This property stands in Bristol Road on the outskirts of Thornbury on the entrance to the town from Bristol near to the Thornbury Leisure Centre.
The house is a Grade II Listed Building. Linda Hall in her book ‘The Rural Houses of North Avon and South Gloucestershire’ (1983) says the building is probably of 16th Century origin. An octagonal stair turret was added in the seventeenth century and in 1898 a service range was added to the south east and the front door was moved to the stair turret. The ‘service range’ became a separate property by the early 1950s and was called ‘South Grange’.
As the property was outside of the Borough of Thornbury in the Tything of Kington we had to look outside our usual sources for information. Our knowledge of the property is derived from the Manor Court Rent Rolls and Land Tax and Poor Assessment records for Kington (copied at Gloucester Record Office) and other documents in the ‘Haynes Collection’ at Bristol Archives.
The records show that the property had several names in the course of its history. In earlier records up until the late 1700s it was referred to as ‘Gilberts’ derived from the name of the man who owned the property in the 1600s. In the 1830s the name of ‘Thornbury Farm’ was used and that name appears on the 1840 Tithe Map.
The 1840 Tithe Appointment records includes a list of ancient gardens in Thornbury area where it was agreed to pay the tithe in the form of hay or gardens and fruit in lieu of a cash payment. There is one record showing the landowner as ‘Haynes’ who had an ancient garden called ‘Gilberts’.
Thornbury Farm was used through the 1800s (although it was sometimes referred to as ‘The Farm’ and in the 1851 census as ‘Townsend Farm’).
When the Mundy family acquired the property around 1898 they introduced the name of ‘The Grange’ although many of the subsequent records still refer to it as The Farm. The Grange was still being used in the 1965 electoral register, although it has become ‘Thornbury Grange’ in more modern times.
Our history of the property starts with the 1696 Tithe Terrier which shows that the property had previously been in the possession of John Gilbert.
We know very little about John Gilbert. The Gilbert family may have been a very ancient one in Thornbury. A Robert Gilbert was chaplain to the Duke of Buckingham and gave evidence against him to Henry VIII and there are Gilberts appearing as godparents in the early baptism records.
He was described as a ‘Gentleman’ when he was listed amongst the copyhold and customary tenants in the new articles of agreement for the customs of the Manor of Thornbury that were drawn up in 1670.
On 21st November 1671 John Gilbert and his wife Elizabeth appeared in the Thornbury Court Baron where they surrendered land in Oldbury. At a later date they surrendered other land in Falfield to their daughter, Mary.
John Gilbert was buried on 21st July 1685. A daughter, Elizabeth, was baptized on the same day as John was buried. We note that there are two burials of Elizabeth Gilbert, one on 12th November 1685, the other on 29th December 1689. We don’t know which of these relates to the mother and which to the daughter.
During the next 350 years four families dominated the history of the house, the Hawksworths, the Haynes, the Groves and the Mundys:
The Hawksworth family
The 1696 Tithe Terrier shows Richard Hawksworth acquired the property previously owned by John Gilbert. Richard and his descendents continued to own it for until 1771. Click here to read about the Hawksworths
The Haynes family
The Haynes family inherited the property in 1771 through connections to the Hawksworth family. They owned the property for 80 years but they never lived there. Click here to read more
The Grove family
The Groves lived there as tenants for about 80 years from about 1780. In 1863 they took over the ownership until 1881. When it was sold there were 50 acres of pasture, orchard and garden attached to the house. Click here to read about the Groves
By indenture dated 1st April 1881 the property was assigned to Elizabeth Gwynn, spinster of Clifton, subject to a mortgage of £1100.
Elizabeth was born in 1821, the daughter of Thomas Gwynn, solicitor and his wife, Margaret who lived in Porch House in Castle Street. Elizabeth never married. She stayed living with her parents in Castle Street until at least the 1861 census. By 1871 she had moved to live in Clifton, initially in Brighton Road, then in Merchants Road.
Elizabeth Gwynn died in the Clifton area in 1895 aged 73. The Farm passed to her nephew Humphrey Thomas Martin Crowther Gwynn solicitor and the son of John Crowther Gwynn and his wife, Maria. In April 1896 the property was put up for sale at auction. The sales notice described the property as a ‘Pleasure Farm’, and ‘it might easily be converted into a Gentleman’s residence’.
The property was bought by Geraldine Mundy of Thornbury for her son Basil and his wife Violet. Above we have a photograph of Violet Mundy outside her home welcoming the Hun. Mrs Mundy was an accomplished horsewoman and a very enthusiastic member of the hunt for many years. Both Basil and Violet Mundy were important members of Thornbury life and when Violet died in 1943 she gifted land to the Town to be used as playing fields – now known as the Mundy Playing Fields. Click here to read about the Mundys
In February 1944 Mrs Mundy’s property was put up for sale. It included The Farm and Vilner Farm. Amongst the details of the property provided to attract a buyer the property included five principal bedrooms and dressings rooms and three smaller ones, an air raid shelter, nine horse boxes, a garage with space for five cars and buildings to tie seven cows.
James A. Brown – we know from the 1946 rate book and a sales notice that the next owner as James Brown who seems to have been known as ‘Sandy’. He was a seed merchants trading in Bridge Street Bristol as ‘Brown’s Seeds’. His company was blitzed in 1940 at 39 Bridge Street and had to move to 20 Bridge Street. In 1949 one of the agricultural outbuildings was converted into a ‘superior architect-designed bungalow or lodge’. Sandy put the property up for sale in 1951.
We don’t know much about subsequent owners. The 1957 rate book shows that J. G. Parkes owned and occupied The Grange, A.U. Montgomery owned and occupied South Grange and A. H. Marshall owned and occupied the bungalow (then referred to as The Farm).