Tom Collett’s family history notes

«  Family History 

This contains the notes of Tom Collett relating to the history of his and his wife Phyllis’s families.  Tom’s notes on the hamlets of Green Bottom and Tibbs Cross are listed separately.

The object of these notes is to give some idea or these places and a little of their history as they were inhabited for a long time by ancestors or Phyllis and Tom Collett and also they may be a source of some interest to members or the family at some time in the future. These notes were compiled in March 1998. (T.C.)

OUR INTEREST IN GREEN BOTTOM is that the ancestors of both Phyl and Tom Collett were numerous there in the 1800’s and there was representation there right up to the day that Gladys Flora Pound left in 1992. She was the last member of any of our families to reside there. We shall be looking at the families of WAKEFIELD, POUND, SHEPHERD, SIER, HAILE and HAYWARD who were all our ancestors and all at some time lived in Greenbottom.


WILLIAM WAKEFIELD [born 1816] was in Littledean in the 1841 Census Returns. He married MARGARET SIER in 1842 and must have moved to Greenbottom soon after. Their family of at least 9 children were born there at “The Firs”.  William died 12.5.1872 and his wife Margaret and family stayed on until Margaret was about 70. She then emigrated to U.S.A. taking JOSEPH WAKEFIELD [her grandson] with her in approx 1886.

Her son WILLlAM WAKEFIELD [born 1842] then moved into “The Firs” with his wife ALICE and family from Rising Sun House, Abenhall some time before the 1881 Census was taken.   At William’s death around 1900 (note:  he died 6/9/1915 aged 71),  his son ALFRED WAKEFIELD moved in with his wife KATHERINE FLORA and five of their seven children were born there. When Flora died [around 1966] that ended the Wakefield occupation of “The Firs”.

The boys of the Wakefield family, like their forefathers, became either Iron or Coal Miners. They would usually come home dirty and wet and stained red from Iron or blackened with Coal. Their clothes had to be dried on guards or rails around an open coal fireplace and sometimes they even shared working clothes. There were no washing or cleaning facilities at the mines. Miners from Greenbottom would have to walk anything from 2 to 5 miles to get to work. In those days there was no transport [unless you had a horse].

There were 3 cottages on the Cinderford [ top] side of “The Firs”. The one next to “The Firs” was derelict and used as a storeroom. This was to be “Pear Tree Cottage”. It came into the Wakefield family and it was here that Gladys Pound eventually came to live.  As I previously stated, her leaving in 1992 marked the end of the Wakefields in Greenbottomafter almost exactly 150 years.

The upper cottage of the 3 was occupied for several years by WALTER RICHARD WAKEFIELD [Uncle Dick] and his wife MAGGIE before they moved to 125, Belle Vue Rd. Cinderford.  In the 1900’s, his son KENNETH WAKEFIELD who was well known in Cinderford as a Gents Hairdresser, bought the 2 upper cottages and they were converted into a bungalow which was for some time occupied by his daughter Jackie.


The SIER family also lived in Greenbottom for many years and I accidentally found that they lived in Westbury-on-Severn in the 1770’s.  By the 1841 Census they had moved to Greenbottom and MARGARET SIER of course married William Wakefield [senior) the following year. In 1841, HESTER SIER, the widow of BENJAMIN SIER was recorded in the Census as aged 95 years, and the families of her 2 sons, JOHN and JOSEPH were also living there [John being the father of Margaret].

The SHEPHERD (sometimes SHEPPARD) family [grandparents of Katherine Flora Wakefield] originally lived in the Guns Mills area where WILLlAM SHEPHERD worked as a Papermaker, but at the 1891 Census, William [aged 69] and his wife Sarah [aged 64] were living in Greenbottom. They must have moved there after the 1881 Census and Katherine Flora SMITH (later Wakefield] was living with them, her grandparents, aged 13. The house in which they lived was adjoining and just below “The Firs” where the Wakefields lived, but it became a ruin early in the 20th Century.


The HAYWARD family lived in Greenbottom before the coming of the Hailes in the form of George Hayward Haile, my great-grandfather. GEORGE HAYWARD, who lived in the house up the bank, where the bottom road out of Greenbottom joins the Littledean-Flaxley road, was the grandfather of George Hayward Haile, who was named after him.

His name appears in the same location at Greenbottom in the 1851, 1861 & 1871 Census Returns and I suspect that he moved there after the death of his wife TAMAR. There was derelict property adjoining the house, as mentioned in the census. I was told by my grandmother Mary Ann that her father George H. Haile built the house up there, but no doubt it was reconstructed with the help and/or advice of George Hayward who was by trade a Stone Mason as were others in the Hayward family . After reconstruction, the house comprised 3 properties with stables for horses and wagons.


The family of HAILE (sometimes HAIL or HAYLE) originated from Westbury-on-Severn. Both GEORGE HAYWARD HAILE and his father WILLIAM HAILE must have settled in Greenbottom between 1851 and 1861 [per Census] as at 1851 they were living at Nailbridge, Drybrook, but by 1861 they were both in Greenbottom with their families and both of them and their wives lived in Greenbottom until their deaths. George worked as an Iron Miner but eventually set up as a Haulier [with horses & wagons] working out of Greenbottom. From my grandmother Mary Ann I heard that he hauled much of the stone for St. Stephen’s Church in Cinderford, where we were married, and is listed in the 1891 Census as an employer, Haulier. It must have been a hard pull for the horses up the steep path to the stables.

The brother of George, WILLIAM CHARLES HAILE and his wife EMMA also lived in Greenbottom [see 1881 Census].  EMMA was the daughter of JOHN ANSLEY who was owner/occupier of “Pear Tree Cottage” where Percy and Gladys Pound eventually lived.

Our branch of the family vacated Greenbottom when MARY ANN HAILE [my grandmother] left after the deaths of her mother and father, plus the suicide of her youngest sister EUNICE by drowning in Guns Mill’s Pond while pregnant [by whom we do not know.]

The family of WILLIAM GEORGE HAILE, son of George Hayward Haile, remained in Greenbottom for some considerable years after 1904. William George’s son DAVID [who was remembered by Evelyn Wakefield of Littledean as a very nice and likeable lad] was killed in the 1914-18 War and another son HOWARD brought up his family there, but I am unsure of dates at present.

George H. Haile’s house was later occupied by ALBERT GARDINER and his family. Albert was the son of George H. Haile’s daughter TAMAR ELIZABETH and ARTHUR THOMAS GARDINER [who was born in Bristol], so in a way, the house stayed in the family until Albert died, I believe in the late 1940’s.

Mary Ann continued to own two parcels of land at Greenbottom and I used to go down there with my father to pick the fruit and cut the grass and nettles which inevitably built up.  I was entrusted to meet the buyers and sell the land in 1942 at the tender age of 12, being taken down by George Jones who had a Garage for years in Cinderford High Street. A new bungalow was eventually built on the plot, which had later come into the possession of HORACE WAKEFIELD [son of ALBERT]. Horace started to build the bungalow himself, but was unable to continue so it was sold on.


The family of JOHN and ELIZABETH POUND moved into the cottage nearest Guns Mills in the ear1y part of the 1900’s after living at Bodenham [Herefordshire], Bilson Green [Cinderford] and Popes Hill previously. They remained there until about 1934, when Elizabeth died. This proximity resulted in the meeting and eventual marriage of Percy Pound and Gladys Wakefield, 27.9.1924 and the birth of Colin, Phyllis and Kathleen. Also, when Alfred Wakefield died, John William Austin Pound, Percy’s brother, married Katherine Flora Wakefield, his widow, and they continued to live at “The Firs” until her death around 1966.

Very close 10 Greenbottom, by the side of the Littledean-Flaxley road, lies TIBBS CROSS which consists of an ancient farmhouse on one side of the road and Tibbs Cross Cottages on the other side.  When the POUNDS relinquished Tibbs Cross Cottage, it was then occupied by GEORGE TINGLE who married MARTHA JANE SMITH, the sister of Katherine Flora Wakefield. George and Martha Jane were grandparents of PAULINE GRACE TAYLOR, whose mother [Aunt Millie] was their daughter.

It was in the cottage next door to “Pear Tree Cottage” that Phyl and myself first met in 1948. I hope these notes give some idea of the place and the part that Greenbottom has played as a “melting pot” for the ancestors of Phyllis and myself for more than 150 years. How strange that we two should meet up as we did, knowing very little of what went on before.  Small World !!!! !