The Mawley family was associated with several properties in and near the High Street of Thornbury during the 1830s through to the end of the century.
William Mill Mawley was born in Bath about 1813. We’re not sure of his parents. We note that a John Mawley left several properties in Bath to his wife Elizabeth in trust for William Mill Mawley in 1823. However we also note that there was a marriage of a William Mawley to a Betsy Mill in Old Church, Saint Pancras, London on 1st January 1810 which might explain William’s middle name.
On 7th July 1833 William married Emma Riddiford at St James Church in Bristol. Emma was born in Thornbury on 18th May 1800 and baptised on 5th November 1800. She was one of the daughters of Abraham Riddiford, a grocer who owned several properties in Thornbury. Abraham had died aged 66 and was buried on the 27th January 1831. In his will, he divided all his property messuages and estate equally between two of his daughters; Emma and Eliza except certain properties specifically left to the other daughter Ann Child Freem. The 1830 Rent Roll suggest that Emma acquired Alfred’s three properties in Silver Street, the house and shop at 31 High Street and one other property (described below in the 1835 marriage settlement ).
Sadly the marriage between Emma and William did not last very long as Emma Mawley died in September 1834. Thus William took possession of his wife’s property.
We have a surrender document dated 4th September 1834 which deals with 3/4 acre of land in Tiltfield which calls William Mawley a portrait painter. In December 1834 William was listed as a grocer fined 7s 6d with 8s costs for having 5 defective weights. He appears to have taken over the business of linen and woollen drapery, hosiery, haberdashery and groceries which Emma had run with her father. In July 1835 William advertised the business and stock in trade following Emma’s death. We are not sure where the shop was, but it seems most likely that it was in the house at what became 31 High Street where Abraham appears to have lived from at least 1796.
On 18th February 1835 William Mill Mawley married Harriet Luce in Thornbury. Harriett was born on 11th March 1808 and baptised on 31st October 1810. She was one of the three daughters of George and Mary Luce. George was a perukemaker who lived at 22 High Street. He left his house and his estate in trust to Mary during her lifetime or widowhood and after her death the estate was to be divided among his three children, Ann, Mary and Harriett. In the event Ann pre-deceased her father and died on 7th March 1823 aged 20, without having been married.
Before their marriage, William Mawley and Harriett Luce agreed on a marriage settlement. The document dated 16th and 17th February 1835 shows that they agreed that the properties that William and Harriett inherited from their family connections were put into trust for their use subject to several conditions and after their death it should be shared by their children. The property included Harriett’s share of the property at 22 High Street owned by her parents. It included the properties previously owned by Abraham Riddiford which were acquired by William Mawley through his marriage to Abraham’s daughter, Emma, specifically three adjoining properties in Silver Street occupied by Joseph Isles, butcher, Henry Gayner, tailor and William Eddington plasterer and tiler and ‘a messuage or tenement in the High Street adjoining to the tenement and lands formerly of William Edwards gentleman deceased and then in the holding of Thomas Cox on the north east part, and to the tenement formerly in the possession of John Stone on or nigh the south part and afterwards of John Cook and now of William Lawford hairdresser‘. We haven’t yet identified this last property. The settlement also included six houses in Bath being 8 New Bond Street, 1, 2 and 3 New Bond Court and 7 and 8 Upper Borough Walls, properties inherited from John and Elizabeth Mawley of Weston and later Lyncomb and Widdicomb near Bath. These houses in Bath had been sold by 1843.
William and Harriet had one daughter Harriet Luce Mawley baptised in Thornbury on 11th October 1837. The baptism record describes William as a painter and says that their home was in Bristol. The family doesn’t appear to have stayed together long. The 1841 Census shows Harriett and her daughter, also Harriett, had returned to Thornbury and were they were living at 22 High Street with Harriett’s mother, Mary Luce. Harriett Mawley snr is described as an artist aged 30 with her daughter, Harriet Mawley aged 5. Meanwhile, William Mawley in 1841 was a “portrait painter” lodging in Regents Place, St Paul’s, Bristol.
We don’t know how William and Harriett settled the division of their property following the apparent breakdown of their marriage. In the 1840 Tithe Survey Harriett Mawley is shown as being the owner of the Plot 178, a house in Silver Street occupied by Mary Luce and Elijah Hopkins (later known as 1a Silver Street), part of Plot 79 a house in Silver Street occupied by James Bevan (later known as 1 Silver Street), Plot 180 a house and court in High Street occupied by Richard Ellis (later known as 31 High Street) and Plot 186, a garden and stable occupied by George Rice which was located in middle of the land behind the Silver Street and High Street properties with access from St Mary Street. The property at 22 High Street was shown as owned and occupied by Mary Luce.
In 1851 William was a portrait painter lodging with a family in Trowbridge in Wiltshire. He was noted as being unmarried! He died on 14th March 1861. In spite of his wanderings William was buried in Thornbury on 19th March 1861 aged 45 years and his abode at the time was given as Thornbury.
The 1851 and 1861 Censuses show the two Harrietts continued to live with Mary Luce at 22 High Street until her death. Mary died on 12th February 1868 aged 90. Following her death the property at 22 High Street was put up for sale at auction in January 1869. The 1871 Census shows the two Harrietts (mother and daughter) moved to live in one of their houses in Silver Street.
The 1881 Census shows the two Harriets still living in Silver Street. Harriet senior was an annuitant aged 73, her daughter was a confectioner aged 40. Harriet senior died on 14th May 1885 aged 77. In the 1891 census the younger Harriet was living in Silver Street on her own. She was unmarried aged 55. Harriett Luce Mawley of Silver Street died in 24th January 1901 aged 64. Administration of her estate was granted to Harriett Luce Chambers, widow. She was a second cousin, one of the grandchildren of George and Mary Luce.
By the time of the 1905 rate book John Hodges Williams had acquired the property at 31 High Street and also the three houses belonging to Harriett Mawley in Silver Street. The property at 31 High Street appears to have been conveyed by an indenture dated 20th March 1902 between Harriett Luce Chambers and John Hodges Williams.