Until the 1960s there was a terrace of small houses on the West side of Gloucester Road in Thornbury. These cottages later became known as numbers 1 to 11 Gloucester Road. We know a little about the owners of the terrace, including the Wilmot family. Click here to read about about the owners of this row of houses
We have been able to trace some of the occupants of the cottage that became number 11 Gloucester Road in the Census, Land Tax and other records.
In the 1840 Tithe Survey, the house was owned by Isaac Roberts who owned the whole terrace. Number 11 was void.
In the Census of 1841, the house was occupied by Michael Canty, a 40 year old weaver from Ireland. Michael was born in County Cork about 1798. He was married to Mary born in Bandon, County Cork, Ireland about 1799. They seemed to be running a lodging house in 1841 as they had seven other persons living with them, including two persons whose names they didn’t know when giving details to the census enumerator.
By the Census of 1851 they had moved to larger premises in Back Street, Thornbury (now called St Mary Street). Here the census confirms they are running a lodging house and shows they managed to squash in 19 people. Amongst the occupants listed is Ann Jackson, Michael’s widowed sister who was a collector of rags and Mary Ann Conner, their granddaughter. Mary Ann’s descendants still live in the Bristol area. We understand that Michael and Mary Canty had a daughter Ann who married Hugh Connor in 1839 in Bristol.
In 1861, Michael and Mary were still living in Back Street although they seem to be living a quieter life – Michael is described as a ‘retired weaver’, Mary is working as a hawker. Their grand daughter, Mary Ann, now married and a Macdonell is still living with them with her son. Michael died in May 1866 aged 68 and was buried in St Mary’s Churchyard. Mary may be the Mary Canty who died in Bristol in 1877 aged 76 years. So far we have been unable to locate her in the 1871 Census.
One of Michael Canty’s lodgers, Sophia Martin, was baptised at St Mary’s Church, Thornbury on 30th May 1813 the daughter of labourer George Martin and his wife Mary. She seems to have met a rather unusual death which appeared in many newspapers including several London newspapers, the Ipswich Journal as well as the Gloucester Journal at the end of January 1848 and the Bristol newspaper on 25th January 1848.
“An inquest was held on Tuesday at Bristol Royal Infirmary on the body of Sophia Martin. The deceased was an unmarried woman 31 years of age, a native of Thornbury and lived by shoe binding and lodged at No 6 Gloucester Lane.
Margaret Howard deposed “On 9th Jan she came to my door and showed her thumb and said it was broken, that she was at Clifton and she slipped down by treading on a piece of orange peel on the pavement and broke the bone in her thumb: it was very painful and the pain increased and she went to the Infirmary where she died.”
Mr Hore, house surgeon to the Infirmary, stated “That the deceased had at first a compound dislocation of the thumb: it went on favourably till Saturday when she was attended to by doctors at the Infirmary as an out-door patient and was advised to come into the house which she refused. Then she was brought here with lock-jaw from the injury, from which there was no recovering her although a piece of bone was removed from the thumb at an early period and ether was tried without advantage. She described her accident as occasioned by falling down in the street.”
The verdict of the inquest was “Died from a dislocated thumb and lock-jaw from falling on a piece of orange peel on the pavement.”
Jackson’s Oxford Journal, London added “We trust the melancholy result in the above case will act as a warning to those who are in the careless and reprehensible habit of throwing orange peel and such like things on the pavement.”
In 1851, number 11 was occupied by Martha Lewis, a shopkeeper. Martha was a widow aged 55 from Pembrokeshire. She had one lodger a John Tendale, unmarried, an agricultural labourer aged 50 from Thornbury.
In 1861 the house was occupied by Henry White, aged 40, an omnibus driver from Sturminster Newton, Dorset. Living with him was his wife, Cunatia aged 31 from Newent and their children, Sarah Ann aged 6 born in Lydney, William Henry aged 3 born in Bristol and Charles aged 1 born in Thornbury. The marriage of Henry White and Cunatia Phillips had been registered in Chepstow in 1851. Cunatia was born in Lydney in 1829 and was the daughter of William Phillips and his wife Sarah nee Saunders. Cunatia died in 1863 aged 32. Henry died at Oldbury in 1871 aged 49.
In 1871, the house was occupied by James Gould, a gardener aged 30 from Nailsea. James was living with his wife, Louisa aged 24 from Blagdon, and two children, Leah aged 2 and Fred William aged 7 months. Both children were born in Caerwent, Monmouthshire. By 1881 James had moved to Stoke Lane, Westbury in Bristol. He was still a gardener although he now had a new wife, Sarah Ann aged 27 from Eastington. He now had 6 children.
The 1876 Special Drainage District Rate Book shows that James Gough is the tenant and the 1881 census shows that James Gough, a 47 year old unemployed blacksmith from Thornbury was living with his wife Lucy aged 55, a cook from Swansea, and their son, James G. aged 18, a shoemaker’s apprentice born in Thornbury.
James was the son of James and Harriett Gough (nee Howell) who had married in Thornbury in 1830. He was born 13th of June 1833. James died aged 31 and was buried on 1st February 1838.
On 19th April 1840, the widowed Harriet Gough had married George Birt. The 1841 census shows that George Birt was an agricultural labourer and James was living with them in Back Street (now St Mary Street). James married Lucy Dartnell in Bristol in 1859. Lucy had been working as a cook in service at College Green, Bristol in 1851. They were still living in St Mary Street in 1861 and in 1871 James and Lucy were living there with their two children, Mary Jane aged 10 as well as James G. aged 8.
The 1880 Special Drainage District Rate Book has James Gough’s name struck through, which we believed meant that he had moved. However, this must be an error because he is still there in the 1885 Rate Book. James died in Thornbury in 1890 aged 56. Lucy must have moved about that time because the 1891 Census shows that she was living in St Mary Street with her young grandchildren Ellen Wellington and Thomas John, the children of Lucy’s daughter, Mary Jane. Lucy died aged 77 on 29th December 1899.
William Nicholls appears in the 1887 and 1890 rate books as the tenant. The 1891 Census shows that the house had just 4 rooms. These were occupied by William, aged 27, a labourer from Wotton-under-Edge, his wife, Lucy M, 28 from Thornbury, and Dorothy aged 3, and Arthur W. aged less than one year. William was the son of William Nicholls, tailor and his wife, Hannah. In 1886, he was aged 22 when he married Lucy Mary Withers, 23, daughter of Thomas Withers, plasterer from Thornbury. On 8th February 1888 the records of what is now the United Reform Church show that their daughter was baptised Dorothy Lucy Nicholls. Arthur William was baptised in the same church on 23rd July 1890 and Augustus Henry on 4th November 1891.
William appears in the rate book of 1894 in this house.
In 1901 William and Lucy were living in Frampton Cotterell with their 4 children, all born in Thornbury: Dorothy L, aged 13, Arthur W aged 10, Augustus H. aged 9, and Herbert aged 2. William was working as a gardener.
The 1899 rate book show the name of the tenant is William Vowles and the 1901 census has more information. William Vowles was a widower aged 58 at that time and was working as a journeyman baker. He had a daughter, Millicent aged 26. William was born in Pill, Somerset and Millicent born in Thornbury.
William and his wife, Mary Ann had moved to Thornbury just before the 1871 Census. On 23rd March 1871 William bought the bakery at what later became known as 67 High Street. He paid £1000 for the property for which he had to take out various loans from Samuel Gath of Twerton, from Lady Browning (later Dame Deborah Browning of Exeter) and from Michael Castle of Clifton.
The census shows that they were in the High Street with their two children, Adelaide Elizabeth aged 2 and Annie Elizabeth aged 1, both born in Bishops Sutton. Mary Hookway had been born in Easton in Gordano, Somerset about 1842. She was the daughter of Joseph Hookway and Elizabeth (nee Mason). Mary Ann and William married in Easton in Gordano in 1867. Living with them in 1871 was a nephew, William Hookway aged 15 from Chew Magna, two servants and a lodger. The 1881 Census shows that they were still living there. Then William was a baker employing two men. By now they had two extra children, William Henry aged 8 and Millicent M aged 6, both born in Thornbury.
Although William managed to repay some of his loans he still owned a large sum to Dame Deborah Browning and he had run up large debts with a flour merchant, Albert Daniel Morton. On 25th March 1881 William was forced to sell the property to Ellis Hadley. William’s financial problems didn’t end here and he was eventually declared bankrupt in 1884. The 1885 Rate Book shows William as the tenant of William Yarnold at 16 High Street.
Mary Ann died in 1886 aged 44, and William was living with Millicent in 15 The Plain. His son, William Henry had died in 1889 aged 16. The Trade Directories show that William continued to be a baker. In 1899 he was listed as trading from Gloucester Road. William Vowles was listed in the electoral registers 1902 and 1903 as living in 11 Gloucester Road. He died in 1908 aged 66 years.
Mary Jane Collings
The 1907 and 1910 Rate Books have the name Mary A Collings as tenant of this house, but in 1910 her name is crossed through which implies she left the house around that time. The 1911 Census shows us that it was Mary Jane Collings living there. She was aged 51 and was living on an allowance from children. Click here to read more
In 1910 when the name of Mary Collings was crossed through it was replaced by Higgins. We know no more about this.
We have been told that the family of Ernest Monks lived in number 11 Gloucester Road.
Ernest was born in Bedminster on 6th July 1878, the son of John Joseph Monks, a marble mason and his wife, Mary Ann. In the 1891 census they were living in Mangotsfield. By the time of the 1901 census Ernest had become a stone cutter, working for his father, a monumental mason. We are confused by Ernest’s middle name – the birth record, marriage and death records show it was Harold, but other records refer to him as Herbert. Ernest married Blanche Ralph in 1904, the marriage was registered in Keynsham area so it seems likely he stayed around Mangotsfield. Blanche was born about 1883.
Ernest and Blanche had at least two children: Daniel Charles born on 27th February 1905 and Ernest John born on 15th June 1909. They may also have had a daughter, Mary who was living with them until the early 1930s, but this may have been Ernest’s mother. Ernest seemed to move to Thornbury with his family about 1912 when his son Daniel started at the Council Upper School. At that time their address was St Mary Street, but by 1916 when young Ernest started at the Council Upper School they were living in Gloucester Road. Ernest is mentioned as being the occupant of 11 Gloucester Road in the last will and testament of the owner of the house, Mary Ann Wilmot which was written in 1914. We have also seen an application for exemption from military service in WW1 completed by Ernest in 1916, but that only gives his address as Thornbury. The reason given by Ernest was that his employer, F. K. Howell, had rheumatism and was unable to carry on his business without Ernest.
Blanche died in 1922 aged 33. Ernest married again – his second wife was Ann Turner whom he married in 1922. Ann was born on 1st August 1875. The 1926 Rate Book shows Ernest as living in this house and he and Ann are shown living there in the register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the War.
Ernest Harold (or Herbert) Monks worked as a monumental mason, initially for F. K. Howell and later for Craik-Smith. We know that their son, Daniel married Eveline M Hand in Pontypridd in 1929. Eveline was born in 21st December 1902. They settled in Eastland Avenue. We think that they had three children, Vivian R. born in 1931, Donald C. born in 1933 and John Ivor Thomas born in 1941. We understand Daniel worked as a motor mechanic for Bryants Garage in St Mary Street. In 1939 he was an aero-engine fitter.
He died in July 1976 aged 71. Ernest’s other son, Ernest John married Rosie E. Day in 1929.
The records of the Pitcher family business show on 25th Jan 1937 an invoice was created for work done in October 1936 on sewage work to 6 houses in Gloucester Road Thornbury. On the same bill it says
‘at Monk’s house filling up open drain under living rooms and laying 4 inch glazed stone ware drain with back inlet gulley – to cure smells from the street drain outside front window. Materials only £2.8.6 ‘
The bill was made out to the estate of Miss Wilmot deceased. Another ledger refers to the fact that the work involved taking up the floor to connect to the sewer in the street and the laying of 27 feet of glazed pipe. Ann died in May 1950 aged 72. Ernest died in Thornbury Hospital on 30th December 1958 aged 79.
We have knowledge of no other occupants of the house before it was demolished in the late 1960s. It may be that the Monks were the last family to live there. Certainly the photos we have seen of the terrace show that number 11 was in poor condition and may have become derelict before the other houses.