Swan Hill Murder? (General)

by Gary37, Friday, February 15, 2019, 14:43 (217 days ago)

I've recently moved to the area and am trying to find information on Hill Bank, Swan Hill, Alvington (possibly originally called Hill Villa)
I'm particularly interested in when the house was built and by whom.
Whilst asking locally I've been led to believe that there may have been a murder in the house possibly 30 years ago but can find nothing online to substantiate this.
Any information about the house or its history would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you

Swan Hill Murder?

by MPGriffiths @, Friday, February 15, 2019, 15:23 (217 days ago) @ Gary37

If you use the Advance Search for Swan Hill etc - there are a number of entries etc.

Looking at the Electorial Register 1939 for Alvington, Lydney

There is at

Hillside, Alvington, Lydney

Ernest Frederick SMITH
Ernest Samuel SMITH
Ellen Louisa SMITH

and in 1947, when Reginald Douglas SMITH married - he gives his residence as Hill Bank, Swan Hill, Alvington Father Ernest

30 August, 1947

Reginald Douglas SMITH, aged 28, Bachelor (Motor Driver), residence: Swan Hill Alvington


1939 Register - on the same page as Ernest SMITH etc

Top of page is

Post Office
Knapp Farm
Club Room
2 Colne Villas
1 Colne Villas
The Laurels

there is also a Reginald Stanley WILLIAMS and Laura Marion WILLIAMS living at Swan Hill, Alvington, Lydney

Swan Hill Murder?

by mossup12 @, Saturday, March 02, 2019, 19:59 (201 days ago) @ MPGriffiths

Hi just wondering is there an ernest smith living next door witg the powells at the laurels by chance

Swan Hill Murder?, Alvington,

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Friday, February 15, 2019, 15:37 (217 days ago) @ Gary37

Hi Gary and a warm welcome to the forum,
this link is for the "official" online history of Alvington, but be warned as informative as it is this website can often be poorly edited so may take some serious reading to get all the info together coherently. I've done a quick wordsearch for "swan" etc however cannot find any obvious reference to your address.

I'm afraid don't have any real personal knowledge of the Alvington area.

Ref any murder etc, normally the best source of info would be the online old newspaper sites, however they only give coverage upto around 1960 at the latest, so probably won't help you. More recent issues of the Dean Forest Mercury are available to view using the microfiche viewer at Cinderford library, if you do visit I'd advise phoning them first to try and find a time and day when you'll have plenty of time, especially if you're unsure which year to be searching thro.
Cinderford Library contact details etc are here

The full list of newspapers and where they're kept is here

In this respect, I wonder if you'd be wise to first write an open letter for printing in the editorial section of the local papers (not sure abt your area aka "Lydney" nowadays, in the past the Lydney Observer was a sister paper to the DF Mercury, which for some years now has been known as The Forester. Until recently The Forester was Cinderford based, but I believe it may now be at Lydney, which may suit you better ?.

Then again, I'd expect a murder to have been covered by the national papers, which are online at your local library I think. Perhaps not reported in great detail but this route may be easiest to get a date, to then help search the microfich records at Cinderford ?.

atb Jeff

Swan Hill Murder?

by MPGriffiths @, Friday, February 15, 2019, 15:55 (217 days ago) @ Gary37

Lloyd George Land Survey 1908 (Available on the 'net')

GA/D2428/1/5 - Hereditament Number 96 (links to the maps)

Occupied by: PERRETT, George (M)

People holding the property: TAYLOR, A (Mrs) (F) owner


Description: House & garden
Address: Hillside

Size: 1 rood 18 perches

Map Reference: 47.9.S

Gross Value: £195
Site Value: £25
Buildings: £170
Taxabale Value: £25

Poor Rate

Number 97
Size: 3 roods
Gross Value: £7
Ratebale Value: £5 5s.

Swan Hill Murder?

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Friday, February 15, 2019, 16:19 (217 days ago) @ MPGriffiths

Gary, just had a peek at your new home online via one of the estate agents sites, looks very nice !.
Not many external photos, but am I right in thinking it looks like a typical FoD area cottage, probably solid stone (under the paint) rather than brick, so probably Victorian if not maybe earlier ?.

I see a Bank Villa is marked on this 1880 OS map, at the southwestern end of the village near Cone Brook, is that anywhere near your house ?.

Swan Hill Murder?

by Gary37, Friday, February 15, 2019, 16:42 (217 days ago) @ Gary37

Thank you all for the speedy replies.

Hill Villa on the 1880 OS map is indeed my house, I had researched old maps and had found Bank Villa (presumably my house) but the map date rather vague (1850-1890) however no house was present on an 1820s map so I assume it was built in the late 1800s.

With regards to the murder both local sources gave me the impression it happened 20-30 years ago, so 1980s or 90s but I can find no references on the interweb. I am beginning to question the authenticity although both sources tell a similar story of a man stabbing his wife to death. Is it possible to search deaths during linked to an address during a 20 year period?

I've tried an online search on the property at the Gloucester Archives but it seems most documents are only available by visiting in person unless I'm missing something?

You've all been very helpful already so even just further advice on how to search an address on censuses and parish records would be helpful as they seem to require names.

Thanks again


Swan Hill Murder?

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Friday, February 15, 2019, 17:25 (216 days ago) @ Gary37

Hi Gary, thanks for that.
Again, re the murder, yes for a small village I'd have thought a murder would be well-reported in the papers including the regional dailys, still suggest you write to the Forester as a starter.

Sadly I've never visited Glos Archives in person, and prob not a good time now as they have the builders in I believe. However I do know their search engine (or engineS ?, they used to have two which I always thought very odd indeed, they gave different results) are like many and don't like too much information, perhaps you need to apply the "less is more" approach and then browse thro the results ?.
eg I just searched "Alvington Bank" and got just 3 hits, but searching "Alvington" alone gave over 600, hopefully browsing all these results will help, altho it will take a while.

Maybe the reason documents aren't available online is because of the sheer numbers of them, plus all the changes they're undergoing, and a general lacl of funding which is adversely affecting many UK Archives these days. They have a copy of my grandfather's apprenticeship indenture certificate which I'd love to see, but at the last count they wanted £15 or simialr to scan and email it too me which seemed rather ridiculous, when I visit the Forest in the summer I'll visit them too and photograph it for free.

Using this weekend's free Census etc access I've just tried searching the 1880 Census just for Bank Villa, Alvington, chose 1880 as it matched the OS map. Sadly the search didnt work, I don't really know why as in the past I've successfully found pubs etc by just searching the building name without knowing the residents' names, maybe it varies with each Census ?.

However I can confirm is that in the case of the 1881 Census all of Alvington fits in "just" 18 pages, altho in this case the enumerator's notes in the first page doesn't specify exactly what route he took. However helpfully the first entry is for Cone Flour Mills, so your end of the village, and on the second page (so still near Cone Mill) we find "Bank Cottage", which I guess may possibly be your house (there's def no other similar addresses given elsewhere in the Census. That said, I cannot be sure it is the same address.

1881 Census, Alvington, Glos.
Address Given Name Surname Relationship to Head Marital Status Age Estimated Birth Year Gender Occupation Birth City Birth County Birth Country
Bank Cottage Charles Robertson Head Married 30 1851 Male Commercial Clerk Paper Trade Scotland
Bank Cottage Elizabeth Robertson Wife Married 22 1859 Female Scotland


Can see NO reference to anything like your house name in the 1891 Census.

1871 Census, Alvington, off page 14 of 18 (started at other end of the village)
Household schedule number Given Name Surname Relationship Age Estimated Birth Year Gender Birth City Birth County Birth Country
73 Bankside Mary Williams Head, widow. 69 1802 Female Portskewet Monmouthshire Wales
73 Mary Williams Daughter 28 1843 Female Aylburton Gloucestershire England
73 Hannah Evans Servant 17 1854 Female Alvington Gloucestershire England
74 Springs? House John Williams Head 52 1819 Male Woolaston Gloucestershire England
74 Mary Williams Wife 41 1830 Female Woolaston Gloucestershire England

Cannot find this family, or see any mention of "Bank" etc house name, in 1861, or 1901 Census.
Cannot find the 1911 Census at all !!??

Think this is the same address as 1871 judging by neighbour's names etc, NO "Bank" etc names in whole census;

1851 Census, Alvington, off page 15 of 20
House Number Given Name Surname Relationship Age Estimated Birth Year Gender Birth Place
51 Eliza Williams Servant 11 1840 Female Woollaston, Gloucestershire, England
52 Mary Williams Head 39 1812 Female Alvington, Gloucestershire, England
52 James Williams Son 13 1838 Male Alvington, Gloucestershire, England
52 Mary Ann Williams Daughter 10 1841 Female Alvington, Gloucestershire, England
52 Clara Williams Daughter 3 1848 Female Alvington, Gloucestershire, England

Hope this helps, Jeff.

Swan Hill Murder?

by Mike Pinchin @, Bedford, England, Saturday, February 16, 2019, 20:25 (215 days ago) @ Gary37

Like everyone else I can’t find any reference to a murder at Swan Hill about 30 years ago. However, there had been one more than 150 years ago or, to be strictly accurate, it was a suspicion of murder for which an indictment never actually materialised.

It concerned a woman who gave her name as Peggy BARLEY, an Irish woman, who was travelling on foot from South Wales to Gloucester via Woolaston, Alvington and Aylburton. With her was her two-month old child. Witnesses saw her with the then distressed child just beyond Brookend and she was later seen at a lodging house in Aylburton without the child. Three labourers found the body of a child in a ditch about half a mile beyond the last sighting which places the scene close to Swan Hill. They conveyed the body to the Swan Inn at Cone, the nearest Public House, (now a tea room, I think) and were initially turned away. They turned back towards Alvington but were called back to the Inn where they left the body and proceeded to inform the authorities. Peggy BARLEY was traced to Gloucester where she was arrested on suspicion of having murdered her child.

The BNA Gloucestershire Chronicle - Saturday 07 February 1852 carried a lengthy report of the inquest.

“The jury found a verdict to the effect that the woman and child seen at Chepstow and other places on the road were the deceased, into the cause of whose death they were inquiring, and Peggy Barley ; that the child was placed in the ditch in which it was found by the said Peggy Barley ; but that there was not evidence sufficiently clear, and positive, to prove to the satisfaction of the jury whether deceased met his death wholly and solely in a natural way or whether his death arose or was accelerated by violent means. The jury further presented, that the conduct of Barley, if not actually criminal was most gross, highly culpable, and deserving of punishment, for secretly leaving, exposing, and deserting her child, in the way she did, and then going off to a distance without communicating the circumstance to any person—a fact sufficient of itself to excite against her regards foul play having been used towards her child.”

There was an enquiry concerning whether she could be prosecuted for exposing and deserting the body of her child but no action was taken for want of evidence.

Swan Hill Murder?

by Gary37, Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 16:40 (212 days ago) @ Mike Pinchin

Thank you all for your help I didn't expect so much I formation.

Regarding the house I've found a few references to it in documents at the Gloucestershire Archives so am planning a visit sometime

With the murder I've found from a neighbour it was 30 years ago which would explain the lack of information on the Web. I have spoken to the Forest Review who have archives that I can go to look at so that will hopefully solve that mystery

Swan Hill Murder?

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Thursday, February 21, 2019, 03:44 (211 days ago) @ Gary37

Thanks Gary, always great to get feedback. Good luck with the Review search !

Swan Hill Murder?

by mossup12 @, Monday, March 11, 2019, 09:17 (193 days ago) @ Gary37

Have some info

Swan Hill Murder?

by mossup12 @, Saturday, March 02, 2019, 19:57 (201 days ago) @ Gary37

Gary, this is very strange. My great aunt lived at the laurels. May powell and her husband george who ran off after the war
She had a lodger called ernie Smith of whom i have a photo.

Now everyweek the local bobby and high up councillers and member of communitty would meet in her best room. I assumed playing poker or sometging . But my great aunts son who sadly died only few years ago thought it something far more suspicious.

He was always told be ernie and others that he had killed a man. My gr aunt moved to forest rd lydney when ernie died.
My gr aunts son used to say ernie had something to do with ira ? And was very secretive. Also that he can from ireland, so im surprised he had lived next door.

We were researching him when my gr aunts son died.

Swan Hill Murder?

by Gary37, Monday, March 11, 2019, 10:46 (193 days ago) @ mossup12

The murder that happened in my house was apparently a man stabbing his wife and happened in the late 80s, it sounds like what you're referring to may have happened earlier?
A young couple now live in The Laurels having bought it in July last year, we viewed it and were told by the estate agent that the previous elderly owner had died last year but had lived there for a long time.
There is a lady called May who still lives opposite in Tudor Cottage, could she be the May that you referred to?

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