Poultrybrook Farm once stood on land below what is now Daggs Allotments at the top of the High Street in Thornbury. The farm was demolished and the land eventually incorporated into Mundy Playing Fields.
This page provides a history of the families who occupied the farm as tenants. Click here to read about the history of the farm and the families who owned it
Robert Baylis (sometimes Bayliss)
Robert was born in Thornbury about 1804. Although he appears to be the younger son of Benjamin Baylis we have not found his baptism record to confirm this. Robert was a carrier and haulier. In the 1841 census Robert was working in this occupation and living with his wife and Mary in Poultry Brook Cottage in Thornbury. We suspect that Robert and Mary married in St Stephen’s Church in Bristol on 20th September 1828 and that her maiden name was Mary Merrett.
In the 1851 census Robert was described as a ‘hallier’ aged 46. Mary was aged 45 and born in Wellington in Somerset. We think that her age given in this census is incorrect as it varies from her age given in other sources.
In 1861 Robert was aged 56 and lived in Poultry Brook Lane with his wife Mary then aged 60. Mary died aged 68 and was buried in St Mary’s Church in Thornbury on 29th December 1867.
In 1871 the census shows that Robert Baylis was living alone in Poultry Brook Cottage and that he was a widower. In the 1881 census Robert was a haulier aged 77. He was living with his “nephew” Albert Baylis who was aged 21 and a carrier. We believe that Albert Baylis was in fact a great nephew and the son of Robert’s nephew Henry Baylis. Robert died aged 83 and was buried in Thornbury on 30th August 1887. Click here to read more about the Baylis family
The 1891 census shows Poultry Brook Cottage was occupied by Charles Cornock a labourer aged 18 born in Thornbury living with his wife Elizabeth aged 23 born in Cowhill. We have written more about Charles and his family when they were living at 8 Chapel Street – click here to read more
Rowland Walter Henry Carter
Rowland and his family lived at Poultry Brook for about 45 years from the early 1890’s.
Rowland was born in Wotton-under-Edge in September 1867. He was the son of William Carter, a labourer, and his wife, Hester (nee Gardiner). (Note William and Hester had another child whom they named Rowland born in 1865 but he died as an infant). ‘Walter Henry Rowland’ was baptised on 13th March 1870 at Wotton St Mary’s Church. William was recorded as being a gardener living at Bradley Road. In the 1871 census the family lived at Adrian Acre, Wotton Under Edge. By the 1881 census the family was in Bradley Street, Wotton Under Edge. William was employed as a gardener and Rowland had begun work as a grocer’s boy.
On 30th March 1891, Rowland married Elizabeth Williams at St Mary’s church in Almondsbury. The 1891 Census shows them living in 9 Gloucester Road and Rowland was employed as a letter carrier (an early name for a postman). Elizabeth was aged 24 and born in Almondsbury.
Shortly after 1891 Rowland and Elizabeth moved to Poultrybrook. He is listed as living there in the 1893 electoral register. Rowland and Elizabeth had several children: William John baptised on 1st January 1893, Hester born on 13th June 1895 and baptised on 12th July 1895, Frederick George born on 22nd November 1898 and baptised on 1st January 1899, Alice Grace born on 27th March 1900 and baptised on 6th May 1900 Charles born on 29th November 1902 and Richard born on 3rd May 1905.
Rowland retired from service after 38 years as a postman in Thornbury in October 1928. The newspaper said “his somewhat massive figure had become a familiar sight in the town.” For the last four years of his service he had driven the mail van to and from Tockington and Charfield.
Rowland and Elizabeth carried on living at Poultrybrook up to the time of their deaths. Elizabeth died on 2nd March 1929 aged 62 and Rowland died on 13th July 1936 aged 68.
Rowland’s obituary printed in the Western Daily Press on 17th July 1936 mentions he had been a postman for over 40 years, had been a member of the parish council for 17 years and was also a member of the Town Trust and a keen horticulturist.
They are buried in Thornbury Cemetery. Their grave also provides a memorial to their elder son, William John, who was killed in France on 10th November 1918, two days before the signing of the Armistice. He was aged 26, the husband of Ruby E. Carter (nee Brindle) of Park Lodge, Fairford.
Of Rowland and Elizabeth’s children,
- Hester (also known as ‘Hetty’) born on 13th June 1895 and baptised on 12th July 1895. She obtained a free place from the Council School to the Grammar School for 4 years in September 1908 although she left in May 1910 to take up dressmaking. Hester married Walter Thomas Jesse Noyce in Thornbury St Marys Church on 17th February 1916. There is a photo of the wedding above. At the time Walter was a corporal from St Maurice, Winchester, Hants. He was aged 22 and the son of William Ernest Noyce, a carpenter. Walter had being serving in Mons where he was wounded in his arm and sent back to England. Walter and Hester had a son, Reginald Walter born on 9th May 1917 and he died 9th November 1928. The Gazette of November 17th 1928 said that Reginald Walter Noyce had died of diphtheria at Mangotsfield Isolation Hospital. The article said that Reginald had been brought up by his grandparents and “by reason of his winsome disposition was a general favourite.” We discovered that Walter and Hester separated for some unknown reason by 1921 when Reginald started at the Council Infants School in Thornbury. His guardian was noted as his grandmother, Mrs E. Carter. Walter appears to have gone to Australia and he remarried in Sydney in 1933. Hester was living at Glentor in Gloucester Road, Alveston in 1939. She was described as a ‘travelling companion’. She re-married in 1940. Her second husband was Percival Clarence Hollands and it appears that they continued living at Glentor. Hester died on 12th August 1970.
- Frederick George died on 6th November 1906 aged 7.
- Richard (also known as ‘Dick’) was born on 3rd May 1905. He obtained a free place awarded by the Bristol Education Committee, initially for 4 years but it was extended for another year. He left the 6th Form in July 1922 having obtained qualifications in Cambridge Junior and Senior exams. He went on to attend ‘Bristol T.C.’ in September 1922. In the 1939 register created in reparation for the war Richard was a schoolmaster living in Coaley in Gloucestershire with his wife, Katherine H. Richard was also acting as an ARP specialising in first aid.
- William John – was born on 9th November 1892 and baptised on 1st January 1893. The 1911 Census shows him living with his parents. He was working as an apprentice saddler and harness maker. In October 1916 he applied for exemption from military service. He was working as a bread delivery man for A.E. Thompsons, the bakers who claimed he would be unable to deliver his bread to the people without William. The application suggest he had already been rejected on medical grounds, but his application was refused, although it was noted that he should be called up until 30th December 1916. In 1917 he married Ruby E. Brindle in the Cirencester area. His service record shows he had started with the Gloster Regiment, but was with the 33rd Battalion Machine Gun Corps when he was killed on 10th November 1918. He was buried at Caudry Cemetery near Cambrai.
Charlie was born on 29th November 1902. He became a well known personality in Thornbury and worked for a time as a projectionist at the Town’s cinema, the Picture House. At the time of the 1939 register created in preparation for the war Charlie was living with his sisters, Alice Carter and Hester Noyce at Glentor, Gloucester Road, Alveston. Charlie was described as a ‘Cinematograph Operator’. He was also working as an ARP messenger. His photo is shown on the right. Charlie never married and died on 27th June 1960 aged 57.
- Alice Grace was born on 27th March 1900 and baptised on 6th May 1900. In 1939 she was living with brother Charlie and sister Hester at Glentor, Gloucester Road, Alveston. She remained unmarried and she died on 21st September 1964 aged 64.
‘FARMER ONE COW’
In 1939 register Poultrybrook Farm was occupied by George Henry Gray a farmer and smallholder and his wife Lucy Gray. George and Lucy were listed there in the 1938 and 1946 electoral registers.
George was born on 25th March 1901. We don’t know where George came fro but when he married in 1931 George’s parish was given as Compton Greenfield. Locally George became known as ‘Farmer One Cow’ and even 75 years after he lived there this nickname is still being used to refer to George long after people have forgotten his real name!
In 1931 George married Lucy Williams in Thornbury. She was born in Olveston on 10th February 1906. She was the daughter of Edgar Williams and his wife Mary Ann. They had one son, Frank Henry, born on 11th May 1932. The records of the Council School show George was living in ‘Polterbrook’ when Frank started at the Infants School in 1937. From there he advanced to the Upper School but in 1944 he transferred to the National School (St Mary’s School). He left that school in 1946 to start work.
In 1954 Lucy died aged 47. She was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 8th January 1954. In the electoral register of that year George and Frank were listed as living in ‘1 Back Eastland Avenue’. Frank married Esme Pincott in 1957 and by the time of 1958 electoral register George and Frank had moved away from Thornbury.