Dorothy Rose Ellen & Annie Symes

Dorothy, Rose, Ellen & Annie Symes

Charles and Jane Symes had eleven children in all. They all lived in The Georgian House from the time Charles bought it in 1898.  Read more about Charles and Jane Symes

Click here to view a collection of photos of the Symes family

There were six daughters and the photograph above shows the four eldest girls; Ellen, Annie, Rose and Dorothy.  Please click on the image for a larger version.

  • Ellen Symes was born on 7th March 1880.   The 1901 census does not show an occupation and in the 1911 census she was described as being ‘At Home’.  Jack Pridham, one of their descendants, has told us that Ellen worked in her parents’ shop until her marriage to George Alfred Bartlett a policeman in 1912.  They moved to Cheltenham and then to Gloucester.  In 1899 Ellen placed a notice in the classified adverts of the Bristol Mercury ‘Wanted: situation as Children’s or Young Lady’s Maid; aged 18, tall, 3 years’ experience; dressmaking’.  George and Ellen had no children.  Ellen died in Gloucester in 1960 aged 80.  Read Jack Pridham’s memories of Ellen and George



Rose Symes

Rose Symes

  • Rose Symes was born 3rd August 1887.  She was only 13 years old in the 1901 census.  In the 1911 census she was described as being ‘At Home’.  However, we have learned from her nephew, Jack Pridham, that Rose was engaged to a soldier who died in World War One and that she never married and always seems to have had very poor health.  Rose went into the family business of selling seeds, garden supplies and flowers and after her father’s death, she ran the store on the corner of Gloucester Road and The Plain.  SheRose Symes adverts took over the shop at a difficult time when the business was struggling.  Please click on the image of the advertisement for Rose’s shop above to see a larger photograph.  Rose lived in The Georgian House with her sister Marjorie and her husband, Albert Pridham and their son.  Apparently in later years she spent a lot of time dozing in her ‘granny chair’ in the front sitting room next to the shop.  Here she could hear the shop bell ringing in the passage and five or six faltering steps carried her to her customers.  When she gave up the shop she leased it for short periods to local traders.  She died on 13th March 1970 aged 82.  Read Jack Pridham’s memories of his aunt Rose


  • Dorothy Kathleen Symes was born 1st November 1891.  In the 1911 census Dorothy was living at home with her parents and employed as a draper’s assistant.  In 1915 she married Sidney Harriss Gayner, a draper and milliner in the High Street.  The marriage took place in the area of Christchurch, Hampshire.  They had two daughters, Pamela and Jean Frances.  Sidney died in July 1965 aged 79 and is buried in Thornbury Cemetery with Dorothy who died in June 1965.  Read Jack Pridham’s memories of his aunt Dorothy
Gwen Symes

Gwen Symes


  • Gwendoline Irena Symes was born on 15th June 1896.  Gwen worked as a morse and telegraph operator for Charlie Pitcher at the Post Office.  Sadly she developed an auto-immune disorder.  In the 1911 census she was described as being an Invalid.  She died in 1921 aged just 25 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 15th June 1921.  A thumbnail photograph of Gwen is shown on the left here.  Please click on it if you wish to see it in a larger view.  


  • Marjorie Iris Symes was born 5th May 1903.  She too worked in the house and the shop until she married Albert James Pridham in 1927.  Marjorie and “Bert” Pridham, as he was generally known, lived in the house for many years and so we have created a separate page to deal with this part of the family.  Click here to read more


Percy Symes

Percy Symes

  •  Percy Symes was born February 3rd 1884.  The 1901 census shows that at age 17 he was training to be a carpenter.  At some stage, he married a lady called Lilian.  We haven’t traced the marriage nor the birth of their son, Ronald Clarke Symes in 1914, so its possible that these events happened in Australia.  We were told by Jack Pridham’s Percy’s nephew that Lilian’s surname was Howard and there was a connection with Southampton.   We don’t know when or why Percy went out to Australia.  On 18th January 1915 he was in Perth when he enlisted in the 16th Battalion of the Australian Army.  The enlistment record shows that he was a widow with one son, Ronald, who was living in Southampton with his wife’s sister.  The record describes Percy as being 31 years 1 month of age, 5ft 10 inches tall with chest measurement of 34 inches, 36.5 inches when expanded, sallow complexion, grey eyes, brown hair and of the Presbyterian religion.  Within three months Percy was sent to fight in Gallipoli on ‘Argyllshire’.  The embarkation record shows Percy’s address as 190 Lake View Street, Perth and that his son Ronald was living with Miss Beatrice Howard, 28 Brunston Road, Southampton, England.  After several months in Gallipoli he had had a series of injuries and periods of sickness and he was sent back to Hospital in England in September 1915.  He re-joined his unit in March 1916 and appointed Lance Corporal. In April 1916 he was transferred to the 48th Battalion and made Lance Corporal.  He was sent to fight in France and rose through the ranks to Corporal, to Lance Sergeant and then by March 1917 Sergeant.  In August 1917 he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.  On 7th to 10th June Percy was with 48th Battalion fighting at Messines in France.  According to the record ‘he carried out the duties of Coy. Sgt.-Major with energy and resourcefulness.  During the work of consolidation he took over a section of the line and by encouraging his men he very soon had a strong defensive position established.  He took water out to an outpost and returned with a wounded man from No Man’s Land; at the time he was being under heavy fire from machine guns.  When the Unit on the left was counter attacked he did invaluable work in supplying them with bombs and rifle grenades and brought back very good information as to the situation on our left’.
Percy Symes & Constance

Percy & Constance

In September 1917 he was returned from France to attend an Officer’s Cadet School in Oxford and he returned to the fighting in France as a 2nd Lieutenant being promoted to Lieutenant in May 1918.  During 1918 he was hospitalised on several occasions, once he was sent to back to England, to the Lord Derby Hospital, Winwick near Hulme.  Here he met the lady who was to be his second wife, Constance Furey, who was a charge-nurse there.  They married in Warrington Register Office when Percy was home on leave on 21st January 1919.  Percy was then aged 34 and Constance was 27.

Percy was finally sent back to Australia with Constance in May 1919 and he was discharged from the Army in August 1919.  They had a son, Victor, born in Australia about 1921. Constance and Victor must have returned for a visit to England as passenger lists show they sailed from London to Fremantle in 1927 on the SS Moreton Bay.  Their English address shown on the passenger list was at Kings Avenue, New Maldon in Surrey, but we know from Jack Pridham’s memoirs that they came to Thornbury for a visit.  The Electoral Rolls available on the Internet show Percy returned to being a carpenter and he and Constance lived at Tuam Street, Victoria Park, Western Australia. Percy died in July 1938.  

Percy’s son, Ronald, was killed in the Second World War.  He was a pilot officer observer on a training fight which had just taken off from RAF Pershore in October 1941 when the controls were fouled when a dinghy broke loose.  The plane crashed and all seven crew members were killed.  Read Jack Pridham’s memories of his uncle Percy


  • Edward Ewart Symes was born 2nd March 1886 and was baptised 7th March 1886 in St Mary’s church in Thornbury.  He was still a schoolboy aged 15 in the 1901 census.  In the 1911 census he was still living with his parents and employed by his father’s business.

Ted and Fanny symes poss wedding

Ted & Fanny Symes

Fannie Ashcroft

Fanny Symes nee Ashcroft

The photograph on the right is of Ted and Fanny and appears to be taken at their wedding.  Click on the thumbnail for a larger photograph.   They were married in the December quarter of 1913 in Thornbury.  We have been told by his nephew, Jack Pridham, that ‘Ted’ went to Birmingham during World War One, where he and his wife, Fanny (nee Ashcroft) worked together on the trams.  The photograph on the left shows Fanny at this time.

Ted and Fanny had one son, Ewart M. Symes who was born in the Birmingham area in 1921 but he died the following year.  We were told that after the Second World War Ted and Fanny returned to Thornbury and his peace time occupation as a gardener to work for Sir Algar Howard.  The first record we have found so far is in 1946, when their address was at The Stables in Thornbury Castle.  However we believe that before this they spent a short time living at the Georgian House.  By 1950 their address was East Lodge at Thornbury Castle.  In the 1954 Electoral Roll they were living at 36 Castle Street.  This was still his address when he died in Thornbury Hospital on 16th May 1958 aged 72.  Read Jack Pridham’s memories of his uncle Ted


  • Charles Howard Symes was born 3rd March 1889, sadly he died 9th February 1891.  


  • Christopher Symes who was born in 1891 also failed to live very long.  He died in 1892.


  • Ellen, Nard & Annie Symes

    Cecil Bernard Symes was born on 20th February 1894 and was known by his family as “Nard”.  He spent 7 years at the Council School and then moved on to the Grammar School on 16th October 1907 having received a total exemption from his parents having to pay the school fees.  This was awarded by the Governors for 4 years.  He passed the Cambridge Junior exam in July 1909 and Cambridge Senior exam in 1910.  When he left the school on 28th July 1911 he took up the teaching profession becoming a student teacher at the Thornbury Council School on 2nd October 1911.  We understand he later became an assistant master in an elementary school.  He is pictured here below in a thumbnail photograph with his sisters, Ellen and Annie. Please click on the photograph to see it in a larger view.  Due to a heart condition, he was originally rejected by the army but on 28th August 1914 he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps.  One of his nephews, Jack Pridham, has told us that staff Sergeant C B Symes was mentioned in a despatch from Field Marshall Sir John French on 30th November 1915 “for gallant and distinguished service”.  A letter signed by Winston S Churchill says ” I have it in command from the King to record his Majesty’s high appreciation of the service rendered.”

Nard Symes

“Nard” Symes

In the army he became an expert on malaria carrying mosquitoes.  The records of The RAMC show Nard was discharged on 20th February 1919 suffering from ‘wounds’.  His rank at that time was Quarter Master Sergeant.  On his discharge from the army he joined the Colonial Office.  In 1919 studied at the Royal College of Science (later Imperial College) for a one year diploma in entomology.  Afterwards he worked for the Colonial Office in Southern Rhodesia and then Nairobi where he continued his work on malaria carrying mosquitoes and created the Entomological Section of The Medical Research Labs.  The studies he did on the behaviour of malarial mosquitoes between 1925 and 1945 in Kenya are still acknowledged in papers on this subject.  As well as Kenya, he also worked in Mauritius, Fiji, Portugal and Brazil.  Passenger lists on the Internet also show him spending time in Trinidad, Argentina, Mozambique and New York.  On one such journey he flew from Port of Spain to Miami in 1945.

A new species of mosquito is actually named ‘Anopheles symesi’ after him.

“Nard” spent his leaves from the Colonial Service in the family home (the Georgian House).  It is interesting to note that Nard gave ‘Gloucester Road, Thornbury’ as his address on several of his sailings in the late 1920’s and 1930’s.  He maintained his Colonial routines even in Thornbury by having cold baths early every morning and pink gins every evening!  Accordong to the London Gazette in 1940 Nard was made a Lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps, but we don’t know anything about where he served or what he did.

Nard’s nephew, Jack Pridham told us that Nard’s first wife was called ‘Betty’ that she usually declined to join him in Thornbury, preferring the bright lights of London.  We haven’t traced Nard’s first marriage, but note that she was called Elspeth according to various passenger lists (which show her accompanying Nard on his foreign ventures) and electoral registers in the late 1940’s when they were living in Nell Gwynn House, a large apartment complex in Chelsea.  Elspeth died in 1950 aged 60.  Nard married again – in 1952 he married Dorothy M Skeen in the Westminster area of London.  They lived in 204 Nelson House, Dolphin Square, London in the early 1950’s although she also accompanied Nard on trips to Fiji and elsewhere.

Cecil Bernard Symes was awarded the OBE as published in the London Gazette on 11th June 1942, presumably awarded for his work in the Colonial Services in Kenya.  We don’t know when Nard retired but we have an immigration document for Brazil showing he was there in 1964 as an etymologist.  His home address at that time was Yola Cottage, Winsham, Chard in Somerset.  Dorothy’s death was registered in Honiton in 1969 aged 78.  It appears that Nard moved to Sidmouth as he was living at 37 Primley Road, Sidmouth when he died on 3rd March 1976.  Read Jack Pridham’s memories of his uncle Nard