Click here if you want to skip the introductory story and go straight to the Trehernes.
It was June 30th 1860 when narrow-boat 'Number 7' belonging to carriers Danks, Venn & Sanders made her way out of Gloucester Docks bound for
Ledbury in Herefordshire. Part of her cargo consisted of two barrels of wine, one of red and one of white, each containing 57 gallons, both consigned
to Mr Treherne of Ledbury, grocer and wine merchant.
Two men and a boy were on board, the Master, James Harper, his son William and the mate William Osborne.
The wine barrels had been shipped from Bristol on June 27th on the Danks & Co's. boat 'Ellen Venn
' having been filled, sealed and 'tinned''
(this involved nailing a tin plate over the bung to prevent tampering), arriving at Gloucester Docks on June 29th where they were checked by Edwin Norris,
Gloucester agent for Danks & Co. Norris delivered the barrels to James Harper on board the 'Number 7
' at about 5 o'clock on the evening of the following day.
Harper had worked for Danks & Co. for three months; he was 48 years of age, a tall man with a long, thin, weather-beaten face.
His appearance, including the large scar across his right eyebrow, suggested a rough and ready life. Harper's son William was 14.
The mate, William Osborne, was an old hand and had worked boats for Danks and Co. since he was ten years old. He was 28, a short,
stocky man with an eagle and anchor tattooed on his left arm, the epitome of the watermen that carried goods on the canal.
This was to be an eventful trip.
For those not familiar with the River Severn at Gloucester the channel divides close to Maisemore at the upper parting forming an east and west channel. Just
downstream from Gloucester the channels combine at the lower parting as shown in the map on the left.
At the time of this story (1860) the tides ran up the river unchecked. Later a number of weirs and associated locks were built enabling boats
to gain access to the navigations of the Midlands and beyond without hindrance from the tides.
The Hereford & Gloucester canal joined the western channel of the River Severn at Over just outside Gloucester city. In 1860 the difficulties of getting
from Gloucester docks on the eastern channel to Over Lock cannot be overstated. On tidal rivers such as the Severn, boatmen took advantage
of both ebb and flood of the tides to move their boats.
High tide was at 7.20pm on the evening of June 30th. It was essential that Harper's boat left the docks as the tide ran upstream in order to take it
to the upper parting where it was secured until the tide ebbed. The boat was then able to drift down the western channel where, with assistance
from a boat belonging to the Hereford & Gloucester Canal Co. - moored nearby especially for the purpose - it entered the lock.
This was successfully done before dusk and once through the lock the boat laid up in the Over basin ready for an early start the following morning.
Early next day, after hitching the horse or mule to pull the boat, they set off. Horses and mules that pulled canal boats have largely
been forgotten; it was said that a strong horse could pull fifty times the weight in a boat than it could in a cart and good progress could be made
through calm water with no currents. Consequently the animals were well cared for, being stabled well, rested and given the best food; they were,
after all, vital to commercial transport on the canal system.
Harper's boat made its way through Rudford Lock, Double Locks, Coneybury Lock and Road Lock, but before reaching the lock at Malswick
temptation got the better of the two men. The barrel of port was opened, the quality tested and after several samplings, approved!
Malswick Lock, later known as Philips Lock, can be seen on the map close to Alms Houses Green Cottages on the corner of the lane to Upleadon.
The occupants of these cottages were closely connected with the canal trade; one of them, John Butler, was the owner of a boat called 'The Lion
he earned his living mainly from the Newent coal trade. Next door lived his recently married son Charles, a boatman who worked with his father.
Living in a third cottage was John's son in law James Edwards and his wife Jane. In such a tight knit community
it didn't take long for the word to spread that wine was flowing on the 'Number 7
'. John Butler persuaded Harper to sell him some wine and went off to his house
to get some bottles and jars which were filled and left in the cottages. Butler returned to his boat and both boats proceeded to Oxenhall
Samuel Wood the Lock keeper at Malswick saw the No 7 go through his lock at about 12 noon, he saw the two barrels on board and that Harper and Osborne had
been drinking. Osborne offered him a drink, which he took and thought it to be some kind of wine.
Two hours later Wood went up the canal and caught up with
the No 7 at Nibletts Bridge, a small drawbridge near Newent Lock on what was then the New Court Estate. Here, according to Wood, he was asked to step on
board. When he entered the cabin, which he noticed smelled strongly of drink, he was offered another cup full of wine which he drank.
He fell asleep and the next thing he remembered was being woken by Harper's son who told him they were at the mouth of the Oxenhall tunnel
and that it was nine o'clock.
Realising he had neglected his lock duties Wood hurriedly left. He was later dismissed from his post.
Two other boats were lying with the No 7 at the tunnel's mouth that evening; they were 'The Lion
', belonging to John Butler,
and another belonging
to a Joseph Holloway. Holloway was a Hereford boatman, aged 46, a stocky man who had lost his left leg below the knee some years before but still
managed to work the boats on the canal. He was carrying timber for Shaw of Hereford; his wife and young family were on board. John Butler also
had members of his family on board 'The Lion
', his wife and son Charles and his daughter Jane. Jane's husband John Edwards was also on board,
all of them had been picked up from the bridge near Almshouses Cottages on his way up the canal.
Several local people had gathered round the
boats as word had spread that drink was flowing freely. It wasn't long before most of the adults were drunk, a fight started and several women
ended up in the canal.
The Newent police were alerted and at nine thirty p.m. Sergeant Matthew Roach made his way to Oxenhall only to meet Charles Butler and his wife going in the
opposite direction. Butler was bleeding freely from wounds to his face and neck saying he had been stabbed by a man called Holloway. Roach advised Butler
to go immediately to the Doctor's house and then sent for assistance. P. C. Hopkins
arrived and they found Harper and Osborne very drunk on board the No 7 and noted that the cloth which should have covered the boat was untied; on throwing
it back they found a hammer, a barrel of wine with the tin off and the bung out, a basin, several mugs and a
two gallon jar, all smelling strongly of wine.
A gutta-percha tube, also smelling of wine, was found close by. It was obvious the
barrel had been breached, the contents siphoned out with the tube and freely handed round.
Harper and Osborne were apprehended; others were questioned and sent on their way.
The next day Sergeant Roach visited the cottages at Almshouses Green. As he approached he saw James Edwards leave his cottage and enter that of
John Butler's. He ran to Butler's cottage and searched it. Upstairs he found Jane Edwards hiding two jars and some bottles filled with wine
under the bed and pillows. The two Butler's and James and Jane Edwards were taken into custody. Joseph Holloway was arrested a few days later
on a charge of wounding Charles Butler.
The Trial at Gloucester Assizes.
On Monday August 13th James Harper, William Osborne, John Butler, Charles Butler, James Edwards and his wife Jane were charged with having been concerned,
with others, in stealing two gallons of port wine, the property of Benjamin Danks and Co., from a boat on the Hereford and Gloucester canal at Newent.
All the prisoners were found guilty. Harper was given four years penal servitude, the severity of his sentence reflected a previous charge of stealing
200 pounds of coal. Osborne was given twelve months imprisonment and John Butler, in consideration of his previous good character, received six weeks.
Charles Butler and James Edwards would each serve two months but the judge considered Edward's wife Jane had acted under the direction of her husband
and was discharged.
Joseph Holloway appeared the following day charged with wounding Charles Butler. Holloway maintained that the wounds Butler sustained were caused during the
fight by his falling on some tiles, part of the cargo he was carrying. Butler maintained that Holloway attacked him wounding him in the neck.
witnesses corroborated Butler's story and Emma Steward, a resident of Newent, testified she had seen Joseph Holloway push his wife into the canal after
beating her mercilessly with a poker. The woman's cries of 'Murder' had caused Butler to intervene and Holloway had stabbed him in the neck.
The Newent surgeon that inspected the wound said it could not have been caused by a tile; it was two inches long and appeared to have been
inflicted by a knife. Had the jaw bone not deflected the blade downwards the wound would have been fatal.
The jury found Holloway guilty.
He was given four months imprisonment, an indication that in those days theft from an employer was considered a more serious crime than wounding!
The No 7 was held on the canal by P.C. Parker from Newent who later took
it on to Ledbury where he handed it over to Joseph Fawkes, agent for Messrs Danks and Co.
Joseph Jones, Ledbury's Excise officer, measured the wine
in the open cask; it contained 54 and 8/10ths gallons and had been contaminated with muddy water from the canal rendering it useless.
John and Daphne Chappell 2009
The Trehernes of Ledbury.
The wine had been ordered by Mr Treherne, liquor merchant of Ledbury and my interest in Ledbury history led me to research what turned out
to be a very interesting family.
The first TREHERNE of interest (this is not the one that ordered the wine), was James born in 1777 in Ledbury, his father was probably Thomas, b 1749,
James ran a grocer's shop on the Homend in the property shown as it is today on the right. He married in about 1807 and a son was born to his wife
Phoebe on January 8th 1808, baptised James Dando (Treherne).
Unable to find the marriage of James and Phoebe recorded, and assuming the name DANDO
was from his mother's side I checked the 1851 census. Phoebe was born in Doynton, Gloucestershire and in 'Family Search', I found Phoebe Dando of the
right age born there.
Despite this I was still unable to find the marriage recorded but later research shows the Trehernes were strict Baptists and
Non Conformist records are not so readily available.
A second son, Henry, was born in 1811; he was to prove of very different character
to his brother James Dando who led a temperate, God fearing life.
James Snr. died in 1831, described as a grocer on the burial record, and James Dando Treherne inherited the business. James married Matilda
EDWARDS (b 1802), daughter of John Edwards, hop merchant, in Worcester on Jan 15th 1834. Three years later Matilda died in Ledbury on
December 22nd 1838, surprisingly her tomb can be found next to the entrance steps into Ledbury's Baptist Chapel in the Homend.
The chapel had only been founded in 1836, James and Matilda were founder members. Like most chapels it is on a small plot and it is rare
to find on site burials. However as a founder, or elder, of the chapel an exception was made for Matilda. The epitaph on her tomb names
her as Matilda Edwards wife of James Dando Treherne.
Three years later, in Mar 1841, James married Mary Williams from Shaftesbury, in Upton on Severn and by 1851 they are established in
Ledbury as Grocer and Tallow Chandlers. Living with them is James's mother Phoebe and two apprentices. Phoebe died in 1854 and James
and his wife carried on business in the same Homend shop until they both died in 1881. They are probably buried in the Non Conformist
section of Ledbury cemetery.
Henry was of a completely different
character to his brother.
Henry married Mary ALLGOOD on Oct 24th 1832, he was 21, Mary was 23. They had one son James Henry born in 1833,
at the time of his baptism their address was Homend, Ledbury. Henry is recorded as a grocer, so it seems he was living with and employed
by his father when he was both single and newly married.
By 1841 Henry and his wife are living in Gloucester Road Cheltenham where Henry is a clerk. When Mary died, on 31st December 1848, Henry moved back
At the time Henry arrived back in Ledbury, one John COX, his wife Elizabeth and four children, were living in the High Street shop which today is
Wyebridge Interiors . John Cox is a 'Spirit Dealer' born in Ledbury in 1808, he married Elizabeth JUCKES (b 1811) in Ledbury in 1835.
On all six of their children's baptism records John is described as 'Liquor Merchant', he died in Sept 1846 age 37, his widow Elizabeth
carried on the business.
On Nov 24th 1850 Henry Treherne, widower and Elizabeth Cox widow, married; both bride and groom's residence being given as High St.
It seems Henry had already moved in! The 1851 census shows Henry established in the shop as head of household with Elizabeth,
his wife and her children Harriett Cox b 1836 and John Cox b 1839, an uncle of Elizabeth, Phillip Cox 72, is also with them.
Henry must have acquired some money either from his father's will or perhaps his first wife as before 1855 he owns both the High St.
property and 'The Bell Inn', New Street.
Not to be confused with the 'Ring of Bells', also in New Street, the Bell Inn was at No 3,
part of what is now John Goodwin Estate Agents.
We know he must have owned it because on October 10th 1855,
Henry sold both the High St shop and the Bell Inn to Daniel Saunders MUTLOW for £500. The shop sale must have been on a sale and
lease back basis because Henry continued trading from the premises and it was from here the casks of wine that started my interest in
the family, were ordered.
Henry died suddenly on March 3rd 1864 aged just 53. Henry's brother James Dando Treherne is still alive at
this stage, with twenty years of his life left, he would surely have considered his brother Henry's death, after a life spent as a
Liquor Merchant and publican, an act of divine justice.
Henry is buried in the Conformist section of Ledbury cemetery, only part of the tomb is shown here, there are more inscriptions on the other side.
Here is the full epitaph:
In memory of Henry Treherne who died March 3rd 1864 aged 53. Also of Elizabeth wife of Henry
Treherne who died Set 16th 1870 aged 59 years. Also of Edward Philip eldest son of the late
John Cox who died Sept 26th 1869 age 35 yrs.
Elizabeth now has to manage the business on her own, having learned the trade from two husbands, she was well able to do so.
This advert from the Hereford Times June 4th 1864, just a couple of months after Henry died confirms this.
In September 1868 the licence was transferred from Mrs E. Treherne, liquor merchant, of High Street to Mr John Cox, her son.
Elizabeth died in September 1870.
Henry's own son James Henry had left Ledbury and been put to an apprenticeship with Provision Merchant in Gosport. By 1861 he is
back with his father in High St and after Henry's death married Eliza LAIGHT in Worcester in 1866.
James Henry died childless in Aston Birmingham, in 1877 ending this line of the Treherne family of Ledbury.
There are two John Coxs referred to above, John senior lived a conventional, if short, life. His son, also John, left Ledbury for Canada.
John senior (1808 - 1846) married Elizabeth Juckes in c 1833. They had:
Edward Philip 1834 - 1869
Myrtilla 1839 - 1904
George 1842 A George Cox married Mary Kemp Raisbeck in Ledbury in 1872.
John Cox junior (1838 - ?)
married Harriett Elizabeth Mills, b 1844, in Cheltenham in Sep (qtr) 1865. They had:
John Herbert 1867
Charles Edward 1868
Arthur George 1870
Edith Leonora 1871 She married Clement Peagram in Montreal in 1893. Died Nov 21 1956.
Margaret Ellen 1873
Frances Ada 1874 She died in Montreal in 1959.
Catharine Elizabeth 1876
Constance Mary 1878
Eva Maude 1879 died Ledbury 1880.
Ella Hyatt 1881 twins She died in Canada in 1966.
Robert Miles 1881 twins
The baptism records show the first two children were born in the Southend but
as shown the Liquor Licence for the High Street shop was transferred to John Cox in 1868 and all later chidren were baptised from the High Street.
With the High Street conditions probably a bit cramped in April (the month of the census) 1881 the whole family are in No 8 New Street.
Shortly after moving here Harriett died on December 22nd 1881, worn out I would think!
She is buried in the Conformist part of the cemetery with a handsome headstone shown here.
The epitaph reads:
In memory of Harriett Elizabeth the beloved wife of John Cox of Ledbury who died
December 22nd 1881 in the 38th year of her age.
John next appears in 1886 on the list of a passenger ship en route from Bristol to Canada. With him are the seven children from Edith to Robert.
John Herbert now 19, Charles Edward now 18 and Arthur George now 16 did not emigrate with their father.
With the family on the list is a female with the surname Cox aged 34 and having the forename Leonora. Did John marry again? They arrived in September 1886.
Most of the family can be found on the 1891 Canada census in Montreal but Edith now 20, Margaret now 18, and Frances now 17 are leading seperate lives.
The 1901 Canada census gives more information than earlier ones and it shows that Leonora,
John's new wife, was born on Nov 28th 1850 and a daughter Ethel was born in England on April 15th 1885 just a year before they left.
Despite this I can find no marriage or birth.
Of the three children who remained I can only find records for Charles Edward.
He married Hannah Baker Norman in St Thomas, Exeter, Devon, in 1889.
In 1891 he is in Cardiff with two children, Charles George 1 and Herbert Norman 2 months.
Hannah died in Mar qtr 1901.
His sister in law, Elizabeth, must have come to help at this time as she is with him and the two sons in that years census when he is in Roath, Cardiff as a
By 1911, still only 43, he is in a lodging house as a Hotel Servant and still on his own in 1939 as a retired hotel waiter. He died in 1949.