This page summaries what we know about the people who owned the property now called Laurel Cottage in Gillngstool, Thornbury.  We haven’t seen the deeds of this property so our knowledge is incomplete.

The house was previously known by the name of ‘South View’.  Click here if you want to read about the property

William Hendy

William was listed as the owner of the property in the 1840 Tithe Survey.  He is also listed as the owner or occupant of quite a few other properties around the outskirts of the town.

We haven’t been able to trace William’s birth or baptism in Thornbury.  We suspect that he was William Hendy who married Isabella Wither in Bristol in 1835.  This is supported by the fact that one of their children was baptised Albert Wither Hendy.

In the 1841 census they lived in Lower Morton.  The details in this census suggest a complex situation: William was shown as being a farmer aged 40, Isabella was aged 20 and the children were Elizabeth aged 12 and William aged 1.  There was another William aged 15 living with them who was described as a male servant.  The parish records of Thornbury have the baptism of William, the daughter of William and Isabella Hendy on 6th May 1840.  At that time William was said to be a dealer in hay living in Morton.  Based on this information it would appear that William had been married previously and that Elizabeth was the daughter of that earlier relationship.

Note – in later census records William and Isabella’s ages vary considerably, although in 1861 their ages are shown as 58 and 42 respectively.  In that census William’s birthplace is shown as Almondsbury which might explain why we can not find his baptism record.  We note that William may have had a sister Sarah Hendy.  When she married Horace Rodman on 10th October 1835 William Hendy and Isabella Withers were the witnesses.  Some census records show Sarah was also born in Almondsbury which might confirm the family’s origins.

Their other children christened in St Mary’s church in Thornbury include Henry baptised 24th September 1845, George Oliver baptised on 2nd June 1845 and Albert Wither baptised 1st August 1849.  All the records for these events show that William was a farmer in Morton.

By 1851 William Hendy had moved and he was a farmer in Shipperdine.  Despite the apparent move the Bristol Mercury of 3rd January 1857 shows that he was a tenant of land (plot 2470) at Morton seemingly owned by Mr Alexander.  This land was to be sold on 13th January 1857.

By 1861 William had moved again, this time to Winterbourne.  A sale notice dated 18th May 1864 shows William was the owner and occupant of a large property (now known as The Firs in Swan Lane, Winterborne).

William Hendy appears to have changed his occupation by April 21st 1866 as the Bristol Mercury shows that the licence of the George and Dragon at Winterbourne was transferred to him.  William’s death was registered in the Thornbury area in 1874 aged 74.


William Henry Councell 

The deeds of the adjoining property (now called 29 Gillingstool)  refer to this property as being owned by William Henry Councell in 1853 and in 1865.  We have no other information about when William bought it and how long he owned it.  Click here to read about the Councells


John Taylor Chambers

The 1907 Poor Rate Book shows James Putley was occupying the house in Gillingstool which was owned by John Taylor Chambers.  The 1911 census shows that James Putley was living in this property so we assume that it was the one owned by John Taylor Chambers.  We have nothing else to support the fact that he owned it.  Click here to read about the Chambers family


Mary Bell

A report in the Gazette in September 1921 noted that ‘Mrs Bell’ purchased the house and garden in Gillingstool for £150.  We know that Mary Bell and her husband Thomas George Bell for many years so we assume it was this house which Mary bought.

Thomas George Bell and Mary Bell lived in the house which later became known as ‘South View‘ from 1921 onwards.

Thomas George was born on 20th February 1868, the son of George Bell and Ann (nee Honeyborne).  In 1871 George was an agricultural labourer living in Lower Morton.  The 1881 census shows George and Ann were living at Newton Road.  In these censuses their son was called Thomas.  By 1891 Ann was a widow living in Lower Morton.  Her son was now using the name of ‘George’ following the death of his father.  He was a general labourer.

Following the death of his mother in 1900 George was boarding with Charles Reeves and his family in St. John Street, Thornbury.  George had become a wood box maker, presumably working at the Saw Mills.  In 1911 George was boarding with Frederick John Holley and his family.  ‘George Thomas Bell’ was a box maker in the Saw Mills.  He was still unmarried aged 43.

George Thomas Bell married Mary Ball in Thornbury in 1913.  Mary was born on 17th April 1874, the daughter of George Ball, a farmer in Morton and his wife, Hannah (nee Howell).

The electoral registers of 1918 to 1921 show George and Mary living in Saw Mill Lane.  After Mary bought the property in September 1918 they moved to live there.  In 1927 Mary bought two more properties, now known as 7 & 9 St John Street.

The register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the War lists both George and Mary living still living in the house.   George was described as an old age pensioner (retired box maker).

George died on April 15 1941 aged 73 years.  He was buried in Thornbury Cemetery and his burial record describes him as a retired box maker.  The 1946 electoral register shows the property was now called ‘Southview’ and Mary was still listed as living there.

A sales notice for an auction dated 5th February 1949 shows that Mary was trying to sell the property.  It calls the property ‘South View’ and describes it as:

a detached stone built and tiled cottage containing two front sitting rooms with bay windows, kitchen, scullery with sink and boiler, and two bedrooms.  Indoor sanitation, Company’s electricity and water connected.  Main drainage.  The Cottage stands in a small productive garden with good fruit trees thereon.  Vacant possession to view apply to Miss Liddiatt at Killiney (next door)’. 

We note that Mary was not living in the property at the time of the auction.  She died on 1st April 1950 aged 75 years.  She died in Thornbury Hospital but subsequent documents refer to her as being ‘late of Southview, Gillingstool.  In her will dated 10th November 1941 she appointed her executors as Harold George Ball and Ernest Ball.   Following Mary’s death the two houses in St John Street were sold to Frank Leonard Smith for £225.

Charles and Ivy Williams

The 1950 and 1954 electoral register shows Charles and Ivy Williams were living there.  We don’t know much about Charles and Ivy, except that Charles’s death is registered in the Thornbury area in 1972 showing that he was born on 19th October 1883.  We have spoken to a resident who remembers Charley and we were told that Charley was a gardener at Sir George White’s house at Rudgeway.    We know that Charles and Ivy Williams owned the house because we have been told that they caused a stir at the solicitor’s office when Charley paid for it in pound notes.

He was not buried in Thornbury Cemetery so they may have moved outside of the town.


Henry J. and Alice M. Bubb

Henry and Alice were shown to be living there in the 1958 and 1961 electoral register.  We have been told that ‘Jack’ Bubb worked as a plasterer for Hawkins the building firm and then moved to Oldbury Power Station.   We were also told that the Bubbs must have liked the house very much.  They moved from it to Rudgeway for a time and returned to Thornbury, buying a property in Pullins Green.  They wanted to be back in their old home and so they made an arrangement with the Mitchell family who had bought the property then called South View about 1965 to swap with them.

Jack Bubb died very suddenly.  We have been told that he drove to the shops to get a bottle of champagne for his wife’s ninetieth anniversary and died just after he parked the car.   His wife fell over the next day and her broken ankle meant that she had to move away from her beloved home to be cared for elsewhere.

Click here to read about the families who lived in the property