Harry Maishment Trayhurn was born on 30th May 1877 and baptised on 1 July 1877, the son of George Trayhurn butcher and his wife Elizabeth (the daughter of George Maishment, tailor).
In 1881 the family had been living in Silver Street in Thornbury. George Trayhurn was a butcher aged 25, Elizabeth, a shopkeeper aged 26. George and Elizabeth had three children then – Harry aged 3, George aged 2 and Arthur aged 2 months.
Harry’s father, George, died on 19 April 1889 aged 33. In the 1891 census, Harry was living with his widowed mother at the premises located at the junction of St John Street and St Mary Street. His mother was a butcher and grocer, Harry was 13, George 12, Arthur 10, Edward Albert 8, Reginald 6, Mabel Ellen 4, Austin Roy 2 and Charles Victor 1. Elizabeth’s sister, Ellen Maishment aged 29, was also living there helping out as a grocer’s assistant.
On 12th October 1897 in Newport, Gloucestershire, Harry married Kathleen Eleanor Lawrence. Kathleen was the daughter of Charles James Lawrence and his wife, Harriett (nee Watkins). We know that Harry was a member of the Thornbury Society of Gleemen around about this time – this group gave concerts in numerous places around the district. The two photos on the right show Harry as a member of the Gleeman.
In 1901 Harry and Kathleen Trayhurn were living in the house now known as 13 St John Street. Harry was a butcher aged 23, Kathleen was aged 24 born in London. They had two children Frances Blanche aged three born in Tenby, South Wales and Austin Jack aged two. The records of St Mary’s Church, Thornbury show they had another son, Charles Roderick (or Edward) baptised on 7th February 1902. Charles died after only 12 months and was buried on 12th February 1903.
Kathleen died on 14th December 1902 in Tenby, Pembrokeshire. Harry married again on 24th May 1920. His wife was Millicent Mary Allen who was born on 30th October 1887, the daughter of John Allen, a mason and his wife, Emma (nee Atwell). They were living at Meadow View, Pilning Street, Pilning in the 1891 Census.
It appears that Harry was living with his mother in St John Street in the 1918 and 1921 electoral registers. We know that Harry and Millicent had at least two children: Donald Oliver born on 1st March 1921 and Stanley Allen born in 1924. The oral history tape made by Harry’s son, Don, says that Harry moved to Pilning where Don was born in 1921. The move to Pilning must have coincided with his marriage to Millicent who came from that area.
Harry then moved the family back to Thornbury, living for a short time in a flat above the butcher’s shop. Harry went into partnership with his brother, Albert Trayhurn and together they formed the Trayhurn Brothers business which included the shop, the slaughterhouse and the rearing of stock in the fields behind the Workhouse.
Harry moved to The Hollow, the first house on the left when leaving Thornbury along the Kington Road. He was living here in 1925 and 1928 when Donald and Stanley, the sons of his second marriage to Millicent Mary, started at the Council Infants School and in 1928 and 1930 when Donald and Stanley started at the Council Upper School.
Then they moved to the Court House in St John Street (later known as number 2 St John Street) where they were living in 1935 when Harry and Millicent Trayhurn are listed in the electoral register. The butchering business on The Plain was being run by Harry and his brother, Roy Trayhurn, under the name of ‘Trayhurn Brothers’. In December 1937 Roy retired from the business and the partnership was dissolved but a limited company by this name continued until the 1970s when Trayhurn Bros Co sold their property to Thornbury District Council. Although they no longer lived at The Hollow plans drawn up in the 1930s show that they continued to own and use fields next to The Hollow, presumably for their cattle.
Harry and his family moved to The Coombe in Gloucester Road where they were living for many years before Don went off to join the services. For part of the time during the War Harry was looking after the business on his own.
During World War II the Trayhurns, like so many other householders in Thornbury, had children billeted on them. Harry and Millicent’s own children were adults by this time and so they must have found looking after two six year old children – Grace (known as “Betty”) Deary and Rita Broome – quite a challenging experience. Despite their age though Betty’s account of her time there to Tony Cherry for his book “The History of a School” shows that the girls were very well looked after and that Betty herself kept up a correspondence with them long after she returned home. Betty can remember that when she was first billeted there, their son Donald was still at home. She could remember the smell he had after working in the slaughter house of the shop. Later Donald was called up. When his father became ill towards the end of the War, Don got special permission to come home to enable him to run the business.
Tony Cherry’s book tells us that “originally Betty and Rita went to St Mary’s School before transferring later to the Council School (now Gillingstool). St Mary’s was only used to accommodate The Esplanade School, Harwich which remained entirely separate from its host. Betty was taught by Miss Chapman who was the Head at The Esplanade. The vicar asked why she was not attending St Mary’s Church on a Sunday. This prompted a big row. Miss Chapman threatened to report the vicar and Mrs Trayhurn was upset because she was a staunch Non-Conformist. Betty was made to go to church three times every Sunday and was told off for playing the piano on a Sunday – she was only allowed to play hymns on a Sunday.”
The same book also tells us how fond Betty was of her teacher in Thornbury, Miss Champion. She wrote to Betty’s mother on several occasions. Once Betty wrote in dramatic terms about being injured in an accident and Miss Champion re-assured Mrs Deary that the incident was minor and was soon forgotten by Betty. Miss Champion also visited the billets to smooth out any issues between “war parents” and children. Betty Deary returned to Harwich after three years with the Trayhurns.
Harry and his wife Millicent continued to live at The Coombe until their deaths. Harry died on 11th October 1964. Millicent carried on living there a little longer until she died on 22nd April 1966 aged 78.
Of Harry’s children:
Frances Blanche – married Sidney G. Shepherd in Thornbury in September quarter 1925. They had two daughters, Joy and Ruth.
Austin Jack – born on 29th October 1899. After attending Council School he was awarded with a free place at the Grammar School and he was admitted there on 19th September 1909. He left school on 15th June 1917 having achieved impressive results. He gained Cambridge Junior (3rd class Honours), Cambridge Senior (2nd class Honours) with distinctions in English Language and English history and exemption from London Matriculation. The school register noted that ‘Jack’ would proceed to Cambridge University, but because of the War he had to join the Army. On 1st May 1918 he joined the Royal Engineers as a ‘Pioneer’. Jack’s army records are badly damaged but from what we can read on enlistment he was height 5ft 4 inches with 35 inch chest and 2 inch range. He appeared to have been working as a clerk before joining the Army. He served in a Signals Unit as a wireless learner and operated in the ‘Northern’ theatre of war. In August 1918 he was evacuated back to England from Archangel. He was discharged on 16th October 1919.
Jack married Ruby Ada Adey Griffin in Fishponds, Bristol on 31st July 1924. Ruby was born on 13th February 1891 in Coaley, the daughter of Albert Griffin and his wife, Ada Harriet Adey. Jack was a teacher and he and Ada lived in Dunster. Jack became head of English at Minehead Grammer School. They had two daughters – Katherine and Sally. Ruby died on 2nd March 1951. In his later years, Jack remarried – a friend of Ruby’s called Win who was a teacher at the same school in Minehead. They planned to retire in Thornbury, but it was not to be, as Jack died before they actually moved. Jack died on 8th February 1963. Win however still moved to Thornbury where she lived in a cottage at 24 Castle Street. She ran a drama group in Thornbury as well as a play-reading group in her front room. We have been told that Win was a very intelligent lady and marked “A” Level English papers until she was 90! She would never discuss her age, but put her longevity down to a daily glass of Guinness and the odd Woodbine! In her last few years, she left Thornbury in 1975 and went to live in an apartment in Bamtham, Nr. Kingsbridge, Devon,
Donald Oliver was born in Pilning in 1921. His family moved to Thornbury shortly after his birth. By the time he started the Council Infants School in 1925 the family was living in The Hollow, Kington. In 1932 he left to join the Thornbury Grammar School. His family moved from the Hollow to the Court House in St John Street and then to The Coombe in Gloucester Road. On leaving school, Donald was to join the family butchery business. During the War, he had four years in the services. We understand he went on leave to marry Miss Doreen Mary Stuckley Barker, a teacher at the Thornbury Council School on 17th June 1943. She was born on 4th March 1918, the only daughter of Mr & Mrs C. H. Barker of Market Place, Tetbury. The wedding took place at Tetbury Church. The special register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war shows Doreen was lodging with the Yarnold family at 16 High Street.
Donald was with the RASC and went across to France on the third day following the D-Day landings with the 79th Armoured Division. He was in the supply column which had specialist equipment like flame throwers, flails and tanks. They fought their way right up to Luneberg where he actually witnessed the signing of the Armistice.
He re-joined the family business at the end of the War, taking over from his father. In 1944 they had a son, Michael J whose birth was registered at Cirencester but who did not live for long, and in 1946 they had a daughter, Susan Carolyn who was born in Malmesbury. Then Don and Doreen went to live in Eastbury Road for a short time and from there to Eastland Road – in a little converted shop – opposite the Health Centre. In 1950 they had a son, John Richard. Around 1957, they moved back to Gloucester Road, this time opposite the Grammar School at Nesdale, 19 Gloucester Road where they lived for 20 years. From there to Park Road for another 20 or so years before he finally moved to a new flat at Gloucester Terrace in Gloucester Road.
Don Trayhurn was involved in many areas of Thornbury life. Just after the War he was a chairman for the T.B. Aftercare Committee. He was a local councillor for many years and a governor of Thornbury Grammar School. He also did a lot of work for the National Children’s Homes and Cancer Research charities. Doreen died in December 1979 aged 61 and Don in 1996 aged 75.
Stanley Allen was born in 1924. He was a Captain in the Gloucestershire Regiment when he married in summer 1946. His wife was Doreen McMurtry, daughter of the late Captain Robert McMurtry of Belfast. According to Betty Deary’s account of her evacuation Stanley was a student at Cambridge. We understand that Stanley moved away from Thornbury and became a County Court registrar and then County Court judge. He was also appointed President of the Bristol Law Society (the youngest ever President during the Society’s 300 year history).