The house that is now 26 Castle Street in Thornbury shares much of its earlier history with its neighbour, 24 Castle Street. Until at least 1784 there was only one property on the site where now there are two (24 and 26). The two properties were also owned by the same people from before 1840 until 1954. Read about the owners of the house
The will of James Allen that was proved in 1817 left the property that was later to become 26 Castle Street to his daughter Sarah Leonard. The will describes the property as
“all that messuage or dwelling house wherein Charles Kingston formerly inhabited and my eldest son James Allen deceased lately dwelt and Thomas Evans, baker since dwelt and Thomas Lane doth now dwell with the outhouse outlet garden and appurtenances thereto belonging situate in the said Borough of Thornbury in the said County and which I purchased of Henry Mills”
Charles Kingston. The earliest occupant of the property to be mentioned in the documents we have seen so far was a baker called Charles Kingston. Charles appears to have bought the property from Richard Wilkins. Click here to read about Charles Kingston
Benjamin Barnett was the name of the tenant of James Allen in the 1796 and 1797 Land Tax Records. Benjamin married Anne Lippiatt on 13th October 1768 in Thornbury. Anne Lippiatt was the daughter of John and Anne Lippiatt who lived at Pye Corner in Thornbury High Street.
Benjamin was described as a breeches maker in the record of the baptism of their daughter Henrietta who was born 23rd September 1769. Sadly baby Henrietta did not live very long and she was buried on 15th May 1770 at Thornbury. The couple had a large number of children as was the custom at that time and we know that at least one more of them, John born and buried in 1772, also died. In all these records Benjamin was described as a breeches maker but when Anne’s mother Anne Lippiatt left a bequest to her daughter in 1785 she described her as Anne wife of Benjamin Barnett a glover.
When Mrs Lippiatte died in October 1785 she not only left £30 to her daughter Anne Barnett but also her property in Sibland, which after her death was to go to Anne Barnett’s daughter, yet another Anne.
Benjamin died aged 53 and was buried in Thornbury on 24th December 1799. The widowed Anne Barnett died aged 60 and was buried on 12th August 1807.
Of their children;
- Anne Barnett was born on 20th September 1771. Anne Barnett was the heir to her grandmother Anne Lippiatt and was bequeathed a property in Sibland
- Thomas Barnett was born on 2nd November 1773.
- John Barnett was born 23rd July 1777. John later lived at 49 High Street. Click here to read about John Barnett
- William Lippiatt Barnett was born on 18th May 1781
- Elisabeth Barnett was born 11th March 1783
- Mary Barnett was born on 20th June 1784
Thomas Evans. The land tax records for 1809 show that Thomas Evans was the tenant of this property which was owned by James Allen senior. The will of James Allen senior made in 1817 says that Thomas Evans was a former tenant of this property and that he was a baker.
We have not been able to trace his marriage to Mary or the birth of their daughters. However we know from his will that they had four daughters; Ann, Betty, Anna Maria and Alice.
Land tax records show that Thomas Evans continued to be a tenant of James Allen until 1812 but by 1814 he had moved and was a tenant of Ann Cossham. Thomas’s wife Mary died on January 21st 1816 aged 59. The land tax records until at least as late as 1819 continue to show that Thomas a tenant of Ann Cossham. However on 18th January 1827 he bought a property in Thornbury High Street from Samuel Penduck. This later became 51 High Street.
Thomas died November 14th 1835 aged 78.
The last will and testament of Thomas Evans a baker of Thornbury was proved in 1836. He left the house that he bought from Samuel Penduck to his daughter Ann who had married Stephen Hignell and he made bequests to his daughters Betty, the wife of Thomas Tanner, Anna Maria, the wife of the grocer and postmaster George Shepherd and Alice, the wife of John Ricketts. We have not been able to trace Thomas and Betty (or Elizabeth) Tanner but we note that a couple of this name had a son called Thomas in 1814 and they lived in Aust.
Thomas Lane. By 1814 Thomas Lane was the tenant of this property. We have no information about Thomas Lane.
Thomas Ryall. The land tax records in 1821 and 1822 show that this property was owned by Mary Allen and the tenant was said to be “late Thomas Ryall.” The only Thomas Ryall that we have traced so far was buried in Thornbury on 17th May 1840 aged 70 years. He died in the Poor House. The Access to Archives website has a note that Olveston Union removed a family from its parish to Hill in June 1821. They were Thomas Ryall, Mary his wife and daughters Martha aged 4, Sarah aged 3 and Elizabeth aged 4 months.
Sarah Fothergill. The 1824 and 1825 land tax records show Sarah Fothergill as the occupier of this property. We believe that Sarah was born Sarah Moxham and by 1824 was the widow of John George Fothergill.
John George Fothergill seems to have been born on 11th July 1794 the son of George and Ann Fothergill. He was baptised at St Paul’s Church in Bristol in 1801. We believe that he married Sarah Moxham on 28th December 1813 in Bristol. Their first son George seems to have been baptised at Oldbury on Severn on 28th January 1816 and it seems that John George was a mason. Their second son William seems to have been baptised in Thornbury on 13th April 1817. John George Fothergill died aged 28 and was buried in Thornbury on 25th June 1823. A third child John Fothergill was baptised on 27th February 1825 at Thornbury. The father of the child is not shown.
We cannot find any more information about Sarah and her sons.
William Tucker. The land tax Records for 1826 and 1827 shows that Mary Allen owns this property and that is was tenanted by William Tucker. We cannot confirm this but it possible that this refers to William and Joanna Tucker.
William Powell. The land tax Records from 1828 to at least 1832 show that this property was tenanted by William Powell. Again we have no confirmation at this point but this is probably the builder William Powell who lived in other properties in Castle Street around this time. Read about William Powell.
William Heaven. The 1840 Tithe Map shows that the occupier of the house at the time the record was made was William Heaven. We have no further information about William Heaven .
James North. The 1841 census seems to show that James North an agricultural labourer and his wife Margaret both aged about 30 lived in the house.
George Martin. In the 1851 census number 26 was occupied by George Martin an agricultural labourer, his wife Priscilla and son Phillip, who was baptised at St Mary’s Church in January 1846. They had a lodger a widower called Davie Laver who was an agricultural labourer, despite being about 70 years old.
George Martin and Priscilla Jones were married in the September quarter of 1843. Priscilla was born in Olveston about 1822. George was from Wotton Under Edge. Their son, Philip was baptised in Thornbury on 19th January 1846.
In 1852 there was an advertisement for the auction of this house and a considerable amount of other property. This lot was described as “275, 276 (the numbers on the Tithe Map), a Freehold DWELLING-HOUSE, adjoining lot 1, with offices attached, and a most productive Garden, in the occupation of Mr. George Martin.”
The Trade Directory for 1856 has a George Martin who was a gardener. His address is “High Street” but this could still be the name used for Castle Street at this time.
The 1861 census shows that by this time George Martin was 40 year old and still an agricultural labourer. He was born in Wotton under Edge and his wife Priscilla, then aged 44, was born in Olveston. Their 15 year old son Phillip was also an agricultural labourer.
By 1871 the family had moved to Upper Bath Road (later called 20 Rock Street). On 25th July 1875 George was buried aged 54. In the 1876 and 1881 rate books Priscilla Martin was a tenant at an Almshouse in Back Street. The 1881 census shows us that Priscilla was a widow living with her son, Phillip then aged 33. Priscilla was buried on 12th March 1883 aged 61.
Henry Withers. The 1862 rate book shows that George Martin’s name has been crossed through to indicate he had left. The occupier of the house is shown as Henry Withers senior. Henry’s son Henry Withers junior owned both houses and occupied the neighbouring 24 Castle Street. Click here to read about Henry Withers senior
Thomas Bevan. The 1867 rate book is designed to show only the occupants of the houses, including that of 26 Castle Street. The record says Henry Withers but has the name of Thomas Bevan crossed through and “arrears” noted. The arrears might have a good reason. We have notes about the death of Thomas Bevan in 1866. There was an inquest (Gloucester Record Office references CO1/N/12/83 and CO1/I/12/C/15 ) on Thomas Bevan a 47 year old labourer who was declared to have died by “visitation of God”.
Thomas Bevan was baptised in September 1819, the son of James and Ann Bevan. The 1841 census shows that he was a servant at the Vicarage in what is now Castle Street. He was a servant when he was married to Ann Parnell on 24th February 1846. By 1851 he was landlord at the Severn Stars. Read more about Thomas Bevan. After Thomas’s death in 1867 Ann went to live at 9 Gloucester Road.
Francis Driscoll. The 1868 and 1869 rate books show Francis Driscoll was the occupant of 26 Castle Street in Thornbury. Francis Driscoll therefore came to live in Castle Street about 1867/8. It is not yet clear at which stage Francis Driscoll and his wife Jane came to own this house and that of number 24 next door. Read more about the Driscolls who owned 24 and 26 Castle Street
James and Hannah Hall. The 1885 rate book shows that the house, now owned by Francis Gayner, was occupied by James and Hannah Hall. Click here to read more
By the 1894 rate book James Hall had moved from the house and Charles Parsons had come to live there. Both this house and that next door were shown as the property of Francis Gayner.
Charles Parsons was a butcher. He had moved to Castle Street from 9 St John Street but didn’t stay there long. He took over the butchery business previously owned by the Ogborns at 8 High Street. Click here to read more
Arthur Jennings. The 1911 census shows that Arthur Jennings lived in the house next. He was a butcher from Somerset aged 38. He had been married for six years to Elizabeth who was born in Flintshire in North Wales. We feel that this was probably Elizabeth Ellen Cartright whom he married in the September quarter of 1904. They must have moved to Thornbury soon after their marriage as all three children Winifred aged five, Eleanor aged three and Rachel were born in Thornbury. When Winifred was baptised in St Mary’s on 25th June 1905 the family lived in Bulls Eye Lane in Thornbury. They were still in Bulls Eye Lane when Eleanor was baptised on 9th May 1907. We do not know how long this family lived in the house as we have no further records of them in Thornbury at this time.
Alfred and Sarah Smith. We know that Alfred Smith was living at 26 Castle Street in the 1954 electoral register. The Dursley Gazette of February 2nd 1948 has an article which celebrates the golden wedding anniversary of Alfred and his wife, Sarah Jane. It explains that Sarah Jane Scriven (known as Kitty) and Alfred Smith, a native of Wotton Bassett were married in St John’s Church in Bristol on 7th February 1898. Miss Scriven was born at the Post Office in Pilning.
Both were 74 years old in 1948. The photograph on the left is of Alfred and Sarah Jane Smith.
Alfred Langley Smith was born in Wotton Basett 3rd November 1873, the son of Francis Smith, a coach-builder and his wife, Maria.
The newspaper article referred to above says that after Alfred and Sarah Jane married they lived in Barry for a short time and then moved to Bristol where he worked for Parkers Bakery. We haven’t traced the family living in either of these places. In the 1901 Census they were living with Alfred’s widowed mother, Maria, in Wood Street, Wotton Bassett. Alfred was a journeyman baker.
In 1911 they were living at The Green, Tockington. Alfred was a journeyman baker aged 37. Sarah Jane was also aged 37.
The family appeared to move to live in Thornbury in 1915 when two of the children transferred from Pilning School to the Council Upper School. It was then that Alfred started working for A E Thompsons in Thornbury and he continued working there for 28 and a half years until he was over 70. He was a founding member of the Wesleyan Football Club, for which he was the Hon. Secretary.
We are not sure where the family lived when they first moved to Thornbury. The school records show that they were living in St Mary Street when the children transferred from Pilning in 1915, but by 1918 they were living in Castle Street. The electoral rolls show that they continued living in Castle Street from at least 1918, although we note that in 1921 when Mons was admitted to the Council Upper School the family address was Crossways.
They had several children:
- The birth of Alf Redvers was registered in Thornbury district in 1899.
- Violet Audrey was born on 14th April 1902 and her birth was registered in Thornbury. She was known by the name of Audrey when she was admitted to the Council Upper School in 1915 after moving from Pilning. In 1931 Audrey married Cyril W Brown in the Thornbury area.
- Cyril Stanley was registered in Thornbury in 1904. When Cyril was admitted to the Council Upper School in 1915 his birth was noted as being 21st October 1904. In 1929 Cyril Stanley married Frances Winifred Shipton in the Kensington Baptist Tabernacle in Bristol. She was the daughter of Mr & Mrs W. R. Shipton of Greenbank, Bristol, but formerly of Thornbury.
- The birth of Phyllis May was registered in the Thornbury area in 1911. The admission records of Council Upper School show she joined the school in 1918 when the family were living in Castle Street. She was born on 25th July 1911. Phyllis left the school in 1922 when she got a free place in Thornbury Grammar School. The family still lived in Castle Street. In 1937 the Gazette had a report of the marriage of Phyllis May Smith, the second daughter of Alfred and Sarah to Alec George Beames, the elder son of Mr and Mrs E R Beames of Westbury on Trym. The marriage took place at Thornbury Baptist Church. Alec Beames was a partner in Messrs W. T. Taylor Ltd.
- Another daughter, Mary D. M. was born on 28th September 1914 according to the Council Infants School records (or 28th September 1914 according to the Council Upper School records). She was known as ‘Mons‘ when she was admitted to the Thornbury Council Infants School in 1918. At that time her parents were living in Castle Street. By the time she was admitted to the Upper School in 1921 their home address was in Crossways. She left the school in 1925 when she got a free place at the Grammar School. Mary D M Smith married Gilbert J Douel in the March quarter of 1941 in Thornbury. It is interesting to note that Mons Douel visited Thornbury Museum in 2005 and explained that she was then living in Bexhill on Sea.
The Gazette of 11th June 1949 reported the death after a short illness of Mrs Sarah Jane Smith known as Kitty and the wife of Mr Alfred Smith of Castle Street Thornbury. She was aged 75. The funeral service was conducted at the Baptist Church by Rev. T J Farley-Pettman. Mr Smith was unable to attend but their sons Redvers and Cyril Smith were there and their daughters Mrs G. J. Douel and Mrs E Mathews. Two more daughters were unable to attend. These were Mrs C W Brown and Mrs A G Beames.
It seems that Alfred Smith continued to live at the house after his wife’s death. Alfred Smith appears in the 1954 Electoral Roll with 26 Castle Street as his address. The house and the one next door (number 24) were put up for sale in 1954 at which time this property was described as “formerly in the occupation of Mr Smith”.