The road called ‘Gillingstool’ now runs between the junction with Pullins Green to its junction with the road called Knapp Road. It has always been an arterial route leading east from the town serving Sibland, Grovesend, Tytherington, Crossways and The Hackett.
The name ‘Gillingstool’ or Gillingstoole’ appears in very early records of Thornbury. Although there are several different theories, the origin of the name is uncertain. Various old documents make reference to there being a pond or pool at Gillingstool there and that Gillingstool was a ‘watering place’. The 1841 census route description refers to ‘Duckingstool commonly called Gillingstool’ which suggests a possible origin.
The road crosses the Borough boundary at the stream at the bottom of Gillingstool Hill, just past the junction with St Davids Road. The 1841 Tithe Map and the 1881 OS Map both clearly show that there was a pond on the southern side of the road. The pond has disappeared and the stream has been culverted. The boundary is now marked with a boundary stone (cut from Thornbury Rock) lying on the grass verge, close to where another stone had lain until it disappeared in the nineteenth century. A row of Cattybrook bricks were also placed across the pavement to indicate the position of the old boundary line.
The section of the road within the borough is known as ‘Gillingstool Hill’. It was once called ‘Burgage Hill’. Several records refer to Burgage Hill as leading from St John Street to Gillingstool. This section of the road was the site of the Baptist Chapel which was opened in 1789 on land which had been owned by William Osborne. We have copies of deeds relating to a property here called ‘Burgage Hill’ which passed through William Jones in 1681 to the Coventry family, then Ann Burgess, the Corp family, William Green and finally in 1782 to William Osborne.
Opposite the Church lay the Council School (first opened as The British School in 1862) and a few houses and cottages. The map of Gillingstool Hill shown below was made about 1903. It shows the two houses opposite the Baptist Chapel, known as Gillingstool Cottage and Jubilee House which were demolished in the 1970s and the land incorporated into Rock Street Car Park. There had been two cottages on a plot of land between Jubilee House and the School, but these were demolished in 1898 to allow the Infants School to be built.
The rest of the road was in a very rural area with a few cottages spread out on both sides of the road. In 1900 the Thornbury Brick and Tile Works were opened just outside the town boundary and five cottages were built facing the road. In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, following the closure of brickworks, the fields were used for residential development and new roads were built. The map below was made in the 1960’s when this development had started. The cottages on the south of the road were demolished soon after this time to allow for the road to be widened. The space alongside the new road was used for the Siblands Special School, a filling station and extra playing fields for the Gillingstool Primary School.
The Special School was later demolished and replaced by residential housing called Pearce Close. The playing fields also disappeared in 2010 when they were used for the erection of the modern building shared by Gillingstool Primary School and the New Siblands Primary School.
We are currently researching the history of the properties in this area of Thornbury. We would love to hear from anyone with knowledge or photos. Click on the links shown in the Sidebar on the left to read about the properties .