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Website reveals fascinating history of the Stokes

Posted on Saturday 21st April 2018 at 10:06 pm by Laura Mortimore

The Green, Stoke Gifford.

Local resident Adrian Kerton has created a website documenting the history of Stoke Gifford and surrounding areas. The wide variety of information on his website offers readers a glimpse into the past, with some of the documents available to view dating as far back as the 13th century.

Photo of Adrian Kerton.

When Adrian moved to Stoke Gifford in 1985 to work for Hewlett-Packard at Wallscourt Farm, he was intrigued by the farmhouse and outbuildings. Having always been interested in historical buildings, he began to look into the history of Wallscourt Farm and discovered that it was previously called Starve-All-Farm. Delving into the history of Wallscourt piqued Adrian’s interest and marked the beginning of his journey into discovering the history of Stoke Gifford.

Describing how his interest in local history grew, Adrian said:

“When I retired I had some spare time to research the history of the farm and of Stoke Gifford where I lived. The research revealed histories written by Ros Broomhead, the daughter of one of the vicars of St Michaels, and the Rev D Evans, keen local historians. I was also very lucky to be introduced to Sharon Ubank who had created the Stokes Standard, a series of booklets documenting much of the history with residents’ interviews. It was then that I decided to create a website so the history of the village could be easily accessible.”

As Adrian furthered his research into the history of the local area, he went on air with Radio Bristol which led to a meeting with Mike Stanbrook who had studied Stoke Gifford for his master’s degree at UWE. He kindly let Adrian have a copy of his documents which helped to develop the website. Adrian then got in touch with residents living in the older properties within the village and was given plenty of family histories and old photographs to include on the website.

Recalling all of the people who have helped to build up information for the website, Adrian said:

“St. Michael’s church office was very helpful giving me access to the documents they held. The archivist at the Badminton archives was also very helpful as the estate had owned the village for more than the last two hundred years, selling it in 1915.”

“I was also very lucky to meet Martin Davis, who had lived at Little Stoke Farm, and whose father had introduced the naturalist Peter Scott to Slimbridge where Peter later went on to found the now famous wildlife centre. Martin had lots of photographs of the farm and of an excellent memory of local events.”

Although the website has grown considerably to more than 180 pages, Adrian is always on the lookout for more material; he is especially keen to find out more information about the history of Harry Stoke as there seems to be some confusion as to where the name originates from.

To find out more about the history of Stoke Gifford, visit the website at stokegiffordhistory.wordpress.com

If you have any historical information that you feel may be useful to Adrian’s research, please contact him using the ‘Contact’ link on the website.

Photos: (Top) Signpost on The Green, Stoke Gifford. Inset: Domesday Book entry. Adrian (pictured above) explains: “The word ‘Giffarde’ meant one with round cheeks and double chin in Norman times. In Saxon, ‘Stoche’ meant property of, or dependent farmstead, and at the time of Domesday, the Manor was held by Osbern Giffard, a supporter of William the Conqueror. Hence we have ‘Stoche Giffarde’.”

This article originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on pages 32 & 33). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,200 homes in Bradley Stoke and Little Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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