St John’s Cross. It does look very likely that the area of Pullins Green was once known as ‘St. Johns Cross’. We have found several references to this place. An indenture of 1824, for example, refers to “a street or highway leading from Bells Cross or The Plain aforesaid to Saint Johns Cross and commonly called Saint John Street”. It is not clear exactly where St John’s Cross is but it sounds as though it should be Pullins Green or the top of Gillingstool.
When we learnt about this name, we wondered whether it was the name of a crossroads or a standing cross. We have now discovered an earlier reference to St John’s Cross in the summary of deeds of The Crispin which refer to the fact the property now known as Crispin House stood ‘neare unto a place called or known by the name of St Johns Crosse or neare unto a place where St Johns Crosse heretofore stood’. The date of this document was August 1683 which implies that a standing cross had been removed by that time, so it must be very old. We have since been told that very old crosses like these were where people met for preaching in the open air. They tended to be demolished during the Reformation which might explain what happened here. We hope to find out more about this interesting topic.
‘Pullins Green‘ as a name is a relatively modern concept. The earliest reference to Pullins Green in a census was in 1861. Even this only refers to ‘Pullins Green’ in the enumerator’s route description, the houses are listed under St John Street. Previously Pullins Green was just part of St John Street linking the centre of Thornbury to Grovesend via Gillingstool.
It is not known how the area got the name ‘Pullins’, and it is often spelled as ‘Pullens’ or as on the postcard produced above as ‘Pullings’. Various suggestions are made on the origin of the name, but none as far as we know are supported by any documentary evidence. We would like to know if any exists! One theory is that it had a pump and a trough and so was the area where horses “pulled in” for refreshment. Another theory is that it was named after a resident of the Green who used to look after the area and keep it tidy and litter free, but we have found no records of a ‘Pullen’ or ‘Pullin’ before the name was first used for the Green.
We understand that the centre of the area was once indeed a ‘green’, but in living memory it has been covered by rough ground and tarmac. The image above shows the water tap which was located immediately in front of Liddiatt’s shop (now the fish and chip shop).
Of the houses in the area, those numbered 5-13 odd and 2-12 (even) are the oldest. All these were built before the time of the 1840 Tithe Survey.
Victoria Terrace. The houses now numbered 15 – 23 (odd) were built by George Hodges and his family about 1870. This terrace was named ‘Victoria Terrace’ but the name has not been used for some time. Read more about the early history of Victoria Terrace.
The two houses now numbered 1 and 3 were built by James Albert Hodges, the son of George Hodges in 1905.
The house now numbered 25 Pullins Green was built after the 1891 census.