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 the teacher George Hoare and the other was Elizabeth Jane Ward herself.

By an Indenture of 17th October 1850 we know that the school house had been divided into two cottages in the occupation of James Rice and John Machin.  James Rice appears to have lived at what became number 7 Bath Road.

John Machin.  The 1841 Census shows John Machin an agricultural labourer and his wife Ann both aged about 35 and both from Gloucestershire.  At that time they were living in a property in Thornbury near Bath Road.  They had six children, the eldest of whom was Elizabeth Machin aged 12.  The others were; Mary Ann aged 11 (baptised 30th January 1831), Thomas aged 7 (baptised 27th October 1833), William aged 5, Hannah aged 2 and Sarah aged 6 months.

John was a member of the Thornbury Baptist Church.  The minutes note that in February 1838 John was suspended from ‘Communion at the Lord’s Table’ for drunkenness.  In September 1839 it was said that ‘he had conducted himself with Christian propriety for some time past’ and he was restored to his place in the Church.

We know that by October 1850 they had moved to what later became known as 9 Bath Road.  The 1851 Census confirms this move and shows that John was now said to be an agricultural labourer 46 years old and Ann, who was a charwoman, was 44 years old.  They had three children at home; Hannah aged 12, Sarah aged 8 and Robert one year old.  By 1861 the household was rather reduced.  John Machin now aged 57 and Ann, a washerwoman aged 59 had two only children with them; their son, Robert aged 11 and a grand-daughter, Mary Ann aged 3 or 6.  They were all born in Thornbury.

The Bristol Mercury of October 25th 1862 had the announcement of the death of Elizabeth the eldest daughter of John Machin at her father’s home on October 21st.  Elizabeth was aged only 34.  Ann Machin, John’s wife, appears to have died the following year in 1863.

In 1867 the Poor Rate Book still shows that John Machin lived in this property.  The minutes of the Baptist Church show that he moved to Bristol and transferred to the Baptist Church in Stapleton Road.

Joseph Limbrick.  By 1871 the Census shows Joseph Limbrick had moved into this property.  He was a widowed mason aged 61 living with his son, Thomas a mason aged 20 and his wife, Louisa aged 22 from Stone and a lodger, another mason, Thomas Nelmes aged 21.

Joseph was born in Thornbury on 10th March 1810 and baptised on 15th April 1810.  He was the eighth child of William Limbrick, a labourer and his wife, Ann.  On 16th July 1831 Joseph married Jane Hedges and they had two children: Mary Ann baptised on 23rd September 1832 and Charles baptised on 23rd February 1834.  Jane died aged 28 and was buried on 12th February 1835.  Joseph married again on 17th May 1835.  His second wife was Rebecca Roach who was born in Hillesley.  They had several children: John baptised on 10th June 1838, Samuel baptised on 31st May 1840, Joseph William baptised on 3rd April 1848 and Thomas baptised on 22nd August 1852.

In the 1841 Census Joseph and the family were living near to Pound House in Church Road (which was then called High Street).  This house later became known as School House.  In the 1851 Census they were still there.  This shows that Joseph was a mason aged 41, Rebecca aged 40 and their children: Charles a mason’s boy aged 16, John aged 13, Samuel aged 10, Joseph aged 3.  Two twins, Thomas and Mary A Nelmes aged 1 were also living with the family.  Thomas Edward and Mary Ann Emily Nelmes were the children of Thomas Nelmes, a farmer and his wife, Mary Ann.  We have been unable to trace the link between the two families although we know that Mary Ann, the mother, died aged 25 on 2nd November a few days after the twins were baptised.

Thornbury Museum has a copy of a letter written in broad Gloucestershire dialect that describes the Flower Show in 1860 and says that “Joey Limbrick” was there and that he played the drum in the band.

In the 1861 Census Joseph was away from home.  He was living with his 13 year old son Joseph in the Lansdown Arms in Clifton Place, Bristol.  Joseph senior and a lodger in the same household were both journey man masons.  Perhaps Joseph was living away from home because of a building project he was working on.  Rebecca was still living in Castle Street – she was aged 50 living with John a stone mason aged 22 and Samuel a stone mason aged 21, Thomas aged 8 and Thomas Nelmes and Mary Nelmes, boarders aged 11.

The family continued to live in the house in Church Road until at least the 1862 Rate Book. Rebecca died aged 59 and was buried on 28th December 1869.

By the 1871 Census Joseph had moved to 9 Bath Road where he shared the house with his son, Thomas.  We know that William Stinchcombe was the occupant of the house in the 1876 Rate Book so it appears that Joseph moved away.  The 1881 Census shows Joseph was living in the Thornbury Union Workhouse where he is described as a mason aged 70.  He died there aged 76 on 9th January 1888 and was buried on 13th January.

Of Joseph’s children,

Thomas moved away from Thornbury.  The 1881 Census shows him and Louisa living in Taff Street, Llanwonno, near Porth in Wales.  He was a mason aged 32 and he and Louisa had seven children: Ernest E, Rebecca and Annie F all born in Thornbury, Thomas A born in Aberdare, Glamorgan, Florence, Alice and William all born in Porth.  Joseph’s son, Joseph joined the Royal Navy when he was only 14 years old. His first ship was the HMS St Vincent.  He was described as being 5ft 0 1/4 inch, auburn hair, blue eyes and freckled complexion.

We also know more about Joseph’s son, Charles Limbrick

William Stinchcombe.   The 1876 Rate Book shows that William was occupying 9 Bath Road.  The 1881 Census shows that William is a labourer aged 43 from Hillesley living with his wife, Ann aged 47 from Aust, Selena aged 19, William a labourer aged 15, Rosey aged 10 and James aged 8 all born in Thornbury.  Click here to read more about William and his family

Mrs Vizzard.  The 1885 Rate Book notes that Mrs Vizzard is occupying the house.  She had moved from number 2 Bath Road following the death of her father.  Sarah Vizzard is mentioned as the occupier of this house in the indenture of 10th March 1886.  Click here to read more

William Hughes.  The 1887 Rate Book indicates that William Hughes had been a tenant of this house, but he had recently moved away.

William Cornock.  The 1890 Rate Book and 1891 Census show that number 9 was occupied by William Cornock.  

The census described it as a three roomed house occupied by William, a pit sawyer aged 31 from Cambridge, Glos and his wife, Harriet aged 34 from Cam, and their children: Victor aged 11 from Frampton on Severn, Thomas aged 8 from Morton, Ernest aged 6, Eveline aged 4 and Madeline aged 1, all born in Thornbury.  Click here to read more about William and his family

William Bendall.  There are several reference to the house being occupied by William Bendall around this time although we’ve been unable to identify which William Bendall.  The 1894 Rate Book shows William James Bendall is occupying the house although his name is missing from the 1899 Rate Book and the name of the occupant is left blank.  The 1901 Census shows Elizabeth Mattingley was living here (see below), but the 1905 Rate Book again shows William Bendall as the occupant of this house, and the 1904 and 1907 Electoral Registers shows William Bendall Snr was living in the road.  

Elizabeth Mattingley  The 1901 Census shows the house was occupied by Elizabeth Mattingley, a widowed charwoman aged 68 from Newton St Loe and her grandson, Edward V Sydon aged 6 who was born in Canada.  The house was described as being a two roomed house.  We don’t know much about Elizabeth in relation to Thornbury.  She died aged 75 and was buried on 2nd March 1908.  Her address at that time was shown as ‘Gloucester Road’.  We know from the 1907 Rate Book that this was 3 Gloucester Road.

We are guessing that she may have been the wife of Henry Mattingley who married in Reading area in 1865.  The 1871 Census shows that Henry was a carpenter aged 40 from Henley in Oxon, Elizabeth was 40 from Bath.  Elizabeth’s age is slightly out but Newton St Loe where she was noted as being born in very close to Bath.   If this is correct marriage record, it looks likely that her maiden was Elizabeth Potts.

Henry and Teresa Jefferies – the 1910 Rate Book shows that Henry Jefferies was occupying the house.

Henry was born about 1872, the son of Sarah Jefferies who was a widow at the time, her husband George having died in 1868.  He was living with his mother at 16 Rock Street in the early years of his life.

By 1891 Henry had joined the Royal Marines and at the time of the census he was a Private based at Walmer Barracks in Kent.  In December there is a newspaper report in the Bristol Mercury which we think might refer to Henry.  ‘Henry Jefferies, a lad of about 19 years of age, was charged before Thornbury Justices yesterday with attempting to commit suicide by drowning at Nupdown on 3rd inst.  Charles White, mariner of Thornbury, disposed that on the morning in question he was in the Anchor beerhouse at Morton when the defendant came there and showed him a letter which he had received from his sweetheart breaking-off the engagement between them.  At Nupdown the accused handed the witness some money saying ‘I shall not want it’.  Witness went forward a little way and on looking back he saw Jefferies run from the middle of the road and jump into a rhine which was close by, the water in which was four or five feet deep and ten or twelve feet wide.  On going back to him he pushed his head under the water several times.  He dragged him to the side of the rhine and held him there.  The accused attempted to re-enter the water but he prevented him by force.  The mother of the accused stated that her son had got into a very low condition.  He was in the army at Bombay, was invalided home to Netley Hospital and then discharged.  He was in very poor health and was a great burden to her.  The bench discharged the accused on his mother promising to take care of him.’

It seemed to turn out all right for Henry.  By 1894, he had married to Teresa (although we have been unable to find a record of the marriage) and they had started a family.  Their son, George Henry was born on 24th October 1893 and baptised on 5th August 1894 when Henry was shown as working as a labourer.  A year later he had become a journeyman baker when their daughter, Dorothy Ellen, was baptised on 7th July 1895.  A third child, Frederick, was baptised on 4th September 1898.  The family appear to have been living in one of the Oxhouses at 7 Upper Bath Road during this period which is where the 1899 Rate Book shows Henry to be living.

The 1901 Census shows that the family had moved to Aberdare in Wales.  It also shows that Theresa was aged 30 born in Alveston.  They didn’t stay in Wales long as by 1902 their son George Henry (Harry) was transferred from the Barcoed National School to Thornbury Council School, and Dorothy transferred a year later.  Another daughter, Florence May, was baptised on 6th August 1905 when the family were living at Rock Street.  The baptism record seems to indicate that Henry had given up being a baker as he was now working as a labourer.

The 1910 Rate Book shows Henry was living in 9 Bath Road.  The 1911 Census confirms that Henry lived in number 9.  The Census describes Henry as a jobbing gardener aged 39.  He and Theresa were living there with their children: George Henry an ‘under gardener’ aged 17, Fred aged 13, William aged 9, Gladys aged 7 and Florrie aged 5.

The South Gloucestershire Chronicle of October 27th 1916 has a good photograph of George Henry Jefferies who joined the army when war was declared in August 1914 and was in one of the first batches of soldiers to go to the Front.  The article says that George Henry had so far spent three birthdays in the trenches without being hurt.  His war record on the Ancestry website shows that he was awarded the 1914 Star with clasp and roses for being in the trenches in 1914 and the Victory Medal and British Medal.  The article also mentions that George Henry had been a chorister and bell-ringer at St Mary’s Church in Thornbury.

The South Gloucestershire Chronicle of 1916 also mentions that George Henry’s father Henry Jefferies was serving in the Army Service Corps and that his brother Fred was a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery.

In 1916 when the house was being put up for auction Mrs Jefferies was named as the occupant, so presumably Henry was still away in the War.  In fact we now know from a newspaper report of 1917 that Henry had been in the Army for three years after the outbreak of War but had been discharged on medical grounds.  The newspaper report referred to an incident when Henry was charged with using bad language outside his house.  Henry excused himself by explaining that all men swear a little and could not help it.  He added that he was an old soldier who had seen service abroad and who had three sons in the Army.  He was fined 5 shillings, but claimed that he could only pay 4 shillings as that was all he had on him.  However when Henry got the money out to pay, the judge saw that he had more than 5 shillings so made him pay the lot.  Henry complained that he was not left with enough to buy a drink!

In the 1918 Electoral Register both Henry and Teresa are listed.  In 1919 there were further domestic troubles for Henry and Theresa.  She applied for a ‘judicial separation’ on the grounds that Henry had ‘wilfully neglected her and failed to provide maintenance for her daughter, Florence’ (aged 13).  According to the Gazette report Theresa claimed that Henry had been in the RAF for a year and he had been unable, or unwilling, to work for long periods after he left the RAF and had a serious drink problem.  The Court dismissed the case as unproved and hoped they would come to an amicable arrangement.

It seems that Henry did have a bit of a problem with drink.  His name appears regularly in Gazette newspaper reports – in June 1922 he appeared in court with his arm in a sling and was charged for being drunk and disorderly in the High Street.  He was accused on being very drunk and using bad language and had taken his coat and waistcoat off and wanted to fight a passer-by who had remonstrated with him.

Henry had to be carried to the Police Station on account of his condition, violent efforts and attempts to kick the police.  He was fined 10/-.  In December of the same year he was back in court again for a similar offence.  Henry pleaded not guilty, but it was stated that he had gone to the Police Station himself and asked to be locked up.  He was sent home but was found creating a disturbance later that afternoon.  The Court took into account numerous previous convictions and sent him to prison for one month.  Henry’s problems continued and in 1932 he was in court again – the report in the Western Daily Press dated 11th March 1932 says he was charged with assaulting a fellow inmate at the Workhouse and this being the 36th time he had appeared in court he was sentenced to two months in prison with hard labour.

We are not sure when Henry or Teresa died.  It is possible that Henry died in 1937 aged 64.  That Henry was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 3rd February 1937.  The Electoral Register of 1931 shows that their son George Henry was living in The Knapp, with his wife, Mildred Alice (nee Smith) and he is listed in the 1935 and 1939 Trade Directories as a carter living in The Knapp.  A report in the Western Daily Press in 1950 shows that George and Mildred had marital problems and Mildred was granted ownership of their house in Easton Hill Road.

Louisa Alsop.  When the two houses were sold on 17th October 1920, the house was said to be in the occupation of ‘Miss Alsop.’  The Electoral Register of 1921 shows that Louisa Alsop lived at Bulls Eye Lane.

Louisa later moved to 4 Bath Road which she seems to have vacated by 1926.  Click here to read about Louisa Alsop

George O’Reilly. We believe that the owner George O’Reilly lived in this house after Louisa Alsop, presumably some time around 1922 until his death in 1926.  Click here to read about George and Elizabeth 

In the 1926 Rate Book the house appears to be ‘void’.

William Charles Savery.  We know from locals that Bill Savery lived here.  Bill and his family were living in 13 St John Street up to 1926 when we know from school records that they moved to Bath Road.  We don’t know if they moved into his parents’ house at 5 Bath Road and later moved to number 9, or whether they went straight to live in number 9.  The 1946 Electoral Register still shows Bill was living in the house.  We know a lot of information about Bill Savery – Click here to read more 

Ben Salisbury.  The next occupant we know in the house was Ben Salisbury.  Benjamin Douglas Salisbury was born on 11th September 1928, the son of William Hiron (Harry) Salisbury, a butcher and his wife, Maud.  We understand that Ben became a builder and worked for the Tucker Brothers.  On 1st April 1950 Ben married Pamela Doreen Pearce, the daughter of Arthur Heywood Pearce of Gillingstool.  She was working as a clerk at the time of her marriage.  Ben and Pamela were shown as living at 9 Bath Road in the 1958 Electoral Register.  By 1958 they had moved across the road to a bigger house at 4 Bath Road and they were still living there in 1965.  

The Town Council was drawing up plans for the re-development of the area and their schedules show that in 1965 Ben owned both number 2 and 4 Bath Road.  On 6th January 1967 both of these properties were purchased by the Council for £6000.  They were demolished to make way for the ornamental garden alongside the Police Station.

Ronald & Marion Taylor.  Ronald (or Lordie as he is known locally ) was the son of Sidney and Alice Taylor of 2 Saw Mill Lane.  The 1958 Electoral Register shows that Ronald and Marion Taylor were living at number 5 Bath Road.  We know that this is a mistake.  Number 5 was occupied by the Stockden family and Marion has told us that she and Ronnie occupied both 7 and 9 from the Tucker Brothers for whom Ronnie worked as a builder.  He went on to convert them into a single house in which they lived. They were listed as living in 9 Bath Road in the 1961 and 1965 Electoral Registers.  The 1970 Electoral Register shows that they had moved to 29 Gloucester Road opposite the Grammar School.

Brian and Louise Fisher.  The 1970 Electoral Register shows that Brian and Louise were living at 7 Bath Road (which we assume to include number 9). We don’t know any more about them.

In 1975 the property was bought by the Council and demolished as part of the town redevelopment and it became part of Rock Street car park.