Four generations of the Thurston family

The property that is now called The Hollow in Kington Lane Thornbury was occupied by Josiah Thurston and his family in the census of 1851.  At that time it was called Wildfield and later it became The Appletree Inn, Cockmead’.  The photograph shows four generations of the Thurston family.  The elderly lady who is seated is Mary Ann Slade who became the wife of Josiah Thurston.  The lady to the left of the photograph is their daughter Mary Rachel Thurston who married Philip Boulton.  The lady to the right of the photograph is Mary Rachel’s daughter Frances Elizabeth who married George Herbert Hall.  The baby is Godfrey, the son of Frances and George Herbert Hall.

Josiah was baptised in Thornbury on 31st July 1814.  He was the son of John Thurston, a labourer and his wife Rachael.  At the time of the 1841 census he was a tailor living in Gillingstool with his parents.  On 21st November 1842 Josiah married Mary Ann Slade, the daughter of Simon Slade and his wife Mary at St Augustine’s Church in Bristol.  Mary Ann was baptized in Thornbury on 22nd August 1819.

Josiah and Mary Ann had three children, John baptized 9th May 1843, Mary Rachel baptized 25th August 1844 and Elizabeth on 30th August 1846.

The 1851 census shows Josiah and his wife Mary Ann were living in Kington Lane.  The property was then called ‘Wildfield’ but this name was applied to neighbouring properties and so it may have been the name given to the area.  At that time the census described Josiah as a tailor.  He was aged 36 and was living there with Mary Ann aged 33 and their daughters: Mary aged 6 and Elizabeth aged 4.  Mary Ann’s brother, Thomas Slade, was also living with the family.  He was a carpenter aged 25.

The Thurstons appear to have taken over the property in Kington following the death of Mary Ann’s father, Simon Slade.

Although Josiah was said to be a tailor in the 1841 and 1851 census records and in the baptism records of his children, he was noted as a beer retailer at Wildfield in the 1856 trade directory.  It is possibly the case that although the licence to sell beer was in his name his wife Mary Ann was actually selling the beer. Josiah died aged 47 and was buried on 12th April 1857.   The 1861 census shows that Mary Ann was now formally running the beer house.  It was then described as ‘The Appletree Inn, Cockmead’.  She was living there with her three children, John, Mary Rachel and Elizabeth.

According to George Ford, local pub historian, the pub was ‘used by drovers taking animals to and from Thornbury market, the cattle being penned in the narrow roadside field to the west of the building’.  We understand that animals were brought over to Thornbury Market from the other side of the River Severn on the Aust Ferry.  So it is possible that drovers used the fields around the Cockmead prior to being taken to the Market, but we have not found any confirmation of this and would be interested in hearing if anyone has any information about the running of the pub.

Mary Ann carried on living in the Kington Lane property, although she gave up running the beer house in 1869 when, according to George Ford, the licence was transferred to The Bathin Place.  Instead she became a laundress.


In the 1871 census Mary Ann was described as a laundress.  Presumably she was making use of the supply of water provided by the stream running alongside the property.  Mary Ann’s married daughter, Mary Rachel and her two children were living with her.

In the 1881 census Mary was still a laundress a the Cockmead Inn.  She was now aged 69 living with Mary Rachel and her two daughters.

In the 1891 census Mary Ann was still at Cockmead and working as a laundress.  She was now living there with her two grand-daughters, Frances Boulton and Dorothy and Dorothy’s husband, Francis Henry Pitcher, an ironmonger’s assistant.

Mary Ann died in 1899.  The burial record shows she was 83 which consistently varies with the census records which show her as born in 1818/1819.

Children of Josiah and Mary Ann:

John – at the time of the 1861 census he was an apprentice living with his mother in Kington Lane.  According to the IGI John married Emma Boulton on 26th June 1866 in Bristol.  Emma was the daughter of John Boulton and his wife Elizabeth who lived at the Old Rectory. The 1871 census shows John and Emma living with her widowed mother at The Old Rectory in Thornbury.  This became the family home for the next 100 years.  Click here to read more 

Mary Rachel – at the time of the 1861 census she was an apprentice living with his mother in Kington Lane.  Mary Rachel Thurston married Philip Boulton in St Matthias Church, Bristol on 27th April 1868.  Philip was baptized on 13th April 1845, the son of John Boulton, a labourer and his wife Elizabeth.  Philip’s brother, John Thomas Boulton, was living nearby (possibly in Vine Cottage) in the 1861 census.

Elizabeth Thurston vinen

Elizabeth Vinen nee Thurston with her two daughters

In the 1871 census Mary Rachel was living with her mother in Kington Lane, together with her two children, Frances Elizabeth baptized on 1st November 1868 and Dorothy Lily baptized on 21st August 1870 when the family were living at Eastington.   It appears that Mary Rachel and Philip may have separated.  At the time of the 1871 census Philip was a carpenter living with his widowed mother at The Old Rectory, Thornbury.  In the 1881 census Mary Rachel is again noted as living with her mother at the ’Cockmead Inn’.  Mary Rachel is described as a milliner and dressmaker aged 36.  Her two daughters, Frances and Dorothy were still living with their mother and grandmother.

In the 1891 census Mary Rachel Boulton was working as housekeeper to Edward Bush at The Grove in Alveston.  Mary Rachel’s two daughters were still living with their grandmother in Kington Lane.  In 1889 Dorothy had married Francis Henry James Pitcher, an ironmonger’s assistant and he was also living in the house.

On April 3rd 1893 (an Easter Monday) Frances Elizabeth Boulton married George Herbert Hall at St Mary’s Church in Thornbury.

Uriah Vinen from Ancestry

Possibly Uriah Vinen

Mary Rachel continued to work as housekeeper at The Grove in the 1901 and 1911 censuses.  We don’t know any more about her later life apart from her death on 15th October 1923 aged 79.

Elizabeth – at the time of the 1861 census Elizabeth was still at school.  On 11th May 1868 she married Uriah Vinen, a customs house officer.  They had five children, two (William and Augustus) were born in Thornbury in 1869 and 1871, the others in the London area.  In 1871 the census shows that the couple were living in Walker Street, Tower Hamlets in London.  Elizabeth died on 9th May 193 in Ilford, Essex.  We understand that the photograph on the right is of Uriah Vinen.  Please click on it for a larger image.