We are grateful to South Gloucestershire Council for allowing us see the deeds and documents they hold for numbers 7 and 9 Bath Road in Thornbury .
From this information we know the history of this plot of land that started as part of the garden enclosed from waste land by John Knott. On 6th November 1834 Elizabeth Jane Ward bought a piece of the garden from George the son of John Knott who had inherited the whole property. Elizabeth had her property fenced of from the rest of the garden and on it she had a school house erected. The school was the British School.
The Tithe Apportionment of 1840 describes this property as a school house and yard owned and occupied by the Trustees of the British School. The 1841 Census shows that two households occupied it. One was a teacher George Hoare and the other was Elizabeth Jane Ward herself.
By an Indenture of 17th October 1850 we know th at the school house had been divided into two cottages in the occupation of James Rice and John Machin. John Machin appears to have lived at what became number 9 Bath Road.
James Rice. From the evidence of later Censuses we believe that what became number 7 Bath Road was occupied by James and Ann Rice by 1850, and possibly as early as 1843 when one of the previous occupants Elizabeth Jane Ward died.
James Rice was born 19th December 1806 and he was the 11th of 13 children of James and Diana Rice.
The 1851 Census shows that James was a sawyer aged 44 and his wife Ann was a charwoman aged 45. Their eldest son George was 15 and working as a mason’s labourer. The other four children – John aged 10, Mary Ann aged 7, Clara aged 4 and James aged 1 were still at home. John and Mary Ann were said to be scholars.
By 1861 this family had moved to Crossways near Tan House Farm and the family had stayed much as before, although young John was not in the household and George had become a sawyer like his father. Perhaps the family’s finances had changed as Ann was no longer a charwoman. By the 1871 Census James had retired from being a sawyer.
In 1874 their youngest son James Rice junior married Mary Ball. The family still lived in the Crossways area.
James Moxham . The 1861 Census shows that the house was now occupied by James Moxham aged 43, a mason’s labourer, his wife Elizabeth aged 44 and two children, George aged 16, an agricultural labourer and Jane, a scholar.
James was baptised in Thornbury on 5th May 1815, the son of Thomas Moxham, a thatcher and his wife, Unity who lived at Grovesend. We know from the 1841 Census that James was an agricultural labourer and at that time he was living and working at West End, Oldbury with a farmer, William Baker.
On 31st December 1843 James married Elizabeth Beckerton, the daughter of Joseph Beckerton, a labourer. They had several children: George and James both baptised on 13th September 1846, Elizabeth and Jane both baptised on 10th October 1849, John baptised on 10th November 1852 and Mark baptised on 6th November 1852.
In the 1851 Census the family lived in a property at what later became 28A Castle Street. The Census shows that James was an agricultural labourer aged 34, Elizabeth was aged 36 and their children were George aged 6, James aged 4, Elizabeth aged 3, Jane aged 1 and Mark aged 2 months. The mid-1850s was a difficult period for the family and they lost three of their young children within 13 months. James was buried on 8th April 1855 aged 9, Elizabeth was buried on 12th February 1856 aged 7 and Mark was buried on 25th May 1856 aged 5.
By 1861 James had moved to the house in Bulls Lane which later became known as 7 Bath Road. He was to stay here for about 25 years. Elizabeth died aged 49 and was buried on 24th January 1869.
James carried on living in the house. In the 1871 Census he was living there alone – a widowed labourer aged 50. We know from the Rate Books of 1876, 1880 and 1885 that James Moxham continued to live in the house and that they rented it from Jesse Cossham In 1881 he was described as an agricultural labourer aged 65 and he was sharing the house with Thomas Vowles, a widowed plasterer aged 70. In his will dated 10th March 1886, Jesse Cossham, described as a gentleman of Thornbury, devised the two cottages to Esther Saise. This cottage was still then in the occupation of James Moxham.
James died aged 72 and was buried on 21st July 1886.
William Harris – the 1887 Rate Book indicates that William Harris had been a tenant of this house, but he had recently moved away. He appears to have moved to Gloucester Road. Read more about William Harris
Mary Pegler – (note the spelling of the surname varies between Mary Peglar and Mary Pegler in different sources). The 1890 Rate Book and the 1891 Census Mary Pegler is shown as occupying number 7. In the Census Mary was shown as a widowed charwoman aged 71. She had one lodger, Frederick Davis a general labourer aged 27 from Bristol. The Census notes that the house only has three rooms.
Mary was born about 1820 in Almondsbury and her maiden name was Mary George. In 1861 she married a widow, Charles Pegler who had previously been married to Ann Clutterbuck, the daughter of William Clutterbuck, a labourer from Thornbury. Ann died aged 36 and was buried on 10th June 1855.
The 1861 Census shows Charles living in Oldbury Street, Cowhill. He was working as an agricultural labourer and living with his son, Charles aged 4. We don’t know what happened to Charles’ other sons. Charles re-married shortly after the census in 1861, this time to Mary George. A few years after the marriage in 1864, there was a tragic accident which resulted in the death of young Charles aged 8 caused by burns.
In 1871 Charles and Mary were living at Littleton on Severn. Charles’s son, George had return to live with the family. He was now a police constable aged 23. Charles and Mary also had a daughter of their own, Susannah aged 8 who was born in Alveston. In 1881 Charles and Mary were still in Littleton Village living with their daughter, Susannah. Charles died in 1884 aged 67.
Following Charles’s death, Mary moved to Thornbury and settled in 7 Bath Road. In 1901 she was still living in the house, now sharing it with her brother, Samuel George unmarried aged 64 from Almondsbury. She was still listed as living in the house in the 1905 Rate Book. She died aged 89 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 23rd November 1908.
Mrs Godsell – the 1910 Rate Book shows that the house was occupied by Mrs Godsell. We don’t know much to identify her, but the most likely person is Elizabeth Godsell who was a widowed charwoman aged 45 from Thornbury. She was living in Gloucester Road in an unidentified house near the The Coombe with her son, Charles D. L. who was a labourer aged 16 and born in Wotton Under Edge.
Alfred Till – the 1911 Census shows that Alfred lived in the house. He was a farm labourer aged 64 living with his wife, Lilian Elizabeth aged 35 and born in Berkeley. There were also two step-daughters, Elizabeth Till aged 9 (who was born in Motherwell, Scotland) and Elsie Till aged 7 and one daughter, Matilda Till aged 1 and a son, Alfred William aged 5 months. Apart from Elizabeth, the others were born in Thornbury. Alfred was still listed as living in the house in Prewett’s directory 1915, but he had moved elsewhere by 1916. Alfred died and Lily married again. Her second husband was William Cornock with whom she lived at 2 Upper Bath Road. Click here to read more
Charles Mundy In 1916 when the two cottages were put up for sale this one was said to be in the occupation of Mr Charles Mundy. Charles Mundy was the son of Charles Mundy who lived at 53 St Mary Street. Read about Charles Mundy
William and Ellen Willcox. In 1920 when the cottages were bought by Elizabeth Ann and George O’Reilly, number 7 was said to be in the occupation of William Willcox. William Willcox had married Ellen Matilda Collins (nee Smith) in 1907 after her first husband, Sylvester Collins died in 1906 aged 51.
They are listed as living in Bath Road in the 1921 Electoral Register. William died aged 50 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 17th May 1923. It seems that following William’s death, Ellen continued living in the house even after her marriage to Ernest Gardiner. She is listed as living there in the 1925 Valuation List and 1926 Rate Book. Read more about the Willcox family
Ernest John and Ellen Matilda Gardiner – the register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war shows Ernest J. Gardiner living in the house with William Lambert. The register describes Ernest as a general labourer born on 5th January 1882. William was a baker born on 21st October 1898.
We have been told that the Gardiners lived in this house in living memory of several of the locals. The 1927 Electoral Register shows that Ernest John and Ellen Matilda Gardiner lived in the road. Ellen Willcox, who had lived in this house with her late husband William, married Ernest John Gardiner in Thornbury in 1924.
We understand John was a shoe repairer. Ellen died aged 54 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 6th December 1935. John continued living there until he died aged 64 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 1st December 1945.
William and Amie Fisher – Bill and Amie lived here. They are listed as living here from 1946 Electoral Register to at least 1954. By 1958 they had moved to Crispin House in Crispin Lane. Click here to read more about Bill and Amie
Mary Elizabeth Savery – when Mary died in Thornbury Hospital on 12th June 1956 aged 71 her address was given as 7 Lower Bath Road. Read more about the family of Mary Savery
We understand that in the 1950’s the two houses (7 and 9 Bath Road) were both occupied by Ronnie (Lordie) Taylor who converted them into one larger property.