 Harefield Villa's, Harefield Road, Hillingdon, Middx. 62 year old John gives his occupation as "manufacturing confectioner". Only their 21 year old daughter, Edith, a dressmaker remains at home along with Ellen Stanley, aged 18, general servant. It is not known what became of sons Harold and Percy.

Nothing more is known about any of the family members.

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

To find out more about the Wetmores, click here go to "Appendix I - Wetmore of Hill" 

To find out more about Charles Ponting and Sarah Hooper and their descendents, click here to go "Appendix J - The Children of Charles Ponting and Sarah Hooper". 

Click here to go back to "Chapter 2 - William Ponting and Mary Pearce"