William Young Sainsbury was baptised in Tytherington on 3rd July 1841. He was the son of John Sainsbury (Junior) and his wife Elizabeth. In 1851 they had been running a farm of 200 acres in Tytherington. John was the grandson of Jonathan Sainsbury a farmer who had moved from Tisbury in Wiltshire to Tytherington in the early 1790s.
By 1861 William had become a farmer and was helping his widowed mother run the farm of 188 acres (which is now referred to as ‘Edwards Farm’).
We are not sure what led William to quit farming and leave Tytherington. He was married in Gloucester in 1864 to Elizabeth Hannah Drew, the daughter of Richard Drew of Horseshoe Farm, Brinkmarsh Lane near Tytherington. After the marriage they seemed to settle in Thornbury where their son, Albert Edward was born on 21st July 1865. Albert’s baptism record dated 5th August 1865 shows that William had become a Relieving Officer. A daughter, Florence Emily was baptised on 1st May 1867. An 1867 trade directory shows that William was living in St John Street.
The 1871 census shows the family were living in 15 St John Street. The house was occupied by William Young Sainsbury again shown as a relieving officer aged 29 and his wife, Elizabeth Hannah aged 28, both of whom were born in Tytherington. They had two children: Albert Edward aged 5 and Florence Emily aged 3, both born in Thornbury.
A Relieving Officer was employed by the Board of Guardians to receive applications for poor relief, to make payments approved by the Board, and to issue orders to admit people to the workhouse. His full title was ‘Relieving & Vaccination officer (No.1 District, Thornbury Union), Collector to the Guardians and School Attendance Inquiry Officer’.
The relieving officer had to keep detailed accounts of all money and material given in out door relief. The account had to be authenticated by the clerk and approved by the Board of Guardians. He was expected to reside in the relief district to which he was appointed “devoting his full time to the performance of the duties of his office.” This in effect meant that he could not have any other trade, profession or business. The Poor Law Commissioners were trying to prevent a situation arising where the relieving officer’s objectivity and partiality could be compromised by customers or clients attempting to “conciliate his favour.” They believed that the relieving officer should possess the same qualities as a policeman, “he ought to possess firmness of mind, so as to be enabled in the discharge of his duty to resist intimidation from whatever quarter it might come.”
In 1881 William and Elizabeth were still living in house in St John Street. They now had one extra child, William Young born on 18th October 1872 (baptised on 13 November 1872). In 1889, William and Elizabeth’s daughter, Florence Emily married John Howell Hosgood, an engineer from Barry, South Wales. John was the son of William Howell Hosgood, an engineer from Cardiff. It is interesting to see that John’s younger brother, Walter James, married Emily Jane Sainsbury in Thornbury in 1892. Presumably Florence and Emily were related in some way. John and Florence moved away to Merthyr Dovan, near Barry. They had one son, George Sainsbury Hosgood, born on 4th March 1902 who was admitted to Thornbury National School in 1907 but he left the school and the area in 1909.
The 1885 Rate Book and 1891 census show that the rest of the family had moved to The Coombe, the imposing detached house built in Gloucester Road, opposite the Workhouse. Albert Edward, now aged 25, had become a saddle and harness maker. William (Junior) had become an accountant.
A newspaper of 31st March 1894 reported the sale of “a useful freehold property known as the Coombe Cottage situate near the Thornbury Union Workhouse on the main road to Gloucester and a short distance from the town of Thornbury and comprising a dwellinghouse, stable, coach-house and productive garden and land containing 3r 24p for many years in the occupation of Mr William Young Sainsbury let at the annual rent of £20 was purchased by Mr Hosgood at £443.” William and Elizabeth Sainsbury’s son in law John Howell Hosgood had bought the house and was now letting it to them. By the 1901 Census William and Elizabeth were living alone at The Coombe, except for one servant, Sarah A Riddle aged 14. They continued living there until their deaths. Elizabeth Hannah died on 6 June 1912 aged 70 years. William died on 27 May 1921 aged 80 years.
In 1894, William Young Sainsbury’s son, Albert Edward married Elizabeth Young Jones. Click here to read more about them