This distinctive building is very old and located in the centre of the High Street in Thornbury, adjoining the old site of the cattle market which used to be held in the street up to 1911. We have a thumbnail photograph below on the right of the market taking place in front of the shop, which is to the left in the photograph. This photograph is said to have been taken just before the market was moved out of the street. Click on the thumbnail to see the photo in full size.
Our knowledge of this property goes back until the mid 1600’s and records show that it used to be called the Vine House. From that time onwards until 1964 it had always been a small part of a much larger estate. Originally the estate stretched from the High Street as far as Mumbleys and included The Farm (on the site of what is now called Kyneton House) and included Wellfield and the fields behind the Natwest Bank.
It is possible that the Vine House may have been known as the Antelope in the 1600s. The 1696 Tithe Terrier refers to ‘the Customary Lands of Sarah Tayer widdow belonging to the Antilope House consisting of part of the close Welfield and Trotters have paid yeerely to the Viccar in Liew of meadow time out of mind Nine pence‘. The Manorial Court records associated with the Tayer family make no mention of the family being associated with the Antelope by name. However several documents associate the field called Wellfield with their property the Vine House.
Interestingly for over 250 years, the property was a butchers’ business, with shop, slaughterhouse and fields attached where the stock were kept. It is only in the last 50 years since this ceased, and the shop was used as a shop selling antiques, clocks, heating equipment and most recently as an Indian restaurant. At various times since the 1600’s the estate has been broken up and sold off.
The fields at the rear of the house and shop were often used for fairs or public events of celebration, presumably because of their proximity to the centre of the town and the access directly from the High Street. When a parade took place it usually seemed to end up in Ogborn’s field. For example at the time of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee on 28th June 1897, after a parade had proceeded to the Church for a service there, the parade reformed and marched to Messrs Ogborn’s field where a free dinner was arranged for which 400 free tickets had been issued. A later parade of school children led by the Tockington Band marched to the same field where they expected 630 teas to be given out and a Jubilee Mug issued to each child. After tea, there was athletic sports, dancing, steam roundabouts and other amusements. A large bonfire was also held there on Bonfire Night.
The existence of the large area of undeveloped land close to the centre of town and with access from the High Street has tempted the Town Councillors on a number of occasions. The first plot to be used was for the building of the Register Office about 1838. In 1898 the land at both sides and to the rear of the Register Office was chosen as a new site for the Town’s Market. On consideration it was rejected because it was considered too expensive. The valuation would have take into account the fact that the land could be sold for development as housing and that there might be claims for depreciation from the owners of adjoining properties. One the neighbours was Dr Edward Mills Grace of Park House who had no little influence in what happened in the Town. In 1930 the Rural District Council purchased a part of the land to enable them to build a fire station. The last sale of land involving the Vine House occurred in 1964 when the Thornbury Rural District Council purchased the close at the rear of the property and the garden at the side on which they built the Castle Court sheltered housing accommodation and later enabled the John Grooms Housing Association to build their home for people with physical disabilities.
Our earliest document in the deeds of the property is dated 18th December 1673 and refers to this property as the Vine House, which as we explained earlier was part of a larger property including a farm at this time. We assume this to be a settlement following the recent marriage of John Tayer and Sarah Davis, the daughter of Phillip Davis, yeoman of Nettleton in Wiltshire. As a result of the marriage and the £300 Phillip paid to John on 19th July 1673, John made a declaration securing the inheritance of his property for his wife and heirs. The whole property was described as: ‘one messuage or tenement called the Farm in which I doe now inhabit situate lying and being in the Tything of Kington and two yards of Gavelkind land to the same belonging and appertaining and one other messuage called the Vine House in which one Nicholas Bedggood now inhabiteth situate lying and being in the Tything of Kington and one quarter of a yard of Gavelkind land to the same belonging and appertaining and one quarter of a yard of Gavelkind land called Trotters and one close of pasture called Linage containing by estimation 12 acres (be it more or less) all and singular which premises are situate lying and being in the Tything of Kington and three cottages and three curtilages to the same cottages adjoining now in the tenure or occupation of me or my assigns and two other ruinous cottages and two other ruinous curtilages now used for one garden which aforesaid cottages and curtilages are situate lying and being in Thornbury forren in the Tything of Kington‘.
Nicholas Bedggood was described as a yeoman of Thornbury when he wrote his last will and testament on 11th May 1696. He had been Mayor of Thornbury in 1678/9. Nicholas died on 15th June 1696 and the inscription of his gravestone in St Marys Church Thornbury describes him as an ‘Alderman’.
The will shows Nicholas owned a considerable amount of property around Thornbury, Oldbury and Kington. He left ‘The George in Thornbury or Falfield’ (occupied by Thomas Walker) to his son, Nicholas. He left his daughter, Sarah, a messuage in Thornbury occupied by William Hicks although Nicholas’s wife, Ann, was given use of the property during her lifetime. He left the property in which he was then living (which we have not yet identified) to his Overseers and directed them to convey them to his son, John, provided John take a wife having a portion or estate worth £200 or £150 at least, in default of this condition the property was left to his son, Nicholas.
John Tayer was the son of John Tayer and his wife, Sarah (maiden name unknown). John jnr became an attorney, first admitted to Court on 1st February 1669. In 1673 John married Sarah Davis, the daughter of Phillip Davis, yeoman of Nettleton in Wiltshire. John and Sarah had several children, John born about 1674, Mary born about 1676, Thomas born about 1677, Sarah born about 1678, Edward born about 1682, Hester baptised on 26th February 1687 and one other daughter, Elizabeth.
The Tayers were large landowners in the area around Kington. We don’t think that the Tayers lived in the Vine House, certainly not from the time of the earliest document dated 1673. It was initially let out to Nicholas Bedggood then to Arthur Aylworth.
When John Tayer attended court in 1673 to surrender his property to the Lord of the Manor he specified that following his death the property should descend initially to his wife. After Sarah’s death it was left to first son, to his second son, etc up to the fifth son, after which he said that in default it should be divided between any daughters.
In John’s will dated 28th February 1687 he did not mention the property in Thornbury, presumably because its inheritance was already dealt with in the surrender document referred to above. He left property in Marshfield in trust to his brother in law, Henry Weare for him to share profits between John’s younger sons and daughters. He left his son Thomas and daughter Sarah £100 due to him on a mortgage given to Sarah Whitefield before her marriage to Samuel Whitefield, clerk. John’s son, John, was left all his father’s books, including the law books. He appointed his wife, Sarah, his sole executrix. John must have died shortly after the will as it was proved on 7th July 1688.
The 1696 Tithe Terrier includes several pieces of land owned by Mrs Tayer (this would have been Sarah Tayer the widow of John Tayer). One item is of particular interest.
‘Item 54 – the Customary Lands of Sarah Tayer widdow belonging to the Antilope House consisting of part of the close Welfield and Trotters have paid yeerely to the Viccar in Liew of meadow time out of mind Nine pence‘.
We can’t be sure of the exact meaning of this description but it raises the possibility that Sarah Tayer may have owned the property known as ‘The Antilope House’. In George Ford’s book on ‘Thornbury Pubs’ he wrote that he believed that the ‘Antilope’ was an old inn that stood on the location of the present Natwest Bank on The Plain and that it had changed its name at some time to The White Hart. As far as we know no documentary evidence has been found to support this theory, and the Tithe Terrier entry makes it possible that the Antilope was the same house known as The Vine House. We should point out however that none of the Manor Court documents relating to the Tayer family we have seen refer to the Antilope. They all mention The Vine House.
The property descended to John Tayer who died unmarried on 25th October 1703 aged 29. We know from the will of Robert Thurston who died in early 1703 that at this time John was living in a property owned by Robert further up the High Street. In John’s will he specified that his executors (Henry Weare and William Raymond) should retain the Vine House and closes then occupied by Arthur Aylworth and use the profits to pay off John’s debts and then they should allow John’s mother to have use of the property during her lifetime. John mentioned his brother, Thomas who had borrowed £10 from him and this debt was written off at the time of John’s death. John directed that any remainder should be shared by his mother, brother Edward and sisters, Sarah, Elizabeth and Hester equally. John specified that Sarah’s share was put into trust of William Raymond for him to pay Sarah and any of her children the income and profits from her share. He made it clear that he didn’t want Sarah’s husband to ‘intermeddle’. Sarah had married John Osborne at some time before 1697.
Sarah Tayer (the wife of John Tayer who died in 1688 and mother of John Tayer who died in 1703) died aged 70 on 6th August 1726. It appears from later documents that Sarah’s only surviving son, Thomas, took possession of the property. On 15th January 1727 Thomas leased the property to Arthur Aylworth, butcher. The property was described as ‘all that messuage or tenement commonly called or known by the name of the Vine House and one quarter yard of customary land thereunto adjoining and belonging containing two grounds called The Home Close and Wellfield together with all houses, outhouses, barns stables, edifices and buildings to the said messuage or tenement belonging or in any wise appertaining and also all those two ruinated curtilages now used for one garden and lying adjoining to the north side of the said messuage or tenement all which said messuage or tenement and premises are now holden by the said Thomas Tayer of the Lords of the Manor of Thornbury according to the custom of the same manor confirmed by Act of Parliament commonly called the now Custom. And also all those his eight closes of meadow or pasture ground called or known by the name of Trotters containing one other quarter of a yard …….. and also all that his freehold shop and cellar under the same adjoining to the south side of the said messuage or tenement together with the Barton and parcel of land lying undivided from the close called the Home Close ……. all in the possession of Arthur Aylworth as tenant to the said Thomas Tayer‘.
Thomas died on 18th April 1730 aged 53. Of John and Sarah’s children: Mary had died on 6th January 1697 aged 21. Edward had died in Olveston on 31st December 1724/5. Only Sarah, Hester and Elizabeth survived Thomas. In his will Thomas left the property to his sister, Hester, but there appears to have been a major dispute over the division of the property. A document dated 16th June 1730 refers to a court case between the three sisters: Sarah (who had married John Osborne at some time before 1697), Elizabeth (who had married Walter Tyler at Oldbury on 16th July 1717) and Hester (who had married William Raymond on 29th August 1720). The Court determined that:
- Sarah Osborne ‘shall have for her share and proportion of the said lands and tenements all that messuage or tenement called The Farm with the garden and orchards thereunto belonging and adjoining with four closes or parcels of pasture ground called the Home Close lying together adjoining to the said messuage or tenement three acres of arable land be it more or less lying in a close called the Old House Close adjoining to the said Home Close or one of them two closes of meadow or pasture ground called ??? Leazows lying over against the said messuage and premises having a lane from Oldbury upon Severne to Bristol running between them one close of meadow ground called the Moore and one moyety of a close of meadow ground called the Farm Pool which said close contains by estimation seven acres be it more or less all which said messuage are ??? of two yards of customary lands lying in the Tything of Kington together with one cottage late in the possession of William Swanley lying in Thornbury ? in the said Tything of Kington’.
- Walter and Elizabeth Tyler ‘shall for their share and proportion of the said lands and tenements all those six closes of pasture ground called Mumbleys with a coppice thereto belonging one close of pasture called the Fallows with the grove of wood and trees thereupon growing and four closes of meadow ground called Upper Birkleys being residue of said two yards of customary land lying in Kington and one moyety of a close of pasture called Linnage lying in the said Tything of Kington now in the possession of William Tanner and one cottage in Thornbury now in the possession of Thomas Hollister‘.
- Hester Raymond ‘shall for her share and proportion of the said lands one messuage called the Vine House with the lower part of of Home Close thereunto adjoining and one other close called Wellfield being a quarter of a yard of customary land and four closes of meadow or pasture ground called Trotters being another quarter of a yard of customary land lying in the Tything of Kington with the other moyety of the close called Linnage and one cottage now in the possession of William Mills with two ruined cottages and curtilages now used for one garden in the possession of Arthur Aylworth lying in Thornbury’.
Although the court determined the division of the land as described above, it appears that there was a bond between the parties which gave Sarah Osborne the use of the three properties.
Of the property left by John Tayer, which had been divided between his surviving daughters in 1730, two of the shares eventually descended to William Osborne, John’s great-grandson. The property included The Farm left to John’s daughter, Sarah Osborne who died 27th February 1749. This was claimed by William Osborne at Court on 10th May 1750. Sarah’s son and William’s father, William Osborne snr, had died on 5th November 1743 and William jnr was Sarah’s heir at law. On 28th February 1765, following death of Hester Raymond of Morton on 4th April 1764 William Osborne appeared in court again. Hester was William’s great aunt and he claimed Hester’s share of the property under her will dated 13th August 1763. This was subject to William paying Hester’s niece, Elizabeth Tyler £350. Thus William became the owner of The Vine House and associated lands in addition to The Farm.
William Osborne – William was born about 1697, the son of William Osborne and his wife, Martha (nee Manning) and grandson of the above mentioned Sarah Osborne (nee Tayer). William acquired the Vine House and other property belonging to the Tayers as described above. Read more about William Osborne
Various court documents between 1757 and 1765 indicate that Mary Tayler had been the occupant of The Vine House in 1757 and then in 1760 and 1765 Thomas Child the butcher was living there.
On 9th September 1808 following the death of William Osborne of Kington his property was left to his daughter Martha in accordance with William’s will dated 22nd August 1807. Mary was born on 2nd May 1793 as a result of his second marriage to Grace Boulton in 1789. The property was then described as being: ‘all that customary messuage or tenement called The Vine House wherein Thomas Child butcher deceased some time since inhabited and John Carter butcher doth now dwell and five acres (be it more of less) of the lower part of the Home Close thereunto adjoining and one close of a meadow or pasture ground called Well Field containing by estimation six acres (be it more or less) which said premises contain a quarter yard of customary land. And also four closes of meadow or pasture ground lying together called Trotters containing by estimation 16 acres (be it more or less) being another quarter of a yard of customary land. And also one cottage or tenement heretofore in the possession of Thomas Grove cordwainer but now of Benjamin Addis and two ruined curtileges now used for a garden to the said messuage called the Vine House. And also one full moiety or half part (the whole into two equal parts to be divided) of one close of ground called Linnage containing by estimation 12 acres (be it more or less) all which said messuages or tenements, quarters of a yard, land, closes of ground and premises are lying and being in Tithing of Kington within the said Manor and were late in the tenure or occupation of the said William Osborne his tenants or assigns‘.
The 1840 tithe survey shows the property was Plots 52 and 53 owned by Hector Maclaine and occupied by George Nicholls.
Martha Osborne and the Maclaines – William’s daughter Martha Osborne inherited the property following the death of her father in 1807. In 1816 she married Hector Maclaine. Martha died in 1841 and Hector in 1847. The property descended to their son, William Osborne Maclaine who married Anna Thurburn in 1849.
Anna died 10th October 1882 aged 58. William continued to live at Kyneton House and to own The Close House and The Vine House. By the time of the 1901 census he had buried his wife and his three children. He was living at Kyneton with his cousin, Margaret Greenfield and her daughter, Mary. William died on 8th September 1906 and following his death his estate became the responsibility of his sole executrix Flora Maclaine Jenner Fust. Flora was the the wife of Herbert Jenner Fust of Hill Court and one of William’s cousins. Read more about the Maclaines
On 31st December 1920 Flora sold the Vine House and the fields attached to Charles Henry Parsons for £4,900 (see below).
George Nicholls – we know from the 1840 Tithe Survey that George was occupying the property, then described as Plot 52 and 53, the property owned by Hector Maclaine. George was probably living there a lot earlier. He appears in the trade directories as a butcher from about 1830 onwards and the Rent Roll shows that George has taken over as tenant of the property from ‘Mrs Carter’. In 1834 he was charged with using defective weights and fined 5 shillings with eight shillings in costs.
A family tree shown on the Ancestry website shows George was born in Mangotsfield on 3rd December 1786, the son of Samuel Nicholls and his wife, Mary (nee Dobbins). George married Rebecca Marsh in Almondsbury on 13th April 1816. They had several children, Samuel Nicholls born on 5th November 1817, William Marsh Nicholls born in 1823, Rebecca Nicholls born in 1827, Elizabeth Nicholls born 1820, Frances Nicholls born 1825 and George Dobbin Nicholls born in 1831.
In November 1828 George appears to been the subject of a violent assault. Samuel Gough of Thornbury cordwainer was fined 14 shillings with six shillings in costs.
The 1841 census also shows George was living there. He was a butcher aged 50 living with his wife, Rebecca aged 50 and their children: George aged 10, William aged 18 and Samuel aged 20, Rebecca aged 10, Fanny aged 16 and Elizabeth aged 19. In 1841 George was awarded the contract for supplying meat to the Union workhouse. In 1843 another butcher, Edward Williams complained that George had been awarded the contract to supply beef and mutton at 30 shillings per cwt for the next six months, but that he had not completed the proper form. Edward pointed out that George’s tender was only 4d per cwt lower than his own bid and that on a previous occasion Edward’s tender had been thrown out because he had not completed the proper form. Edward was informed that the contract had been awarded to George and could not be rescinded.
George died aged 59 and was buried on 2nd April 1845 at Almondsbury. The burial record shows he was living at Clifton at the time. The 1851 census shows Rebecca was working as a butcher and living in Lime Kiln Lane, Bristol (which is just behind where the Council House is now). She was employing 3 men which included her two sons, William and George.
Edward Williams – the 1851 census shows Edward had taken over from George Nicholls. The census shows Edward was a butcher and farmer of 60 acres employing 2 men. In 1843 Edward had made a complaint against the previous occupant of the premises, George Nicholls (see above). Click here to read more about Edward and his family
Charles Young – the 1861 census shows that Charles Young was a butcher aged 31 from Oldbury employing two men living with his wife, Susannah aged 28 from Tidenham and their son, Edgar aged 11 months.
Charles was baptised on 29th April 1832. He was the son of Charles Young, an agricultural labourer and his wife, Martha who lived at Milbury Heath. The 1851 census shows Charles jnr was living with his parents at Milbury Heath. He had become an agricultural labourer like his father. In 1858 Charles married Susannah Rymer from Tidenham. Charles and Susannah had three children: Edgar baptised on 20th June 1860 when Charles was a farmer at Shepperdine, Eleanor Elizabeth baptised on 4th December 1861 (when Charles was described as a butcher living in Thornbury, presumably at 8 High Street) and Frances baptised on 18th March 1863.
Charles gave evidence at the inquest on Henry Burchell who died in 1861. Charles said: ‘I knew the deceased – he called at my house about half past eight o’clock on Monday evening on horseback to leave a message. I asked him to come in he refused, I asked if he would take anything to drink he said he would have a glass of cold gin and water. I got him one about a wine glassful of gin and filled the glass up with cold water and he drank it on his horse. He was a little fresh and cheerful but I did not consider there was much the matter with him or I should not have given him the gin and water – he was riding a brown cob – he staid less than 10 minutes. Mr Edward Long came up and talked to him. When Mr Long left Henry Burchell shook hands with me and rode down the street with his brother. He was quite capable of riding home. I afterwards saw him at Honeybornes house and staid the greater part of the night. He did not know me’.
The 1871 census shows Charles was probably sharing the same property with the Ogborns. He was described as a farmer of 43 acres employing 1 man. Charles was aged 41 from Thornbury. Susannah was aged 38 from Tidenham and they were living with their son, Edgar aged 10, Eleanor Elizabeth aged 9 and Frances aged 8.
We don’t know what happened to the Youngs. Susannah’s death is registered in Thornbury aged 64 in 1895, but we can’t trace them in the census records.
The Ogborns – from about 1871 John and Eliza Ogborn took over the butchery business of Charles Young. The 1871 census shows that Eliza was living there with three of her daughters, whilst John stayed at their farm at Almondsbury Hill with five of their children. At the time of the census Eliza appears to be sharing the property with Charles and Susannah Young and their three children with Charles attending to the farm of 43 acres.
By the 1881 census both John and Eliza were living in the High Street and the Youngs had moved away. Following the deaths of John in 1881 and Eliza in 1888, the business was shared by the remaining seven children. The 1891 census shows William, Joseph and Matilda all working on the business and living at 8 High Street. Following William’s death in 1900 and Joseph’s in 1904, it was Matilda who ran the business until about 1910 when it was taken over Charles Henry Parsons. The photo on the right shows a wagon bearing the name of ‘Ogborn’s Purveyors of Thornbury’. Click here to read about the Ogborns
The Parsons – on 31st December 1920 Charles Henry Parsons bought the property from Flora Maclaine Jenner-Fust for £4,900. It contained the house, shop and outbuildings (Plot 53 on 1840 tithe Map), the adjoining plot which surrounded the Register Office (Plot 52 on the Tithe Map, a plot of land called the Home field (Plot 341 on the Tithe Map). All together the land contained 26 acres 3 roods and 5 perches. The Parsons family continued the butcher’s business previously run by the Ogborns. Click here to read more about the Parsons family
On 31st October 1930 Charles Henry Parsons sold to the Thornbury Rural District Council part of the garden ground (part of Plot 52) for the purpose of building a new Fire Station adjoining the High Street. The land sold included the Maclaine Memorial Fountain and the Council assumed responsibility for maintaining the monument.
In his will dated 1932 Charles left the property to his daughter, Dorothy Alice. The property at this time covered 32 acres, 1 rood and 8 perches. On 19th September 1950 Dorothy sold to the Council a small plot of land at the rear of The Fire Station for the erection of a Watch Room for £20.
During the Second World War part of the kitchen garden, an old rickyard or poultry run had been let to the MOD from 1942 to 1949 for the placement of a static water tank for use by the National Fire Service. When Dorothy advertised the property for sale in September 1950, it was noted that the property had been used as a butchers’ business until 1940. The property was referred to as the ‘Vine House’ comprising the very attractive old-fashioned stone-built and tiled house containing large sitting room, dining room, kitchen, 5 bedrooms, fitted bathroom, lavatory etc, also a butchers’ shop, office, refrigeration room, slaughterhouse, garage, tie-up shed with outbuildings and five acres of land adjoining the rear with open sheds, feeding houses and pigsties. This land was let to Captain Dutson for £16 per annum. There was also two closes containing a further 11 acres and 37 perches adjoining the 5 acres and with access to Kington Lane through Wellfield (also let to Captain Dutson for £52 10s per annum). On 9th November 1950 Dorothy Alice sold the property to Claude Stuart Browning for £4,500.
The Brownings – Claude Browning bought the property from Dorothy Parsons on 9th November 1950. He moved his antique shop there from 20 High Street. Click here to read more
We were told that the Council wanted to buy Claude’s garden for their use and that Claude said he wouldn’t sell just the garden. It was a case of ‘all or nothing’, so that he sold the lot and retired. However, we note that on 24th August 1964 Claude sold to the Thornbury Rural District Council part of the garden of the house, part of the Home Field. This land was used for the building of the Castle Court elderly persons sheltered accommodation and an access road from the High Street to Castle Court and to the public car park on land leased from the Natwest Bank. The owners of 8 High Street were granted an accessway from that new road into their property. In 1971 the portion of the land not used for Castle Court was sold to Gloucestershire County Council for £9, 218 to enable the John Grooms Housing Association to build their home for people with physical disabilities.
On 30th September 1964 ‘The Antique Shop’ was put up for sale auction under the instructions of Claude Stuart Browning who was retiring from the business after 14 years.
The Cottles – the 1970 electoral register shows Barry and Patricia Cottle were living there. When Sir George White bought the property about 1972, he recalls he bought it from a man named Sargisson who was a Bristol business man and that the Cottles were his daughter and son-in-law. Barry Cottle was an architect and Patricia ran a clothes shop at 8 High Street. We think they sold children’s clothing.
In the 1970’s the shop was given the name of ‘The Tudor House‘ but we’re not sure at what stage, or by whom, it was given that name.
Sir George White – about 1972 Sir George bought the property and set up a shop selling clocks. He was the great-grandson of Sir George White who had founded the Bristol Aeroplane Company at Filton. Sir George is a member of The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, a past Master of that Company and, at the time of writing, was the current Keeper of their Museum located at The Guildhall in the City of London. Although his home is in Rudgeway he was very interested in the building. He suspected that the northern end of the building was the original part and that the butchers’ shop was perhaps an eighteenth century addition. He recalled finding thatchers’ pins so concluded that the building must have been originally thatched. Sir George also remembered that he was told a story about how the gates were taken down during the last War and buried in an orchard, so that no-one could take them for the War effort.
In more recent times the shop was used for a short time by Ivor Moncrieffe for the sale of heating equipment and radiators and it then became an Indian restaurant, trading under the name of the Moghul Shamrat. This closed in 2016.