James Hall was born about 1812 in Almondsbury, Northwick or even Henbury (his birthplace varies according to different censuses).  His wife, Hannah was born about 1811 in Almondsbury.  In the 1841 Census James was listed as living in Redwick with his children, Josiah aged 6 and Rosetta aged 2.  Hannah was not at home and we can’t trace her anywhere else.  By the 1851 Census, James and Hannah had moved to live in Kington in what we believe to be the Cross Hands, a beer and cider house.  This was located at the junction of Oldbury Lane and Kington Lane.  The Census shows that James as a cider dealer aged 39 from Almondsbury.  He was living with Hannah aged 40 and Josiah aged 14, Rosetta aged 12, Edith aged 10 and Walter aged 7.

By 1861, the family had moved to Chepstow where James and Hannah ran the Royal Oak.  They were living there with two of their children, Edith and Walter, neither of whom had an occupation shown on the census although aged 21 and 18 respectively, and a nephew, Henry aged 6.  We know that James and the family returned to Gloucestershire by 1867 because the 1867 and 1869 Rate Books show James to be running the Boars Head on The Plain.  The pub was still using this name in the 1880 Rate Book, but the name was changed to the Royal George by the time of the 1881 Census.

The 1871 Census shows that James’s son, Walter, had taken over the Boars Head, and that James and Hannah and their two of their children (Josiah and Edith) and a nephew, Henry E. O. Hall were living at the White Lion Inn in the High Street.  Josiah aged 36, was running the pub.  James himself although he was shown as the head of the household aged 59 was referred to as “a retired innkeeper”.   The 1876 Rate Book shows James as owner of White Lion.

By 1880, the Special Drainage Rate Book shows that James Hall and his family had become tenants of George Hodges in this house at 10 Gloucester Road.  The 1881 Census shows that he was living here with Hannah, his married daughter, Rosetta Champion aged 42 and two grandchildren, Henry and Lilly Hall, the children of their recently widowed son, Walter Hall.

The Special Drainage Rate Book of 1885 shows that James and Hannah had moved to 26 Castle Street which is where they were living in the 1891 Census.  Hannah died the next year on 23rd March 1892 aged 84 and James died 29th January 1895 aged 82.  The probate shows an estate of £52 7s.  

All James and Hannah’s children continued the family’s involvement with the licensed trade:

  • Josiah – the 1861 Census shows Josiah had left home and become a police officer in Newport, Monmouthshire.  He has returned to Thornbury by the 1871 Census when he was an innkeeper at the White Lion Inn in the High Street which was owned by his father.  In the December quarter 1876 Josiah married Mary Ann Aldrick in the Bristol area.  Mary Ann was born in Chippenham about 1852.  By the 1881 Census they had had two children: Mabel baptised on 4th August 1878 and Frederick Josiah baptised on 18th February 1880.  They had one more child: Arthur James baptised on 23rd October 1891. Josiah was involved in a court action in 1894 with regard to unpaid Borough Rent due to Stafford Howard of Thornbury Castle.  This rent was a sort of leasehold arrangement whereby residents of the Borough of Thornbury paid a rent to the Lord of the Manor.  The argument made by Josiah’s defence council was that Thornbury was not a Borough in the sense defined by law.  There was not a wall around the town.  The case was decided on the grounds that rents had been paid in Thornbury for so long.  Council for the plaintiff showed that Alice Hopkin’s house for which she paid rent as shown by the Court Rent Rolls 1671 to 1681 was now the White Lion belonging to Josiah Hall and rents should continue to be paid.  Costs were awarded against the defendants.  Josiah died on 16th November 1900 aged 65.  The 1901 Census shows Mary Ann had taken over the running of the pub.  She still had the three children with her.  Mary Ann was listed as publican in the trade directories of 1902 and 1904.  She died on 27th September 1908 aged 56.  The memorial card printed by her children to notify people of her death clearly says the pub was called “The Lion Hotel.”  Mabel Hall and Frederick Josiah ran the pub jointly until Mabel got married in 1917. The report of Mabel’s marriage in the Gazette of May 26th 1917 says that she married Joseph Edward Roach Young of Mount Pleasant, Rockhampton.  The newspaper commented that “this widely known hostelry (The White Lion) has been owned and faultlessly conducted by the Hall family for upwards of half a century, and since the death of their widowed mother, nearly nine years ago, the management has been ably carried out by the bride and her brother Mr Frederick Josiah Hall, who have jointly maintained their ancestors’ reputation and this, together with their affability has gained them a host of friends and neighbours who spontaneously regret the disposal of the hotel and change of occupancy which will doubtless follow.”  
  • Frederick Joseph joined the Army Reserve in 1915, but he applied for exemption from serving in the military in 1917.  His application was rejected and he became a Gunner in the R. G. A. in August 1917.  His Army Service record shows he was 5ft 7.25 inches, chest 35.5.inches with 3.5 inches range.  His next of kin was Mabel so it appears he never married.  We have no further information about Frederick after the War.
  • Rosetta – she was born in Northwick and married James Champion in the Bristol area in 1858.  The 1861 Census shows that he was the publican of The Swan Inn in Chepstow.  Also in the household was their son Walter and James’s mother Elizabeth who was the proprietor of land in Henbury Devonshire . In 1881 whilst Rosetta was living with her parents in Thornbury, James was shown as a butcher in Chepstow area.  We can’t find James later so we assume he must have died.  In the 1901 Census Rosetta was aged 62 and living at Roath, Cardiff with her widowed daughter, Emily C Saunders.  She moved to Thornbury around 1902.  The 1910 Thornbury Rate Book shows she was living back in Thornbury and renting 58 High Street from the Town Trust.  She died on 29th February 1917 aged 79 and is buried in Thornbury Cemetery.  The report of her funeral shows the principal mourners were W. Champion, son, W. Hall brother, Messrs F. and G. H. Hall nephews, G. F. Feather, W. Leggatt, D. Williams sons in law, J. M. Michael brother in law who was unable to attend due to illness. 
  • Edith – married James Merrett Michael in Thornbury in December quarter 1876.  In the 1881 Census James was a wine and spirit merchant in the High Street in the premises which became known as Michaels, and then the Exchange and is now called The Knot of Rope.  Their niece, Paulina Rose, the daughter of Walter Hall, was living with them in the 1881 and 1891 Census. The 1901 Census shows James was now a ‘retired wine merchant’.  He and Edith were living further down the High Street just below the Castle Coffee Tavern.  James died on 3rd July 1920 aged 73.  Edith died on 30th January 1933 aged 92.
  • Walter – was born about 1843 in Northwick.   He was baptised 27th June 1843 in Northwick.  In the March quarter of 1867 Walter married Alice Cooper Hughes in the Clifton area of Bristol.  Alice was born in Thornbury in 1842, the daughter of Samuel Hughes and his wife Sarah.  Walter and Alice’s first child, Henry James Samuel was born in Chepstow in the September quarter of 1867.  Their second, George Hubert was born in Thornbury on April 2nd 1868.  At the time Walter was described as a railway ticket collector.  Walter and Alice were living in the Back Street in Thornbury.  Lilian Sarah was born in Thornbury in July quarter 1870.  The 1871 census shows that Walter, had taken over the Boars Head.   They had five children.  Percy was born in Thornbury about 1873.  Stanley was born in Thornbury about 1874.  Paulina Rose was born in Thornbury in September quarter 1875.  A second child called Stanley was born in 1878.  Alice’s death was registered in Thornbury in September 1878 aged 35.  The family seemed to have moved away from the Boars Head in 1878 and Walter was replaced as licensee by George Phipps. A son, Stanley was born in March quarter 1878, registered in Chipping Sodbury area.  We are not sure where Walter went to live after Alice’s death in 1878.  When his daughter Paulina Rose was baptised in Thornbury in 1880, he was described as a haulier.   In the 1881 Census Walter and his son, George were visiting Walter’s brother-in-law, James Champion in Llanvrechva.  James had married to Walter’s sister, Rosetta, in 1858.  In the 1861 Census James was the publican of The Swan Inn in Chepstow, but by 1881 he was a butcher at Llanvrechva.  The 1881 Census shows that before going off to Llanvrecha, Walter had scattered his children around Thornbury.  Henry and Lilly, aged 14 and 11 respectively, were left with their grandparents, James and Hannah Hall, in Colwell Street Lane (now 10 Gloucester Road).  Percy and Stanley, aged 8 and 7 respectively, were boarded with William and Esther Harris in Colwell Street Lane (1 Gloucester Road).  Pauline aged 5 was staying with her aunt Edith and her husband James Michael, a wine and spirit merchant in the High Street (now known as the Knot of Rope).  The 1891 census shows Walter lived in Cardiff.  He was listed as a labourer married to Laura Hamilton aged 28?, although we have been unable to trace the marriage. They had several children with them: George a plumber aged 23, Percy a labourer aged 18, Stanley a labourer aged 17, William aged 7, Laura aged 5 and Mabel aged 4 and a cousin, George Hall, a widower and a cab driver aged 59? from Northwick.  Walter’s son George Hall married Frances Elizabeth Boulton in 1893.  George and his wife lived at 22 Castle Street in Thornbury.  In the 1901 Census Walter and his family still lived in Cardiff.  Walter was a railway cleaner and Laura was now shown as aged 40.  They still had a large number of children living with them: Stanley a widowed warehouseman aged 27, William a baker aged 17, Laura a shop assistant aged 15 and sons Leonard? aged 9 and Reginald aged 5, and grandson, Thomas aged 2.  Walter died aged 78 in Cardiff in 1921.