The property that is now 26 Castle Street in Thornbury probably has a very long history. We have been told by a recent owner of the house that this is obviously a very old property with particularly thick walls and that it may date back to 1702/3. This photograph was probably taken about 1910 and shows 26 Castle Street as a small terraced house in the centre of the photograph with a man standing outside its front door. It shares much of its early history with number 24 Castle Street, the double fronted property next door to it to the right of it (in this photograph number 24 has a flag on its porch). The exterior of the house remains substantially the same as can be seen by the photograph on the right below which was taken in 2011.
Sadly we have not seen all the deeds that relate to this house and the information we have here is taken mainly from the information in Land Tax Records, Censuses and other sources. We would be very grateful to learn more.
“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“.
This is interesting for two reasons. It indicates that the earliest known person associated with the property so far was Charles Kingston.
It also appears that although by 1840 the Tithe Map shows that there were two properties on this site (which later became 24 and 26 Castle Street) this was not always the case. An examination of the earlier Land Tax Records up to at least 1784 indicate that there was only one property here. A Land Tax Record dated 1796 appears to show that there were two properties with different owners and occupants. These became numbers 24 and 26 Castle Street.
The 1840 Tithe Map and accompanying Tithe Apportionment show that number 26 had the plot numbers 275 and 276. This property and the house next door (plot number 274) were both owned by John Leonard. This house had a large garden at the back which was attached to the house by a narrow strip of land.
We have been told that there was still no bathroom in the house when the Matthews family moved into the house in 1946 and they had an annexe with a corrugated iron roof built on to the house to form a bathroom.
Previous owners of number 26 were also surprised to find a well or cistern on the property which may have supplied both this and number 24 with water. The find was reported in the Gazette of 19th February 1999. It appears that the then owners Mr and Mrs Black were having a kitchen extension built for the house at the back of the property when the builders found that there was a large well or cistern that had been built over when the earlier owners built an extension for their bathroom. The cistern was at least 12 feet deep and lined with bricks and with an arched roof.
A notice of sale dated 1852 says that the neighbouring number 24 had a passage which was also a right of way for both houses. The right of way may have been associated with access to this water supply or the plot of land behind the houses. The boundaries between the properties appear to have changed at different times in their history.
In 1954 when it was advertised for sale it had a sitting room on the ground floor with a kitchen behind with an oven grate. There was a scullery at the rear of the house with a sink, boiler and pump ‘to soft water supply.’ The soft water would of course have have been from the cistern, although the sale notice says that ‘all mains services have been connected.’ There was also an outside W.C. and a coal house. The house had three bedrooms.
The property appears to have had the same owners as 24 Castle Street from the time of the Tithe Map until 1954 when it was bought by Dennis and Annie Matthews.
It was later acquired by Mr and Mrs Black who also owned 24 until it was sold to be used by the Roman Catholic Church as a presbytery.