Appledore (with scaffolding) and The Dingle

We apologise for the quality of the above photograph taken in 2016, which we hope to replace shorty.  It shows the two adjoining houses in Gillingstool, standing next to the Black Horse.  They face the remains of the old road from Thornbury to Crossways and Siband.   This road was later diverted and widened and rises to pass over a culverted stream to join the A38 at Grovesend.

The house of the left in the above photograph was given the name of Appledore in the 1970s after previously being called Woodbine Cottage and later Bethany.  Click here to read more about Appledore.  The house on the right has been called The Dingle since the early 1960s.  Click here to read more about The Dingle.

The Tithe Apportionment drawn up between 1838 and 1840 gives the properties the number 516 and shows that they were two adjoining houses and gardens, both owned by Thomas Smith.

Despite the fact that in 1840 the properties were owned by Thomas Smith, by 1900 it was clearly part of the estate owned by Edward Stafford Howard as Lord of the Manor of Thornbury.  The sale notice of 1841 described below confirms this by showing that Thomas Smith had been leasing the property from Henry Howard.

Thomas Smith 

Thomas Smith was described in 1841 as being a ‘tailor, draper, dealer and chapman’.  (see  59 & 61 St Mary Street)

We believe that Thomas owned these and other properties until 1841 at which time he became bankrupt. The Bristol Times and Mercury dated 30th October 1841 had a report of the public auction that took place after this bankruptcy.  This was advertising the sale of Thomas’s home in the High Street and the rest of his property in two separate lots;

Lot 1. All those three freehold messuages or dwelling houses situate in St Mary Street in the Town of Thornbury with the gardens and appurtenances thereto respectively belonging now in the respective occupations of George Johnson, Thomas Osborne and William Hughes as yearly tenants at the annual rents of £6, £5 and £5.  This lot will be sold subject to a mortgage thereon for securing £150 with interest at 5 per cent from 3rd December 1838

Lot 2. All those Two newly erected Freehold cottages with the gardens and appurtenances thereto respectively belonging situate on the north Westward side of the road leading from Thornbury to Sibland and Milbury Heath and adjoining land of Henry Marsh Esq. now in the respective occupations of Diana Riddiford and Thomas Gough at the annual rents of £5 and £3. (note – these were two cottages in Crossways numbered 498 and 499 on Tithe Apportionment)

And all those two cottages with the gardens and appurtenances thereto belonging situate at or near Worgan Well in the said parish of Thornbury now in the respective occupations of Meshach Bendall and Henry James, at the annual rents of £4 and £4.

These last–mentioned premises are held by lease from Henry Howard Esq. determinable with the lives of Thomas Smith, William Smith and Charles Smith, sons of the Bankrupt aged respectively 36, 33 and 27 years and are subject to an annual rent of 5s. 

We believe that this means that the two cottages in Gillingstool were those at what was known as Worgan’s Well.  Although Thomas Smith owned these cottages they were not freehold but subject to a lease held by the Manor of Thornbury.  The Lord of the Manor at this time was Henry Howard.

Property at Worgans Well appears in Land Tax records of 1722 in the occupation of John Hewett, 1728 in the occupation of Mrs Barton, 1770 in the occupation of Richard Hobby and in 1775 to about 1780 in the occupation of William Taylor of the Swan.  However as is usually the case in records of this period the references  in these documents are to only land which is described as Leasow or Paddock and not to any building.  For this reason we cannot say when the houses at Worgans Well were built.


Edward Fowler

On 8th October 1900 Edward Fowler bought these two properties from Edward Stafford Howard of Thornbury Castle for £80.  To raise this sum Edward Fowler obtained a loan of £77 from Francis Williams on November 16th 1900.

At the time of the purchase one property (The Dingle) was in the occupation of Henry Smart and the other (Appledore) was empty.

Edward was the son of William and Eliza Fowler.  He was baptised in Thornbury on December 19th 1852.   In the census of 1861 the family lived in the Back Street in Thornbury and in that of 1871 in Upper Bath Road.  We have more information about Eliza Fowler, including her tragic death (see also Eliza Fowler 7 St Mary Street).

Edward married Anne Maria Ball on December 11th 1875.  She was the daughter of a mason called Henry Ball and his wife Elizabeth.   Anne was baptised on December 10 1851.  At that time her family lived at The Hackett, near Thornbury.  We believe that Anne Maria’s father died when she was very young.  There is a record that Henry Ball of Crossways was buried in Thornbury on 29th January 1854 aged 46.  Life must have been very difficult for the family as the parish records show that another daughter Emily Ball was baptised on 4th June 1854, just five months after the death of her father.  The 1861 census shows Anne’s mother living on her own with four children and that at the age of 37 and despite her young family she was described as an agricultural labourer.  The family appeared to be sharing a property with a rag collector called George Pitcher and his wife Mary.

Edward and Anne Maria did not have any children.

By 1881 they were living at what became known as 4 Crispin Lane. (see 4 Crispin Lane )

The census of 1891 shows that the couple lived in a property in what was described as Crossways but which appears to have been very near the house that later became known as Appledore.

Following Edward’s purchase of the property in 1900, it seems that Edward and Ann Maria then moved into the empty property (Appledore) as in the census of 1901 they were said to be living in Gillingstool.  Edward’s occupation was said to be a ‘well-sinker’.

Edward sold the two properties to Thomas Exell for £100 on 24th June 1903.  However we do not know that he moved out at that time, although it seems from the Rate Books that he had definitely left the property by 1907.  Although Edward and Ann Maria had moved from Appledore they did not leave Gillingstool.  The census of  1911 shows that the couple still lived at Gillingstool, in a house close to Appledore and The Dingle.

Edward and Maria continued to be listed as living in Gillingstool up to the 1926 Electoral Register.  Edward was listed in the 1927 Electoral Register for the property that later became known as  9 St Mary Street.

Edward died in the Poor Law Institution and was buried in the Cemetery on 17th May 1929 aged 76.

Edward’s wife, Ann Maria was living in the house in St Mary Street in the 1931 electoral register.    She died in the Infirmary in Thornbury in 1933 aged 75 and she was buried on 29th December.


Thomas Exell 

On 24th June 1903 Edward Fowler conveyed both of the properties in Gillingstool to Thomas Exell for £100.  Thomas Exell also bought a piece of land next to the property from Edward Stafford Howard at the same time.

Thomas was a grocer and provision dealer in the High Street in Thornbury at the time of the purchase but he already owned a considerable amount of property in the town.  He died in 1930.  Read more about Thomas Exell and his family


George Taylor

On 19th November 1930 Lawrence Thurston, solicitor and one of the trustees of Thomas Exell conveyed both of the two properties to George Taylor.

George Taylor was born in Falfield near Thornbury on 24th May 1888.    He was baptised on 5th August 1888 and was the son of John and Emma Taylor of Whitfield.  John worked with horses and he was a carter in the 1901 census.

 In the census of 1911 George had left home and was living in Newport House in the household of Alfred Colwell, a retired army captain.  He was employed as a groom.

George married Lillian Ellen Malpass at Mount Pleasant Chapel, Falfield on 6th January 1915 .  Lillian was the daughter of John Malpass a carter and his wife Elizabeth.  The 1901 Census shows that she lived in Falfield with her family, including her uncle William Malpass aged 23 who was a gardener.

George enlisted as a Gunner in Royal Regiment of Artillery (RFA).  At that time his height was 5ft 6.5 inches and he weighed 126 lbs.  He had dark hair, dark complexion and brown eyes.   Apparently he suffered from ‘chronic enlargement of metatarsal in big toe’.  He went with the Expeditionary Force to Egypt 1917 and he was demobbed on 2nd December 1919.

Lillian and George Taylor had at least two children; Frances born 14th October 1915 and Leonard George Taylor who was born 15th October 1922 and they were enrolled at the Council School at which time George gave their address as Castle Street.  This house later became known as 36 Castle Street

George Taylor appeared in the electoral register of 1921 with an address in Castle Street.   By 1925 Lillian Ellen Elizabeth Taylor was also registered to vote with the address of Castle Street.

Lillian’s brother Eric Frank Malpass also appeared to live with them as his address was “care of George Taylor of Castle Street.”  Eric moved to live in 15 Eastland Avenue.  When he died in 1949 the burial record shows he was a gas worker.  He died in Southmead but was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 7th May 1949.

We know from the Electoral Registers that George and Lillian continued to live in Castle Street until 1930.  It seems that George and his wife lived in the cottage that became Appledore from about the time of the purchase in 1930.

Lillian died in 1938 whilst the couple still lived in Gillingstool.

On December 29th 1938 the local newspaper reported the marriage of George and Lillian’s daughter Frances Mary Taylor to Arthur Mervyn Carver the son of Mrs and the late Mr Morley Carver of John Street in Thornbury.  Read about the Carver and Trotman families 

George married his second wife Margaret May Jones in 1939 in the Baptist Church in Thornbury.  Margaret was born on 25th May 1896.  It seems possible that Margaret was living in a nearby property known as Normandy in 1938.  A newspaper report of 2nd November 1939 announcing the wedding said that Margaret was a nurse at the Thornbury Public Assistance Institution.

The deeds of the property show that when George Taylor lived in this house, it was called Woodbine Cottage and then it later became known as Bethany.

George’s occupation in 1930 was a Divisional Road Foreman.  A local resident described George’s job as a ‘runner’.  Apparently he went round in a van making sure the work was done to the correct standard.  The register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the War described George as a road foreman working for Gloucestershire County Council.  It notes that during the War he served as a A.R.P and had special responsibility for road repairs.

We understand that in 1946 George sold The Dingle to Reginald Ernest Lewis Legge, the son of William George Legge who was living there at the time.

George died 18th January 1957 aged 77 at Southmead Hospital.  His executrix was his widow Margaret May Taylor.   He had two children by his first wife.

We have not seen the deeds to the property now called The Dingle and so we do not know when the Taylor family sold that property.  It was not until 18th February 1957  when probate was granted to Mrs Margaret May Taylor  that it is evident that the two properties were no longer jointly owned.   Probate gave her ownership of the property now called Appledore but then called Bethany.  No mention was made at that time of The Dingle and so it appears that that cottage had already been sold separately.

On  25th July 1972 Margaret May Taylor appointed her step-son Leonard George Taylor of Fishponds to be her attorney.  We have been told that Len Taylor was the second husband of Jean Pullen (see Pullens of Pullins Green)

Margaret May Taylor died in the Thornbury district in the March quarter of 1973.