Harold Ellis was always known as ‘Pat.’ We are not sure how he got the name Pat. He and Elsie Ellis moved into 6 Crispin Lane in Thornbury about 1936.
There is some confusion over Pat’s background. His family believe that he may have originally come from Stroud, but this has never been confirmed. Our best source of information about Harold’s early life comes from the 1911 Census when ‘Harold Ellis’ was living with William and Louisa Cornock in the house later known as 13 Horseshoe Lane. The census shows Harold Ellis was then aged 8 and born in Thornbury about 1903. William and Louisa Cornock had been married one year before the census. William was a labourer aged 44 born in Thornbury and Louisa was aged 40 and born in Almondsbury. The FreeBMD website confirms the registration of the birth of Harold Ellis in Thornbury in June quarter 1903. The records of St Marys Church in Thornbury show that Harold Ellis was baptised on 10th May 1903, the son of Louisa Ellis. The special register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war confirms that Harold Ellis living with Elsie in Crispin Lane was born on 30th March 1903.
The 1911 census record has some conflicting information about Harold’s relationship to William and Louisa. In the column which shows the relationships of the people in the household, Harold is listed as the son of William Cornock. However the entry for William Cornock indicates that he had had no children. On the other hand, Louisa is recorded as having had one child although interestingly this entry is crossed out. Louisa Esther Ellis was born on 9th August 1871 at Almondsbury, the daughter of Joseph and Sarah Ellis. She was baptised at Almondsbury St Marys Church on 3rd September 1871. According to the 1871 Census Joseph Ellis was a farm labourer aged 41 born in Longley in Gloucestershire. Sarah was aged 43 and born in Iron Acton. Note the 1861 census shows Joseph was also born in Iron Acton, although the 1891 census when Joseph and Sarah had moved to Little Stoke shows Joseph was indeed born in Longley. Joseph and Sarah had at least eight children including Louisa.
The records of St Mary’s Church in Thornbury show Louisa Esther Ellis married William George Cornock on 2nd October 1909. (Note the page number shown on FreeBMDs for his marriage is incorrect – the original image shows the page number should be 533, the same as that shown for Louisa’s marriage). Louisa was aged 38 and the daughter of Joseph Ellis, deceased labourer. William George was a labourer aged 42 and the son of George Cornock, a labourer. Both William and Louisa gave their address as Horseshoe Lane.
William George was born about 1867, the son of George Cornock, an agricultural labourer from Alveston and his wife, Jane from Olveston. Click here to read more
Harold’s school record show he joined the Council Upper School in 1910 and that he was living in Horseshoe Lane. In May 1915 when the 6th Gloucestershire Regiment came to Thornbury on a recruiting march Harold took part in the sports events held on the Grammar School field. He won the sack race for boys over 12. Harold left school in 1916.
The voters list of 1913 shows that William George moved from his house in Horseshoe Lane to one in St Mary Street in that year. We don’t know which house in St Mary Street. The electoral registers of 1918 and 1921 show William George and Louisa Cornock were living in Upper Bath Road. The 1925 valuation list and 1926 rate book show clearly that he was living in the house which later became known as 2 Upper Bath Road.
We know that Louisa died in 1923 aged 51. She was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 4th July 1923. On 30th October 1923 William George married again.
The records for the Thornbury Swimming Club show that ‘H. Ellis’ won the event called ‘Diving for Plates’ in a swimming gymkhana held at the Thornbury Baths in 1923. He won getting 11 out of 13 plates. The records of Thornbury Cricket Club show that ‘H. Ellis’ was an umpire for the Club from 1936 to 1938. We can’t be sure that these references relate to Pat and would love to hear from anyone who could tell us more.
Harold continued to live with William. The electoral registers from 1927 to 1935 list Harold as ‘c/o W. G. Cornock, Upper Bath Road’. We understand that Harold became a quarryman working at Alveston quarry and then later he moved to Sodbury Quarry. Whilst working at Alveston, he was taken home to lunch by the quarry foreman, Tom Collins, who lived at Greenhill Villa on The Square, Alveston. Here Pat met Tom’s daughter, Elsie Louisa. We have a photograph of Elsie with her family below on the right.
Pat and Elsie married on 11 July 1936 at Methodist Church in the High Street. It was a special occasion as the above photograph shows. Pat was a part-time volunteer in the Thornbury Fire Service and one of their engines was used on the day. The report of their wedding printed in the Western Daily Press on 13th July 1936 mentions that ‘the newly married couple passed under an archway of axes and were taken to a reception at the bride’s home on the fire engine’. Amongst the presents were a clock from the Fire Brigade and a set of carvers from Thornbury Grammar School with which Elsie had been associated for several years.
The couple moved into live at 6 Crispin Lane. The special register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war list Harold and Elsie in the house and describe Harold as a roadstone quarryman and notes that he was also a full time fireman in the auxiliary fire service. They had two children: Thomas Hugh born in 1940 and Ann Hilary in 1943. One of Elsie’s nieces, Jean Duncan, was also adopted by the family. She was a bridesmaid at Pat and Elsie’s wedding and is seen in the photo riding on the engine in front of Elsie.
We understand that Pat became a groundsman at Thornbury Grammar School. He died aged 50 years. He was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 16th April 1953. The burial record confirms he was a school caretaker at the time of his death. Elsie went on living in the house until she moved to Eastbury Close in June 1973.