read about the history of the house

We are grateful to South Gloucestershire Council in Castle Street for allowing us to photograph and record the deeds and documents relating to many properties in Thornbury, including a packet of documents for 3 Bath Road Thornbury.  This has given us access to records that relate the history of this property from when it was “wasteland” in the manor of Thornbury, through to the time that Thornbury District Council acquired it for development and turned it into the modern equivalent of a wasteland – a car park.

We have already detailed the owners of the property, including the builder of the property.  Click here to read about the owners of the house

William Slain built the original house probably in 1828 on land leased from Henry Howard the lord of the Manor of Thornbury.  Click here to read about William Slain the builder

Henry Herbert alias Walker. We know that when George Cossham became the owner of this property from William Slain in 1832 it was said to be in the occupation of Henry Herbert alias Walker.  We know little about the earlier days of this person whom we assume was born about 1809, although there are uncertainties about both his name and his age.  However there was a a court case of 4th July 1829 (Gloucester Records Office reference 48/D/86) in which Henry Herbert alias Walker was accused of assaulting a clock and watchmaker called Samuel Collings junior on 18th June 1829.  We do not know what the dispute was about, but Henry was found guilty and fined 14/-.

On the 14th of August 1836 Henry and his wife Mary Ann baptised their daughter Sarah Jane Walker at St Mary’s Church in Thornbury.  Henry was said to be a labourer.  The family seemed to have financial problems as in 1850, 1852 and 1859 Mary Ann received dress and/or shawl from the Mayors’ Charity and Henry received what was probably a coat from the same source in 1853.  On the 5th March 1857 their daughter Sarah Jane Walker then aged 20 married William Carter a 21 year old soda water maker.  Sarah’s father was then called Henry Walker.  Sadly Sarah Jane Carter died on 22nd August 1869 aged 31.

In 1871 Henry Herbert was living in Pound House, near the Castle with his wife, Mary Ann who was aged 59 at that time.  By the 1876 Rate Book, the name of Henry Herbert appears as occupant one of the Oxhouses.  We believe this was 5 Rock Street.  Henry Herbert had been listed as an occupant of one of these houses in the 1840 Tithe Map.  By 1881 they had moved to one of the two cottages on Gillingstool Hill which were later demolished to enable the Council Infants School to be built.  Although he was said to be 77 years old, he was still working as a labourer living with his wife Mary Ann.   The 1885 Rate Book shows that 1 Sawmill Lane was being rented from John Grove by Henry Herbert.

Henry Herbert Walker (as he was called on his memorial inscription) died on 25th March 1886 aged 77.  His wife Mary Ann H Walker died at Bath on 15th December 1893 aged 82 years.

Jane Hancock.  By lease and release of 6th and 7th February 1837 Jane Hancock bought this house.  The 1840 Tithe Survey and 1841 Census show that Jane Hancock owned and occupied it with her family.  Click here to read more about Jane Hancock

Simon O’Reilly.  The 1851 Census shows that Simon was a rag dealer aged 27 from Kinesh, County Clare in Ireland.  He was living in the house with his wife, Elizabeth aged 30 from Tipperary and their children: George aged three and Mary aged five months, as well as three lodgers.

According to other details posted on the Internet, Simon married Elizabeth Fling in 1847 and they came over to England in the late 1840s.  It is thought by relatives posting their information on the Internet that they were victims of the Irish potato famine.   They settled in Thornbury where they had several children; Henry born in 1851, but not baptised until 3rd June 1855, Simon born in 1853 but died after only 5 months and buried on 15th February 1854, Catherine baptised on 3rd June 1855, and Richard baptised on 4th April 1860.  The records of the Thornbury Workhouse show that in 1849 Simon asked the Guardians to pay three shillings to enable him to travel from Gloucester Infirmary to Thornbury because he wasn’t fit to walk.

The Hereford Times of 18th August 1855 has a report about a fire in a house in the back street in the occupation of Simon O’Reilly.  The term back street is most often applied to St Mary Street and it may be an indication that the family had moved by this time.  Simon was described as a “marine store dealer.”  This is interesting as a later occupant of 57 St Mary Street was also a marine store dealer so perhaps premises on 57 St Mary Street were used for some time in this way.  A “marine store” has nothing to do with the sea but is an obsolete term for what we would now apply to scrap dealers or “rag and bone men.”  The fire appeared to start in an upper room and and “by the timely arrival of the police and the exertions of the neighbours it was speedily subdued.”

The 1861 Census shows the family lived in what later became 57 St Mary Street.  Simon was described as a lodging house keeper and no mention was made off marine store.  He was said to be aged 40 and living with Elizabeth also 40.  Their children were; George aged 14, Henry aged 12, both working as porters, and Richard aged two and Catherine aged six. Mary Cary, a domestic servant aged 26 from Macroom in Ireland was visiting the family.

Elizabeth died in 1861 aged 40 and Simon married again – this time to Harriet Clarke in 1863.  They had two children: William born in 1862 and Mary Ann born in 1863.  We think William died in Bristol aged 9 in 1871.  We can find no further trace of Simon and he was shown as deceased when Mary Ann married William May in 1888.

William and Maria Sainsbury.  The 1861 Census shows the house occupied by William Sainsbury, an agricultural labourer aged 45, his wife, Maria aged 20 and their children, Ann aged 7 (born in 1855), Robert aged 3 (born in 1857) and Hannah aged 2 (born in 1859).

William was baptised at Tytherington on 5th June 1814, the son of William and Hannah Sainsbury.  In the 1841 and 1851 Censuses he was living at home with his parents.  In 1855 William married Maria Cook in the Bristol area.  Maria was born about 1837 and baptised on 8th August 1838.  She was the daughter of James Cook, an agricultural labourer and his wife Hannah who lived in Kington.  In 1871 they were living in Grovesend with children: Robert aged 14, Henry aged 6, Laura aged 4 and Mary Ann aged 2.  Their daughter, Hannah, had died aged 2 and was buried on 29th March 1862, only seven days after she had been baptised.  Henry and Laura were both baptised on 22nd April 1866, Mary Ann was baptised on 4th April 1869.  They had two further sons, Charley and William both baptised on 1st June 1879.  The 1881 Census shows the family living in Gillingstool Road.  Maria died aged 48 and was buried on 18th May 1885.  William died later the same year and was buried on 7th December 1885.

In 1890 William and Maria’s son, William got into trouble aged only 18.  He was one of a group of boys charged with assaulting a 14 year old girl, Mary Ann Tandy.  They were charged with “beating, wounding, ill-treating and doing other wrongs to her.”  William appeared at Gloucestershire Assizes in November 1890, and was sentenced to nine months’ hard labour in Gloucester prison.  The court was told that William and Morgan Riddiford had been out following a group of girls in Thornbury with a third boy, 14-year-old William Smart, one Sunday evening.  Mary, who was one of the three girls being followed, was in the service of local farmer John Clarke at Vilner Farm.  When the boys set upon Mary, her father Lewis heard the screams and ran to investigate. William Smart fled the scene but later the court records show he gave evidence about his two friends.

The 1891 Census shows young William in prison in Gloucester.  The 1901 Census shows he was serving as a private in the Grenadier Guards based at Caterham.  We do not know how long nor where William served.  His military records available on the Ancestry website show that he was living at 62 Burford Street, Hoddeston when rejoined the forces in 1915.  He was then aged 43.  Initially he joined the Hertfordshire Regiment Reserves but transferred in 1916 to the Royal Defence Corps 6th Battalion.  We don’t know where he served, but he was noted as being in the ‘Eastern’ theatre of war.  He was made Lance Corporal in 1916 and Corporal in 1917 and demobbed in March 1919.

We are not sure who James Collings and John Vizard are but by 1873 they were both said to have inhabited the house.

William Lippiatt.  The 1876 Rate Book shows that William was occupying the house.  Click here to read more about William and his family

Thomas Bendall.  The 1880 Rate Book shows that Thomas was occupying the house.  Click here to read more about Thomas

In the 1881 Census and the 1885 Rate Book the house was vacant.

George Cornock – the 1887 and 1890 Rate Books shows that George was living in the house – Click here to read more about George

John Charles Savery.  In 1891 the house was occupied by John Charles Savery, a drayman aged 39 and his wife, Fanny a dressmaker aged 37 and their children: William Charles, a shoemaker’s apprentice, aged 15, Mabel Ellen aged 9, Mary Elizabeth aged 6, Catherine Frances aged 3, Henry Edward aged 2.

John was born in 1851.  We suspect he was illegitimate because there was no mention of his father on his marriage certificate.  In the 1861 Census, when he was still only 10, he was working as an agricultural labourer boarding at the house of Isaac Ealey on Alveston Down.

In the 1871 Census we are not sure where John was.  He could have been the John who was a 21 year old labourer from Morton who was living with Anselm Thurston and his wife, Elizabeth (nee Savery) in 3 Gloucester Road.  John was shown as being the cousin of either Anselm or Elizabeth.

On 6th April 1874 John married in St Mary’s Church in Thornbury.  His wife was Fanny Withers, the daughter of George Withers, a shoemaker.  The marriage record shows that John was already working in the rather unusual occupation of ‘carman’.

In 1881 John and Fanny were living in Chapel Street.  He was working as a drayman aged 29, with Fanny a dressmaker aged 28 from Olveston, their son, William C aged 5, and Samuel Rugman a labourer aged 22.  Around this time it seems that John moved around a bit.  In the 1885 Rate Book John is shown as the occupant of 12 St Mary Street.  The 1887 Rate Book indicates he must have spent a short time as tenant of 29 St Mary Street, but that he had recently left there to move to 17 St Mary Street.  The Mayors’ Accounts Book shows John was occupying 17 St Mary Street in 1889 and this is confirmed in the 1890 Rate Book.  By 1891 the family had moved to the house which later became known as 3 Bath Road.  It is interesting to see that in the census their surname is not shown and confusingly ditto marks appear which suggest that the family name was Stockden (which was the name of the family living in the house listed above it in the census).  At this time, John and Fanny had children: William Charles, a shoemaker’s apprentice aged 15, Mabel Ellen aged 9, Mary Elizabeth aged 6, Catherine Frances aged 3 and Henry Edward aged 2.

The family were still there in 1901 Census which showed that John was again being called a ‘carman’ and they had three children living with them: Henry Charles aged 12, Lillian aged nine and Maud aged eight.

The 1905 and 1910 Rate Books show that John continued to live in that house and that it was owned by Henry Baylis.  In the 1911 Census John and Fanny were living there with their children: Henry, a carrier aged 22, and Maud aged 22 and their daughter-in-law, Madge Savery aged 29 who was born in London.  They had one boarder, John Parsons, a motor driver aged 20 from Bedminster.

Fanny died on 19th April 1915 aged 62.  The Electoral Registers up to 1927 show that John carried on living in the house.  John died in 1929 aged 77.  He was buried in the Cemetery on 2nd September 1929.  The burial record shows he was a labourer living at Bath Road.  We know that John’s son, William Charles (known as Bill) and his wife, Sophia moved into Bath Road around this time from their home at 13 St John Street.  Bill is known to have lived at 9 Bath Road, but we don’t know if he took over number 3 after his father’s death and before he moved to number 9.

Of John and Fanny’s other children we know that in 1914 Maud married William Henry (Harry) Salisbury, a butcher and Mabel Ellen married a widow, Ernest William Tidman, and settled in 10 Bath Road.  Another daughter, Catherine Frances, married Walter James Farr in Penarth in 1917.  Their son, Henry Edward, became a baker and married Beatrice Skuse on 29th October 1913.  They settled in Gillingstool and had three children: Francis Fanny born 13/12/1913 at Crossways, Henry John born 19/4/1915 at Gillingstool and Beatrice Ellen born 27/10/1916 at Thornbury.  Henry was attested into the Army Reserve on 22nd November 1915 when he was 27 years and one month.  He was described as being 5ft 6.75 inches, 115 lbs with 34.5 inch chest with 2.5 inch expansion. He was posted to the Royal Berkshire Regiment on 1st June 1916 and later transferred to 1st Battalion East Kent Regiment on 7/10/1916.  He was captured at Loos in France on 15/3/1917 and interred at Munster.  He was released and returned home on 12th March 1919.

Stanley Poole – the 1934 Rate Book shows Stanley was living in the house owned by Henry Sherborne.  Stanley was born on March 10th 1900, the son of John James Poole, the miller at Morton Mill and his wife Kate Silva.  By the time of the register prepared in 1939 they were living in Eastland Avenue.  Stanley was employed as an engine driver for the County Council.

The Allchurchs.  We have been told by our friend Rosemary King that Reg and Enid Allchurch lived in this house before the Ginns moved in. Reg and Enid were living at The Royal George in 1939.  Click here to read more

The Ginns.  We have been told by several locals that the Ginn family lived in this house around the time of the Second World War.  The Ginns came from the area of Risbridge which is on the border of Cambridgeshire, Essex and Suffolk.  John Ginn had married Sarah Bower there in 1907 and their children were born there: Charles Leslie on 12th June 1907, Harry John in 1910, Hugh Joseph in 1912 and Vera Grace in 1920.

We had initially assumed that John and Sarah had moved to Thornbury with the family.  However we now suspect that John died when he was quite young.  When his son, Hugh Joseph sailed from Liverpool to Quebec, Canada in 1928 he was only 16. Hugh was sponsored by the Salvation Army and his next of kin was noted as being ‘Mrs Sarah Ginn, Cowlinge, near Newmarket in Suffolk.  Hugh was hoping to settle in the area of Woodstock, Ontario and find farming work there.  The scheme was not without controversy.  It attracted a great deal of attention in England with regard to the ill treatment of children sent to Canada by the Salvation Army and other charities in the late nineteenth and early twentieth Century as reports of the cruel treatment of the children began to be uncovered.  The scheme was then only applied to young people over the age of 14 but soon problems began to emerge on the Canadian side.  The huge numbers of immigrants (Canada’s population grew by a third between 1901 and 1911) before the First World War caused great unrest.  The boom in the early twenties led to another surge of immigration but by the early thirties the Great Depression caused the Canadian Government to take measures to stem the flow of immigrants.  Hugh appears to arrived in Canada just before the Depression hit Canada, but he didn’t stay for ever.  By 1940 he had returned and was getting married in Winchester in Hampshire.

Sarah moved to Thornbury after 1938 as none of the Ginns are listed in the Electoral Register of that year.  It is possible that she moved here because her son, Harry John married Vera Wilkes in Thornbury in 1939, or it may be that Harry and Vera met here after Sarah had moved here.

The register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war lists Charles L, Violet M and Sarah Ginn as living in the house.  Charles was a progress clerk (Eng) born on 12th June 1907, Violet was his wife, born on 5th April 1910 and Sarah was born on 1st July 1879.

In the 1946 Electoral Register, the first to be printed following the War, Sarah was listed in Lower Bath Road together with Charles Leslie and his wife, Violet.

Charles Leslie Ginn (known as Les) married Violet May Driscoll, the daughter of Francis Driscoll and his wife, May Sophia at some time during the War.  They had two children: Vivian Leslie and Delga Blanche.

Violet Ginn

Violet Ginn

Another of John and Sarah’s children, Vera Grace married on 28th September 1946.  Vera had been working as a nurse at the Thornbury Hospital for four years prior to the marriage.  Her husband was William Wintle Caise, the son of Theophilus and Elizabeth Caise. William and Vera settled in North Road where their son, Colin Stanley was born in 1947, Judith Anne born in 1949 and Lawrence John born in 1951.

The house was put up for sale at auction in July 1948.  It was described as being ‘lately in the occupation of Mr Ginn’.

By 1950, Sarah moved to 38 Eastland Avenue with Les and Violet and Hugh Joseph.  By 1958 Les and Violet had moved away to live at 18 Market Site.  Les died in the Bristol area in 1964 aged 56.

Violet Ginn & Brian Barton

Violet Ginn & Brian Barton

The 1965 Electoral Register shows Sarah had moved to join her daughter-in-law, Violet, in the Market Site house, now called 46 Bath Road.  She is shown in the photo on the left with a neighbour Brian Barton.  Hugh Joseph had moved to 4 Eastbury Road. Sarah died in November 1974 aged 95.  The photo on the right above shows Violet Ginn (nee Driscoll).  Both Hugh and Harry died in the Stroud area, Hugh in 1994 aged 81 and Harry in 2005 aged 95.

Rogers.  The 1950 and 1954 Electoral Register shows the house was occupied by Norman John & Olive Mary Rogers.   Click here to read about Norman and Olive Rogers

The house was demolished in the 1960’s as part of the town’s re-development.  The site is now part of the Rock Street car park.

read about the history of the house