We are grateful to Barrie and Ann Marie Dagless for allowing us to see their large collection of deeds relating to 69 High Street Thornbury and the adjoining houses.  The house has a number of interesting features and we have written about these on a separate webpage.  Click here to read more

We have also used an old handwritten note found in Gloucester Records Office.  The note was written in the early 1800’s and appears to be an attempt to create an early abstract of title for what it calls ‘Mr Shield’s house’.  William Shields was the owner of this property at that time and the later references on this note match up to the details shown in the deeds confirming that it refers to the same property.

Note – most of the owners of the house also lived there, but we have a separate webpage detailing what we know of the people who lived in the house as tenants.  Click here to read more

These documents we have seen indicate that in the 1700’s there were two houses on the plot now occupied by just number 69 and that they were part of a bigger plot of land owned by John Hughes.  It is difficult to be precise about what was located on this plot but we have outlined its history on a separate webpage.  Click here to read more.

In the case of 69 High Street it appears that on 19th November 1726 John Hughes acquired the property on which number 69 was later built from Thomas Russell.  The handwritten note describes the property as “lying in the High Street and adjoin to the said street on the Westward to lands late of one Robert Thurston deceased and now of the said John Hughes on the eastward part to a house late of the said Charles Russell wherein one Ann Jones widow lately inhabited on the southward part thereof and to a house of the said John Hughes on the northward part thereof’.  We assume that the house ‘late of Charles Russell’ refers to the house next door which was later incorporated into 69 High Street (see below).  We know that at a meeting of the Quakers in Thornbury in 1695 Charles Russell applied for assistance towards the rebuilding of his house following a fire.  The meeting deferred making a decision until a later, larger, meeting.

We don’t know when John Hughes sold it.  The handwritten note says that it was sold by someone called ‘Moore’ to someone called ‘Smith’ on 15th October 1755.  We know from the the will of John Smith dated 12th June 1779 that he purchased the property from Hannah and Elizabeth Moore.

The Moores – we have very little information to go on with the Moores apart from the names of Hannah and Elizabeth.  We suspect that Hannah was the widow of John Moore who died and was buried in Thornbury on 14th August 1744.  Hannah was baptised on 24th April 1736 when she was aged 33 and already John’s wife.  We don’t know who Elizabeth Moore was.  John and Hannah had at least two children: Ann baptised on 6th September 1730 and John baptised on 15th June 1735, but he didn’t survive and was buried on 20th August 1736.

The Smiths – documents in the deeds of the house show that it was John Smith yeoman of Tytherington who owned the two properties at this time.  We are grateful to Sue Stead for her research on the Smith family from which she is descended.

John was born on 18th October 1715 in Tytherington.  On 10th April 1837 John married Elizabeth Dimery in Tytherington.  Elizabeth was baptised in Cromhall on 4th November 1715.  They lived at Bishops Farm, Tytherington where they had ten children.

In John’s will dated 12th June 1779, he left the two properties in the High Street, Thornbury to his wife, Elizabeth, for her life or widowhood and then to their daughter Ann who was born in Tytherington on 28th April 1754.  In the event, John died on 21st November 1780 and Elizabeth died on 21st January 1781.

Ann had married James Bedggood on 13th April 1775.  Ann died on 29th September 1794 and the property was left to Ann’s husband, James Bedggood.

The 1780 land tax record shows the house was owned by Mrs Smith and occupied by John Taylor.  The Smiths were buried in Tytherington in the churchyard of St James’s Church in table top graves near the path way.

The Bedggoods – James Bedggood was born in Tytherington on 16th April 1745.  He was the son of James Bedggood and his wife, Sarah.  On 13th April 1775 James married Ann Smith, the daughter of John Smith and his wife, Elizabeth (see above).  They had a son, John, born on 4th April 1779 and baptised at Thornbury on 26th May 1779.  The Scribes Alcove website seems to show that they had another son called James Bedggood born on 15th April 1781.  According to a family tree found on the Internet they may have had a third son, Josiah, born on 28th May 1783 in Thornbury.

James Bedggood acquired ownership of the two properties in the High Street as a result of the will of his father-in law, John Smith dated 1779 (see above).

The deeds of the property from as early as 1806 show that James’s son, John Bedggood, built a new house in place of two houses which were said to be ‘ancient and decayed‘.  John was described as a shopkeeper.  It is not possible to deduce from the information available whether the two older buildings were converted into the new house or whether the two buildings were pulled down before the new one erected.  Note: John Bedggood was Mayor of Thornbury in 1698/99.  We have not yet found any records that indicate that either James or John Bedggood ever lived on the property in the High Street either when it was two properties or after the conversion into one.

In 1806 the Bedggoods arranged with Ann Bennett, a widow of Falfield for a mortgage of £50 with the property as security.  In 1807 Ann provided a further £100 as a loan on the mortgage.  In 1810 James and John sold the property to William Shield.  The indenture noted that James Bedggood was now a yeoman living in Wickwar and that John Bedggood moved from being a shopkeeper in Thornbury to becoming a yeoman in Monmouthshire.  James Bedggood died on 20th April 1815.

William Shield – in September 1810 William Shield purchased the property from James and John Bedggood.  He appears to have been living in the property as tenant at the time of the purchase.

We are particularly grateful to Sue Stead, a descendent of the Shield family, for sharing with us her research on the family’s history and allowing us to use her notes on the website.

William was born in Tytherington in 1747, the son of Henry and Ann Shield.  Henry and Ann had a large family of about ten children including George whose grandson, Samuel, founded the famous ‘Shield Laundry’ at Filton and the name of Shield is still seen on street names and buildings around that area.

William went off to London to make his fortune.  He married Susan Moss, a wealthy woman from Norfolk and made enough money to call himself a gentleman.  William and Susan had no children.  Susan died in 1808 at Hampstead was was buried at St George’s Hanover Square.  In her will dated 23rd August 1792 she left several thousand pounds and after various bequests to her brothers and their children, the remainder went to her husband William.  He returned to live in Thornbury and buying the house now known as 69 High Street.

There is a sand stone tablet built into the stone wall which has the following inscription ‘William Shield built this wall 1811’.  Click here to see photo of the tablet.

The land tax records show that William lived in the house from (or before) the time he bought it in 1810 to 1826.

GJ 1814 1st August William Shield good exampleThe Gloucester Journal in 1810 carried a brief notice to show that William was not only a public benefactor (having given 76 loaves to the poor and “much money”) but that he also had a genius for creating publicity to raise funds for charity.  According to the article (seen here on the right) in 1810 he put a pound note near the door of the church in Thornbury and on the back of the note inscribed a rhyme asking that “10,000” other notes (as “friends” of his pound note) would also be welcomed to help the Gloucester Infirmary.  This would have been the equivalent of leaving £33 pounds in today’s money (2012) in the porch of St Mary’s church and hoping that it would inspire other people to donate money too.  We have not found any reports of what happened to his pound note.

William made his last will in 1826 shortly before his death.  He left £600 to his wife’s relatives in Norfolk but the bulk of his estate including his home he left to Nathaniel Shield alias Shill.  Note the names of Shill and Shield were interchangeable in the older documents and many of the family were referred to as ‘Shill’.  We don’t know why William chose to leave it all to Nathaniel, who was only a second cousin, in preference to other closer relatives.

William also left land called Moorleaze in Tytherington “now in the occupation of my Cousin James Shield as tenant” to his nephew James Shield of Almondsbury.  He also mentioned his nephew William Shield “Son of my late brother Luke Shield of Sodbury” and his cousin “William Shill of Paddington Green in the County of Middlesex gentleman.”

One of the most interesting items in William’s will was the fact that he ordered “thirty Shillings of lawful money Current in Great Britain for ever to the Clerk of the Parish Church of Tytherington aforesaid forever to keep my Tomb in the said ChurchYard in good order and repair”….. “nor shall the Clerk or any other person Suffer any body or person but myself to be put or buried in my said Grave or Tomb And the said Clerk for the time being shall at the end of every three Years paint or cause to be painted my said Tomb with white Lead and Oil and the letters on my said Tomb to be kept in a good State and preservation and then the Clerk afterwards to make the demand upon the Landlord or tenant for the thirty shillings and when the expenses of painting are paid the remainder of the thirty shillings I give to the Clerk as his property for his care and attention to my said Tomb.”  The parish clerk at the time was his second cousin Samuel Shield.

Nathaniel Shield – in William’s Shield’s will dated 1826 he left his home in the High Street to Nathaniel Shield (alias Shill).

Nathaniel was born in Tytherington about 1782 and baptised there on 6th June 1784.  We are advised by Sue Stead that Nathaniel was the second son of James Shield, the parish clerk of Tytherington for 46 years and his wife, Sarah Luce. James and Sarah had eleven children.  In 1817 Nathaniel married Sarah May from Elberton in St James Church in Bristol.  They had one son, William, born in 1818 when the family’s address was at ‘The Heath’.

Nathaniel’s name appears twice in court records.  On 17th September 1829 Nathaniel Shill was convicted of ‘Shooting a hare at Kington Tything, Almondsbury, when not qualified’.  Nathaniel pleaded his innocence, but he was found guilty and fined £5.  On 6th December 1834 Nathaniel Shield, a yeoman of Thornbury was charged with ‘Trespassing in search and pursuit of game at Littleton upon Severn.  He was fined £1, to be paid to Benjamin Collins, overseer of the poor of Littleton, and 10/- costs to the complainant, or one calendar month in Lawford’s Gate House of Correction.

In 1841 Nathaniel and Sarah were living at Kington and ‘Nath’ was described as a farmer.  Nathaniel’s property in the High Street was let out to tenants.  At the time of the 1840 Tithe Survey the tenant was Elizabeth Weeks.  In the 1841 Census the house was unoccupied.

By the 1851 Census Nathaniel and Sarah had given up their farm and moved into the High Street house.  The census describes Nathaniel Shield as a landed proprietor aged 68 and Sarah aged 58 from Elberton.  They were living with a niece, Sarah Drew a dressmaker aged 19 and a visitor, Emma Walker aged 29 from Thornbury.

The 1861 and 1871 Censuses show Nathanial and Sarah still living there.  Nathaniel was a retired farmer.  He died on 19th February 1873 aged 90.  The 1881 Census shows the house was occupied by Sarah Shield, a retired farmer’s widow aged 88 and a lodger, Harriett Harvey, an unmarried milliner and dressmaker aged 65 from Banwell.  Sarah died in June quarter 1883 aged 90.

On 18th October 1883 William Parker Barrett sold the property to Ann Edwards for £235.  William was living in Liverpool at the time and had been living there as early as 1858 when he married for the first time.  He was a

customs officer.  We are not sure how the property had came to be sold by William.  He might have been the executor of the Shield estate, although we have not found anything to confirm this.  William was born about 1832 in Chipping Sodbury.   He married his first wife in West Derby (Liverpool) in 1858.  She was Ellen Jane Taslem Willins according to FreeBMD website.  The census records from 1861 show he was living in Liverpool onwards.  
He married his second wife, Emma Holland Williams in 1869.  He died on 28th February 1895 aged 63.  At the time of his death he was living at Cambridge Road, Great Crosby.

Ann Edwards – bought the property from William Parker Barrett for £235 on 18th October 1883.  The house was occupied by Miss Harriett Harvey at the time of the sale.

Ann was baptised on 27th March 1842, the daughter of Henry Prewett, a cordwainer and his wife, Harriett.  In the 1851 Census the family lived in St John Street.  In 1861 Ann was living with her sister, Elizabeth a staymaker aged 22 in the High Street.  Ann was a dressmaker aged 19.

By 1871 Ann had married George Edwards.  We haven’t been able to trace the marriage.  George was an officer in the Mercantile Marine and was away from home at most of the censuses.  In the 1871 Census Ann was living with her married sister, Elizabeth Hawkins in Pullins Green.  Ann was still working as a dressmaker.

By the time of the 1881 Census George and Ann had three children: Austin George born June 1875, Maud Mary born in December 1876 (by which time George was a ship’s officer) and Amy Florence born in 1880.  The children were living with Ann in 75 High Street.  George is not at home at the time of the census, but Ann had a visitor, Fanny M Chambers aged 9 born in Alveston.

By 1883 they had bought 69 High Street.  Ann’s name is shown on the purchase documents and mortgage documents, but although George’s name is shown as the owner and occupant in the Rate Books of 1885, 1887 and 1890 he appears to have been away at sea at the times of the census.  The 1891 Census shows Ann living in the house with Maud a school monitor aged 14 and Amy a scholar aged 10.  Ann is shown as having no occupation.  A provision merchant, Henry M Councell aged 23 was boarding with Ann.  Ann’s son, Austin has moved away and has become a railway clerk living in Charles near Plymouth.

On 14th October 1884 Ann had arranged a mortgage for £200 with George Boyt, a retired butcher from Tytherington.  By 1897, Ann had paid the interest on the loan, but the capital sum of £200 was still outstanding.  On 2nd March 1897 Ann sold the property to Francis Gayner for £325 which allowed her to repay the £200 owing.

We understand that Ann and George may have lived lived apart after George retired from the merchant navy.  The 1901 Census shows Ann was living with her cousin, Fanny E. Wise in her house at 6 Grove Road, Redland in Bristol.  Also living there were Ann’s daughters, Maud and Amy, and her unmarried sister, Florence Prewett, a clerk aged 46.  The census shows that Ann, Maud and Amy had no occupation.  Austin was now married and living with his wife, Minnie at 6 Beckhampton Road, Kingston on Thames and Austin was working as a telegraph clerk.  Minnie’s maiden name was Minnie Edwards Prewett and she appears to have been Austin’s first cousin.

George died in 1923.  Ann died about 1926 when she was living with her daughter, Maud, in Croyden.

Francis Gayner – on 2nd March 1897 the property was purchased by Francis Gayner for £325.  Francis never lived in the house and he let the house out to tenants.  He was a draper trading at City House, High Street.  

  Click here to read more

Marjorie Ann Smith – on 12th July 1919, Marjorie bought the property from Francis Gayner for £300.  Marjorie was the daughter of Francis Gayner and his second wife, Lucy (nee Harriss).  She was born on 13th December 1887. Click here to read more

Arthur Allen

Arthur Allen

The Allens – on 4th February 1930 Arthur Allen, a tailor, purchased the property from Marjorie Ann Smith for £540.  At the time of the purchase the property was unoccupied.

Arthur Allen was born on 21st August 1880, the son of John Allen, a bootmaker and his wife, Elizabeth.  He was baptised at the Independent Chapel on 20th October 1880 at the same time as his twin sister, Amy.  The Allens lived at 5 Castle Street at the time of Arthur’s birth, but then moved next door to 3 Castle Street.  By 1901 they moved across the road to 14 The Plain.

Records in Gloucester Records Office show that Arthur worked as a tailor for G. B. Symes, the drapers and outfitters during the First World War.  At the time he applied for exemption from war service in February 1916, Arthur was a foreman tailor and been employed there for 20 years.  Arthur was shown as living in ‘Castle Street’ at that time.  We suspect that he was living in the same house at 14 The Plain, often considered to be part of Castle Street.  Although he was granted a conditional exemption from service we know that he became a Private in the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Gloucester Regiment until he was discharged in 1919.  Arthur continued his employment as a tailor for G. B. Symes where he specialised in bespoke hunting coats – the Berkeley yellow- as well as being personal tailor to Major Howard, then resident at Thornbury Castle.

Mabel and Arthur AllenArthur Allen married Mabel Beatrice Long in Thornbury in September quarter 1916.  Mabel was born on 5th June 1886,the daughter of William Henry Long and his wife Louisa Ann.  In 1891 they had been living in Park View, St Pauls, Bristol.  William had been working as an accountant and commercial agent.  Louisa had brought Mabel to Thornbury about 1908 after separating from her husband and Mabel’s father.

We understand from Steve Allen, Arthur and Mabel’s grandson, that Arthur and Mabel first moved in to live with Mabel’s mother in 75 High Street.  We have a thumbnail image of a photograph of the couple later in life.  Please click on it for a larger image.  Arthur and Mabel had two children: Irene Louisa born on 19th April 1917 and Clifford John born on 6th July 1919.

Arthur was also closely associated with the Independent Chapel (now the United Reformed Church).  He became a member of the church in 1907 and was appointed deacon in 1935 and later became a life deacon.  He was a Sunday School teacher there and in 1963 received a certificate from the Church honouring his 56 years of service.  The photograph of Arthur shown on the left above still hangs in the Church.  Arthur was also a prominent member of the Thornbury Society of Gleemen.

The records of the Council Infants School show that the family lived in the High Street in 1920 and 1922 when Irene and Clifford started there.  Mabel was a teacher at the same school her children attended.  Arthur and Mabel are missing from the 1926 Rate Book, presumably because they were still living with Mabel’s mother at 75 High Street.  The Council Upper School records show that when Clifford was admitted to the school in 1926 the family lived in the High Street.  Clifford left the Council School in 1930 to go to the Grammar School.  The records of the Grammar School show that Clifford was in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC).

Clifford Allen and Joan Sillence wedding 1940Clifford Allen married Margaret Joan Sillence in the Bournemouth area in July 1940.  We have a thumbnail of Clifford and his wife at the time of their marriage here on the left.  Irene Allen is acting as bridesmaid on the right of the group.  Please click on it for a larger image.  Margaret Sillence also had Thornbury connections as she was the daughter of Herbert Sillence and his wife Charlotte nee Symes.  This means that she was the grand-daughter of Bernard and Laura Symes

We are very grateful to Steve Allen who provided some of the photographs shown here.  He told us that he asked his aunt Irene Allen why his grandfather had chosen to buy 69 High Street when the houses on the opposite side of the road had such fabulous views over the Severn.  She told him that it was because of the side entry, which he said meant that the coal delivery, the dustbins and his bicycle could all use this very convenient access and not spoil his hallway!

The minutes of the Parish Council in 1937 show that Arthur proposed that an extra lamp be placed in St John Street where the gas lamp had originally stood.  This suggests that he was a Parish Councillor at the time.

The special register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war shows that Arthur and Mabel living here with Mabel’s mother, Louisa Long (who was noted to be incapacitated) and Beatrice A. Bibby, an unmarried chemist’s shop assistant born on 11th December 1907.  The register also notes that Arthur Allen was an ARP Warden during the war.

Arthur died at Thornbury Hospital on 27th March 1965.  Mabel carried on living in 69 High Street.  She died on 5th September 1979 whilst visiting her son and his family in Herne Bay, Kent.  She was buried there but her name is recorded on the family’s tomb stone in Thornbury Cemetery.

Irene Allen

Irene Allen

Irene – on 20th April 1953 Irene was appointed a teacher at the Council School.  She had gone to the school herself in 1922 when her mother was a teacher there.  The records of Thornbury Grammar School show that Irene Allen was a prefect at Thornbury Grammar.  She gained her Higher School Certificate in 1934-35 and was a graduate of Whitelands College London in 1938-39.

‘Miss Allen’ as she was known, both in the school and in the Town, was an experienced teacher having taught the children of service personnel in Germany and Egypt.  At the end of 1961 Irene was appointed Deputy Head of the Council School.  She was noted for wearing twin sets with pearls and checked skirts and brown brogues and she served at the school until June 1977.  For a further 20 years she continued her contact with young people by giving private piano lessons in her home.  In Tony Cherry’s book ‘The History of a School’ he recalls Irene was ‘A gentle soul of a bygone era who is remembered with great affection by former pupils’.

Irene continued to live at 69 High Street until her death on 3rd September 2004.  Steve Allen said that when she died they had to have 5.5 tons of old magazines removed from this side passage!  Irene had subscribed to The Lady, Tatler and the Illustrated London News – and she never threw one copy away!  Irene was buried in the same grave as her father in Thornbury Cemetery.  Her brother, Clifford, is included on the memorial inscription on grave although he died in 2002 whilst walking in the mountains in Switzerland and his body was brought back to his home in Torquay and cremated there.  A tree has been planted at the top of the Mundy Playing Fields with a small plaque as a memorial to Irene.

The house was bought by Barrie and Ann Marie Dagless in May 2006.

Read about the other OCCUPANTS of the house
Read about the SPECIAL FEATURES of the house