We are fortunate to have been given access to a summary of the deeds made by Meg Wise of Thornbury Museum which give us the early history of 50 and 52 High Street in Thornbury. We have supplemented the information shown in Meg’s notes with details from census records, rate books and electoral registers etc.
The earliest document is dated 20th July 1689 and is a conveyance of a messuage from Elizabeth Penduck, widow of Thornbury to William Grove, cordwainer of Thornbury. Elizabeth appears to have arranged a lease from William Grove, retaining the right to live there for 60 years or until she died. The document describes the house as being one ‘where John Davis formerly dwelt and Elizabeth Penduck now inhabiteth’, so we know that a house was on the property before 1689.
John Grove – the last will of Guy Hewett written 28th February 1761 (whom we think lived in the house next door to the south) indicates that John Grove was living in this property. We can’t confirm this, but it is interesting to note that the property was later owned and occupied by John’s daughter, Hester, who married William Powell and then later married William Gibbs whom we know owned the property. Click here to read about John Grove
William and Hester Powell – Hester was baptised on 5th October 1729, the daughter of John Grove, butcher of Thornbury. On 11th April 1763 Hester married William Powell. William died aged 39 years whilst living in the house and he was buried on 21st April 1774. The 1775 to 1784 Land Tax records shows Hester was the owner and occupier of the property on the west side of the High Street where 50 and 52 High Street now stands.
William Gibbs – 20th October 1784 Hester Powell married William Gibbs of Thornbury. Hester was the widow of William Powell late of Thornbury yeoman and one of the daughters of John Grove late of Thornbury butcher deceased. We know from the description of the property that William Powell had lived in the house and that Hester had carried on living there after William’s death.
We understand that the document in the deeds show there were various disputes between William Gibbs and Hester and that by 1794 they lived apart. William was a baker in Horton. Hester died aged 67 years and was buried on 16th April 1797. On 25th/26th February 1794 Hester had given her property to her niece, Fanny Penduck and her husband, Samuel Penduck.
On 8th March 1802 Samuel Penduck arranged a mortgage on the property, borrowing £100 from Mrs Martha Hayward, spinster, of Thornbury. We assume that he required funds to re-develop the property as between 1802 and 1805 the property was rebuilt and made into two separate dwellings. These two houses later became known as 50 and 52 High Street.
Samuel and Fanny Penduck – acquired the property from Fanny’s aunt, Hester Gibbs, on 25th/26th February 1794. The indenture describes the property as messuage formerly occupied by Elizabeth Penduck, and William Powell to the time of his decease, his widow Hester now Hester Gibbs, and where Sam Penduck carpenter now dwells.
Fanny was baptised in 1767, the 5th child of Thomas Child butcher of Thornbury and his wife Ann (nee Grove and sister of the above mentioned Hester Grove). On 19th March 1788 Fanny Child married Samuel Penduck. Samuel was baptised 22nd April 1764, the son of Thomas Penduck and his wife Eleanor (nee Bennet). They had a large family of at least 10 children, although several died in infancy: Thomas Child was born on 14th May 1789, baptised on 2nd June 1789 and was buried on 18th June 1789. Esther was born on 16th May 1790, baptised on 27th June 1790 and buried on 28th October 1790. Samuel was born on 18th June 1795, baptised on 9th August 1795 and was buried on 15th June 1796. Another Samuel was born on 8th June 1797, baptised on 13th August 1797 and buried on 3rd February 1798. Third time lucky, another Samuel was born on 10th January 1799 and baptised on 8th March 1799 – we have no further knowledge about this Samuel.
Frances born on 5th October 1800 and baptised on 5th November 1800. Frances went on to marry Charles Gayner and she become a well known figure in Thornbury society by running The Swan Hotel for a long time. Click here to read more. A second Thomas Child Penduck was born on 24th March 1804 and baptised on 18th April 1804. Flora was the 10th child, born on 15th September 1807 and baptised on 14th October 1807. In 1827 she married John Grove in Thornbury.
We know from the 1800 land tax record that Samuel was the owner and occupier of 50 High Street. On 8th March 1802 Samuel arranged a mortgage on the property, borrowing £100 from Mrs Martha Hayward, spinster, of Thornbury. We assume that he required funds to re-develop the property as between 1802 and 1805 the property was rebuilt and made into two separate dwellings. These two houses later became known as 50 and 52 High Street.
Samuel defaulted on his repayments to Martha Hayward and on 15th/16th January 1805 Samuel sold the property to Hester Hollester for £400, of which £100 was paid to Martha Hayward to repay the mortgage. We don’t know where Samuel and Fanny lived after leaving 50 High Street. The account books for Attwells Free School (later 11 St Mary Street) shows that Samuel Penduck did considerable work at the school in 1811, and for one day’s work for “self and man” he charged 7s 0d, for a door frame the cost was 13s 0d, eighteen feet of one inch elmboard 4s 6d, one and half hundred pantiles 12s Od, and a hundred sprigs and nails eight pence.
An indenture dated 13th July 1820 shows Samuel Penduck had bought the property at 4 High Street and he had recently ‘taken down and re-built’ the property. He had also lived there for a time, although he had run into a financial problem, was unable to repay a mortgage he had taken out with Jonathan Sainsbury of Tytherington and he lost the property to Jonathan.
On 26th May 1825 Samuel purchased a house on the other side of High Street now known as 51 High Street with the help of as a mortgage from Mrs Mary Luce. Samuel didn’t keep it long. On 18th January 1827 he sold it to Thomas Evans. The account book of the Feoffees shows Samuel was living in 50 Castle Street, one of their properties, in 1828 and 1829. Fanny died aged 53 and was buried on 30th September 1821. Samuel died aged 65 and was buried on 19th March 1830. Their home in 50 Castle Street appears to have been taken over by their daughter, Flora and her husband, John Grove who had married on 11th October 1827.
Hester Hollester – on 15th/16th January 1805 Miss Hester Hollister bought the property for £400. It was described as ‘messuage lately rebuilt by Sam Penduck and now in two apartments or dwellings in several occupations of James Gundry and Hester Pritchard as tenants to Samuel Penduck’. James Gundry was living in what is now 50 High Street and Hester Pritchard was living in what is now 52 High Street.
The land tax records between 1809 and 1814 shows Hester was living in the property. In the records from 1819 to 1822 Elizabeth Ward is listed as a tenant of Hester and she continued living there until 1830 when she was replaced by Mr Wansborough.
On 20th June 1821 the property was sold to James Longman for £350. Hester’s address at that time was 2 Wellington Place, Stokes Croft, Bristol. It was described as ‘lately rebuilt by Penduck now two dwellings, now of …(blank).. Ward and William Bendall as tenants to Hester Hollister’. We assume that Elizabeth Ward lived at 50 High Street and William Bendall at 52.
James Longman – James bought the two houses from Hester Hollister on 21st June 1820. James was described as being a ‘gentleman of Thornbury’ at the time of his purchase.
It appears that James may have been born in the Thornbury area as there are suggestions that he had at least one, possibly two brothers living in the town. The purchase agreement in 1820 included Joseph and William Longman as other interested parties. The will of Joseph Longman of Thornbury (dated 1818) refers to James as being ‘his youngest brother’.
A notice was inserted into a newspaper published on 30th September 1801 by James warning the public not to trust his wife, Ann as he was resolved not to pay any of Ann’s debts. The notice explained that Ann, ‘at various times, had co-inhabited with other men, particularly with one of James’s relations whom she knew to be a married man, and also with a Frenchman with whom she had lived for four years’. He had been forced to separate himself from her whilst allowing her ‘maintenance adequate to his abilities and situation’.
After James’s separation from Ann, he appears to have had a relationship with Susannah Partridge who was a single lady. Her father owned the farmhouse called the Barton at Nymet Rowland near Bow in Devon. James and Susannah had a son, Edwin, born about 1806 possibly in Buddleigh Salterton in Devon. Susannah made a will dated 25th July 1815 leaving her estate in the trust of James Longman for her son Edwin for whom no other provision had been made. At the time of the will James was described as a tuner of musical instruments in St Thomas’s, Exeter. Susannah died in July 1819 and was buried at Nymet Rowland as ‘Susanna Longman’. We know from later records (Joseph Longman’s will dated 1818 and James’s own will dated 1827) that James and Susannah also had a daughter named Susannah Partridge born about 1811.
It appears that James’s property in Thornbury was used by William Longman until James’s death on 5th June 1827. William was living in Thornbury. On 7th October 1824 William was charged with stealing ten pounds from Sampson Selman of Alveston. He was sentenced to one year in prison. He was released on 20th October and by 23rd November 1825 he married Maria Riddiford in Thornbury. They were living in Crossways when their son, William was baptised in 1827.
In 1822 James was left the use of a property in Castle Street (see 22 Castle Street) for his lifetime in the will of his brother Joseph Longman. Joseph directed that the property was left to Susanna Partridge after James’s death.
According to a burial record on the Ancestry website James was buried in the Friends Burial Ground in Redcliffe in Bristol on 10th June 1827. It describes James as an instrument maker aged 68 and he died at West Street in the Philip and St Jacob parish. There is a note in the record that James was ‘not a member’ which means he was not a Quaker.
James’s will dated 24th May 1827 was proved in London on 15th June 1827. He was described as being a musician formerly of Exeter but then living in St Phillip and St Jacob in Bristol. He left ‘all that messuage etc situate at Thornbury now in occupation of Miss Ward to hold to trustees as my natural daughter Susannah Partridge alias Longman now residing at Bow near Exeter after she shall attain the age of 21 years for her natural life and after her decease to the use of my other children, Edwin Longman of Chumleigh near Exeter apprentice to Mr Densham harness maker, Hannah Bendall wife of William Bendall of Thornbury and Frederick John Longman alias Moore now living with me – as tenants in common’. We believe this property to be 50 High Street. Susannah Partridge later married Peter Bird. Click here to read about Susanna and Peter Bird
In addition to several financial bequests he also left ‘a messuage with court at Thornbury now in occupation of Mrs Virgo to the uses of Edwin Longman or as he directs for his natural life then to the other children, Susannah Partridge alias Longman, Hannah Bendall and Frederick John Longman alias Moore’. We believe that this messuage was the property which later became known as 52 High Street. He left £1000 to maintain Fred John Longman alias Moore and arranged for him to reside with and under the care of Ann Morgan (who was a servant living with James Longman) until 8 years if she shall continue unmarried and further 2 years if trustees think proper and funds that he needs for apprenticeship’.
We are grateful to Peter Selley for drawing our attention to the fact that Edwin Partridge Longman was convicted at Exeter for stealing three horses. The trial was held at Exeter when Edwin was sentenced to transportation to Tasmania for a period of 7 years for each conviction (i.e. 21 years). At the time of the trial he was a saddler aged 43. The convict record shows Edwin was a protestant who was 63 inches tall. He sailed on 5th July 1850 from Portland on the SS Nile ll leaving behind a wife and six children. We don’t know anything about his time in Australia, but he eventually returned to live in Bow in Devon. He died in Taunton on 28th April 1875. The probate record describes him as a widowed hawker. Edwin’s executor was his son, James Partridge Longman painter and glazier of Chumleigh. Click here to read more about Edwin on Peter’s own website