The photograph above shows the two small houses which are numbers 36 and 38 Castle Street in Thornbury.
The early history of these houses is linked to that of their neighbours as the six houses which are now numbers 32 to 42 Castle Street were all built by the same person, Joseph Parslow.
In the 1840 Tithe Apportionment Survey 36 Castle Street was owned by William Reeve and occupied by John Morgan. We do not know anything about William Reeve. However it does seem that the Reeves family was also connected to 34 Castle Street.
William Woodruffe. Number 38 Castle Street was numbered 283 on the Tithe Map and it was occupied by William Hurd but owned by William Woodruffe. It seems that both houses were to be owned purely as investment properties and not occupied by their owners for over a century.
On the 25th June 1836 Mr Woodruffe a farmer was ordered by the magistrates to pay 2/- a week to help support his mother.
The 1841 census shows us that the owner of what later became number 38, William Woodruffe was a farmer aged about 60 with a wife called Phoebe aged about 55. They lived at Crossways.
Also in the 1841 census 38 Castle Street was occupied by James Collard aged about 30 and his wife Phoebe aged about 25. James was a carpenter and Phoebe was a dressmaker. They were William and Phoebe’s daughter and son in law.
We think William Woodruffe was born 3rd 1780 the son of Nathaniel and Anne Woodruffe (nee Hodges). He married Phoebe Thomas in Thornbury on 29th September 1811. By 1851 William had retired from farming. At that stage he was aged 71. He and his wife Phoebe who was 67 and from Wickwar had gone to live in Almondsbury. They seem to be living in the same property as their daughter Phoebe then aged 37 and her husband James Collard aged 46 a carpenter who employed one man .
Phoebe lost all her family in a few years. Her husband, James Collard died in Almondsbury on 13th July 1852. Her mother Phoebe Woodruffe died June 1857 and her father William Woodruffe’s death was registered in Thornbury in 1858. Phoebe herself remarried in 1858 to William Williams. In 1861 William and Phoebe were living in Crossways and he was a grocer.
As we have never seen the deeds of the properties the 1876 and 1877 rate books are the first evidence we have that ownership of 38 and possibly of 36 as well had passed to Phoebe, now Phoebe Williams. Certainly in these Rate Books the owner of both 36 and 38 was said to be William Williams.
In 1881 Phoebe and William Williams were living in Crossways Lane. She was aged 68 and from Thornbury and he was a retired grocer aged 67 from Tockington. In 1891 the couple were living at 54 High Street and he was described as a retired farmer aged 77 from Thornbury and she was aged 78 and born in Olveston.
William Williams died on October 22nd 1892 aged 80. The rate book of 1894 shows that Mrs Williams was now the owner of the two houses in Castle Street. The 1901 census shows Phoebe still living at 54 High Street. Phoebe Williams died 4th September 1905 aged 92.
Emma Shepherd. The 1905 Special Drainage Rate Book shows that by this time the two houses were acquired by Emma Shepherd. She was the daughter of James Screen, a baker. In the 1841 census James and Ann Screen were living in the High Street with nine year old Emma.
They had three young servants one of whom was 15 year old Elizabeth Hockey. Emma’s mother, Ann Screen died in 1846 aged 39, after what was described in the obituary as a “long and painful illness.” In 1851 James Screen was a widowed baker living at what is now 67 High Street. James’s 19 year old daughter Emma was his assistant. Louisa Watkins aged 16 was their servant.
In 1861 Emma Screen was aged 29 the daughter of James Screen a widowed baker employing three men. They had Elizabeth Lowe a four year old visitor from Bristol a scholar living with them and a house servant called Jane Davis.
The Western Daily Press of 1st March 1867 had an article commending Emma’s quick thinking and pluck. Apparently she had been walking about 4 o’clock one afternoon in Kington Lane when she spotted a man in an exhausted condition apparently drowning in a brook. Miss Screen got into the water and held the man’s head up. She was unable to get him out of the water and so sent a little girl for help. Luckily the girl met with James Powell of Thornbury who came to help and the man William Smith, a bill poster from Thornbury, was saved.
In the 1871 census Emma Screen was the 39 year old daughter of James Screen then a farmer. She has Ada Lowe a visitor aged 14 living with her who was born in Clifton. Although he is said to be a farmer of 30 acres James lives with his daughter in the High Street in Thornbury a couple of doors away from James Brown the printer.
James Screen died in December 1878. His daughter Emma Ann Screen married William Evan Shepherd on 3rd September the following year. He was an accountant of London and a widower. It is interesting to note that both Ada Lowe and William Williams were witnesses at this wedding. There is likely to be a family link and a reason why Emma Williams came to own the two houses.
We know that Emma’s grandmother Elizabeth Screen was born Elizabeth Woodruffe, although we have not found the link between her and Phoebe Williams’ grandfather William Woodruffe. We also know that James Screen’s brother William Screen married Ann Woodruffe in 1810 and Ann Woodruff was the sister of William Woodruffe. The connections seem rather distant.
Before their marriage, in fact the day before, on the 2nd September 1879 there was a marriage settlement made regarding Emma Screen. Charles Pauley and Joseph Staley were appointed trustees and were to hold her property until her marriage and after it to pay her the rents and profits from them during her lifetime for her separate use and independently of her husband. The property also included numbers 8 Chapel Street and 10 Chapel Street and a house in Crossways.
The 1881 census shows us that William Evans Shepherd was born in Thornbury. He was aged 43 and a “traveller in tea.” William had two teenaged sons; William aged 18 and Edward aged 16,who were also born in Thornbury. William Evans Shepherd was the son of the Thornbury grocer and postmaster George Shepherd and his wife Anna. Read more about the family of William Evans Shepherd
Emma and William Evans Shepherd appear in the 1891 census. In that year they lived at 171 Barry Road Camberwell. William was aged 53 and a commercial traveller. Emma was aged 59. Their son, William was 28 and a draper’s assistant. They had a visitor, Ada Lowe, who had witnessed their marriage and was now aged 33 and a draper’s clerk. Ada was from Clifton. Their domestic help was from Elberton, Elizabeth Lansdown. By 1901 William Shepherd was 63 and still ‘a commercial traveller with tea’ and Emma was 69, Ada Lowe was still described as a visitor but was now a bookkeeper for a draper’s and aged 44. Emily Hockely aged 48 from Wiltshire was their housekeeper.
In the 1905 and 1910 rate books, Emma Shepherd still owned the two houses in Castle Street, now numbers 36 and 38. William Evans Shepherd died on 3rd September 1914 and Emma died in East Dulwich on 2nd February 1917.
By Emma’s will part of her estate was to be distributed in gifts to “necessitous men” resident within the parish of Thornbury, preference being given to those who were connected to or had been connected to the “trade or business of a baker.” Emma’s property included what had previously been called the paddock and was number 334 on the Tithe Map and messuages in Chapel Street numbers 110 and 111 on the tithe map in the occupation of Frederick Cann and Laura Underhill. We believe that these houses later became 8 and 10 Chapel Street.
Madeline Jenkinson. We have seen an indenture of 1914 that conveys number 36 from Emma Shepherd to Henry Percy St John and Montagu Rodney St John who were the trustees of the estate of Eleanor Rodney.
Dame Madeline Jenkinson bought Stokefield House in Thornbury on August 27th 1915 from the trustees of the estate of Eleanor Rodney. The purchase also included the cottage that is now 36 Castle Street.
We have a copy of the planning permission granted to Lady Jenkinson for alterations to one of her cottages in Castle Street dated 1915. The work was to be carried out by Walter Pitcher, one of the well known builders of Thornbury. The plan shows that the rear wall of the cottage was to be moved and the kitchen and second bedroom considerably enlarged.
When Lady Jenkinson died and her estate was put up for sale the cottage was described as;
“one of a row of cottages situate on the east side of Castle Street…..The cottage is constructed of stone, stuccoed and tiled, and contains- Entrance Passage, Sitting-room, Kitchen, Scullery and other Offices on the Ground Floor and 2 bedrooms and Attic over.”
The occupant at the time was said to be George Taylor.
On the 14th September 1927 the house at 36 Castle Street was conveyed to Luke Ball from the trustees of Georgina Jenkinson.
Luke Ball. The trade directories show that Luke Ball had lived in Castle Street from at least 1924.
Luke Ball was born on 13th August 1883 and baptised in Thornbury on 2nd December 1883. He was the son of Luke Ball a labourer and his wife, Fanny who lived at Crossways. The 1891 census shows that Luke Ball senior was an agricultural labourer and that at the time of the census he and his wife Fanny had six children including Luke junior living in their cottage in Morton.
By 1901 Luke was 17 years old and working as a labourer on Morton Farm. On 18th May 1908 Luke married Sarah Jane Reynolds in Llandogo in the Monmouth area. By the time of the 1911 census they had settled in Thornbury. In 1917 Luke Ball gained a conditional exemption from service in World War I because he was gardener for Lady Jenkinson of Clouds at that time his address was Honeysuckle Cottage in Upper Morton. He enlisted in the R.A.F. on 15th May 1918 and he was a driver.
He and his wife later occupied one of the cottages in the grounds of Stokefield House (then called Clouds) in Castle Street and this was still the case in the 1926 rate book.
They were living in the cottage at Stokefield in 1927 when on the 14th September the house now 36 Castle Street was conveyed to Luke from Georgina Jenkinson. At that time 36 Castle Street was said to be occupied by George Taylor. On 13th November 1930 Luke Ball a gardener conveyed 36 Castle Street to Major A H S Howard. In 1929 Luke’s wife, Sarah Jane had acquired three cottages in Rock Street (numbers 16 – 20 Rock Street). He also acquired other property including Gillingstool Cottage. The electoral registers show Luke and Sarah Jane continuing to live in Castle Street up to the time of his death aged 63 in 1945. However the register compiled in 1939 in the advent of war shows that Luke and Sarah Jane Ball lived in a property between 20 and 12 Castle Street. This is likely to have been what later became known as The Bungalow.
When Sarah Jane sold one of the houses in Rock Street in 1946 she was living at Alveston.
Algar Howard of Thornbury Castle. In 1930 number 36 Castle Street was conveyed from Luke Ball to Algar Howard. It seems that Algar Howard acquired both 36 and 38 Castle Street as investment properties because the trustees of Stafford Howard put number 38 Castle Street up for auction on 5th July 1973. Click here to read about Algar Howard
Alice Payne. On the 30th October 1958 number 36 was conveyed to Mrs Alice Payne. In the electoral rolls from 1965 to at least 1980 the house was shown to be occupied by its owner, Alice Payne.
When Number 38 was advertised for sale in July 1973 it was described as:
“a terraced cottage built of stone with external walls stuccoed and having a tiled roof, and the accommodation includes: Entrance Lobby with quarry tiled floor, Front Sitting Room with fireplace and built-in cupboards and shelves to recess, Rear Passage with tiled floor, leading off which is a staircase and a built-in cupboard. No. 2 Sitting Room with fireplace and fitted cupboards. At the rear is a lean-to scullery with built-up boiler and glazed sink (cold only) and adjoining is a glazed back porch. Above: Landing, no 1 Front Double Bedroom with fireplace and cupboard under stairs. No 2 Back Single Bedroom and above on the second floor is an Attic Bedroom. Enclosed garden. Outside in the garden to the rear is a lean-to lavatory with high level suite and store. All main services are connected to the property, except for gas. Freehold and rateable value is£74. The property has a frontage of approx 16ft 2 in. and a depth of about 57 yards”.
Caroline and Peter Beetham. In the 1980 electoral roll number 38 Castle Street was occupied by Peter and Caroline Beetham, whom we assume were also its owners. Caroline Benson and Peter Beetham married in the Thornbury district in 1972.