Ancestry UK

Gyde Home, Painswick, Gloucestershire

Edwin Francis Gyde, a native of Painswick in Gloucestershire, died in 1894 and left a substantial sum of money for the founding of almshouses and an orphanage in the village. The contesting of Gyde's will caused a considerable delay in putting his wishes into effect, with the home — for Protestant orphans of the locality and blind or deaf and dumb children — only being opened in 1919. The building, designed by P.R. Morley Horder, was intended to accommodate up to seventy boys and girls aged from 5 to 12 years.

Gyde Orphanage, Painswick, c.1920.

By the early 1930s, the home was in financial difficulties and its operation was taken over by the National Children's Home (NCH). Under the new regime, the home's large dormitories were partitioned into smaller bedrooms, in line with the NCH's preferred family-style accommodation. Initially, the NCH used the home just for boys but it later became mixed, eventually housing four family groups with the children from 2 to 16 years in age.

The home closed in 1997 and in 2001 was converted to apartments. During the conversion, personnel from the building company were said to have heard the sound of children's voices around the building, leading to claims that the building was haunted. It was also rumoured that, in former times, three children who had been abused at the home had hanged themselves from trees at edge of the property.


Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.

  • Action For Children (formerly the National Children's Home). Can provide access to their own records for individuals who were adopted through the charity or who resided in one of its homes. Help also for those searching for family history information.


  • Bradfield, William The Life of the Reverend Thomas Bowman Stephenson (1913, Kelly)
  • Curnock, Nehemiah The Story of the Children's Home (C.H. Kelly, 1901)
  • Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain's Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
  • Horner, Francis Shadow and Sun (Epworth Press, 1920)
  • Howard, Philip J Philip: a Strange Child (Dalkeith Publishing, 2007)
  • Philpot, Terry Action For Children (Lion, 1994)
  • Walpole, Cecil F. Golden Links (Epworth Press, 1941)