WELCOME TO THE BAYLISS LINE. This blog has been created for my family. By "my family" I mean all those who are related to the Bayliss family either by blood, marriage or even relationship. There are, of course, other Bayliss families not related to us but this blog has at its heart a very specific family who had their origins in Gloucestershire. I am connected to that family because my mother was a Bayliss and it was her curiosity that started my research back in the early 1990's. So, what are you likely to see on this blog? Well, as it is a blog, I want it to be as entertaining as possible rather that a dry listing of facts (that is for Ancestry.com). I will, hopefully, be posting entries on our ancestors and relatives, on the places where they lived, and the historical times they lived through. I have an extensive collection of photographs of people and places which I will, of course, be sharing.

I'd like to ask anybody who reads this blog to give me some feedback. I'd really like this to be a two way thing. It sometimes unearths new information and, to be honest, it gives me encouragement. There will be two ways of providing feedback - either through the comment button (you will need a Google account for this) or via the e-mail address which appears on this page - alternatively, ring me. Now scroll down to read the latest entries.....and, of course, via Facebook.

Sunday, 12 June 2011


Writing a few years after the birth of Charles Bayliss, one William Corbett said of Cheltenham : "East India plunderers, West Indian floggers, English tax-gorgers, together with gluttons, drunkards and debauchers of all descriptions, female as well as male, resort at the suggestion of silently laughing quacks in the hope of getting rid of the bodily consequences of their manifold sins and iniquities" while another commentator of the same period refers to Cheltenham's reliance on "the dissipation trade". Whether the spa town's reputation was any better by 1841 I do not know, but it is here that we pick up our story.

In 1841 we find the twenty year old Charles Bayliss lodging at 3 Sun Street, Cheltenham. Sadly, we do not know what brought him to Cheltenham or what had happened to him since his birth in the village of Brockhampton. All we know is that his father, William, was a labourer and that Charles, who had been baptised at St.Andrews Church in the neighbouring village of Sevenhampton, had become a plasterer and builder by trade. Charles is also the first Bayliss we can put a face to, albeit in a picture taken much later in life.

 Charles Bayliss 1821 - 1898
Charles married Hannah Dance on 13th March 1841 at the Salem Baptist Chapel. Hannah was working as an Ironer, possibly for a glove maker (there was a glove maker named Philip Dance, possibly a relative, living at 35 Union Street). Witnesses to the wedding were Thomas and Mary Martin of Rose Hill in the village of Charlton Kings and it is there that Charles and Hannah go after the wedding, to the next street to Rose Hill which is called Coltham Field.

The rear of a house in Sun Street Cheltenham
similar to the one where Charles lived before
his marriage.

The chief industry of Charlton Kings used to be farming, both arable and dairy. Barley was an important crop used for malting and many pubs brewed their own beer. In the terrible agricultural depression of the 19th Century, Charlton Kings was badly hit. There was no work for the men who had worked the land and the women kept their families by taking in Cheltenham's washing.  The importance of this washing to the local economy is shown by a bye-law which forbade the lighting of bonfires until after 6 o/clock. There was also the family pigs. These pigs left their mark on the building development of the period. They might not be kept within a certain distance of human dwellings and therefore the houses were laid out with long narrow gardens and the pigs lived at the far end.

The cottages of Charles and Hannah's day
still stand in Coltham Field today although the
double glazing and modern door are
presumably new!

On 15th January 1842 Hannah Bayliss gave birth to her first child. He was christened Charles William Bayliss at St.Mary's church. On the birth certificate Hannah's name is entered as "Anna" and Charles signs with his mark. We now lose sight of the couple for a full nine years until they appear on the 1851 census. They are still living in Coltham Field and Hannah has just given birth to another child, a daughter named Francis Mary.  Mary Martin, the witness at their wedding, is a seventy-nine year old widow living nearby with  her son James. But there is a surprise on this document - there is another baby in the Bayliss cottage. This is three year old Elizabeth Ann and her birthplace is listed as Middlesex!  When I pick up the story again I will explain how Elizabeth Ann became the first member of our Bayliss family to be born in London.

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