The Royal Oak Hotel

    Thomas White was born in Corsham in 1834 and baptised on 8th March, son of Jacob White of Corsham, a cooper, and his wife Charlotte Elliott of Frome, Somerset. Jacob had a cooperage at the North end of the High Street that had belonged to his father Jacob, also a cooper. Jacob senior had died in Corsham in 1844 and was buried on 28th March. Jacob junior married Charlotte Elliott in Winsley, Wilts. on 6th October 1816. They had children: Issac (bapt. 16th Nov. 1817); James (b. 2nd Sep., bapt. 27th Dec. 1818); Emanuel (bapt. 26th Mar. 1820); Jane Keturah (bapt. 7th July 1822); Shadrac Jacob (bapt. 18th Jan. 1824); Mary (bapt. 6th Nov. 1825); John (bapt. 1st Jul. 1827); Edwin Abraham (bapt. 19th July 1828); Sarah Flower (b. 27th Feb. 1832, bapt. 8th Mar. 1835); Thomas (b. 8th May 1834, bapt. 8th Mar. 1835); Elizabeth Ellen (b. 16th Sep. 1836, bapt. 24th Sept. 1856).

    Jacob had a cooperage in Pippet Street, Bradford-on-Avon throughout the birth of most of his children, returning to his father's establishment in Corsham during the 1830's. In the 1851 census Thomas is a cooper, age 16, working for his father in Corsham.

    Jacob White junior died in 1860 and was buried in Corsham on 27th June. In the 1861 census his wife Charlotte was landlady of the Pack-horse Inn in the High Street. The Pack-horse was owned by Henry Hulbert of the Pickwick Brewery and was run by James Usher for upwards of thirty years, until the lease became available from the 25th March 1853. In 1855 Isaac Jones was the new landlord, James Usher had moved to the Station Hotel near the railway station which had previously been run by William White, a cheese factor of Devizes. By 1859 Jacob was landlord of the Packhorse as well as cooper. During this period there was extensive frontage rebuilding in the part of the High Street where the Royal Oak is situated, by Thomas Gibbons Esq., and the buildings we see today were constructed. Thomas White acquired the lease of the new Royal Oak Hotel on 27th March 1865. Thomas, on his third application, was granted a spirit license at the September sessions of 1869.

    Thomas married Mary Gough Schneider, daughter of Thomas Howell Schneider, a farmer of Slaughterford, at St. Mary Magdalen, Peckham, London on 1st August 1874, they had a daughter Catherine Schneider White in 1877, a son Harry, born 1878, baptised 1st May in Corsham and daughter Charlotte Elliott White born 1879. Unfortunately Mary Gough White died in 1881 aged just 32, so Thomas had not been widowed very long when the 1881 census was taken, and the children were dispersed to various carers. Thomas managed to keep the cooperage business going as well as running the hotel, which likely kept him solvent in this difficult time and business. Thomas married again to Ellen Kate Amoore of Litchfield, Hants., daughter of Charles Amoore, a retired farmer living with his wife Jane, in Corsham in the 1870's. Thomas and Ellen married on 25th August 1883 at Clifton, All Saints, Bristol. The couple had a son Charlie in 1884 and a daughter Nellie in 1885 before Ellen also died, in 1891, aged 43. 

    It was reported in the Bristol Mercury - Tuesday 13 September 1892 p. 7. that "The Clerk reported that Mr. Tom White, of the Royal Oak Hotel, Corsham, had given notice to the Assessment Committee that he should appeal at the next Quarter Sessions against the assessment made on him with respect to his hotel and brewery, and that he (the Clerk) would give each guardian notice that at the next meeting of the board a formal application would be made for the consent of the board to the appearance of the committee as respondents in the case." It is unclear what this appeal is about as I can find no subsequent record, but what is clear is that Thomas still brews beer at the Hotel and this is likely what the jars were used for.

    In 1901 Thomas was still in the "cooper and vat maker" business, living at "The Ferns?", Pickwick Road, with daughter Charlotte. By 1911 he was listed as "retired farmer" at "The Lions", Prospect, Corsham, with daughters Charlotte and Nellie.

    Thomas White died in Corsham on 11th April 1913, probate London, 8th May, to Catherine Schneider White and Charlotte Elliott White, spinsters and Richard Bayliffe Wood, solicitor.

    The Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre hold the deeds of the premises from the Wadworth's Brewery archive, Ref: 2816/155/17 date 1787-1921. The premises belonged to the Anglo-Bavarian Brewery of Shepton Mallett (offices, Walcot, Bath) from the 1890's to 1918 before being acquired by Wadworths.


1 Gallon Stone Jar TWhite1.jpgTWhite2.jpg

Potter: Price + Bristol.
Image right courtesy Michael Squires.

Return to Town Index