One of the many things that I have filed away in my head was a memorial on a block of houses in Cotteswold Road in Tewkesbury. I had seen this engraving before but never looked into it too much. What seemed to be quite straight forward actually turned out to be quite a journey of discovery which is why I am filing this post as a connections post.
Some rooting around revealed the following: “In 1890 the Revd. Charles William Grove built and endowed a range of four almshouses in the Oldbury as a memorial to his wife, Frances Emily (d. 1886). The endowment yielded £461 in 1961, of which part was spent on the almsmen’s stipends but most on repairs and administrative costs.” (Sourced from https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol8/pp167-169).
The question I had was: what constitutes “the Oldbury” and the closest explanation is that it “sometimes denotes a place that was the site of a camp or for tification, and sometimes it means the old town ; though it is a name which has much more frequently been given to meadows or pieces of inclosed (sic) ground belonging to religious houses”
Who was Revd. Charles William Groves? I found very little on the internet about him but he did tie into Tewkesbury Abbey and lived in “Mythe House”. That is just is up the road from me, although trying to find the actual house proved difficult. However, an old Victorian Ordnance Survey map (1888-1913) of Tewkesbury, showed the house near the top right hand corner. (map sourced from http://www.archiuk.com )
At this point I discovered that Revd. Grove was a benefactor of Tewkesbury Abbey, and there are a number of interesting references to him in the abbey. According to The Monumental Inscriptions in the Abbey Church they are as follows:
“This brass records the dedication of the great west window, and is placed on the West Wall, on the north side of the window.
as well as:
“This is a small brass tablet under the east window of the Ambulatory.
CHARLES WILLIAM GROVE
of the Mythe House, in this Parish.
Born January 17th 1817.
Died August 10th 1896.
“God be merciful to me a sinner“.
and: ” This memorial brass is on the south side of the Grove Organ”
Greater Glory of God
and to sommemorate
Most Gracious Soverign Lady
is given to
Charles William Grove
June 21st 1887
“Gloria in Excelsis Deo”
(Spelling has not been corrected above until it has been checked against the original). “The Grove Organ” was installed in 1877 in the North Transept. The organ was built by Michel and Thynne for the 1885 Inventions Exhibition and it was purchased by The Reverend Charles William Grove in 1887 and presented it to the Abbey to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. It was rebuilt in 1948 and restored in 1980-81 by Messrs. Bishop and Son on ‘conservation’ lines. (Information sourced from https://tewkesburyhistory.org/docs/THS01561.pdf). Unfortunately I do not have a decent photograph of the organ in my collection yet, but will rectify that as soon as I can.
The lectern at the Abbey was also a gift from Rev. C.W. Grove and was in memory of his wife. It was presented in 1878. At this point I am not sure whether this is the lectern pictured below.
There were two other brass panels acknowledging the stained glass windows that Rev. Grove had had placed in the Abbey.
By now I had started to investigate where the Grove couple were buried, and strangely enough as a benefactor he could not be buried in the Abbey or Abbey grounds. A bit of research revealed that Frances Emily Grove was buried in Tewkesbury Cemetery on 26 March 1886 aged 71, while her husband was buried on 14 August 1896 aged 78. Both were interred in the solitary mausoleum in Tewkesbury Cemetery.
I had photograph the mausoleum way back in 2015, and had not been able to find a plaque or engraving that identified who it belonged to. That mystery was now solved, connection complete. I was very fortunate that I had managed to contact a member of the family who could fill in a few gaps for me, and they were also able to supply me with an image of Mythe House.
I did go to the Abbey to see about photographs of the many plaques but unfortunately lockdown has meant that parts of it are closed off and the building was only open at certain times so I was not able to get images of everything that I wanted for this article. I will keep trying though.
There are a number of parts to this connection that need photographing, and I suspect the story doesn’t end here. The couple “had no issue” so their story ended when they passed away. Yet, the endowments to the Abbey still exist, and today over a century later we no longer think about where the windows or lectern came from. They have “always been there”. Hopefully this post will at least acknowledge that heritage left behind by Revd. Charles William Grove.
I am grateful to Pat for the information and the photographs, as well as the sources that I have listed in the text.
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