26 High Street

In earlier times this building had an interesting history as an inn (called The Widow’s Mantle and then The George) and was then used as a school.  Click here to read about this earlier history

On this page we write about the period from about 1849 when the property was used as a shop, most of the time as a butcher’s shop.  The photo on the left was taken in 2011 when the property was occupied by St Peter’s Hospice and the Frying Machine.


Charles White – Charles was a plumber and glazier.  At the time of the 1840 Tithe Survey and the 1841 census Charles was living at 39 High Street, a property he was renting from William Rolph.  The 1841 census shows that property was occupied by Charles White, a plumber aged 25 living with Sarah aged 30 and George White also aged 20.  We know from later censuses that Sarah was Charles’s wife.  We assume George White was Charles’s brother, although we have not traced any records showing their parentage.

In September 1849 Charles bought 26 High Street from Thomas Johnson Ward of Olveston for £325.  The 1851 census shows Charles was a plumber and glazier aged 38 from Tytherington.  He was living there with his wife, Sarah A aged 44 and niece, Sarah H Russell a domestic assistant aged 17.  It is interesting to note that Susanna Rolph, aged 49 was visiting them.  She was a member of the important Rolph family and she still owned property in the town at the time of her visit.

The 1859 Rate book shows Charles as owner and occupant of the house.  The 1861 census shows Charles and Sarah Ann still there.  Charles was still working as a plumber, now shown to be employing 3 men and an apprentice.  Mary Cullimore an unmarried fundholder aged 52 from Wickwar was visiting them .

Charles died on 20th September 1864 aged 51.  By his will dated 19th December 1857 Charles left his property to his wife, Sarah, for her life and then his trustees were authorised to sell the property.

The rate books show Sarah Ann continued living in the house as the owner and occupant of the property until her death.  In the 1871 census she is described in the census as ‘Retired’ and she was sharing the house with a widowed aunt, Catherine Ludlow aged 82, and a widowed cousin, Elizabeth Taylor aged 70 from Littleton.  Sarah Ann appears to be sharing the house with Mary Cullimore who is listed as living in a separate household.  Mary was described as being unmarried aged 63 and having no occupation.  She was born in Wickwar.  The 1881 census shows Sarah Ann living there alone.  She died on 19th April 1887 aged 83.


John Taylor – the 1890 Rate Book shows John owned and occupied the property.  When John tried to sell the property in 1921 the sales notice shows he had acquired it on 10th August 1887.

The 1891 census shows John was a butcher aged 38 from Hanham.  He was living there with his wife, Annie aged 34 from Bitton and their children: John aged 10, Joseph aged 5, Annie aged 11, Ella aged 8 and a spinster aunt, Mary Godfrey aged 74 from Kingswood and a domestic servant, Leah Barge aged 16 from Thornbury.

When John put the premises and his business up for sale at auction in April 1921 it was described as: a freehold shop, dwelling house, slaughterhouse and other outbuildings including a bacon curing and ice house underground.  Bidding started at £1500 and rose to £3400 when the property was withdrawn.

This image shows a detailed plan of how the buildings were used in 1921.

John continued to own the property and to let it out to other butchers until he died in 1937.  Read more about John Taylor 

Allen Horder – the 1925 Valuation List and 1926 Rate book both show that Allen Horder was now operating the butcher’s previously undertaken by John and Frank Taylor, who still owned the building at that time.

A newspaper report relating to a motor cycle accident involving Allen’s son, Allen John Horder aged 17 shows that the family had moved to Thornbury in 1922 from Old Sodbury.  His son had assisted him in the business until 3 weeks prior to the accident when he got a position in Bristol.  He was returning from Bristol when he crashed with a motor cycle and sidecar near the New Inn, Patchway.  The report said he sustained terrible injuries to the head and face which required immediate attention and at the time the article was written he was in a critical condition.  Luckily Allen John survived the accident but he still died at the young age of 35 in 1932.

Allen Horder was born in Yate about 1869.  He was the son of John Horder who was innkeeper at the Railway Hotel, Yate and his wife, Mary Ann.  By 1901 Allen had become a butcher and at that time he was living with his widowed mother in Station Road, Yate.  We think that Allen married Florence Emma Bennett in the Bristol area in 1901.  By the 1911 census the family were living at Clayton Street, Avonmouth.  Allen was running a butchers shop.

Their son, Allen John, was born in Bristol in 1906.  They also has two daughters, Audrey Mary born on 11th September 1909 and Kathleen Marjorie born on 10th March 1922.  Both girls transferred to Thornbury Grammar School in September 1922, having previously attended Redland Collegiate School and Chipping Sodbury Grammar School.  They both left the Grammar School in April 1924 to return to Redland Collegiate School.  Another son, Kenneth A Horder was born in Bristol area on 9th May 1915.  The family moved to Thornbury in 1922 because the records of the Council Infants School also show Kenneth transferring to that school that year from Chipping Sodbury.  He didn’t stay at the Council School for long, leaving in 1923 to go to a private school.

We know that Allen was helped in the business by one of his nephews, Henry Percival Horder, better known as ‘Percy’.  He was born in the Chipping Sodbury area in 1903.  In 1927 Percy married Hilarie Madge Prewett and they took over her father’s business of Prewetts, the well known printing and stationary shop and newsagents.

At some time before 1931 Allen and Florence Horder moved again, away from Thornbury.  The 1939 special war time census shows Allen was a wholesale and retail butcher living at 47 Manor Park, Redland, Bristol.  Allen died in Bristol in 1958 aged 89.

The records of the Thornbury Cricket Club show that Allen’s son, Allen John was very active in the cricket club and much appreciated by them.  The following thumbnail sketch was written about Allen by Edgar Mervyn Grace and we are grateful to Les Summerfield, the Cricket Club and Mike Grace for allowing us to use these notes:

Alan was the son of the Thornbury butcher and lived in the High Street.  He proved himself a very useful batsman and fielder but after two seasons he received a very severe head injury in a motor cycle crash.  Part of the front portion of his brain was extruded through his forehead but was excised by his surgeon and a plate inserted.  After several relapse however he made a great recovery and playing as well as ever, making his highest score of 83 and having an average of 23.  It was terribly alarming when a medium fast bowler hit him on the plate ringing the bell, but apparently with no evil consequences.  He was a happy cricketer and his death at an early age (in 1932) was a sad loss to the Club.

The Sweets – the 1931 electoral register shows that Charles Richard Sweet had taken over the butchers business.  However it is clear from an advertisement of a forthcoming sale placed in the newspapers of July 1937 that John Taylor still owned this property and that it was not sold until after his death.

During the time the property was occupied by the Sweets, they called it ‘Easton House’.  The Sweets carried on running the butcher’s shop until the mid 1960s.

We have withdrawn two photos of the shop when it was occupied by Sweets and the information we had written about this family at the request of a family member.  The information is still freely available from other public sources and websites such as Ancestry and FreeBMD.  We were disappointed to remove the photos as they were wonderful images showing rows of meat hanging in the shop front.  We have complied with the family request as they said that the photos had been loaned to the Museum only so that could be used in a book, but they didn’t want the photos used on the Internet.  We know from messages we receive from people using the website how much the photos and information are appreciated all round the world.  We would love to hear from anyone with photos of the shop during this period which can be added to the website.

The Baxters – took over from the Sweets and ran the business as a butcher’s.  We had been told that they started the business there in 1964, but we don’t know any more about them.  During the time that the butcher’s shop was run by the Baxters the right hand section of the property was converted into a shop and it became known as 26A High Street.

For a short time 26A was used as a fruit and veg shop run by T & J Owen who is listed there in the 1967 programme for the Thornbury Flower Show.  The 1970 Electoral Register lists them as living in 26B High Street, which is presumably the flat upstairs.  In 1970 the Owens moved to their premises on The Plain. However an advertisement in 1970 shows that T & J Owen retailers of fruit, flowers and fresh fish traded from both 1 The Plain and 26A High Street.  Click here to read about the Owens

In 1975 an advertisement in the programme of the Thornbury Amateur Operatic Society shows that 26A had become ‘Lesley’s’ fruit, flowers and vegetable shop.

Similar programmes for 1977 and 1982 show that 26A High Street was an award winning fruit shop trading as ‘The Fruit Bowl’.

Since the butchers closed, the main shop has been used by Victoria Wine who moved up from their premises at 24 High Street until they went into administration in 2009.  This shop was then taken over by St Peter’s Hospice who also moved up from further down the High Street.

We are not sure who occupied the shop at 26A High Street following the Owens.  It is now occupied by the Frying Machine Fish and Chip Bar.