By Mary Smith
My grandfather, Charles Edmund Steward, was born in Bucket Row, Bretforton, in 1874. He left school at 14 years of age and took an apprenticeship with Messrs. Espley & Co. He started with the firm as an apprentice bricklayer, working his way up to Foreman and Stonemason.
In 1898, Charles married a local Broadway girl, Fanny Elizabeth Horne, and they made their home at Top Farm Cottages, in Bibsworth Lane, Broadway.
In 1913, Charles started his own firm, Steward & Co. later to become Charles Steward & Son, Ltd, employing many local skilled craftsman, specialising in Cotswold stone buildings working on many of the large houses in the village and surrounding area. Stewards built the new houses in Mill Avenue, and later Sandscroft Avenue.
In 1921, Charles built his own house at The Birches, Station Road (where I was born, and my son Nigel), which is now the site of Pegasus Court. Charles also owned an ironmongers shop in the High Street, now Richard Hagan’s Gallery. Charles later built ‘Fencote’ and moved his office and works to 144 High Street.
Charles had many interests in the village. He was Captain of Broadway Fire Brigade for 20 years, a member of Broadway Parish Council, Broadway Bowling Club, Broadway Cricket Club, and the Broadway branch of the British Legion. He also rode with The North Cotswold Hunt.
Following a stroke, Charles passed away peacefully in 1954, at the home he had built, 4 Salubrious, Broadway. A fitting last tribute to him would be: “Goodbye Chas, your work is done, and it was done well”.
16th November 2020