Mark Cummings on Gloucestershire's famous names
PUBLISHED: 09:10 02 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:49 20 February 2013
The BBC Radio Gloucestershire presenter uncovers the individuals immortalised by place names
I have a tantalising list of names that Id like you to look at closely. Some of them youll recognise, some you wont but if you look carefully, all these characters are etched into the warp and weft of our Cotswold lives - Tommy Taylor, Herbert Stark, Tom Long, Samuel Marling and Thomas Keeble, to mention a few.
Ive been researching the places in the area named after certain individuals who have been immortalised on a road sign, school building or a patch of land in the middle of nowhere. Many of you will have driven along Tommy Taylors Lane in Cheltenham but do you know who he was? Some people think he was a local boxing promoter but the earliest records date back much further and lead us to a map from 1884 showing a Taylors Lane, probably named after a local landowner.
Two schools in Stroud are named after local men: former MP Samuel Stevens Marling was the person who put up most of the money for the creation of the school and Thomas Keeble was a 19th century long-serving vicar in Bisley. Tom Longs post can be seen at the crossroads on Minchinhampton Common. The romantic view is that he was a highway man who was hung there - in reality its far more likely that he was a local suicide buried out of town on non-consecrated ground.
My favourite story belongs to an underwhelming road opposite the Golden Farm pub on the Beeches estate in Cirencester called Herbert Stark Close. Many of my listeners called in to tell me about this chap who they all knew very well and loved. He was a true eccentric who, rumour had it, was very rich but lived an alternative lifestyle. He used to walk around Cirencester in the late 1970s looking like the archetypal hobo. He wore a scruffy black suit, always a flower in his lapel and a dishevelled hat. . He was always wheeling an old black butchers pushbike which he used to decorate for special occasions. He lived at the bottom of Vitoria Road and he always had a good word for everybody!