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