Thomas Collins was born in 1848.  The 1851 shows Thomas was the illegitimate son of an unmarried Sarah Collins, a charwoman who was living at Milbury Heath.  Sarah had another illegitimate son, William, who was aged 4 at the time.

Thomas Collins

Thomas Collins

In the 1861 Census, Thomas had left home to become a servant at Vilner Farm.  His mother, Sarah married Aaron Gough, a labourer, on 5th November 1860.  Aaron was baptised on 6th June 1833, the son of George and Jane Gough who were living in Sibland when Aaron was baptised but they had moved to the Rock Street area by the time of the 1841 census.

In 1850 Aaron got in trouble. He was charged at Gloucester Quarter Session on 15th September 1850 with ‘feloniously stealing at Thornbury on the 15th April 1850 three casks which were the property of Charles Jones’.  He was described as being a ‘Thornbury labourer aged 18, height 5ft 2.5 inches with dark hair, grey eyes, oval face and fresh complexion with cut seam on left side upper lip’.  He was ‘a native of Thornbury, his father is a carrier, mother stops at home and he has been working for Stephen Rice near Tetbury.  His religion was Wesleyan.  He was found guilty and sentenced to be transported for 7 years, but on the 14th December 1850 he discharged on the order of the Secretary of State and removed to Bedford Gaol.  The 1851 census shows Aaron in Bedford Gaol.

On 9th February 1859 Aaron was accused of assaulting James Allen and robbing him of a purse containing £1 8s 0d.  In March 1859 when the case came to Quarter Sessions Court, he was discharged and the Court found there was no bill.  The 1861 Census shows Aaron and Sarah living in St John Street with two other Collins children, John and Charles, who were born before Sarah and Aaron married.  The parish records show that when John Collins was baptised on 27th February 1852 his parents were shown as Thomas and Sarah Collins, and yet when the other child, Charles, was baptised on 23rd January 1858, only Sarah was noted as his parent.  We cannot explain the contradictions in these records.  (We also know that when Thomas himself married in 1875 he noted that his father was Thomas Collins and that a Thomas Collins died and was buried on 7th September 1860 aged 36).  We have found no record that Sarah Collins married a Thomas Collins.

Eliza Collins

Eliza Collins

The 1871 Census shows Thomas, aged 22, was lodging in Mutton Lane with a widow, Mary Ann Savery, who was a seamstress living there her grand-daughter, Eliza Savery, a general servant aged 17.  Thomas’s brother, Charles Collins was also lodging there aged 16.  Four years later, on 11th December 1875, Thomas married Eliza Savery.  Thomas was described as labourer aged 24, the son of Thomas Collins, a farmer (see note above).  Eliza was aged 22, the daughter of William Savery, a labourer.

We think that in the 1881 Census Thomas and his family were probably living in the same house as they were in 1871, although in this census it is referred to as being part of ‘Pullins Green’.  We believe this house was one of the three houses on the site of 6 Crispin Lane.  The family consists of Thomas, a labourer aged 32, Eliza aged 30 and children Ethel aged 7, William aged 4 and Mary Ann aged 1.  Boarding with them is Eliza’s mother, Mary Ann Savery aged 85.  Thomas and all his family are listed under the name of ‘Collings’.

The 1890 Rate Book shows that Thomas Collins had moved to Upper Bath Road.  The 1891 census shows the house was occupied by Thomas and Eliza Collings, but we feel sure that the surname of the family as shown in most other records was ‘Collins’.  Thomas was a general labourer aged 46 and born in Kington and Eliza was aged 42.  They had seven children: Ethel, a domestic servant aged 17, William aged 14, Mary aged 11, twins, Edgar and Percy aged 8, Lily aged 3 and Austin aged 1.

We have a site plan dated 1894 for the erection of a shed at the back of the house which later became known as 9 Upper Bath Road.  This plan shows the name of ‘T. Collings’ as occupying the house.

Thomas and Eliza with 'Sam'

Thomas and Eliza with ‘Sam’

In 1901 Census shows the house was occupied by Thomas Collins, a farm labourer aged 52 from Thornbury, his wife, Eliza aged 50, and their children: twins, Charles Edgar and Walter Percy, both steam wood sawyers aged 18, Austin Thomas (who became known locally as ‘Lebby’) aged 11 and Edward Henry aged 4.

Thomas died on 23rd January 1906 aged 56 years.  Eliza carried on living in the house with her son, Edward Henry until she died in 1936.  The 1911 census shows her living there. She was described as a laundress aged 60 and it was noted that she had been married 37 years and had seven children, of which two had died. Living with her were four of her children: Edgar, a sawyer at the saw mills aged 27, Austin, a labourer at the saw mills aged 21, Edward (Sammy), an errand boy for a book shop aged 14 and two lodgers/boarders.

Eliza was aged 81 when she died in 1936.  We had trouble reading the date of death on the gravestone – we thought it read ’21st October 1936′ but the burial record shows she was buried on 3rd October 1936.

See also our photograph album of  the Collins family

Of their children:

Percy Walter – married Ida Eveline Longden in Bristol area in 1906.  Ida was born in Thornbury about 1887, the daughter of John James Longden and his wife, Ellen.  In 1891 they were living at Stanley Road, Westbury on Trym.  The 1911 census shows Percy and Ida living in Upper Bath Road.  We are guessing that they were living next door to his parents at 7 Upper Bath Road, but we can’t be sure of that from the sequence in the census records.  They had a son, William John Thomas Collins aged 4 and three boarders living with them.  In the 1914, 1915 and 1916 Prewett’s Directories ‘Mrs Collins’ was listed as living in the street, then called Raglan Castle Road.

Edgar – married Annie L Hackling in 1912.  He worked in the Sawmills after leaving school.

Austin Edward or ‘Lebby’ married Ethel Cullimore in 1914.  Read more about Lebby

Annie – married Fred Gregory from Radstock.

Edward Henry – continued living in 9 Upper Bath Road after his parents death.  He was known locally as ‘Sammy’.  In 1927 Sammy married Edith Emma Bennett.  Click here to read more about Sammy and Edith