The photograph on the left shows 4 Castle Street in Thornbury (also called Wellspring House) while it was an employment office owned by Hubert Fudge.
The following people lived in it from around 1800.
Mrs Clark. From the rate books it is clear that between 1800 and 1809 a tenant called Mrs Clark came to live at 4 Castle Street and she rented it from Henry Bingham. She appears to have lived there until at least 1814. By 1819 the rate books show that the tenant was Elizabeth Hodges. We know nothing more about Mrs Clark.
Elizabeth Hodges. From at least 1819 Elizabeth Hodges was a tenant of 4 Castle Street in Thornbury. She continued to live there for many years, part of the time with her sister Ann Hodges. She appeared in the 1841 census, where she was said to be aged 82 and of independent means. She lived with her three servants Celia Isles, Ann Spill and Maria Poole.
Elizabeth was the descendent of a very wealthy family and her grandmother was the daughter and heiress of John Cowley, another ancient and wealthy family. Elizabeth was born in Arlingham on 13th March 1759, the daughter of Thomas Hodges and his wife Mary (nee Phillimore). Mary and Thomas had two other children, Anne Hodges and Thomas.
Elizabeth’s brother, Thomas Hodges was a student of Magdalene College and Pembroke College Oxford, where he became a BA in 1774 and an MA in 1777.
Following the custom of the family, he became the vicar of Arlingham. On October 2nd 1783 he married Mary Davies the daughter of the Henry Davies, rector of Chilton. They had a daughter Elizabeth born at Arlingham on July 26th 1784. This daughter Elizabeth was the wife of John Sayer, vicar of Arlingham and the niece and so one of the heiresses of Elizabeth Hodges of Castle Street.
In her will, proved on 30th June 1846, Elizabeth referred to the will of her sister Anne Hodges which was dated 18th October 1825. Under the terms of her sister’s will, Elizabeth was to be given the income from the sum of £1000 invested in trust for her lifetime. On Elizabeth’s death, the whole sum of £1000 was to go to her niece Mary Ann Salmon nee Hodges, who on 26th February 1807 had married the surgeon Edward Salmon. She named Francis Henry Thomas of Hereford and Robert Stephens Davies of Stourhouse as executors.
The will makes clear that the sum of £1000 was not invested by Elizabeth Hodges in accordance with her sister’s will although it does not explain this.
However Elizabeth still wanted to fulfil the terms of her sister’s will. Elizabeth gave to her executors the plot of land called the Windmill Hill allotment which was part of her estate at Arlingham, given to her and her heirs in exchange for the right to the tithes arising within the rectory or parsonage by the Commissioners of the Arlingham Enclosure Act. The executors were to sell the land. From the proceeds they were to pay over to Mary Ann Salmon the sum of one thousand pounds plus interest due (if any ) from the time of Elizabeth’s death to the date that Mary Ann received the thousand pounds and take out their own expenses. The remainder was to be paid to Elizabeth Sayer. Elizabeth Sayer was also to inherit from Elizabeth the Rectory or parsonage of Arlingham with the right of patronage and preservation of the Church of Arlingham and land which was later described as “lands tenements and hereditaments late Aylands or the lands which were allotted to me” under the Enclosure Act. All this property Elizabeth Sayer had acquired from her aunt Mrs Elizabeth Hodges.
Another piece of property merely described as her “other freehold land tenements and hereditaments” within the parish of Arlingham (not to mention the land tax which she purchased from the government) was left to Elizabeth Sayer. A codicil to the will makes it clear that Mary Ann Salmon had died but the thousand pounds was to be divided amongst her children.
Elizabeth Hodges died in Thornbury in 1846.
Caroline Lewis. An indenture of December 26th 1850 refers to the house as “formerly in the occupation Mrs Elizabeth Hodges deceased but now of Mrs Caroline Lewis widow”. Read more about Caroline Lewis
Eliza Lane. In the 1851 census 4 Castle Street was occupied by Eliza Lane, a widow aged about 58 from Thornbury and her daughters, Lydia a 33 year old school mistress born in Corsham and 14 year old Mary E. born in Thornbury. They had one servant. Click here to read more
Frederick Scarlett. Frederick moved into the house on his marriage in June 1851. He died in 1859 and by the 1861 Census the house was empty. Read more about Richard Scarlett and his son Frederick
Mrs Mary O’Brien. In 1888 there was an indenture relating to the property next door that refers to number 4 Castle Street being occupied by “Elizabeth Hodges, Frederick Scarlett, Mary O’Brien, John Morgan, Joseph Young Sturge on the south/south east side”. It is clear that this is number 4 Castle Street and we have other evidence of the rest of the people in the list of names. However, at this time we regret that we have no record whatsoever about this lady and we would be very grateful for any further information at all.
John Morgan. In 1851 John Morgan was living in Castle Street but not at number 4 but actually rather lower down the street than this. We do not know when John Morgan was actually living in this house but he died in 1865. It would seem possible that John Morgan lived at 4 Castle Street some time in the period 1859 to 1864. Read more about John Morgan
Elizabeth Cornock. By at least 1867, and probably from around 1864, the house was occupied by Mrs Elizabeth Cornock. Read more about Elizabeth Cornock and her family
Charles Olds. In the rate books of 1876, 1877 and 1879 the house that is now 4 Castle Street in Thornbury was occupied by Charles Olds but owned by Richard Scarlett.
The 1871 census shows that the family lived at Morton and that Charles’s shop at 15 High Street was being used by a tailor, George Morgan. It is not clear why Charles rented 4 Castle Street from Richard Scarlett. He continued to own the shop in the High Street. However he seems to have moved from the farm at Morton into the house at 4 Castle Street for a few years. The rate books from 1876 to 1879 make it clear he was renting 4 Castle Street and the trade directories of the period also refer to Castle Street as his private address. Click here to read about Charles Olds [menu_anchor name=”commeline”]
Joseph Young Sturge. In 1880 the rate book showed that J Y Sturge occupied 4 Castle Street which was owned by Richard Scarlett. In the 1881 census they were living there with their daughter Mary then aged 25 born in Thornbury. In 1890 Joseph Young Sturge was living in this house now owned by the Trustees of the late Richard Scarlett. Click here to read about Joseph Young Sturge
Grace Commeline. In 1894 the rate book shows that Grace Commeline was occupying the house and garden owned by the Trustees of the late Richard Scarlett at 4 Castle Street. It is not clear how long Miss Commeline stayed at this house, as by 1899 the rate book shows that she was renting a house from Henry Craven St John further down Castle Street at The Priory.
Grace Commeline was born on 12th December 1859 and her birth was registered at Shipston on Stour, Gloucestershire. She was the daughter of Thomas Commeline a much respected “managing clerk” of the Gloucestershire Bank. The term “managing clerk” appears to equate to local branch manager. Thomas was a well known local cricketer and an active member of his church in Moreton in Marsh. He contributed significantly to its restoration.
We know that Grace was not the only child of Thomas and Emily Commeline. Two years earlier there had been the announcement of the birth of a daughter to Thomas in Moreton in Marsh on January 1st 1857. This was Grace’s sister Alice Commeline who in 1887 married Henry Hume Lloyd. She also had two brothers. Charles Ernest was born in 1856 and the birth of another brother Archibald Samuel was registered in June 1858.
On 22nd December 1860 “Jacksons Oxford Journal” announced the death on December 14th of Grace’s mother Emily Charlotte. She had died in child birth and her baby was still born. The shops were closed and the blinds were drawn in the houses in Moreton in Marsh.
The 1861 census shows that Grace was a year old and was living with her family in the Gloucestershire Bank in the High Street of Moreton in Marsh Gloucestershire. It shows that her father Thomas, the manager of the bank, was a widower aged 39. He was looking after after his young family, Archibald 8, Charles aged 5 and baby Grace with the help of a cook and a nursemaid, a footman and a housemaid. We do not know why Grace’s sister Alice Commeline was not in this Census.
Grace’s father, Thomas appears to have married Emily Margaret Prosser in the September quarter of 1862. The marriage was registered in Cirencester. Emily Margaret Commeline died in Cirencester aged 33 in Sept 1870 as did her baby, Rachel Maude Commeline.
The 1871 census shows that Thomas aged 49 and widowed once again had a large young family. Grace aged 11 was a scholar. Her siblings, Alice aged 14, Francis aged seven, Edith aged five and Frederick also aged five were also of school age. Baby Margaret Laura was only two years old. Probably the children were being taught at home as they had a governess Eliza Wells. The household also had two servants and a nurse.
In 1881 Grace aged 21 was living in Gloucester with her father Thomas who was a bank manager in Eastgate Street. At this time only the girls of the family were at home Alice aged 24 and their two younger sisters Edith Emily 15 and Margaret Laura 12.
Thomas Commeline died in Amberley, Christchurch Road on 31st January 1890 aged 78. His will was proved by Harry Fitzgerald Shute and his two sons Charles (who was a captain in the Royal Engineers and lived near Exeter) and Archibald who was a minister of the church in York.
The 1891 census shows that Grace was living at number 8 Castle Street with Mrs Porter, who was the wife of the Thornbury Bank Manager, Charles Augustus Porter. Mrs Porter had been Mary Ann Petvin before she married Charles Porter in Wells. In this census Edith was said to be a 31 year old spinster from Moreton in the Marsh living with a servant Hester Blizzard.
By 1911 Grace was living with her widowed sister Alice Lloyd at Fairfield House.
The register compiled in 1939 in the advent of war shows that Grace had two other people living in the house at that time. These were Margaret Green, born 31 October 1885, a housekeeper and William Green, born 25 August 1895, who was a roadworker for Gloucestershire County Council.
The electoral registers show that she continued to live in Castle Street at various addresses until 1950. We know that there is a lease dated 1st February 1934, by which Edmund Commeline Lloyd and John Gammon Wicks agreed to lease the property “situate on the north side of Castle Street opposite the road leading to Kington” to Grace Commeline. This was the house called Threeways in Castle Street. Grace lived there for the rest of her life. She died in Thornbury aged 90 on April 24th 1950. The parish magazine of June 1950 gives tribute to her service to the church and her work for the Coral League of the Universities Mission to Central Africa. Up almost to the time of her death she was stitching and repairing the burses and veils used at Communion Service. The article mentioned her extreme deafness from birth that had cut her off from other people and how well and uncomplainingly she bore that problem.
One of Grace’s sisters travelled extensively, presumably as a missionary. Margaret Laura Commeline died 6th October 1915 in Kadun, Northern Nigeria. She had obviously maintained her links with Thornbury as her address was given as “of Thornbury” and her executors were Lionel Williams and her solicitor, John Gammon Wicks. Two of Grace’s sisters married men who lived in Castle Street, Thornbury. First, Alice Commeline married Henry Hume Lloyd of Fairfield House in 1887 and then Edith Emily Commeline married Dr Lionel Williams of Oriel House in Castle Street in July 1891.
Frances Elizabeth Westcombe. In 1899 the rate book shows that Frances Elizabeth Westcombe was occupying the property owned by the trustees of the late Richard Scarlett at 4 Castle Street. The 1901 census shows that Frances Westcombe was living there and that she was a widow aged 45 from Gaunts Earthcott living on her own means. She had a servant Agnes Hamlett from Gloucester and a lodger Caroline K Gilson aged 59 from Chelmsford in Essex.
Frances Savery was born in the June quarter of 1856 and was the daughter of Mark Savery a blacksmith and his wife Eliza a dressmaker. They were living in Gaunts Earthcott. In 1871 she was at a boarding school in Upper Back Street in Clifton. She married Thomas Westcombe in the March quarter of 1878 in Thornbury. In the 1891 census she was living in the High Street in Thornbury with her husband Thomas a grocer from Boxford in Berks with a servant Annie Savery. We know that there was a partnership trading in Thornbury as Councell and Westcombe. We know that “Councell” was the family of Edward Gough Councell who was also associated with this house. We believe that “Westcombe” was Thomas Westcombe, Frances’ husband . We do not know what the connection is between the families, if any. Thomas Bradfield Westcombe died on 20th July 1899 aged 47. A newspaper report of 26th July 1899 describes his funeral at the Thornbury Wesleyan Chapel. Two of his brothers were Methodist ministers. The article makes it clear that although Thomas had lived in Thornbury for twenty five years he had recently moved to Clevedon. The service was attended by a large number of Methodist circuit stewards and representatives of various chapels.
In the 1902 trade directory Frances was shown to be living at Wellspring House which is the name used for number 4 Castle Street to this day. Frances had actually become Mrs Robinson in 1901 following he marriage to George Robinson. In the 1911 census they were living at Lyndhurst, Alexandra Park, Bristol. George was described as a supernumerary Wesleyan Methodist Minister aged 74 and born in Cumberland. Frances was aged 54. Frances died aged 80 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 23rd June 1941.
By 1905 Samuel Fudge had moved into this house. Read more about Samuel Fudge