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24 Castle St. with 26 to its left

The house that is now 24 Castle Street in Thornbury shares much of its earlier history with its neighbour, 26 Castle Street.  The two properties were generally owned by the same people.  We have been told by a previous owner that the older house of the two is number 26.  We have not seen all the deeds that relate to these houses and so we cannot confirm this.

An examination of the earlier Land Tax Records up to at least 1784 seem to show that only one property was on this site. (Click here to read about the owners of the original property).

However we have a land tax record dated 1796 that appears to show that there were two properties here with different owners and occupants.  This could be an indication that the then owners, the Mills family, had built another property next to their own either by dividing the building the original house or possibly building a new one.  This theory seems to be supported by the will of the owner of what became number 26.  The will of James Allen dated 1817 refers to the fact that he bought his property from Henry Mills.  In 1796 the land tax record indicates that while James Allen owned and occupied the property that became number 26, James Mills owned and occupied a property next to Hester Putley.  We know that the Putley family lived at what became number 22 so it seems that James Mills was living in 24.

James Mills  – we have started our account of the occupants of 24 Castle Street with James Mills.  Click here to read about James Mills

James Vaughan lived in this property in the land tax records of 1800.  The house was owned by Matthew Mills.  There were more than one James Vaughans at this time and we do not know which one lived here.

John Box lived in this house according to the land tax of 1809 and he rented it from Matthew Mills.  Read more about John Box

William Morgan appears in the land tax records from 1812 to 1822 as the tenant of James Matthews.  We believe that this may have been William Morgan who later lived at 13 Castle Street with his wife Sarah.   Read about William Morgan

John Vaughan The land tax records of 1824 and 1826 John Vaughan was a tenant in this house and it was owned by James Matthews.  Earlier John had lived at 34 High Street.   Click here to read about John Vaughan

John Morgan was the tenant of James Matthews in the Land Tax Records from 1827 to 1832.  We believe that this was William’s son and that he later lived at 15 Castle Street.   Read about John Morgan

William and Hannah Hopkins – the 1840 Tithe Map and the accompanying Tithe Apportionment show the property now known as 24 Castle Street Thornbury as plot number 274, owned by John Leonard and occupied by William Hopkins.

In the 1841 census the house seems to be occupied by Hannah Hopkins a grocer aged about 45.  She lived with Catharine Miller who is 17.

William Hopkins was the son of Thomas and Mary Hopkins and he was born on 30th March 1811.  Thomas was a yeoman and the family lived in Kington.  Thomas Hopkins died, probably in 1814. William’s mother, Mary, remarried in July 1836 and her second husband was Joseph Birt (or Burt).

William Hopkins married Hannah, the daughter of Jonathan Millard, a thatcher, and she was baptised 6th November 1791 in Berkeley.  When she married William Hopkins in July 1838 she was a widow and her name was Hannah Jefferies.  William’s occupation at the time of his marriage was a labourer.  The 1839 trade directory shows that William was a shopkeeper in Castle Street.

William was not present at the time of the 1841 census.  The 1842 trade directory is a little more specific about the kind of shop that William was running in Castle Street as he was said to be a “grocer and dealer in sundries.”

In the 1851 census the couple were together and the record shows that William Hopkins was a shopkeeper aged about 40 and his wife Hannah was about 50.

In 1852 the Bristol Mercury carried a notice advertising the sale by auction on April 3rd 1852 of a property which was plot number 274 on the Tithe Map and in the occupation of William Hopkins. It described it as “a convenient and well-built freehold dwelling house situate in the town of Thornbury with a bake house, stable and necessary outbuildings and productive garden.”

The notice of sale makes mention of the right of way that went through the house and which we believe gave access to the well.  It is noticeable that when William gave evidence to the inquest into the sinking of a ferry at Old Passage in 1855 he was described as a “dealer”.

By 1856 the trade directory was describing William as a “pig dealer”.

Although William Hopkins appeared as the occupant of 24 Castle Street in the 1859 rate book by the 1861 census William and Hannah had moved to Rock Street (which was called Back Street in this census).  William was now an agricultural labourer.   In this census Hannah was 65.  Hannah died on 27th December 1862 at Thornbury Union.

 By 1871 William was back in Castle Street, a widower aged 60 living with his widowed step-father, Joseph Burt (in the Census he is described as father in law which is the old use of the phrase).  The 1881 census shows that William then aged 70 was an inmate at Thornbury Union (the “workhouse”).  His former occupation was said to have been a horse dealer.  On December 21st 1888 William died at the Thornbury Union aged 79.

Henry and Elizabeth Withers – by the 1861 census 24 Castle Street was occupied by Henry Withers aged 24 a butcher and grocer and his wife Elizabeth also aged 24.  The rate books of 1862 and 1867 show also that he owned both properties.

Henry’s family lived in Kington Lane and the 1841 census shows him aged four and the third of the four children of Henry and Sarah Withers.  Henry senior was an agricultural labourer.

Unusually Henry’s baptism did not take place until 10th December 1848 at which time he was 11 years old.  In the 1851 census Henry then aged 14 was living with his parents Henry and Sarah Withers.  The family was living at what we believe to be 28 Castle Street.  Henry senior was a grocer and appears in trade directories of 1856 and 1877.  In the 1856 trade directory he is said to be trading in the High Street. However at this time the name ‘High Street’ could include Castle Street and we do not know whether the Withers family had their shop at 28 Castle Street or actually in the High Street.  Read about Henry’s parents Henry and Sarah Withers

Henry Withers married Elizabeth Parnell in Bristol in the June quarter of 1859.  They had a baby daughter, Dora who in the 1861 census was aged eight months.  The family were all born in Thornbury.  Dora was baptised Dora Parnell Withers on 19th September 1860.  They had another daughter baptised Ella Stephens Withers on 15th February 1865.  At least two more daughters were born.  Lily Gertrude Withers was baptised 6th January 1867.  Winifred Kate Withers followed on 5th May 1869.

One of the 1867 rate books is designed to show only the occupants of the houses.  Henry Withers name is written for both this house and number 26 and the name William Hurd is pencilled in.  It is hard to say what this indicates.  It may mean that Henry Withers owned both properties.  It may also imply that Henry moved out about this time and the next occupier moved in.

In the 1871 census Henry and Elizabeth Withers were living at Brookend, Woolaston where Henry was an innkeeper.  Their pub was then called the “Duke’s Head”.  They had five children who were all born in Thornbury.  These were Dora (aged 10), Ella (aged 8), Herbert (aged 6), Lilley (aged 4) and Winifred (aged 2).  The 1881 census shows that they had moved to Newent.  By this time they had two more daughters, Eva then aged 8 and born in Lydney and Florence aged 3 born in St Arvans.  Henry was a farmer. In 1891 and 1901 the family was still farming in the Newent area.  By 1911 they had moved again; this time to Hastings.

Of their children:
Ella Stephens Withers.  Although her family left Thornbury, it would seem that Ella returned to the town.  In 1885 there was a County Court case in which Ella Stephens Withers took action against her employer, Mrs St John of Stokefield House, to recover £2 which was one month’s wages in lieu of notice.  Ella was a lady’s maid to Mrs St John and her daughters  “at £20 a year and £6 which was allowed for beer money, washing etc.”  Ella had eyesight problems and when she was given ten days’ holiday she said she would consult a doctor.   When Ella wrote to her employer she said the doctor had told her to take three months’ rest.  When Mrs St John received this letter she took on a new maid and informed Ella.  Ella then wrote back and said she was going to return after her holiday and work out one month’s notice.  Before her holiday Ella had had to do other work from being a lady’s maid because of her eyesight.  This was obviously considered of lower status because Ella wanted to do her proper job as lady’s maid.  There seems to have been a whole series of letters but Ella allegedly lost her temper and wrote angrily.  The judge said this was a pity and decided in favour of Mrs St John.

By the 1891 census Ella was in Eccles in Lancashire.  She was described as a dressmaker and was said to be a visitor in the home of Thomas Brown an Elementary School Headmaster.

By 1901 Ella and her sister Eva were running their own family draper’s and costumier’s business in St Helens Lancashire.

William and Elizabeth Hurd – the 1869 rate book shows that William Hurd occupied what was to be number 24 Castle Street.  The 1871 census shows that William Hurd aged 58 a tailor from North Nibley was living in 24 Castle Street with his wife Elizabeth, who was 58 and from Thornbury.  The rate books of 1876, 1877, 1878 and 1879 show William Hurd continued to occupy 24 Castle Street.   Click here to read more  

Elizabeth Ford  – the 1880 rate book entry for 24 Castle Street Thornbury shows that it was owned by Francis Driscoll but the name of the tenant, Elizabeth Ford, is struck through.  Elizabeth Ford appears in the 1881 census in the High Street.  She was a dealer in china and living with her nephew and niece Thomas and Elizabeth Anstey.  Elizabeth Anstey was also a dealer in fancy goods.  Click here to read more

The 1881 census also shows that that 24 Castle street was unoccupied.  The 1885 Rate Book just has “Hawks” as the tenant of the house.

Maria Laver – the 1890 rate book shows that Francis Gayner was still the owner of the house that is now 24 Castle Street but the tenant was now Maria Laver.

The 1891 census tells us more about this new occupant.  At the time of the census Maria said she was 66 (she was probably a little older) but was still running a “daily Governess School.”  Maria had a servant called Anne Banfield to do general domestic work.  At the time of the 1894 Rate Book Maria Laver was still the occupant of 24 Castle Street and a tenant of Francis Gayner.

Miss Laver was buried 11th January 1900.  The newspaper of that month showed there was a sale of her effects.  It reported the sale “on March 29th 1900 of the whole of the household and other effects belonging to the estate of the late Miss Laver.”  Her address at the time of her death was Castle Street.  However it does not appear that Maria Laver actually died in 24 Castle Street because the 1899 rate book shows Joseph Halsey Morton was the tenant of Francis Gayner.  We believe Maria Laver was living at Bank Cottage at the time of her death.  Read about the family of Joseph and Louisa Laver

Joseph Halsey Morton – the 1901 census shows that Joseph Halsey Morton the occupier of 24 Castle Street in Thornbury was a 26 year old solicitor’s clerk who lived with his older sister, Annie, aged 32.  Annie was a dressmaker.  They were both born in the Charfield area.  Joseph’s birth was registered in Thornbury in the June quarter of 1874.  He was the son of Daniell and Ann Morton of Charfield.  Read more about the family of Joseph Morton

Joseph had an interesting career. In 1909 his address was at Branch Hill in Campden in the Hampstead area of London.  He appeared to be living in a hospital.  Other records also show him living at The Royal Hospital for Incurables and the Friedenheim Hospital in Swiss Cottage.  However there was not because of Joseph’s health.  The 1911 Census shows that aged 35 and single he was in the hospital because he was an assistant to the secretary and living at the hospital in Hampstead.

By the time he died, Joseph Halsey Morton was living at Hill Croft, Langley Road in Chipperfield in Hertfordshire.  He was described as a retired accountant.  The probate record shows that Joseph did not die at home in bed.  He appears to have been attending a football match.  Probate was granted to Lloyds Bank in respect of Joseph Halsey Morton of Hill Croft Langley Road who died 2nd April 1938 at Watford Football Club grounds in Vicarage Road Hertfordshire.  His effects were valued at £11646 16s 4d.

He was buried at St Andrews churchyard in Cromhall with his parents and siblings. The monumental inscription reads.
“Daniell MORTON, of Charfield, 25 Nov 1876, 42
Ann, nee, DANIELL, w, 26 Jan 1899, 61
Frank, s, 13 June 1887. )
Daniel, s, 26 July 1890. ) all interred at Thornbury
Carol, d, 14 Dec 1891. )
Ann, d, 23 Feb 1902
Joseph Halsey MORTON, youngest son, 3 April 1938
William John, s, 5 Dec 1861 – 9 July 1941” 

Gilbert Symes – by 1905 the rate book has G W Symes.  This man could be Gilbert Symes who had a blacksmith’s shop on The Plain.  Gilbert was actually living on The Plain.  The entry in the rate book is unusual as the owner is Francis Gayner but the occupiers are F Gayner and G W Symes.  Perhaps they were using the house as a business premises.

Sidney Screen – the 1910 rate book and 1911 census show that Sidney Screen lived in the house that became 24 Castle Street.  Sidney Holloway Screen was born in 1855 but not baptised until 25th January 1860 when he was aged 5.  He was the son of Arthur Screen, a farmer and his wife Caroline Elizabeth (nee Werrett).  They were farming a 20 acre farm at Morton.  In the 1851 census it is clear that Arthur was considerably older than his wife and at that time was 60 whereas she was 33.

He married Emma Howell in Bristol in 1876.  The 1881 census has Sidney Screen and his wife Emma living near the Grange in Thornbury with their family: Annis Merinda (baptised in December 1876) and son William Arthur (baptised May 1879).  By 1891 they had moved to Duckhole, just outside Thornbury and had two other child Francis and Caroline Mary.  At that time Sidney was an agricultural labourer and his wife Emma was a dressmaker.  In 1901 they might have moved again, this time the address was Lower Moreton.  Sidney was a gardener and his wife and daughters Annis, Francis and Caroline were dressmakers.  They also had a nephew called Thomas Howell living with them.  The 1910 rate book indicates that they had previously lived for a short time in number 3 St John Street.  His name was crossed through in 1910 presumably showing that he had moved to 24 Castle Street as the books were being prepared.

In the 1911 census Sidney Screen aged 57 was living at 24 Castle Street with his wife, Emma and their three daughters.  The couple had been married for 35 years and had had five children, two of whom had died.  The remaining daughters were Annie Screen 33, Francis Screen 26 and Mary Screen aged 22.  Only Frances seemed to have an occupation in this Census.  She was a dressmaker.

According to a local historian, Ann Riddiford, Sidney Holloway Screen and Emma his wife nee Powell lived there in 1920s.  Sidney Screen was in the Electoral Registers of 1918 and 1931 where he was said to be living in Castle Street.  Emma died aged 72 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 19th May 1925.

On July 27th 1935 the Gazette published a report of the funeral at St Mary’s Church of Sidney Screen of Castle Street who had died aged 80.  He was described as a labourer in the cemetery burial record.  The principal mourners were his daughter Miss M Screen and her sisters Mrs Higgins and Mrs Williams.  Annis Merinda Screen had married Albert Higgins in the December quarter of 1911.  Frances Screen had married Frank Williams (the son of Alfred Williams who ran the Refreshment Rooms at 52 High Street) in 1916.

In the 1935 electoral register “Mary Screen” lived in the house alone.  We believe that Sidney’s youngest daughter Caroline Mary Screen must always have been called by her second name.  The register compiled in 1939 in the advent of war shows that the house was occupied by Mary C Screen born 28th September 1888 which appears to confirm this.

Charles R. Ford  Also shown as living at number 24 in the same electoral registers with Mary C Screen was  Charlie R Ford born 28th October 1895.  Charlie Ford may have been a lodger as this was common practice in this period. Charles appears in electoral registers until at least 1954.

In May 1954 when the house was put up for sale it was said to be still in the occupation of Miss M. C. Screen at the rent of 10/9.

After 1959 the house was gutted and refurbished and the owners lived in the house.

Read about the owners of this house