go to history of the house

Joseph Amos – an indenture of 31st July 1831 shows that when Charles Ford sold 11 and 13 Pullins Green, the house which later became known as 11 Pullins Green was described as a “messuage or tenement with the cooperage and outlet to the same adjoining and belonging also situate at the corner of Mutton Lane in the occupation of Joseph Amos cooper.”  The Thornbury Land Tax Records from 1823 to 1828 show that Joseph Amos was then living in a property owned by Thomas Wetmore that may have been in St Mary Street.  From about 1829 to about 1832 the Land Tax confirms that he lived in what is now 11 Pullins Green.

By 1841 the census shows that Joseph Amos a cooper and his wife Mary had moved away from Thornbury to Wickwar where they were living with their six children.  It is possible that they had had other children.  The records of what is now the United Reformed Church show the burial of Samuel Amos aged 2 years and 9 months on 30th March 1826.  Although we have not confirmed a connection another son also called Joseph Amos may have remained in Thornbury as a lodger.  The 1841 Census shows a young man of that name working as journeyman cooper and lodging in 39 St Mary Street.  The young Joseph Amos was 22 years old in 1841.

The 1851 Census shows that Joseph Amos (senior) was then aged 58 and was a cooper living in Cromhall Road Wickwar.  Joseph was born in Sodbury.  His wife Mary was also 58 and was from Wickwar.  The couple had obviously lived in Thornbury because their daughter Susanna aged 23 was born in Thornbury, as was her 18 year old sister Martha.

Edward Oakley Robertson – in the 1840 Tithe Survey the property was occupied by Edward Oakley Robertson.
Edward was baptised in Olveston on 16th June 1788.  He was the son of William and Mary Robertson.  We don’t know when he married his wife, Sarah.  Their first two children were baptised in Olveston: Edward Horatio baptised on 26th February 1812 and Amelia baptised on 15th June 1815.

Edward seems to have moved around a bit and changed his job.  We know from the baptism records of his children that Edward was a tanner living at Crossways on 20th July 1823 when their daughter Ellen was baptised and on 6th March 1825 when Frederick was baptised.  The baptism record of their son Augustus on 28th June 1826 shows Edward as a farmer in Crossways.  This Augustus died aged only 7 months and was buried on 28th December 1826.  By 1828 they had moved to live in the Borough when Augustus Edward was baptised on 11th June 1828.  Edward was described as a yeoman at this time.  He was described as a Gentleman in the baptism record of Sarah Jane on 13th November 1829.  The Thornbury land tax record shows Edward was a tenant of 37 High Street in 1829 and 1830.  They then appeared to move out of town again.  The baptism records of Mary Ann on 8th June 1831 shows Edward as a farmer living at The Hackett, although when Charles was baptised on 31st January 1833 he was again described as a Gentleman of the Borough.

The 1839 Trade Directory lists Edward as a Relieving Officer living in St John Street (which we assume they mean Pullins Green).  The 1840 Tithe Survey shows him at 11 Pullens Green.  The 1841 census however shows Edward as a farmer living in the Hackett.  He was aged 50, living with his wife, Sarah, aged 40, sons Alfred, aged 20, William 19, Frederick 16, Charles 10, and daughters, Ellen 17, Sarah 12 and Mary 10.

Sarah died in 1850 and her death was registered in the Thornbury District.  The 1851 census show that the widowed Edward lived in Aust near Thornbury where he was a landed proprietor and innkeeper.  The Bristol Pubs website shows that he was a publican at the Old Boars Head at Aust in 1856.  Edward died on 3rd January 1858.  His probate record shows him as an innkeeper late of Aust.

John George Dyer – in the 1841 census, it is difficult to identify which house is number 11.  The most likely house is occupied by John George Dyer, a shoemaker aged 31.  He is living in the house with his wife, Anne aged 31 and children, George aged 9, Ann aged 6, Henry aged 4, Eliza aged 2, and Mary aged 1.  Mary Withers, a 65 year old lady of independent means is also living in the house.

They had a daughter Emily who was baptised in Thornbury on 29th December 1843.  Emily died at four months old and was buried on 9th January 1844 in Thornbury.  The 1851 Census shows the family had moved to Wellington Place in Bristol.  This census shows that John’s wife, Ann, had been born in Thornbury which is where all the children were also born.

The Police – in the 1851 census the house was occupied by William Taylor, a police sergeant, aged 32 from Sulgrave, Northamptonshire.  Living with him were his wife, Hannah, aged 37 from Oxfordshire and their children: Thomas aged 8, William J. aged 5, Cornelius aged 3, and Ann H. aged 1.  They also had two lodgers living with them, Benjamin Holloway, a police constable aged 33, and John Newman aged 25.  The two constables and all the children were born in various places showing that the policemen had very mobile careers!

The 1859 Rate Book shows the building was still being referred to as the ‘Police Station’, but the Sergeant’s name, David Rawle had been crossed through to show that he had recently vacated the premises.  Ron Lewis who lived there much later remembers a small ‘barred window’ which he felt could easily have belonged to a police cell.  In 1841 the police were housed at the other end of St John Street near to other buildings of the ‘Corporation of Thornbury’.  By 1861 the new police station had built on the High Street.

Sarah Beard– the 1859 Rate Book and the 1861 census shows Sarah Beard was occupying the house.  She was a widow aged 62 described as a proprietor of houses and land.  She was born in Littleton upon Seven.  Living with her was her niece, Harriet Tovey who was unmarried, aged 31 and also from Littleton.

We have been told by another researcher, Carol Watkins, that Sarah was probably the daughter of William and Ann Jones who was baptised in Littleton on 24th August 1796.  She married William Nicholas at St James’s Church in Bristol on 5th September 1816.  In the 1841 Census they were living in Shepperdine.  At that time William was a farmer aged 53 and Sarah was about 40.  William Nicholas died aged 66 in Shepperdine and was buried in Littleton on November 9th 1849.

Sarah Nicholas married again on 24th June 1852 aged 54.  Her second husband was William Beard a widower then aged 56.  William was a farmer and the son of Stephen Beard and Elizabeth nee Wherrett.  William appears to have died before 1861 but we have been unable to trace the record.

The 1862 Rate Book shows Sarah had moved to 22 Gloucester Road and the 1867 Rate Book shows Sarah had moved on to 9 The Plain.  The 1871 Rate Book and census also show her there and she was described as having no occupation, and she appears to be described as a farmer’s widow.  Sarah died in 1879 aged 83 years.  Her will dated 2nd January 1867 shows that Sarah owned a number of properties in Thornbury, Oldbury and Littleton.  Of these she left the house described as ‘my messuage, dwelling house, garden and premises now in my own occupation situate on The Plain in the said Borough of Thornbury which I lately purchased from Mr Thomas Ann’ to her trustees John Comely Cornock and John Crowther Gwynn, together with the property in Oldbury and Littleton for the benefit of the daughters of her brothers, George and Charles Jones and sister, Betty Taylor (except Ruth Taylor who was given the property mentioned below).

She left her “messuage or tenement garden and premises late in the occupation of Robert Jordan and then of Ruth Taylor situate in the High Street of the said Borough of Thornbury which she lately purchased of the Representatives of Elizabeth Fewster deceased unto and to the use of her said niece Ruth Taylor her heirs and assigns for ever.”  The will specifies that Ruth should pay the money outstanding on the mortgage.  This house was number 6 Castle Street, known as Oriel Cottage.  It was the house that Ruth Taylor was living in at the time of the will and when Sarah Beard bought it on 22nd November 1865 it may have been purchased with the intention of providing a home for Ruth.

Sarah Barnard and Sarah Gibbon– the 1862 Rate Book shows the name of the occupant as ‘Barnard’.  In 1871 the house was occupied by two families: Sarah Barnard, an upholsteress aged 66 living with her son, Samuel a carpenter aged 25, and Sarah Gibbons, a widow aged 64 who was born in Stone and working as a laundress living with her niece, Priscilla, a dressmaker aged 28 born in Cheltenham.  Sarah Barnard is mentioned as the occupant of the property when it was sold in 1874.  Sarah may have been the lady who was living in Almondsbury when she died in 1876 and who was buried at Oldbury.

Robert Jordan – the 1876 Rate Book lists Robert Jordan as the occupant of the house.  When the new Council School was opened in 1863, its first Master and Mistress were Robert Jordan and his wife Sarah (nee Basset).  Robert was a ‘certified teacher of the third class’.   Read more about Robert and Sarah Jordan 

James Frederick Reid – James occupied the house in the 1881 census.  He was there with his wife, Mary Jane Reid.  James was a certified teacher aged 26 a ‘British subject’ born in Corfu.  Mary was a schoolmistress aged 26 born in Haverfordwest.  James had married Mary Jane Morgan in Haverfordwest in December quarter 1878.  They had one child, James Alexander born in Thornbury in 1880.  We understand James was appointed headmaster of the British School on 29 December 1879.  However James Reid and his wife did not teach in Thornbury for very long.

The report on his teaching gives an idea of how he came to leave.  ‘I am disappointed with this school.  When Mr Reid was appointed I hoped to see great improvement.  Now, though I do not doubt his ability, I am quite dissatisfied with the tone and progress of this school.  Every half hour spent in the school left me less and less satisfied, till my final verdict was that the moral influence and real order were bad.  Grammar fair, history bad, geography must be refused.  The specific subjects ought not to have been attempted while elementary knowledge was so much below the mark.  As to domestic economy I can only stand amazed that any teacher should have presented girls so utterly untaught.  I should have recommended a deduction from the grant had not the managers already dismissed the Master, though I believe on other grounds, and not for the inefficiency of the teaching”.

The Chairman of the School at the time (and presumably one of the people responsible for the report) was Reverend Charles Gayler, an Independent Minister who in the 1881 Census was shown as a lodger, either living in James’s house or next door with Mark Williams, the blacksmith.

Mr Reid’s teaching career continued elsewhere.  In 1891 he and his family were living in Greatworth near Brackley in Northants, he as a certified master and his wife as a sewing mistress.  By 1901 they had moved to St Mabyn village, Cornwall.

Edward and Lucy Liddiatt – click here to read about the Liddiatts

Arthur Conway and Lily Lewisclick here to read about the Lewis’s

Thomas Patrick and Eleanor Kirby – they took over the shop from the Lewis’s, presumably when the property was put up for sale in October 1948 and converted it into a fish and chip shop.

Thomas was born in Coleford in the Forest of Dean.  The 1911cCensus shows that he was under a month old.  His mother Harriett Kirby was the head of the household in that census although she was a married woman.  A family tree on the internet explains that Harriett was the third wife of Henry Kirby who had a very varied career as a gardener, a footman, a butler, an innkeeper, a pork butcher and a butler again.  Apparently he had a pork butcher’s shop in Coleford which failed and he returned to being a butler in a household – which might explain his absence in the 1911 Census.  Eventually Henry became a butler for Mr Jenner Fust who lived near Thornbury at Hill.  Presumably this is why Thomas Patrick moved from Coleford to the Thornbury area.  The same family tree on the internet says that Thomas was born on 17th March 1911 in Albert Road Coleford.

Thomas married Eleanor Kathleen Brown in the Thornbury area in 1937.  We understand that she was born on 26th October 1913 and her birth was registered in the Thornbury area.  The Free BMD website shows that her mother’s maiden name was Mills.  They had a daughter, Mary Patricia Kirby who was born in 1938.

The 1951 Festival of Britain programme for Thornbury includes an advert which refers to their ‘Fish and Chip Restaurant – minerals and teas’.  According to a programme for Thornbury Flower Show by 1955 they began to sell “wet fish” as well as fish and chips.  In a programme for the Thornbury Flower Show in 1962 they were advertising fish and chips, fresh and cured fish, fruit, minerals etc’.  It also had the interesting statement ‘hot fish and chips also delivered in mobile oven in surrounding districts’.  We understand that this was a van with a deep fat fryer in the back. A second advertisement in 1970 shows that their shop had begun to include ‘a quick lunch counter’.  They continued running the business until about 1972.

Mary Patricia was working as a secretary when she married Howard Hancock, an engineer from Almondsbury on 22nd September 1962.  We understand that she was a dentist’s receptionist.

We have been contacted by a grand niece of the Kirbys who tells us that Mrs Kirby was always known as Ella.  She also told us that “Ella” sustained a serious accident in the 1950s which led to her giving up her role in the family business.

Mr and Mrs Kirby later went to live in Alveston where Thomas died in November 1997.  Eleanor died in 2007 in Hindhead in Surrey.

John and Joy Liew – took over the house and shop in 1972 and ran the shop as The Hong Kong Fish Bar until about 1987.

The Chan family  – took over from the Liews and we would like to learn more about them.

Scott Li – took it over in 2000 and renamed it Hing Tai which means ‘Two Brothers’ in English.  Scott’s family were from Vietnam and they settled in Birmingham.  Scott had a new house built on land at the rear of the shop with access from Crispin Lane.  He opened several other catering businesses in Thornbury and became very popular in the town with people of all ages.