Robert Thurston was born about 1620.  He married Elizabeth Sampson on 9th February 1640/1 at Olveston and Robert was described at that time as a Baker of Thornbury.

Robert and Elizabeth had at least 5 children:

  • Mary Thurston was born on 29th November 1645 at Thornbury.  She married John Barton on 25th June 1666 at Thornbury.  John was baptised on 18th April 1636 at Thornbury.  He was the eldest child of Robert and Susannah Barton of Thornbury.  John and Mary had six children baptised at Thornbury: Mary Barton was baptised on 16th May 1667 (Mary married Joseph Canning and they may have had at least one child, Elizabeth, baptised at St Mary Le Port in the City of Bristol in 1699), Elizabeth Barton baptised on 12th November 1669 (Elizabeth married Philip Mansell on 28th December 1694 at St Augustine’s Church in Bristol), John Barton baptised on 28th August 1673, Thomas Barton born about 1675 (Thomas married Edith Wickham at Old Sodbury on 14th April 1700 and they had at least two children, Thomas and Elizabeth), Anne Barton baptised on 11th March 1682 (Anne married Richard Ridley on 4th May 1708) and Sarah Barton born about 1685 (Sarah married Thomas Nelmes at Yate on 1st February 1699/1700).  John Barton died on 11th April 1687 and Mary died on 1st May 1691. In John’s will he referred to the property in Chipping Street (Silver Street) which he had bought from Henry Shipman.
  • Elizabeth Thurston was baptised on 22nd March 1653/4 at Thornbury.  There is a Marriage Allegation for Henry Marsh, a hatter, aged twenty-one years, of Thornbury and Elizabeth Thurstone, aged twenty years, of Thornbury, at Bristol dated June 1673.  They had a son, William, born about 1673, a daughter, Mary born about 1683 (she married Daniel Thurston in 1705) and Sarah who was the sole executrix of Robert Thurston’s estate in 1704.  They may also have had another son, Robert Marsh, a tallow chandler and said to be a son of Henry Marsh in an enfeoffment dated 1723.  Elizabeth was buried at Thornbury on 10th December 1680.
  • Robert Thurston Junior was born on 9th March 1657/8 at Thornbury.  He married Sarah Bird (the daughter of John Bird) with whom he had at least one child, John Thurston.  In 1685/6 this Robert Thurston Jnr. was Mayor of Thornbury.  Sarah died and was buried on 21st February 1688/9.  In November 1689 there was a Marriage Allegation at Bristol for Robert Thurston of Thornbury and Anna Smith of Alveston.  Robert was buried on 29th October 1714 at Thornbury aged 58 years and Anna Thurston, his widow, died on 9th September 1720 and was buried on 11th September 1720 aged fifty-seven years.  Robert had several children: Robert baptised on 10th December 1678, Anna baptised on 9th December 1689, Sarah baptised on 19th April 1692, Mary Thurston baptised on 14th December 1693, Hester baptised on 17th June 1695, Margaret baptised in November 1696, Winifred baptised on 28th October 1698 and Jane Thurston was baptised on 16th September 1703 at Thornbury.  Of these children Mary died on 13th February 1718 aged 25 years, Anna married John Harvest on 15th October 1716, Margaret married William Hooper of Berkeley on 9th May 1717, Hester married William Pountney on 4th September 1719, Winifred married John Niblett on 3rd September 1725. Sarah became Mrs Bubb. We know from various indentures and wills that Robert had another son, John, but we haven’t found details of his birth or baptism. We have written more about this John below.  Sarah Thurston was born on 14th March 1659/60.  There is a Marriage Allegation for Anthony Horsley and Sarah Thurston of Thornbury at Bristol dated July 1684.  They had at least three children: Elizabeth baptised on 10th May 1685, James baptised on 24th March 1686 and John baptised 28th October 1688.  Anthony was buried on 9th April 1690 and Sarah buried on 7th May 1694.
  • John Thurston was baptised on 27th January 1662/3 at Thornbury.  There is a Marriage Allegation for John Thurston and Katherine Thurner of Thornbury at Bristol dated June 1686.  They married on 4th June 1686 at the Church of St Augustine-the-Less in the City of Bristol.  John died 1st February 1691 aged 29 years and buried on 5th February 1691.  In his will dated 1st June 1687 he left his father one shilling, his mother five shillings.

In 1645 Robert Thurston was described as a Mercer in the baptism entry for his daughter Mary.  He was Mayor of Thornbury in 1666/7 and again in 1677/8.  He was mentioned in a Thornbury Rent Roll for 1670 with rent for a property on the west side of the High Street – it was noted to have been owned previously by ‘Parkers’ and called ‘a red rose at Midsomer’.  We are not sure where this property was but it appears to be around the marketplace.

The Mayors Accounts show that Alderman Thurston junior took over as owner of 25 High Street in 1697.  This would seem to imply that it was Robert Thurston, the son of Robert Thurston the elder.  Robert the younger was the son-in-law of the previous owner, Edith Bird.  However the fact that the next few entries show Robert Thurston ending in 1702 might suggest it was indeed the older man who lived there who died in 1704, unless the younger man took over his father’s house following his death.

On 3rd August 1700 Robert agreed a 99 year lease of a property with the Feoffees of the Corporation.  The property was the one called The Fraternity together with the adjoining land called the Town Orchard.  On 22nd March 1704 Robert devised his interest in the property for the remainder of the term to his son, Robert Thurston jnr.  On 17th August 1707 Robert assigned the lease to Richard Archard.

Elizabeth died on 20th February 1702.  Robert Thurston the elder died on 27th March 1704 aged 84.  In his will dated 22nd March 1703 Robert left various properties.   He left to his grandson, John Thurston, the eldest son of his son, Robert Thurston the younger

the messuage tenement and dwelling house in which I now inhabit together with all outhouses courts yards gardens privileges and appurts… to commence immediately after the term of 12 years which I have granted by lease to Sarah Marsh, my granddaughter”

“and the messuage and tenement wherein John Tayer gentleman lately dwelt with all appurts… provided that he pay the sum of £10 to Elizabeth his sister and to his brother John £5 and to my granddaughter Elizabeth Horsley £10 within two years after my decease.

We are not sure where those two properties were.

Robert Thurston also left to his son, Robert, ‘his close or parcel of land lying over against the Burnt Alms Houses together with a leasehold being within the same all now in the tenure or occupation of Thomas Ayleworth butcher, with Robert paying out thereof to my granddaughter Sarah Nelme and Eliz. Walker £5 each‘.  We suspect that the reference to Burnt Alms Houses refers to the two cottages later known as 8 and 10 St Mary Street.  There are other references in the deeds of 49 High Street showing that Robert Thurston jnr had owned land in this area and that it had passed on to his son, John Thurston.

An indenture dated 3rd April 1771 shows that Robert left to his grandson, John, the property later known as 30 to 36 High Street, but we are unable to match up this property with those mentioned in Robert’s will.  

Shortly after Robert’s death there appears to have a dispute over the execution of his will.  Robert had appointed his grand-daughter, Sarah Marsh, his sole executrix and it seems as if action was taken against her and her husband, Henry Marsh, accusing them of failing to perform the will in respect of the land which had been in the occupation of John Tayer.  The case was heard at the Court of Chancery but we don’t know the outcome of the court case.

John Thurston – John Thurston was the son of Robert Thurston jnr.  He was mentioned in his grandfather’s will when he was left various properties (see above).

We don’t know much about John.  His wife was called Grace although we haven’t traced the marriage record.  It appears that John and Grace lived in Bristol.  On 18th February 1712 they baptised a daughter, Grace, in St Michael’s Church, Bristol.  The Mayors Accounts show that John Thurston was the owner of the property and paying the rent charge for 25 High Street from 1703 to 1739.  John was the son of Robert Thurston junior and grandson of Robert Thurston the elder.  He had inherited the property as a result of his grandfather’s will when he died in 1704.  The account books don’t mention any tenants of the property except in 1741 when John Cox is listed.

An indenture dated 1731 relating to 38 High Street shows that John Thurston was the owner of the property to the north (which we suspect covers the properties now known as 30 to 36 High Street).  

John Thurston wrote his will on 17th January 1745 at which time he described himself as a gentleman from Bristol.  He makes no mention of his wife so we assume that she had pre-deceased him.  He left all his real and personal estate to his son in law, John King on condition that he put into trust £500 to be paid to his grand-daughter, Grace King when she was 18.

The Kings – John Thurston’s daughter, Grace married John King a mercer at St Michael’s Church, Bristol on 10th July 1737.  Their daughter, Grace, was baptised on 27th February 1738.  They also had three other children: John baptised on 5th January 1742, Walter Thurston King baptised on 23rd July 1746 and Elizabeth baptised on 1st September 1748.  All the baptisms took place at St Augustine the Less Church in Bristol.

All of John Thurston’s properties in the High Street descended to his daughter Grace and her husband John King.

The Mayors Accounts show that John King was paying the rent charge on 25 High Street from 1747.  The Mayors Accounts show that John King let the property out to tenants.  Peter Park is listed as tenant in 1749 and John Grove from 1750 to 1756.

We are not sure when John King died, but he pre-deceased his wife.  We suspect John died around 1756 as from that time Grace King is listed in the Mayors Accounts as the owner of 25 High Street.  Grace King died about 1760.  In her last will dated 2nd November 1758 Grace left the property she had been left by her husband to their eldest son, John King.  She acknowledged that their daughter would receive the financial bequests left to her by her grandfather, John Thurston.  The rest of Grace’s property was put into trust and shared between all her children.  The will was proved by 1760.

John King took over 25 High Street in 1761 and carried on paying the rent charge until 1783.  He is consistently referred to in the Mayors Accounts as ‘Mr King’ so we suspect that he was living in Wickwar which is where he was in 1770 when described as a clothier.  John died in 1781.  In his will dated 24th December 1780 and proved on 27th June 1781, he left all his estate in trust of his wife and her brother, John Woodman Pardo, for the use of his wife, Rebecca and to be shared by their children.  The account books show from 1784 ‘the heirs of John King’ are the owners to 1788 and then the entry become ‘King widow’ who was presumably John’s widow, Rebecca.   John King had married Rebecca Pardoe in Horton Church on 24th July 1768.  Rebecca was baptised on 7th January 1744 at Bridge Street Independent Chapel, Bristol.  She was the daughter of Samuel and Mary Pardoe.  By 1770 John had became a clothier and he and Rebecca were living in Wickwar.  The accounts book shows that the Kings were still owners of 25 High Street up to 1793 when Betty Lippiatt took over.

An indenture dated 8th January 1770 lists the property inherited by John King and Rebecca.  This included two properties which were given to John Thurston and his heirs by the will of his grandfather, Robert Thurston:

All that messuage or dwelling house wherein John Tayer, Gent. deceased lately dwelt as tenant of John Thurston, and Richard White since dwelt as tenant of John Thurston, grandfather of John King, in the High Street of Thornbury.

And also all that messuage or tenement wherein Robert Thurston deceased, grandfather of John Thurston and great grandfather of John King lately dwelt and wherein Nicholas Powell, tallow chandler then dwelt in the High Street“.

The list included several properties and closes of land in Bristol and Shepperdine and the following which were in Thornbury:

and all that messuage wherein Thomas Pierce, blacksmith, Samuel Musgrove, glazier, and William Russell shoemaker did formerly dwell in the High Street”.  We believe that this property was 30 to 36 High Street which was sold by John and Rebecca King to Benjamin Parnall on 2nd and 3rd April 1771.

“And also all that messuage wherein Joseph Player, cooper and Frances Hubbert (Hulbert) widow formerly dwelt in the High Street.

And also all that messuage wherein Joseph Powell formerly dwelt with the mill house, cider mill and orchard thereunto adjoining  and belonging in Back Street

And also all that barn and stable and adjoining garden in Back Street and now in the possession of Thomas Grove as tenant to John King“. This property was located on the junction of Bath Road and Rock Street and includes the site on which 1 Bath Road was later built.

And all that messuage or tenement and dwellinghouse wherein Elizabeth Gifford, widow lately dwelt in the High Street.

And all that messuage wherein Robert Thurston formerly dwelt in the High Street together with an orchard thereunto belonging in the said Back Street“.