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 3 Gloucester Road in the Census, Land Tax and other records.
Isaac Roberts. In the 1840 Tithe Survey, the house thought to be number 3 was occupied by Isaac Roberts who owned the whole row of cottages. We have been unable to identify which of the various Isaac Roberts lived here. However we do know that a person called Isaac Roberts lived at a property nearby later known as 9 The Plain
In the 1841 census, the house was unoccupied.
John Rumbold – In 1851, the house appears to have been occupied by John Rumbold, a 46 year old coachman from Eastwood Hay in Hampshire. John was married to Mary, who was 29 and came from Warleigh in Somerset. They had 3 children, all born in Batheaston: Katherine aged 5, Henry James aged 4 and William aged 3. It is interesting to note that by 1861 they had moved to live in 44 Castle Street. However, by 1871 a widowed Mary, now a seamstress, had returned to Gloucester Road and seemed to live next door at number 5. Read about John and Mary Rumbold.
Anselm Thurston – In 1861, the house was occupied by Anselm Thurston and his wife, Elizabeth. Anselm was an agricultural labourer aged 30 and born in Thornbury. He was baptised on 17 November 1827 in St Mary’s. His father was Anselm Thurston, an agricultural labourer, and his mother was Martha. Elizabeth was aged 28, born in Thornbury, the daughter of William Savery, a labourer. They had married on 11th April 1858 at St Mary’s Church. He was a labourer. The witnesses were John Nelmes and Emma Savery.
Anselm and Elizabeth continued to live in the house for many years. They appeared never to have had children, but in 1871 they had 2 cousins living with them, Sarah Anne Andrews, aged 5 from Rudgeway and John Savery aged 21, a labourer from Morton. They also had 2 lodgers: Ernest Biddle, a widowed labourer aged 76 from Oldbury and William Powell, an unmarried labourer aged 43.
By 1881, it was just Anselm, Elizabeth and one lodger, Frances Andrews, a dressmaker aged 14 from Alveston. The accounts of Thornbury Grammar School show that Elizabeth was being paid about £1 5s a quarter year for cleaning the schoolroom and lighting the fire. Anselm died on 10th August 1887 aged 62 years. Elizabeth’s name appears on the Voters Lists 1890 and 1896 as a person entitled to vote in county elections, but not at Parliamentary Elections.
The 1891 census shows that the house had just four rooms. Elizabeth aged 62 was still living in the house and working as a charwoman. She had two lodgers: Catherine Morgan, a single woman aged 63 living on her own means, and Mark Thorne a widowed 72 year old labourer. Both were born in Thornbury. Catherine Morgan died aged 72 and was buried on 17th May 1898. She was living in Gloucester Road at the time.
In 1901, Elizabeth was still there, now aged 69 and still working as a charwoman. She had one lodger, a James Gale, a widower aged 79 from Olveston. He appears to be working as a farm labourer. The 1905 Rate Book shows Elizabeth had moved to an almshouse at 9 St Mary Street and she is still there in the 1910 Rate Book. She died in Thornbury Hospital on 1st April 1911 aged 79 years.
‘Mrs Mattingley‘ – the 1907 rate book shows the name of ‘Mattingley’ as the tenant of the property. We believe that this would have been Elizabeth Mattingley who was living at 9 Bath Road in the 1901 Census. Elizabeth died aged 75 and was buried on 2nd March 1908 giving her address as ‘Gloucester Road’. She was described as a widow. Click here to read more
Edward Fisher – the rate book of 1910 appears to show the tenant’s name as Mrs Fisher which was then crossed out, implying that she left the house about that time. However the 1911 Census shows that it was Edward Fisher who was living here at that time. He was a general farm labourer aged 39 born in Almondsbury. Edward was the son of Charles Fisher and his wife, Mary Ann.
Henry Matthews – the last will and testament of Mary Ann Wilmot, the owner of the house dated 1914 shows us that Henry Matthews was then occupying the house.
Henry Jones and Mary Ford Jones – from 1921 onwards the house was occupied by Henry Jones and Mary Ford Jones. A local man, Roger Howell told us that his mother used to point to the terrace and say that ‘Poppy Jones’ had lived there. Poppy had been the midwife who had delivered his mother who was born in 1911. His mother visited Poppy later in life when she was living on her own in the cottages – she was extremely poor and lived on next to nothing. The name of ‘Nurse Mrs Jones’ is listed in a 1925 Thornbury Street Directory as living in Gloucester Road and the 1926 Rate Book shows the house was occupied by Henry Jones. We know from George Dixon whose grandmother (Florence Dixon) lived next door at number 5 that ‘P.C. Jones’ was called when his grandmother died in 1934 and that he lived next door.
We are not totally satisfied that this reflects the true picture. From 1932 until 1938, only Henry Jones appears in the electoral registers, then both Henry and Mary are there in 1938, but neither of them in the 1939 electoral register. The 1939 register compiled as part of the preparations for the war listed both Henry F Jones and Mary F. Jones in this house. Henry is shown as a gardener born on 27th February 1866. Mary was born on 25th December 1865.
A document relating to the Wilmot properties dated 1942 shows that Henry Jones was living in this house at the time. The burial records show Henry E. F. Jones, a gardener living in Gloucester Road died in Thornbury in 1942 aged 76. He was buried in the Cemetery on 19th October 1942. Only Mary is listed as living in Gloucester Road from 1946 until 1951. Mary D F Jones died in Thornbury in 1951 aged 56.
Ronald J and Primrose M. I. Duffy – Following the War, the cottages in the terrace were given consecutive numbers 1 – 6, and this house was now referred to as ‘2 Gloucester Road’. The next Electoral Register in 1946 shows that the Duffy family were living there. Henry Smith who as a young lad lived opposite and his grandmother lived next door in number 5 remembers the Duffys.
He believes they may have moved there in 1943. The parents were called Ronald J and Primrose M. I. Duffy and Henry Smith thinks they had about 4 kids. The Duffys appear in the register up to 1949. They later moved to the council houses in North East Road.
Charles Graham – However the electoral registers from 1948 to 1951 show that a Charles Graham was also giving his address as ‘2 Gloucester Road’. We are not sure whether Charles was living in the same house as the Duffys or elsewhere.
Marion Leila Fleming – we have a copy of a memorandum noting that the house was conveyed by the descendants of the Wilmot family to Marion on 26th September 1949. We don’t know anything about Marion and have no record of her ever living in the house.
Winifred I Hallett – In 1953 Winifred I Hallett appears in the registers as living in ‘2 Gloucester Road’.
Cyril A Rosser and Winifred I Rosser – Things get clearer in 1954 when an unambiguous street numbering street was adopted and the house was re-numbered as ‘3 Gloucester Road’. The electoral register shows that Cyril A Rosser and Winifred I Rosser were living at number 3. We understand that the Rossers owned the residential caravan park which was in Severnview Road. Cyril died in April 1977 aged 53.
Matilda Underdown – From 1957 until 1962, the house was occupied by Matilda Underdown, better known locally by the name of ‘Tilly Underdown’. Tilly had been landlady of the Black Horse public house in Gillingstool, taking over the licence following the death of her husband, Herbert John Underdown who ran the pub before the War. As Matilda Alice Sansum, she had been born in Littleton near Thornbury on 10th December 1888. In 1891 she was living with her parents, James, a bricklayer’s labourer, and Alice S Sansum at Littleton. In 1901 she was only age 13 and working as a general domestic servant at the Post Office shop in Littleton where she was ‘living in’ with Daniel & Eliza Simmonds. She married Herbert in Thornbury in Spring 1915 when he was serving as a First Class Petty Officer on H.M. Torpedo Boat No. 14. Herbert was born on 10th July 1878. Herbert’s brother, George, was the best man and his niece, Francis Davis, was one of the bridesmaids, the other being Matilda’s sister, Esther.
Herbert died on 17th October 1944 aged 66. Tilly died on 5th January 1962 aged 74 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery.
We have no knowledge of any further occupants before the house was demolished in the late 1960s.