William Clark was born about 1725/6 based upon his age at his death. It is possible that he might be the William baptised on 23rd February 1729, the son of John Clark and his wife, Elizabeth (nee Hobby).
William was a cordwainer (shoemaker). We have been unable to trace William’s first marriage to Mary Hall. When she died on 26th March 1769 aged 46 she was shown as being the wife of William Clark (shoemaker) and it gave her maiden name as Hall. Mary Hall was baptised on 24th February 1724, the daughter of Benjamin Hall and his wife, Mary (nee Grove).
By 1746, William moved into the shop at 53 High Street, a property owned by his future wife, Mary Hall. On 3rd March 1753 William and Mary arranged a mortgage on the property.
William and Mary had had several children, but we can’t be sure how many as there was another couple named William and Mary Clark producing kids in Thornbury at the same time. We can identify the following as belonging to William the shoemaker: Betty baptised on 22nd November 1752, William baptised 21st April 1756, Henry baptised on 20th April 1758, Sarah born on 17th February 1762 and Hester born on 23rd February 1764 who died aged 5 and was buried on 26th May 1769. We also know from his will that he had a daughter, Mary, but there were two Marys born in the 1750’s period.
At some stage after Mary’s death in 1769 William married his second wife, Ann. We haven’t been able to track down her maiden name. We know from her age on the gravestone that she was born about 1721.
William owned several properties in Thornbury. We know from deeds of an adjoining property that he owned and occupied 53 High Street by 1757 and probably earlier. Further lists produced in 1775 (for assessment of poor relief rates) and in 1775 (for land tax) show William was responsible for this property.
It appears that by 1787 William took out a mortgage of £200 on the property. By 1792 William had moved away from the property and it was being occupied by his son William Clark junior. William senior was having difficulty repaying his debt and he made an arrangement with Ralph Grove to help him. The documents suggest that Ralph bought the property from William clark, but we know from later land tax and tithe survey records that it continued in the ownership of William’s son, William Clark junior and his wife Elizabeth.
By 1796 the land tax records show that this property had already been transferred to William’s son, William Clark jnr. When William snr. died on 19th January 1800 aged 74 he left a will. Ann died on 15th March 1801 aged 80 years. In William’s last will written on 1st November 1799, he mentions two properties:
1: The property where he had been living with Ann which was described as: ‘all that messuage or tenement wherein John Taylor gardener hereto before inhabited and wherein I now dwell and by me lately rebuilt with the outhouses buildings court yard garden and appurtenances thereto belonging and of and in the small messuage or tenement adjoining thereto by me also lately erected and wherein ( space ) Smith widow doth now dwell with its appurtenances all situate in the town and borough of Thornbury aforesaid in the said county adjoining a lane there called Colwell Street Lane and which I purchased of John Bradley and others‘.
The property described was in Gloucester Road, and we are frustrated that we can’t identify it. We do know that William left it to be used by his wife, Ann and son, William and then it was be given to Hugh Clark, the illegitimate son of Sarah Clark (see below).
2: William’s second property was ‘all that messuage or tenement wherein Joseph Hudd formerly inhabited and my son-in-law Daniel Hathway wheelwright and Henry Burnell do now dwell with the garden and orchard thereto adjoining and belonging situate and being in the said town and borough of Thornbury in the said county on the eastward side of a certain street there called the Back street otherwise St Mary’s Street and were by me formerly purchased of he said Joseph Hudd or unto and I hereby give and devise the same to the said Daniel Hathway and my daughter Betty his wife for and during their lives and the life of the longest liver of them and from and immediately after the decease of the survivor of them the said Daniel Hathway and Betty his wife then unto and I hereby give and devise the same to my grandson William Hathway eldest son of the said Daniel Hathway and his heirs for ever‘. We think this property was that which later became known as 37 & 39 St Mary Street.
Of William’s children:
Betty Clark – Betty was baptised on 22nd November 1752. On 5th August 1772 she married Daniel Hathway, a wheelwright. They had several children: John born on 6th November 1774, William born on 16th September 1776, Henry born on 31st December 1781 who died aged 20 and was buried on 20th August 1802, Mary born on 9th June 1784 and Anne born on 25th January 1787. There was also two other daughters, Hester and Elizabeth, whose births we haven’t traced. Of these children: Ann married William Longman on 28th August 1806 and Mary married Richard Scarlett on 11th October 1814.
The Rent Roll of 1809 shows that Daniel Hathway was the owner of the property which we believe to be 37 & 39 St Mary Street which was inherited from Betty’s father. Daniel died aged 63 and was buried on 4th May 1809. The Land Tax records from 1812 to 1821 show Betty Hathway as the owner and occupier of the house. Betty died aged 67 and was buried on 25th April 1821. In her will she left various bequests: 19 guineas to her daughter, Hester, wife of Richard Greenham, and the same amount to her daughter, Mary, wife of Richard Scarlett, and £10 each to her grandson, William Longman and grand-daughter, Elizabeth Longman. She also gave to Ann Stephens, her oldest bed and oldest bedstead and some of her oldest bedclothes and oldest wearing apparel. The rest of her goods and chattels were to be sold and the profit shared, one third to Hester, one third to Mary and one third shared between John Longman, William Longman and Elizabeth Longman. There was no mention of Betty owning property so we assume that Daniel had left it for her to hold during her lifetime and made some provision for its future after her death.
The 1822 Land Tax record shows the property at 37 & 39 St Mary Street was owned by ‘late Betty Hathway’ and occupied by John ‘Maishman’. The spelling of John’s surname varies in the land tax and rent roll records. We think it likely to be John Maishment, a tailor. The 1823 Land Tax record shows that the house has been acquired by Betty’s son-in-law, Richard Scarlett and still occupied by John Marshman. It is interesting to note that the 1831 and 1832 Land Tax record shows that the house was owned by ‘Richard Scarlett etc & John Longman’. It was still being occupied by John Marshman at least up to 1832.
William Clark the younger – William was baptised 21st April 1756. He became a cordwainer like his father. He married twice, but didn’t seem to have any children. His first wife was Sarah Latch, whom he married on 5th April 1787. Sarah was born on 4th January 1764, the first child of Joseph Latch, a nailer and his wife, Mary. By 1797 the land tax records show that William jnr was now the owner and occupant of 53 High Street, the property previously owned by his father. By 1800 he had vacated this property although he still owned it.
Sarah fell down stairs and died on 31st December 1803 aged 39 years. She was buried on 4th January 1803. Then, on 19th June 1803, William married Sarah’s younger sister, Elizabeth Latch. Elizabeth was born on 7th April 1775.
William died on 10th February 1837 aged 81. The 1840 Tithe Map shows that Elizabeth owned Plot 75, two houses and courts on west side of the High Street. She was occupying one of the these, the other was let to Samuel Smith. She also still owned 53 High Street. In the 1841 census she is listed as living further down the High Street. By the 1851 she was back living in her house in the High Street and her brother, William Latch, described as a pauper aged 75 and noted as being blind, is living with her. Elizabeth died aged 82 and was buried on 5th July 1852.
William’s last will written on 21st August 1821 is extremely difficult to read – but we can make out that he left ‘I give my messuage where I live situate in the Fore Street of the Borough of Thornbury aforesaid with the garden and appurtenances thereto belonging to my niece Harriett Pool daughter of William Pool of the City of Bristol ironmonger if she shall be living at the decease of my said wife‘. Fore Street was an old name for the High Street.
William also made a number of bequests:
‘I give and bequeath the sum of £20 to my sister Sarah the wife of John Gifford limeburner if she be living at the decease of my said wife if not I give and bequeath the same to the said John Gifford her husband if he shall be living at that time. I give and bequeath the sum of £10 to my niece Hester wife of Richard Greenham carpenter if she shall be living at the decease of my said wife. I give and bequeath the sum of £5 unto each of them, John Longman, William Longman and Elizabeth Longman children of my niece Ann Longman deceased who shall be living at the decease of my said wife. And I also give and bequeath my silver watch to the said William Longman if he shall be living at that time. I give and bequeath the sum of £50 unto my niece Mary the wife of the said Richard Scarlett if she shall be alive at the decease of my said wife, if not I give and bequeath the same to the said Richard Scarlett her husband if he be alive at that time, but if they both shall be dead then I give and bequeath this legacy of £50 unto such of their children who shall be alive’.
On 4th November 1827 he made a codicil to the will which is also very difficult to read. This is a transcription of what we can make out, but don’t rely on it. “This is a codicil to the will of me William Clark of Thornbury in the County of Gloucester cordwainer dated 21st August 1821 whereas in and by my said will I have given and bequeathed unto my wife the ..clock and my wearing apparel now I do herein … such bequest as to the …… do give the one half of it and the other half I give and bequeath to Hugh Clark of Thornbury aforesaid cordwainer for his own use and benefit. And whereas by my said will I have given and devised the house in which I lived at the date of my said will situate in the Fore Street of the Town of Thornbury aforesaid with the garden and appurtenances to the same belonging unto my niece Harriet Pool daughter of William Pool of the City of Bristol ironmonger if she shall be living at the decease of my said wife. To hold the same unto and to the use of the said Harriett Pool her heirs and assigns forever. Now I do hereby give and bequeath the sum of £20 unto John Pool of the City of Bristol aforesaid ironmonger brother of the said Harriett Pool and I do hereby charge my said dwelling house which is now in the occupation of William Emblin saddler and harness maker with the payment thereof such payments to be made within six months after the decease of my said wife. Also I give and bequeath the sum of £20 unto the said Hugh Clark and I do in like manner hereby charge my said dwelling house with the payment thereof within six months after the decease of my wife. And whereas I have by my said will bequeathed my silver watch to William Longman one of the children of my niece Ann Longman deceased if he should be alive at the decease of my said wife I do hereby revoke such last mentioned bequest and do hereby give and bequeath the said watch to William Clark son of said Hugh Clark if he should be alive at that time“.
Sarah Clark – Sarah was born on 17th February 1762. She had an illegitimate son, Hugh Clark, baptised on 17th April 1782. On 29th October 1811 she married John Gifford. The last will of Sarah’s father dated 1821 mentions that John was a lime burner. Sarah died aged 73 and was buried on 6th May 1838. In the 1841 census John was living in one of the Waterloo Cottages outside Thornbury on the Bristol Road. He is still there in the 1851 which shows him as an agricultural labourer aged 77 born in Yate. John Gifford died aged 81 and was buried on 18th December 1854.
Hugh Clark, was the only son of Sarah Clark baptised on 17th April 1782. Hugh married Hannah Taylor on 16th December 1805. They had several children: Hester born on 19th August 1807, William born on 22nd October 1808, Sarah born on 24th December 1811, Hugh baptised on 19th May 1822, Juliet Hannah born about 1827 (baptised on 10th January 1855) and Hannah born about 1828.
The Land Tax records from 1827 to 1832 show that Hugh lived in a house a little further up St Mary Street which was owned by Mary Wilkes. We think that this was either 29 or 31 St Mary Street. Hugh inherited property from his grandfather, William Clark, in Colwell Street Lane (now Gloucester Road) although this property was given first for the use of William’s children, Hugh’s uncle, William and Hugh’s mother, Sarah Clark during their lifetime. The 1840 Tithe Survey lists Hugh’s uncle, William Clark, as the occupant of 23 St Mary Street. The 1841 census shows that this house was occupied by Hugh Clark, a shoemaker aged 55 living with Hannah aged 45, William aged 30 and Hannah aged 14.
Hugh died in 1844. The 1851 census shows his widow, Hannah was aged 63 from Thornbury living with her son, William a master cordwainer aged 41 and her daughter Hannah aged 23. In 1861 the Clarks had moved to 53 High Street where William was a cordwainer employing one man and a boy. Hannah is listed as a visitor aged 73.
Mary Clark – married William Pool, an ironmonger, at St James Church in Bristol. We don’t know anything about this branch of the family apart from the fact that they had a daughter, Harriett and a son John, another ironmonger. They were beneficiaries in the William of their uncle, William.
Henry Clark – baptised on 20th April 1759. He died aged 53 and was buried on 14th October 1813. His last will and testament dated 4th December 1808 was extremely short, leaving ‘all my wordly effects to my sister, Betty, wife of Daniel Hathaway’.