Monday, January 16, 2017

My Cotswolds Connections :The Horse and Groom Inn, Upper Oddington, Gloucestershire

Upper Oddington, Gloucestershire is the type of village that Americans think of  when conjuring up an iconic image of  "British Village Life" . Sunshine glints from the golden hand hewn stone buildings. Tidy flowering gardens with fruit trees adorn the ancient Grade II listed homes which cluster between farmlands where sheep and fat spotted pigs graze. The 500 or so residents  have a Village Hall, a Womens Institute an "Old" and a "New" Church:the old being Norman in origin and built about 1100 and the new having been built in 1852. At the heart of the village is the local Public House "The Horse and Groom" and this is where my story takes me.

The Horse and Groom is a functioning pub with rooms which has been serving the locals in some capacity since the mid 1600's. I am descended from the Bould family who lived here and welcomed weary travelers since at least 1690 until its sale in 1898. It has taken me more than a decade to collect enough documents to put together the story of my familys time in Upper Oddington. This has included the usual birth, marriage and death certificates, land deeds, poll taxes, church visitations. old maps , antiquarian books and early newspapers. My favorite part of the research was visiting the village in person, traipsing around the cemetery at the Church of St. Nicholas , sitting in the family pew and of course stopping in for Steak and Ale Pie at the Horse and Groom.

Simon Jackson and his lovely wife were the owners on the occasions when I visited. They gave me the grand tour and shared anecdotes about the recent history of the place. I was surprised to find that the pub no longer had a cellar. The cellar figured prominently in the documents I had.This was where they brewed their own recipe of ale. The ale was served in the pub and there is a connection to another direct ancestor named Breakspeare associated with the brew house. Purveyors of brew will know the name. The particulars of sale of the property from 1898 describe the location of the cellar. After comparing notes we discovered that a large dip in the land behind the building (which Simon had thought was at one time a pond,) was actually where soil had been removed to fill in the cellar. Below is an 1898 description of the property which included land depicted on the map below.

A document search performed for me by author and genealogist Elizabeth Jacks of the Gloucestershire Archives turned up several maps including this one from more than a century earlier. Comparing it to a modern day Google Earth map is astounding as the village has seen very little significant changes in the landscape.

1787 Map of Upper Oddington

The 2017 Google Earth Map of Upper Oddington
 By 1841 the Bould family were no longer listed as Yeoman in the censuses as they had been since early records and the interest by the current generation in being publicans seemed to wane. Johnathon Bould passed away in 1848 and his wife Lousia ran the pub for another 29 years. Mary Bould Baker was left the properties at Louisas' death in 1877. Mary rented them to various tenants. She neglected to pay the inheritance taxes and there are many years of litigation between her and the tax board. Fortunately, she married an attorney who was able to straighten it out and she held onto the property until 1898 at which time it went up for sale. My gggrandfather Richard Bould took his inheritance and came to the United States in 1850 settling in New London ,Ohio. Once there he bought 80 acres of land to farm, several town plots on which he built houses and a property to run as a pub. His eldest son William served in the American Civil War and later ran the pub alongside him. His youngest son George was my ggrandfather.

 In 2016 the H & G changed hands and I understand the new owners are doing a fabulous job of maintaining the historic atmosphere and adding their own flair to the menu. I can hardly wait for my next visit!

I wonder if they have met the resident ghost? More tales to come!

Auction of the Horse and Groom, Upper Oddington, Glos. 1898
Note: The Bould family spelled their names a number of ways including Bowles, Bowls,and Bolds. For simplicity I have used the spelling most commonly seen at the time.
The Glamorous Genealogist visiting the Ancestral PUB!

If you are researching this area of the Cotswolds or any of the following surnames from this area, please feel free to contact me.


Below is a list of books about Upper Oddington or books which offer significant insight into the history of the area.

Yeoman of the Cotswolds by Porter and Abbott             ISBN 1-897817-48-7
20th Century Oddington by Digweed and Hall               ISBN 0-9537-4260-1
A Rogues Gallery by Elizabeth Jacks                           ISBN 978-0-7524-5129-9
Prehistoric Gloucestershire by Timothy Darvill              ISBN 0-86299-460-8
Bristol & Gloucestershire Archeological Society Transactions Vol 104 1986
The Cuckoo Pen by Fred Archer                                  ISBN 07509-1288-X
The Folklore of the Cotswolds by Katharine M. Briggs     ISBN 0-7134-28317
Murders and Misdemeanors in Glos by Malcolm Hall       ISBN 978-1-84868-046-3
Yeoman Soldiers by John Lewis                                  ISBN  14251-4103-X

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1 comment:

  1. I was fascinated to discover this post on Oddington, I've family connections to the village in the 18th Century through the Phipps and Rachel families (Robert Phipps' holding can just about be seen neighbouring Bould land on the 1787 map I see!). I'd love to see a clearer photo of that map! Alice Rachel (1787-1862) was my 3rd Grt Grandmother, her father Thomas Rachel married Anne Phipps. I've not traced any Bould family connections yet, but they would certainly have known each other. All the best, John.