The Wise and Wallington families owned several properties in Thornbury. The first generation we know anything about was that of Thomas and Ann Wise.
Thomas and Ann Wise – Thomas was born in Thornbury about 1792/3. His early life is a mystery. We do know that on 22nd June 1816, Thomas married Ann Child Cossham. They were both said to be living in Thornbury at that time. The witnesses at the marriage were Ann’s siblings, George and Charlotte Cossham. Ann was the daughter of Jesse Cossham and his wife, Ann (nee Child).
In 1794 Ann’s grandmother, Ann Child, left her a property (7 Horseshoe Lane) to be given to Ann following the death of her mother. In 1796 Ann was left another property (32 High Street) by Ann Davis, her father’s married sister.
Thomas and Ann agreed to an Act of Settlement signed on the day before the wedding that the property which Ann had inherited from her aunt was put in trust to ensure Ann continued to have control of the property after the marriage. In the event she sold 32 High Street in April 1819 for £390. We are speculating but it is possible that Ann used this money to buy 5 Horseshoe Lane, the property adjoining the one she was expecting to inherit on the death of her mother. Her mother died on 4th July 1824 and an inland revenue document notes that there was an indenture dated 22nd July 1824 under the Act of Settlement mentioned above. Thomas and Ann Wise then owned both 5 and 7 Horseshoe Lane. These properties had originally been owned by Ann’s great great grandfather, Thomas Smith and they had descended through the family to Ann. Click here to read about the early history
Thomas and Ann had at least 3 children: Ann Matilda born on 27th January 1817, Edward born on 3rd December 1819, and Jesse Cossham Wise born on 4th December 1823. All three births were registered at Broadmead Baptist Chapel, Bristol.
The 1840 Tithe Survey shows the two houses were occupied by Thomas Wise and Sarah Hopton. We have assumed that Thomas would have occupied number 5 which appears to be the larger of the two properties. The Tithe Survey shows Thomas Wise owned several plots (numbers 125, 126, 127, 128 and 130) in the area of Gillingstool and Horseshoe Lane. The land tax assessments show that Thomas owned property in Thornbury from about 1821. He is not referred to in the records of 1819, but by 1821 he is shown as owning a property occupied by James Edmonds (believed to be 5 Horseshoe Lane), and in 1822 as occupying the same property which he owned. In 1826, 1827 and 1832, he is listed as owning a property occupied by Charles Hopton. We know from an indenture dated 1824 that he owned 5 and 7 Horseshoe Lane at that time because he had embarked on plans to erect two cottages on his property. We think these two cottages were built on Gillingstool Hill and were the two which were demolished to allow for the extension of the Council School.
It is pleasing to see that in 1831 Thomas was one of the Freeholders of the County of Gloucester who were signatories in support of the Reform Bill. Thomas and Ann were also very active in the Thornbury Baptist Church. However the Church Minutes of January 27th 1834 show that they had countenanced and circulated a damaging report about a fellow member, Ann White. We don’t know the details of the report but when investigated by the Pastor he found in favour of Ann White and he ordered Thomas and Ann Wise to be excluded from the Church. This must have been very difficult for Thomas and Ann as her brother, George Cossham, was one of the Church’s Trustees. The minutes of 17th May 1848 show that Thomas and Ann were restored to full privileges within the Church. However a later entry dated 15th May 1850 shows Thomas was excluded again, this time for mistreating Ann. The following year he was being ‘encouraged to fill up his place’ in the Church. A later entry in the minutes for November 2nd 1864 shows that Thomas was again in trouble with the Baptist Church and the Church resolved to “no longer walk with him in Fellowship .” He was restored to the Fellowship in 1869.
The 1841 census shows Thomas as a plasterer living in the house which later became known as 5 Horseshoe Lane with his wife, Ann, and their children Edward and Jesse. There is a George Wise living in the household whom we assume to be another son of Thomas and Ann’s although there is no sign of his birth. George was aged 15 and working as an apprentice tailor. As he cannot be found in any later census, we think he could be the George Wise who died in Thornbury in September quarter 1848. An article in the Bath Chronicle of 9th November 1843 appears to have an explanation of injuries that may have led to the early death of this George Wise. It seems that in November 1843 he was taken to Bristol Infirmary with a “compound comminated fracture of his lower jaw, and a wound which extended from his mouth to his throat and through the greatest part of his tongue.” The lad was only 17 and had had the idea of mounting a horse pistol on a block of wood to resemble a cannon. He went out into a lane near Thornbury to try it out and it exploded after he applied a match to it. A local surgeon Mr Jones found him and took him to the Bristol Infirmary.
It appears that Thomas Wise was an enthusiastic and successful gardener. In June 1848, in the Flower Show organised by the Thornbury Society, Thomas won first prize for his potatoes and his stocks. Later in the same year, at the September Flower Show of the Thornbury Horticultural Society, he won first prize for his cabbages, carrots and celery, second prize for his onions, third prize for his parsnips and culinary apples and an extra prize for his plums. He seemed to be making full use of that large garden at the back of 5 Horseshoe Lane which appears as Plot 127 on the Tithe Map. It must have been very productive soil. It is also interesting to see that many of the other prize-winners were Thomas’s neighbours.
In 1851 and 1861 censuses, it was just Thomas and Ann living in Horseshoe Lane. Thomas is described as a plasterer and tiler.
On 2nd October 1869 Ann died ‘of Decay of Nature’. She was aged 76 years. She was buried in the Baptist Church graveyard in the same grave as her parents. The 1871 census shows Thomas still in Horseshoe Lane. Living with him were his daughter Anne, her husband, Lewis Wallington, their 16 year old daughter, Anne and a visitor, William Clark aged 2. William was the son of Lewis and Anne’s daughter, Lucy, who was living with her policeman husband, Henry Clark in Montpelier, Bristol at the time).
Thomas died on 8th May 1871 aged 78 years. The cause of death was ulceration of the stomach. He was buried in the Baptist Church graveyard in the same grave as Anne and her parents. Following his death, we know that his several properties in the High Street were taken over by his son, Edward. The two properties in Horseshoe Lane are more confusing as they appear to have been left by Ann to her children in four undivided parts. We have copies of Inland Revenue documents which show that their daughter Ann had one part and that their son, Jesse, had another part which he sold to his brother, Edward. We assume that Edward was also left a part of his own, but we don’t know who had the fourth part! The Rate Books appear to show that ownership was shared by Edward Wise and Lewis Wallington (Edwards’ brother in law), but we know from the above that the rate books don’t show the complete story.
Lewis and Anne Wallington – Ann Matilda Wise married Lewis Wallington, in Bristol on 22nd May 1836. Lewis was a carpenter born in Hillesley in 1816. In 1841, 1851 and 1861 they were living in Falfield. They had 11 children: Ann Matilda born in 1837, Isaac 1838, Matilda 1839, William 1840, Alfred on 7th November 1841, Llewellyn in 1843, Lucy 1847, Elizabeth 1850, Annice 1853, Ann 1855 and George Thomas 1857.
It appears that Lewis and Ann moved to Thornbury following the death of Ann’s mother and they moved in with her father, Thomas Wise, in his house at 5 Horseshoe Lane.
Ann and Lewis remained in Horseshoe Lane and they took over the house from Thomas Wise. The Rate Books of 1876, 1880 and 1885 show Lewis living there and by 1885 he shared the ownership of the house (and one of the adjoining houses) with Edward Wise.
In 1881 census the Wallingtons are living there with James Bendall, a groom aged 21. Lewis died on 21st November 1885. The 1890 Rate Book and the 1891 census shows Anne had moved next door to 7 Horseshoe Lane, living on her own in a 3 roomed house. She is described as a seamstress aged 74. She died on 1st March 1896. We are very grateful to Barry Miller for sending us copies of the photographs shown on this page from his grandmother’s album.
Of Thomas and Ann’s other children:
Edward – moved up North. He married Ellen Lowe in Warrington in 1850 and they settled in Blackburn where Edward worked as a cordwainer. In most records his name is shown as ‘Wisse’. Ellen died in 1870. Although he continued to live in 63 Follywell Street (which later became known as 139 Victoria Street), Blackburn, he became the owner of several properties in Thornbury. In addition to the houses in Horseshoe Lane he inherited from his uncle, George Cossham, a group of five houses at the top of the High Street (nos 73 – 81). Edward died on 16th January 1905 aged 85, leaving two unmarried daughters, Charlotte and Ann. After Edward’s death, Charlotte and Ann kept hold of the Thornbury properties until their deaths, Charlotte on 6th June 1916 and Ann on 15th December 1937.
Following Ann’s death there was an interesting article in the Gazette which said she was the daughter of ‘Sir Edward Wise who was the last surviving holder of an honour conferred on his ancestor in 1521. The baronetcy was originally granted to a member of the Wise family who lived in Thornbury. It was from Bristol that the family originally hailed. Miss Wise’s father, who was formerly in the boot manufacturing business, was married at Warrington to Miss Ellen Lowe. Amongst the greatly prized possessions of Miss Wise was the original deed conferring the baronetcy’.
Jesse – in 1852 Jesse married Fanny Bevan, a Thornbury girl, the daughter of James Bevan, a tailor and his wife, Anne. They settled in Bristol where Jesse worked as a cooper and beer retailer. Although he was left a share of his mother’s property in Horseshoe Lane, he sold his share to his brother, Edward. He died in 1875. His death was registered in St Augustines, Bristol, but he seems to have been buried in the Baptist Church at Thornbury. The church records there include a certificate of his death dated 14th May 1875. He was aged 51.
The 1878 and 1880 Rate Books show Fanny had returned to Thornbury to live in a house she had inherited from Jesse’s uncle, George Cossham at 60 High Street. The 1881 census shows her as a housekeeper aged 54 living there with her daughter, Fanny E Wise, an upholstress aged 27 born in St Michael’s, Bristol and several boarders. The 1885 rate book shows Fanny still owned the property but had moved elsewhere. The 1890 Rate Book and 1891 census show Fanny had sold the house and she was running a lodging house in Redland Terrace, Westbury, Bristol. Her daughter, Fanny was still living at home and working as an upholstress. Fanny died in 1897 aged 69.