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 9 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 9 was ‘void’.
Ann Cossham – In 1841 the house was occupied by Ann Cossham aged 68 who described herself as a ‘workwoman’. Ann may have been the widow of John Cossham a carpenter as there was a marriage of John Cossham and Ann Hill in 1792. John Cossham seems to have been the John Cossham who died in 1821 aged 50. Also living with Ann were Elizabeth Cossham aged 25 and George aged 5. George was the son of Elizabeth and John Cossham, a blacksmith, and he was baptised 11th June 1836. Ann and John Cossham also had another child Mary Ann Goodenough Cossham who married Joel Savery.
By 1851 Ann Cossham had moved to St Mary Street where she was a pauper living with her son John the blacksmith and her grandson George aged 11 and granddaughter, Frances, aged 3. The only death of an Ann Cossham that we can find after 1841 was in 1858 when there is a death of an Ann Cossham aged 90. By 1861 John Cossham the blacksmith was living with his widowed sister, Mary Ann Savery in Mutton Lane. Click here to read about this branch of the Cosshams
James Nelmes – In 1851 the house was occupied by James Nelmes, a journeyman blacksmith aged 40. He was living with his wife, Louisa aged 37, and daughters Ellen aged 9 and Emily aged 2. They had all been born in Thornbury.
James Nelmes was a blacksmith, born in 1808, the son of James Nelmes (a member of the South Gloucestershire Militia) and his wife, Mary. The 1840 Tithe Survey and 1841 Census indicate that James lived with Louisa, then aged 24, in one of the three houses on the site of 6 Crispin Lane, known at that time as Mutton Lane. They then moved to the small terraced houses in Gloucester Road. The 1859 Rate Book shows James was then living in one of the two small cottages at the bottom of Gillingstool Hill. By 1861 they had moved to 8 Pullins Green and they had added to their family with Leonard N aged 6. Something seems to have happened to Louisa’s age, as although it is ten years later, she is shown as only 40. Their daughter Ellen had become a dressmaker.
In 1871 James and Louisa were still in the house at 8 Pullins Green but they were now sharing it with their daughter, Ellen and her family. Ellen had married Edwin Wathen, a baker, in 1862. He was the son of William Wathen, a brewer. Edwin and Ellen had two daughters, Minnie aged 4 and Emily aged 1 month. Ellen Wathen died and was buried on 5th September 1872 aged 29. Edwin re-married in 1875. His wife was Harriett Pearce Neale, the daughter of William Neale. In 1881 Edwin and Harriett were living in 3 Horseshoe Lane with his mother, Ann Wathen aged 75.
James Nelmes was buried on 3rd July 1873 aged 61 years. Louisa was buried on 9th November 1876 aged 65.
William Pyne – In 1861 the house was occupied by William Pyne, a general gardener aged 36 from Bridgewater. In 1851 he had been a gardener living with his wife Charlotte in Hilperton in Wiltshire. William was 27, Charlotte was aged 36 born in Weston, Somerset. There is no sign of Charlotte in 1861, or any of the family after 1861.
Ann Bevan – In 1871 the house was occupied by Ann Bevan, a staymaker aged 46. Ann was a widow, her husband had been Thomas Bevan, beerhouse keeper who had died in 1866 aged 47 years.
Thomas Bevan and Ann Parnell, the daughter of James Parnell, carpenter, had married in February 1846. In the 1851 Census Thomas was a beerhouse keeper and pig dealer at the Seven Stars in what we now call Rock Street with Ann and their four children. By the 1861 Census, Thomas and Ann had had 9 children living with them in the High Street. Thomas was an innkeeper in what was known as The Lamb.
Thomas seems to have had business problems and left his employment as an innkeeper. When he died in 1866 there was an inquest (Gloucester Record Office references CO1/N/12/83 and CO1/I/12/C/15 ) on Thomas Bevan a 47 year old labourer who was declared to have died by “visitation of God”. In 1871 Ann was living with her children, James, a bootmaker aged 16, Alfred a tinman aged 14, George aged 11, Albert aged 9. Frances Stephens, the widowed sister of Ann’s was also living there. She was aged 27 and working as a dressmaker. In 1881 Ann had moved to 34 Castle Street where she was still operating as a staymaker. In 1891 she was a ‘monthly nurse’ employed by George Nixon, the headmaster of the Grammar School who was living at The Priory in Castle Street. In 1901 Ann was a corset maker living on her own in Castle Street. She died and was buried on 23rd June 1903 aged 78 years. She and Thomas are buried in St Mary’s Churchyard.
Note – James Bevan, the son of Thomas and Ann, was the boot and shoemaker who started in the High Street, but is better know for the time he had his shop on The Plain. Click here to read about James Bevan
In 1876 the Special Drainage District Rate book shows that the tenant was someone called Stephens and in 1880 the only entry for the house was the name James Bendell and that was struck through which suggests he had moved or died.
James Ford – In 1881, the house was occupied by James Ford, aged 22, a groom from Thornbury and his wife, Esther, aged 21 from Lydney. Read more about James and Esther
By 1885 the Special Drainage District Rate book shows that the house was empty again. The 1887 Rate Book shows the house was occupied by ‘Mrs Hughes’. In the rate book of 1890 the house is again shown as “void”.
Rowland Walter Henry Carter – In 1891 the house was occupied by Rowland and his wife Elizabeth. Rowland shown in the photo on the right was described as a letter carrier (which was an early name for ‘postman’).
Rowland was born in Wotton-under-Edge in September 1867. He was the son of William Carter, a labourer, and his wife, Hester (nee Gardiner). (Note William and Hester had another child whom they named Rowland born in 1865 but he died as an infant). ‘Walter Henry Rowland’ was baptised on 13th March 1870 at Wotton St Mary’s Church. William was recorded as being a gardener living at Bradley Road. In the 1871 census the family lived at Adrian Acre, Wotton Under Edge. By the 1881 census the family was in Bradley Street, Wotton Under Edge. William was employed as a gardener and Rowland had begun work as a grocer’s boy.
On 30th March 1891, Rowland married Elizabeth Williams at St Mary’s church in Almondsbury. The 1891 census shows them living in Gloucester Road and Rowland was employed as a letter carrier. Elizabeth was aged 24 and born in Almondsbury.
Shortly after 1891 Rowland and Elizabeth moved to Poultrybrook which is the name given to the little area at the bottom of Daggs allotments. There was at least one cottage there at the time. Rowland and Elizabeth had several children: William John baptised on 1st January 1893, Hester born on 13th June 1895 and baptised on 12th July 1895, Frederick George born on 22nd November 1898 and baptised on 1st January 1899, Alice Grace born on 27th March 1900 and baptised on 6th May 1900 Charles born on 29th November 1902 and Richard born on 3rd May 1905.
Rowland retired from service after 38 years as a postman in Thornbury in October 1928. The newspaper said “his somewhat massive figure had become a familiar sight in the town.” For the last four years of his service he had driven the mail van to and from Tockington and Charfield.
Rowland and Elizabeth carried on living at Poultrybrook up to the time of their deaths. Elizabeth died on 2nd March 1929 aged 62 and Rowland died on 13th July 1936 aged 68.
Rowland’s obituary printed in the Western Daily Press on 17th July 1936 mentions he had been a postman for over 40 years, had been a member of the parish council for 17 years and was also a member of the Town Trust and a keen horticulturist.
They are buried in Thornbury Cemetery. Their grave also provides a memorial to their elder son, William John, who was killed in France on 10/11/1918, two days before the signing of the Armistice. He was aged 26, the husband of Ruby E. Carter (nee Brindle) of Park Lodge, Fairford.
Of their children,
- Hester obtained a free place from the Council School to the Grammar School for 4 years in September 1908 although she left in May 1910 to take up dressmaking. Hester married Walter T. J. Noyce in 1916. There is a photo of the wedding above. They had a son, Reginald Walter born on 9th May 1917 and died 9th November 1928. The Gazette of November 17th 1928 said that Reginald Walter Noyce had died of diphtheria at Mangotsfield Isolation Hospital. The article said that Reginald had been brought up by his grandparents and “by reason of his winsome disposition was a general favourite.” It did not explain why Rowland and Elizabeth brought him up but Mr Noyce was not at the funeral of his son.
- Frederick George died on 6th November 1906 aged 7.
- Richard obtained a free place awarded by the Bristol Education Committee, initially for 4 years but it was extended for another year. He left the 6th Form in July 1922 having obtained qualifications in Cambridge Junior and Senior exams. He went on to attend ‘Bristol T.C.’ in September 1922.
- William John – the 1911 Census shows him living with his parents. He was working as an apprentice saddler and harness maker. In October 1916 he applied for exemption from military service. He was working as a bread delivery man for AE Thompsons, the bakers. The application suggest he had already been rejected on medical grounds, but his application was refused, although it was noted that he should be called up until 30th December 1916. In 1917 he married Ruby E. Brindle in the Cirencester area. His service record shows he had started with the Gloster Regiment, but was with the 33rd Battalion Machine Gun Corps when he was killed on 10th November 1918. He was buried at Caudry Cemetery near Cambrai.
Charlie became a well known personality in Thornbury and worked for a time as a projectionist at the Town’s cinema, the Picture House. His photo is shown on the right Charlie died on 27th June 1960 aged 57.
- Alice Grace also remained unmarried and she died on 21st September 1964 aged 64.
Robert Sainsbury- the Rate book of 1894 shows that the tenant is Robert Sainsbury. This could be the Robert Sainsbury who in the 1901 was aged 44 and living with his 30 year old wife Jemima with his brother Charles Sainsbury a sawyer in the sawmills aged 23.
Robert was baptised on 1st March 1857, the son of William Sainsbury a labourer and his wife, Maria. In 1881 the family were living in Gillingstool Road where Robert was a labourer aged 23.
In 1891 Robert was living in 8 Upper Bath Road with his sister, Mary Ann a housekeeper aged 22 and brother, Charles aged 14. Robert was still working as a general labourer.
In 1896, Robert married Jemima Vizzard, the daughter of John Vizzard, labourer and his wife, Sarah Ann. Jemima was baptised on 5th January 1873. In the 1881 Census the Vizzard family were living in Lower Bath Road. In the 1891 Census Jemima was a domestic servant working for Ann Wathen in Horseshoe Lane. The Voters List shows that Robert was living in Gloucester Road at the time of his marriage in 1896.
In 1901 Robert and Jemima were living in Sibland with Robert’s younger brother, Charles. Robert was working as a mason’s labourer. Charles was a labourer at the Saw Mills.
The Bennetts – the Rate Book of 1899 shows that the tenant is Ellen Bennett. Ellen Bennett had married Thomas Hall Bennett on 14th May 1865 at Oldbury. Her maiden name was Ellen Davies and her father was John Davies. In the 1871 Census they were living at Oldbury Naite with their three daughters – Hannah aged 5, Margaret aged 4 and Elizabeth aged 5 months.
Thomas died aged 36 and was buried on 1st September 1877 at Oldbury. By 1881 Ellen had become a nurse and she was living at Naite Road cottages, Oldbury with three children: Charles aged 6 and Emma aged 4. In 1901 Ellen was living with Sarah Winstone in 4 Horseshoe Lane, but 9 Gloucester Road was occupied by her son, Charles Bennett. He was a 26 year old single labourer born in Oldbury. Charles was living on his own. In 1891 Charles had been a farm servant, living with his brother-in-law, John Ship in Hill. Charles died in 1908 aged 33 years. The burial record for St Mary’s shows he was living at Gloucester Road at the time. Charles was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 18th July 1908. The burial record describes him as a porter.
The Rate Book of 1910 shows that the tenant is Mrs Bennett. The 1911 census shows us that it was Ellen Bennett living there. She was a widow aged 70 living with help from daughter. Ellen didn’t die until she was 85 in 1926. However we are puzzled by the reference in the last will and testament of the house’s owner (Mary Ann Wilmot) that the house was occupied in 1914 by a ‘Sarah Bennett’. It is possible that Mrs Wilmot didn’t know her tenants well as she also appears to have confused the name of Florence Dixon in number 5.
Mary Trussler – we know that Mary Trussler occupied the house from 1924 when she is listed as a tenant in one of the six cottages when they were put up for sale. She is also listed as living there in the 1926 Rate Book. She was listed in the electoral registers up to 1937.
We suspect that she was Mary Littley who was the daughter of John Littley a draper and his wife, Caroline. Mary married Robert Trussler in Ogley Hay Church, Staffordshire on 4th January 1887. In 1891 census they were living in 135 Milton Street, Walsall. Robert was a lot older than Mary. In the census he was aged 78 and described as living on his means. He was born in Harpole in Northants. Mary was aged 29 and born in Brownhills, Staffs.
Robert died in 1898 aged 85. The 1901 census shows Mary living in a small 2 roomed house in South Street, Walsall. By 1911 she had moved to Thornbury and she was now living in Kington Lane (in the house located between Wellfield and The Laundry). We don’t know why she moved to Thornbury. She died in Weston Super Mare in 1938 aged 77.
George and Sarah Jane Miller – the register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war lists George and Sarah Jane Miller together with an Albert E Miller. George was born in Knowle St Giles, Somerset on 16th November 1867 was a retired gardener. Sarah Jane was born in Oldland, Gloucestershire on 30th September 1866. Albert Eli was an unmarried domestic gardener born on 5th August 1894.
George had married Sarah Jane Miller in St Ann’s Church, Oldland on 4th June 1892. The 1901 census shows them living in Longwell Green with their children: Mabel May aged 8, Albert Eli aged 6, Florrie aged 5, William Alfred aged 4, Bessie Matilda aged 2 and Lillie Hilda aged 8 months. George was a farm labourer.
Henry Smith remembers them as being fairly old parents with several children. Their childrenn Albert Eli and Bessie M are listed as living with them in some registers. George and Sarah celebrated their Golden Wedding whilst living at Gloucester Road.
Henry Smith had a haulage business and he recalls moving one of their daughters and her husband to St Werburghs where the man was a park keeper there. He believes that this couple later moved back into number 9. We know that George Miller died in 1948 “after much suffering” aged 81 and he was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 29th November 1948. In 1949 Sarah was sharing the house her married daughter Bessie Matilda and her husband David Arthur Mackan who had married in 1949. Sarah died in Gloucester Road aged 84 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 12th March 1951.
The next family to live in the house was Raymond A. and Audrey M Wilton. They had at least one child, Susan who started school at St Mary’s School in the 1950s and gave her address as 5 Gloucester Road. The Wiltons are shown in the registers in 1952 and 1953.
Joseph and Mabel May Norris – we have a copy of a memorandum noting that in 1950 the descendants of the Wilmot family conveyed the property to Mary May Norris. We are not sure if they had any connection with the Wiltons who were living there in the early 1950s. By 1957, the house the occupied by Joseph and Mary May who stayed in the house until about 1962 and were its last occupants. Henry Smith told us that Mr Norris was quite upset when the Council condemned the property. He was moved to a Council flat in Alveston and had to pay for the demolition. Dick Shipp bought the property for the development of his garage – he told us he bought the house from the Wilmots although he does recall buying something from Mr Norris. Joseph died in 1972 aged 82 years. Mabel died in 1984 aged 91 years.