Robert Nurse of Hanham (Born 1821)

Great-Great Grandfather – FFFF1

Robert Nurse, my great-great grandfather - born in 1821, was the youngest child of Robert Nurse and Sally Nurse.

Not much is known about his early life but in 1854, at the age of 33 he married Ann Jane Taylor at St. Michael, Two Mile Hill on 30th May, two months after his father Robert died.

Figure 1: Marriage Certificate of Robert Nurse and Ann Jane Taylor

Ann Jane Taylor, Robert Nurse’s wife, was a descendent of John Taylor, the Landscape Painter. John Taylor's father, Abraham Taylor was a prosperous Philadelphia merchant and friend of Benjamin Franklin, before the American Revolution.  It is through the Taylor family that later generations of the Nurse family are linked to the landed gentry and especially to the Gordons of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - a junior branch of the Scottish Gordon clan, and the Luther family of Kelvedon Hatch, Essex, an important family of that county.2

Figure 2: Rose and Crown Inn (c. 1926)

Robert and Ann were Innkeepers at the Rose and Crown, a public house in a fairly good area of St George, on the eastern outskirts of Bristol.3 The licensed trade had long been a family tradition, and several members of the family ran public houses in the locality.

Robert's elder brother, Samuel also operated the malting and brewing business, which the two brothers had inherited from their father.

Over the next ten or eleven years, Robert and Ann Jane had six children, four of these children surviving infancy.

Figure 3: The Family of Robert and Ann Jane Nurse

The family, although not rich, was fairly well off, running their own businesses and owning a moderate amount of land around the eastern outskirts of Bristol.

Figure 4: Robert Nurse
and his sons

The boys, at least, were well educated, Robert Francis initially attended the local Church School, Two Mile Hill but both boys finished their education at Dr. Nunn's School, a private boarding school in Portland Square, near the centre of Bristol.

I have a separate article on the eldest boy, Robert Francis, my great great grandfather, who was named after both his grandfathers, Robert Nurse and Francis Fane Taylor (Ann Jane's father) The younger boy and second child, William Richmond (named after Robert's deceased older brothers) grew up to be an auctioneer, organist and choirmaster at St.Paul's Bedminster.

William was also involved in the early days of professional football in Bristol. In 1894, he was elected as the first chairman of the Bristol South End club, which changed its name to Bristol City Football Club when it turned professional 3 years later and joined the Southern League.4,5

Figure 5: Ann Jane Nurse
and her daughters

Two of the girls, Annie Jane and Ellen Matilda died in infancy. Neither of the other two girls married, Salley Jane dying in 1894, while Alice Mary Couche (Aunt Alice as I used to hear her called at family gatherings) died in 1945 at Bleak House in Winsley, Wiltshire, just after the end of the Second World War.

In 1871 Robert Nurse died. Ann took over as licensee of the Rose and Crown Inn6 and also acted as co-trustee with Robert Willis Nurse (son of Silas Nurse and Robert’s nephew), in the running of her late husband's share of the malting business.

Robert had directed in his will that they should run the business until his eldest son, Robert Francis (my great grandfather), had reached the age of 21.7 At that time he would be offered the opportunity to purchase the concern at a price to be ascertained by a fair evaluation by "some competent parties to be appointed by the trustees".

Ann eventually moved to Bedminster where she lived with her surviving daughters. She spent the last few years of her life living in Winsley, Wiltshire, with her younger brother Charles Taylor dying in 1912.

Bibliography and Notes

  1. When showing relationships F means Father, M means Mother. So FFM is my father’s father’s mother.

  2. I will go into more detail on the Luther, Taylor and Gordon history in future articles.

  3. Bristol City Pubs, 1856,

  4. Bristol City (Volume 1): The Early Years 1894-1915 (Desert Island Football Histories), David Woods

  5. Western Daily Press and Bristol Mirror, Tuesday January 25, p7, Monday August 8, 1938, p5 and Wednesday August 10, 1938, p5

  6. 1871 National Census. Microfiche copy held at the Bristol Reference Library.

  7. The Will of Robert Nurse, dated 3 Jun 1871; Bristol Wills, vol. 38, Bristol Record Office.


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