Kingswood Index

Beware Family History! In the early stages of my research, nearly fifty years ago, long, long before computers, even before the majority of parish registers found their way into archives offices, when appointments had to be made with vicars, (stamped addressed envelopes, remember them?) who could refuse access according to whim, I could not find the baptism of my great great grandfather Stephen Pillinger. I might have given up, but he got under my skin.

I began to collect all the Kingswood Pillingers, based on the hope that “he would be in there somewhere”. I also amassed information on his next door neighbours, and then people he might have known at work – he was a coalminer in Kingswood. A card index began. I wrote articles about Stephen which appeared in early editions of the Bristol & Avon Family History Journal, and through good luck and the good offices of one of our members, Stephen was found. Great! But did I call it a day and stop collecting? Did I, heck? If anything the addiction got worse. Every Pillinger, not just in Kingswood, but in the world, became grist to my mill. And what about my other index of bystanders? The Kingswood coalmines were vicious places, and I was appalled to see how often miners were killed at their work. This sub section of the growing index became a book, “Killed in a Coalpit”, first self-published and then more recently professionally, in hardback, by my friends of South Gloucestershire Mines Research Group. Miners moved into other areas too and I jotted down those as well. Two more photocopies followed for the Mendips and Bedminster. (The professional publication of “Killed in a Coalpit – Mendips”, scheduled for 2021, has been delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.)

Not all Kingswood people were miners of course, and a great deal more happened there than coalpit carnage. The notorious “lawlessness”, Methodism etc; more carding up, and “The Annals of Kingswood” emerged. I live in Brislington. Pillingers lived there too, but they were not on my direct line. What happened to them? What happened in Brislington? More booklets, Brislington Bulletins, came out. (These will eventually appear on this website, but for the moment can be accessed by reference to Ken Taylor’s “Brislington Virtual Museum” site.) Whilst scribbling madly, I discovered evidence of Bristol’s early black population and recorded the names and descriptions which appeared in Parish Registers. May I say that here I was pioneer. I was astonished that nothing had been published by the City on the subject of Black History. I was even asked “Who is going to read this?” to which the patronising observation was appended, “Black people don’t read books.” I produced another photocopy “Black Bristolians”, a few issues of which may still be found in reference libraries and private hands. I carried on, collecting information on topics which interested me: women, another minority subject (!), brass makers, war dead, soldiers, sailors, &c &c.

I wrote up my paternal ancestors. I wrote up my maternal ancestors. I wrote up my husband’s Danish ancestors. I wrote up other family histories, “The Budgetts of Kingswood Hill”, which included one of my heroes, Henry Hill Budgett, the philanthropist, and especially, my former next door neighbour’s history, easily my most astonishing quest, “A Victorian Girl” which led backwards from total destitution in Victorian Bristol to the wealth of The Raj in India, which showed that whoever you were, there was no safety net to save you if you fell on hard times.

In time, our three children, (but not, thankfully, my husband), grew up and left home. A spare room! I moved “my stuff” into it. Despite all the books, there was still a lot of information on bits of scrap paper, in old exercise books and diaries, and for some time even on computer, but with the same eccentric system of filing. The tail has long been wagging the dog. I realised that I too have grown up; I am in fact getting on. I concluded that upon my departure into the great archive in the sky our said children may start out with good intentions, but will get fed up and delete or chuck the lot in the bin. No they wouldn’t; being conservation minded, they would give the papers to Resourcesaver.

But to save even this, my son Kevin has built me this new website and hopefully as long as I and my eyesight, as well as Kev’s patience holds out, my ramblings of half a century will gradually be uploaded here.

I’ve begun to tidy up. “A Kingswood Index”, which originally appeared on my old website, is the result of many years collecting data about the people who lived in the Kingswood area of East Bristol, where I lived for the first thirty years of my life. I have made additions for this version and hopefully eradicated many of the typos.

I send my commiserations and apologies to those whose ancestors should be here and are not. To them, I offer hope by way of the following dialogue between me and my father in days of yore:

Me – (Doreen Pillinger, aged ten, the proud possessor of a library card, reading Braine’s History of Kingswood Forest for the first time, an adult book from Staple Hill library) – disappointed and slightly miffed:

Dad, why aren’t there any of our family in this book?”

Jack Pillinger: “Years of undetected crime

D.P. Lindegaard, updated March 2021.


Abbreviations used in the index:
AKW Annals of Kingswood
BAFHS Bristol & Avon Family History Society
Bigland. Volumes of MIs of Gloucestershire
BMLB Bristol Marriage Licence Bonds
Bp. Baptism
BGaz Bristol Gazette
Bach Bachelor
BAFHS Bristol & Avon Family History Society
Bigland, Mis Glo’shire
BObs, Bristol Observer
Braine, A, History of KW Forest
BRI Bristol Royal Infirmary
BRL, Bristol Ref Lib
BRO Bristol Archives formerly Bristol Record Office
BsMi Bristol MirrorS
BT Bristol Times (Evening Post Supplement)
BTM Bristol Times & Mirror
Cm Coalminer
Couch. Diary, John Couch, Quarryman
GRO Gloucester Record Office
Ellacombe, Mss BRL
EJ Emlyn-Jones
EP Evening Post
FC Frampton Cotterell
FFBJ Felix Farley’s Bristol Journal
GJ Glo’shire Journal
GRS Gloucestershire Record Society
HTKW Holy Trinity Kingswood
IA Iron Acton
KIACP Killed in a coalpit
Mangots. Mangotsfield
Men & Armour for Glo’shire, 1608
MI Monumental Inscription
NA National Archives
Obit. Obituary
P&J St Philip and St Jacob’s
PR. Parish Register
Puck, Pucklechurch
SMR St Mary Redcliffe
Sp Spinster
SRO Somerset Archives
Ts. transcripts
TSP Transported
W Widow/er
WOT Westbury on Trym
Yeo Yeoman