The King’s Head
Back Street

Elkanah Wookey & Margaret Goller were married in 1812. Elkanah was an ostler and farrier until 1839 when he became publican of the King’s Head. When he wrote his will in 1841 he was in the process of purchasing a property in Back Street from the estate of Ambrose Gilbert King deceased. This was described only as a “Messuage or dwelling house and premises” but reference to “the goodwill of my trade or business of victualler and of my stock of beer, liquors and spirits” indicates that the property was in fact the King’s Head. Albert Gilbert King must have been a property owner, he was never a licencee of the King’s Head.

Elkanah Wookey died in 1847 and his estate was left in trust initially for the benefit of his wife, and children still under twenty-one. Ultimately the estate would become the property of all his children.


Margaret continued as victualler.  We have a snap-shot of the place on Sunday night, 30th March, 1851 when a northern pop-group were in town.

        Kings Head, Back Street, St Nicholas, Bristol

         Margaret Wookey   Head  Lic. Victualler W  56 F Bristol

         Edwin Wookey  Son   Cooper  19 M Bristol

         Emma Wookey   Daughter  16 F Bristol

         John Cox  Lodger   Lace Dealer   61 M Apsley, Beds

         John Walker   Lodger  Musician  29 M Huddersfield, Yks

         Joshua Broadhouse   Lodger  Musician  24 M Warrington, Lancs

         James Melling   Lodger  Musician  21 M Manchester

         John Ridyms   Lodger  Musician  22 M Liverpool

         Richard Bundley   Lodger  Musician  20 M Liverpool

         Charles Moore   Lodger  Musician  19 M London


Margaret’s son Frederick took over in 1861 and ran it until 1867, when he moved to the Boar’s Head in College Place.  He was followed in the King’s Head by William Herbert, husband of Margaret’s daughter Caroline. When in 1869 William died Caroline carried on alone. George Francis, a 31 year old bachelor constable living in Bridewell Police Station, was attracted to the pub life and the 42 year old Caroline.  They were married in 1872, and soon after took over the Sedan Chair on Broad Quay.  The last family member in the King’s Head was Robert Osgood, husband of Margaret Hannah Wookey, a daughter of Henry & Charlotte Wookey and granddaughter of Margaret.  Margaret Wookey died aged 82 in the third quarter of 1875. The pub would then have become the property of the rest of the family and was probably sold soon after.

So far it has been discovered that Elkanah & Margaret Wookey, and their descendents and spouses, were licencees of 28 different Bristol pubs, hotels and beer houses.

© Peter Robinson

1775 - 94. David Nicholas
1800. Yorick Evans
1822 - 38. Richard Jones
1839 to 1847. Elkanah Wookey
1848 to 1860. Margaret Wookey
1861 to 1867. Frederick Wookey
1868 to 1869. William Herbert
1870 to 1872. Caroline (Wookey) Herbert
1873 to 1875. Robert Osgood
1876. John Norman
1877. Richard Joseph
1878. Rosina Mason