William Ernest Morse (1867 - 1945), my Grandfather

'This photograph was taken at the rear of Plum Tree Cottage, Viney Hill, Glos, facing the garden. I do not know the date of this photograph but assume that it must have been taken late in his life. He died on the 4th April 1945, aged 78 years. He looks just as I remember him, during the 1939-1945 war, and I can only assume that itwas taken during this period'

CFR Morse.

The following has been contributed by Grandson, Cyril FRANK Roland Morse:

Son of William and Selina Morse (previously Rasbach, maiden name Hook) ,he was the seventh and youngest child, and third son of 7 children. He was born at Whitecroft on 24 March 1867 and baptised William Ernest Morse on 21st April 1867.

In the census of 1881, he was 14 years old, living with his parents and family at the Nag's Head Public House at Yorkley. 



She died and was buried at Lydney Church on 17th December 1886, aged 31 years. As far as I am aware they had no children.

His second sister, Mary Aminda, married a policeman William Morris some time between 1881 an 1891, but I have not located the marriage. They had 3 children, Ethel, Harry and Leonard. Ethel married Cam Johnson.

Her husband, William, was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in charge of Lydney Police Station, and was killed by 3 men on the night of 10th Nov 1895, near Viney Hill Church.On 17th Sept 1888, when he was 21 years old, he married a spinster, Lucy James of Yorkley at St Paul's Church, Parkend. His occupation was given as 'Fitter'. His 1st child, a daughter, was born before the marriage, on 22nd Aug 1888 and was named Corah Annie Morse-James, no doubt after his eldest sister. I have not  located her baptism.

His 2nd child, a son, my father,was born on the 24th Dec 1889 and named George Frank Morse.  His 3rd child, a daughter, was born on 30 April 1892 and named Lillian Rose . Again, I have not yet located their baptisms.

His 4th child, a son, was baptised Thomas Riley Rainsworth on 11 March 1894 at Bible Christian Chapel at Yorkley Slade. His address was given as West Dean and his occupation 'Engineer'.  His 5th child, a son was born on 24th (?28th) March 1897 and was baptised William Morris on 26 April 1897 at Bible Christian Christian Chapel at Yorkley Slade.His address was given as Ruardean and his occupation 'Mechanic'.

His mother died and was buried on 23 Oct 1898 at Parkend Church aged 73 . His father died just over a year later and was buried on 12 Dec 1899 at Parkend Church, aged 69 . His 6th child, a daughter, was born on 29th June 1900 and was baptised Eva Mary Selina  on 5th September 1900 at Bible Christian chapel at Yorkley Slade. His address was given as Yorkley and his occupation 'Haulier'. His 7th son, was born on 13th March 1902 and was baptised Albert Ernest  on 27th April 1902 at Viney Hill Church.

The birthplace of  Albert Ernest Morse, the Nag's Head, Yorkley.                                                                              

Photo by Stephen Morse on a visit to the Forest, with Ken & Ann Morse July 2002.

His address at this time was given as Yorkley and his occupation 'Mechanic'. His 8th child, a daughter, was born on 5th Dec 1904 and named Alice Lucy, but I have not located her baptism. His 9th child, a son, was born on 18 Sept 1907 and named Victor Jack although he was not baptised until 31st May 1914 at Viney Hill Church. His address was given as Viney Hill and his occupation 'Collier'. His 10th and last child, a son, was born on 13 May 1909 and was baptised Harry Leonard Bernard on 22nd August 1909 at Viney Hill Church. His address was given as Viney Hill and his occupation ' Mechanic'.


The first of his children to marry was my father, George Frank Morse who married Emmie Louise Sarah Dyer on 14th (11th?) September 1913 at Viney Hill Church. His occupation at this time was 'Labourer'. The second of his children to marry was his eldest daughter , Corah, who married George Henry Millard on 23rd May 1914 at Viney Hill Church. His occupation was 'Labourer'.


His eldest son, my father, George Frank Morse became a widower and married my mother, Gladys Lillian Annie Johnson on 11 Sept 1918 at Viney Hill Church. His occupation was 'Banksman of the Mine'. When his daughter, Lillian Rose married George Henry Cooper on 28 Feb 1924 at Viney Hill Church his occupation was 'Collier'. When his 5th child, William Morris married Caroline Smith on 27 Sep 1924 at Viney Hill his occupation was 'Colliery Banksman'. When his daughter, Alice Lucy Helen married Arthur William Griffiths on 26 Feb 1927 at Viney Hill Church his occupation was 'Collier'.


His wife, Lucy, died on Sat, 12th Jan 1929, and was buried on Wed 16 Jan 1929 at Viney Hill, aged 61 years. They had been married for 40 years. When his daughter, Eva Mary Selina married Hector Raymond Davies on 15 June 1929 his occupation was given as 'Miner'. When his son Albert Ernest married Constance Christine Bowring on 14 June 1930 at Viney Hill his occupation was 'Miner'.

I do not know at what age he retired, but he died 4th April 1945 at Plum Tree Cottage, Viney Hill, and was buried 7th April 1945 at Viney Hill Church aged 78. As far as I know he did not leave a will but had made provision for his funeral. 

C.F.R Morse May 1987.


Memories of my Grandfather William Ernest Morse 1867-1945 C.Frank.R.Morse – Grandson:


My knowledge is very limited. I do not remember him until late in his life, when I used to visit the farm at Lower Viney Hill each summer, between 1938 and 1942. I was between 12 and 16 years old and Grandfather was between 71 and 75.

I used to go to Viney Hill Church each Sunday morning and visit him at Plum Tree Cottage between 12 and 1pm. He was always sitting in his favourite chair in the corner of the living room with his back to the window. He was always pleased to see me and would offer me a glass of cider, even when I was only 12, and I always accepted. He always looked the same, just like his photograph. In his younger days he must have been a fine figure of a man, tall, upright and handsome.


My father told me that in his young days, when he first left school, his father had been apprenticed to the Tinplate Works in Lydney but that he would not get up early in the morning and go to work and so lost an opportunity to '‘get on’. My father also told me that when he was a young man, he had a fight with his father (he was not very proud of it) in defence of his mother, who was being ‘knocked about’ by his father. It never happened again.


I think, perhaps being the youngest of 7 children and the only son likely to marry and have children of his own that he was spoilt by both of his parents, as a child and as a young man. His eldest daughter, Corah, was born before he married her mother, Lucy, but even in those days (1888), Lucy’s family did not want her to marry him. He must have had a wilful streak.


Summing up Grandfather’s working life, I assume he left school at 14 in 1881 and was apprenticed for probably 3 years as an engineer. He worked as an Engineer or Mechanic until 1893/4, when he was 26/27 years old. He was then a publican until about 1902. He then returned to being a mechanic until sometime between 1909 and 1914. After this date he was variously a labourer, a Colliery Banksman and a Collier.


Remembering the difficult economic times he lived through, and the problems of employment that were always present in ‘The Forest’, I think he did well to raise a family of ten children, all of whom were a credit to him and his wife, Lucy. His son, Albert, a widower, remarried in November 1944, and he and his wife, Marjorie, lived with my Grandfather at ‘Plum Tree Cottage’ until his death in April 1945.


Eva Selina Davis – Daughter

The following comments were extracted from various letters written to C.Frank.R.Morse in 1986/7.

Father had been terribly spoilt when a young man. He was a very good sportsman, a good cricketer and runner amongst others and when he could play no longer, he was in great demand as an umpire. Apart from gout, he was very healthy.

There was dreadful poverty in ‘The Forest’. There were the General Strikes of 1922 and 1928. We kept a lot of poultry and pigs in their season, it was terribly hard work.


Cameron Riley Johnson 1886-1976 (related by Marriage)

'Tugmutton’ married Lucy James and had a large family. Tugmutton must have been Grandfather’s nickname!

At this date he was still at school. His sister, Corah, and her husband were the landlords of the Navigation Inn at Newerne, suburb of Lydney, in the census of 1881.  


©Copyright. All rights reserved

Contact me at kenmorse@kenmorse.co.uk 

We need your consent to load the translations

We use a third-party service to translate the website content that may collect data about your activity. Please review the details and accept the service to view the translations.