Number 17 Horseshoe Lane was one of a block of four terraced cottages. We have been frustrated by the difficulty in obtaining any photographs of these properties. We have one small image on the page covering the history of the row – click on the link above to see this image.
We have been given a good description of the houses by Win Jenkins (nee Webb) who was brought up in one of them as a child. Click here to read Win’s description
We don’t know when the houses were built. In the 1840 Tithe Survey, the houses were part of Plot 133 which also included the four similar houses in Rock Street referred to above. All these houses were owned by Mary Wilkes. Number 17 was occupied by Thomas Elton.
Thomas Elton – Thomas is a bit of an enigma. He is listed as being an occupant of the row of houses in the 1840 Tithe Survey.His name however does not appear anywhere in Horseshoe Lane in the 1841 census and we have been unable to find him elsewhere in Thornbury at that time or later. There is also sign of him in the church and other records we have researched. It is possible that the house was vacant at the time of the 1841 census and that it was occupied in 1845 by Thomas Mills, a journeyman mason when the owner of the houses, Mary Wilkes, made her will.
Thomas Longman – in 1861 the house appears occupied by Thomas Longman an agricultural labourer aged 33 and his wife, Maria, 32 and their children: Thomas aged 10, Samuel aged 7 and Henry aged 2. Thomas was baptised on 20th March 1830, the son of William Longman, a labourer and his wife, Maria who lived at Crossways. On 21st July 1850 Thomas married Maria Gough. Maria was baptised on 15th December 1829, the daughter of George Gough, a labourer and his wife, Jane who lived at Crossways.
In 1851 Thomas and Maria had been living in Back Street. Living with them were their son, Thomas aged 3 months and Maria’s brother, Job Gough, an agricultural labourer aged 23. Thomas and Maria had children: Thomas baptised on 13th October 1852, Samuel baptised on 6th July 1856, Henry baptised on 4th September 1859. Anna Maria was born on 19th October 1861 and baptised on 17th June 1865 – she must have died because there is another baptism of a daughter called Anna Maria on 6th June 1869. The parents of this second baptism are shown as Thomas and Maria which is interesting because Maria died and was buried on 25th March 1866 aged 36 years. It is possible that this Maria had died at the time of Anna Maria’s birth and that she wasn’t baptised until a few years later.On 26th June 1870 Thomas re-married – his second wife, Edith Gough, was his widow’s sister-in-law. Edith had been born in Cheltenham about 1823, the daughter of William Lanfear. She had married George Gough in 1851 and he had died on 9th July 1865 aged 43 years. The 1871 census shows Thomas and Edith now living in Gillingstool. Living with them were Thomas’s children, Thomas a labourer aged 11 and Anna Maria aged 9, and Edith’s children, Mary aged 10 and Edith aged 6 and two lodgers. Thomas and Edith were still in Gillingstool Road in 1881 with Anna Maria now a domestic servant aged 19 and five visitors. In 1891 Thomas and Edith had Thomas’s son, Henry, now a general labourer aged 31 living with them. Thomas died in 1895 aged 68 years. Edith died in 1900 aged 76.
James Smith – in 1871 the house appears occupied by James Smith, a labourer aged 58 and his wife, Sarah aged 40. Sarah was born in Redwick and Northwick. James was born about 1818, the son of John Smith, a labourer and his wife, Sarah. In 1851 James had been an agricultural labourer aged 34 living in Raglan Castle in Upper Bath Road (then referred to as ‘Back Street’) with his widowed mother, Sarah, and widowed sister, Harriett Gough and her seven children. In 1841 Harriett had been living in Marylands with William Gough, her husband, and five of the children. Click here to read about the Goughs
On 13th March 1858 James married Sarah Beale, the daughter of William Price, a farmer. Sarah was a widow, her first husband, Edwin Beale, had died in 1855 aged 32 years. Edwin was a labourer and he and Sarah had two children: Orlando baptised on 20th April 1853 and Eliza Price Beale baptised on 23rd July 1855. In 1861 James and Sarah were living with Orlando and Eliza Beale in the house which became known as 4 Upper Bath Road (but at the time was referred to as ‘Ragland Road’). It seems that James died in Bristol Infirmary in 1872 and was buried in Thornbury on 2nd June 1872.
Sarah died and was buried on 24th January 1873 whilst living at the Thornbury Union Workhouse. We have found one other record which is worth mentioning. There was the death of a baby Sarah Smith buried on 4th October 1873. Little Sarah was 9 months old and it is just possible that she was the daughter of Sarah Smith and that the mother may have died in child-birth in January 1873. However the baby’s abode at the time of death was ‘Travelling Cart, Oldbury Lane’. However, it may be that this baby has nothing to do with the James and Sarah Smith who lived in Horseshoe Lane.
William Curtis – the 1885, 1887 and 1890 rate books list the name of William Curtis as the tenant of the house. There were several people with that name living in the area around that time and we don’t know which William lived here.
Luke Dixon – in 1891 the house was occupied by Luke Dixon, a general labourer aged 31 from Newport, Gloucestershire and his wife, Jemima aged 34 born in Nettleton. They had children: Mark aged 18 born in Surrey, Ada aged 16 born in Newport, Glos, Julia aged 13 born in Hereford, Sidney aged 12 born in Crossways, Athelina aged 10 born in Acton Lane, Yate, Martha aged 7 born in Rudgeway and Maurice aged 1 born in Stanwell, Middlesex. These details show that the Dixon family were fairly mobile! Click here to read more
Edward Wilkes – the 1899 rate book shows that Edward Wilkes was living there. The 1901 census shows he had moved away and was now living in a 3 roomed house in Blakes Avenue (now called Crispin Lane). Edward was born about 1859, the son of George Wilkes, an agricultural labourer from Duckhole and his wife Maria. Edward also became a farm labourer and in 1881 he was working at Kingsweston Marsh, a large farm in the Henbury area of Bristol. We haven’t traced the marriage, and not been able to trace them in the 1891 census. In 1901 when they were living in Blakes Avenue, Edward is shown as a timber merchant labourer aged 41 living with Laura aged 40 from Rockhampton and their children: Charles aged 14, Elizabeth aged 10, Edward aged 4 and George aged 3 weeks.
John Screen – in 1901 the house appears occupied by John Screen, a general labourer aged 41, from Oldbury on Severn, his wife, Sarah Ann aged 40 from Halmore near Berkeley and Charles Ball, stepson, an errand boy aged 14 and Ann L Ball, a stepdaughter aged 3 from Winterbourne. Click here to read more
Mark Dixon – the records of the Council School show Mark was living in Horseshoe Lane in 1908 when three of his children started at the school. Presumably they had returned to Thornbury after a period on the road. At the time of the 1911 census the family were living at 17 Horseshoe Lane. Mark was described as a labourer. The record shows that Mark and Sophia had been married fifteen years and that they had had eight children, two of which had died. The other six were living with them: Robert aged 13, Nellie aged 11, Ethel aged 10, Sidney aged 8, Maudie aged 5 and Nelson aged 1. Sophia died and was buried on 8th April 1911 aged 38. Her address at the time was again given as Horseshoe Lane. Click here to read more
George Cornock – notes in the Wilmot papers indicate that George Cornock was one of the tenants before William Rugman. There is a ‘G. Cornock’ listed as living in Horseshoe Lane in the 1915 and 1916 Prewett’s Directories. We don’t know any more.
William Edward Rugman – we know from Win Webb who grew up as a child in number 15 that ‘Bill’ lived in number 17. The electoral registers show him as living in Horseshoe Lane from 1918 onwards. The notes in the Wilmot documents suggest that William lived in 15 Horseshoe Lane at some time before he moved to number 17. He died in Bristol Royal Infirmary aged 64 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 11th August 1938.
William was born in Thornbury in December quarter 1873. His baptism record of 9th February 1874 shows he was the son of Hannah Rugman. William had a difficult younger life. The 1881 census shows him as an inmate in the workhouse. In 1891 he was a servant at Barbers Court Farm in Cromhall, but by 1901 he was back living at the Workhouse in Thornbury. This census describes William as a sailor.
Win told us that Bill had lost his toes on both feet after suffering from frostbite in Canada. He had special boots made to fit on the remaining stumps. Bill worked as a nightwatchman lighting the oil lamps used to mark the various trenches being dug around the town for the laying of water mains and sewers. Bill had no immediate family and he lived alone. He was looked after by Win’s mother, Jane Webb. She did his washing and cooking and cleaned his house. He allowed Jane to make use of his spare room to sleep some of her children as her own house was rather cramped for space. When Bill died, he left Jane his china and other things and Jane took the opportunity to rent number 17 as well as number 15 to overcome her space problems!
The Webbs and the Whites – after Bill Rugman died, the house was occupied by Harry G and Jane White who were already occupying the house next door. Jane had married Harry following the death of her husband, Henry. Number 15 was a little too small for the two of them and all the Webb children, although some of these were moving out as they were getting married or working away from Thornbury. They continued to occupy both houses until they were required to move to allow the houses to be demolished when Jane was provided with a council house in Stafford Crescent. Click here to read more