THE BCH ARCHIVE

LOCAL HISTORY FOR

BIRTSMORTON

CASTLEMORTON

HOLLYBUSH

And The Surrounding District

Gunnells

House and family

In 1837, William Gunnell was renting Gunnels from the Dean & Chapter of Westminster. Cottage and garden, 2 rods, 4 perches.


In 1841, Gunnells is occupied by William Gunnell (aged about 70 – Agricultural Labourer)) and Ann (aged about 65), John (aged about 25 – Agricultural Labourer), Ann (aged about 20 – Agricultural Labourer), Elizabeth (aged 1) and Thomas aged 10. How Thomas is related is unclear.


In 1851, Gunnells is occupied by John (aged 40 – Agricultural Labourer), his wife Ann (aged 31 – Gloveress), their children Elizabeth, Adam, George, Mark, Charles and John’s mother Ann (aged 73).


In 1861, John and Ann are still at Gunnells (working as Agricultural Labourer and Glove Maker) with Elizabeth, Adam. Mark Charles and Millicent (aged 1, who I presume is Elizabeth’s daughter).


In 1871, John and Ann are living at Rose Cottage (Agricultural Labourer and Gloveress) with Elizabeth, Adam, Mark, Charles and Elizabeth.


Gunnells, known as Marl Hole, is now occupied by the Richard Edwards, Agricultural Labourer, his wife Elizabeth (Market Woman), and their children Frank, Maria, Alice, William and Ellen.


In 1881, John and Ann are living at Rose Cottage with Charles, Elizabeth and Millicent. John is a Labourer, Millicent is a Dressmaker. Lucy Gunnell, aged 16, is a Servant to the Pinson family at what was another Rose Cottage, but now Foothills.


Gunnells is occupied by Janetta Hart, widow and Poultry Dealer and her children Charles, Julia Rebecca, George, Sydney, Mary J, Martin W, Annie and lodgers John Morris and Emily Morris (step sister).


In 1887, 16 July, to be sold by auction by Moore and Sons, on Thursday, the 28th day of July, 1887, at the White Lion Hotel, Upton-on-Severn, at Three for Four p.m. in the Parish of Castlemorton.  Lot 4 - A brick- built cottage with garden and outbuildings, called Gunnells and a piece of pasture orcharding situate adjoining Druggers End Lane to which it has an extensive frontage, containing in the whole 2 rods and 4 perches or thereabouts, in the occupation of Mr. Edwards. Further particulars may be from Messrs. Moores and Roknet, Solicitors, Tewkesbury and of the Auctioneers, Tewkesbury and Upton-on-Severn.


In 1890, 30 August, Worcestershire Chronicle. Adam Gunnell of Castlemorton was fined 10s. and costs 8s. for keeping a dog without a licence in 18th inst.


In 1891, Charles Gunnell is living at Morton Rough working as a Farm Labourer, probably on Morton Green Farm, with his wife Priscilla and children Ann, Alfred and George.


Gunnells is occupied by Janetta Hart, widow and Poultry Dealer, and her children Charles, Julia Rebecca, George, Sydney, Mary J and Martin, and John Morris and her step sister Emily Morris.


In 1901, Charles is living at Capricks (Morton Roughs) as a General Labourer with Mary, Alfred, George Edith and Owen.


Gunnells is occupied by Jane Hart (aged 50, single, Poultry Dealer), her sister Annie and Annie’s son Martin, daughter Julia Shinn, Lizzie Bullock (adopted) and John Morris (father tin law).


In 1911, Charles is Wagonner on Farm (presumable Micklefield Farm) living at Micklefield House with Mary and their children Alfred and George (both working on the farm).


Gunnells is occupied by Jane Hart, Poultry dealer, Julia Sheen (she married to Shinn, but Sheen is a local name), George and Evelyn Hart, Elizabeth Bullock and John Morris.


In 2017, the property is listed as offering Bed and Breakfast and is the registered office of Athaena Ltd, a flat roofing company.  The wall if its outbuilding, made with Malvern stone with brick quoins, is listed under Buildingstoner.org.uk .


The Family



In 1865, 11 February. Worcester Journal. Upton-on Severn. At the Magistrates’ Office, on Saturday, before the Rev. J. H. Clifton, Adam Gunnell and Job Wagstaff, both of Castlemorton, were charged, the former with stealing and the latter with stealing or receiving twelve fowls, two docks, and one turkey, on the night of the 31st of January, at Caatlemorton, the property of Wm. Cook. Mr. Gregory, Solicitor, defended the prisoners. Frances Cook said: I am the wife of Wm. Cook, who is a farmer, living at Castlemorton; we had some fowls and ducks, and a turkey; I saw them all right on the 31st; on the following morning I missed six couple of fowls, one couple of ducks, and one hen turkey; I had marked one of the ducks which were stolen; I have since seen two ducks in the possession of P.S. Hardman, one of which I will swear to as being my property, it being marked the same as other ducks I have, one of which I now produce; I could not swear to the fowls, as there was no mark upon them; I was also shown some turkey’s feathers, now produced, which resemble the colour of my turkey; the duck’s feathers (now produced) also resemble the colour of ducks. Charles Hardman said: I am a police-sergeant, residing at Welland; in consequence of information I received I went to Mr. Cook’s and examined the fowlhouse, on the floor of which I found a quantity of blood; I afterwards examined the outside of it, where I found a footmark in the snow, which I covered over; I afterwards went to the Robin Hood beer-house in that parish, here I found the prisoner, Adam Gunnell; I called him out of the house, and asked him where he stayed the night before; he said was at home; I then asked him what time be got home; he said he got home in good time; I said what time, which question be refused to answer; I examined his trousers which was wearing, and which I now produce; on the legs I found marks of blood, and also on the knee marks of dirt, corresponding with that in the fowl-house, which was the droppings from the fowls: I then asked him how accounted for the blood on his trousers; be replied, What’s that to you. I then took him into custody, after a severe struggle, in which I hurt my knee very badly; I then took him to Mr. Cook’s, and compared his right shoe with the mark which I found on the outside of the fowl-house, and found it to correspond exactly; on the road to Mr. Cook's, in company with Gunnell and Mr Smith, the Parish Constable, we had to pass Job Wright’s house, when my attention was directed to a smell of feathers burning. I then went in to the kitchen of the house where there was a quantity of feathers burning in the grate; the feathers now produced are some that I got out of the fire; they are duck’s turkey’s and fowl’s feathers; there appeared to be a great quantity burnt; I afterwards searched the house, and in the room used as a dairy I found two ducks dressed; I afterwards showed the ducks to Mrs Cook, one of which she identified; they were on the floor of the dairy; I also found a dressed fowl in the dairy; the prisoner Wagstaff was present, and said that the ducks were two of his own which he killed; in an upstairs room I found a quantity of feathers of various sorts, of ducks, fowls and turkeys mixed, a sample of which I now produce; I afterwards found on the floor of the fowl pen a mark where some person wearing cord trousers had knelt  in the fowl droppings in the fowl house; I have since compared it with the prisoner’s trousers and found it corresponds. Samuel Michael, a Police Officer, stationed at Hanley, said I went to Castlemorton in company with P.C. Reynolds and saw Wagstaff near his house in a cart, and apprehended him, charging him with receiving or stealing a quantity of fowls, two ducks, and one turkey. The property of Mr Cook; he said I’ve not stole any ducks; I haven’t had a turkey ion my house for I don’t know when; that the ducks which were found in his possession were bought of a woman named Hannah Young; I then made a further search in Wagstaff’s house; and found a room with a quantity of feathers in it of every description; I picked out a sample which afterwards we afterwards showed Mrs Cook, who said they resembled those of the turkey. The feathers appeared very fresh, the quill parts being very supple. When he saw the feathers, Wagstaff said I think it is six or eight weeks since we had a turkey; I then brought him to Upton. I made further examination of the fowl-house and took up the mark of the corduroy, which corresponded with Gunnell’s trousers. I never knew that Wagstaff dealt in poultry. I afterwards questioned Hannah Young in the presence of the prisoner Wagstaff, who said she sold Wagstaff two ducks about six months ago. Mrs Cook was recalled and said she never sold Hannah Young any ducks of any kind. Mr Gregory reserved his defence and the prisoners were committed to the next Worcester Sessions, bail being accepted, two sureties of £10 each and one in £20.

Subsequently Wagstaff was acquitted and Gunnell found guilty. Nine months hard labour.


In 1865, 18 February, Worcester Journal. John Gunnell, labourer, Castlemorton, for allowing one sheep to stray on the highway, at Longdon, on the 5th of February, was fined 6d. and costs.


In 1867, 17 April, Worcestershire Chronicle. Upton-upon-Severn Petty Sessions. Adam, Gunnell and Thomas King were summoned by Mr Richard Lord for trespassing in pursuit of game on land in his occupation in Longdon on the 27th March. Fined 2s:6d with costs, or 7 days.  


In 1868, 9 May. Worcester Journal: Upton upon Severn. Police Court.  At the Police Court, on Thursday, before the Revds A. B. Lechmere and G. H. Clifton. Major Peyton, E G Stone, H. Wlllan and J. W. Empson, Esqrs. Gunnell, labourer, of Castlemorton, brought up in the custody of Supt. Checketts, was charged with unlawfully killing and slaying Charles Jones, at the parish of Castlemorton, on the 2nd inst.— Charles Wadley said: I live at Castlemorton, and work for Mr. J. R. Lane, of Cutler's Farm, in that parish. At about half-past six o'clock on Saturday evening last I was in my master's fold-yard near the stable door. The prisoner, Charles Gunnell, who was my master's cowman, went into the stable after a horse, and put a collar on it. The deceased, Charles Jones, the carter, said he should not have the horse. Gunnell replied that he should. Gunnell then went for the cart saddle and breeching to put on the horse, and while he was going Jones pulled the collar off the horse. The horse ran out of the stable, and Gunnell ran after it. It stood still near the mixen-hole and Gunnell went to catch it. Charles Jones was standing at the stable door; he ran towards the horse with a besom, and struck the horse across the head with it. He then flourished the besom-stick over Gunnell, and threatened to knock him down. Gunnell went up to Jones and pushed him into the mixen-hole. Gunnell then followed and caught the horse. Jones was in the mixen-hole lying quiet. Gunnell harnessed the horse to a cart and took it into the rick-yard to haul out some chaff straw into the cow-shed. When I saw Jones in the mixen-hole I went to him. I told him to get up, and caught hold of him by his shoulders to lift him up. He could not get up, nor could I lift him up. He asked me to go to his wife and tell her. I went to his home, about a quarter of a mile distant. The wall over which deceased fell is about 4ft. high. I was away after Jones's wife about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour. When I got back I found Jones in the same place, and his wife standing by him. Gunnell brought a cart and assisted to put him into it. The deceased then said to Gunnell, now l hope you be satisfied, Mr. Gunnell. Gunnell replied, I didn’t intend to hurt you. This wouldn’t have happened if you had let me alone. Jones was then taken away in the cart to his own home, and Gunnell went on with his work. Gunnell and Jones were accustomed to quarrel with each other. James Wadley, brother of the last witness, gave corroborative evidence. Mr H. T. Marsh said, I am a surgeon, and live at Upton-on-Severn. On Saturday evening, the 2nd inst., I proceeded to the house of Charles Lane, at Castlemorton. I found him lying on a bed in a downstairs room. On examination I found the symptoms of a fracture of the spine. He was paralyzed in both upper and lower extremities. He died on the following morning. I have since made a post mortem examination, and found that death resulted from a fracture of the sixth cervical vertebras. Such an injury might have been caused by a fall into the mixen-hole as described. The magistrates consulted for a short time, and on returning into Court said they were of opinion that the evidence adduced was not sufficient to justify them in sending the case to a higher tribunal. The prisoner was therefore discharged with a reprimand.

(a mixen hole is a hole in a straw yard on a  farm where urine drained instead of into a cess pool)


In 1875, 12 June. Worcester Journal. John Gunnell, of Castlemorton, and others were fined 6d and costs for allowing their horses to stray upon the highway at Welland.


In 1877, 25 August, Worcester Journal. Upton upon Severn Petty Sessions. Thursday. Before Lieut. Colonel Webb and Mr C. M. Berrington) Adam Gunnell, labourer of Castlemorton, was charged with stealing a fowl, the property of Mr Frederick Hicks, of that place, on the 9th of June 1876. A littler girl, of 9 years of age, named Minnie Stanhope Jones, deposed that on the day in question she saw the prisoner in company with a man named Lutwich. Lutwich caught the fowl, put it into his pocket, and walked away accompanied by the prisoner. (Lutwich was convicted of the offence on 22nd June 1876 and sentenced to 21 days imprisonment, but Gunnell left the neighbourhood and was only taken into custody on Monday last). George Bradford Jones, the father of the last witness, gave corroborative evidence. As there were two previous convictions for larceny against the prisoner, the magistrates decided to send the case for trial at the Assizes, and Mr Powell of Upton-upon-Severn, who appeared on behalf of the prisoner, said he would reserve his defence.


In 1936, 11 February, Gloucestershire Echo. A verdict of suicide while of unsound mind was returned by the South Worcestershire Coroner (Mr. H. J. H. Saunders) at an inquest at Upton-upon Severn today on Alfred John Gunnell aged 50, a single man, in Castlemorton, who was found drowned in the Moat Brook, Longden, on Saturday, after he had been missing for a week. Evidence was given to the effect that Gunnell was suffering from shell shock as the result of war service and was inclined to worry over relatively minor matters. His sister stated that he was much upset because he had recently been suspended from his work as a roadman in the employ of Worcestershire County Council because of a breach of discipline. An extended report will appear in the Echo tomorrow.


In 1936, 12 February Gloucestershire Echo. Tragic effects of shell-shock, Coroners comments at a inquest. Comments on the after affects shell shock were made the South Worcestershire Coroner, Mr. H. J. H. Saunders at an inquest at Upton-on-Severn Police Station yesterday on Alfred John Gunnell, single, aged 50, of Castlemorton, whose body was recovered from a brook at Longdon on Saturday, after he had been missing since Feb. 1. The Coroner said that one of the after effects of shell shock, from which Gunnel] suffered, was that a man who, in normal health, would not trouble much about what were relatively minor worries, was apt to magnify them and regard them great misfortunes. A verdict of "Suicide by drowning, while of unsound mind," was returned. Evidence of identification was given by a brother, George Gunnell, of Welland, who said that deceased served in France from 1911 to 1919 and suffered from shell shock. Miss Ann Gunnell, who had kept house for Gunnell since the war, said he was inclined to worry over small matters. His nerves were bad and it took little to upset him. On Thursday, January 23. he was suspended for week from his work as a Worcestershire County Council roadmen for a breach discipline, and that greatly upset him. There was no suggestion that he was unjustly treated. Frederick Short, of The Forge, Longdon, spoke of seeing Gunnell on February at 9.30 a.m. then appeared to be in better spirits than a few days previously when he was very strange in his manner. After that, witness heard that he was missing, and as was walking alongside the hrook at Longdon on Saturday last saw a body in the water which he recognised as Gunnell's. The person whom the Coroner said Relieved last saw Gunnell alive, William Arthur Benjamin Watkins of Manor Farm, Longdon, told of seeing deceased near the Moat Bridge, Longdon, 11.50 am on February 1. He seemed strange in his manner, being very quiet, instead of, as usual, talkative. Albert James Artwright, divisional surveyor for the Worcestershire County Council under whose supervision Gunnell worked, said that December last he found Gunnell on licensed premises when he should have been work. He stopped quarter of day's pay and warned him that if he repeated the offence he would be suspended. Later he again found him on licensed premises, stopped him half a day's pay and suspended him from work for week, in accordance with the practice of the County Council. He saw Gunnell when he resumed work on January 30, spoke to him about the breach of discipline and warned him that if occurred again he would be dismissed. The Coroner said that he had called Mr. Artwright because he felt that as it had been reported that Gunnell was depressed through the suspension from work, a responsible representative of the County Council should be present to speak as to the circumstances in which he was suspended. "I gather from what Miss Gunnell said." he added, "that Gunnell was satisfied that had not been any way unjustly treated." P.C. Gummery, of Longdon, stated that when saw Gunnell January the latter complained of severe pains in the head and witness advised him to see a doctor. February 1 he found Gunnell's barrow, shovel, broom and cape near Moat Bridge, Longdon and dragging operations were carried out in the brook without success. Referring to notebook found in Gunnell's clothing the Coroner said there were some somewhat incoherent things written in it, but there was no object in his reading them because they would not assist him to arrive verdict. Apparently Gunnell had some trouble, not of a serious nature, unconnected with his suspension from work. Summing-up, the Coroner said that he had no doubt Gunnell was troubled as a result of war service and shell shock and worried unduly about the breaches of discipline and some private affairs of his own. The breaches of discipline, while serious in one sense, were not very grave matters, and the minor punishments received should not have affected man in normal health He therefore had hesitation in finding that at the time he took his life Gunnell was unsound mind.