read more about the history of the house

We have used the Censuses, Tithe Apportionment and other sources to gather information about the property that was once 10 Bath Road in Thornbury.  From this we have learned a little information about the occupants of the house.

Charles and Elizabeth Young.  The 1840 Tithe Survey shows that Elizabeth Young was occupying the house.

The 1841 Census shows that Elizabeth and Charles were living there with Elizabeth’s sister, Mary Osborne.  The indenture dated 29th March 1851 in which the house was sold to Joseph Prewett shows that Mary Osborne was occupying the property at that time, but it seems vacant at the time of the 1851 Census.  Click here to read more about the Osbornes

John Knott.   The 1861 Census shows that this house was occupied by John Knott, a sawyer aged 42 with his wife, Sarah aged 42 from Olveston, a visitor Kezia Longman a linen bonnet maker aged 20 and a boarder Mary Ann Davis.  In 1851 they were living at Kington with their son, John a mason’s labourer aged 14.  John was connected in some way to the Knott family who owned and lived at the house which later became known as 5 Bath Road.  In 1841 Census he was living with Alice Knott, the widow of George Knott.

Henry Bevan.  In the 1871 Census the house appeared to be occupied by Henry Bevan, a carpenter aged 22, his wife, Selina, aged 31 from Hanbury in Staffordshire and their son, Thomas Henry aged 1 and a visitor Hannah Clifton aged 3 from Smallbridge in Lancashire.  They also seemed to be sharing the house with the family of John Smith, a stone mason aged 38.  John was there with his wife, Elizabeth aged 33 and their children: Sarah aged 11 and Jessie Mary aged 7.  All the Smiths came from Plymouth.

Henry was the son of Thomas Bevan an innkeeper in the High Street and his wife Ann.  In 1861 they were living in the High Street where Thomas was an innkeeper.  In 1869 Henry Bevan married Selina Hanson in Bristol and they had two children whilst they were living in Thornbury – Thomas Henry in 1869 and Frederick Samuel in 1871.  They only stayed in Thornbury a short time before they moved to Winksworth in Derbyshire.

Three more children were born there: Annie Edna in 1874, Mary Frances in 1876 and Selina Kate in 1878.

We are very grateful to Ruth Withers for informing us that Henry died on 5th August 1880 at Deptford Hospital, Hatcham in London and he was buried in Woking Cemetery, Surrey.  Henry was only 31.  The cause of death was smallpox.  We understand that on the death certificate Henry is described as a ‘packer’ although the baptism records of his children show him to be a railway porter.  Selina died on 13th April 1916 aged 77.  The family’s memorial inscription shows that they lost three of their children in infancy: Fred, Tom and Hannah (whose birth we have not found).

William and Hannah Dunscombe.  The 1876 Rate Book shows the house was occupied by William Dunscombe.  The 1880 Rate Book shows the name of Hannah Dunscombe against this house, but crossed out, which normally means that the person has recently moved away.  We can find no other reference to the Dunscombes in Thornbury.  

The most likely couple were the William and Hannah Dunscombe who were living in Kewstoke near Weston Super Mare in the 1851 Census.  That William was a mason’s labourer aged 29 and he and Hannah (nee Banwell) already had a large family following their marriage in 1840.  We don’t know any more about the Dunscombes except William was listed as a member of the Thornbury Detachment of the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Gloucester Regiment in 1886.  He had left by 1891.

John Burchell.  The 1880 Rate Book and 1881 Census show that the house was occupied by John Burchell and his wife, Annie Emma and their children.

John was baptised in Thornbury on 2nd September 1855, the son of Alfred Burchell, a carpenter and his wife, Ann.  In 1878 John married Annie Emma Taylor who was born in St Keyne, Cornwall.  Their first son, Alfred Edwin John was born in Thornbury in March quarter 1879 and a daughter, Annie Cecile, was baptised there on 26th May 1880.

John and Annie may have lived for a short time at 22 Gloucester Road, as the 1880 Rate Book shows John’s name as tenant although it is crossed through which normally indicates he has recently moved away.  Interestingly, John’s name is also shown as tenant of 24 Gloucester Road and the same rate book shows John replacing a previous tenant of 10 Bath Road.  The 1881 Census shows John living at 10 Bath Road.  He was a carpenter like his father and so many other members of the Burchell family.  Annie Emma was aged 26, and they had 2 children, Alfred aged 2 and Annie aged 1.  

They went on to have several more children: Eleanor Elsie baptised on 6th May 1883, William Henry baptised on 19th February 1888 after the family had moved to Clay Lane, The Hackett, Katherine Ann and Maud Mabel both baptised on 30th September 1888, Percy Taylor baptised on 12th May 1889 and Dora baptised on 3rd May 1891.  John died on 20th December 1913 aged 58. Annie Emma spent the last four years of her life living with her daughter in Weston Super Mare where she died on 27th March 1928 aged 73.  Both are buried in Thornbury Cemetery.

Thomas Ashcroft.  The Rate Books between 1885 and 1899 show the house was occupied by Thomas Ashcroft.  The 1891 Census shows Thomas was a mason aged 44 from Keynsham living in the house with his wife, Sarah aged 45 from Thornbury and children: Frank aged 13, Elizabeth aged 11, Albert aged 9, Kate aged 6, Flora aged 4 and Jane aged 2.

Thomas was born in Corston, near Keynsham in Somerset about 1847.  The 1851 Census shows him living with his parents, Thomas and Alice Ashcroft in Chewton.  Thomas’s father was a gamekeeper.  Thomas married Sarah Morgan in Keynsham in 1867.  It appears they might have lived in Keynsham for a few years.  Their first son, Thomas William, was born there although he was baptised in Thornbury on 6th July 1868.

By the time their next child, Sarah, was baptised on 4th December 1870 the family had moved to Thornbury.  In the 1871 Census they were living in Morton Lane with the two children.

During the 1870s further children were to follow: Alice Charlotte baptised on 22nd November 1872, Henry Martin baptised on 31st January 1875, Frank baptised on 1st July 1877 and Elizabeth Sophia baptised on 12th November 1879.  During the period the family moved around quite a bit.  The 1876 Rate Book showed that they were living in Castle Street and the baptism record of Elizabeth showed that they were then living in Sibland.  The 1880 Rate Book and the 1881 Census say the family was living in Mutton Lane (in one of the three houses on the site of 6 Crispin Lane).

Thomas and Sarah had four children: Sarah aged 10 born in Oldbury, Henry Martin aged 6 born in Bedminster, Frank aged 3 and Elizabeth Sophia aged 1, both born in Thornbury.  They were all living next door to Sarah’s widowed mother, Charlotte Morgan, a nurse aged 69 from Whitfield and and two of Thomas and Sarah’s children: Thomas W aged 12, Alice Charlotte aged 8 and Amy Alice aged 1, who was the daughter of Elizabeth Morgan.

In the 1880’s even more children came along. Albert was baptised on 7th May 1882, Kate was baptised on 6th July 1884, Flora baptised on 3rd October 1886 and Fanny Louisa on 26th April 1889.  By 1885 they had settled in 10 Bath Road and they continued to live here until at least 1899.

By the 1901 Census the family had moved to Gillingstool.  Thomas’s son, William, was now working as a mason, Albert was an apprentice to a mason, and Flora an apprentice to a dressmaker.  Thomas died on 8th March 1916 aged 68 years.  The obituary printed in the South Gloucestershire Chronicle mentioned that he had been employed by the Thornbury Castle Estate for 40 years and that he had died in his home at Crossways.  Sarah died on 5th March 1932 aged 85 years.

There are two references about Thomas in local sources.  First, the Log Books of the Council School mention that in June 1880 Thomas was fined five shillings plus costs because of his son’s absence from school.  Secondly at a meeting of the Society of Thornbury Folk in 1948, Sir Algar Howard of Thornbury Castle said:

I think the most comic craftsman I ever knew in my life was old Tom Ashcroft, a stone mason. He was a first class stone mason and if you really wanted an hour’s real entertainment then you would go and see him at his work.  Every word he said was comic, he just could not help it.  He was a very great character because he was the best known poacher in the town.  When he was not putting up walls, he was out at night with a long net.  I remember that I thought I would like to learn his art and asked if he would give me a lesson.  We met up at Milbury Heath about 10 o’clock at night and he started to put the nets down, but he got so excited about it the rabbit ran away before we got there!

Of their children, we know that Fanny married Edward Ewart Symes in 1913.  Click here to read more about them

PC Harry Jones.  On 12th September 1900 the property was put up for sale at auction and it was described then as being occupied by Police Constable Jones as a tenant at the moderate rent of £9 per annum.  The 1900 Rate Book shows that ‘Harry Jones’ was the tenant of the house.

William James Shepherd.  The 1901 Census shows that the house was occupied by William James Shepherd and his family.  William worked for 35 years as a managing clerk for the firm of solicitors, Thurstons & Jolly, and had had previous experience in other law firms in Bristol and Taunton.  William was born in Wotton Under Edge on 6th May 1871.  He married Jane Roberts in Bedminster in 1897.  Jane was born in Clifton Wood, Bristol on 23rd March 1871.  They had two children born in Totterdown, Bristol: Sidney Gladstone born on 14th May 1898 and Frederick William born on 12th November 1899.  Shortly after the census they had another daughter, Ida Marion Frances who was baptised in the Thornbury on 26th May 1901 along with the baptism of William Frederick.  The Electoral Register of 1903 shows they were still living in the same house, but the Rate Book and school records show that by 1905 they had moved to 79 High Street.  The 1914 and 1915 Prewett’s directories list William James Shepherd as an accountant living at Thornbury Cottage, Kington.  The 1916 shows he had moved to 10 Gloucester Road.

During the War he was involved with war savings and he was for a number of years Secretary to the Christmas Market and Vice President of the Thornbury Football Club.

William James & Jane Shepherd

Possibly William James & Jane Shepherd

In July 1918 there is a record of William Frederick applying for exemption from military service.  It shows that he was then aged 18 and living in 10 Gloucester Road and working as a cashier and accounts clerk in the London & Lancashire Life Insurance office in Bristol.  He claimed to be medically unfit caused by asthma and bronchitis.  The 1926 Rate Book lists William as clearly living in the house which later became number 10 Gloucester Road.

1931 photo of Hall & Shepherd wedding group

1931 wedding of Ida Shepherd & Thurburn Slade Hall

The 1927 Electoral Register shows the family had moved to a house in Church Road.  The special register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war shows William and Jane living at 3 Church Road with their son, William F. who was an insurance inspector.  It describes William as a retired solicitor’s managing clerk.

Jane died on 26th December 1945 aged 74 and only William is listed in 1946 in what was then called ‘3 Church Road’.  William died on 19th December 1946 aged 75.  The photo above shows, we believe, William James and Jane.  We would be grateful for any confirmation of this.  The photograph on the right shows Ida’s wedding group and seems to include the same couple.

Of their children, we know that

William Frederick died on 12th December 1974 aged 75

Ida married Thurburn Slade Hall  in 1931 and she died in 1986.  Read about Thurburn Slade Hall

Arthur Jennings – the 1905 Rate Book shows Arthur as the occupant of the house.   We don’t know any more about Arthur.

Bill Short

Bill Short next to steam engine

William Short – the 1910 Rate Book and the 1911 Census shows the house was occupied by William Short and his wife, Florence Matilda.  ‘Bill’ was a railway engine stoker aged 38 born in Yate.  Florence was aged 37 and born in Fishponds.  They were living there with their three children: Edith Maud aged 14 born in Yate and Alice Elizabeth aged 10 and William James aged 8, both born in Bristol.  The Prewett’s directory 1916 shows that William was still living there at that time.  By 1918 the Short family had moved to Sibland.  Bill is shown in the photo on the right when he had become an engine driver. Click here to read more about the family

The Tidmans – several locals when referring to this house call it ‘the Tidmans’.  The Electoral Registers from 1921 show Ernest William and Mabel Ellen Tidman were living there up until 1946.

Ernest William Tidman was born on 9th April 1885, the son of Omar and Emma Tidman.  In 1891 he was living with his parents in 87 St Lukes Road, Bedminster.  His father was an able seaman in the merchant service aged 35 born in Bristol.  His mother was aged 43, a member of the Withers family from Olveston.  The family must have had some connection with Thornbury as Ernest’s sister, Annie who was then aged 18 was born there.  In 1901 Ernest was living with his widowed mother in 8 Upper Street, Knowle.  Ernest was a greengrocer’s assistant aged 15.

In 1907 Ernest married Lilly Hardwick in the Chipping Sodbury area.  He and Lilly had a daughter, Lilian Florence born on 23rd March 1910 and a son, Edgar Charles born on 11th August 1915.  We believe that he had another son, Omar E, but we’ve been unable to track down his birth.  Lilly died in 1917 aged 33 and Ernest married again, this time to Mabel Ellen Savery in Thornbury in 1919.  Ellen was born on 12th May 1881, the daughter of John Charles and Fanny Savery who lived at 3 Bath Road.

The Council School records show that the family were already living in Bath Road when Lilian started at the Council Upper School in 1920.  On 13th September 1921 Lilian moved to take up a free place at Thornbury Grammar School.  At that time, Ernest was noted to be a Lance Corporal in 2nd Battalion Hampshire Regiment.  We suspect that Ernest’s mother, Emma, was living with them because she was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 10th July 1922 aged 75.

The 1939 register compiled in preparation for the war lists Ernest and Mabel living in the house.  It was noted that Mabel was a housewife and Chapel caretaker and during the war she acted as ARP in Local Evacuation Service.

Ernest was a gardener by profession and he was heavily involved with the foundation of the Thornbury Branch of the the British Legion and their Secretary for many years.  Ernest died on 13th March 1947 aged 61 and only Ellen was listed as living there in 1950.  Mabel Ellen died in Thornbury Hospital on 28th April 1955.  She was aged 73.  Her obituary says that she was a staunch congregationalist and was for a time a caretaker of the Congregational Church.

Hector and Annie Symes – the Electoral Registers of 1954 and 1958 show the house was occupied by Hector R and Annie M Symes.  Hector Randolph Symes was baptised on 3rd October 1888, the son of Gilbert Symes, the ironmonger, and his wife, Eliza (nee Moon).  On 6th January 1920 he married Annie Allen from Pilning.  They had one daughter, Mary Irene Symes born on 19th October 1920.

We understand that Hector had been a farmer at Crossways but had to give up the farm and live in Bath Road.  Hector died on 4th July 1958. Annie died on 11th October 1986.

David & Sylvia Pullen – the 1961 and 1965 Electoral Registers show that the house was occupied briefly by David and Sylvia Pullen.  We understand that David worked in the quarry.  He was born in 1933, the son of Herbert and Jessie Pullen of 5 Pullins Green.   Sylvia was also born in 1933, the daughter of Frederick Ernest Vizard and his wife, May Sophia who lived in 7 St John Street.

read about the history of this property