We know from the 1840 Tithe Apportionment survey (which is supported by detailed map identifying the property) that what is now number 3 Castle Street in Thornbury was described as Plot 41, a house and garden owned by Thomas Gwynn and occupied by Edward Pearce. From this information we are able to trace some of the earlier occupants of this property.
Susannah Martin. By 1821 Susannah Martin had become the tenant of Richard Gwynn and we believe she lived here until her death in July 1828.
Susannah was the widow of Richard Martin, a druggist and apothecary. She appears to have remained here until her death in 1828 aged 81. She was buried on 13th July 1828. Click here to read about the Martins
Edward Pearce. Susannah was replaced as tenant by Edward Pearce. Edward remained here for several years and he was shown as the occupant in the land tax records of 1829, 1830, 1831 and 1832 and in the 1840 Tithe Survey. We have not yet found an Edward Pearce who this could be in the 1841 census. The Scribes Alcove website shows that a man called Edward Matthews Pearce aged 80 was buried on 1st August 1842 at Thornbury. It is possible that this is the same Edward Pearce but we have no supporting evidence for this.
James Parmiter. The 1841 census shows what might be James Parmiter aged 70 and Eliza Philpott aged 19 a servant. James died on the 7th May 1846 aged 76. A public notice declaring the partners of the West of England and South Wales District Bank mentions his name. The New York Times of December 9th 1878 headlined the collapse of this bank and its 17.5 million dollar debt. The directors were charged with fraud. However as it was so long after his death, James Parmiter at least could not be blamed.
Harriett Nelmes. In the 1851 census the household consisted of Harriett Nelmes a 21 year old unmarried school teacher who was living with her sister Mary who was 18 years old and her assistant. They lived with their brother Samuel aged eight. There are also some unrelated children, seven year old boy Lacy Ford, seven year old Sarah Screen and a four year old who we believe was called William Workman. F rom this it would appear that Harriett was running a small school on the premises.
The Nelmes siblings were the children of Thomas Nelmes a butcher and his wife Harriett. The 1841 Census shows them living together in Bristol. They have children George aged 13 Harriett aged 12 Eliza 10 Mary Ann 9 Thomas 5. and Henry 3.
Although Harriett was living with one sister and brother at the top of Castle Street in the 1851 census, the same census shows the rest of the family was living at the butcher’s shop on The Plain at the corner of St Mary’s Street.
By 1861 Harriett was a teacher at the girls’ department of an orphanage which was in the district of St Andrew’s in Bristol. Possibly this is one of the Muller homes. The story of the George Muller Foundation is an interesting one and he was responsible for setting up five large homes for children in the Ashley Down area which accommodated an astonishing 2,000 poor children.
By 1861 Harriett’s brother Samuel Nelmes then aged 19 was living with his brother Henry aged 22 in Bristol.
Harriett Nelmes was buried at what is now called the United Reformed Church in Thornbury. She died aged 34 on 3rd September 1863.
John and Susannah Thurston. The 1861 census shows that John and Susannah Thurston were now living in 3 Castle Street. He was aged 48 and a shoemaker and she was 39. The Scribes Alcove website shows the baptism of a John Thurston on 4th October 1812 to John and Rachel Thurston. He was born on 24th August 1812.
On October 9th 1841 John Thurston, a shoemaker married Susan (or Susannah) Latter, a spinster who was under 21. Susan’s surname is inaccurately described as ‘Latten’ in some sources. John’s father was also called John Thurston and was a labourer. Susan’s parents were George Latter, a coachman and his wife, Ann, who in the 1841 census were living in Rudgeway. Susan’s brother, Thomas Gully Latter, lived at number 1 Castle Street for many years. John and Susannah’s daughter Frances was baptised 2 October 1842 and John was a described as a cordwainer. After her birth the Thurstons had a very sad history. Their son Joseph was baptised 13th August 1844 and died aged seven months. They had another son George Latter Thurston baptised on 22nd March 1846, who died aged one year and three months. In 1851 they had a third son, Thomas Gully Thurston baptised on 8th September 1851 who died aged six months.
The United Reformed Church records show the burial of John Thurston aged 51 on 16th April 1863. The 1868 Trade Directory of Gloucestershire still has a John Thurston bootmaker trading in Castle Street. We do not know whether this is out of date or if Mrs Thurston continued trading.
The 1867 and 1871 rate books show Mrs Susan Thurston lived in the house in Castle Street. The census of 1871 provides a few more details. Susannah Thurston was 44 years old and described as an annuitant born in Rudgeway. Her unmarried daughter, Frances Sarah Thurston aged 28 was living with her. Frances was a dressmaker.
Frances seems to have married Samuel Barnard on August 22nd 1875. Frances and Samuel moved to London where Samuel worked as a builder. They took Frances’s mother with them as the 1881 census shows. She died in Greenhill by Willesden in 1891.
Alfred Jenner Collings. The 1876 and 1877 rate books show that Alfred Jenner Collings now lived in the house, although he owned another property at 42 Castle Street. The 1877 Trade Directory shows Alfred Collings Junior was trading in Castle Street. The 1851, 1861 and 1871 censuses show that Alfred Jenner Collings in Thornbury was a clock and watch maker who lived at that time in the High Street. In 1861 he was aged 51 and his wife Sarah was aged 49.
The Scribes Alcove website shows that Alfred Jenner Collings had married Sarah Hawtin on 28th April 1840. Alfred was born in July 1820 and was the son of another Thornbury clockmaker Samuel Collings and his wife Elizabeth. Sarah was the daughter of Robert Hawtin the school teacher at Atwells Free School. Alfred and Sarah had a daughter Mary Sarah baptised 14th November 1841 in Thornbury. Read about the Collings family.
Caroline Parfitt. The 1880 Special Drainage Rate Book shows that Caroline Parfitt lived in the house. The 1881 census gives us more details. Caroline Parfitt was a 60 year old widow who was described as a landed proprietor from St Phillips in Bristol. By the 1885 rate book Caroline had moved to what is now 54 High Street. Click here to read more
John and Elizabeth Allen. The rate book of 1885 shows that the house was now occupied by John Allen.
John Allen was born in Tortworth in the June quarter of 1841. In the 1871 census he had been a lodger with John Champion and his family in what is now known as 5 Pullins Green. John Champion ran a school there. The records of what is now the United Reformed Church show the marriage in April 1873 between John Allen and Elizabeth Liddiatt. Elizabeth Allen was the daughter of William and Mary Liddiatt who in 1861 were living at Castle Lodge. She was the sister of Edward Liddiatt who ran a fish shop in Pullins Green only a few doors away from Mr Champion’s house which suggests this is how the couple met. Read more about the Liddiatt family.
The 1881 census shows that John Allen aged 39 a bootmaker from Tortworth was the tenant of the house next door at what is now number 5 Castle Street. His wife was Elizabeth aged 35 a dressmaker. They had four children; Edith aged 7, William aged 4 and the twins Amy and Arthur at 7 months. We know that the Allens still lived in this house in 1883 because the Bristol Mercury has the advert of the property for auction on Saturday 27th January of that year. The description of this lot 2 was
” A compact dwelling house situate to the West side of Castle Street in the town of Thornbury containing sitting room kitchen scullery pantry underground cellar and three bedrooms with attics over. There is a small garden at the back and a rainwater cistern and a pump on the premises. This lot is in the occupation of Mr John Allen a yearly tenant at £12 a year.”
It would seem that after the auction of number 5 the Allen family moved next door into 3 Castle Street.
The 1891 census shows the family living in number 3. John Allen was aged 49 and ran a boot shop. His wife Elizabeth was 45 and was still a dressmaker. They had a daughter Edith M Allen aged 17 who was a pupil teacher. Their other children were still at school; William aged 14, and Amy and Arthur, the twins, were now 10 years old. All the children were born in Thornbury.
The rate book shows that the Allen family were still in this house in 1894.
The 1899 rate book shows John had moved again. This time it was across the road, next to Savery’s shop at 14 The Plain which John owned. The 1901 census shows that they were still there living with their children, Edith who was a 27 year old board school teacher, William a 24 year old solicitor’s clerk, Ann aged 20, who stayed at home to help look after the house and Arthur also aged 20, who was a tailor. Elizabeth’s mother, Ann Liddiatt, was also living with them. She was 78 and lived on her own means.
In about 1903 John started renting the shop at 15 High Street from Charles Olds. John is listed as a tenant of the shop there in the 1907 and 1910 rate books at the same time as he was living in his own property at 14 The Plain.
John Allen died on June 14th 1911 aged “three score and ten” and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery. A report of his death of in the South Gloucestershire Chronicle of 17th June 1911 said that John Allen had been in ill health since March 1911 after a heart attack. He had another a fortnight before he died and then a final fatal one. The article said he had been resident in Thornbury for nearly 50 years and that he had taken over from Charles Olds eight years earlier. He had been deacon at the Congregational Church and a teacher at the Sunday School. His wife Elizabeth who died the following year was buried there with him.
In 1899 when the estate of John Crowther Gwynn was put up for sale, the house was described as Lot 2
“a house and garden in the occupation of E Pitcher as yearly tenant at a rent of £15 per annum and land tax of 3s 6d. Borough rent 8d. It has front and back sitting rooms, kitchen, back kitchen, pantry, cellar and 4 bedrooms.”
Edgar Walter Pitcher. On 22nd March 1900 it was conveyed to Edgar Walter Pitcher from the trustees of John Crowther Gwynn’s estate (Humphrey Thomas Martin Crowther Gwynne, John Crowther Gwynne and Kingsmill Thurston Crowther Gwynne) and detailed as
“all that messuage or dwelling house and garden now in the occupation of the said Edgar Walter Pitcher situate on the west side of Castle Street in the town of Thornbury in the County of Gloucester numbered 41 on the Tithe Apportionment and map for the said parish of Thornbury bounded by the property belonging to Mrs Ricketts on the west by property of Admiral St John on the south by property of George Henry Exell and on the east by Castle Street aforesaid.”
Click here to read about Edgar Walter Pitcher
The Pitcher family continued to live in the house until 1977. The electoral register of 1938 shows that Edgar Pitcher moved back to Gloucester Road after the death of his wife. After Edgar moved away the house became the home of his brother Augustus Ernest and Annie Pitcher. Click here to read more about Ernest and Annie
In recent times the house has been occupied and owned by the Hardwick family.