The photo on the left was taken looking up Rock Street towards the South in which 10 Rock Street is the nearest house. Number 14 Rock Street is the taller building in the middle of the row which has two gable ends fronting the street. Obviously 12 Rock Street is the small house squashed between the other two. Below these cottages is a long wall of a garden which is where the Telephone Exchange was built about 1936.
The photo on the right below was taken looking down Rock Street towards the North. Number 10 is the house on the far right in the photo and number 14 is the double gabled house nearer the middle of the photo.
We are grateful to South Gloucestershire Council who allowed us to copy the deeds of these properties. The earliest records show that the three houses were built on land which was originally part of the gardens belonging to the properties in St Mary Street. There are references to at least two dilapidated barns at the bottom end of these gardens. The property in St Mary Street was owned by Sarah and John Barton who sold it to Charles Hudd in 1727. Charles died in 1729. By 1765 John Mills and his wife, Patience, had sold the property to Richard Williams. When Richard Williams died in 1785 his wife Mary and son Richard took over the ownership.
The first building to have been erected was the Presbyterian Meeting House which replaced one of these barns. Amongst the documents in the possession of the Thornbury Congregationalists are two deeds dated 15th May 1718 and 30th August 1718 relating to the purchase of land. It was built by May 1719 according to indentures relating to the property at the rear in St Mary Street.
The documents indicate the location of the Meeting House as being the two ‘gable ended’ buildings in the centre of the two photos above. These buildings were used as the Meeting House up until about 1826 when a new chapel was built on the corner of Rock Street and Chapel Street (now known as the United Reformed Church). When the original chapel was closed, the building was used for several years as a malthouse and brewery known by the name of ‘The Brewery‘. From about 1850 it became a private house, later known as 14 Rock Street.
On the north side of the Meeting House there had been a barn on a parcel of land. The barn was knocked down and replaced by a porch entrance to the Meeting House which was later converted into a Vestry Room. The location of the Vestry Room and Meeting House was shown in a plan of the area in an indenture dated 1817 when the land was sold by Mary Williams and her son Richard, to William Cowley. When the Meeting House closed in 1826, this Vestry Room was knocked down and the ground incorporated into the rest of the garden land.
On 21st January 1831 Thomas Savery, a yeoman, bought some property from William Grove Cowley, William Rolph and others for £85. The property comprised the land to the north of the old Meeting House and a house which had been built on part of that land. The house became Thomas Savery’s home, later to be known as 10 Rock Street.
The rest of the land was left as garden land until the 1860’s when a second house was built (it was mentioned in the sale of the property in 1862). This second house became 12 Rock Street.
All the buildings were demolished in the early 1960’s as part of the town’s re-development. St Mary Street cark park has now replaced the houses.
Click on the links to each house shown on the sidebar on the left to read about the occupants of the houses