TheEarl Grey

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Moss, James
Moss, Thomas
Moss, Sarah
Strange, James Thomas
Timms, Gordon Eric

The Earl Grey, named after the earl famous for anti-slavery, was located near the Keeper's Arms in the centre of the village. It was first identified in 1871 and from then for some 75 years was in the possession of one extended family - Thomas Moss, then his sister and a brother, then a nephew. It appears to have been in private ownership at least until the demise of Thomas Moss and probably beyond. It closed towards the end of the twentieth century and is now a private house. Thomas Moss was also a property owner and a small-scale farmer. It claimed to be the smallest public house in the country, with a bar measuring just 3.73 by 2.89 metres.

Thomas Moss (1871)-1908local man
{Sarah Moss1908-1920Thomas's sister
{James Moss(1908)-1917brother of Thomas and Sarah
James Arthur Strange 1920-(1946)Thomas's nephew
Gordon Eric Timms (1946)-outsider

Thomas Moss and sister Sarah
also brother James

Thomas Moss occupied the Earl Grey public house from at least 1871 to his death in 1908, assisted by his unmarried sister. He was also a landowner and small-time farmer. His sister inherited the licence after his death

Thomas was born in Quenington in about 1819, his father William a labourer. He is then lost for half a century, though he may be the man of that name working as a farm labourer in Southam, near Cheltenham, in 1841. In 1871, now aged about 50, he was again in Quenington, a land-owner and living with his sister Sarah at a beerhouse. This was shown in 1881 to be the Earl Grey. From then he is variously recorded as publican, beer retailer, farmer (7.5 acres in 1901). There are several references over the years to the transfer of land and property to and from others. He remained at the Earl Grey with his sister probably until shortly before his death; one document of the time refers to him as a retired farmer and innkeeper, suggesting that sister Sarah had already taken over the running of the establishment.

Thomas died in 1908 at the age of 89 and was buried in Quenington. His sister Sarah, who succeeded him at the Earl Grey, was born in Quenington in 1837 and lived at home until at least 1851. From 1871 she was with Thomas at the beerhouse in Quenington. She was once described as housekeeper. On his death she became the licensee, with another brother, widower James, there in 1911. James had had a career as a shepherd in Salperton, Gloucestershire. He was widowed in 1907 and his name is mentioned in the documents relating to the handover of assets to Sarah in 1908. Perhaps he was at the Earl Grey with Sarah by that time. He died in 1917. Sarah was still in Quenington after the first war and died there in 1920 at the age of 82. It was probably at this point that nephew James Strange took over, see below.

The assets transferred to sister Sarah after Thomas's death included four cottages and the beerhouse, for which Sarah had to pay to the Inland Revenue a sum as "succession duty", clearly an early form of inheritance tax. Thomas's will has not been seen but there is a document listing lagatees, mainly nephews and nieces at various locations in the south of England; also two, James Thomas and Eliza Ann Strange who were living in New York. James would later become licensee of the Earl Grey (see under James Strange below).

Thomas Moss:
c1819cenQuenington    year of birth, father William labourer
1841cenSoutham20 farm labpossibly. (not with family in Quenington)
1871cenQuenington50landownerat beerhouse with sister Sarah, 33
1871doc Quenington  reference in document of 1898 to field sold to Mr W J Godwin
1876-1910dirQuenington beer retailer 1910 is out-of-date information
1881cenQuenington62publican and farmerat the Earl Grey, with sister Sarah
er Quenington     owner of freehold house in village
1886doc Quenington beer retailerreference to transfer of freehold cottage from William Salmon deceased
1887doc Quenington  reference to purchase of land "late Tombes"
1891cenQuenington71publican with sister Sarah
1901cenQuenington81farmer and publican7.5 acres, with sister Sarah, 64
1908gro,par Quenington89  death registered Cirencester 4th quarter, buried 20 Oct. See below for information relating to assets and will
Documents dealing with assets after death
1908. Inland Revenue document (succession duty) relating to Thomas Moss of the Earl Grey, file 23229, signed by sister Sarah 16th Oct 1908. Sarah was required to pay 10 4s 8d with respect to 4 cottages occupied by Taylor, Eatley, Painter and Weaving, messuages and stables, garden and premises occupied as a beerhouse in hand.
(1908). Document relating to the transfer of land etc to Sarah from Thomas Moss retired farmer and innkeeper.
Undated document listing the 'residuary legatees' of Thomas Moss. The inheritors are many and varied with addresses throughout the south of England. Of particular interest to Quenington pubs is the inclusion of James Thomas Strange and his sister Edith Ann, address 102 Noble Street, Brooklyn, New York. Thomas would take over the Earl Grey with the death of Thomas Moss's sister Sarah in 1920, see below.
Sarah Moss:
1837gro,par Quenington   birth registered Cirencester, baptised 10th Dec
1841,51cen Quenington4,13  at home, father William labourer
1871cen Quenington   at the beerhouse with brother Thomas
1881cen Quenington42  with brother Thomas, publican and farmer
1891cen Quenington49housekeeperwith brother Thomas, publican
1901dir Quenington64  with brother Thomas, farmer and publican
1908doc Quenington   transfer of property, including the beerhouse, from brother Thomas, deceased
1911cen Quenington73beerhouse keeper with widowed brother James, 80
1914dir Quenington   Sarah Moss, beer retailer
1918gro,par Quenington   death of brother James registered Cirencester 1st quarter, age 86, burial 17th January
1918-20er Quenington   Sarah Moss, householder
1920gro,par Quenington   death of Sarah registered Cirencester 2nd quarter, buried 31st May, age 82

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James Thomas Strange

James Thomas Strange was the licensee of the Earl Grey during the inter-war years. He was the nephew of Thomas Moss, his father Thomas, a groom, having married Ann Moss, Thomas Moss's sister, in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, in 1871. James was born in 1872 in Cheltenham. His father died when James was five years of age and his mother became an innkeeper at an ale store in Cheltenham which was also a boarding house. James was there in 1881. By 1891 he had left home and was a footman, one of nine servants in the household of Sir Daniel A Lange in Sussex. Sir Daniel had been one of the board of the Suez Canal Company but at 69 he was now retired and living on his own means.

In 1892 James travelled to the USA and was joined there four years later by his younger sister Eliza Ann. By 1908 they were living at an address in New York, and were still there two years later, James working as a bartender in a club. This, and his absence between 1891 and 1908, is consistent with comments by a Quenington resident who knew James in later years and who recalls that he had travelled extensively in America. In 1908, while in New York, he was a legatee in the will of his uncle Thomas. Staying with him and Eliza in New York in 1910 were two Englishmen, a valet and a waiter working perhaps in the same club as James. Nothing more is known about them other that they had arrived in America in 1898.

James returned to the UK probably during World War 1 and is seen in military records from 1918. That year he enlisted at Cheltenham, giving his permanent address later that year as Quenington, and at the end of 1918 he spent leave in the village. The Gloucestershire authorities quickly appointed him to the Somerset Light Infantry, who as quickly transferred him to the Worcestershire Regiment. He was 46 years of age and clearly not infantry material. In his new regiment he joined the 1st Reserve Battalion who were serving in Ireland. Little more is known of his service before he was released in 1920. .

He returned to Quenington on release, at first a non-resident in the Donkeywell area, presumably boarding, and from 1921 a resident householder in the village. This may be the point at which he took over the licence of the Earl Grey, for his aunt Sarah Moss died in the spring of 1920. James then remained in the village and was confirmed in documents as a beer-seller in 1935 and 1939 and at the Earl Grey on the latter date. .

He was still at the Earl Grey after the war and remained there until his death in 1960. A new couple, Gordon and Irene Timms, had arrived there in 1947 and Gordon would later be confirmed as licensees. He would be the beneficiary in James's will.

Ray Trinder, who was brought up in Quenington in the 1930s and 1940s remembers "Jimmy" Strange, landlord in the 1930s until 1946, He describes him as a rather eccentric character but a much travelled gentleman, having worked his way across America.

1872 gro,39Cheltenham    8th Jul, born, birth registered 3rd quarter
1872parCheltenham    31st Jul, baptised, father Thomas groom
1877groCheltenham    death of father, aged 34
1881cenCheltenham8  at home, Regent Ale Stores, with widowed mother Ann and four lidgers
1891cenAlbourne, Sussex18footmanone of nine servants in household of Sir Daniel A Lange
1908docNew York    legatee in the will of Thomas Moss, deceased, innkeeper at the Earl Grey, Quenington, see above. Address 102, Noble Street, Brooklyn, New York
1910cenNew York37bartenderat 102, Noble Street,Kings County, with sister Eliza A, 31, and boarders Ernest West, 31, valet, and George Baker, 26, waiter, all English nationals and working in a club, arrived USA 1892, 1896, 1898 and 1898 respectively.
1918 milCheltenham    enlisted in the army, see table below
1918 milQuenington    26 Dec, 28 days leave in Quenington
1920mil      released from military duties, see table below
1920 erQuenington     non-householder at Donkeywell
1921-39 erQuenington    householder
1935,39 dirQuenington : beer seller 
1939 39Quenington  licenseeat the Earl Grey, alone
1946-61 erQuenington   : at the Earl Gray with new landlord Gordon Timms and his wife
1960 gro,prob Northleach 88   18 Dec, died Northleach Hospital, death registered Cirencester 4th quarter, see below for probate
1960mem Quenington88   buried in village cemetery
1961prob Gloucester    probate 7 Feb. died at Northleach Hospital, address Earl Grey Quenington, Probate to Gordon E Timms licensed victualler and Cyril Jack Durham solicitor's managing clerk, effects 7118 11s 9d

1918 18 Apr, attested. Having attained the age of 40, not to be placed in Medical Category higher than Bi at any time
1918 7 Jun, [medical] Grade ii
[1918] date unknown, medical examination at Cheltenham
1918 10 Jul, accepted by the 128th (Gloucestershire) Reception Depot and appointed to the Somerset Regiment. Joined the 13th Bn, Somerset Light Infantry. Next of kin [sister] Sarah Ann Archer
1918 18 Dec, compulsorily and permanently transferred to 1st Reserve Bn, garrison, Worcestershire Regt
1918 19 Dec, 69373 Pte James Thomas Strange, 1st Garrison Bn, Worcester Regt, permanent address Quenington, age 46, joined 10 Jul 1918 at Gloucester, examined Dublin, no claim for wartime injuries
1918 26 Dec , 28 days leave in Quenington, born 1872, medical Bii (certificate of identity). Theatre of war: Irish
1920 31 March, discharged on demobilization

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Gordon Eric Timms

Gordon Eric Timms first appeared in Quenington in 1946 and would become licensee of the Earl Grey until at least the mid-1960s and live in the village until his death in 1995. Little is known about his early life. He was born in 1912, perhaps the Gordon E Timms who in 1939 was foreman a joiner working in Fylde, Lancashire and who married Irene Margaret Pleaven in that town in 1943. Certainly his wife, when he came to Quenington had forename/initial Irene M. The two lived at the Earl Grey and were presumably the licensees, even though the previous licensee James Strange continued to live there. On the death of the latter in 1960. Timms was confirmed in the probate document as the licensee.

12 September 2019