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. In 1785, he married Hester Shill who 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 was made to raise 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.”
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. 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 more
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. James’s son, Job, who was living in the house which now had a stable and outbuildings, bought out the interest of his brothers and sisters in the property and agreed to buy the property and the cottage adjoining for £300, raising a mortgage for £200 from Mary Leach, widow of Thornbury. At this time, the documents show that James’ siblings were fairly scattered, Elizabeth and Martha were described as spinsters of Cheltenham, William a labourer of Thornbury, James a bookseller of 23 Well Street, Faulkner Square, London and George a mercer of 22 Old Bond Street, London.
Job Hodges was a carrier. In 1824 he married Emma Ford and they had eight children.
Job repaid the loan from Mary Leach by taking out another loan raised from James Withers of Thornbury, carpenter. James Withers died in 1828 aged about 81 years, and Job’s debt was inherited by his son, Luke Withers who had been born in 1777. It would appear from the deeds that Job Hodges defaulted on the loan because Luke Withers received the title to the property on 20 January 1838.
Job and his family moved to 5 Silver Street.
He died in 1841 aged 39 years and was buried in the same grave in St Mary’s churchyard as his father. Emma was still living in Silver Street in the 1851 Census.