This house is one of a pair of houses built by James Albert Hodges in 1905. The inscription on the builder’s stone in the front wall reads “J.A.H 1905” thus confirming the builder and the date. Number 3 is the house on the right in the above photo.
Prior to 1905, the land on which the houses were built was garden land. In the 1840 Tithe Survey, it was part of plot number 313 which was owned by William Rolph and occupied by him. William was a major landowner in this part of Thornbury. In 1898 the land was owned by George Hodges when Edmund Cullimore bought adjoining land for his sawmill.
We know that George Hodges conveyed the land to his son, James Albert Hodges on 20th January 1904. In April 1905 James applied for planning permission to erect what he grandly referred to as two ‘Villas’. They were indeed large town houses, each comprising five bedrooms (4 large and one small), two reception rooms, a kitchen with parquet block floor, scullery and large pantry, a W.C. accessible from the garden and another upstairs in a bathroom, a small lobby and a wood and coal house. Hot and cold water was available, water being supplied by the West Gloucestershire Water Company’s main supply supplementing rainwater which the sale documents described as being ‘of capital supply’. The houses were also connected to the gas supply and to a cesspool built in the rear garden of number 3.
We have no record of James ever living in either of the houses. We know that James was living in Pullins Green at the house which became known as number 17. Click here to read more about James Hodges
Percy Luce – the 1909 electoral register and the 1910 Rate Book shows that Percy was occupying the house. The Prewetts Directories of 1909 and 1912 show Percy living there and both these directories show the house was then called ‘Charnwood’.
Percy was born in 1870, the son of Edward and Sarah Ann Luce. At the time of the 1871 census and Percy’s baptism on 25th August 1872, Edward was an innkeeper and auctioneer of the Beaufort Arms, High Street, Thornbury. By the 1881 census Edward had moved to Grovesend Farm where he was described as a farmer and auctioneer. By 1891 Percy had also become an auctioneer. The 1901 census shows Percy was still living with his parents at Grovesend. He was an auctioneer and he went on to develop a successful firm of Auctioneers and Valuers in partnership with various others. Their office was in the High Street and later at 9 The Plain, but Percy appeared to take over the home of his parents, Grovesend Farm.
Percy had married Katherine Elizabeth Merriman who was the eldest daughter of Mr J Merriman of Bridge St Shepshed. They were married at the Parish Church of Shepshed in Leicestershire in August 1905.
The 1911 census shows Percy and his family living at 3 Pullins Green. He was an auctioneer aged 41 living with his wife, Katharine E aged 36 who was born in Leicestershire. Read more about the Luces
The two houses were put up for sale in 1912 by James Albert Hodges. At the time of the sale Number 3 was void. We are not sure exactly what happened with the ownership of the house. It doesn’t appear to have been sold in 1912. The 1925 valuation list and 1926 Rating Book show that it was owned by the ‘Reps of the late George Hodges’ and it is possible that, like number 1, the house was left by James Albert Hodges to Winifred Louisa Woodall, a sister at the Royal Infirmary, Bristol and subsequently sold.
The following were known to have occupied the house.
Edgar Mervyn Grace – Edgar was the son of Edward Mills Grace, who in addition to a career as doctor and Coroner for the Lower Division of Gloucestershire, was an outstanding cricketer, playing for his County and Country and becoming almost as famous as his younger brother, ‘W.G.’.’
Edgar followed in their footsteps becoming a physician and surgeon and an outstanding cricketer in his own right. Edgar lived for most of his life in Park House in Thornbury.
The 1915 and 1916 Prewett’s Street Directories show E. M. was a physician and surgeon living in St John Street. On 23rd April 1917 Edgar Mervyn Grace applied for exemption from military service giving his address at that time as ‘Porlock Weir’ Thornbury. We know that the house was called
‘Porlock Weir’ from the records referring to the next occupant, Graham John Young (see below). We also know from the audio tape of an interview with Edgar’s niece, Sally Gordon, that Edgar lived in Pullins Green after he got married in 1914 to Hilda Henrietta Heathcote. Edgar and Hilda were listed as living in Porlock Weir in the 1918 electoral register. Read more about Edgar Grace
Graham John Young – the 1921 electoral register shows that the house was then occupied by Graham John Young described in the trade directories as being a ‘private resident. Several trade directories from 1923 to 1931 show the house in which Graham was living was called ‘Porlock Weir’, and the 1925 directory specifically shows Porlock Weir as being in St John Street. We note that there is a birth of Graham John Young in the Thornbury area in 1861. The 1871 census shows he was born in Alveston, the son of Samuel and Ann Young. At the time of the census they were living at Hortham Farm which comprised 270 acres. We can’t trace any more information about Graham.
Mrs Frances Amelia Whitfield – one local person told us she thought the two houses may have been built for the family of George Whitfield who ran Morton Mill with the intention of providing a retirement home for him and his wife. We have found no evidence to support this claim and the fact that they were put up for sale by James Albert Hodges in 1912 shows that the Whitfields were not the original owners. However we know that, although George died in 1925, his wife, Frances Amelia, is known to have lived in number 3 from about 1930 until her death on February 10th 1940. The notice of her death printed in the Western Daily Press on 13th February says she died at Resthaven and that she had previously lived at Westover.
Frances is shown as living there in the 1930 electoral register, and although we did not see her name in the 1935 register, an Edna Maud James is shown as living there ‘c/o Mrs Whitfield’, and again in 1939 Maud Webb was there ‘c/o F. A. Whitfield’. We have also seen a deed for a property in Morton in the estate of Frances and it gives her address, presumably at the time of deed, as ‘Resthaven’. We know from later occupants of the house that the house was called ‘Resthaven’ for many years. On 22nd April 1940 there was a sale of her furniture and effects at ‘Resthaven’.
It is interesting to note that the Western Daily Press printed several advertisements in October 1940 for a private boys school which had been set up at Resthaven. We don’t know who was involved with the school or how long it lasted.
On 26th February 1946 the property was put up for sale at auction. It was described as a ‘Commodious Freehold Villa Residence called ‘Resthaven’ at present let to Mr. S. R. Luce. brick-built, good walled-in garden, two receptions, large kitchen, scullery, four beds, bathroom (h. and c’) and separate W. C. All main services connected‘. It would appear that the house was divided in two flats at this time as the electoral register indicates that there were two families in the house
Edmund Cullimore Grace – the electoral register 1946 shows the house, still known as ‘Resthaven’, was occupied by Edmund and Joan F. Grace. Edmund Cullimore Grace was born in Thornbury in 1916, the son of Francis Henry Grace and his wife, Helen who was the daughter of Edmund Cullimore. Edmund married Joan F Hamilton in Uxbridge area of Middlesex in December quarter 1939. In 1945 Edmund was living in Eastbury Road when he submitted a plan for building a new bungalow on the edge of the Saw Mill site. The plans suggest it was part of a larger development with a temporary road built from Crispin Lane, but with the idea of new roads being built across the Saw Mills. The plan was not implemented.
Although they were living in Resthaven on Pullins Green in 1946, they had moved elsewhere by 1950. We know that in March quarter 1951 Edmund married for a second time – this time the marriage was in Thornbury, but the marriage index gives two names – Dorothy Webb and Dorothy Abbot so it seems likely she had been married before as well. We were told that Edmund and Joan were divorced and that Edmund settled in Itchington or Tytherington.
Edmund appears to have moved to ‘The Elms‘ in Gloucester Road about 1954. This was one of the three large properties built for his grandfather, Edmund Cullimore. Edmund appears to have acquired The Elms in a conveyance dated 29th October 1954 and the 1957 electoral register shows Edmund living there with his wife, Dorothy. On 29th November 1957 Edmund sold The Elms to the Harry Johnson.
The booklet ‘Pages from the Past’ by H. W. Phillips mentions that Edmund was ‘at Dunkirk on the little boats’ during the Second World War. We have not been able to confirm whether this meant that Edmund was evacuated from the beaches or that he was in one of the boats sent over to evacuate the troops.
A newspaper report about a fire at Edmund Cullimore’s Brick and Tile Works implies that ‘E. C. Grace’ was involved with the running of that works and he spoke about the loss of production there as a result of the fire. Like his father, Edmund was trained as an engineer and for a short time took over the running of the Saw Mill from his father-in-law. We heard one story about Edmund – whilst working in the Saw Mill he was caught up by the ‘clapping belts’, and he had all his clothes torn off and was lucky to have escaped with his life. He was not so lucky in other aspects of his life; trade at the Sawmill dropped and it had to close. In 1957 Edmund moved to Oldbury where for a time he was landlord at the Anchor Inn.
We understand Edmund had a keen interest in sailing. The records of the Thornbury Sailing Club show that Edmund owned a boat there in 1957 called ‘Teresa’. He teamed up with Bert Pridham, one of his father’s employees to build a motor boat. In the words of Bert’s son:
“The timber for the main structure was elm from the Saw Mills and this frame was covered with plywood and the caulking between the plywood sheets was somehow achieved with medical bandages soaked in red lead paint! The boat was about 15 feet long with a flat bottom and its power unit was a ‘high-tech’, Austin 7 engine complete with gearbox and clutch with the steering wheel linked to the rudder. All in all, it was a splendid effort by the two men, although it was not apparent why they had built it. It was probably on the whim of the younger Grace.
Eventually, for its maiden voyage, it was towed to the Mill Pond at the bottom of Gloucester Road which was then somewhat larger than it is now, and despite its flat bottom, it completed several circuits successfully and did not capsize! It also coped with the ‘ocean’ in the pill at Oldbury-on-Severn (or was it Littleton?) but after that it disappeared and one wonders if it still exists in someone’s old shed or garage!”
Edmund went on to open a business known as Severn Boatbuilders in 1959. It was based in the Saw Mills and he built 10 Dayboats there but had to give up the business because he was finding it difficult to manage this business as well as run The Anchor.
Roy and Beryl Luce – they are also listed in the 1946 electoral register and two reliable sources (Miss Higgins and Pam Lewis) remember them living at number 3. Both sources recall that Beryl was a teacher at the Grammar School. Her maiden name was Thomlinson and she left her job teaching biology at Thornbury Grammar School on her marriage to Roy Luce in 1936. Beryl Maud Thomlinson was born in the Lincoln area in 1907. Before the marriage the electoral registers shows that in 1931 she was lodging with John Croome Cullimore at 34 High Street and then in 1935 at The Picture House Cafe.
Samuel R Luce, known apparently as “Roy” was an auctioneer and estate agent. A sales notice for August 1941 describes the company as “Moses Smith and Co (F.G Smith, P. Luce, S Roy Luce and E. A Panes).” We have an advertisement dated October 1948 for the company of Howes, Luce, Williams and Co. By 1950 they had moved to live outside of Thornbury as they are not listed in the electoral register for the town. We know that by 1954 they were living at Friezcroft in Rudgeway. However the company was still trading in this area in 1960 as Howes, Luce, Williams and Panes.
We cannot identify anyone as living there in the 1950 electoral register. Neither of the families listed above are listed there. In the next 30 years we can only identify a few of the people who occupied the flats there.
The 1954 electoral register lists Margaret K Rowe and Mary D Brooks as living in number 3. The 1957 electoral register lists Margaret K Rowe and Walter and Mary J Spencer in number 3.
The 1965 electoral register lists Nicholas and Annie M. Cornock as living in the top flat and Harold and Brenda Moss whose address was just given as 3 Pullins Green, so presumably they lived in the bottom flat. Harold and Brenda had been living in the flat above 23 St John Street in 1958. Harold came from Chelmsford in Essex and in 1946 he married Brenda Skuse, the daughter of Harry Skuse of 55 St Mary Street. The marriage report in the Gazette indicated that they intended to live in Kingston in Surrey, but they later moved back to live in Thornbury. In 1958 they were living in the flat above 23 St John Street. The 1965 electoral register shows that they were living in the bottom flat at 3 Pullins Green. Brenda died in October 1965 aged 44, a few weeks before her father died.
The 1970 electoral register shows Arthur W ‘Bev’ Selman and his wife Sheila were living in the ‘bottom’ flat and Brian L. and Iris A. Woodland living in the ‘top’ flat.
The Rowe’s Veterinary Practice has operated on the ground floor since 1979. John Rowe started with a veterinary practice in Wotton Under Edge in 1948, assisted by his wife, Ruth who acted as receptionist, secretary, bookkeeper and nurse.
John Fred Wallace Rowe was the son of John Charles Wallace Rowe, a farmer. On 15th December 1947 John married Ruth Eileen Grace at Thornbury St Mary’s. Ruth was the daughter of Francis Henry Grace and his wife, Helen (nee Cullimore). She was therefore descended from two of the prominent families in Thornbury at that time.
Following John’s death in 1981, a partnership was formed of several vets, including John and Ruth’s children, Helen and Richard. Now that Helen has retired, it is left to Richard to continue the family’s interests in the business.