Unfortunately we don’t have a photograph of the house, but we’ve collected quite a lot of information about it, its owners and occupants. We are also very grateful to South Gloucestershire Council for allowing us to photograph and record the deeds and documents they hold for this property.
John and Esther (Hester) Knott. We don’t exactly know when the house was built. The earliest owner, and apparently the builder of the property, was John Knott.
In an indenture of 24th May 1838 this property was said to have been “taken and enclosed from the waste land there by John Knott deceased, father of the said George Knott (the vendor in this indenture) and whereon the said John Knott built the said cottage in which at the time of his decease he dwelt and wherein his widow afterwards dwelt and the said George Knott has from that time dwelt.”
This indicates that the original house on this land was built by John Knott and we believe he was the husband of Esther Mills, whom he married in St Mary’s church in Thornbury in April 1770.
We know a little about John and Esther Knott. Their first child, Francis Knott was born 28th February 1772 and baptised in St Mary’s Church on 8th March 1772. Their second child George was born on 9th January 1775. It seems that this child died young, although we have no record of it, as there was a second child called George born to them on 27th November 1779.
We note that John Knott is listed in the Land Tax of 1775 and that he was paying tax for a property described as “”late Hulberts.” John Knott died December 26th 1814 aged 72. From the evidence of the indenture previously mentioned, we believe John died in this house and his widow continued to live there. Esther (or Hester) Knott died 13th August 1822 aged 84 and was buried with her husband in St Mary’s churchyard.
George and Alice Knott. According to the indentures of 1838 George Knott became the owner of what was later 5 Bath Road after the death of his mother, Esther or Hester Knott who died 13th August 1822.
George Knott was born in Thornbury on 27th November 1779 and baptised there on 5th December. He was the son of John and Esther Knott (nee Mills). George married Alice Belcher from Dursley on 12th August 1800. They had at least three children. Charles born on 9th November 1800, George born on 27th November 1803 and Hannah born on 21st November 1806 and christened 4th September 1808. The baptism record shows that George was a member of the Wiltshire Militia at that time, although in later indentures he was described as a sawyer.
By an indenture of 6th November 1834 George Knott a sawyer and his wife Alice sold a part of their garden to Elizabeth Jane Ward a spinster. At this time it was only described as a piece or parcel of ground that formed part of the garden of the property owned and occupied by George and Alice Knott. Elizabeth Jane Ward undertook to fence off the property she had bought and to maintain the fence. The property later became numbers 7 and 9 Bath Road.
An interesting memorandum attached to this indenture notes that George Knott agreed that four pounds of the eight pounds sale money should be paid directly to Richard Scarlett to be kept by him “for the separate use of the said Alice.”
By indentures of 24th and 25th May 1838 George conveyed the remainder of his property later known as 5 Bath Road to his son Charles Knott. Two days later on 27th May George died aged 61 years.
In the 1841 Census Alice Knott was a charwoman aged 67 living in the same house, with John Knott a sawyer aged 21. John Knott (or Nott) was baptised on 19th January 1834 at the age of 14. He seems to have been the youngest son of George and Alice Knott. Alice died 3rd December 1844 aged 70 years. She was buried in the same grave as her husband and his parents in St Mary’s churchyard.
The 1841 Census also showed a couple called William and Ann Walker aged about 30 who remained in the house (see below). We believe that William and Ann Walker were distantly related to George and Alice Knott (possibly though a Hannah Knott who married Thomas Walker in 1771). If this is the case the house was occupied by members of the same family from when it was built to when it was demolished.
Charles Knott. We note that the indenture of 25th May 1838 says that the property Charles Knott now owned was eleven perches of ground and a cottage now in ruins. When his father conveyed the house to him in 1838, Charles was a police officer living in Chipping Norton in Oxford.
We have been given some interesting information about Charles Knott, found by by one of his descendants. Charles had moved from Thornbury to London where he became a policeman in Islington around the period 1832 – 1835. He then moved to Chipping Norton to become a police constable there. We understand he became Police Sergeant and the first ‘professional policeman’ in the borough.
Although the 1840 Tithe Survey describes Charles as the owner and “occupier” of the property (plot 329 on the Tithe Map), he seems to have remained in Chipping Norton, where he was listed in the 1841 Census in which Charles was living in Middle Row.
He was living with Eliza his wife, Emily aged 9, Eliza aged 7, Alfred aged 4 and Maria aged 2. Charles lived in Chipping Norton for 10 years before transferring to Wellesbourne in Warwickshire. By the 1861 Census he had given up being a policeman and had become the postmaster in Wellesbourne.
An indenture of 18th March 1856 says that Charles was living in Wellesborne but leaves a space where his occupation would go. This indenture raised a mortgage of £30 against what was then described as a cottage and eleven perches of ground. It was said to be in the occupation of William Walker (see below).
It seems that the house was no longer in ruins, perhaps some of the £50 had gone towards improving the house. In 1858 when the mortgage was transferred to Charles Morgan, Charles Knott was still living in Wellsbourne while William Walker remained as the tenant of the house.
On 6th February 1861 the £30 mortgage still remained unpaid and so Charles Knott agreed with John Williams that John should pay him £20 for the house and pay Charles Morgan the £30 still owing to him. At this time Charles Knott was described as a postmaster.
William and Ann Walker – the 1851 Census shows the house was occupied by William Walker, an agricultural labourer aged 43 from Brighton, Sussex. He was living with his wife, Ann aged 41 and their children: Joseph aged 7 and Alice aged 10 months. In 1861 they were all still living in the same house. Joseph had become a baker’s porter. In 1871 William and Ann were living with just Alice, a general domestic servant aged 20 and a boarder, John Phillips aged 10 from Dursley.
William died aged 65 and was buried on 8th November 1873. In the 1881 Census Ann was a widow lodging with George White at 77 High Street. It seems that this is only a temporary move – she was still listed as the occupant of the Bath Road house in the Rate Books of 1885, 1887 and 1890 and in the 1891 Census she was shown as living there again. In 1891 she was sharing the house with her daughter, Alice, now married to Uriah Wall Stockden (see below). Ann died aged 86 and was buried on 1st August 1896.
John Williams. On the 5th February 1861 Charles Knott conveyed this property to John Williams. At his death on 2nd February 1897 it passed to his son, John Hodges Williams who thus became “the beneficial owner.” He died on 11th May 1934. The trustees of John Hodges Williams; Henry William Williams, John Gammon Wicks and Edgar Walter Pitcher sold the property for £125 in March 1935. Read more about John Williams and his family
We have a pretty good record of the occupants of the house from 1851 until it was demolished in early 1960s. We are particularly lucky in this case because it was only occupied by two families and the second family was descended from the first.
The Stockdens – On 25th March 1935 the house was conveyed from the trustees of John Hodges Williams to Alice May Stockden the daughter of Uriah Stockden, whose family occupied the house.
By the 1881 Census the house was occupied by Uriah Stockden and his wife, Alice, the daughter of George and Ann Walker who had lived here previously. The Stockden family continued to live in the house up until the time it was demolished in the 1960s.
Uriah was born about 1843 in Iron Acton, the son of John Stockden an agricultural labourer and his wife, Louisa. They were living in Coalpit Lane in the 1851 Census. In 1871 Uriah married Alice Walker in the Clifton area of Bristol. The 1881 Census shows Uriah Stockden, a platelayer aged 37 from Iron Acton, his wife, Alice aged 30 and their children: Louisa aged 6, William Walker Stockden aged 5, Emma aged 3 and Ann Elizabeth aged 1.
The 1891 Census shows the Stockdens still living in 5 Bath Road. They were sharing the house with Alice’s mother, Ann Walker. This Census shows Uriah Wall Stockden a railway platelayer aged 48, Alice aged 41, Louisa aged 16, William Walker Stockden aged 15, Emma aged 13, Ann Elizabeth aged 11, Henry aged 9, Frederick Charles aged 4, and John Wall Stockden aged 1. Another son, Joseph, had been baptised on 3rd August 1884 but he had died in 1887 aged 2. The 1901 Census shows that they took over the house from Alice’s mother. They now had two extra children: Sidney Thomas aged 8 (baptised in 1898) and Alice May aged 7 and their son, Henry, had become a plasterer.
The 1911 Census describes Uriah as a labourer on the railway aged 67. He was living with his wife, Alice, and their children: Louisa aged 36, Henry, a plasterer aged 29, and John a builder’s labourer aged 21, and a grandson, Frederick Cook aged 3 who was born in Walton, Somerset.
Uriah died aged 71 and was buried on 11th January in 1917. Alice continued living in the house with her unmarried children. The house was thereafter shared by Henry, Alice May, John Wall and Louisa although in certain years some of them appear to be missing from the Electoral Registers. In the 1938 Electoral Roll Alice Stockden junior was shown as Alice May Stockden. Her mother (who had been Alice Walker before her marriage) is shown as Alice Nott Stockden which confirms the link between the Walker and the Nott families who lived in the house in the early 1800s.
John Wall Stockden died in 1938. His burial record shows he was a platelayer aged 48. He was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 24th March 1938.
The register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war shows the house was occupied by Alice N. Stockden who was born on 14th June 1850 and was noted as being incapacitated, Louisa Stockden born on 14th July 1874 who was also incapacitated, Henry Stockden, a plasterer born on 19th January 1882 and Alice May born on 9th May 1894.
Uriah’s widow, Alice Nott (or Knott) Stockden, died aged 90 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 15th January 1941.
Of Uriah and Alice’s children,
Emma. We know that Emma Stockden married Frank Young, a warehouseman from Eastville on 2nd September 1901.
Annie Elizabeth married Arthur Henry Cook a sub-postmaster from Walton in Gordano on 19th November 1903.
Louisa remained unmarried and died in Bath Road in February 1947. She was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 26th February 1947.
Alice May. On 27th December 1941, Alice May Stckden married a marine engineer born in Fulford Yorkshire whose full name was Bartley William Richard Wilde Felstead. Richard was an officer in the Merchant Navy aged 57 when they married. Alice was aged 48.
Tragically it was discovered that Richard was already married and was still spending some of his leave from the Navy living with his other wife, Dorcas Dashwood, whom he had married in 1915.
Unfortunately we didn’t note down the date of the newspaper article reporting on the case, but believe it was in 1942.
Felstead met Dorcas while he was a soldier and married her while he was home on leave in 1915. He served in Canada and India.
Felstead had got to know Alice in 1919 and had written to her and met her until he finally married her in 1941. Felstead had continued seeing both wives and the Court was told that on one occasion he broke his ribs and was nursed by the first wife until he was well enough to go to Alice who then also nursed him. Felstead broke down in tears in court and passed some of his story to the judge in a written note. The story must have been good as the judge said he had done good works in the past and hoped he would do more! His sentence was so short that he was immediately released.
It is interesting to note that during the trial he was released on bail with the surety of Alice Stockden.
Richard and Alice Felstead are listed under those names in the 1946 Electoral Register (which may have been based on out-of-date information). By 1950 Richard was no longer listed and Alice had returned to the name of Alice Stockden. Felstead died in Winchester in the December quarter of 1957.
Alice May continued to live in the house with her brother Harry. One local mentioned that Alice was confined to a wheelchair. Alice Stockden sold the house to Thornbury District Council on 3rd July 1963 for £350. Her address in 1963 was given as “Bath Road.”
Henry died in Thornbury Hospital in 1960 aged 78. He was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 13th February 1960. The 1961 and 1965 Electoral Registers show Alice May in Thornbury Hospital. She died in March 1968 aged 74.