The above photo shows The Anchor at Morton in the early 1960s. Note the house on the right of the pub stood on the other side of the mill pond and was called Morton Villa.
We are unsure about the origins of the Anchor in Morton. The 1840 Tithe Survey lists the building as Plot number 865 owned by John Honeyborne and the 1841 Census shows there was a pub there at that time run by Samuel Walker.
It seems likely that there was a pub in that area a lot earlier.
THE BLUE ANCHOR
In his book on Thornbury Pubs, George Ford, a local pub historian, wrote that ‘The earliest record of this inn appears in the tithe survey of 1696 when it was known as the Blue Anchor. A link to this early name is maintained today with the blue anchor painted on the north wall of the inn. As there appears to be no break in trading from 1696 the Anchor has the second longest historical lineage of the Thornbury pubs, and probably the longest in one building as the steps in the chimneys indicate that the roof was at one time thatched”. (Note – the blue anchor has been removed from the north wall).
We think there may have been a break in trading during a 30 year period in the mid 1800’s. The property was only described as being a pork butchers during this period and there is no record of it being a beerhouse or pub.
The 1696 Tithe Terrier for Thornbury refers to ‘the lands of William Raymond gent consisting of the closes belonging to the blew Anchor by estimacon about four acres bounded North by the lane leading to Lower Moorton East by the streete leading from Moorton to Woolfords bridge South by Thomas Hooper’s land and West by Thornbury Parkes have time out of mind paid tythe hay to the Parsonage’.
We believe the closes referred to above mean that they were at the junction with what is now known as Butt Lane. The 1840 Tithe Survey and sales notices dated 1879 were still referring to this land as ‘Anchor Leaze’.
A Rate Roll for Morton dated 1754 shows that Mrs Hester Raymond was paying the rates for the Anchor. Hester Raymond died in 1764 and in her will she ‘gave and devised her freehold messuage or tenement called the Blew Anchor’ to Elizabeth Manning’. Elizabeth appears to have been born in Berkeley in 1735 and married William Wickham of Wapley in 1765. We have no evidence so far that she ever lived in Thornbury or its immediate area.
Elizabeth was one of the grand-daughters of Hester’s late husband, William Raymond, Esquire. The Blew Anchor was described as ‘wherein one William Osborn now lives with the barn, stable, garden, orchard and a close of ground thereto adjoining and belonging containing by estimation about seven acres.’
ORIGIN OF THE NAME
The use of the name ‘anchor’ in connection with inland pubs has created some interest. We can’t be sure why it was called by that name. It is possible that at one time Morton might have been connected to the Severn by navigable waterway although that seems very unlikely when you look at the stream today. There are also suggestions that the name stem from religious origins. An anchorite was another name for a hermit. Blue was symbolic of Hope and in an religious context the anchor was also used as a symbol for Hope.
The earliest reference we have found to the pub being called the ‘Anchor’ is a newspaper dated 1873. From that time onwards there are a variety of sales notices and census records calling it the Anchor.
THE BEERHOUSE (PART ONE)
The 1840 Tithe Survey certainly shows the building as Plot 865 owned by John Honeyborne and the 1841 census shows there was a pub there at that time run by Samuel Walker. We have included an extract of the Tithe Map to show the various plots in the area. Note the size of the Mill Pond (Plot 868) at that time.
John Honeyborne owned the property which was being used as a pub in 1841, but he lived next door in Plot 864 a property which he also owned. We believe that this building was later known as ‘Anchor Cottage’ which was part of the Anchor’s property when it was being sold in 1879 and continued to be owned by the brewery when they took over ownership of the pub. It was inhabited up to the 1950s but then it was demolished. The site of the cottage is currently being used as the pub’s petanque court.
The 1841 census shows John Honeyborne was a mason aged 53 and he was living with his wife, Sophia aged 40 and Henry aged 15, Ann aged 13, John aged 12 and Martha aged 9 and Sarah Watkins aged 20.
John died in 1849 and the 1851 census shows the property was taken over by John’s mother-in-law, Ann Ball, together with her son, Thomas Watkins and John’s son, Henry Honeyborne, who were both pig butchers. Click here to read more about the Honeyborne family
Samuel Walker was listed in the 1840 Tithe Survey as the occupant of Plot 865, a property owned by John Honeyborne. The map accompanying the survey shows that that plot is where the Anchor is located. The 1841 Census shows Samuel Walker was a publican aged 30 living with Ellen aged 20 and Hugh aged 2 and Annis aged 3 months and Rhoda Allen a female servant aged 15.
Samuel was born in Brighton in the early 1800’s. He was the son of William Walker and his wife, Elizabeth. Both his parents came from Thornbury and William was a thatcher. They returned to Thornbury after Samuel was born.
Records on Ancestry for Littledean House of Correction in the Forest of Dean show that Samuel had got into trouble in 1830. Along with two other Thornbury men (George Tyndall and William Greenwood) he was charged on 4th January 1831 with riot and assault and was imprisoned with hard labour for one month. He was described as being a labourer from the parish of Thornbury and it was noted that he could not read nor write. We suspect the three men had become involved with the Free Miner Riots which were occurring in the Forest of Dean at that time.
We understand that Samuel married Ellen Allen in Bristol St Nicholas Church on 25th March 1832. Ellen was baptised in Oldbury in 1818, the daughter of Lewis Allen, a mariner and his wife, Ann. Samuel and Ellen were living in Sibland when their son John was baptised on 18th March 1838. Samuel was working as a labourer at that time. On 14th July 1838 when their son Hugh was baptised they were living in Crossways and Samuel was a thatcher. Although the 1841 Census shows that Samuel was a publican he was described as a labourer when his daughter, Annis was baptised on 25th July 1841. This record does note he was living in Morton. The baptism of his next daughter, Elizabeth, on 26th October 1842 shows Samuel was a beerhouse keeper at Morton.
We don’t know when Samuel and the family moved away from the Anchor. The 1851 Census shows Samuel was aged 44 and living in Kington with his parents and his son, Hugh. Samuel and his father were working as thatchers and Hugh was a thatcher’s attendant. Ellen was living in Woolaston in Monmouthshire. She was living there with her daughter Annis, four new children all born in Woolaston and her sister Rhoda Allen.
The 1861 Census shows Samuel and Ellen were still living apart. Samuel was living in Eastland Hill, Thornbury with his father and son Lewis. William (aged 87), Samuel (aged 60) and Lewis (aged 13) were all thatchers. Ellen was living in 18 Albert Street, Lydney with two daughters Jane and Blanch. Ellen died aged 45 and was buried in Lydney on 3rd May 1861.
The 1871 census shows Samuel (aged 67) and his son Lewis living in Knapp Road. Both of them were thatchers. We know from newspaper reports that in November 1877 both Samuel and Lewis got into trouble for selling cider without a licence whilst living at Crossways. Samuel was fined £50 with costs of £4 5s 6d and Lewis fined £50 with £1 5s 6d costs. As they were unable to pay this money they were sentenced to 12 months in Gloucester Prison. Samuel died in prison on 31st May 1878. The cause of death was reported as ‘old age and heart disease’.
NOTE – the Gloucestershire Pubs website lists as Ann Lawson as landlord of the Anchor in 1840 and 1841. We have found nothing to confirm this and think this is a mistake. The 1840 Tithe Survey shows Ann living in Plot 786 which is in Crossways near the junction of present Knapp Road and Clay Lane. The 1841 Census also shows her living there. She is described as a publican aged 55 and living with Rosanna Lawson aged 15.
THE PORK BUTCHERS
It appears that there was a period between 1841 and 1869 when the occupants, all members of the Honeyborne family, were described as pork butchers. There was no reference to the Anchor or the Honeybornes in the lists of beer retailers in the Thornbury area.
The 1851 Census shows the property was taken over by John’s mother-in-law, Ann Ball, together with her son, Thomas Watkins and John’s son, Henry Honeyborne, who were both pig butchers.
In 1856 Henry Honeyborne was described in a trade directory as a farmer, grocer and pork butcher. The 1861 census shows Henry and his family still living there. Henry was a pork butcher. Thomas Watkins was still living there but he had retired.
The 1861 inquest into the death of Henry Burchell included eight statements of witnesses of the incident which took place on the Gloucester Road near the mill pond. These statements included many references to ‘Henry Honeyborne’s house’ and even Henry describes it as being ‘near the Mill Pond’. There is no mention of it being the beer house or the Anchor.
THE BEERHOUSE (PART TWO) – THE ANCHOR
The 1870 Kelly’s Directory lists Henry Honeyborne as a beer retailer, grocer and pork butcher at Morton. The 1871 Census describes Henry as a bacon curers shop and beer house and after that there are frequent references to it being the ‘Anchor’.
In January 1876 the Anchor beerhouse licence was transferred from Henry Honeyborne to his son, Thomas Henry Honeyborne. The 1876 Rate Book shows Henry had moved to live in the shop now known as 32 St Mary Street. The 1881 Census shows that Henry was a grocer aged 58 living there with Ann aged 52 and their children. Henry died on 13th April 1883.
In 1879 the Anchor Inn was put up for sale at auction. The sale comprised three lots including the two newly erected cottages two cottages which became known as Millpond Cottages. The lots were described as:
Lot 1 was ‘all that well-accustomed roadside INN known as the Anchor with two capital stables, and loft, two large slaughter houses, piggeries for the accommodation of 30 or 40 pigs, yard, sheds and other outbuildings, productive and warm garden, most advantageously situate at Morton on the main road from Thornbury to Gloucester. The house contains excellent underground bacon and beer cellars, on ground floor: well appointed bar, smoking room, parlour, sitting room, kitchen, pantry, and store-room, on first floor five bedrooms. Adjoining is a brewhouse with necessary requirements for the trade, with an excellent supply of hard and soft water, all under cover. And also all that well-built dwelling house and garden adjoining the Anchor and with frontage to the road leading to the Mill, in the occupation of Mr William Penduck at a yearly rent of £10 per annum’. (We believe that the dwelling house was the one later known as Anchor Cottage).
Lot 2 was ‘All those two newly-erected and substantially-built cottages adjoining Lot 1 and fronting to Church Lane I respective occupations of Messrs Charles Edmunds and Daniel Long at yearly rents amounting in the aggregate to £10 per annum, together with the long and productive garden as now staked out with a good frontage to the main road’. (The two cottages are now known as Millpond Cottages)
Lot 3 was ‘All that piece of land on the Waste, with a Saw-Pit thereon, situate in the Union Lane, immediately in front of and adjoining lands of … Marsh and in the occupation of Mr George Hodges.’
In his book ‘Thornbury Pubs’ George Ford says that ‘the property was sold at auction for £685 to the tenant Henry Honeyborne’. We haven’t seen any confirmation of this but we note the sale in 1883 of the two cottages was arranged ‘on the instruction of the trustees of Henry Honeyborne deceased’. We assume therefore that Henry had bought all the lots in 1879.
In 1879 a brutal murder took place at Pit Pool in Upper Morton. Lucy Derrick, a young single woman from Yatton had walked past the Anchor on the way to Gloucester to meet her young man. She was attacked near Pit Pool by a man with no local connections. He had set out that day carrying a hammer, a razor and two knives with the intention of killing someone. He had stopped at the cottage next to the Anchor and asked Mrs Penduck for a drink of water. It was reported that he had an impulse to kill her but there were several children playing about and he thought they would raise the alarm. Lucy’s body was carried back to the Anchor and then moved to the mortuary attached to the Thornbury Union Workhouse. Click here to read the full story
The 1881 census list Thomas Henry Honeyborne as a butcher and inn keeper and describes the property as ‘The Anchor’.
Thomas Henry continued as licensee of the Anchor until he died aged 70. He was buried on 6th March 1922 when he was still living at the Anchor. Click here to read more about the Honeybornes
It is difficult at this point to trace the ownership of the Anchor. It appears that Thomas Henry Honeyborne did not own the pub for very long, although he continued to live there. The registers of Gloucestershire Licensees held at Gloucestershire Archives shows that James Knapp was the owner in 1882 and then from 1883 to 1892 it was owned by the brewers, H. & A. Perrett. During that period the Anchor was licensed as a beerhouse to sell beer, cider and perry. Its closing time was 10 pm.
In his book ‘Thornbury Pubs’ George Ford said that brewing at the Anchor probably finished about 1879 and that ‘up to 1887 beer was supplied by Perrett’s Bournestream Brewery at Wotton Under Edge. That year Perretts combined with another brewer, Arnolds of Wickwar to form Arnold Perrett & Co, with all brewing being concentrated at Wickwar. Arnold Perrett were taken over by Cheltenham Original Brewery in 1924 by which time the Anchor had lost its free house status and become a tied house. Two further changes of ownership occurred, firstly in 1962 when Whitbread took over and more recently in 2002 when Enterprise Inns became the owners’.