The aerial image above shows the compact group of four small houses at the junction of Horseshoe Lane and Gillingstool. When house numbering was introduced in the early 1950s the houses became known as numbers 1 to 7 Horseshoe Lane. All of them were demolished in the late 1960s to become part of Rock Street Car Park.
All four houses were built on a single property. The oldest house was number 5 and indentures dated 9th & 10th May 1700 show that it had been there a long time before that. The property was described as comprising one burgage and a quarter located ‘at or near unto a place there called Burgage Hill having the highway there leading from the said Town of Thornbury unto a place called Gillingstool on the or nigh the northern side thereof’. This means that the plot of land extended along what is now Gillingstool Hill opposite what became the Baptist Chapel from the top of the road to below the old Council School buildings. We believe that the whole area covered plots 125 to 130 in the image on the left, taken from the 1840 Tithe Survey.
By 1708 number 7 was a newly built brewhouse attached to number 5. This was later converted into a stable and by 1794 had become a house. Number 3 had been built by 1757. We are not sure when the cottage which became number 1 was built.
The 1840 Tithe Survey map on the left shows the four houses on plots 128, 129 and 130 and they also owned the other plots 125 to 127. The two small cottages on Plot 125 were built by Thomas Wise in 1824. They were demolished to enable the Council School to be extended in 1898. At that time these cottages were owned by John Fletcher Trew, an architect and surveyor of Gloucester. The house on Plot 126 became known as Gillingstool Cottage). We are not sure when it was built. Click here to read about Gillingstool Cottage
The earliest owner of the property clearly identified in the abstract was Edward Tayer. There is an entry in the manorial records of a session of the Manor Court of Thornbury held on 11th July 1616 at which Arthur Harvest and his wife Alice, Henry Peirce and his wife Ann and a lady called Cecilia Tayer came to “seek licence to alienate one burgage and a quarter of a burgage to Edward Tayer and give a fine for alienation 2s 6d.” We don’t know if Edward had any connection with the vendors of the property but we suspect that they may have been related and sold their inheritance to Edward.
According to the IGI, Edward was baptised on 26th October 1577 and was the son of John (or Johannes) and Mary nee Roberts. Edward married Katherine Eddys. We know from various sources that Katherine was the daughter of James Eddys (sometimes shown as Eddis) and that in 1594 Katherine inherited from her godmother, Katherine Rippe, the property now known as Wigmore House in Castle Street. We also know that Edward Tayer was a Sergeant at Mace in Thornbury about 1618.
Edward Tayer died before his wife on 5th November 1627 in Thornbury. Katherine died at some time between January 1656 and June 1658. Edward and Katherine had had several children and the property passed to their eldest son, John and his wife, Sarah. Following Sarah’s death the property passed to her eldest son, John. John conveyed the property to his brother, Thomas Tayer. Thomas was a mercer and he lived in Bristol. When he died the property descended to his daughters, Mary, the wife of Christopher Shuter, a grocer in Bristol, and Frances, a spinster. On 9th and 10th May 1700 they sold the property to Thomas Smith who was already living there.
Thomas Smith the elder
The earliest indenture referring to the property is an indenture of lease and release dated the 9th and 10th May 1700. Our understanding of this document is that Thomas Smith, a farrier was buying the property from the Tayer family subject to a mortgage provided by Henry Marsh, yeoman, and Joseph Cannings, butcher, of Thornbury. Thomas and Jane were living in the property at the time of the purchase. The document says that in the event of Thomas’s death, the property was to be left to Thomas’s wife, Jane, and if she should died first to their heirs.
It is interesting that whilst the indentures referred to above clearly show Thomas was a farrier, his will dated 3rd January 1708 clearly shows he was a carrier. We don’t know whether he changed his occupation or there was a mistake in one of the records.
In the will Thomas left all his property for the use of his wife Jane during her lifetime. After her death the property (which later became known as number 5) was to be left to his son, Thomas. They were living at that property in 1708. The ‘newly-built brewhouse (which was later to become number 7) was left to his daughter, Sarah.
At the time of writing his will Thomas described himself as being ‘aged and infirm’. He died and was buried on 27th January 1709/10.
An abstract of title mentions that Jane survived her husband and after her death the property then descended to their son, Thomas Smith the younger. We are not sure when Jane died but it seems to have been before 1715 when Thomas the younger was party to a legal agreement with George Rolph about the property. This is supported by the fact that Jane smith had been listed as paying the poor rate for the property in 1711 but by 1717 Tobias Grundy appears to be the tenant and liable for the poor rate.
Thomas Smith the younger
Thomas was the son of Thomas and Jane Smith. We can’t be sure when he was born. His age at his death in 1759 suggests that it was about 1700, but we are worried about the fact that he was party to a legal agreement about the property in 1715 and when his father left him property in his will in 1708 it was not put in a trust.
The abstract of title mentioned above refers to an indenture dated 6th June 1757. We believe that the indenture relates to another change of mortgagee. It shows that by this time Thomas had possession of his parents property, that he was working as a carrier and his wife was Sarah.
The property was now being described as ‘two messuages two gardens one orchard and common of pasture with appurtenances in Thornbury’ and that they were occupied by Thomas Smith and Thomas Gough. It also refers to ‘the new built brewhouse and stable and that part of the garden descending from the corner of said brewhouse directly straight by the pathside to the bottom of the said garden on the eastward side thereof part of the said messuage or tenement garden and appurtenances’.
We believe that this means Thomas had built another house in lower end of his garden and this house later became known as 3 Horseshoe Lane. The brewhouse adjoining his own house which was built by his father before 1708 was later converted into a stable and then into the cottage which became known as 7 Horseshoe Lane.
We know from the abstract that Sarah died before Thomas as when Thomas died the property was left to his only child, Ann who had by that time married Timothy Child. We suspect therefore that Thomas’s burial was the one which took place in Thornbury on 25th July 1759 when according to the record of his burial on Scribes Alcove he was aged 59. Thomas appears to have died intestate and Sarah was granted administration of his estate on 20th August 1759.
Ann was the daughter, and only child, of Thomas Smith the younger and his wife, Sarah. According to her age at death, Ann was born about 1730. On 20th May 1758 Ann married Timothy Child at Thornbury St Marys Church. He was the son of John Child of Thornbury and was younger than Ann having been baptised on 30th May 1737. Timothy was a schoolmaster. Timothy and Ann had at least five children. Their first three were baptised at Frampton Cotterell where the family appear to have lived for a time: Ann baptised on 4th May 1760, Hester baptised on 23rd August 1761 and John baptised on 23rd August 1764. John died on 28th September 1764. He was buried in Thornbury although the family were still living at Frampton Cotterell at that time.
The 1769 Poor Assessment listing for Thornbury shows that Timothy and Ann had moved to Thornbury and taken over the property inherited from her father (referred to in the listing as ‘late Smiths’). They had two more children baptised in Thornbury: Charlotte was baptised on 5th January 1770 and Thomas Smith Child was born on 31st October 1772 and baptised on 6th December 1772. The baptism record for Charlotte describes Timothy as a ‘writing master’ and at Thomas’s baptism as a ‘schoolmaster’.
Timothy died aged 41 on 19th June 1778. Ann died on 4th April 1794 aged 64. They were both buried in St Marys Church and their grave is still visible in the churchyard there today.
In her will written in 1794, Ann Child bequeathed her three properties to her son and the two eldest daughters. She only left her daughter Charlotte her silver shoe buckles and a bed. Charlotte married Thomas Day on 3rd August 1792 and had a son baptised Thomas Day Child on 8th August 1792. After that the family appeared to have moved and had several more children baptised in Winterborne or Stapleton. Ann left to her son, Thomas Smith Child, ‘all that messuage or tenement wherein I now dwell’. We believe this house later became known 5 Horseshoe Lane. Her daughter, Ann Child, (the wife of Jesse Cossham) was left the ‘small tenement or dwelling house (formerly a stable) where Betty Bedggood doth now inhabit’ for her natural life, but after her death the property was to given to Ann’s daughter, Ann Child Cossham and her heirs. We believe this to be the house which later became number 7 Horseshoe Lane. Click here to read about 5 & 7 Horseshoe Lane
Ann left her daughter, Hester Child, another ‘small tenement or dwelling house wherein Joseph Gough the elder deceased for many years inhabited and James Wetmore doth now dwell’. We believe this refers to the house which later became the Old School House or 3 Horseshoe Lane. Click here to read about 3 Horseshoe Lane
Thomas Smith Child
Thomas was born in 1772 and at the time of his mother’s death in 1794 he was the only surviving son of Ann Child. He was left the house where his mother lived later known as 5 Horseshoe Lane. A family tree on the Ancestry website shows Thomas married Rebecca Maggs at St Michaels Church in Winterborne on 20th June 1795. Thomas and Mary had two children, Mary Anne born on 1st April 1796 and baptised on 27th April 1796 and Thomas Smith Child born on 17th December 1797.
Thomas died on 27th July 1799 aged 27. In his will dated 8th July 1799 he was described as a schoolmaster, thus following in his father’s footsteps. He left his property to Rebecca for her life and then after her decease to their son, Thomas Smith Child. The land tax records suggest that Rebecca continued living in the house until 1812, but then she appears to have returned to live in Winterborne, at least she was buried there on 11th April 1813 aged 36. The Gloucester Journal of 3rd May 1813 reported the death of Rebecca Child then aged 37 “at her sister’s house at White’s Hill near Winterbourne, after a long and severe affliction of two years”.
The 1819 land tax indicates that Rebecca’s son, Thomas Smith Child, took over the ownership of the house. By 1821 Thomas Wise had become the owner. We are not sure how the transfer of property took place. Thomas Wise had married Ann Child Cossham, one of Thomas Smith Child’s cousins and they were expecting to inherit the adjoining property (number 5). We assume that Thomas Smith Child had given up the property when he moved to India. Thomas Smith Child was appointed as Assistant Surgeon in East India Company on 21st February 1820 and sailed to Calcutta that year on SS Cerebus. He married Harriett Gascoigne on 30th December 1828 in Delhi. He retired on 6th May 1833 and returned to London where he continued as a surgeon. Thomas and Harriett had five children all born in the UK. He retired to live in Ellerncroft House, Wotton Under Edge and died there on 25th March 1888.
Thomas and Ann Wise
Ann Child Cossham was born in 1791. In 1794 her grandmother, Ann Child, left her a property (7 Horseshoe Lane) to be given to Ann following the death of her mother, Ann Cossham. In 1796 Ann was left another property (32 High Street) by Ann Davis, her father’s married sister.
On 22nd June 1816 Ann married Thomas Wise, a plasterer and tiler. The couple agreed to an Act of Settlement signed on the day before the wedding that the property which Ann had inherited was put in trust to ensure Ann continued to have control of the property after the marriage. In the event she sold 32 High Street in April 1819 for £390. We are speculating but it is possible that Ann used this money to buy 5 Horseshoe Lane, the property adjoining the one she was expecting to inherit on the death of her mother. Her mother died in 1824 at which time Thomas and Ann Wise owned both 5 and 7 Horseshoe Lane.
An Indenture dated 21st July 1824 shows that initially two small cottages were being erected on garden land separated off from adjoining property owned by Thomas Wise. One of the parties in mentioned on the indenture was the carpenter, George Cossham, so we’re guessing that he may have worked with Thomas, a plasterer and tiler, on developing the property. We assume that these cottages were the two on Gillingstool Hill which were later demolished to enable the Council School to be extended. Click here to read about these cottages
Thomas and Ann continued to own these and other adjoining properties and to live in 5 Horseshoe Lane until their deaths. Click here to read about Thomas and Ann Wise