The earliest records of the history of the buildings that now make up 28 and 28A Castle Street in Thornbury can be found in the Gloucester Record Office. They include a schedule of deeds which was drawn up in 1881 to show how the property came into the possession of the Riddiford and Freame (or Freem) families. At this time we cannot be sure of the implications of all the documents referred to in the schedule. However we have been able to trace many of the owners of the properties through other sources such as Land Tax Records and so we have confirmation of some the transactions listed here.
It is interesting that all but one of the indentures referred to in the schedule appear to relate to what is now 28A Castle Street, which is the taller part of the building shown here. At one time these two properties appear to have housed five different households. As can be seen in the photograph above the property at present is once again two separate houses. In this photograph 28A has a black front door and the porch over it is extended to cover the yellow front door of number 28.
It also seems to be the case in this schedule that there were two houses with two separate owners. This is certainly true by 1759 when William Taylor and Samuel Thurston each appear to own the neighbouring properties and are involved in a transaction that moves the dividing wall between the two gardens.
Although it is difficult to be sure what the properties actually were in the indentures before 1759 we have provisionally assumed that they also relate to houses rather than just land.
28A Castle Street
John Nichols (or Nicholls) The earliest transaction mentioned in the schedule was dated 27th Jan 1756 and was a “release in fee” from Mr John Nicholls to Mr Benjamin Leach. We cannot be certain of the identity of John Nicholls or Nichols. However there is a record of the burial of a John Nicholls on 14th December 1803 in St Mary’s Church in Thornbury. This John was described as aged 76 and a yeoman of Iron Acton.
Benjamin Leach. We are assuming that the “release in fee” of 1756 was a sale of the property to Benjamin Leach. This seems to be confirmed by a land tax record for 1775 that appears to show that Benjamin Leach owned and occupied this property. Benjamin was baptised at Thornbury on 9th July 1727, the son of Ann Leach. We assume that Ann was unmarried. Benjamin was a tailor. He married Catherine Tanner on 1st August 1752 and they had five children: Ann born on 13th June 1767 and baptised on 1st July 1767, Catherine born on 16th March 1769 and baptised on 14th April 1769, Sarah born on 24th May 1771, baptised on 24th July 1771 and buried as an infant on 8th March 1772, Benjamin born on 1st March 1773 and baptised on 28th April 1773 and Elizabeth born on 25th November 1775 and baptised on 3rd January 1776.
Samuel Thurston. The next indenture referred to in the schedule was dated 24th August 1756 and was a release in fee from Mr Benjamin Leach and his wife to Mr Samuel Thurston. We have an indenture of 1766 which refers to the fact that that the house was one where “Thomas Lucas sometime since inhabited and wherein Samuel Thurston joiner afterwards dwelt and wherein Timothy Cullimore doth now inhabit.” We do not know anything about Thomas Lucas who lived in the house before Samuel Thurston (although he may have been buried in Thornbury on 22nd October 1759 aged 55). However we do know that from 1746 to 1755 Samuel Thurston lived at what later became 19 High Street and so it would seem that Samuel and his family moved into this property when they bought it in 1756. We know that it was sold to Timothy Cullimore in 1766 and so it would seem that by that time Samuel had left the property. Click here to read about Samuel Thurston
There is another indenture involving Samuel Thurston in the schedule and it is dated 5th May 1759. It is described as an “feoffment” from William Taylor and his wife to Samuel Thurston. We are not sure of the full implications of a “feoffment” but the fact that William Taylor is mentioned is very significant. We know from later Land Tax Records and indentures in the schedule that William Taylor and his wife Sarah owned the property that later became number 28 Castle Street and that they owned that property after this enfeoffment and so it would seem that the transactions indicated before this relate to the neighbouring property which became 28A Castle Street.
It appears that this feoffment relates to land attached to the house rather than a house. This seems to be supported by a later indenture in our possession dated 28th June 1766 that refers to a “wall (that) lately stood which parted the backside or garden of William Tayler of Almondsbury and Sarah his wife lately in the occupation of Joanna Brooks but now of George Reed from the backside or garden of the said John Thurston.”
As the George Reed who is mentioned here owned what later became 28A Castle Street and the Taylors owned the house that became 28, this implies that before 1766 a wall between the two was moved. We believe that the indenture of 1759 is the agreement to this. The next document mentioned in the schedule was a mortgage for £15 on 7th May 1759 between Samuel Thurston and Richard Hobby. We assume that this was just an indication of the fact that Samuel had to borrow money to buy part of the garden of 28 Castle Street and that this mortgage did not directly affect the ownership of the houses.
John Thurston. The schedule has a record of a release in fee from Samuel Thurston to John Thurston dated 7th May 1759. We know that John Thurston a gentleman of Kington sold the property in 1766. We do not believe that Samuel had a son called John and it is difficult to be sure which John Thurston is referred to here.
Timothy Cullimore. On the 27th June 1766 according to the schedule Mr Richard Hobby by direction of Mr John Thurston seems to have transferred ownership of the property to Mr Daniel Neal in trust for Mr Timothy Cullimore. We do not know the reason for the wording of this indenture. However the schedule also mentions an indenture of 28th June 1766 which is a a “release in fee” from Mr John Thurston a gentleman of Kington to Mr Timothy Cullimore a yeoman. This seems more like the usual sale document. We have been lucky enough to be given this indenture (now in the possession of Thornbury Museum) and it shows that the property was sold for £60 and was a messuage or tenement with an orchard and garden.
It was said to be;
“All that messuage or tenement wherein Thomas Lucas sometime since inhabited and wherein Samuel Thurston joyner (sic) afterwards dwelt and wherein the said Timothy Cullimore doth now inhabit with the garden and orchard thereunto adjoining and belonging situate lying and being in the town and borough of Thornbury.
And Also all that piece or parcel of ground whereon the wall lately stood which parted the backside or garden of William Tayler of Almondsbury yeoman and Sarah his wife lately in the occupation of Joanna Brooks but now of George Reed from the backside or garden of the said John Thurston and extending from the northward corner of the back part of the messuage or tenement of the said William Tayler and Sarah his wife late in the occupation of the said Joanna Brooks but now of the said George Reed in length 36 feet and a half towards the east or north east and whereon hath been lately erected and built a sidewall of one or more back room or rooms to the said messuage or tenement hereby or intended to be hereby granted and released which said messuage or tenement garden orchard and premises above mentioned and hereby or intended to be hereby granted and released were lately bought and purchased by the said John Thurston to him and his heirs in fee simple of and from the said Samuel Thurston as may appear”
We are not sure who Timothy Cullimore was although Bristol Records Office has documents dated May 2nd 1750 relating to the settlement in Thornbury from Olveston of Timothy Cullimore, Sarah his wife and children William aged about 5, Mary aged about 2 and a son not yet named. We also know that a Timothy Cullimore married Sarah Butler in Thornbury on 6th April 1740. Timothy Cullimore seems to have owned this property until 1775.
George Reed. On 16th Sept 1775 Timothy Cullimore transferred a property to George Reed by a conveyance in fee. The land tax record of 1775 appears to confirm the above transaction as it shows that George Reed was liable to 1s 6d tax on a property described as “Cullimores”. The schedule also refers to an indenture dated 2nd February 1776 in which George Reed rented a room in Thornbury to William Williams. This is a reference to the transaction of of 1759 in which the garden wall between 28 and 28A Castle Street was moved. George Reed appears in the land tax records as the owner of what became 28A Castle Street until 1786 and Ann Reed until as late as 1796. An indenture of June 28th 1766 has another reference to this “room” which has been built in the extended garden. The indenture refers to the wall and to the garden being ” in length 36 feet and a half towards the east or north east and whereon hath been lately erected and built a sidewall of one or more back room or rooms to the said messuage or tenement”. The room or rooms mentioned here may well be the part of the reason why by the time Abraham Riddiford made his will in 1830 he described these two houses (28 and 28ACastle Street) as being occupied by five separate households.
The land tax record of 1780 appears to show that George Reed was liable to pay two shillings tax for this house and that he was occupying it himself, although it is possible that he also had tenants here. The neighbouring property (number 28 Castle Street) also appears in the land tax records for 1780. It was shown as owned by Elizabeth Tyson who was liable to pay five shillings in tax and was occupied by George Longden. We know nothing of Elizabeth Tyson but click here to read about George Longden.
In Bailey’s British Directory of 1784 George Reed was said to have a “shoe warehouse” in Thornbury with William Reed. Despite the fact that we have so many references to George Reed in land tax records we know nothing about him. We can only assume he was the brother of William Reed who was associated with the Seven Stars in Thornbury.
On 29th September 1786 George Reed appears to have sold his property (28A Castle Street) to Mark Nash.
Mark Nash. The schedule shows that on 29th September 1786 George Reed conveyed what became 28A Castle Street to Mark Nash. We have no information about Mark Nash who (according to the schedule) sold the property to Abraham Riddiford on 30th September 1788.
28 Castle Street
Sarah and William Taylor. We have land tax records from 1781 to at least 1784 that show that Sarah Taylor owned what is now 28 Castle Street and that it was occupied by George Longden.
An indenture of 28th June 1766 relating to 28A Castle Street refers to the fact that the neighbouring property (28 Castle Street) was owned by William Tayler (sic) of Almondsbury yeoman and Sarah his wife. The land tax records from 1781 to at least 1784 say that Sarah Taylor was the owner of the property. This would normally imply that Sarah was a widow. In 1796 we know from the land tax records that the owner of the property was Mr Taylor of Almondsbury and in January of that year the schedule says that William Taylor conveyed the property to Charles Smith and his trustees. Sadly we have not been able to identify either William and Sarah Taylor or Charles Smith. It seems likely however that this last mentioned William Taylor was the son or at least the heir of the William Taylor mentioned in 1766.
It is also impossible for us to determine at this stage why the land tax records continued to show that William Taylor owned the property until March 23rd 1802 when it was conveyed by Charles Smith to Abraham Riddiford. We can only suggest that perhaps the “conveyance” of 1796 was a mortgage to Charles Smith and when the mortgage could not be repaid Charles Smith acquired the property and sold it.
28 & 28A Castle Street
Abraham Riddiford acquired the property that later became 28A Castle Street in 1788 from Mark Nash. This appears to have been occupied by William Liddiatt, John Longden and Mary Hopkins. Click here to read about 28A Castle Street
He acquired the second property in 1802 from William Taylor in 1802. This property was occupied by Nicholas Lansborow and someone with the surname of Carter and later became number 28 Castle Street. Abraham Riddiford married Hester Child in 1763. He died aged 66 and was buried on the 27th January 1831.
His daughter Ann Child Riddiford and her husband Thomas Freem later owned both properties. Click here to read about the Riddiford and Freeme families who owned the properties
Thomas Crossman. We cannot be sure exactly when the ownership of the house that became 28 and 28A Castle Street in Thornbury passed from Thomas Freeme but we know that he died insolvent in June 1856 and it seems likely that the mortgage holder about that time became the owner of the houses. We have the schedule of deeds and it seems that the mortgage holder at that time was William Turner.
When William Turner died on the 18th day of January 1864 his remaining executor was James Willshen. In the 1841 census James Willshen was an attorney’s clerk living in a house in Pullins Green owned by Thomas Crossman. It is possible that James Willshen actually worked for Thomas Crossman. By 1861 James Willshen was a “solicitor’s managing clerk”.
The indenture dated 1852 has an addition which refers to an indenture made 9th July 1869 between James Willshen of Thornbury in the County of Gloucester, accountant and Thomas Crossman, gentleman. This indenture appears to pass the property to Thomas Crossman.
George Danvers Crossman. We have found a record that Thomas Crossman died in the June quarter of 1873 aged 96 in Thornbury. In the rate book of 1877 the owner of the houses appears as G D Crossman.
Thomas Eddington. By 1861 Thomas Eddington lived in one of these properties and he owned them both by 1885. Read about the Eddington family
Edwin Salmon. The 1905 rate book shows 28 Castle Street was occupied by Edwin John Salmon who had bought both these properties by 1910. Read about Edwin and Eiza Salmon
Robert Mills and his family moved into the property around 1916 and owned both houses until 1984. Click here to read about the Mills Family
Sally and Richard Embleton bought the property in 1984 and made considerable structural changes. The Embletons divided the house into two and the smaller house, number 28, was occupied by Mrs Cockram, Mrs Embleton’s mother. The Embletons lived in the larger property and it was called 28A. They moved to France in 2003 where they have a gite in Bley in Cordes Sur Ciel.
In 2003 Neil and Sarah Curtis bought one house and Alan and Anthea Waites the other.