We are showing on this page two photos of the property now known as 7 High Street, Thornbury. The photo above was taken in 2013 and the shop is occupied by a dry cleaners and launderers business, ‘Hard Pressed for Time’,
The second photo shown below on the right was taken in the early 1900s when it was The Beehive, a glass and earthenware shop run by John Hodges Williams. In that photo 7 High Street was the smaller shop on the left of the photo. The shop frontage was re-developed by John Hodges William’s son, Henry William Williams in 1938.
We haven’t seen the deeds of this property, but we are fortunate that we have been able to to identify it as one of the properties associated with the Hylpe (or Hilpe) Charitable bequest. John Hylpe owned a number of properties in the Town and arranged for subsequent owners of these properties to pay an annual sum of money to Mayor of Thornbury to be used for the benefit of the poor. Click here to read about Hylpe
In the case of this property the subsequent owners were required to pay 16s 0d per annum. An indenture dated 1st June 1604 involving John Hylpe (or Hilpe) refers to the requirement to pay “out of my house in the High Street now in the occupation of John Richards (16s).”
Edward Thurston – the Mayor’s Accounts show Edward Thurston, a baker was paying the rent charge from 1621 to 1661.
There is a large summary of Thurston information available on the Internet. From this we have found that in 1629 Edward Thurston baker of Thornbury was aged 33 when he appeared in the Court of Chancery. We don’t know the details of the case being held but assume it was a battle over property or inheritance rights. The notes contain several references to Edward Thurstons in Thornbury during this period, and it appears that there were at least two Edwards including one the baker and the other, a gentleman and yeoman who had married Judith Gwatkins, the daughter of William Gwatkins who lived at the Thornbury Parsonage.
It is noted in the last will of William Thurnor of Kington dated 1638 that Edward Thurston baker owed him money at the time the will was written. In 1642 Edward the baker was one of the overseers of the will of John Jones of Sibland.
Edward the baker was buried at Frenchay on 20th April 1662 which implies Edward was Quaker. In his will dated 1st October 1661 Edward left £30 to his son, Edward who was then living in New England, and to son Daniel he let a close called Beales? in Kington which Edward had recently had demised to him by Hugh Parnell. A sum of £10 was to be divided between Edward’s grandchildren, Sarah, Mary and Elizabeth. Edward’s son, Thomas, was left the property in the Borough in which Edward was living (which we assume to be 7 High Street), together with Edward’s tools of the trade as a baker and other household items. His grand-daughter, Sarah, was left a silver bowl and kinswoman, Elizabeth Dyer was left ten shillings.
So, the property at 7 High Street passed to Edward’s son, Thomas, who was also a baker.
Thomas Thurston – Thomas was the son of the previous owner, Edward Thurston (see above) and inherited the property following Edward’s death in 1662.
Thomas was a Quaker like his father. On 18th October 1667 Thomas married Sarah Hathy at Olveston, part of the Frenchay circuit. According to the IGI, they had at least five children: Sarah born 7th August 1668, Elizabeth born 20th May 1670, Mary born 29th April 1672, Rebekah born 1st March 1673 and Thomas born 10th December 1676.
Thomas is listed in the Mayor’s Accounts as being the occupant of 7 High Street from 1662 to 1678 when he appeared to have died. The 1670 Hearth Tax listing shows Thomas had two hearths and one oven, possibly indicating that he was a baker like his father. Thomas died in 1678. His will was dated 20th March 1678 confirms that he was a baker. He left his children ten shillings each. He left the rest of his estate to his wife, Sarah. The will was witnessed by John and Robert Thurston.
The Overseers Accounts 1668 to 1674 show Thomas and Daniel Thurston as the owners liable for 3d per month, then in 1675 onwards the property appears to have been divided between two properties with Thomas liable for 1 3/4d and Daniel liable for 1 1/4d.
Sarah Thurston – Sarah is listed in the Mayors Accounts as the owner of 7 High Street from 1679 to 1697. Sarah was the widow of Thomas Thurston (see above). We suspect, but cannot say for certain, that Sarah was the ‘very antient’ Friend who was buried at the Quaker Burial Ground in Thornbury on 3rd April 1722/23.
James Motley – James is listed as the owner in the Mayor’s Accounts from 1698 to 1703. We don’t know any more about him.
Samuel White – Samuel is listed as the owner in the Mayor’s Accounts from 1704 to 1720 which show him as being regularly ‘in arrears’. Samuel appears to have lived elsewhere and had tenants in this property, including ‘Widow Cox’ who according to the Overseers accounts in 1708 to 1710 was paying three pence and a farthing in poor rate each month.
An indenture dated 4th October 1717 describes Samuel as being a victualler of Morton. The indenture shows that Samuel and his wife Ann had borrowed £90 from Edward Hill of Long Ashton using their property at 11 St Mary Street and the one at 7 High Street as security. Samuel and Ann agreed to sell these two properties to Edward Hill for a further £14. The property at 7 High Street was described as ‘and also all messuage or tenement with the appurts in the Burrough of Thornbury wherein one James Motley lately dwelt and wherein one Dorian? White since inhabited adjoining to the High Street of the said Burrough on the West part thereof and to the lands of Jonathan Barton on the South part thereof and to the lands of John Cooksey on the north part thereof’.
Edward Hill – Edward appears to have taken over the ownership of the property as a result of an indenture dated 4th October 1717. As described above, Edward had previously been lending money to the previous owner, Samuel White. The Overseers accounts appear to indicate that the property was divided in some way during this period with Samuel White still having an interest. In 1711 Edward Hill is paying the full three pence farthing in poor rate; but in 1712 Edward is paying one penny three farthings and Samuel White is paying one penny halfpenny. In 1714 John Curtoys is paying Edward’s part of the payment and Samuel still paying his one penny halfpenny. Then in 1717 Samuel White is again paying the full poor rate.
Edward Hill is listed as the owner in the Mayor’s Accounts from 1719 to 1732.
Edward also acquired the property at 11 St Mary Street from Samuel White at the same time and in the same manner. He also owned a property at 4 St John Street which he sold to Charles Cossham in 1723.
We understand from postings on the Internet that Edward’s daughter, Margaret, was the mother of the famous Bristol poet, Robert Southey who was Poet Laureate from 1813 to 1832.
William West – the Mayor’s accounts show that William West was the owner of the property from 1733 to 1744 paying 3 1/2d each month. We know that there was a William and Hannah West living in Thornbury around this time as they had several children baptised in St Marys Church. We don’t know any more about William or Hannah.
William had also acquired the property at 11 St Mary Street.
John Rudge – the account books show that John Rudge owned the property from 1747 to 1775. The 1748 Overseers Accounts show John as the owner of two properties in this part of town. One of these is listed as ‘for Cookseys 1 1/2d’ which we believe to be the property next door at 5 High Street. The other is listed as ‘for part of Hills 1d). We are not sure of the implication of the reference to ‘part of Hills’ but it seems to be another case of the property being sub-divided.
An indenture dated 1750 relating to the adjoining properties (thought to be 9 & 11 High Street) confirms that John Rudge owned this property on the north. There is a 1753 listing which seems to indicate that John was letting the property to several tenants Thomas Swanley, Mary Cossham and Dorothy Raymond.
We believe that John owned the two adjoining properties (5 and 7 High Street), but that at some time around 1775 he sold 7 High Street to Ann Baker. John died on 25th February 1777 and in his last will he refers ‘all that messuage or tenement wherein the said John Rudge before his death inhabited and then occupied by widow, Mary (the greatest part whereof was rebuilt by John Rudge during his lifetime) adjoining the High Street otherwise Fore Street having a messuage of Ann Baker widow on the south part and a messuage or tenement in the occupation of Thomas Clark tallow chandler on the north part and the said street on the western part thereof‘.
We believe John had been living at 5 High Street and that it was 7 High Street which he sold to Ann Baker. Although we haven’t seen the will of Ann Baker widow proved in 1778 notes on the Internet mention it refers to land purchased from Mr John Rudge. They also mention that Thomas Liddiatt, the next owner of the property was Ann Baker’s nephew.
John Rudge was Mayor of Thornbury in 1750/51. John died and was buried on 27th February 1777. His last will shows that he owned several other properties at the time of his death. Click here to read more
Ann Baker – the Mayor’s accounts show that ‘Mrs Baker’ was owner of the property in 1776 and then in 1777 it lists ‘Mrs Baker’s heirs’ as the owner. We believe that these refer to Ann Baker whose will was proved on 3rd January 1778. The last will and testament of Ann Baker dated 18th April 1775 says that she bought the property from John Rudge and that it was to be left to her nephew, Thomas Liddiatt. It was Thomas who was listed in the accounts as the next owner of the property.
We are puzzled by a reference in the will of George Rolph 1792 which says it was ‘Mary’ Baker who had owned the property previously and we assume that this is a simple mistake.
Thomas Liddiatt – the accounts book shows Thomas as the owner of the property from 1778 to 1783. We have the land tax records of 1780 to 1783 which confirm him as owner of the property. The sum being paid for land tax was 2s 0d. The records add that Thomas was occupying the property himself in 1780 and 1781, but in 1782 he was letting it to William Taylor and in 1783 Samuel Gibbs was his tenant. It appears that Samuel Gibbs may have lived at Milbury Heath with his wife, Lucy. He was buried at Thornbury on 28th May 1793 aged 43.
We don’t know any more about Thomas Liddiatt, apart from him being the nephew of Ann Baker who had owned the property previously. By 1784 Thomas had sold the property to George Rolph, senior.
George Rolph – the Mayor’s Accounts show George owned the property from 1784 to 1792. The 1784 Land Tax record shows George had acquired this property valued at 2 shillings land tax. It was described as being ‘Liddiatts’.
It is fascinating to see the entries in the Mayors Accounts during George’s ownership refer to ‘George Rolph for the Oven’. This description is repeated in entries relating to a later owner (Joseph Longman from 1800 to 1814). We can’t be certain, but suspect that this may relate to the property being used as a bakehouse. Three of the earliest owners from 1621 to 1697 were described as being bakers and we know that from 1819 to the 1890’s there was a baker and confectioners business there. It is fascinating to think that the building may have been used as a bakery for almost 300 years!
George’s will dated 30th July 1792 confirms that George had bought the property from Thomas Liddiatt. George was an attorney who lived in Thornbury. He had acquired a lot of property in the town. He died on 30th August 1792 aged 65. Click here to read more about George
He left to his two daughters, Susannah and Hester by Susannah his former wife ‘all that messuage or tenement with the backside or outlet thereto belonging wherein Mary Baker sometime since inhabited and Thomas Liddiatt and others since dwelt and John Edmunds doth now inhabit by me purchased of the said Thomas Liddiatt and adjoins to the northward part of the messuage or tenement above mentioned to be inhabited by my said daughters to hold to my said two daughters and their heirs as tenants in common‘.
We are intrigued and frustrated by one source document. George Rolph was Mayor of Thornbury in 1790 and was thus responsible for documenting the receipts in the Mayors Accounts including income derived from the Hylpe Charity. George was very efficient and set out the accounts very clearly, describing in more detail than any other Mayor the properties relating to each donation. An entry in 1790 includes a reference to his own payments which says: ‘Of George Rolph out of his messuage or tenement (now in three tenements) in the High Street lately belonging to Mr John Rudge deceased 16s 0d’. We cannot determine whether the reference to ‘now in three tenements’ means that the building was divided into three apartments (or other sub-divisions) or whether he meant there were three separate properties. We know that George owned three adjoining properties, 7, 9 & 11 High Street and the Malthouse in the rear facing St Mary Street, but we don’t think it could be referring to 9 or 11 high Street or the Malthouse.
John Edmonds – at the time George Rolph wrote his last will in 1792 the property was occupied by John Edmunds. We note that John married that year and moved to live in the house next door, 5 High Street, which was owned by his wife. With reference to the speculation above that the property may have been a bakery, we should add that John was a cooper, not a baker. Click here to read more about John
Susannah Rolph – the Mayor’s Accounts show Susannah as the owner from 1793 to 1798. Susannah was one of the two daughters of George Rolph to whom he had left the property. In George’s will Susannah was to share the property with her sister, Hester. We note that the 1809 Rent Roll suggests that Hester’s husband, Joseph Hughes, was still sharing the ownership of this and adjoining properties.
Susannah never married. She died at some time after 1859. The property appears to have been sold by 1814 to Joseph Laver.
Joseph Longman – Joseph is listed in the Mayor’s Accounts as being responsible for paying the 16s rent charge from 1800 to 1814. Normally this would mean that he owned the property, however the 1809 Rent Roll still has the Rolphs and Joseph Hughes as being the owners and Joseph Longman and others being the tenants. Joseph Hughes was the husband of Hester Rolph, who had shared the inheritance of the property in George Rolph’s will in 1792.
We know that in 1814 Joseph bought a property in Castle Street (see 22 Castle Street) from Richard Putley. Joseph died aged 67 and was buried on 19th November 1822. In his will he left the property to his brother, James Longman, during his lifetime and after James’s death it was left to James’s natural daughter, Susannah Partridge, the daughter of Susannah Partridge. of Exeter. Joseph was described as being a yeoman of Thornbury in several legal documents which we assume related to him lending money.
We note that the entries in the accounts book for Joseph show him paying ‘for the Oven’. We have speculated above on the meaning of similar entries in the time when George Rolph owned the property, but it doesn’t appear that Joseph had any connection with baking.
Joseph Laver – the Mayors Accounts lists him as owner from 1815 onwards. The land tax records show that Joseph had owned the two adjoining properties from 1814. We assume that these were 7 and 9 High Street, the two properties he owned in the 1840 Tithe Survey. Joseph appears to have occupied 11 High Street for much of the time.
In 1814 James Longman occupied the smaller of the two, which was presumably 7 High Street. George Laver had occupied the smaller property since 1819 or earlier.
In the 1840 Tithe Survey 7 High Street was Plot 197 a house and court owned by Joseph Laver and occupied by George Laver. Click here to read about Joseph
George Laver – George was the brother of Joseph Laver, the owner of the property (see above). According to the land tax records George had been living in the property since at least 1819. He was also listed as the occupant in the 1840 Tithe Survey. The 1830 trade directory shows George Laver was a baker.
The 1841 census shows George was a pastry cook aged 58 living with Mary aged 50, George aged 12, and James Laver an Army Pensioner aged 65. We know from the 1851 census that young George was George and Mary’s nephew and we can find no records of George and Mary having any children. We assume that James Laver was George’s brother.
George was born about 1783. He had moved to Thornbury by 1809 when he married Mary Cook. The marriage took place at Thornbury St Marys Church on 31st December 1809. Mary was born in Thornbury about 1786.
George died and was buried on 17th December 1842 aged 59. The 1851 census shows George’s nephew, George Laver, had become the head of the household. He was a pastry cook aged 23 born in Wincanton in Somerset living with his widowed aunt Mary formerly a pastry cook aged 64 born in Thornbury and a female servant Elizabeth Hyde aged 14 from Berkeley. The 1851 census shows James Laver, the Chelsea pensioner, was back in Compton Pauncefoot, near Wincanton, with his wife, Susannah. James was 77 and Hannah aged 61. We note that James appears to have died in 1853 as there is a burial of James Laver aged 78 in Thornbury on 24th May 1853.
Mary died aged 68 and was buried on 7th October 1854. We don’t know what happened to young George. By the time that the owner of the property, Joseph Laver, wrote his will in 1856 Henry Davis had taken over occupancy.
The Davis’s – in the will of Joseph Laver dated 1856 he left a house in the High Street which was in the occupancy of Henry Davis to be sold. This property was located at 7 High Street. We suspect that Henry bought this property because he is shown as the owner of it in the 1859 Rate Book when it was occupied by his daughter, Catherine Davis.
Henry had earlier lived and traded at 20 High Street. Click here to read about the Davis’s
The 1861 census shows Catherine Davis, an unmarried confectioner aged 29 born in Thornbury. She was still living at 7 High Street with an assistant, Elizabeth Mowat aged 33 born in Thornbury. The 1871 census that George Davis was now head of the household there. He was a baker aged 47 from Kenn Court in Somerset. He was living there with his sister, Catherine Davis, an unmarried baker aged 42 born in Almondsbury and Elizabeth Mowat an unmarried baker aged 66 from Thornbury. Elizabeth was George’s cousin.
The 1876 Rate Book shows Catherine had taken over the ownership of the property. The three of them were still living together in the 1881 census although at this time George was described as a baker and confectioner, Catherine as a confectioner and Elizabeth as a housekeeper. The 1891 census shows Catherine was now running the confectioner’s business with Elizabeth. There was no sign of George. Elizabeth Mowat appears to be the one buried on 9th January 1893 aged 66.
The Williams – at some time between 1890 and 1894 the shop was acquired by John Williams. His son, John Hodges Williams traded here under the name of The Beehive selling glassware and earthenware. When John Williams died in 1897, John Hodges Williams took over the ownership of the property. By 1910 John Hodges Williams had ceased trading at The Beehive and he let the shop out to Arthur Hewlett Wilkins (see below).
John’s ownership of the shop eventually passed to his son, Henry William Williams who had the shop re-developed in 1938. A new modern shop front was created but we don’t think the old property was demolished.
Arthur Hewlett Wilkins – from around 1910 the property was let to Arthur who was already had a draper’s shop next door at 9 High Street. We have a copy of an undated advert which shows Arthur was using The Beehive as well as his drapers shop at Manchester House, 9 High Street. The advert refers to his trade in glass and china which we suspect was the business Arthur carried out at the Beehive. We don’t know how long Arthur rented out the shop. He was listed there in the 1926 Rate Book so it might be until the time that the shop was re-developed in 1938. Click here to read more
Harry Aplin – we understand that Harry opened an electrical shop here, but we are not sure when the shop was opened and for how long they ran it. Harry Edward Aplin was born in the Bishopston area of Bristol in 1910. He was the son of Francis George Aplin, a commercial traveller in the provision trade and his wife, Lucy Ann.
In 1942 Harry married Rachel Phillips in Thornbury. Rachel was born in 1921, the daughter of Harry and Bertha Phillips.
Harry and Rachel had a daughter, Margaret C. born in Thornbury in 1944. The 1946 electoral register shows the Aplins living with Rachel’s parents at 63 High Street. The 1946 rate book shows that they were occupying the property at 53 High Street which they were renting from W. H. Dent. They were still living in the High Street in the 1950, but by 1954 they had moved away from Thornbury.
Harry’s shop at 7 High Street was taken over at some time by Cranbrook Radio, but he also had another shop further up the High Street.
Cranbrook Radio – we are not sure when the shop was taken over by Cranbrook Radio, a company who owned a chain of similar shops in the Bristol area. The Thornbury shop was there in 1954 when it was run by Bill Yelland.
William H Yelland married Phyllis L. Freebury in Bristol area in 1936 and they had two sons, William J in 1941 and David R in 1945, both born in Bristol.
It is interesting to see an advert for Cranbrook Radio printed in the Western Daily Press on 28th January 1950. They were presenting ‘Television Demonstrations’ at the Ship Hotel, Alveston to demonstrate the wonders of TV.
We understand that Bill started his electrical business at 14 The Plain before moving to 7 High Street. The 1950 electoral register lists W. H. and Phylis L Yelland on The Plain. The 1954 register shows them at 7 High Street and they were still living there in the 1961 register. The 1965 register shows them living at 14 Raglan Place. We believe that Bill branched out on his own and opened up a radio and television shop with one of his sons at 43 Oakleaze Road. It is listed in trade directories as being there in 1966 and 1973. We understand that the accommodation above the shop was let out to tenants after the Yellands left. At the time of the 1970 electoral register the flat was occupied by Doris Day and her son, Adrian.
We also don’t know when the Cranbrook shop at 7 High Street closed. A photograph of the High Street taken in 1995 show the shop still with the name of ‘Cranbrook’ over the shop window, but the building was empty at that time.
Since that time, the shop was occupied for many years by ‘Arpers‘, pictures and picture frames. More recently it has been occupied by ‘Hard Pressed for Time‘, a dry cleaners and launderers business set up in Gloucestershire and North Bristol in 2001. In 2016 this business moved to St Marys Centre. The building lay vacant for a long time, although for two nights in February 2017 it was used by Peter Tiley, the owner of the Salutation at Ham as a popup pub.
In 2018 a cafe/bar chain called ‘Grounded’ opened a branch here. Their renovation of the building involved restoring its frontage to the pavement line, thus taking away the very popular ‘sheltered space’ which had been used by people waiting for their buses for many years.