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