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Herbert John Hallett

(1878 - 1939)

Herbert John Hallett was the first child of John and Annie Hallett (nee Dowden). His was born on 11 September 1878 at 9 Cannon Street, Christchurch in Newport, Monmouth (ref 11a 163). At this time, Herbert's father was working as a brick maker.

The 1881 census identifies two year old Herbert living with his parents at 22 Amelia Terrace, Tonypandy, S Wales. The census records that Herbert had been born in Newport and that his father John was working as a labourer.

Herbert's first brother Job, was born in 1881. It is unclear if he was born in Tonypandy or Bridgwater, certainly his birth was registered in Bridgwater.

Sometime before December 1884 and perhaps as early as late 1881, Herbert and his family moved to Bridgwater in Somerset. This is evidenced by the baptism of Annie Louisa, the third child of John and Annie Hallett. At the time of the baptism the family were living at Bath Road Place Bridgwater.

In 1888 the family were living at 26 Wellington Place, Bridgwater.

The 1891 census places 12 year old scholar, Herbert Hallett with his parents and four siblings at 32 Wellington Place Bridgwater. His father was working as a labourer at the local gas works. The baptism of a further child in August 1891 suggests that the family had moved to 24 Wellington Road.

By 1896, the family had moved to 8 Wellington place. A further move occurred and in October 1898 they were living at 82 St John Street.

The year 1900 was to change the fortunes of Herbert's parents. The brother of his grandfather had emigrated to America in the 1850's, setting up home in Toledo, Ohio. He accumulated substantial sums of money and owned a number of properties.

'Toledo John' died childless on 13 November 1899, and after making a number of specific provisions to friends, he bequeathed the balance of his estate to his sister and nieces and nephews including Herbert's father.

1900 was also memorable as on 3 January Herbert Joined the army and was appointed to the Royal Regiment of Artillery Royal Horse & Royal Field Artillery. This was of course to aid the war effort in S Africa. Herbert's service was all 'home' based and using his skills as a shooing smith. On enlistment he was described as 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 135lbs, having grey eyes and brown hair.

His fixed term service ended on 5 January 1901 when he was discharged to his parents at 82 St John street, Bridgwater.

The 1901 census places 22 year old Herbert along with his parents, six sisters and one brother at Cruffs Cottage, Liberty Place, St John St. Herbert has a recorded occupation of shoeing smith. His remaining brother Job was married and had moved to Queens Street, Bridgwater.

Herbert married Alice May Gilling at St John Baptist church in Bridgwater in 14 December 1902; his sister Annie Louisa was one of the witnesses.

They had the following children.

Eva Emma May - baptised at St John Baptist, Bridgwater on 31 January 1904. The family were living at Newtown, Highbridge.

Alice Gwendoline - baptised at St John Baptist, Bridgwater on 11 August 1905. The family were recorded as living at Prospect Place, Highbridge

Herbert William John Hallett - baptised at St John Baptist, Bridgwater on 24 January 1908. The family were living at Highbridge.

Fred -

Stanley -

Barbara Francis Grace -

Barbara was born 23 September 1915 at 6 Carolina Row, King Square Bristol. Stan Hallett recalls that Barbara was the only surviving child from a triplet birth. He also stated that Alice had moved to Bristol to run a guest house whilst Herbert was taking part in the 1914 - 1918 war. Having searched the GRO birth and death indexes for the latter half of 1915, further Hallett entries were not found.

Arnold -


It is possible that there were further children. Stan Hallett believed that there were eleven children in total.

The following memories of Herbert John were recounted by his son Stan in 2005.

Stan had been born at the blacksmiths in Greinton, Somerset. At age four Stan and the family moved to new premises at Stowell, the move likely as Stowell would have offered more opportunity for a blacksmith. Approximately four years later the family moved to a flat next to Wilkinson & Lane at West Quay, Bridgwater. Herbert John established a new blacksmith shop in partnership with a Mr Butler in the bus station / dry dock area of Bridgwater.

The Bridgwater shop suffered as did all businesses in the depression. Blacksmiths were also suffering with changes in technology and the switch to motorised vehicles from horses. As an unemployed blacksmith, Herbert walked to south Wales to find work as it had been rumoured that blacksmiths were required to look after the pit ponies. Herbert returned to Bridgwater some 8 to 12 months later, when the family had mover to Claire Street, Bridgwater.

The family moved to Chedzoy on the outskirts of Bridgwater when Stan was 12.

Herbert travelled to Taunton early in 1939 in an attempt to find handling / loading work with the Army. On his return, he fell from the travelling bus and died.

Herbert John is buried at the [old] Wembdon road cemetery, Bridgwater.

Stanley Hallett also recalled that his father had coached the Bridgwater Swifts rugby team and that Herbert had made a miniature set of blacksmiths tools made out of little horse shoes / nails that were later presented to King George.

Barbera, Bert (bought out of army by Col Ansen) and Fred (second whip with Warwickshire hunt) all went to fork for a time at the house of Col. Ansen at Long Itchington.