79 High Street

This plot comprising a messuage, barn, stable, slaughterhouse, garden, orchard and paddock known as the Town Orchard was bought by George Cossham on 1st/2nd October 1782.  It seems unlikely that George Cossham developed this property in his life time as his will of 1785 shows that he left it to be divided into two parts and shared by his sons Richard and Jesse.

We believe that the part George gave to Jesse was used by him, (or his son, George Cossham who inherited the property from Jesse in 1797), to build the houses now known as 73 – 81 High Street.  We don’t know if the original house was used in this development or whether it was demolished.  Click here to read more about the Cosshams associated with the house

From George Cossham the houses were passed to his nephew, Edward Wise (alias Wisse) in 1876 and then to Edward’s daughters, Charlotte and Ann Wise (alias Wisse).  Thus the house was owned by the Cosshams or their descendents up to 1938.  Click here to read about Edward Wise and his daughters

In 1938 the house, together with number 81 High Street, were sold to Clifford Allen Wall and Ronald Francis Wall. Click here to read more

For most of this time the house was rented out to tenants.  We are fortunate that the rate books, census records and electoral registers give us a good idea of who lived in the house.

John Allen – John is the earliest person we know who lived in the house.  He is listed as the occupant in the 1840 Tithe Apportionment Survey.  Unfortunately we don’t know any more about this to identify him.

William Powell – the 1851 census shows the house is occupied by William Powell, a Wesleyan minister from the Downend Circuit.  He was aged 36 from Harrow in Middlesex.  He was living with his wife, Mary aged 29 from North Waltham, Norfolk and their young baby boy, William R who was born in Thornbury and Mary’s sister, Sarah E Sadler aged 21 and a servant Ruth Smart aged 23 from Thornbury.

George Gerrish – the 1859 rate book and the 1861 census shows the house was occupied by George Gerrish, his wife, Sarah and their four children.  His name was crossed out in the 1862 rate book and the house was void.  Click here to read more

Ellen Sarah Taylor – the 1867 rate book and 1871 census show Ellen Sarah Taylor as the occupant of the house.  Ellen was a widow with no occupation, aged 41 born in Taunton.  She was living with her children, Tom aged 15 and Edith Mary aged 10, both born in St Stephens, Bristol,  Scarlett aged 9 born at sea and her aunt, Mary Scarlett unmarried aged 63 with no occupation born in Thornbury.

Ellen Sarah was born about 1828 in Taunton, Somerset.  Although we have no documentary evidence to confirm it, we suspect that Ellen was the illegitimate daughter of Mary Scarlett with whom she was living in the 1841, 1851 and 1871 censuses.

In the 1841 census Ellen was living in the home of her grandfather, George Scarlett in the High Street, Thornbury.  Although the sequence in the census suggests that his house was on the east side of the High Street at the top, possibly at 79 High Street, we suspect that he may have been living at 58 High Street, the place he was listed as living in the 1840 Tithe Survey.  At the time of the census, Mary Scarlett is described as a milliner.

The 1851 census shows Ellen and Mary living at 26 Prince Street, Bristol.  They are living with Mary’s sister (and Ellen’s aunt), Maria, now married to victualler, Robert Ludham.  In 1854 Ellen married Henry James Taylor.  We know nothing about Henry and we can’t find him nor Ellen in the 1861 census.  In their absence, little Tom was boarding in Thornbury with Mary Louisa Laver in the 1861.  We assume that Henry and Ellen were probably out of the country because little Scarlett was born at sea about 1861/2.  We know from the 1891 census that Scarlett de Vere Taylor as born at sea on the ‘Spirit of the Age’.   The only ship we can find with this name is a clipper so we suspect that Henry was in the merchant navy.

We do not know what happened to Ellen.  Young Tom became a solicitors clerk and went off to live in London.  Young Scarlett had a very distinguished career in the Royal Navy.  The 1881 census shows Scarlett was serving on the H.M.S. Agincourt.  He was a Clerk on the HMS Euryalus in Egypt in 1882.  He was Assistant Paymaster on Royal Yacht ‘Osborne’ which was in Portsmouth Harbour at the time of the 1891 census.  Scarlett is listed in newspaper reports showing him as one of the ‘noblemen and gentlemen’ invited to attend several levees at St James Palace in the 1890’s.

The 1901 census shows him as Staff Paymaster on the H.M.S. Tribune at Ireland Island, Bermuda and from 1914 to 1920 he is shown as being Paymaster Commander.  He died in 1925 aged 63 in the area of Elham.

Thomas Graham – the 1876 rate book shows that Thomas was occupying the house.  We don’t know anything about Thomas.

Frederick William Nalder – the 1880 rate book and 1881 census show William as living in the house.  He was sharing this with his unmarried sister, Frances, aged 52.  Click here to read more

Hester Cox – 1885 – 1894 rate books the 1891 census shows Hester was a widow aged 75.  She had been born in Thornbury and was described as a retired farmer.  Her niece, Ida E Alway was living with her.  Ida was aged 12 and had been born in Portishead.

Hester was born in Morton and baptised in Thornbury on 19th November 1815.  She was the daughter of James Downes (or Downs), a farmer or labourer and his wife, Celia.  On 30th June 1845 Hester (or Esther) married John Cox in Thornbury.  John was a widower and a farmer living in St Paul’s, Bristol.  He was born in Brinkwoth, Wiltshire, the son of John Cox.

The 1851 census shows John and Esther living in Picton Street, Bristol.  John was a farmer of 100 acres and employing 10 men.  They had three children, Joseph aged 16, John aged 14 and Amelia aged 11, from John’s first marriage.  The 1861 census shows John as a beerhouse keeper still living in Picton Street with Hester.  Their son John was living with them, now a carpenter, and a nice, Mary Hobbs, who was a dressmaker aged 19 from Morton.

The 1871 census shows John had died and Hester had moved to live at Quab Farm, Horfield Common in Bristol.  She was described as a farmer of 85 acres employing two men and one boy.  Living with Hester are Mary Hobbs, her niece and William Hobbs, her nephew who was a milkman aged 23.  Hester was still farming on Horfield Common in the 1881 census, but now employing only one man and farming 25 acres.

Hester moved to Thornbury by 1885 when her name appears in the rate book as living in 79 High Street.  She was still living there in the 1894 rate book.  She died aged 83 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 15th December 1898.

The 1899 rate book shows the name of the occupant of the house as ‘Young’.

Susan Jones – the 1901 census shows Susan was a boarder in the house.  She was described as a single lady ‘living on own means’ aged 69 born in Thornbury.  There was no other person listed in the house.  We believe that Susan was baptised at Thornbury on 14th January 1824.  She was the daughter of Charles Jones, an innkeeper and baker and his wife, Elizabeth.  Around 1840 Charles ran the White Hart on The Plain which was later pulled down and replaced with the National Provincial Bank.

We’ve found it difficult to track down Susan in the census.  In 1871 she was working as a housekeeper in the Palatine Hotel in Manchester.  She died in Thornbury aged 89 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 19th June 1913.

William James Shepherd – the 1905 and 1910 rate books show that the house was occupied by William James Shepherd.  William was a managing clerk who worked for Thurston’s for 35 years.  The 1913 electoral register shows William still living in the High Street, but the 1914 and 1915 Prewett’s Directory show he was living at Thornbury Cottage and by 1916 he had moved to 10 Gloucester Road.  Click here to read more

Austin Walwin Honeyborne – in 1916 when Austin enlisted his army record shows he was living at ‘2 High Street’ which was the old numbering system for the house which later became 79 High Street.  The 1925 Valuation List and 1926 rate book shows that Austin was living at the house as tenant of Mrs Wisse.

Austin was born on 17th April 1885, the son of Austin John Honeyborne and his wife, Maria.  By 1901 Austin had become a solicitor’s clerk. and he was living with his widowed mother in 6 Castle Street.  He is listed in the Voters Lists from 1910 when his qualification for voting is based on a joint tenancy of a property in the High Street which he shared with his brother, James Percy.  We assume that this applies to 56 High Street.

On 5th June 1913 Austin married Ethel May Horler in area of Wells.  Ethel was born in the Clutton area on 27th July 1882.  In November 1915 Austin enlisted in the Army Reserve and in September 1916 he joined the Army Service Corps.  The army record describes Austin as ‘a Clerk, height 5ft 7.5 inches and with 34 inch chest with 3 inch range’.  He was based at the Mobilized Mechanical Transport Depot.  He went overseas in June 1917 and spent some time in Mesopotamia.  He was eventually declared unfit for war service and discharged with a pension of 25 shillings per week.

We know from the will of Smart Cullimore in 1915 that Austin was a clerk to Crossman & Co who had offices on The Plain in Thornbury.

Austin and Ethel didn’t appear to have children of their own, but Ethel is shown as the ‘guardian’ of two children, Ivy Edna Carter and Amy Oliver Carter when they were at the Council School in the 1920’s.

The 1918, 1921 and 1927 electoral registers show Austin living in the High Street with Ethel May so we assume that they were at 79 High Street during this period.  By 1931 register they had moved to Penlee, 9 Church Road.

The special register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war shows Austin and Ethel living in 9 Church Road with Mary J. Land who we assume to be Austin’s aunt.  She was described as a retired matron of a mental home, unmarried and born on  15th November 1859.  Austin was described as Assistant Clerk to Judicial? and Chief Clerk to County Court.  Ethel was involved with the Women’s Voluntary Service.  Both Austin and Ethel appear to have acted as ARP Wardens during the war.

They continued to live in Thornbury until Austin died in 1964 aged 78.  His obituary in the Gazette shows that despite his age Austin had not yet retired.  He collapsed and died as he was preparing to go work.  The previous day he had been at his usual post as a clerk at Thornbury Magistrates’ Court.

 Ethel was living there alone in the 1965 register.  She died in 1970.

Denis Thompson – we know that Denis was a tenant here in 1938 when the houses were put up for sale.  We think he was there in 1934 or earlier as Denis was shown as living in the High Street in the school records.  Denis and Norah and their children are also listed as living there in the special register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war.  They left in 1952 (when the house was being sold) and by 1954 when Denis and Norah were living in 67 High Street.  Click here to read more

In 1952 the house was put up for sale.  It was then being described as ‘2 High Street’ which comprised a large front sitting room, living room, scullery, glazed conservatory, two bedrooms on first floor and two bedrooms on second floor.  There was a cellar, and stable and W.C. at the rear.

The Bayntuns – on the 1st August 1952 the house was sold by Clifford Allen Wall and his brother, Ronald Francis Wall to Robert Francis Bayntun for £1600.  It was then referred to as being ‘2 High Street’ as for a short time the houses in the High Street were numbered from the top downwards.

The 1954 electoral register shows 79 High Street was occupied by Robert Francis and Mildred Kate Bayntun.  They moved to Thornbury from Bristol to join their two married children: Robert Hippesley Bayntun and his family were living at 8 Chapel Street around 1950 and moved to 2 Chapel Street in 1953.  Norah Elizabeth and her husband, Wilfred Parker, had moved to live at The Cottage, 1 Horseshoe Lane in 1951.

Robert Francis Bayntun was born at 7 Wyndham Street, Canton Glarn, Cardiff on 16th April 1885.  He was the son of Charles John Hayward Bayntun, a harness manufacturer or saddler and his wife, Emma Jane (nee Caines).  In the 1901 census Robert was working with his father as a harness manufacturer and living with his parents at 91 Redcliffe Hill, Bristol.  The 1911 census shows he was still with his parents, now at 7 Guinea Street.

On 7th April 1908 Robert joined 6th Res Regiment of Cavalry in North Somerset Yeomanry where he served as Saddler Sergeant.  We understand he was the oldest member of the ‘B’ Squadron of the North Somerset Yeomanry and was awarded the Bronze Star.  On 21st July 1916 he was transferred to the T.F. Reserve and he was discharged on 14th December 1918.

On 1st April 1918 Robert Francis married Mildred Kate Weeks in St Paul’s Church, Bedminster in Bristol.  Mildred was born in Bedminster on 11th June 1895, the daughter of Thomas Weeks and his wife, Alice (nee Stowell).  Robert and Mildred had two children: Norah Elizabeth born on 12th January 1920 and Robert Hippesley born on 26th March 1925.  We don’t know a great deal about Robert and Mildred’s before they came to Thornbury.  The BT Phonebook shows they were living at The Shoe Inn, North Wraxall near Marshfield from 1941 to 1952.  When he bought the property in Thornbury he was described in the conveyance as a licensed victualler at The Shoe Inn, Wraxall.

Robert Francis died on 3rd June 1957 aged 72.  The 1958 electoral register shows Mildred living in 79 High Street alone and Robert and Betty continuing to live in 2 Chapel Street.  About this time, Mildred moved to 4 Chapel Street, the small building which now houses Thornbury Museum and Robert and Betty took over at 79 High Street.  Mildred died in 1978.

Robert Hippersley Bayntun was a quantity surveyor.  He married Betty Warwick Cunningham (nee Barnes) in Bristol in 1948.  Betty Warwick Barnes had been born in Bristol on 2nd February 1922, the daughter of Percy Barnes and his wife, Ellen Maria (nee Warwick).  Betty had married Jack A Cunningham in the Chippenham area in 1944 and we don’t know what happened to Jack.

Robert and Betty had two sons, Timothy Francis born on 10th September 1949 in Bristol and Christopher Hippesley who was born in Almondsbury on 1st February 1952.  Robert died in July 1986.  We understand that Betty then went to live in Cheltenham for a few years, with her son, Timothy, and his family.  She returned to Thornbury about 1995 where she moved into live at 62 High Street.  Betty died in Cheltenham in July 2000 aged 78.

In 1987 Betty Baytun sold the property to Paul and Jane Boulton who moved to Thornbury from London.