The Tavern

35 High Street

Town Hall – The Tavern 2017-06-07T14:10:25+00:00
go to history of the property

The Tavern appears to have been known by various names, including the Wine Tavern or the Wyne Tavern.  It was an old inn which was located on the High Street on the site of the present Town Hall.  Our earliest knowledge of the Tavern goes back to 1590 and we have been able to trace its history through to 1737 when it was bought by John Gayner, an apothecary.  It appears that it ceased to be used as a pub from that time as it is not included in the list of licensed premises of 1755 and it was no longer referred to as a a tavern in the mayors’ accounts from the time that John bought it.  In 1783 it was bought by George Rolph, an attorney and a member of one of Thornbury’s richer families.  He had the building demolished and a new building erected as his private home.  Click here to read about the present building.

John White – our earliest source of information about the property was the last will and testament of John White dated 16th July 1590.  A copy of the will is held by Gloucester Records Office (ref D 282/T/34).  We understand that written in ink, on the back of the original will and in a later hand, are the words “John White will of 17s 4d gave out of the tavern“.

In John White’s will he left 17s 4d to be paid annually to the poor of Thornbury, from the house and garden which he had bought from Lord Berkeley.  John gave the property to his tenant Henry Harris, but although Henry got the property free, subsequent owners had to pay 17s 4d per year to the poor, as part of the purchase agreement.  This payment was to be made to Mayor or Chief Officer and three burgesses who were to distribute this either in money or in corn to the poor people of Thornbury, at their discretion, at the four yearly feasts mentioned in the will.  Click here to read more about Charity and the payment of ‘Groats’.

John White also left Henry Harris “all the wainscott, glass in the windows, table boards, frames, benches and forms in the parlour thereof called The Lower Parlour all which I will and appoint to remain there forever as standers and to be maintained and renewed as need shall be” in the Borough of Thornbury.  He listed many of the individual items left to Henry, his wife, Joan or his son, Philip.  He gave Morris Tovey of Olveston several items including the ‘pictures of King Henry the eighth in the Kings Chambers and the battle axe or weapon hanging in my chamber’.

In the will John asked to be ‘buried in the Parish Church of Thornbury as nigh unto my late wife as conveniently may be‘.  He left to Sir John Poyntz ‘all that messuage and garden with their appurtenances in the Borough of Thornbury now in the tenure or occupation of Richard Wilcocks mercer situate in the High Street near unto the Market house there and called Crookhorne‘.  We haven’t been able to pinpoint where the Crookhorne was.

The Harris’s – Henry Harris was left the property under the will of John White dated 16th July 1590.  Henry was the tenant of the property at the time and we assume that he was running The Tavern there.

Henry wrote his will on 27th July 1600 leaving everything to his wife, Joan until their son, Thomas, has reached the age of 30.  He also left his daughter, Dorothy ‘plate to the value of ten pounds’ and twenty shillings was left to the Thornbury Parish Church.

The rent roll dated 1602 shows that ‘the Wine Tavern which the Widow Harris possesseth’.  In Joan’s will dated 13th February 1609 indicates that she is still living at the same place as she refers to various items in ‘Mrs White’s chamber’, or the ‘King’s Chamber’.  (The will of John White mentioned above referred to the King’s Chamber as being part of the house in which he was living at the time).  Joan bequeathed lots of her possessions to her daughter Dorothy and she also left her some land.  Her son, Phillip was left the rest of her possessions and made executor of the will.

Dorothy Harris married Peter Hawksworth on 20th December 1610 at St Phillip and St Jacob Church in Bristol.  A Court Roll of the Manor shows Robert Hawksworth appeared in Court on 17 October 1639 and that the Wyne Tavern now or late in tenure of Phillip Harris was granted to Robert Hawksworth for the use of his father Peter Hawksworth during his life and after to Robert Hawksworth and the heirs of his body.  The deed refers to another ‘small tenement now or late in the tenure of Robert Walker which was held to William Edwards and William White.  This tenement was granted for the use of Richard Hawksworth and the heirs of his body.  We are not sure if Phillip Harris had any connection with the second property.

In his will dated 1645 Phillip Harris left several bequests mentioning his wife, Mary, daughters, Ann and Joane and sons, Thomas and William.

The Hawksworths (or Hawkesworths) – we know from the 1639 indenture referred to above that Peter Hawkesworth was given the use of Wyne Tavern by his brother-in-law, Phillip Harris.  Click here to read about the Hawksworths

After the death of Peter and his wife Dorothy the income from the property was paid to their son, Robert.

In accordance with the will of John White, the owners of the property had to contribute an annual sum of 17s 4d to the poor people of Thornbury.  Throughout most of the next 300 years the payment of this sum was recorded in the Mayors Accounts Books.  Mysteriously, in the period from 1619 (the earliest account we have seen) up to 1666 no payments were recorded for the Harris’s nor the Hawksworths in relation to the Tavern.  However we note that the accounts of the Overseers of the Poor shows that Robert Hawksworth was paying his dues on The Tavern from 1656 onwards.  Robert died in 1664.  Interestingly his will written in 1664 shows he was a grocer living in Bristol.  This would appear to indicate that he had a tenant running the Tavern.

The Mayors Accounts in 1667 were showing Martha Hawksworth as paying £4 which related to her arrears up to 1666 and another payment of 14s 8d for the period up to November 1667.

A Rent Roll compiled around 1660 lists Martha Hawksworth as the owner of the property.  She is actually listed as owning a large property and three and a half burgages liable for a payment of 3s 8d. The next entry shows Martha Hawksworth responsible for ‘the Upper Parlour’ shown as half a burgage and liable for 6d.  Martha was the widow of Robert Hawksworth.

We must admit to some confusion over the relationship of the Tavern (or Wyne Tavern), ‘the Upper Part of the Tavern’ and ‘the Upper Parlour’.  We had assumed that they were alternative names for the same property.  However as mentioned above in the Rent Roll (when they were owned by Martha Hawksworth) there were two distinct properties and in the 1809 and 1830 Rent Rolls (when they were owned by George Rolph and then William Rolph) the larger property was referred as to as being The Tavern and the smaller one as The Upper Parlour.

In most years between 1667 and 1705, the Mayors’ Accounts show that the 17s 4d income received ‘for rent of the upper part of the tavern being Mr White’s gift’ without mentioning the names of the person paying.  However in 1667 to 1669 Henry Smith is mentioned as ‘for Martha Hawksworth’ and as ‘Mrs Hawksworth’ is listed as paying in 1693/4 and 1694/5, it seems likely that Henry was a sub-tenant.

The next owner of the property appears to be Thomas Harvest.

Thomas Harvest – the Mayors’ Accounts book show that Thomas Harvest ran the Tavern from 1705 to 1712.
We think Thomas was the one who married Mary Rutter in Thornbury on 2nd August 1686.  They had at least three children: Thomas baptised on 29th May 1687, John baptised on 24th September 1693 and Sara baptised on 14th June 1695.

In 1713 Thomas and Mary were left The Chantry in Castle Street under the will of William Green.  The Assessment for Poor Relief of 1717 shows that Thomas Harvest now owned “ye chantry” and was paying 9d tax on it.  Thomas was mayor in 1720.  We have not yet found the connection between William Green and the Harvest family.  Thomas and his heir John Harvest raised a mortgage on The Chantry of £300 on 2nd January 1719.  Click here to read more

In 1713 when Thomas and Mary moved to the Chantry, their son, George, took over the Tavern.

George Harvest – George took over the running of the Tavern when his parents moved to the Chantry.  The Mayors’ Accounts show that George was running the Tavern from 1713 to 1724.  The Accounts show that George was frequently in arrears with his rent.

George was baptised on 16th March 1688, the son of Thomas Harvest and his wife, Mary.  We know from a marriage agreement dated 3rd December 1712 that George was due to marry Mary Cam, the daughter of Alice Cam widow of Iron Acton.  They had at least one son, Thomas baptised on 24th March 1714 but he died on 8th April 1714.  Mary also died shortly after, on 11th September 1718 aged only 26.  We don’t know where George went after leaving the Tavern.  He died whilst living in Thornbury and was buried there on 28th August 1762.

Between 1728 and 1737 there were several short term occupants of the Tavern listed in the Mayors’ Accounts.  In 1728/29 Thomas Walker was listed.  In 1729/30 John Cox was there for a short time.  From 1731 to 1734 Robert Whitfield was there.  We know that in 1730 Robert had been living at the property which later became 28 High Street.  He was buried on 1st April 1741.

In 1735, Robert Boy is listed as the occupant.  

From 1737 onwards the property is no longer referred to as The Tavern, so we assume that it ceased being a pub from that time.  The next owner was John Gayner, the apothecary.

John Gayner – the Mayors Accounts’ from 1737 to 1769 show that John paid the 17s 4d rent on the property.  It was listed for the first time as ‘for the ‘Groats’ rather than ‘for the Tavern’.  John was an apothecary.  Click here to read more

Thomas Child – the assessment of poor rate listings for 1769 and 1770 show that Thomas Child was liable for payment ‘for the old tavern’.  We assumed that this implied that the building had ceased being used as a pub and it was not included in a 1755 list of Thornbury licensed pubs which is held by Gloucester Records Office.  However, local pub historian, George Ford, records in his book on Thornbury Pubs that Thomas Child was licensee up to 1774.  The Mayors’ Accounts refer to the property as The Tavern until the time it was taken over by John Gayner when the term was dropped.

The Mayors’ Accounts show Thomas as being the owner in 1770 and by 1775 Mrs Martha Cullimore was the owner.

Thomas was baptised on 25th December 1731, the son of John and Mary Child of Morton.  Thomas’s father John died in 1745 aged only 39.  Thomas married Ann Grove on 1st February 1757.  The deeds of The Vine House, 8 High Street show that Thomas Child, the butcher was a tenant there in 1760 and 1765.

Thomas and Ann had at least seven daughters and two sons: Mary baptised on 16th January 1760, Flora born on 27th January 1762 and baptised on 24th January 1762, Hester (the fourth daughter) born on 1st December 1764 and baptised on 27th February 1765, Fanny born on 5th April 1767 and baptised on 3rd September 1767, Ursula born on 3rd January 1770 and baptised on 16th January 1771, John baptised on 17th may 1774 who died shortly after, Solomon born on 20th May 1775 and baptised on 11th September 1777 and Hannah born on 31st August 1778, baptised on 16th December 1778 and she died aged 15 in 1793.

The baptism records of his children show that Thomas was a butcher and he lived in Thornbury until at least 1774 but by 1777 he had moved to Morton.  It is possible that Thomas may have taken over the pub in Morton called the Bush, which in the list of licensees of 1755 was run by Mary Child whom we assume was Thomas’s mother.  Mary died 11th October 1770 aged 63.  Thomas died on 18th January 1789 aged 56.  On his grave in St Marys Church is written the inscription: ‘A friend so true there were but few, and difficult to find, a Man more just and true to trust, there is not left behind. The Life which for long time sustained, was Sorrow, Grief and Pain, but now he has has a life obtained, of Pleasure, Joy and Gain’.  In Thomas’s will, he left his property called Pyhill House in Morton and the slaughter-house and stables and grounds to his son, Solomon.  In default of this bequest, he left the property to his daughter, Hannah.

The Gloucester Journal of February 13th 1797 has an advertisement for the sale of various properties.  One of these appears to be the house in which Thomas Child and now his widow Ann Child lived.  It was described as “a dwelling house with out-buildings belonging and upwards of 15 acres of rich pasture land and orcharding situate at Morton in the parish of Thornbury and in the occupation of Mrs Ann Child.  Ann died aged 65 and was buried on 18th January 1799.”

Of Thomas and Ann Child’s children:

Martha Cullimore – the Mayors’ Accounts show that Mrs Martha Cullimore was owner from 1775 to 1783.  The land tax records of 1775 show that Martha now owned the property, then described as ‘late Childs’.  The records from 1780 to 1782 show that Martha was letting out the house to Madam/Mrs or Miss Galpin who we don’t know anything about.  Martha Cullimore was the sister of William Osborne and she lived in The Close House.  Click here to read more

Samuel Lewis – the 1783 land tax record shows Samuel Lewis as being the owner and occupier of the property.  We cannot explain this as the indenture referred to below clearly says George Rolph bought it from Martha Cullimore.  Click here to read more about Samuel 

George Rolph – about 1783 George Rolph bought the property fronting the High Street from Martha Cullimore.  George had a new mansion house built on the site of the old building which had been the Tavern.  The Rolph were an important family in Thornbury.  Click here to read specifically about George Rolph

read the other history of the property

Sorry - contact us if you need this image