The properties that became 10A, 12 and 14 Chapel Street in Thornbury had a shared history. They occupied a plot of land that is shown as number 116 on the Tithe Survey map here on the left.
The houses that we have called 10A and 12 Chapel Street have given us many problems. It is very difficult to be sure who was living in this property. We are able only to make a “best guess” about their early occupants and which of the two houses they lived in. The numbering is unusual and we only know it applies to these two house because in 1958 the then owner Bertha Annie Winter sold number 14 and two other properties which are called 10A and 12. We do not know how the property was divided between 10a and 12 or what the houses looked like, nor do we know why 10A was given that number and was not called 12 or 12A. We would be most grateful for any description, further details or photographs to help us give a more detailed history of this part of Chapel Street.
With these provisos we think that the following families occupied number 12 Chapel Street.
Matthew Mills. The 1840 Tithe Apportionment seems to indicate that Matthew Mills was occupying a property owned by Robert Ann. The 1841 census shows that Matthew appears to have moved to The Plain. The property that we have called 12 Chapel Street appears to be unoccupied for a time as there was an empty household next door to William Lippiatt in the 1841 census.
Hugh Davis. The 1851 census shows that Hugh Davis lived in what we believe to be this property. He was a cordwainer from Thornbury aged 41 living with his wife Elizabeth aged 40 who was a bootbinder. Both their older sons Frederick aged 16 and Alfred aged 18 were errand boys. The two girls, Mary Ann aged nine and Hester aged five were at school. The youngest John was aged only two. They had a lodger called Orlando Walker a road labourer aged 17. In 1841 Hugh and his family had lived at 57 St Mary Street.
The 1861 census shows that the property was unoccupied.
William Smart. By the 1871 census William Smart aged 34 lived in this property with his family. He was an agricultural labourer from Thornbury. His wife was Hannah Smart aged 32. Their children included George aged 10 Henry aged seven and Albert aged three. By 1880 Hannah was living in 47 St Mary Street and she was a widow. Read more about Hannah Smart.
William Bendall. In 1876 the rate book shows that William Bendall was now renting a property from James Martin which we believe was 12 Chapel Street. There is more than one generation of William Bendall in Thornbury but we believe that this one was living at 2 Sawmill Lane by 1881.
John Smith. In the rate book of 1880 John Smith was renting a property from James Martin. John Smith is not an uncommon name and we do not know which one was referred to here. A father and son both called John Smith lived at 5 St John Street one of which may be the one in question.
We believe the property was probably vacant in the 1881 census.
John and Eliza Prewett. In the 1891 census the house was occupied by John Prewett aged 29 a general labourer from Olveston. His wife Eliza was aged 25. They had three children; Annie aged six, George aged five and Charles aged three. George Prewett aged 54 a general labourer was described as a lodger.
John Prewett was the son of another John Prewett, also a labourer. John was a coal miner who was born in Olveston when he was lodging in St Mary Street in the census of 1881. He married Eliza Jane Jefferies then aged only 19 on 24th December 1883. As they appear in the rate book of 1885 for this house it seems likely that the moved into it soon after their marriage.
Their daughter Annie was baptised in Thornbury on 7th December 1884. A son Charles Prewett was baptised 1st April 1888, Elsie on 1st December 1889 and Henry on 10th November 1891. Elsie died aged aged only one year and two months and was buried on 10th January 1891. They had another daughter named Elsie after the one who had died. Elsie Mary Prewett was baptised on 5th November 1893.
The 1901 census shows us that John Prewett and his family lived in four rooms at this address. John was aged 39 and working as a labourer on the roads. Eliza was aged 35. Two of their sons had become labourers; George aged 15 and Charles aged 13. Henry aged 9 and Elsie aged 7 were still at school.
The 1911 census shows that John Prewett aged 50 had been married for 27 years to Eliza Prewett aged 45. They had had six children, five of whom survived. They had two children living with them Henry Prewett aged 19 and Elsie Prewett aged 17.
Eliza Jane died on January 11th 1913 aged 46. Her memorial inscription suggests that she had been in ill health for some time; “They sorrow ended thy crown is won. How sweet to sleep on that blest shore, Where pain and sorrow are no more.” We believe that John Prewett continued to live in the house after his wife’s death. When it was sold in 1916 it was still said to be in the occupation of John Prewett. John died in 1920.
Henry Webb jnr appeared to live in this property according to the rate books of 1925 and 1926. The electoral rolls for 1931 show that Thomas and Evelyn Webb lived in Chapel Street. This seemed as though it was an error but we believe it can be explained by the fact that Albert Henry Webb (who seems to be Henry Webb jnr in the rate book) died in 1927 aged 36. He was described as a builder’s labourer when buried in the Cemetery on 23rd April 1927. It seems that his widow Evelyn then married Albert’s brother, Thomas, in Thornbury’s Methodist Chapel in 1928. We assume that they continued to live in this property until about 1932 when their daughter Ruth was born in Old Down. Click here to read about the Webb family
Harold Edward Weekes – the register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war lists Harold and Bessie Weekes in 12 Chapel Street. Harold Edward Weekes was a nurseryman born on 26th March 1898. There were two other persons listed as living with Harold and Bessie in 1939. Their names were ‘blacked out’ so we cannot identify them.
Harold was the son of Edward Weekes and his wife Mary who lived in Alveston in 1901. Harold married Bessie Poulton in the Bristol Registration District in 1925. Bessie was born on 24th April 1906, the daughter of Maurice and Emily Poulton.
Harold and Bessie’s son Edward John was born in 1926 and when he started school at the Council School in Thornbury in 1931 the family still lived at Crossways. The address of Crossways is crossed through and Chapel Street is added which implies that he family moved into Chapel Street before 1940 when Edward John left the school. Another son Raymond Harold who was born on 26th December 1937 was baptised in the United Reformed Church in Chapel Street in 1938. Leslie was born in 1940, presumably while the family lived in 12 Chapel Street and his brother Gerald was born in 1943.
The electoral rolls show that they were still living in this house from 1946 to 1958. By 1961 they had moved to Eastland Avenue. We understand that Raymond ran a driving school and taxi company from 13 St John Street