36 High Street

36 High Street

We haven’t seen the deeds of this property but we are fortunate that the documents relating to 38 High Street and 34 High Street tell us something of the property’s early history.  We have been told by Dr Watts who owned the property in the 1970’s that there is a small two storey structure in the garden which he thought was similar to the summer house which is at the back of the NatWest Bank on The Plain.  It would be interesting to find out more about this structure.

Ann Caddy – an indenture dated 28th and 29th September 1774 relating to number 38 High Street shows that Ann Caddy owned this property previously owned by John Thurston.

Another indenture dated 12th September 1775 shows that Ann sold to George Rolph Senior a piece of garden land at the rear of her property.  This indenture includes an excellent plan of the properties.  She sold George ‘for £5 5s all that piece or parcel of ground situate lying & being in the garden of said Ann Caddy belonging to her dwelling house wherein she now dwells being on the Southward side of such garden beginning against the wall of an outhouse of her the said Ann Caddy at the distance of 18 inches Eastward from the Northwestward corner of such wall & leading from there in a straight line Northward 3 foot and then turning short Northwestward on a straight line the length of 66 foot which reaches to the outside of the wall at the bottom of the said garden 7 then turning short to the Southward the outside of such garden wall the length of 18 feet which comes up to the Northwestward outside corner of an old ruinous summerhouse of the said George Rolph (lately taken down) in the Northwestward corner of the outlet belonging to his dwelling house which piece of ground is bounded on the Eastward part by said outhouse & part of the backside of the said Ann Caddy on the North part by the other part of the said garden of the said Ann Caddy on the West part by a barton belonging to Mrs Martha Osborne widow now in the possession of Mrs Martha Cullimore widow and on the South by a wall of the said George Rolph’s which parts the said piece or parcel of ground from the outlet and ground whereon the said old summerhouse stood belonging to said George Rolph on the NW part of which said piece or parcel of ground the said George Rolph intends to erect a new summerhouse and to take down the said wall parting the said piece of ground from the said outlet and to erect another at the extremities of the said piece of ground and thereby lay the same open to his outlet‘.

We believe Ann may have been the widow of William Caddy.  There are several baptism records which seem to be children of Ann’s, but only the earliest, that of Mary Caddy baptised on 1st October 1742, gives the name of both parents (William and Ann Caddy).  The others give just the name of Ann as the mother.  The other children were Sarah born about 1746, Robert born about 1747 and John born about 1750, all baptised on 28th December 1750.

We know from a set of indentures in possession of Meg Wise that Ann Caddy was also associated with a property at the top of St Mary Street on the west side, at the back of The Exchange pub.  An indenture of lease and release shows that Ann acquired the property on 24th and 25th March 1769 from Enoch Parsons (or Parslow).  Ann is described as a widow.  Interestingly there is another indenture of 29th and 30th September 1775 between Ann and John Hopkins who is described as Ann’s son.  We can’t explain this relationship and we don’t know what the result of the transaction was.  On 28th and 29th September 1788 this property appears to have been passed from John Hopkins to Robert Caddy, whom we assume is also Ann’s son.

Ann wrote her last will and testament on 7th November 1782 and this was proved on 27th October 1785.  Ann left the property where she was still living to her daughter, Mary for her use during her lifetime and then to her grand-daughter, Ann, (and Mary’s daughter) and in default of this to her grandson, William.  We are slightly worried by Mary’s married name.  The transcription of Ann Caddy’s will clearly says her daughter was Mary Hambleton but other sources (various indentures, land tax records and rent rolls) show that she was married to William Hamblin.  At the time of Ann’s will Mary was living at Wotton Under Edge (and the IGI shows the baptism of their daughter, Ann Hamlin in Wotton Under Edge on 16th March 1772).  Ann also left her grand-daughter, Ann, a silver tablespoon.

Ann left George Rolph ‘the wall and the ground on which it stands situate at the bottom or Westward part of the said garden opposite to which or to some part thereof the said George Rolph hath lately erected a summerhouse. I also give said George Rolph, his heirs or other owners etc of the said summerhouse free liberty of ingress & egress and regress from time to time and at all times hereafter when and as often as all or any part of the said summerhouse or wall or other annexed buildings shall stand in need or want new building or repairation with workmen & materials fit for the purpose to enter into & upon such part and so much of the said garden as shall be necessary in order to amend rebuild or repair all or any part of the same summerhouse etc without paying (to access the garden)‘.

She also left £20 in trust for her daughter Sarah, the wife of Richard Wither of Thornbury yeoman.  They had married in Thornbury on 24th May 1772.  Richard was a widower at the time of the marriage.  From the plan attached to the 1775 indenture referred to above it appears that Richard Wither lived in one of the houses further down the road whose garden adjoined Ann’s garden.  We think that this was the house now known as 30 High Street.   Ann also left Sarah Wither ‘the bed on which I usually lye with the bedstead curtains vallins sheet blanket and quilt thereto belonging, chest of drawers, oak round table and all the chairs in the kitchen’.  Ann left £10 in trust for granddaughter Betty, otherwise Elizabeth Wither, when 21 or at her marriage.  If she dies then the money to her granddaughter, Hester Wither, at age 21 or at marriage or then to grandson, William Wither, at age 21.  Ann also left Betty Wither her ‘bed bedstead curtains bed cloths and all the household furniture which shall be in my chamber called the far room at the time of my decease and also a silver table spoon and a pair of silver shoe buckles and my round mahogany table with my new Tea Kettle and stand’.  

Ann left her son, Robert, £5.  Robert married Ann Allen in Thornbury on 20th December 1775.  Click here to read about Robert and Ann  

William and Mary Hamblin – as described above William inherited the property in the will of Ann Caddy which was proved on 27th October 1785.  An indenture dated 29th September 1792 relating to number 40 High Street shows that William’s property had been ‘lately re-built’.  We assume that the Hamblins were still living in Wotton Under Edge and their Thornbury property was being let out to tenants.  In 1792 John Brown, clock-maker was living there and he is still listed as living there in a 1797 indenture.

William is still shown as the owner of the property in the 1800 Land Tax record, 1809 Rent Roll and 1819 Land Tax record.  Throughout this time the house was occupied by David Baxter.

The Baxters – the 1821 Land Tax shows that David Baxter was the owner and occupier of the property now known as 36 High Street.  David had been renting the property from William Hamblin from about 1800.  An indenture dated 1824 relating to 34 High Street shows that this property is owned and occupied by David Baxter.  David died on 26th September 1827 and his property was inherited by his only child, James Martin Baxter.  The Bristol Mercury dated July 29 1837 contained a notice of the death on “July 13 Mary relict of David Baxter Esq of Thornbury”.

The land tax records from 1822 show J. M. Baxter was the owner and occupier of the property and this continued until 1830.  The Bristol Mercury dated August 29th 1825 has a rather posh meeting in Clifton of the Gloucestershire Society with the Duke of Beaufort.  They had dinner afterwards and the great and the good included J Fewster and J M Baxter.”

In 1831 ‘J. M.’ was still the owner but he was now renting it to L. R. E. Lloyd and later rent roll records indicate that Mrs Lloyd was the tenant.

We don’t know much about either Baxter.  We are slightly confused by J. M. – in most records his name is shown as James Martin Baxter, but a few show John Martin Baxter and the 1841 Census shows a John Baxter was living in Alveston who was an attorney aged 35.  We assume that this is the same person, although it is possible that they were two persons.  We understand that James lived at The Grange in The Street, Alveston.  The 1840 Tithe Survey shows that James Martin Baxter also owned 20 High Street.

In 1813 James was a subscriber to the British and Foreign Bible Society paying one guinea subscription a year and his address was shown as Thornbury.  The 1842 trade directory shows that James was an attorney living at Alveston and he is listed in the 1843 Law List.  He owned other properties in Thornbury including 12/14 St Mary Street, 30 High Street and 11 – 19 Rock Street.  James died at Alveston on 16th September 1847 aged 46.  In his will dated 30th May 1839 he left everything to his cousin, Janet Grant.

Daniel Palser – the 1840 Tithe Survey shows that Daniel was renting the house from John Martin Baxter.  Daniel was a tinplate worker.

Daniel was baptised on 15th February 1789 at Wotton Under Edge.  He was the son of William and Ann Palser.
We know from the tombstone in the United Reformed Church that Daniel’s wife, Harriett died on 27th February 1831 aged 40.  We are not sure of Harriett’s maiden name, but we note that there was a marriage of Daniel Palser and Harriett Plomer at Holy Trinity Minories Church, East London on 22nd July 1821.  We have no way of knowing if this is the same Daniel.

On 3rd June 1828 Daniel bought the property (later known as 52 High Street) from William Bendall and his wife, Hannah.  Following Harriett’s death in 1831, his mother, Ann, was also buried here in 1833.

On 22 December 1834 Daniel got in trouble.  He was one of many Thornbury tradesmen convicted for using inaccurate weights in his shop.  In Daniel’s case, he was described as a ‘tinman’ and had four defective weights which were forfeited and he was fined 5/- and had to pay 8/- costs.

The 1840 Tithe Map shows that 52 High Street was owned by Daniel Palser but occupied by James Williams.  Daniel was at 36 High Street.  In the 1841 Census Daniel was described as a brazier living with Mary aged 40 who we think is Daniel’s sister.

A newspaper report in the Bristol Mercury printed on 12th April 1845 shows that Daniel had retired and was trying to sell his business of tin-pate working and braziers.  In 1851 he is living at Clapton near Ham.  Daniel is described as a widowed independent minister aged 62 living with his sister, Mary aged 45 and now married to James Day, a farmer and another sister, Ann Palser aged 48.  All the Palsers had been born in Wotton Under Edge.

On 19th July 1858 Daniel Palser sold 52 High Street to James Williams for £125.  The 1861 Census shows Daniel visiting a widowed sister-in-law, Jane Palser in her home at old Town, Wotton Under Edge.  Daniel is described as a retired tinman and brazier.  The 1871 Census shows him back in Thornbury lodging with Charles King in the High Street.  Charles was also a tinplate worker and known to be very active in the Congregational Church.  Daniel died on 19th August 1878 aged 89 at the residence of Charles King and was buried in the same grave as his wife.

Francis Gilman – the 1851 Census shows the property occupied by Francis Gilman (or Gillman).

At the time of the 1840 Tithe Survey Francis was living in Plot 63 (later known as 18 High Street) which he was sharing with Amelia Hendy.  The 1841 Census also shows Francis living there.  He was described as a leather seller aged 58 living with his wife, Jane who was 65.  It is possible that Jane’s maiden name was McCraken as a Jane McCraken married a Francis Gillman in Bristol on 21st July 1833.

Shortly after the census he must have moved across the road to another shop (later known as 49 High Street).  We have a copy of the sale notice dated 1st August 1848 showing that Francis was renting these premises for £18 per annum and he was trading there as a leather cutter.

Jane died on 16 December 1848 when she was aged 72.  She was buried at the Congregational Church on 6th January 1849.  The 1851 Census shows Francis had moved again, this time to 36 High Street.  He was described in this census as a widowed leather seller aged 66 from Horsley.

Francis died on 19th March 1855 aged 72.  He was buried in the Congregational Church on 25th March 1872.  Francis had written his last will and testament on 6th February 1855.  He described himself as a currier.  He directed his trustees (his brother John Gillman of Horsley and friend Edward Williams butcher of Thornbury) to sell his property where he had been living and divide the proceeds and other personal estate between his brother, John, and his widowed sister, Ann Axton.  He did make some bequests to various nephews and nieces including the children of his late sisters, Sarah and Mary.

On 8th May 1855 the property was put up for auction.  It was described as ‘All that desirable freehold messuage, late in the residence of Mr Francis Gillman, deceased, situated in the High Street of Thornbury with the productive walled garden behind the same.  The house comprises two excellent front parlours, china pantry, kitchen, back kitchen, four bedrooms and two good attics with a capital underground cellar and other usual domestic offices’.

Alice Ricketts – the 1859 Rate Book shows Mrs Ricketts as the owner and occupier of the property.  The 1861 Census shows us that this was Alice Ricketts, a widowed fund holder aged 68 from Winterbourne.

Alice was the daughter of Thomas Evans, Thornbury baker.  In his last will and testament written in 1832, Thomas had left £20 for his daughter, Alice, the wife of John Ricketts.  In the 1851 census John and Alice were living at Broad Street, Bath.  John was a mattress maker aged 56 and Alice was aged 60.  Both were said to be born in Thornbury.
The 1862 and 1867 Rate Book show that Alice continued to live at the house.  She died in 1867 aged 76.

James Screen – the 1871 Census shows the house occupied by a widower, James Screen, a farmer of 30 acres aged 61 born in Kington.  He was living with his daughter, Emma, aged 37, a visitor Emma Loise aged 14 from Bristol and a general domestic servant, Amy Morgan aged 15 from Alveston.  

The 1876 Rate Book shows that James had become of the owner of 36 High Street.  He had previously been a baker living at 67 High Street.  James died on 26th December 1878 aged 69.  The property at 36 High Street became owned by James’s daughter, Emma Ann.  On 3rd September 1879 Emma Ann married William Evans Shepherd, a widower and an accountant who lived in London, but had been born in Thornbury.  The Shepherds settled to live in London and they let the house to tenants.  Read more about James Screen

Eliza Sarah Williams – the 1880 Rate Book and the 1881 Census show the house was occupied by Eliza S Williams, unmarried aged 48 born in Thornbury.  She was living off the income from interest of money.  She had a companion, Emma Dalton, aged 40 who was born in Berkeley Square, London.

Eliza was baptised on 16th August 1829, the daughter of Edward Williams, a butcher and his wife, Hannah who had a shop in the High Street.

On 17th September 1881 the property was put up for sale at auction.  The description was very similar to that described when it was sold in 1855, except that it now had three attics and it was noted to have a good supply of soft water.  It was occupied by Miss Williams.  We are not sure what happened to Eliza after 1881 but the Western Daily Press of 1st July 1916 reported she died at Westbury on Trym on 29th June 1916 aged 89.

John Weatherhead – it seems that John Weatherhead bought 36 High Street from Emma Shepherd in 1881.  He is listed as the owner in the 1885 Rate Book and it remained in the family’s ownership until at least 1941 when it was shown as part of the estate of Fanny Eleanor Weatherhead.  It doesn’t appear that the family ever lived in the house.

Initially John was a shoemaker but he and his wife Emily went on to start the drapers business in the High Street which was later expanded to incorporate the old Town Hall and Toll House and became an integral part of the Thornbury scene for many years.  The property stayed in the ownership of the Weatherheads until 1941 when it was sold at auction for £715.  During that time the house was let out to tenants.  Read more about John Weatherhead

Thomas Harney – the 1885 Rate Book shows that the house was occupied by Thomas Harney.  The 1891 Census shows Thomas was a Clerk to the Guardians and Superintendent Registrar aged 70 born in Clifton and his wife, Elizabeth aged 69 born in Thornbury and a domestic servant, Minnie E Lambert aged 17 from Thornbury.  Elizabeth died in 1895, but Thomas carried on living there until at least 1905.  He died on 26th March 1907.  Click here to read more

James Hobbs – the 1910 Rate Book shows us that James Hobbs was the occupant.  James was baptised in Thornbury on 6th July 1862.  He was the son of Alfred Hobbs, a labourer and his wife Mary, who lived in Morton.  On 26th June 1884 James married Fanny Blizzard, a domestic servant aged 21 and the daughter of George Blizzard, a labourer.  James was a hairdresser aged 22 living in Chalford in Bilsey at the time of the marriage.  The 1891 Census shows that James had become a police constable and he and Fanny were living in Willesdon in London.  They had a daughter, Frances M who was aged 6 born in Thornbury and two sons: George A aged 4 born in Holloway, London and Herbert J aged 3 born in Kilburn, London.  The details shown on the 1911 Census indicate that they had had five children, although one of these had died.

By the 1911 Census James and Fanny were living back in Thornbury in 36 High Street.  They had a daughter, Ethel Mary aged 15 born in Willesdon, Middlesex living with them.  James was described as a police pensioner and watchmaker.  They were not listed as living in the High Street in the 1914 Prewett’s Street Directory.   James died in 1924 aged 62.  Fanny continued to live in the area – she is not listed in the electoral registers but her death was registered in Thornbury in 1940 aged 77.

Frederick William Davies – the 1925 Valuation List and 1926 Rate Book confirm that the house was occupied by Frederick and owned by the representatives of the late Emily Weatherhead.  Frederick appears to have been living in the house from at least 1916.

Frederick William Davies was born in Horfield, Bristol on 5th May 1880.  He was baptised on 4th July 1880 at Horfield Church, the son of Richard Davies and his wife, Jemima (nee Rosling).  At the time of the 1881 census the family were living at 317 Gloucester Road, Horfield.  Richard was a wheelwright and smith employing 10 men.  In 1891 Frederick was boarding at Colston School, Stapleton, Bristol.  The 1901 census shows the family living at 102 Brynland Avenue, Horfield.  Richard was then working  as a rate and income tax collector and Frederick was a land surveyor’s assistant.

On 22nd July 1907 Frederick William Davies married Lilian Bland in Bishopston, Bristol.  Lilian was born on 18th November 1879.  Lilian was the daughter of William May Bland, a builder from Dublin and  and his wife, Eliza Mary (nee Martin).  In 1901 the Bland family were living at 20 Falmouth Road, Bishopston and Lilian was working as a machine saleswoman.

Frederick and Lilian had a daughter Lilian Mary born in Bishopston,in 1909.  The 1911 census shows them living at 60 Manor Road, Bishopston, Bristol.  Frederick was working as a civil engineer and surveyor’s assistant.  By 1914 they had settled in Thornbury as the birth of their son, Donald William was registered here in 1914.  Frederick is listed as the Sanitary Inspector living in the High Street in the 1916 Prewetts Directory.

The Davies continued to live at ‘Belmont’ as it was called during their occupation.  Frederick died on 27th August 1940 aged 60.  His obituary printed in the Gazette shows he had been Building Surveyor and Sanitary Inspector for Thornbury Rural District Council for 25 years, but he had been forced to retire in 1939 because of a nervous breakdown.  It also mentioned he was an ardent churchgoer and churchwarden and sidesman at St Mary’s Church for many years.  Following his death, the family commissioned Gabriel Pippett, a local sculptor, to make a sculpture of the Madonna and Child which can still be seen over the entrance to St Mary’s Church.

On 24th June 1941 the property was put up for sale at auction by the executors of Fanny Weatherhead.  The house was described as ‘a dwelling house known as ‘Belmont’, High Street containing on ground floor: 2 sitting rooms, kitchen, pantry, wash-house etc with three bedrooms, fitted bathroom with lavatory basin above.  Cellar beneath. Good garden.  The house is in the occupation of Mrs Davies at a rental of £24 per annum, tenant paying rates’.  We don’t know who bought the property.

Lilian carried on living at Belmont until her death in 1965.  She died at 3 Downside Road, Clifton on 28th December 1965 aged 86.  Of their children: Lilian Mary married Albert Warren of 60 High Street in August 1937.  Donald died on 24th August 1942 aged 27.  

In more recent years, the property has been used as a business premises, although we know from the 1970 Electoral Register that for a time Francis J and Joyce Benstead lived in the flat upstairs.

Drs Morris and Watts – the downstairs rooms became the surgery of Drs Richard Morris and Michael Watts.  They had previously been in practice with Dr Henderson and had their surgery at 65 High Street which had been the Queens Head pub.  Drs. Morris and Watts were one of the first practices in Gloucestershire to employ a nurse, thus rendering 36 High Street too small for their requirements.  In 1986 they moved to the St Mary Street surgery which was built on the site of the old Thornbury cinema house.  The property at 36 High Street was sold to Michael Kirby of Kirby Simcox solicitors.

Kirby Simcox – since 1986 the property has been the offices of Kirby Simcox, a firm of solicitors formed in Bristol in the 1960’s and expanded to three offices in Queen Square, Bristol, Kingswood and Thornbury.  In October 2010 the firm merged with Sheppards of Kingswood to form Kirby Sheppard.