High Street showing Chronicle Office

High Street showing The Chronicle Office

The photo on the left was taken from an old postcard.  The property known as 34 High Street is the third from the left with the inscription ‘Chronicle’ written in white lettering on the card.

  Click here to read about the owners of the property

The records of the 1800’s appear to indicate that throughout this period the property was used as two separate units.  We have included below details of the occupants of both properties.  Click here to read about the earlier history of the house

Robert Ford – the 1800 Land Tax record shows Robert was the tenant of William Latch.  Robert was a tinman and brazier.  On 23rd February 1802 he married Lucinda Maisie in Thornbury.  They had several children: their first son, Robert, was born on 11th July 1803.  We know he died young, but there is a discrepancy between the details shown on Scribes Alcove website which shows he died aged 4 years and 10 months and was buried on 11th May 1807 and the transcription we have seen of what was shown on the grave – that he died on 8th May 1807 aged 3 years 9 months.

Robert and Lucinda also had Mary born on 14th December 1804 and William born on 11th October 1806.  Tragically with the two children still being so young, Lucinda died aged 28 and was buried on 8th September 1808 and Robert died a year later aged 32 and was buried on 15th October 1809.  Mary, their daughter died on 18th September 1821 aged 16.

 We suspect that Robert and the family had moved to 15 High Street as he is listed as the owner and occupant of that property in the 1809 and 1810 Land Tax records.

Betty Facey – various indentures show that Betty occupied the one of the houses at the same as Robert Ford.  We don’t know any more about Betty although she could be the Elizabeth Facey who died aged 72 and was buried in Thornbury on 18th February 1825.

John Vaughan – it seems likely that John Vaughan came to occupy 34 High Street as a result of his marriage to Hester Latch on 10th August 1807.  The owner of 34 High Street was then John’s brother-in-law, William Clark.  John is listed as living there in the 1809 and 1810 Land Tax records.

John was born on 6th November 1783, the son of William Vaughan and his wife, Anne.  John’s father died whilst John was very young.  We know that William Vaughan of Kington was buried in Thornbury aged 34 on 20th May 1787.

John became a tailor.  He was apprenticed to his uncle Benjamin Leach on 3rd September 1800.  In 1801 John was given £20 by his uncle James Vaughan of Thornbury Castle ‘to enable find apparel during his apprenticeship and a further £10 when he hath served his apprenticeship’.  In the same will James Vaughan left legacies to Mary, James and William, the other children of his late brother William.  John’s mother Anne may have remarried as there is a record of the marriage of Anne Vaughan to William Pritchard on 20th May 1788.

Following his marriage in 1807, John and Hester had several children: Mary Ann Latch Vaughan born on 6th July 1808, Elizabeth born on 9th April 1810, James born on 6th January 1812, Joseph baptised on 23rd March 1814, Benjamin baptised on 21st February 1816, Joseph Latch baptised on 14th March 1819, John baptised on 30th October 1822 and Henry baptised on 24th October 1824.

By 1812 Isaac Lawson had replaced John as a tenant of this house.  By 1824 the Land Tax Records show that John was the tenant at 24 Castle Street.  John died aged 42 and was buried on 9th July 1826.  John and Hester’s daughter, Mary Ann was adopted by Hester’s sister, Mary, and her husband, Benjamin Leach.  Mary Ann married James Skinner, a carrier of Banbury on 27th April 1833.  The 1841 census shows Hester was then living with her son, James Vaughan, a druggist, at the house which later became known as 53 High Street.  She died aged 63 and was buried on 23rd June 1845.  Click here to read about their son, James

Of John and Hester’s other children, we know that Joseph died aged two years and was buried on 7th January 1816.  Joseph Latch Vaughan died aged 17 and was buried on 10th February 1836.  Two sons became tailors like their father.  Benjamin had moved to Olveston by the 1841 census and he was living there with another tailor William Hollister.  On 27th December 1841 he married Elizabeth Whitfield in St Pauls Church, Bristol.  The 1851 census shows Benjamin and Elizabeth living in an unidentified house in the Back Street Thornbury (in the part later known as Rock Street).  They had had four children, Mary Ann, Henry, Hester and John all born in Olveston.  We don’t know what happened to Benjamin except he was a widowed tailor living with his married daughter, Hester Russell, in Olveston village in 1891.  Benjamin died in 1900 aged 86.

A second son, John, also became a tailor.  The 1841 census shows he had moved to Clifton and was a journeyman tailor aged 28 living at Nelson Place.  In the 1851 census he was a tailor and draper lodging at Westfield Place.  He continued living there and never married.  John’s nephew, John Davis. was also living in the same house .

Henry, John and Hester’s youngest son, appears to have gone off to sea.  He was born on 17th August 1824.  His father died not long after Henry’s birth so this might have led him to leave Thornbury.  We are grateful to Josephine Colahan, a descendent of Henry Vaughan, for sharing her research.  According to his seaman’s record Henry first went to see as an apprentice in 1840 and was ‘ticketed’ in 1848.  It describes him as 5ft 4 1/2 inches, brown hair, fair complexion and blue eyes.  He has a scar on his left side of neck and he could write.  He was living in a Sailor’s Home in London when not at sea.  He married Mary Ann Kingston at St Marys Church in Whitechapel, London on 12th July 1852.  The marriage record confirms that Henry was the son of John Vaughan, tailor and that he was a mariner at the time of the marriage.  Records in the Public Records Office indicate that Henry was a seaman until 1854.  Henry and Mary settled in Collingwood, Victoria, Australia.  Several of the names of their children, particularly William, John and Benjamin, were family names of the Thornbury Vaughans which supports the theory that this Henry was the son of John and Hester Vaughan of Thornbury.  We also understand that when some of Henry’s children married there were requests for notices to be inserted in Bristol newspapers and another notice saying that a parcel for Henry was awaiting collection which had been sent from his brother in Thornbury.  Finally, Henry’s son, William Henry gave a plot of land he owned the name of Thornbury, presumably in recognition of his family roots.  We were interested to be told by Josephine Colahan that this ‘ plot of land’ ‘was the largest apple orchard in the southern hemisphere for its time, and (that) the Vaughans were some of the pioneers of orcharding from which Tasmania received its pseudonym of “The Apple Isle”.  Two houses were built on Thornbury, as well as the usual stables and barns for such an enterprise. ‘

Henry died in Melbourne in 1889.

Isaac Lawson – the 1812 Land Tax record shows Isaac as the tenant of the property.  Isaac was a tanner.  On 16th October 1804 he married Ann French or Ann Trench.  They had several children baptised in Thornbury: Hester born on 26th June 1807 when Isaac and Ann were living at The Hackett, Ann born on 17th November 1808 who died aged 36 and was buried on 21st January 1844, Clara born 7th August 1811, Isaac baptised on 23rd October 1814, Robert baptised on 29th May 1816 who died aged 1 and was buried on 25th May 1817, Joanna baptised on 25th July 1819 who died as an infant and was buried on 27th January 1820 and Rosina baptised on 11th November 1821.

Isaac appears to  have been one of the signatories of the memorial or petition for clemency for Charity Hogg who had been sentenced to be transported in 1833.   At that time Isaac’s occupation was described as a ‘gentleman. ‘ Isaac died aged 60 and was buried on 15th March 1835.  Ann is listed as a publican living in Crossways in what we now know as Clay Lane.  She was there with her daughter Rosanna.

John Williams – the Land Tax records from 1814 to 1822 show that John was the tenant of the property.  We don’t know any more about this John to enable us to identify him.

Mary Sperrin – the indenture dated 1824 mentions that Mary was the tenant of 34 High Street.  The 1823 Land Tax record shows she must have moved here when her husband, Thomas Sperrin, died and stayed here until at least 1830.  Read more about the Sperrins

James Barnett – the indenture dated 1824 mentions that James Barnett was the tenant of 34 High Street.  We suspect that James was the person baptised in Thornbury on 29th September 1799, the son of John and Sarah Barnett.

In 1819 James married Sarah Thurston, the daughter of Guy Thurston, tallow chandler of Bristol at St Nicholas Church in Bristol.  James and Sarah settled in Thornbury where they had eight children.  A document in the records relating to Stokefield House indicates that James owned some cottages on Castle Street adjoining to the site of Stokefield House.  Click here to read about James and Sarah Barnett

Samuel Smith – the 1840 Tithe Survey shows that one of the houses was occupied by Samuel Smith.  The 1841 census shows Samuel living in this part of the High Street.  We know from a newspaper report dated 30th October 1841 that Samuel was then occupying a shop and dwelling house owned by Thomas Smith which was being sold at auction.  This property was at  32 High Street and we are therefore unsure whether Samuel was living at 32 or 34 High Street at the time of the 1841 census.  Click here to read more


The Mayors Accounts Book for 1857 shows that the Corporation bought the two messages on 21st December 1857.  The property was let as two separate units until about 1906 when Edward Brown combined it into one unit.

The Harveys – the 1851 census shows that William and Ann Harvey and their daughter, Harriett were living at 34 High Street.  She appears to have been living in the larger (right hand) part of the building.  Both the parents died in 1856 and Harriett carried on living here, becoming a tenant of the Corporation when they bought the two houses in 1857.  The 1861 census shows Harriet was working as a druggist and dressmaker there.  There was a period around 1866 when Harriett ran up large debts with the Corporation and they issued an order to distrain her goods in payment.  She appears to have paid up and continued living there until about 1870.  When she left the Corporation asked George Hodges, a local builder, to put in a ‘new window and sash door and do as much internal repairs as necessary to make the house habitable.  Read more about the Harveys 

Sarah Barge – the Mayors Accounts books show that Sarah was one of the first occupants of the two houses after they acquired the properties in 1857.  Sarah appears to have been living in the smaller (left hand) part of the building.  She was strictly not a ‘tenant’ as the books shows that Crossman and Lloyd where the tenants and that they allowed Sarah Barge to live there.  We don’t understand the significance of this arrangement.  The rent was £5 per annum.  The 1861 census shows Sarah was a ‘Widow of an Ag Lab’ aged 79.  Sarah died in 1863 aged 84.  Click here to read more about Sarah

Miss Thorne – took over from Sarah Barge in 1863.  We have insufficient details to identify which Miss Thorne this refers to.

Caleb Adams – the 1871 census shows Caleb living in one of the two houses.  The Mayors Accounts Books struggle with Caleb’s name unless there were other members of the family living in the same house.  From 1864 onwards, the name of the person who replaced Miss Thorne varied between Thomas Adams, Joseph Adams and George Adams.  In 1873 the Mayors Accounts Books show that the Inspector of Nuisances wrote to the Corporation bringing to their attention problems in Mrs Adams house.  After an inspection it was decided to ask George Hodges, a local builder, to do work on the windows and skylight to improve ventilation.  The accounts book shows that ‘Thomas Adams’ gave notice to quit in 1881.  Click here to read more


Jane Brown 1869

The Browns – By 25th March 1870 Jane Brown had become the tenant of the larger (right hand) of the two properties, replacing Harriett Harvey.  Her rent was raised from the £9 which Harriett was paying to £16 per annum.   The Browns ran a printing and stationery business from their home.  Edward Brown was also responsible for setting up and publishing the South Gloucestershire Chronicle from 1899.

In 1906 following the death of Mary Ann Graves, who had lived in the other part of the Town Trust property, the Browns took over both parts of the ’34 High Street’ property.  The records of the Town Trust who had taken over the responsibility of the property from the Mayor and Corporation have no entries for the Browns after 1916 which may suggest that the Browns then moved and the Food Control Committee were known to have taken over at 34 High Street in 1917.  Edward carried on with the Chronicle and other publications until his death in 1921.  The 1925 Valuation List and 1926 Rate Book show Edward’s mother, Jane Frances and his sister, Mary moved next door to 32 High Street so they may have moved there as early as 1916.  Click here to read more

W. G Collings – the Mayors Accounts book from 1882 to 1883 show that W. G. Collings was paying rent for the property.  The 1885 Rate Book also shows G. W. Collings as tenant.  This may have been George Wheeler Collings whose wife Mary Jane lived at 5 Gloucester Road.

Mary Ann Graves – the 1887 Rate Book shows the house was occupied by Mrs Graves.

Mary Ann was Mary Ann Pritchard who was baptised in Rockhampton on 20th November 1825.  She was the daughter of John Pritchard a yeoman and his wife, Mary Ann (nee Worden).  In 1851 census she was a house servant working for William Cornock in Oldbury.  In 1867 Mary Ann married Andrew Graves in Thornbury.  The 1871 census shows them living in Sarsden, Oxfordshire.  Andrew was a coachman aged 63 born in Walthamstow.  Mary Ann was a housekeeper aged 45.

Andrew died in 1878 aged 73.  The 1881 census shows Mary Ann still living at Sarsden, and it looks like she is housekeeper at The Mansion there, although there are no other residents there apart from a domestic servant.

The 1891 census shows Mary Ann had returned to the Thornbury area and was living at 34 High Street.  She is described as a retired housekeeper.  She was still living there alone in the 1901 census.  She died in Thornbury in 1906 aged 81.

Thornbury Food Control Committee – from 1917 to 1920 the property was used by the Thornbury Food Control Committee.  The National Archives website tells us that:

Food Control Committees were originally set up during the first world war, in August 1917, at a time when the prices of food were rising rapidly and there was increasing mal-distribution, especially of sugar.  Because of this, and initially with the object of securing equitable distribution of sugar and thus halting the rise of price, the Ministry of Food of that time asked local authorities to appoint Food Control Committees each ‘composed of persons well acquainted with local conditions and possessing the confidence of the public’.  The Ministry’s intention was to limit membership to twelve, of which at least one had to be a woman and one a representative of labour. in fact, the stipulated membership was generally exceeded and included farmers, food retailers and, to a markedly lesser degree, representatives of retail Co-operatives.

On December 17th the Food Control Committee (Local Distribution) Order 1917 was made and this gave the local Food Control Committees powers to introduce measures for local food control.  The 1917 Order gave the Food Control Committee wide discretion as to the type of rationing scheme to be adopted and the foods to be controlled, provided that sanction to the measures proposed was first obtained from the Food Controller (i.e. the Minister of Food) and that the per capita allowances of certain foods did not exceed a specified maximum.  The Food Control Committees could also vary the maximum prices of milk, bread, flour, butter, cheese, fish, potatoes and rabbits and they could requisition supplies of milk or buy and sell it.

The Ministry of Food and the local Food Control Committees were finally dissolved on 31 March 1921 after just over four years of regulating the nation’s food supply.

Annie Lawrence – the Mayors Accounts book shows that from 1920 to 1926 Mrs Annie Lawrence as the occupant.  She is also listed as living there in the 1926 Rate Book.  We are not sure who Annie was.  There was an Annie Lawrence who was the wife of Ernest John Lawrence the police sergeant, but she was living at the Police Station.  The 1927 electoral register does show an Annie Lawrence at St Arilds, so we suspect it was this Annie, but we know know nothing more about her.  The 1931 electoral register does show Harry and Annie Lawrence living in the High Street but we don’t know if they are connected.

John Croome Cullimore – John was occupant of the property from 1926 to his death in 1936.

John Croome Cullimore was born in Alveston in 1855, the son of William and Ann Cullimore.  In the 1861 census the family were living at The Rookery in Alveston.  William was described as a landed proprietor.  In the 1871 census William was described as a land owner living at Cheltenham Villa, Gloucester Road, Horfield in Bristol.  The 1881 census shows that they had returned to The Rookery, where William was a farmer of 123 acres employing 3 men and John was assisting on the farm.

John married Edith Sarah Tyler in 1895.  The 1899 Rate Book and the 1901 census show them living at 51 High Street.  John was now working as a coal merchant aged 44.  He was living with his wife, Edith Sarah aged 31 from Tytherington, their son, Dudley John aged 4 and a general domestic servant, Mary E Savery aged 16.  John and Edith were still at 51 High Street in the 1905 Rate Book, but by the 1907 and 1910 Rate Book they had moved to 49 High Street which he was renting from Thomas Exell.  John was still listed as living in this property in the 1925 Valuation List, but by the 1926 Rate Book they had moved to 34 High Street, a property belonging to the Town Trust.  They carried on living here until John’s death on 28th January 1936 aged 79.  His obituary printed in the Gazette mentions he was the last life member of the Town Trust who had lived in Thornbury for 40 years and he was for many years associated with Thornbury Coal Company.

The records of Thornbury Cricket Club have the following little thumbnail sketch of John written by Edgar Mervyn Grace:

John Croome Cullimore was a very useful wicket-keeper, who always wore brown boots, brown pads and gloves, which almost matched his sandy, red hair. A coal merchant by trade in Thornbury, he was a very stubborn bat who never made many runs.

We are not sure what happened to ‘Sally’.  The 1950 electoral register shows she was living with Dudley and his family at 9 High Street.  She died on 23rd September 1951 and she is buried in the same grave as John in Thornbury Cemetery.

Their son, Dudley John, was born on 5th February 1897 and baptised on 5th March 1897.  He was admitted to the Grammar School on 14th January 1906 after attending a private preparatory school.  He left school on 19th December 1912 to become an insurance clerk.  Dudley served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War.  In 1926 he married Mildred Laura Wilkins, the daughter of Arthur Hewlett Wilkins , the draper in the High Street.  Dudley and Mildred were living at Church Road in 1926 Rate Book but we understand that they moved to live in Alveston.  They had two sons, David and John.  Following Arthur’s death in 1949 the Cullimores returned to live at Manchester House, 9 High Street and Mildred took over the running of her father’s shop.  John eventually took over the business before it moved to 28 High Street.  Mildred died in Bridport in 1969 and Dudley re-married – his second wife was Felicia Ashcroft, the widow of Tommy Ashcroft.

34 High StreetFred Sainsbury – from about 1938 the property was occupied by Fred Sainsbury and his family.  They moved here from 19 Pullins Green.  Fred used 34 High Street as the family home as well as for his business as house decorator.  The property then had a double door on the left hand side of the front and this gave access to a yard and outbuildings where Fred kept his tools and materials.

It is interesting to see that in March 1944 the Town Trust discussed a report that the front of 34 High Street badly needed renovation work and an inspection was proposed.  In November 1944 it was reported that the Trust had been unable to get a price for the work required and it was decided to ask Fred to paint the house ‘when he could find the necessary time’.

Fred and Elsie continued living here until their deaths.  Fred died in 1956 aged about 75.  In 1958 the Town Trust agreed to reduce the rent to £68 per annum on the basis that Elsie would be responsible for internal and external repairs and decoration.  Elsie died in 1976 aged 90.  Click here to read about the Sainsbury family

In 1978 and 1982 advertisements in programmes for the Thornbury Amateur Operatic Society shows John Timson Chartered Surveyor and Estate Agent traded from 34 High Street.

In more recent times the property has reverted to being used as TWO separate shops and has separate business accommodation upstairs.  The left hand unit was used by the Dursley Gazette office for many years and the right hand unit by the Hampton’s Small World delicatessen, now the Thornbury Deli.  Besley Hill Hill Estate agents have now moved to replace the Gazette.  The firm of solicitors, McCarthy & White, occupy the upper floor.

Click here to read about the owners of the property