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In the absence of any deeds for the property we have had to rely on the census records and rate books for details of the occupants of the house which later became known as 2 Bath Road.

We are not sure who lived in the house in the 1841 and 1851 Censuses.

Bethia Pitcher – the 1861 Census shows Bethia was living in the house.  She was described as a ‘landed proprietor’.  Bethia was the widow of Daniel Pitcher who had been the owner of the property in the 1840 Tithe Survey.  Bethia died aged 72 and was buried on 12th January 1864.  Click here for details of the family

Thomas Knight Jnr – the 1871 Census and the 1876 Rate Book show that the house was occupied by Thomas Knight jnr and his wife, Clara.  Thomas’s father, also called Thomas, was living next door at number 4. 

Thomas was a blacksmith baptised on 1st September 1850 at Berkeley.  He was the son of Thomas Knight, a tailor and Louisa his wife. Read about Thomas Knight senior ).  They were living at Bevington at the time of the baptism.  In 1868 Thomas married Clara Rice in the Bristol area.  They had several children: Sarah Ann and Minnie both baptised on 6th July 1873, Frederick baptised on 7th July 1878 aged 4 and Louisa baptised on the same date aged 1.  The 1881 Census shows that Thomas and Clara had moved to Berkeley and were living in Maryleport Street where Thomas was a blacksmith.  They were there with their children: Minnie aged 12, Sarah aged 9, Fred aged 7, Louisa aged 3 and Alice aged 1 and Harry aged 1 week.  They were still there in 1891 with their children: Fred who had become a blacksmith like his father aged 17, Allis aged 11, Henry aged 10, Loria aged 7, George and Claria who appear to be twins both aged 6 but with Claria mysteriously born in Bristol, Somerset.  By 1901 they had moved to 39 Ward Street Birmingham – with son George a brass filer aged 16.  Thomas may well have returned to Thornbury as the records show the death of a Thomas Knight in Thornbury in 1909 aged 60.

John Vizard – the 1880 Rate Book and the 1881 Census show that the house was occupied by John Vizard.  In 1881 John was a labourer aged 58, his wife was Sarah Ann aged 45 born in Thornbury with their children: Edward a groom aged 19 born in Alveston, Charles a labourer aged 17, Frank a labourer both born in Frampton, William aged 12, Jemima aged 10, Julia aged 8 and Amelia aged 5.

John was born in Alveston about 1825, the son of Giles Vizard who was from Minety, Wiltshire and his wife, Mary (nee Stephens).  John married twice.  His first wife was Emma Pick whom he married in 1845.  They had four children, Caroline, Mary Ann, Henry and Giles, before Emma died in 1854 of influenza.  In 1851 they were living in Abbottside Hill, Cromhall with their children: Caroline aged 9, Giles aged 4 and Mary Ann aged 1.  They were living next door to Robert and Hannah Pick, presumably Emma’s parents.

On 25th October 1857, John married Sarah Ann Virgo who had also been married before.  On 5th March 1857, as Sarah Ann Davis, the daughter of William Davis, a labourer from Thornbury, she had married William Virgo, a labourer and son of John Virgo, a shoemaker from Alveston.  William died in December quarter 1855.  In 1871 Census John and Sarah were listed as living in Upper Bath Road in what looks suspiciously like one of the four Oxhouses, the extremely small cottages which used to be there.  We are surprised that they could get the whole family in one of those houses – in addition to John and Sarah there were: Harriet a servant aged 16, Rosenia a servant aged 12, Edward aged 10, Charles aged 6, Frederick aged 4, William aged 2 and Jemima aged 6 months.

John died in 1882 aged 57.  In the 1891 Census Sarah Ann was a widow aged 56 and living at 29 St Mary Street with her daughter, Amelia aged 16 and 2 lodgers.  In 1901 she was living in 4 Upper Bath Road aged 73, living with Amelia aged 26 and grandson, Ernest H aged 8 and lodger Enoch Trayhurn a gardener aged 32.  Sarah Ann died in 1906 aged 74.

Of their children, we know that in 1893 Julia married Alfred James Harris and Jemima married Robert Sainsbury, the son of William Sainsbury in 1896.  We know from a document dated 20th April 1885 made for tax purposes that the properties that became 2 and 4 Bath Road were described as “two cottages and large gardens adjoining each other situate in Bulls otherwise Bullseys Lane” with a stable adjoining. At that time one property was said to be “void” and the other to be occupied by Daniel Ball.  At present we cannot be certain which property was which.

James Ford – the Rate Books from 1885 through to 1910 show that James Ford was occupying this house.  The 1891 Census shows James Ford was a groom aged 32 living with his wife, Hester, aged 31 from Lydney and their children: Elizabeth aged 9, Charles aged 8 and Albert aged 4.  Hester’s sister, Annie Long aged 26 from Lydney and her brother, William Long, a soldier in 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards aged 20 and born in Wellington, Shropshire were both living with Hester and her family at this time.

James was a groom, the son of Thomas Ford, labourer and his wife, Anne who lived in Crossways.  He was baptised on 13th April 1857.  In 1861 James was living with his parents, Thomas and Anne Ford in Crossways.  We understand that in his early years James used to help his father with his haulage business.  In 1871 James was a 14 year old labourer living with his grandfather in Upper Bath Road in the house next door to his parents, where his father was working as a haulier.

On 13th May 1880 James married Hester (or Esther) Long. Esther was the daughter of Thomas Long, a labourer.  The witnesses at the wedding were John Savery and Annie Long.  The 1881 Census shows that following his marriage James and Hester were living at 9 Gloucester Road for a time.  By 1885 they had moved to 2 Bath Road.

The 1891 Census shows James and Esther had three children by that time, Mary Elizabeth baptised on 3rd July 1881, Edward Charles baptised on 4th March 1883 and Albert baptised on 1st August 1886.  The 1901 Census shows that the house consisted of four rooms.  Living there at that time were James, a coachman aged 43, Esther aged 40, and their sons: Albert a tailor aged 14 and Frederick George aged 9 (born on 8th November 1891).   They did have one more child; Florence Annie baptised on 7th August 1898 but she was buried on 5th November 1898 when she was only 4 months old.  Of their other children, we believe that Charles was serving in South Africa and Mary Elizabeth had moved away to work in service.

The 1911 Census shows James had taken over as a publican and carrier at the Porter Stores in Silver Street.  He was living there with Esther and Charles, both assisting with the business and the two younger sons, Albert, a tailor and George, a carpenter’s apprentice.  We understand that the carrier business involved a daily run from the Porters Stores to Bristol and back.  Hester died on 5th February 1913 aged 52.  James carried on running the carrier business until the growing popularity of motor transport forced him to quit.  He carried on the pub businesses until his death in 1921 aged 63.  He was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 29th July 1921.

Of their three sons:

Charles joined the Gloucester Regiment at Bristol on 23rd July 1901.  He was described as a labourer aged 18 years 7 months, 5ft 11 inches, 131lbs, 34 inch chest, brown hair, hazel eyes and fresh complexion.  It was initially on a short term service contract, but this was extended until 1909 when he transferred to the Army reserve.  During that time his service record shows he served 5 months in South Africa in 1902 and just over 7 years in India.  We understand that he also served for a short time in Ceylon.  He re-joined the Army in 1914 and went to France with the 4th Gloucester Regiment in early 1915.   Late in 1915, he was severely wounded and invalided out of the army in 1916.  His early death in 1920 was thought to be caused by the injuries he suffered during the War.

Albert – started working as a tailor but after serving in the Army during the war, he gave that up.  In 1932 he took over the running of the Wheatsheaf in Chapel Street.  Read more 

Frederick George – took over the running of the Porter Stores and carried on the business until he retired in 1956.  In 1924 the name of the pub was changed from the Porter Stores to the Barrel Inn.  Read more

Philip John Albert Maggs – a deed dated 1914 relating to the division of the Honeyborne property shows Philip Maggs was occupying one of the properties in Bath Road.  The 1913 Voters’ List indicates that he had just moved there from Gloucester Road.  He was still living there in the Prewett’s directory 1916.  By 1918 the family had moved to Crossways.  Click here to read more

Henry Savery – the 1925 Valuation List and 1926 Rate Book show that Henry Savery was living here.  We suspect that Henry would have been the Henry Edward Savery who was baptised on 3rd February 1889, the son of John Charles and Fanny Savery.  We believe Henry married Beatrice Skuse in 1913.  They had at least four children: Frances F born on 13th December 1913, Henry John born on 19th April 1915, Beatrice Ellen born on 27th October 1916 and Violet G who was born in 1921 but did not survive.  Henry’s wife, Beatrice, died in 1922 aged 34 and she was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 23rd August 1922.  Later that year Henry married Mary E. Skuse.  We don’t know what the relationship was between Mary and Beatrice.  The school records show that Henry was living in Gillingstool and then Eastland Avenue before moving to Bath Road.  The fact that the 1931 electoral register shows they had returned to Eastland Avenue may cast some doubt on the accuracy of the 1926 Rate Book, or at least our interpretation of it.

Henry died aged 59 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 27th January 1948.  The burial record shows he was a baker living at 59 Eastland Road.

Frederick Henry & Olive M Hughes – the register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war shows Frederick and Olive were living here.  Frederick was described as an ‘archdale radial driller’ born on 16th June 1916.  Olive was born on 2nd December 1915.  Elizabeth Alice Hughes is also listed as living there.  She was born on 1st April 1919. Elizabeth married John Henry (Jack) Curtis in Thornbury in 1939.

The Electoral Records of 1938 and 1946 show that the house was occupied by Frederick and Olive Hughes.  Frederick was born on 16th June 1916, the son of Charles and Alice Hughes.  Frederick had married Olive M Ball in the Chipping Sodbury area in 1938.

Reginald & Annis C Riddiford – the Electoral Registers of 1950 – 1961 show that the house was occupied by Reg and Nancy Riddiford.  We understand that Reg was long associated with the coach firm of Riddifords of Newton which was set up in 1929 by Reg’s father, Tom Riddiford.  We think Reg was born in 1920.  Reg and his brother Fred expanded and continued to run the successful coach business based largely around ferrying children to and from local schools and taking them off on school trips.  The Grammar School Magazine ‘Thornburian’ has one article recalling how popular Reg was with the children and mentioning how ironic it was that because of the ‘3 mile limit’ their own children had to find their own way to school from Newton whilst their parents were transporting other people’s children.

Frederick C & Elizabeth M Witchard – the 1965 Electoral Register shows the house occupied by the Witchards.  We don’t know any more about them.

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