Bath Road - aerial view 1920s

Bath Road – aerial view 1920s

Unfortunately apart from this very poor quality image from an aerial photograph taken in the 1920s we do not have any images of this house.  In this photograph it is just visible in the fore ground, on the right hand side of the road and facing the road.  We’ve collected quite a lot of information about the house, the owners and occupants.  We are also grateful to South Gloucestershire Council for allowing us access to the deeds and documents that relate to the properties that became 7 and 9 Bath Road.

George and Alice Knott. The first document in the records held by South Gloucestershire Council is an indenture dated 6th November 1834 that conveyed a property from George Knott a sawyer and his wife Alice to Elizabeth Jane Ward a spinster.  

At this time it was only 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 paid £8 for the land and undertook to fence off the property she had bought and to maintain the fence.  Click here to read about George and Alice Knott

The British School – Elizabeth Jane Ward  bought a piece of land for £8 from George and Alice Knott by an indenture of 6th November 1834.  The land was a part of the garden ground of George and Alice Knott and was to be fenced off from the rest of their garden.  The indenture also named the Rev Jarman Cross as Elizabeth’s “true and lawful attorney” and said that he was to hold the land on her behalf.  William Jarman Cross was the husband of Mary Elizabeth nee Ward (the daughter of John Brickdale Ward) and therefore a relation by marriage.

On 25th March 1838 an indenture concerning the adjacent property (later to be called 5 Bath Road) referred to this one (later to become 7 & 9 Bath Road) as belonging to Miss Ward ‘on which she has since erected a building now used as a schoolroom.’

We know there was a building on this property in the 1840 Tithe Survey, and it shows that it was part of Plot 332 which was described as a school house and yard owned and occupied by the Trustees of the British School.  British Schools were set up throughout the country by supporters of the Non-Conformist religions to provide education conducted on Christian and non-sectarian principles as opposed to that provided at the National Schools set up by the Church of England.

We don’t know much about the British School in Bath Road, or Bulls Lane as it was then called.  The only clue we have about its size is that we know that when the school closed or moved away the building was converted into two small cottages.  The 1839 Robson’s Trade Directory shows George Hoare was the Master of the British School for Boys.

In the handwritten transcription which we have seen of the 1840 Tithe Survey George Hare (but we feel that his name was George Hoare) was living at 4 Horseshoe Lane.  The survey results were probably based on the situation a year or two before 1840 as in the 1841 Census George was shown as living in Bulls Lane (now Bath Road).  The 1841 Census shows he was a Schoolmaster aged 33 living in the house in Bulls Lane with his wife, Ann aged 41 and son, George aged 3. Elizabeth Ward, who was aged 61 of independent means was living in another part of the house.

Elizabeth Jane Ward died in June quarter 1843.  Read more about Elizabeth Jane Ward 

Although the Tithe Apportionment of 1840 clearly says that that this property was owned by the Trustees of the British School, at Miss Ward’s death the property was her own for her to leave as she directed.

We are not sure when the school closed or what happened to it.  A new British School was built in 1862 by Handel Cossham at the cost of £700 on a different site nearby and this later became Gillingstool Primary School.  We know that George Hoare continued to be a schoolmaster in Castle Street, Thornbury but do not know if this was still as a teacher in the British School on another site or a different school altogether.  Read about George Hoare 

An indenture of 17th October 1850 explains that a codicil to Miss Ward’s will had left the two cottages, formerly a school house that was erected by her, to Francis Rideout Ward but the codicil was not duly executed and so the property devolved on Richard Brickdale Ward as her eldest brother.

Richard had transferred ownership to his son, Francis Rideout Ward who was now selling the property to Jesse Cossham for £60.  The indenture concerned not only the two cottages but also “a piece or parcel of garden ground containing eight perches…late part of a garden formerly belonging to George Knott…bounded on the northward and eastward parts by the boundary walls of lands late of Mrs Mary Wetmore deceased on the westward part by the remaining part of the said garden late of George Knott and on the southward part by the said lane called Bulls Lane.”

Jesse Cossham.  By an indenture of 17th October 1850 Jesse Cossham bought the two cottages and garden ground from Francis Rideout Ward and Richard Brickdale Ward for £60.  It is interesting that Jesse Cossham was an owner of this property as he was a well known Non-Conformist who also had a link to the British School.  Jesse’s son, Handel, was the main benefactor involved with the creation of the new British School in Gillingstool in 1862 and Jesse became one of the School’s Trustees.  We don’t think Jesse ever lived in the cottages.  In his will dated 10th March 1886, Jesse Cossham, then described as a gentleman of Thornbury, devised these two cottages and others, including a property in the High Street, to Esther Saise.  These cottages were then in the occupation of James Moxham and Sarah Vizard. Jesse died on 20th May 1887.  Read more about Jesse

Esther Saise who inherited these properties in 1887 was Jesse’s niece.  Esther never lived in Bath Road properties.  She lived at Jesse’s small house in the High Street (referred to in many documents and newspaper articles as ‘Miss Saise’s Cottage’.  Click here to read more

Esther died on 22nd December 1914.  In her Will dated 11th July 1906, Esther left her home to the Parish Council and devised her other real estate to her trustees, William Davis Canning and William John Allen, to sell.  William Davis Canning died before Esther Saise so it was left to William John Allen to sell the property.

The cottages were put up for sale at auction in 1916.  They were described as ‘Two freehold cottages, each containing Front Room and Back Kitchen and two Bedrooms situate in Bulls Eye Lane and in the respective occupations of Mrs Jefferies and Mr Charles Mundy at rentals of £6 10s 0d each per annum. Landlord paying rates’.  They do not appear to have found a buyer at this auction as they were eventually sold in 1920.

Elizabeth Ann and George O’Reilly.  On 17th of October 1920 William John Allen as a trustee for Miss Saise sold the two cottages for £100 to Elizabeth Ann and George O’Reilly.  The cottages were then in the occupation of William Willcox and Miss Alsop.

George O’Reilly had married Elizabeth A Smith in the March quarter of 1914.  George was the son of Simon O’Reilly and his wife, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth had previously been married to Fred William Smith a railway guard.  When their son Sidney Arthur was baptised in St Mary’s Church in Thornbury in 1896, their abode was given as “St John’s Sheffield.”  When Sidney started at Council Upper School in 1904, his father must have died as Elizabeth Smith was given as the parent (it was most commonly the father).  At that time she was living in the High Street.  The 1905 Rate Book shows that she lived in the property by the police station that was owned by John Hodges Williams which was known later as 33 High Street.

Elizabeth was called “Eliza Ann O’Reilly” in the Western Daily Press of April 21st 1916 when she was summonsed for not shading the lights of her newsagents shop in the High St at a time of national emergency.  As she was named rather than George we assume that she was the actual owner of the shop.  An article of May 18th 1918 relates a dispute at the allotments between Mr Roberts of Milbury Heath and George O’Reilly newsagent of the High Street.  Mr Roberts was bound over to keep the peace having been found guilty of bad language and threatening behaviour.  On 4th May 1922 Mrs Elizabeth Ann O’Reilly sold her half share of the two cottages in Bath Road to her husband George O’Reilly for £50.  They were still said to be in the occupation of William Willcox and Miss Alsop.

On 22nd July 1922 the Gazette reported that Mrs O’Reilly and her son Mr Sidney Smith had left Thornbury to sail for Australia.  The article described Mrs O’Reilly as a old resident of Thornbury with a newsagent’s business in the High Street.  By 1925 this newsagent’s shop on the corner of High Street and Silver Street had been taken over by Leonard Smith.  It may have been from around 1922 when George moved out of the newsagents and into his own house in Bulls Lane.

The 1925 Valuation List and 1926 Rate Book confirm this.  They show that George O’Reilly owned the two houses in Bulls Eye Lane (later 7 and 9 Bath Road), one of which he occupied in 1925.

George’s name is crossed though in the 1926 entry.  He died aged 78 on 23rd November 1926.  The probate record shows his address as Bulls Eye Lane.

Norman Tucker.  On 23rd December 1926 Joseph Thomason and Norman Tucker as the personal representatives of George O’Reilly late of Bulls Eye Lane assented to the vesting in Norman Tucker the two cottages with gardens attached.  We assume that this means that Norman chose to buy the property himself rather than put it up for public sale.

We understand that in the 1950s they were both occupied by Ronnie (Lordie) Taylor who converted them into one larger property.  At the time Lordie was employed by Tucker Brothers, the builders.

On 22nd August 1975 Ronald George Edward Tucker as the brother and executor of Norman Frank Tucker (who died on 7th of September 1954) sold number 7 Bath Road to Thornbury District Council.  The property was described as ‘formerly two cottages with gardens attached.’

The property was demolished as part of the Town’s re-development and incorporated into the new Rock Street car park


read about the occupants of 7 Bath Road
read about the occupants of 9 Bath Road