William John Gibbs, Baker & Confectioner🍞🥖🧁Beaminster, Dorset. Pt 1.

Part 1. As a collector of old photos I inevitably have a ‘queue’ of photos with some writing &/or names waiting to be scanned &/or researched and blogged about. So recently I looked at three connected photos to make a start on, these I have had for over three years! Imagine my surprise when I looked on the back to see they were of a family from Beaminster, Dorset!

We moved here to Beaminster in 2016, what a lovely coincidence.


This is my favourite above, showing William John Gibbs and his wife Lydia (Holt) on their 40th Wedding Anniversary in 1938, written on the back by Lydia. Taken in their Son Stanley’s garden. They married on 22 April 1893, Marriage registered in Chard, Somerset.

Stanley was one of their son’s.

William John GIBBS was born on 04 Jan 1864 in Crewkerne, Somerset, England as the ninth child of Thomas Mark GIBBS and Anne WHITE. He had nine siblings, namely: Henry, Job (William), Clara Jane, Mary Hannah, James, Catherine Amelia, Sarah, Thomas John, and Elizabeth Annie. When he was 29, he married Lydia HOLT, daughter of Henry HOLT (a Basket Maker & occasional Preacher) and Mary A LAWRENCE, on 22 Apr 1893 in Chard, Somerset (Registered in Chard, Somerset. But as Lydia was born and lived in Crewkerne was that where they married? Possibly St Bartholemew’s?).

William John GIBBS lived in Mosterton, Dorset, England in 1871 (Relationship: Son). He lived in Beaminster, Dorset, England in 1891 (Relation to Head: Head, a Baker & Confectioner) His father had died in 1872, and he had Ann his widowed Mother living with him. Still living in Beaminster, Dorset, England in 1901 (Relation to Head of House: Head). He lived in Western, Dorset, England in 1904. He lived in Beaminster, Dorset, England on 02 Apr 1911 (Marital Status: Married; Relation to Head of House: Head).

He lived in Beaminster in 1915 (Other Records: Father). 40th Wedding Anniversary: 22 Apr 1933 in Netherbury, Dorset, England (Photo in Gallery taken in son Stanley’s garden in Netherbury of William & Lydia Gibbs) He lived in Dorset, England in 1939 (Notes: Marital Status: Married. He was a Retired Baker & Confectioner.  He died on 07 Mar 1948 in Beaminster, Dorset, England.

This is Beaminster Kelly’s Directory from 1939 transcribed by Zoe Martin for Dorset OPC, localised Online Parish Clerks records and websites are invaluable and always a great resource when you are tracing your family history, and we are extremely lucky that Dorset is excellent!  Beaminster Kelly’s Directory 1939  direct link here.

Looking at 1911 & 1939 info I am sure they were living where the Mr. Mo garage is now, opposite the car wash. I’m assuming the bakery was there) He lived in Whitcombe Road, Beaminster, Dorset in 1939 (Spoken to owner of the Mr. Motor Repair Co & Yes he said as far as he knew it was previously owned by the Gibbs family still when he bought it, so my thoughts are that the Bakery was here first from 1890, then when William retired his son Leonard ran his Motorbike business from there) Coincidentally it is next door but one to where our Beaminster Museum is now.

William John GIBBS and Lydia HOLT had the following children:

  1. TWIN. Stanley William GIBBS was born on 10 Apr 1896 in Beaminster, Dorset, England (GIBBS, STANLEY WILLIAM HOLT Order GRO Reference: 1896 J Quarter in BEAMINSTER Volume 05A Page 354 ). He died on 19 Jan 1992 in Bransgore, Christchurch, Dorset. He had married Jessie Mabel HOUSE on 22 Apr 1928 in Beaminster, Dorset, England.
  2. TWIN. Leonard Henry GIBBS was born on 10 Apr 1896 in Beaminster, Dorset, England (GIBBS, LEONARD HENRY HOLT Order GRO Reference: 1896 J Quarter in BEAMINSTER Volume 05A Page 354 ). He died on 18 Dec 1948 in Bridport, Dorset, England. He married Muriel Emma AISH in Dec 1934 in Bridgewater, Somerset, England. He married Emily Taylor on 21 Mar 1943 in Bridport, Dorset, England.
    Jessie Margaret GIBBS was born in Nov 1900 in Beaminster, Dorset, England (GIBBS,
  3.  JESSIE MARGARET HOLT Order GRO Reference: 1900 D Quarter in BEAMINSTER Volume 05A Page 319 ). She was just 3 months old when she sadly died on 19 Feb 1901 in Beaminster, Dorset, England (GIBBS, JESSIE MARGARET 0 Order GRO Reference: 1901 M Quarter in OF BEAMINSTER Volume 05A Page 255 ).
  4.  LYDIA MARY GIBBS was born on 28 Jan 1904 in Beaminster, Dorset, England (GIBBS,LYDIA MARY HOLT Order GRO Reference: 1904 M Quarter in BEAMINSTER Volume 05A Page 342 ). She died in Dec 1986 in Bridport, Dorset, England.
  5. ELSIE ELLEN GIBBS was born on 11 Dec 1911 in Beaminster, Dorset, England (GIBBS, ELSIE ELLEN HALT Order GRO Reference: 1912 M Quarter in BEAMINSTER Volume 05A Page 595. Mothers maiden name should be HOLT not HALT). She died in Mar 1998 in Dorset (The incorrect birth date was given. Given as 3 Dec 1910.). She married Albert Edward Duncan HOUSE on 26 Mar 1933 in Beaminster, Dorset, England.

STANLEY WILLIAM (Twin) was born on 10 Apr 1896 in Beaminster, Dorset, and still in Beaminster, Dorset in the 1901 & 1911 census. He emigrated to America on 22 Mar 1913 (According to the old photo, the image below, Stanley William sailed for America on this date.). He arrived in New York on 28 Mar 1913, he had departed from Liverpool.

He arrived back in Liverpool, England on 05 Dec 1916. Bet his family was glad to see him after three & half years! Described now as a Farmer, and his last permanent residence USA and future permanent residence Beaminster, Dorset. He had departed from Montréal, Québec, Canada. He was still living in Dorset, England in the 1939 Register taken in Sep 1939 Marital Status: Married. Living in Prouts Bridge at this time. His occupation was as a Relieving officer & Registrar of Births Marriages & Deaths, so his name is probably on many records for other people too.

Stanley William GIBBS and Jessie Mabel HOUSE had no children that I have found.

Stanley, Lydia and Elsie Gibbs



This photo above also has the connection to his father’s Bakers shop, see the HOVIS logo on the right of the photo.

LEONARD HENRY (Twin) was born on 10 Apr 1896 in Beaminster, Dorset, England (GIBBS, LEONARD HENRY HOLT Order GRO Reference: 1896 J Quarter in BEAMINSTER Volume 05A Page 354 as the second child of William John GIBBS and Lydia HOLT ).

He lived in Beaminster, Dorset, England in 1901 & 1911(Relation to Head of House: Son). He lived in Prout Bridge, Beaminster in 1915 (Leonard joined up & was in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry. No 16540 (Short service attestation) His occupation then was a Baker, like his father.). He served in the military in Sep 1916 (See image below from Ancestry) in Beaminster, Dorset, England (Sustained an injury to his knee while on leave, riding a Motorbike & was unable to bend it. So he was discharged from the Army.)

When he was 38, he married Muriel Emma AISH, daughter of Walter AISH and Lucy Rose STUDLEY, in Dec 1934 in Bridgewater, Somerset, England. Leonard Henry GIBBS and Muriel Emma AISH had the two children.
He lived in Dorset, England in 1939 (Marital Status: Divorced. Leonard H Gibbs was a Motor Engineer, Motorcycle and Cycle Engineer of Prout Bridge, is this the garage at what is now known as 1 Whitcombe Road. As the Hann family had a large garage across the road where the River runs.
Did Leonards garage replace his fathers Bakery and shop on the same premises?
When he was 46, he married Emily Taylor,daughter of Mary Ann Cecilia Emily Major and James Loveless Taylor, on 21 Mar 1943 in Bridport, Dorset, England. Leonard Henry GIBBS and Emily Taylor had no children. He died on 18 Dec 1948 in Bridport, Dorset, England.

I have searched but am unable to find any photos of his father’s Bakers Shop in the Prout’s Bridge area. I have borrowed three wonderful Beaminster history books from our local library too but still had no luck with finding a photo of the Bakery in either Fleet Street or Prouts Bridge, but they are full of great information about our town, so they are a brilliant read for someone who hasn’t grown up here, still reading them!

Looking in the Newspaper archives I found this super notice (see below) when William moved premises to Prouts Bridge from Fleet St in 1890.

Screenshot_2018-11-07 The British Newspaper Archive findmypast co uk
These notices appeared in Newspapers in November 1890 when William moved his premises three years before his marriage.

I did visit our local Museum and could find no more information out about the shop or any old photos of it either. But they were a wonderful help to me in finding other information about the history of Beaminster, they have a huge archive of all sorts of wonderful information about the town of Beaminster and the surrounding parishes of Broadwindsor, Burstock, Chedington, Corscombe, Halstock, Hooke, Mapperton, Mosterton, Netherbury, Seaborough, South Perrott, Stoke Abbott and Thorncombe and many many local people and their histories. They are all such a lovely friendly group and so helpful, do pay them a visit if you are in the area, the Beaminster Museum is full of wonderful displays and treasures of the area and is housed in the old Congregational Church just in the Whitcombe Road as you enter Beaminster from Bridport direction on the B3066.

The Museum have two websites running at the moment until this new one is fully functional.. Beaminster Museum

Older website is Beaminster Museum (Older site)


This last photo I have is lovely of Lydia and one of her daughters Elsie Ellen, written by Elsie on the back. Dated 1916.


William John Gibbs came from a large local family

Thomas Mark GIBBS, his father was born in Jan 1826 in Mosterton, Dorset, England as the fourth child of Job GIBBS and Mary BROWN. He had six siblings, namely: Elisa, Anna Maria, William Brown, Henry, Sarah B, and John James. He died in Jun 1872 in Mosterton, Dorset, England. When he was 25, he married Anne WHITE, daughter of James WHITE and Hannah HOOPER, on 02 Mar 1851 in Misterton, Somerset, England.

Thomas Mark GIBBS was baptized on 15 Jan 1826 in Mosterton, Dorset, England. He lived in Mosterton, Dorset, England in 1841. He lived in Somerset, England in 1851. He lived in Mosterton, Somerset, England in 1851 (Relationship: Head. Described as a Dairyman.). He lived in Crewkerne, Somerset, England in 1861 (Relationship: Head). He lived in Mosterton, Dorset, England in 1871 (Relationship: Head). He was buried on 10 Jun 1872 in Mosterton, Dorset, England.

Thomas Mark GIBBS and Anne WHITE had the following 10 children:

1. Henry GIBBS was born on 22 Dec 1851 in Misterton, Somerset, England (GIBBS, HENRY WHITE Order GRO Reference: 1851 D Quarter in BEAMINSTER Volume 08 Page 10 ). He died on 24 Aug 1932 in Whitchurch Canonicorum, Dorset, England. He married Emily Frances KNIGHT on 25 Apr 1876 in Whitchurch-Canonicorum, Dorset, England.

2. Job (William) GIBBS was born in Oct 1852 in Muchelney, Somerset, England. He married Mary Alma BISHOP in Oct 1874 in Beaminster, Dorset. Job & Mary Alma had six children in Dorset, two were Twins in 1885 Mary & Harry, they both sadly died, and after the next baby was born in 1886 a daughter Ethel, they emigrated to Australia, 1887, they had five more children in Australia, so a total of 14 born to the couple. Job had a Farm, “Gowangardie” in Benalla, Victoria, Australia. Job, his sons Harry, William Mark & Tom were farmers & Ernest Alfred was described as a Beekeeper (Apiarist)


Job must have returned to England for a couple of visits, firstly in 1906 (aged 53) as Job arrived back in Australia 1 Feb 1906, he also left England on 30 Mar 1926 to go back to Australia (aged 73). He died in 1946 in Violet Town, Victoria, Australia (aged 94). There are still many of Job & Mary’s descendants living in Australia now & some have actually been to visit Beaminster and the Museum and there is more information on this Australian branch of the family at the Museum.

3. Clara Jane Gibbs was born in Jan 1854 in Puriton, Somerset, England. She married Ruben Comber on 3 April 1874 in Somerset. In 1881 they were both living in Lisgar, Manitoba, Canada. Obviously they had emigrated. Clara died as a young mother on 8 Nov 1886, Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada. Her husband remarried after her death.


Reuben Comber
Some great information about Reuben found on a Public tree on Ancestry, a great resource for extra treasures!

4. Mary Hannah GIBBS was born in 1854 in Beaminster, Dorset, England (GIBBS, MARY HANNAH WHITE Order GRO Reference: 1854 J Quarter in BEAMINSTER Volume 05A Page 399 ). She died on 13 Jun 1942 in Wells, Somerset, England.
5. James GIBBS was born in 1856 in Misterton, Somerset, England (GIBBS, JAMES WHITE Order GRO Reference: 1856 M Quarter in BEAMINSTER Volume 05A Page 364 ). He died on 24 Jan 1928 in Dorset, England.
6. Catherine Amelia GIBBS was born in 1858 in Beaminster, Dorset, England (Not found on GRO yet!). She died in Mar 1937 in Newton Abbot, Devon, England. She married William Henry COWELL in Apr 1885 in Newton Abbot, Devon.
7. SARAH GIBBS was born in 1859 in Beaminster, Dorset, England (GIBBS, SARAH WHITE Order GRO Reference: 1859 J Quarter in BEAMINSTER Volume 05A Page 387 ). She died on 03 Jan 1953 in Bishop Stortford, Hertfordshire, England. She married Joseph LINSELL in 1884.
8. Thomas John GIBBS was born in Dec 1861 in Woolminstone, Somerset, England (GIBBS, THOMAS JOHN WHITE Order GRO Reference: 1861 D Quarter in CHARD Volume 05C Page 471 ). He died on 30 Nov 1936 in Beaminster, Dorset, England. He married Martha Hayden in Jul 1888 in Hampstead, London. He married Elizabeth Harriett CURTIS in Dec 1917 in Beaminster, Dorset, England. He was a Shoemaker like his father.

“This is a pic taken outside White Hart Yard on Hogshill Road, Beaminster. We are not sure if Thomas is posing on the footpath outside his shop or on the sunny side of the street opposite his shop.”

9. William John GIBBS was born on 04 Jan 1864 in Crewkerne, Somerset, England. He died on 07 Mar 1948 in Beaminster, Dorset, England. He married Lydia HOLT on 22 Apr 1893 in Chard, Somerset.
10. Elizabeth Annie GIBBS was born in Apr 1865 in Yeovil, Somerset, England (GIBBS, ELIZABETH ANNIE WHITE Order GRO Reference: 1865 J Quarter in YEOVIL Volume 05C Page 574 ). She died on 26 Dec 1937 in Warminster, Wiltshire. She married Charles William BOND on 18 Jun 1885 in Longbridge Deverill, Warminster, Wiltshire, England.


1 (3)
William & Lydia at rest with their baby daughter Jessie.
1 (5)
William & Lydia’s Son Leonard next to them
1 (4)
They are buried in Holy Trinity Churchyard, Beaminster

The photos above are some of a few I took when I visited the local Holy Trinity Churchyard of the various members of the Gibbs family (more in Part 2) I shall add grave photos & information to Find A Grave (direct link) one of my New Year resolutions to try to contribute & help other researchers of Family History.



More to come soon in Part 2 about the Gibbs Family of Beaminster.

Till next time then……………….




  1. OMG ! Lynn you certainly leave no stone unturned you research every little detail you can .What a complicated post this one was but Oh so interesting Love it and can’t wait for the next one. HAPPY NEW YEAR..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Lynn
    At one time Prout Bridge was used for the area of Beaminster where the main road crossed the River Brit. At one time the Road was known as South Street and Whitcombe Road has been East Street and High Street in different censuses. There still aren’t any street signs on Prout Bridge which according to the Orance Survey has been called Prout Hill for over 100 years.
    From the censuses I believe that Gibbs’s shop and later garage were where the current garage at 1 Whitcombe Road still stands, next to the museum and adjoining the Chinese takeaway at 5 Prout Bridge/Hill

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Lynne, my name is John William Booth, my maternal grand father was William John “Bill” Gibbs, son of Thomas Gibbs. I have his names, being the first born grandson and my paternal grandfather’s initials and surname. He emigrated to Australia as a youth to work on his Uncle Job’s selection “Dorset Hill” (a correction to your naming of the property) at Earlston outside Violet Town Victoria. This involved working with his uncle and cousins clearing land, fencing, digging dams, all hard physical work, to meet the Government requirements to farm the land. During the First World War he enlisted in the AIF in the Victorian Light Horse, being a fine horseman and shot. However he finally served in the horse artillery in France for 3 years. When wounded by shrapnel to the back he was repatriated to Beaminster. He met my grandmother Edith Mary Gibbs nee Cummings from Chard in Somerset. They married in the Chard Baptist Church and she returned to Australia as a “war bride. They had a dairy farm 3 miles down the Nathalia Road from Shepparton, where they raised 2 sons and 5 daughters; one my mother Norma May Booth nee Gibbs, still going strong at 98yo. They had 21 grandchildren, so just that branch of the family is considerable. Bill Gibbs died at 66yo and Edie died at 80yo. My grandparents managed two trips back to England when they sold the farm (1949) in the days of liner travel. My two sisters, and I as well as my parents have managed to visit Beaminster and Chard on at least two occasions. My grandfather is listed on the commemorative wall at St Mary’s as Trooper W. J. Gibbs. I enjoyed a few counter lunches and pints at the Red Lion, but am yet to meet Martin Clune.
    Thank you Lynne for compiling this information. I would be happy to provide more information and look forward to visiting the Beaminster Museum when travel restrictions are lifted post Covid.
    Regards John Booth
    19 September 2021


  4. Lynne, by the way Job Gibbs emigrated to Australia in 1886. Some of Job’s sons went up to the establishment of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area by Chaffey in the late 1920’s and now are some of the biggest rice growers in the MIA (Warburn near Griffith).
    The Job and Thomas Gibbs extended families had a well attended 100 year anniversary in 1886 at Dorset Hill, no longer in family hands but then a wildlife and game bird farm. I attended with my young son and parents, catching up with many second cousins I had never met.


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