James Hodges (1756 – 1825)
We believe that it was James Hodges who built the present Crispin House in Thornbury on the site of the Burnt House Orchard. James was the father of John Hodges and grandfather of George Hodges, both of whom owned and built quite a large number of properties in the area.
James Hodges was a gardener, born in Thornbury in 1756. He was baptised on 4th July 1756, the son of William Hodges and his wife, Sarah (nee Penduck) who were living at Crossways at that time.
On 26th December 1785, he married Hester Shill in Thornbury. She was born November 1765, the daughter of John Shill, a publican who lived for some time at The Cock in the High Street.
A document dated 1st October 1791 shows that Hester Bagnell sold the Burnt House Orchard to James Hodges of Thornbury, gardener for a sum of £75 on 9-10 October 1788. Included in this transaction was ‘one close of arable or pasture ground planted with fruit trees and then used as a garden called Brayes containing one acre’. James Hodges raised a mortgage of £50 from William Cox. There are a series of other deeds relating to James Hodges and his family. One states that James had ‘created and built’ the said “messuage cottage and buildings on the orchard and garden commonly called the Burnthouse Orchard.”
Hester died in April 1824 and was buried in the burial ground of the Friends Meeting House. James Hodges died on 7 June 1825 and was buried in Thornbury St Mary’s Church.
In the Will of James Hodges dated 14th October 1819 he left to his wife Hester ‘all that messuage and dwelling house wherein I now dwell …. and also a small cottage adjoining the said messuage in the occupation of Nathaniel Hill’. He also made provision for his two trustees, John Niblett of Thornbury glazier and Richard Scarlett of Thornbury gentleman to sell the property and his goods after his wife’s death for the benefit of his children, Elizabeth, Martha, William, James, Job and George.
James’s eldest son was John Hodges born on 9th April 1786. It is interesting to note that the eldest son, John, was not mentioned in the Will. In a document dated 7th October 1826, John ‘quitclaimed’ his right in the property. We suspect he had already been given a share of James’s estate because John became a major builder in Thornbury and his family built many of the houses in Gloucester Road and Pullins Green. Click here to read about John Hodges
Of James and Hester’s other children:
There were two daughters, Elizabeth born on 28th November 1788 and Martha born on 8th October 1795. At the time of the writing of James’s will in 1819 they were described as spinsters living in Cheltenham. Martha married Peter Watkins in 1826 and they had two children, Samuel and Eliza A.
William Hodges was born on 28th October 1791. In 1819 he was a labourer of Thornbury. He married Hester Pratt in Thornbury on 17th November 1816. They went on to have two children: Mary born on 28th March 1820 and Job born on 9th November 1823.
James Hodges was born on 8th June 1798. In 1819 James was a bookseller of 23 Well Street, Faulkner Square, London. He married Sarah from Thatcham in Berkshire. They had two children, Emma born about 1831 and Edwin born about 1836 and the 1851 and 1861 census shows they were living in Castle Street, Cripplegate, London and James was working as a linen draper.
Job Hodges was born on 8th February 1801. In 1826, following the death of his father, Job took over his father’s property by buying out the interest of his brothers and sisters. Read more
George Hodges was born on 22nd December 1803. In 1819 George was a mercer of 22 Old Bond Street, London.