2014 with render removed

We have summarised on this page what we know about the OWNERS of the property now called 29 Gillingstool in Thornbury.  This house in on the corner of Gillingstool and Oakleaze Road.


Thomas Thorne (sometimes shown as Thorn)

The 1840 Tithe Survey refers to the property as Plot 521, a cottage and garden owned by Thomas Thorne.

The 1841 census shows Thomas was an agricultural labourer aged 40 living with Mark Thorne aged 20, Maria ‘Bower’ aged 25 and Laura ‘Bower’ aged 2.

We think that Thomas’s age given in this census is a mistake.  In the 1851 census he is shown as being 65 and two separate burial records show his age in 1853 as 76 at the time of his death.  The names of his brother and sisters given in Thomas’s will (referred to below) suggest that Thomas was the son of Ralph Thorne, a labourer and his wife, Elizabeth (sometimes Betty).  This would suggest that Thomas was the one born on 7th May 1781 and baptised 10 years later on 15th June 1791 when several other of Ralph and Betty’s children were baptised.

We suspect that Maria ‘Bower’ was Thomas’s half- sister.   Maria Thorn was baptised on 26th May 1813, the daughter of Ralph and Mary Thorne.  Ralph’s first wife, Elizabeth, had died aged 37 and was buried on 31st January 1796 and he married Mary Pegler on 4th October 1802 at St Mary’s Church in Thornbury.  Maria married Isaac Bowyer on 8th September 1833.   Isaac Boyer or Bowyer was buried on 19th February 1837 aged 26.  His address was given as Easton Hill.   Maria married again on 6th July 1851. Her second husband was a labourer called James Bennett who was a widower with six children living in Oldbury on Severn.

It seems as if Maria’s daughter, Laura, was born two years after the death of her first husband, Isaac.  Laura was baptised at Crossways on 8th September 1839 and no father was named on the baptism record.  By the age of 11 Laura Bowyer was a house servant for William Powell in Castle Street.

The 1851 census shows Thomas Thorne was still living in Gillingstool.  He was a coal hallier aged 65 born in Thornbury.  He was living with his son Mark an agricultural labourer aged 30 and daughter in law Elizabeth aged 30 a charwoman.  Mark had married Elizabeth Grimes on 23rd July 1849.  She was the daughter of Thomas Grimes, labourer.

We were fortunate to have been shown the deeds of this house which included a copy of the last will of Thomas Thorne dated 2nd December 1848.  He left his freehold cottage with adjoining garden and his other garden and premises thereto adjoining in Gillingstool then in his occupation to his trustee William Chitts.  William Chitts was instructed to sell the property and, after paying funeral expenses, to share the income between John Hubert, labourer, William Thorne, his brother and his sisters, Mary Jenkins, Amelia Jefferies and Emma Exell, and Thomas’s ‘natural born son’, Mark Thorne who was then residing with Thomas.

Thomas died in 1853 and was buried on 27th February 1853.

We are puzzled by Mark Thorn(e) – the 1851 census record and Thomas’s will clearly indicate that Mark was his son.  However the record for when Mark was baptised on 11th October 1818 show he was the son of Thomas’s father Ralph and his second wife, Mary (nee Peglar).  That would mean that Ralph was in his late 60’s when Mark was born, but if true, it would make Mark, Thomas’s half-brother not his son.

Mark continued to live in and around Thornbury for the rest of his life.  He died in the Union Workhouse and was buried on 27th April 1894 aged 74.

Following Thomas’s death William Chitts sold the property to William Slaine carpenter for £33 on 2nd May 1853.  It was noted as comprising 28 perches.


William Slaine (sometimes recorded as William Slain)

William Slaine who bought the house in 1853 was a carpenter.  He had already built several houses in Thornbury including 3 Bath Road and 10 Upper Bath Road.  Click here to read about William and his family

On 4th October 1854 William Slaine arranged a mortgage of £35 from John Hodges.  It appears from the details that the cottage which had been occupied by Thomas Thorne had been demolished.  It refers to the property as ‘the site of an ancient cottage late in the occupation of Thomas Thorne deceased‘ and ‘upon which said garden ground William Slaine is now erecting a cottage’.

The 1861 Census shows that William and Thirza were living in Gillingstool with their daughter Louisa Jane and her husband, Luke Mills, and their children: Mary Elizabeth and Charles William.  Luke was described as a labourer in the census record.

On 7th December 1865 the mortgage was transferred from John Hodges to his son George Hodges.  The sum owed to George Hodges was now £80.

Thirza died aged 58 and was buried on 26th August 1862.  William died on 15th September 1870 aged 70 and was buried on 18th September 1870.  In his will dated 28th March 1867 he left the property in which he was living to his daughter, Louisa Jane, the wife of Luke Mills.


Luke and Louisa Jane Mills

Louisa Jane was baptized on 27th April 1827, the daughter of William Slaine and his wife, Thirza (see above).

The 1851 Census shows that Louisa was living with her parents at 10 Pullins Green.  She was aged 27 and unmarried.  She had a son, Charles Robert Slain aged one who was baptised on 7th July 1850 at St Mary’s Church in Thornbury.  The parent was shown as Louisa Jane Slain. Charles Slaine died in the June quarter of 1852. Louisa Jane did not marry for several years.  On 24th June 1856 she married Luke Mills, a mariner and the son of Michael Mills, a labourer.

The 1861 Census shows that Luke and Louisa were living in Gillingstool with her parents and their children: Mary Elizabeth aged two and Charles William aged one.  Luke was described as a labourer in the census record.  Charles William was baptised on 5th May 1861.

Mary Elizabeth Mills died at the age of three years and was buried in the churchyard of St Mary’s in Thornbury on 30th April 1862.  It seems likely that their son is the same Charles Mills who died aged 5 ¾ and was buried in St Mary’s churchyard in Thornbury on 5th August 1865.

Luke and Louisa had another son, William Slain Mills, baptized on 5th May 1867.

The 1871 Census suggest that Luke and Louisa had separated.  Louisa Jane Mills continued to live in her house in Gillingstool.  She was shown as ‘Married’ but Luke was not at home.  He was lodging a few doors away, next to the Black Horse.  Louisa was aged 44 and was living with her son William aged four and two lodgers William and Elizabeth Griffiths.

On 15th August 1871 the mortgage was transferred from George Hodges to Hester Cullimore widow, who also loaned Louisa Jane Mills another £10.

By the time of the 1881 census Luke and Louisa were reconciled.  They were living in the house with their son, William, now aged 14 and a stepson William Longman aged 2.  William was baptised on 4th May 1879, the son of Ann Longman so we suspect that Luke Mills was the father.

Luke died on 11th March 1888 aged 68 and was buried on 14th March 1888.  The 1891 census shows Louisa was still living in the 4 roomed house.  She was a plain sewer aged 64 living with her daughter Thirza M aged 15 and a boarder William Longman (who had previously been referred to as her stepson aged 12.

On 17th January 1894 Hester Cullimore transferred the right to the debt and interest of the mortgage to William Cullimore) for the benefit of her six grandchildren (the children of her son, William). The cottage still occupied by Louisa Jane Mills.

Louisa died on 14th November 1894 intestate and the property descended to her eldest son, William Slaine Mills.  On 24th November 1894 William repaid William Cullimore £90 plus interest.

Thirza married Edgar Edward Smith on 15th May 1900 at Wotton Under Edge.

William Slaine Mills was an actor and theatre producer.  In 1906 he travelled to New York with his theatre group on the SS Baltic sailing from Liverpool.  He seems to have crossed the Atlantic on other occasions and to have toured widely in the UK.  He is often referred to under the name of ‘Slaine Mills’.

On 19th February 1925 William borrowed £60 from Thomas Exell with the property as security.  On 1st October 1925 William of 18 Greenside Road, West Croyden sold the property to Thomas Exell for £96 17 shillings which covered the amount he owed Thomas with interest.

William died on 3rd February 1928 at Croyden. He appointed Olga Thirza Mills a spinster his executor.  Olga Thirza Mills died in Surbiton in 1958.  She appears to have been born in Rochester New York.

There is a newspaper record of the death on 22nd January 1950 at Burhill Walton on Thames of Emily Elizabeth, widow of William Slaine Mills, aged 94. 


Thomas Exell

Thomas bought the property on 1st October 1925.  He was a grocer trading in the High Street, but he owned a lot of property in the Thornbury area.  Click here to read more about Thomas

Thomas died on 14th January 1930.  On 24th June 1930 the trustees of Thomas Exell sold the property to William Eyles, motor engineer for £150.  It was occupied by Mrs R. Long.

A sale notice of Thomas Exell’s properties described the property as’ a four roomed cottage occupied by Mrs R. Long at a rental of 4s/6d per week.  There is a good garden containing about 28 perches with an excellent well of water’.


William Eyles

On 24th June 1930 William bought the property in Gillingstool (now no. 29) for £150.  He  had previously lived there as a tenant in 1901.

As far as we know William didn’t live in the house, and he continued to let it out to tenants.  On 20th January 1906 William had purchased another cottage in Gillingstool and then on 18th October 1907 he bought some adjoining land there.  Later documents refer to this that property as ‘The Bungalow’ so we assume that William had a new place built on the site of the old cottage.  This property was on the other side of the road opposite 29 Gillingstool.

William was a cycle agent and he was listed in this way as trading in Gillingstool in a 1914 trade directory.  In 1916 William purchased 21 St Mary Street, together with the yard and outbuildings at the rear with an access onto Horseshoe Lane.  This became William’s business premises as well as being their home for many years.  Presumably he let out ‘The Bungalow’ to tenants, although it appears they moved there as they are listed in the 1931 and 1935 electoral registers, before returning to St Mary Street by 1938 and were still there in 1946.

William Eyles died on 2nd June 1947 aged 77.  His last will was dated 10th August 1923, but on 20th February 1948 his trustees agreed to vesting William’s properties to his widow, Minnie.   These included the cottage and garden in Gillingstool, the Bungalow and garden in Gillingstool and a garage in Horseshoe Lane.

Minnie was still living in St Mary Street in the 1950 electoral register, but by 1954 she had moved back to live in Gillingstool, presumably at The Bungalow.

On 20th June 1958 Minnie sold The Bungalow at Gillingstool to Grantley and Eileen Parsons.  On 22nd January 1975 Minnie Eyles sold the cottage at 29 Gillingstool to her grandson Norman King of 7 Blakes Road for £4500.  The property was then called 29 Gillingstool.  At the time Minnie was living with her daughter, Hilda, at Big Oak, Station Approach, Minety, Malmesbury.  Minnie lived to be 101 before dying on 9th November 1975.  Click here to read more about the Eyles and King families


We don’t know anything about the recent owners of the property.