The Mansell family begins here with Phillip Mansell who lived in Thornbury for about 40 years during which time they came to own several key properties in the town.  Phillip was one of the early Quakers in the town and the registers of this group provide a useful source of information about the family.

The earliest record of Phillip is his marriage to Dorothy Stiff of Over near Almondsbury in 1679.  This shows Phillip was already living in Thornbury.  The couple ‘manifested their intentions of marriage’ in accordance with the Quaker tradition on 3rd August 1679 and these intentions were published at a public meeting of Quakers in Thornbury on 14th August 1679.  They were married at a meeting of the Quakers on 3rd September 1679.  It is interesting to note that although Phillip’s surname is clearly written as ‘Mansell’ in the register his signature and that of some of the witnesses show their surname as ‘Mansfild’ and ‘Mansfield’.  This might indicate that Mansell was a variation of the name of Mansfield and several variations of spelling were in use at the time.

It is possible that Phillip was related to Brice Mansell (also shown as Mansfield) who was a victualler in Thornbury at the same time.  Phillip was described as a victualler in his last will written in 1725 and he might be Brice’s son or brother.  We note that there was also a Joseph Mansell in Thornbury who was having children at the same time as Phillip so he could be another relative.

The Overseers’ Accounts show that when Phillip and Dorothy married, Phillip took over the property for which Dorothy had been paying the poor rate, at least in 1678.  For a few years he appears to be sharing the responsibility of paying the poor rate on land called ‘Pigmoores’ with Robert Thurston.  In 1685 Phillip Mansell had taken over paying the rate of two and a half pence ‘for Smyths’.  This was a property on the east side of High Street.  By 1686 the property appears to have been divided into two separate units (presumably corresponding to what we now know as 9 High Street and 11 High Street).  Phillip Mansell was paying one and a quarter pence per month ‘for Smyths’.  Jonathan Barton was paying one and a quarter pence for the other part of the property.  In 1688 to 1690 the proportions each person paid changed slightly: Phillip was paying one and a half pence and Jonathan paying one pence.  We believe that Phillip’s property was 11 High Street and Jonathan Barton’s became 9 High Street.

Phillip and Dorothy had at least six children: Phillip born on 15th April 1681, Dorothy born on 2nd April 1683, Richard born on 3rd July 1685 who was buried on 16th January 1686, Ann born on 25th January 1687, another Richard born on 26th April 1689 and Joseph born on 2nd March 1692.  Dorothy died and was buried on 29th November 1694.

On 28th December 1694 Phillip married again at St Augustine’s the Less Church, Bristol.  His second wife was Elizabeth Barton.  She was baptised on 12th November 1669, the daughter of John Barton and his wife, Mary (nee Thurston).  They proceeded to have at least five children of their own, none of whom were registered as Quakers.  They were: John baptised on 23rd March 1695, Elizabeth baptised on 2nd January 1697, Thomas born on 31st December 1700, Robert baptised on 30th March 1703 and Edward born on 29th January 1705.  The children appear to have been registered in the Thornbury Parish Church.

Note – Phillip had another daughter called Sarah.  We have not found her birth so do not know whether she was the daughter of Dorothy or Elizabeth.  Sarah is mentioned in Phillip’s will and in a court case in 1734 together with her sister Dorothy, both described as ‘the daughters of Phillip Mansell snr and married respectively to John Raymond yeoman of Morton and Christopher Raymond gentleman of Thornbury’.

Phillip Mansell was Mayor of Thornbury 1721/22.  We assume it was Phillip the elder although it might have been his son.  Phillip the elder was noted to be a victualler of Thornbury when he died in 1725.  He was buried in the Quaker Burial Ground in Thornbury on 3rd November 1725.  In his will dated 6th August 1725 he referred to his “sons and daughters Philip Mansell, John Mansell, Robert Mansell, Dorothy Mansell and Sarah Mansell”.  The will also refers to ‘all that my messuage or tenement wherein I now dwell situate in the borough of Thornbury and all houses outhouses edifices buildings barns stables gardens orchards yards and backsides thereunto belonging’ and ‘also the Wainehouse I lately built in the Back Street in the said borough of Thornbury and near adjoining to the barn and stable belonging to my said messuage’.  This property was left to Philip’s son, John Mansell who was by this time married with his wife also called Elizabeth. The main property appears to be 11 High Street. We think the ‘Wainehouse’ might refer to the building known today as the Malthouse in St Mary Street.

In his will Phillip emphasised that his ‘furnace and boyler set up in my said house shall go and be sold with the rest of my goods by my executors’.

Of Phillip’s children:

Phillip junior – the son of Phillip and Dorothy was born on 15th April 1681.  He married Elizabeth Horsley on 14th August 1704.  Elizabeth was baptised at St Marys Church in Thornbury on 10th May 1685, the daughter of Anthony Horsley and his wife, Sarah (nee Thurston).  Elizabeth had inherited the ownership of her father’s two properties at 38 High Street and 40 High Street and following their marriage these became owned by Phillip.  We know that in the case of 38 High Street, Phillip solds the property to John Hewett the Younger in a deed of lease and release dated 18th/19th February 1706.  In the case of 40 High Street, Phillip sold it to William Green before July 1706 when Phillip’s wife, Elizabeth, died, because she was mentioned as one of the parties in the sale to William Green as mentioned in his will.

Phillip junior and Elizabeth don’t appear to have had any children.  Elizabeth died within a short time of the marriage and she was buried on 9th July 1706.  We believe Phillip may have married again because there are several baptisms of children which we think refer to him as the father.  The IGI shows the marriage of a Phillip Mansell to someone with the unlikely name of Hannah Crume Oulston in Bristol on 4th August 1707.  The following children were baptised with Phillip Mansell as the father and we feel it likely that they belong to Phillip and Hannah: Hester baptised on 15th December 1708, Phillip baptised on 7th April 1710, Joseph baptised on 23rd December 1714 (who was buried on 18th September 1722), Robert baptised on 15th April 1717 (who died on 5th February 1718) and Hannah baptised on 6th March 1719 (who died on 14th March 1719).  Phillip was mentioned in his father’s will dated 1725.  We don’t know what happened to Philip and Hannah.

Elizabeth Mansell – Elizabeth baptised on 2nd January 1697, the daughter of Phillip and his second wife, Elizabeth Barton.  She married Benjamin Warrent on 14th May 1717 at St Augustine’s the Less Church in Bristol.  They had one daughter, Ann, baptised on 5th May 1718.  When Phillip wrote his will in 1725 he didn’t mention Elizabeth which suggests she had pre-deceased him, but Philip made a bequest of £20 to paid to Ann.

John Mansell – John baptised on 23rd March 1695, the son of Phillip and his second wife, Elizabeth Barton.  John Mansell was a butcher and he and his wife, Elizabeth, raised a number of mortgages on a property called The Paddock at the junction of Chapel Street and Upper Bath Road from 1723 to 1727.  John was described in these document as the eldest son and heir of Elizabeth Mansell deceased.  The IGI shows a marriage of a John Mansell in Thornbury in 1720 however there are no details of the precise date nor his spouse.  There is also the baptism of William Mansell in Thornbury on 7th October 1723 but he died on 20th December 1723.

When John’s father died in 1725 he inherited the property at 11 High Street and the poor assessment listings appear to show he also acquired an interest in 9 High Street.  John Mansell died intestate and was buried on 9th May 1729.  He owned a considerable amount of land including this close of ground which was called The Paddock “by estimation two acres” which was occupied in 1727 by Samuel Tanner.  This property at Upper Bath Road appears to have been inherited by John’s brother, Robert.  We are not sure what happened to 11 High Street. The Overseers Accounts show John’s widow, Elizabeth Mansell, paying the poor rate in 1730 and by 1735 it was owned by Solomon Roach.

Robert Mansell – Robert baptised on 30th March 1703, the son of Phillip and his second wife, Elizabeth Barton.  Robert wrote his will on 27th December 1729.  He described himself as a cutler of Bristol.  He devised the property which he had inherited in Upper Bath Road/Chapel Street to his wife Sarah.  At this time the property was described as a messuage or tenement with a garden, orchard and paddock in the Back Lane occupied by Thomas Cox, gardener.  His will also mentioned his daughter Elizabeth Mansell to whom he left “four score pounds” to be held in trust and the interest be paid to her until she attained the age of 21 or married.  (Elizabeth later married Thomas Syms, a merchant of Bristol).  Robert appointed two trustees; Christopher Willoughby a merchant and Maurice Smith gentleman.  By indentures of lease and release of 1st and 2nd January 1771 Sarah sold the property in Upper Bath Road to John Rudge for £90.