The present owners of Threeways House at 56 Castle Street in Thornbury, Mr and Mrs Hill, have been kind enough to let us see the deeds of their property. From these we have learned a little about the people who owned the property and those who lived in it. Please click here to read about the owners of the house
The house is a fascinating one and there are many interesting aspects of the property. Click here to read about some of them.
The first person that we have learned about who lived here but did not also own the property was William Bevan.
William Bevan. The 1840 Tithe Survey and the census of 1841 shows that Threeways, then owned by John Powell junior, was occupied by William Bevan. The census shows that William Bevan was a tailor aged 57 at the time of the census. He was living in the property with his wife Ann who was aged 73. Ann Bevan was buried in Thornbury on July 8th 1845 aged 77 years.
William was probably the second son of James Bevan and his wife Joan Neal. He was born 7th January 1784 and baptised at St Mary’s Church in Thornbury on 8th April 1784.
We do not know when William Bevan left Threeways but when the indenture between John Powell and Thomas Powell was drawn up in 1845 the house was said to have been “lately in the occupation of Hester Higgins and now void.” This implies that William Bevan had moved some time between 1841 and 1844/5. The 1851 Census shows that William Bevan aged 67 and widowed was living alone in one of the three old houses on the site of 3 and 4 the Plain in Thornbury. William Bevan was buried in Thornbury on 28th January 1857 aged 72 years.
Hester Higgins. When the indenture between John Powell and Thomas Powell was drawn up in 1845 the house was said to have been “lately in the occupation of Hester Higgins and now void.” We do not know anything about Hester Higgins.
Thomas Powell and Thomas Lydiatt (or Liddiatt) In a lease dated 25th March 1862, Caroline Lewis agreed to rent “a house and garden in Thornbury late in the occupation of Thomas Powell, stone cutter” to Thomas Lyddiatt (a shoemaker).
In the census of 1861 Thomas Liddiatt (sic) aged 36 and unmarried had been a boarder in this property. The occupant of the house had been Thomas Liddiatt’s uncle Thomas Powell a mason.
Thomas Liddiatt was born about 1825 in Thornbury. He was the son of Henry Liddiatt who had married Susanna Powell in 1821. Thomas’s mother Susanna Liddiatt died in Thornbury and was buried on 16th December 1836 aged 40 years. By the 1841 Census Thomas aged only 14 was a labourer. He was living in the household of William and Ann Powell in what later became Clematis Cottage in Castle Street. Thomas was William’s nephew as his mother Susanna was a sister of William. William and his wife Ann must have given their nephew a home.
Thomas was also the nephew of another brother of Susanna Powell, John Powell who never married. John left two properties in St John Street to be shared by his nephews and niece: William Coleman railway porter of Highbridge, James Coleman, grocer of St Pauls, Bristol, John Coleman beerhouse keeper of St Pauls, Gloucestershire, Louisa Park, widow of Thornbury, and Thomas Liddiatt, cordwainer of Thornbury.
The 1871 Census shows Thomas was a shoemaker aged 46. He appears to have sub-tenants of his own Thomas Latter aged 45 a butler from Olveston and his wife Mary Ann aged 44 from Berkeley and his family. Read about Thomas Latter
By 1881 Thomas Liddiatt was living on his own and was 56 years old and had remained unmarried. He was still working as a shoemaker. Thomas died in Thornbury and was buried on 10th November 1887 aged 62.
Charles Sewell appears in the rate book of 1887 as a tenant of the trustees of Caroline Lewis. The name of the previous tenant Thomas Liddiatt was crossed through which indicates that the change of tenancy had probably occurred that year. An indenture of 1888 between the owner of the property and the owner of the neighbouring property concerning access to the pump describes this house as “Sewell’s Cottage.”
The 1891 census shows that Charles Sewell then aged 26 was a plumber from Wales. Mary his wife aged 29 came from Dorset. They had five children at the time of the Census; William aged five, Ethel aged four, Edgar aged two George aged one and a baby Archibald. Charles’s brother William lived in the household. He was 15 years old. Richard Goodhind a 19 year old gardener also lodged there.
In 1881 Charles had been living in Great Malvern in Worcestershire with his widowed mother a laundress called Elizabeth who was a widow. We believe that he married Mary Ann Childs in the area of Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire in 1884. Charles’s name does not appear in the rate books for Thornbury of 1885 but the couple were living somewhere in Thornbury at that time as their first child William Charles Sewell was baptised at St Mary’s Church in Thornbury on 23rd May 1885. Charles was said to be a plumber at that time and in all of the records for the baptisms of his subsequent children.
Four more children followed in rapid succession; Ethel Mabel was baptised on 14th May 1887, Edgar Ronald on 8th October 1888, George Henry on 2nd October 1889, Archibald Robert on 8th April 1891.
After the census in 1893 on 3rd May another child Edmund Howard Sewell was baptised in Thornbury. Interestingly Charles and Mary Ann had the address of Castle Street Thornbury in the baptism record. Usually the record just says Thornbury. The rate book of 1894 confirms that Charles Sewell was renting Threeways from Henry Hume Lloyd. Some time during the next two or three years the family left Thornbury and moved to Monmouthshire.
The census of 1901 confirms that the family lived in Monmouthshire in Wales. Charles and Mary Ann had yet another child, Godfrey aged 4 who was born in Monmouthshire.
The 1911 census showed that Charles and Mary Ann had been married for 27 years and had had ten children. Two of them had died. Four of their children still lived at home George aged 21, Tom aged 14, Ethel aged 24 and Mary aged 7. Charles was still a plumber.
John and Emma Brooks. The 1901 census shows that Threeways was occupied by John and Mary Brooks. John Brooks was aged 51 and a carpenter from Thornbury. His wife Emma was aged 48 and from Cirencester. They had three sons; William aged 15 a groom, Charles aged 11 and Frederick aged 4. Charles Hopkins aged 26 was their lodger.
We believe that John was the son of John and Mary Brooks who lived at Upper Marlwood Lodge on the Marlwood estate. John was baptised 28th October 1849. The 1861 census shows him living at the lodge with his parents and his sister Elizabeth aged six. The censuses of 1871 and 1881 show that he continued to live there alone with his widowed mother. John’s mother Emma later lived at the Stafford Alms houses in St Mary Street.
John Brooks married Emma Ratcliffe in the Cirencester District in 1881. The 1891 census shows us that the family lived first in Gillingstool. John was aged 41 and a carpenter. Emma was 38 and had three children; Rose aged eight, William John aged five (born 1885) and Sidney Charles (born 1890) one year old. Frederick George Brooks was baptised 4th October 1896.
We know that John and Emma Brooks rented the property in Castle Street from Henry Lloyd from at least 1899. Trade Directories showed that John Brooks traded as a carpenter in Castle Street from at least 1899 to 1910. By 1905 John was a tenant of Henry Lloyd’s widow, Alice Lloyd. John Brooks died aged 60 on April 25th 1910 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 29th April 1910.
The rate book of 1910 shows that Emma Brooks had taken over the tenancy and rented the property from Alice Lloyd. The 1911 census shows Emma was a widow then aged 58 who had been married for 29 years. The census tells us that she had five children four of whom were still alive. Her son Frederick was the only child at home with her at this time and aged 14 he was still at school. Frederick Brooks was born on 23rd July 1896 and was enrolled in the National School (later St Mary’s C of E School) in 1900. Frederick left the school in 1909 to attend Thornbury Grammar School. Frederick left Thornbury Grammar School in 1912 when he was “articled to an engineer.”
Frederick enlisted in the army in the First World War on 7th August 1914 at the age of 18. He was twice wounded and after his second wound he returned to France and took part in the Battle of Ypres. On 31st May 1918 Corporal F G Brooks was awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an attack. At this time he was serving with the London Regiment. The citation said that
“at a critical stage of the operation he carried an important message from his company commander to battalion headquarters under heavy machine-gun and shell fire. Subsequently he carried several messages forward under heavy fire and brought back important information. He showed splendid imitative and determination.”
In the 1911 census Emma Brooks had two lodgers, one whom was boarding with her. Samuel John Chaston was a groom, a single man aged 41. Susan Jones a pensioner from Thornbury aged 81 was the other lodger.
In 1925 and 1926 Emma Brooks appeared in the rate books as a tenant of Alice Lloyd. She continued to appear in the electoral registers for Castle Street in 1927 and 1931. Emma died September 28th 1933 and was buried in Thornbury with her husband.
Emma’s daughter, Rose Brooks died 22nd March 1943 in South Ealing. Frederick died in 1959.
Grace Commeline. In a lease dated 1st February 1934, 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. The rent was set at £10 per annum for three years and then £30 per annum for a further four years. The discount may have taken into account that Grace undertook to carry out renovation work, as set out by Thornbury builder Phillip Hawkins in a lengthy list which he estimated would cost £117.17.0d.
Grace Commeline was the daughter of a bank manager Thomas Commeline and a member of a very influential family in Thornbury. Read more about Grace Commeline.
Grace lived there for the rest of her life. The FreeBMD website shows that she died in Thornbury aged 90 in 1950. The 1950 electoral roll shows that Grace Commeline lived at “Threeways.”