Isaiah Trotter, born in 1818, became one of the most wealthy, influential, benevolent and well-known residents of Coleford throughout most of the nineteenth century. In 1857 he purchased an area of about 3 acres of land called Upper Comb in the north of Coleford alongside the road to Berry Hill. Here he built The Coombs, a mansion, and lived there by 1859 or 1860.
He was a shareholder of the Coleford Gas and Coke Company by 1840 and in 1891 became its Chairman. He was the first Colefordian to be appointed a magistrate and by 1870 was Chairman of the old Coleford Local Board of Health. For many years he was Chairman of the Coleford Market Hall Co. Ltd. and would have been involved in the erection of the new Market Hall and Town Hall in 1866. (This building was demolished in the late 1960's)
Isaiah was a staunch supporter of the Baptist Church, and a great benefactor to it in particular, and to Coleford in general. His wife, Jane, died in 1887 and by 1889 he was having built ten almshouses just above The Coombs at The Gorse. On 21st December 1892 he conveyed these almshouses to the Baptist Church "to provide homes for such aged or infirm poor persons who would otherwise probably be compelled to end their days in the Union Workhouse". "Trotters Charity" still exists today.
Isaiah died on 12th. December 1906, aged 88 years, at The Coombs and is buried, alongside his wife, in Coleford Cemetery.
(Information source: Coleford, The History of a West Gloucestershire Forest Town by Dr. Cyril Hart, OBE)
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