The Hawksworth (or Hawkesworth) family played a major role in Thornbury during the seventeenth century and they were connected with several inns in the Town.
According to an entry in the IGI, Peter Hawkesworth was born in Morewood, presumably Marlwood, and he was son of William Hawkesworth and his wife Rosamund nee Lister. On 20th December 1610 Peter married Dorothy Harris at St Phillip and St Jacob’s Church in Bristol. Dorothy was the daughter of Henry Harris who ran The Tavern which was on the site of the present Town Hall. Peter’s will shows he and Dorothy had six children: Joan, Dorothy, Ann, John, Robert and Richard. We don’t know when they were born or baptised, but Peter’s will names John as the eldest son and heir.
Peter was a witness to the will of Elizabeth Skydmore dated 8th September 1614. Elizabeth left 20 shillings to Peter’s son, John and specified that if John should die before Elizabeth then the money was left to Peter’s daughter, Johan. This presents some clues as to when they were born.
Various documents in the Town Trust records show that Peter Hawksworth was involved in activities of the Town in the 1620s and 1630s and he was witness to several recorded transactions. He was a Trustees of Sir Stafford’s Charity in 1620, and was Mayor of Thornbury in 1625/6 and again in 1633/34.
We know that land called the Chantry Leasow was occupied by Peter Hawksworth as tenant of Sir John Poyntz on 27th March 1617 when he approached the Manor Court with a request that six free men of the borough should check the boundary between the Chantry Leasow and the neighbouring land of Eleanor Alpas a widow and tenant of Sir John Stafford.
A court roll transcription dated 30th October 1617 shows Peter Hawksworth gave a fine of two shillings giving him the right to purchase two half burgages in Thornbury. The location of the property is not identified in the document but we know from later documents that this refers to the ‘Tygers Head‘. The 1617 transcription shows that they were bought from William Brockton but we suspect that they are the same two half burgages referred to in a marriage settlement involving Peter’s grandson, in 1667 and thus the original owner should have been William Brewton.
The Hawksworths acquired another property called ‘The Tavern‘ as a result of Peter’s marriage to Dorothy Harris, the daughter of Henry Harris who had owned the property previously. On Henry’s death, the property was left initially to his son, Phillip Harris. A deed of the Manor Court dated 17 October 1639 shows Robert Hawksworth appeared in Court and that the Wyne Tavern (which we assume to be a variation on the name of The Tavern) now or late in tenure of Phillip Harris was granted to Robert Hawksworth for the use of his father Peter Hawksworth during his life and after to Robert Hawksworth and the heirs of his body. The deed also refers to another property, a ‘small tenement now or late in the tenure of Robert Walker which was held to William Edwards and William White. This tenement was granted for the use of Richard Hawksworth and the heirs of his body.
We are not sure when Peter died. The Mayors Accounts lists Dorothy Hawksworth as responsible for paying the rent charge in 1645, but she was already 4 years in arrears. Peter’s last will and testament was proved on 29th May 1649 and he left his two properties in the Borough for the use of his wife, Dorothy and which were to descend to their son, John. Peter doesn’t describe his property, but specifically mentions that after the determination of his wife’s estate (inherited from the Harris family) their son, Richard, should benefit from the rents and profits from half of the tenement known as the Tyger’s Head for the term of 30 years if he should live that long.
Peter also specified in his will that ‘ I desire my bodie, if it shall stand with God’s will and pleasure, to be buried in the parish church near unto the seate where I was placed and now sit in an ordinary and decent manner’. He also made several bequests:
‘Item, I give unto my said wife Dorothie one peece of plate late her mother’s called or knowne by the (name – missed out?) ostridge eg shell and one stone jugg with a foote and cover of silver and guilt.
Item, I alsoe give unto her my best bed stead with one or twoe of the best featherbeds and all the best coverled sheets, one paire and all the rest suitable to the same bed for a lodgeing for her to take her rest in. And alsoe the great spruce chest and the great standing press in the hall and walnut table in the parlour and side cupbords and all the stooles thereunto belonging being of the same wood. To have hould and enioye and make use of for and dureing the terme of her naturall life or soe long tyme as she shall keepe herself a widdowe and unmarried. And after her decease or marriage as aforesaid I give the said eg shell, jugg and other the household goods and bedding formerly given and limited to my wife upon performance of former condicons aforesaid and faithfully intended, unto my daughter Anne ye she shall be then liveing: And if she happen to dye before that, then I give and it is my will that my daughter Dorothie and Johan or either of them surviveing their said mother shall have and enioye all thegoods and household stuff formerly given to her mother, equally betweene them then liveing, or to the survivor of them forever.
Item, I give to my daughter Anne thirty fyve pounds currant money to be payed unto her upon her day of marriage or when shee shall attayne to the age of one and twenty years or which of them shall first happen. And I confesse I owe unto her fyve pounds formerly given her by Captaine Stafford’s will.
Item, I give to my sonne Robert thirtie pounds to be payed unto him within six moneths next after my decease. And yf he happen to dye before the said sum of money become due and payable, Then my further will is that my surviving daughters and my sonne Richard shall have the said sume of thirtie poundes equally divided among them at such tyme as it shall become due and payable.
Item, I give to my sonne Richard thirtie poundes to be likewise payed unto my executor or executrix hereafter named within six moneths next after my decease. And if he happen to dye in the meane tyme then my further will is that the porcon or legacie or legacies soe given him shalbe equally divided amongst my surviveing daughters.
Item I give to my daughter Dorothy fortie pounds to be payed unto her at her day of marriage or at such tyme as she shall accomplish her full age of one and twenty years which shall first happen. And yf she dye before the money growe due then my will is that the sayd xl lib. (£40) be equally divided betweene my surviveing daughters and my sonnes Robert and Richard‘.
Dorothy Hawksworth made her last will on 14th October 1654 making bequests to her daughters, Dorothy and Anne. No mention was made of Joan. She also made bequests to her sons, Richard and Robert, and to her grandson, Robert, the son of Robert. Dorothy added a codicil leaving five shillings unto John’s four children and Richard’s child. Dorothy Hawksworth, the daughter of Peter and Dorothy, married John Dymory at Thornbury on 4th February 1671.
Of Peter and Dorothy’s children:
Robert Hawksworth – the accounts of the Overseers of the Poor show that Robert was paying his dues on The Tavern in 1656 onwards. Robert and his wife Martha appear to have had at least three children: Robert, Martha and Ann. Robert ‘s will written in 1664 just before he died shows he was a grocer living in Bristol. He had already settled his property in Thornbury on his wife Martha. She continued paying her dues on The Tavern up to her death in 1695, implying she was the owner of the property although still living in Bristol.
Richard Hawksworth – baptised in Thornbury on 23rd April 1623. Richard married Christian Haynes and they had five children: Richard (in 1656) , Robert, Joseph (in 1663) Ann and Christian. Richard was Mayor of Thornbury in 1664/5 and again in 1675/76.
Richard inherited the Tyger’s Head following his father’s death. The Mayors’ Accounts show Richard was paying the rent charge on the Tyger’s Head from 1655 to 1663. We are not sure when or how the property passed from Richard to his nephew, Peter, the son of John Hawksworth (see below).
Records held at Gloucester Archives show that in 1676 there was a presentment against Richard Hawksworth for non payment of 6s 9d to the church. On the 19th January 1681/2 Christian wife of Richard Hawksworth and a Quaker died.
Their son, Richard, married Sarah Clement in Olveston in 1680 and they settled in Alveston. He acquired a large amount of property in and around Thornbury – click here to read more
John Hawksworth appears to have moved away from Thornbury. In 1640 he married Margaret Taylor in Wotton Under Edge and they proceeded to have four children baptised there: Dorothy (1641), Peter (1643), John (1645) and Margaret (1646).
It is interesting to see that although John left Thornbury with his family, his son, Peter, was left the Tyger’s Head and The Chantry in Thornbury. From 1665 Peter Hawksworth is paying the rent charge on the Tygers Head. A marriage settlement was made on 18th April 1667 in anticipation of the intended marriage involving Peter Hawksworth and Ann Bayley (the daughter of Edward Bayley yeoman of Holt in Wiltshire). Peter was then a clothier living at Binegar near Melksham. Several properties were mentioned in this document including The Chantry in Castle Street and The Tyger’s Head in the High Street. All his property was to be put into a trust for Anne Bayley to provide an income for her should she survive her future husband. According to the IGI the marriage of Peter Hawksworth and Ann Bayley took place in Great Chalfield in Wiltshire on 23rd April 1667. We know that the Chantry was sold by 1670.
Peter Hawksworth continued to own the Tyger’s Head even though he carried on living in Wiltshire. Peter (under the name of Peter Hawksworth the Elder, a yeoman) finally sold his interest in that property on 29th August 1699. The indenture shows that Peter’s wife, Anne and their son (then referred to as Peter Hawksworth the Younger of Bristol blacksmith) and his wife, Margaret? were parties to the sale.
Although the Hawksworth name hadn’t been seen in Thornbury for over 200 years, it was revived in 2014. The new owners of the Barrel pub in St Mary Street chose to rename the pub and were using Thornbury Roots website to find a new name linked to Thornbury’s history. They came up with The Hawkes House.