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Stokefield Cottages


By the time this photograph above was taken the cottages at Stokefield in Castle Street Thornbury had become one cottage with a building attached that had once been an old stable.  Both buildings had been converted and were used by the owners Thornbury Rural District Council as a cottage for the caretaker and storage space and later as offices.  They have since been demolished and incorporated into the modern South Gloucestershire Council Offices.  These offices were in turn demolished and by 2019 accommodation for retired people was opened on this site.

The earliest indenture dated 1823 shows that Stokefield Cottages were originally one building which was divided into two properties.  Two further houses were built on the land associated with the property.  The site of the two last properties is not absolutely clear.  In the Tithe Map drawn up around 1840 they appear to have been built onto the end of the row along the line of Castle Street.  The cottages were all given the Tithe Apportionment number of 28.

Extract from Tithe Map of 1840 showing Stokefield Cottages

One Property

We know from the will of Guy Thurston dated 1829 that there was a period when the original house was owned by Daniel Thurston.  The Land Tax records of 1832 onwards also show that this property was worth £9 12 0 when it was later owned by James Barnett and that he was liable to pay 5/- tax.  Looking at the earlier Land Tax records it is possible to trace a property owned by Daniel Thurston.  It had a similar value and taxable rate and we have provisionally assumed that this was the same property as that owned by James Barnett.

John Lewis.  Tax records for an Assessment for the Relief of the Poor dated 1769 and 1770 show that Daniel Thurston owned a property called Kings which was tenanted by John Lewis.   Unfortunately this is not an uncommon name and it is not possible to identify John Lewis with any certainty.  We know that a John Lewis was a juror for the Court Leet in various records from 1755 to at least 1762.  We also have a record dated 1769 of John Lewis being associated with a close of land near the Hackett.  Scribes Alcove website says that a John Lewis was buried on 22nd January 1771 aged 75 and he was formerly a mariner.  We cannot assume that all these records relate to the same John Lewis.

Timothy Cullimore.  The records from 1780 to 1784 show that the property owned by Daniel Thurston was rented by Timothy Cullimore.  Timothy Cullimore’s name appears in documents relating to another Castle Street property at 28 and 28A. 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.   It may be significant that a man named Timothy Cullimore died in Thornbury and was buried there on 26th August 1785.

William Walker.  In 1800 it was occupied by William Walker and in 1809 and 1810 by Mary Walker. Sadly these are common names and it would be easy to make a wrong assumption.  Provisionally we think that William Walker may have been the butcher who died in 1807 aged 46 years.  The name William Walker occurs in the history of a property in what later became Chapel Street that had been one property and then was subdivided and new premises built on this property had a butcher’s shop and stable used by William Walker.  This property was later occupied by Thomas Walker a butcher who was presumably connected to William Walker.

Mary Edmunds.  By 1812 Mary Edmunds occupied a property owned by Daniel Thurston.  This is likely to have been Mary Edmunds or Edmonds of 59 and 61 St Mary Street. Click here to read more

John Longden.  The records for 1814 and 1821 show John Longden.  John Longden married Hannah Edmunds on 20th April 1796.  Click here to read more

We are unable to explain why the land tax records for for 1819 show Simon Slade in what appears to be the same property.

The earliest indenture we have that gives us definite information about the occupants of Stokefield Cottages in Castle Street is dated 7th May 1823.

This described this property as “All that the said messuage or tenement wherein Susannah Facey formerly inhabited and afterwards void ………… which said messuage or tenement hath been since converted into two messuages or tenements and are now in the respective occupations of Samuel Collins the younger and John Gastrell as tenants thereof.

One messuage divided into two

We have no explanation as to why Susannah Facey does not appear in the land tax records that we believe show this property.  It seems possible that Susannah Facey died in 1816 aged 71 years and was buried in Thornbury on 15th September.

Samuel Collins the younger.  We believe that this would have been the best known of the Thornbury clock-making family of Collins or Collings.  When Samuel Collings married Elizabeth Harris on 3rd May 1814 in Thornbury his abode was said to have been Chipping Sodbury.  However we know that he rented a property in Thornbury from the Feoffees of the Grammar School as early as November 1806 which may have just been a business premises.  We know that by 1839 he was living and trading in the High Street in Thornbury.  It seems likely that Samuel lived in one of the two cottages built out of one house at Stokefield in the first quarter of the nineteenth century.  Click here to read more

The Gastrells.  The indenture of 1823 says that the property was already occupied by John Gastrell.  John Gastrell married Mary Ravenhill on 21st April 1808.  Their son George was baptised on 14th July 1813.  When their daughter Maria was baptised on 30th October 1822 the family was said to live at Kington.  We believe that John’s wife Mary Gastrell died in 1833 aged 55 years.  John was a cooper and the Robsons Directory of 1839 shows that he was not only trading as a cooper but also hiring out horses.  The trade directory also says that that he lived in “Church Street” which was an old name for what is now Castle Street.  This is confirmed by the Tithe Apportionment Map of 1840 which shows that one of the cottages and gardens was occupied by John Gastrell.

John’s daughter Maria Gastrell married William Chitts a labourer and son of John Chitts on 11th September 1839.

The 1841 census shows that John Gastrell was living in one of these cottages at Stokefield and that he was aged about 60.  The Census shows that he was trading as a cooper.  He was sharing his household with his son George aged about 32 who was also a cooper, George’s wife Flora aged 34 and their son John Chitts Gastrell aged 5.

John’s son George Gastrell had married Flora Chitts, the sister of Ursula Chitts of 46 Castle Street.  Flora was born on 6th November 1808 and was the daughter of William and Ursula Chitts.

John was buried in Thornbury on 15th November 1856 aged 78 years.  George Gastrell who was a cooper and “job ustler” was buried on 6th January 1859.

The 1861 census shows that the widowed Flora Gastrell aged 53 lived with her son James aged 12 in Stokefield Cottages.  She earned a living by renting out horses for hire.  The 1859 rate book Flora Gastrell rented both a house and a shop from Mrs Neale.  The rate books of 1862 and 1867 continued to show that Mrs Neale now owned these four cottages and that one of these houses and a shop were rented by Mrs Gastrell.  In 1871 Flora Gastrell was aged 63 and living with her son James aged 23 and working as a coachman.  We know that Flora continued to live in this property until at least 1876.  By 1881 she was living at 12 The Plain with her son John Chitts Gastrell.  Flora was in receipts of Parochial Relief.  She died aged 77 and was buried on 13th April 1885 in Thornbury.

Flora’s son John Chitts Gastrell married Elizabeth Smith on 15th May 1862.  Click here to read more

An indenture of 12th December 1832 also says that James Barnett was living in one of the pair of houses made from the house divided into two (John Gastrell lived in the other).

James Barnett owned the cottages.  The Land Tax records of 1824 through to 1832 show that James Barnett owned and occupied the property until 1837.  Click here to read about James Barnett.

The indenture of 1823 goes on to refer to “all those two small messuages or tenements some time since erected and built on part of the said garden or orchard and premises now in the respective occupations of Henry Baker and William Limbrick.”

Two small messuages since erected

Henry Baker.  The 1809 rent roll shows that Henry Baker was a tenant of “Latteridge” which was a close of land owned by John Crowther.  Henry Baker married Sarah Knight on 26th September 1791.  They appear to have lived in The Priory in Castle Street.  In his will dated 11th January 1808, John Crowther (the then owner of property that included The Priory) referred to the fact that the house and yard and the two closes of land associated with the house were occupied by Henry Baker.  By 1819 when it was sold The Priory was occupied by Thomas Smith.  By 1823 we know that Henry Baker was living in a cottage in Stokefield.  Sarah Baker may have died in 1823.   Click here to read more about Henry Baker

William Limbrick and Ann Limbrick.  William Limbrick married Anne Holland on 27th December 1790.  We know that by 1840 Ann Limbrick was living in the Stafford Almshouses.  Read more about William and Ann Limbrick

An indenture of the 12th December 1832 describes “all those two small messuages or tenements sometime since erected and built on part of the said garden or orchard and premises formerly in the several occupations of Henry Baker and William Limbrick afterwards of Ann Limbrick and John Boulton as tenants thereof. ” 

By the 1840 Tithe Map the properties were owned by John Corbett Neale and were occupied by John Gastrell, Thomas Hopkin, George Gastrell, John Boulton and James Bevan.

It is hard to determine how what had been four properties had become five.  Every one of these was described as a “house and garden” in the Tithe Apportionment.  John Gastrell appears to have remained in the same property but it is possible that George Gastrell was using the stable for his business as an ostler.  We know that John Gastrell was living in part of the original house that had been divided into two.  John Boulton lived in one of the two houses built after the original house had been divided into two.

John Boulton.  In the 1841 census John was living with his family in one of the Stokefield Cottages in Castle Street opposite the Chantry.  John was an agricultural labourer aged about 40 and his wife Elizabeth was said to be about 30.  At that time they had five children living at home Ann, Hannah, John, Elizabeth and Rosena (or Rosina).  Click here to read more

After this period we are not certain precisely who occupied which of the properties that we have called Stokefield Cottages.

James Bevan.  The 1840 Tithe Map and the 1841 census shows that one of the inhabitants of the houses at Stokefield was James Bevan.  The 1841 census shows he was aged about 30 years old and a carpenter.  His wife Elizabeth was also 30 year old.  Their children were Elizabeth aged 10, Louisa aged 7 Ann aged 6 and Francis aged 2.  By 1851 he had moved to 4 Pullins and then 7 Pullins Green.  Read more about James Bevan, the son of James Bevan junior

Thomas Hopkins.  The Tithe Survey of 1840 shows that Thomas Hopkins occupied one of these cottages at Stokefield.  The 1841 census shows a rather unexpected arrangement.  It appears to show that the head of the household was away and the occupants were Lucy Hopkins aged 16, Thomas aged 15 and Jane aged 14 .  We cannot explain why but the rest of the family is shown in this census as a separate household; William Hopkins aged 12 and John Hopkins aged 10.  Click here to read more

Catherine Gibbs. The census of 1851 appears to show that Catherine Gibbs lived in one of these cottages with her daughter Ann a corset maker.  By 1861 Catherine had moved to live in one of the Stafford’s Almshouses in St Mary Street.   Click here to read about Catherine Gibbs.

The 1861 census shows that the four cottages were occupied by Lewis Davis, William Fackrell, Nathaniel Bartlett and Flora Gastrell.

Lewis Davis – the 1859 rate book and the 1861 census shows that one of the cottages at Stokefield was occupied by Lewis Davis aged 43 a painter and his wife Eliza aged 44.  The household included their son Walter and a visitor Anna Franklin aged 69.  Eliza died in 1864 and Lewis died in 1870 aged 54.  Click here to read about Lewis and his family

By the 1871 census Lewis’s son, Walter, had become a journeyman painter and he was living with his grandmother Hannah Franklin in Stokefield Cottages in Castle Street.  Click here to read about Walter Davis

Nathaniel Bartlett.  The 1861 census shows that one of the Stokefield Cottages was occupied by Nathaniel Bartlett.  Nathaniel was a mason and his wife Rhoda was a dressmaker.  By 1867 he had moved across the street to 46 Castle Street.

William and Ann Fackrell.  By 1861 William and Ann Fackrell had moved into one of the cottages at Stokefield.  William was a 62 year old cordwainer.  He was born in East Brent in Somerset about 1799. Hannah his wife was aged 63 and was from Thornbury.  A website on Ancestry tells us that William was the son of James Fackrell and his wife Elizabeth nee Hughes.  This seems unlikely as James Fackrell was said to have been born in 1724 and so would have been 75 when his son was born.

They were still living in the house in 1871 by this time there was an empty house between the Fackrells and Walter Davis.  William Fackrell died in Thornbury in 1874 aged 75.  Hannah died in 1878 aged 80.  We have no further information about this couple.

Lovesey.  By the 1871 census the house between the Fackrells and Walter Davis was occupied by a widow Mrs Lovesey who remained there until 1879.  

Ann Lovesey then aged 62 and a semptress was a visitor with Edward Salmon in Silver Street.  We believe that this Ann Lovesey was married to Thomas Livesey who in the 1851 census was a 68 year old Chelsea pensioner from Cheltenham living in Kington.  Thomas then said to be living in Crossways was buried on 29th November 1858 aged 74.  Ann Lovesey died aged 79 and was buried on 25th June 1877.

George Marshman or Maishment – according to the gas rate books in 1877 and 1879 the property was occupied by George Marshman.  We have no record of anyone called Marshman.  We know however that George Maishment lived in Thornbury at this time in 1875 in one of the houses of Henry Craven St John and we suspect that George Maishment was the same person described as George Marshman.  By 1881 George Maishment had moved to the house that became known as 8 Pullins Green.   Read more about George and his family

By the rate book 1880 the only possible tenant of these cottages was Walter Davis who that year moved into 1 St John Street.

James Tremain (or Tremain or Tremayne).  By 1885 the rate books show that there was still only one tenant and that was James Tremaine a groom from Chawley in Devon who in the 1881 census had been part of the household of Henry Craven St John and working as a his groom.  In 1871 James could have been a farm servant on Mr Shopland’s farm Trenchards in Eggerton in Devon.  On 13th April 1882 James then aged 23 married Ann Bevan aged 33 in Thornbury.  Ann was the daughter of Thomas Bevan a publican of the Seven Stars in Rock Street.  On 25th June 1884 when their daughter Winniefred (sic) Annie Tremain was baptised their address was Stokefield and James was said to be a coachman there.  By 1901 James had become what appears to be a coffeehouse keeper in Bath.  By this time he was living with his wife Annie who was aged 53 and from Thornbury.

In the indenture of 8th May 1890 the property was part of the purchase for £2050 by the trustees of the late Mrs Rodney from Henry Craven St John property that included “all that piece or parcel of land situate lying and being on the west side of the High Street in Thornbury .. with the stables coachhouse shed and other buildings thereon and formerly described as all that messuage or tenement wherein Susan Facey formerly inhabited.

This would suggest that the original property was no longer divided into two houses but was at best a coachhouse with rooms for the coachman.

Thomas Stiff.  The 1891 census shows that this property was occupied by a coachman called Thomas Stiff and his wife Julia.  Thomas was from Iron Acton and Julia from Weare in Somerset.  Thomas had married Julia Brice in the Axbridge area in 1889.  Thomas was the son of George Stiff, a coachman, and his wife Mary.  In 1881 Thomas was a coachman in Winterbourne in Gloucestershire.  They had at least two children baptised in Thornbury Eldred Osmond on 4th October 1891 and Norah Rosemary on 6th September 1896.

Eldred Osmond Stiff died aged one in Cork in 1893.  We do not know why the family were in Ireland at this time – whether there is a family link or whether it was part of Thomas Stiff’s duties to travel.  Thomas Stiff appears to have died in Bath aged 38 in 1899.  The 1901 census shows Norah Stiff living with her grandmother Ann Brice in Weare in Somerset.

Daniel Smith.  In 1894 the Special Drainage Rate Book shows that Daniel Smith was a tenant of Henry Craven St John.  We believe that the property was Stokefield Cottage and that Daniel Smith was a gardener for Henry Craven St John in 1894.

Daniel came from Rockhampton and was baptised on 22nd March 1868, the son of a labourer and gardener Henry Smith and his wife Hannah.  The 1871 census shows that Daniel his parents and his sister Fanny lived in Rockhampton.  By the 1881 census he was aged 13 and working as a farm servant at Morton Farm in Gloucester Road just outside Thornbury.  By 1891 he was a lodger in what later became 32 Castle Street with William Symes and his wife Matilda.  

Daniel married Julia Riddle on 3rd September 1892.  Daniel was 25 and Julia was 30 and the daughter of Isaac Riddle of Easton Hill Road.  The couple may have moved into Stokefield Cottage after their marriage.  Daniel does not seem to have worked in Thornbury for very long.  The 1901 census shows that Daniel had become a market gardener in the Hackett outside Thornbury and he and his wife Julia had a daughter Mildred aged 14.  Daniel died on 23rd February 1938 aged 70.  Julia died April 8th 1940 aged 77.  They were buried in Thornbury Cemetery where their daughter Doris Violet Smith aged 79 was later buried on 7th January 1981.

William Maishment.  We believe that it was possible that William Maishment lived at Stokefield Cottage briefly around 1899 when he appears as a tenant of Henry Craven St John in the Rate Book for that year.  The 1901 census shows that if he had been living at Stokefield Cottage he had moved to Cockmead in Kington Lane by 1901.  Click here to read more.

We have no record of any occupant of this property in the 1901 census or in the 1905 rate book.

James George Sims.  The rate book of 1907 shows Admiral St John owned two cottages, one void and one occupied by James George Sims.  The rate book of 1910 shows that Mrs St John owned the cottage and that it was occupied by James George Sims.  The 1911 census shows that at that time James George Sims was aged 34 and that he had been married for six years to his wife Bertha, then aged 33.  James was a coachman from Clifton in Bristol and Bertha was from Spaxton in Somerset.

James was the son of George Colston Sims and his wife Maria.  He was born on 27th December 1876.  The 1901 census shows us that James was working as a coachman in Severn House in Henbury.  The Free BMD website shows that they married in Thornbury in 1904.  A family tree on the Ancestry website says that they married on 15th May 1904.  Bertha’s maiden name was Cavill.

The 1891 census shows that Bertha was the daughter of a farm labourer John Cavill and his wife Rhoda.  They lived near the Crown Inn in Spaxton.

The 1911 census shows James and Bertha Sims had two children – Gwendoline May aged six and George John aged two.  Both children were born in Thornbury.  Gwendoline was baptised in St Mary’s Church in Thornbury on 2nd April 1905.  We believe that they had another son Edward James Sims in Thornbury in 1911.  The electoral register shows that James George Sims still lived in Castle Street in 1918.  We have no record of the family after this time, although Bertha Sims may have died in Bristol in 1934 aged 57.

Gwendoline Sims seems to have married William J Derham in 1931.  Their daughter Gwendoline was born in the Dursley area.

Luke Ball.  The rate books of 1925 and 1926 show that Lady Jenkinson owned this cottage and that it was occupied by Luke Ball.  In the sale catalogue of 1927 this last remaining cottage was described as ” a gardener’s cottage with entrance from Castle Street, stone built and tiled and containing entrance a parlour kitchen scullery and other offices with three bedrooms over. Electric light. At present occupied by gardener on a service occupation. Small enclosed garden.”  The sale also refers to a coach-house with hayloft over and coach-house adjoining with room for two cars.  Stabling with “man’s room over” and butler’s bedroom detached from the house.  Click here to read more

Frederick and Mary Flower.  By the 1950 electoral register the remaining cottage was called Stokefield Lodge and occupied by Frederick James and Mary J Flower.  By 1958 the address had become 19 Castle Street.

We have had some difficulty tracing Frederick James Flower but it seems likely that his birth was registered in Bedminster Somerset and he was brought up in Portishead by his parents John and Mary Flower.

We know that Frederick J Flower married Mary J Whelan in the Long Ashton area of Bristol in 1921.  They seem to have had three children as the births of John F Flower and Doris A Flower were registered in the Bristol area with the mother’s maiden name of Whelan.  Sadly Doris died soon after her birth.

Another child Patrick James Whelan was later admitted to the Council School in Thornbury and had the date of birth of 6th November 1931.  Patrick’s birth was registered in Thornbury in 1931.  The family lived in the Westbury Park area at first as the school records show that John transferred to Thornbury from Westbury Park School in Bristol.

The electoral registers of 1931 and 1932 show that Frederick and Mary Flower lived in the Gloucester Road.  However we have the records of the Council School that say that their children John Frederick Flower and Patrick James Flower lived at “Stokefield Lodge” in 1931 and 1932 when they were admitted to the school.  We cannot explain this discrepancy and merely note that by 1946 the electoral register does show that Flowers lived at Stokefield Lodge.

By 1965 only Mary Flower was registered at this address.  Frederick’s death was registered in Thornbury in 1967.

Edward and Joan Kirtley. In the late 1960\`\s and early 1970s Ted Kirtley was the caretaker for Thornbury Rural District Council and he and his family lived at Stokefield Lodge.  Ted died on 21st April 1981 aged 74 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery.  Joan died on 24th February 1987 aged 67 and was also buried there.

Albert and Beatrice Toye lived at 19 Castle Street by the electoral register of 1980.  Albert Toye and Beatrice Rose were married in the Birmingham area in 1940.  The birth of their son Terence was registered there in 1944.  We assume Albert was caretaker of the Council Offices.

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Douglas and Jean Wright lived in Stokefield Cottage from about 1979/80 and were there until the family moved to Bath Road in 1984/5 so that the house could be demolished and new caretaker’s house built.