The 1891 census shows that  Charles Putley was occupying 7 St John Street in Thornbury.  He was described as a widowed retired bus proprietor aged 76 years from Monmouth.

Charles was born about 1815.  We are slightly puzzled by his place of birth.  In the 1861 and 1871 censuses, it suggests he was born in either Lursley, Gloucestershire (which we think must mean Dursley) or Wotton Under Edge.  However the 1881 census says he was born in Lydney, Gloucestershire.

Charles’s marriage to Hannah Poole was registered in Bath in the December quarter 1840.  We cannot find them in the 1841 census.

In the 1851 census Charles and Hannah were living in Ross in Herefordshire.  Charles was 35 years old and described as a “horsekeeper” from Blakeney in Gloucestershire.  Hannah then aged 33 was born in Tytherington.  Their lodger was Mary Bennett a 35 year old widow.

Charles was first mentioned in Thornbury records in 1854 when he advertised reduced fares on the “Thornbury Omnibus” which left Thornbury on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 8am and returned from The Greyhound public house in Broadmead at quarter to five in the evening.

In the 1856 trade directory he was described as a shopkeeper in the High Street, but he was still also operating an omnibus to Bristol.  The Brown’s Almanack 1877 shows that Charles was then running a daily omnibus from the High Street to the Full Moon, Bristol leaving at 8.20am.  The first motor omnibus did not appear in Thornbury until about 1906.  This “omnibus” was pulled by a horse.

In the 1861 census, Charles and Hannah were living at 2 High Street, Thornbury, next to the Bank.  Charles was a coach proprietor aged 46 and Hannah was aged 45 born in Tytherington.  Also visiting them were Sarah Poole unmarried aged 50 from Tytherington and her son, Charles Poole.  When young Charles was born in 1852 his mother’s address was the Thornbury Union.

On 27th June 1866 there was an advertisement for the sale of “all that Freehold Dwelling House and Shop in the High Street of Thornbury in the occupation of Mr Charles Putley, General Shopkeeper and Omnibus Proprietor.  The Property comprises Shop, sitting room, kitchen, five bedrooms, cellar, stable, Bakehouse, Lofts, Brewhouse, Yard, etc and are centrally situated and well adapted for business purposes. To view apply to tenant”

An abstract of title for 2 High Street shows that Charles purchased it on 10th October 1866 for £285.  He was helped by a loan of £250 from Joseph Ford which was arranged on 11th October 1866.

1878 sale of charles putley business

The sale of Charles’s business in 1878

In 1871 Charles and Hannah were still in the High Street.  Charles was an omnibus proprietor.  Living with them were the same Sarah Poole, a general domestic servant, and Charles Poole, formerly a mail cart driver.  Charles gave up the omnibus business in October 1878.  On the 5th of that month, a notice appeared in the Bristol Mercury advertising four horses, harnesses and omnibus etc.  It also mentioned that the bus between Thornbury and Bristol would be discontinued from 8th October.

By 8th October 1879 Charles had repaid his loan from Joseph Ford .

By 1881, just Charles and Hannah were still living in the same house – he was a grocer and mail contractor and she was a grocer’s wife.  In 1884 he sold the house and about 1885 he began to rent a house from Mark Crossman Meredith which we believe is now 7 St John Street.

Hannah died and was buried on 1 January 1886 aged 70 years.  Charles died aged 80 – his death was registered in December quarter 1895 in Gloucester.