We are disappointed not to have found any good photos of this building, apart from a couple of photos showing the street. In the photo on the left number 10 Rock Street is the house on the right of the row of houses. In the photo on the right below number 10 is the house on the right of the row.
We are grateful to South Gloucestershire Council who allowed us to copy the deeds of this properties. The earliest records show that 10 Rock Street was built on land which originally garden land belonging to the properties in St Mary Street. The house in St Mary Street was owned by Sarah and John Barton who sold it to Charles Hudd in 1727. Charles died in 1729 and by 1765 John Mills and his wife, Patience, sold the property to Richard Williams. When Richard Williams died in 1785 his wife Mary and son Richard took over the ownership. They sold the property to William Cowley in 1817.
The house was built between 1817 and 1831 because when Thomas Savery bought the property on 21st January 1831 the house had already been built.
Thomas Savery – on 21st January 1831 Thomas Savery, a yeoman, bought some property from William Grove Cowley, William Rolph and others. The property bought was described in three parts, the first part relates to the whole piece adjoining the Meeting House, the second to a portion of that land which had been to build a Vestry Room for the Meeting House since demolished, and the third to a portion used to build a new house. Number 10 Rock Street was the house built on the third portion. Number 12 Rock street was built later, at some time after 1862, on the second portion.
Thomas Savery lived in the house which later became known as 10 Rock Street. Thomas had married Jane Trayhurn in April 1794. Jane died and was buried in Oldbury on 19th August 1833 aged 68. The 1840 Tithe Survey shows that Thomas owned and occupied Plot 139 which was described as being just ‘a house’. The 1841 Census shows Thomas Savery living in the house and described as a yeoman aged 72 living on his own with a female servant Ann Williams aged 35.
Later indentures dated 1844 and 1849 (relating to loans of about £157 from the Rolph and Yates Bank made with the house as security) show that Thomas’s son, had taken over his property in Rock Street. Thomas jnr as a clock and watch maker, late cheesefactor and eldest son and heir of the late Thomas Savery, cheesefactor. The indentures also mention Thomas Junior’s wife was Elizabeth. Thomas and Elizabeth had been living at 34 Castle Street at the time of the 1841 census, but by the time of the 1844 indenture they were living at 10 Rock Street.
On 11th April 1849 Thomas and Elizabeth, who had been unable to repay the debt, were forced to sell their property to William Rolph and Francis Yates for £158 9s 5d, the amount they owed. The house was then occupied by George Excell as tenant. We don’t know any more about George. Click here to read about Thomas Savery
William Parker – on 25th March 1856 William bought the properties from William Rolph and Francis Yates, the bankers, who had acquired them from Thomas and Elizabeth Savery in 1849. William Parker was described as a gentleman from Frampton Cotterell. The 1861 census shows William was was farmer aged 64 living in Frampton Cotterell. The farm was 57 acres. William is shown as being widowed, but he is shown as living with Louisa Blackmore noted as being ‘Mistress’. Louisa was unmarried aged 28 and had seven children. A family tree shown on the Ancestry website shows Louisa and William never married. She moved in to live with him at Park Farm, Tovey’s Green in 1852. They went on to have 12 children. Eight of the children went to London and started a firm ‘Blackmore Patterns’ in 1895 which they continued running until the 1940’s. William Parker died of ‘senile exhaustion’ in 1876.
The Honeybornes – on 25th March 1862 John Honeyborne bought the property, as a part of a large number of other properties, from William Parker for £400. John was described as a shopkeeper of Thornbury. At the time of the purchase, number 10 Rock Street was occupied by Thomas Smith.
The property was to remain in the Honeyborne family for the next 100 years. Click here to read about the Honeybornes
Since 1862 the house was let out by the Honeybornes to tenants. We know of six families who lived in the house:
James Abrahall – the 1867 rate book shows the house was occupied by James Abrahall. We suspect this was Henry James Abrahall who had lived at 5 Upper Bath Road. Click here to read more
George Thorne – the 1876, 1880, 1885 and 1887 rate books all show the house was occupied by George Thorne. The 1881 census shows that George was then an unmarried tailor aged 32 and born in Thornbury. Click here to read about George
Charles John Woodward – the 1894 rate book shows the house was occupied by Charles John Woodward. Click here to read more
William Sims – the 1899 rate book and 1901 census shows the house was occupied by William Sims. The census shows that William was a butcher aged 31 from Fretherne, Gloucestershire living with his wife, Eleanor aged 29 from Iron Acton and daughter, Nellie aged 9 who was born in Bristol. William was also listed as living there in the 1905 rate book.
We know from the details shown on the 1939 register compiled in preparation for the war that William was born on 4th March 1866 and Eleanor was born on 14th June 1871.
In 1871 the census shows that William was then living with his parents David and Elizabeth Sims at Arlingham. In 1881 William was living at Frampton on Severn with his parents and his five brothers and sisters. The Scribes Alcove website shows that on 12th April 1891, William married Helena Mary Cornock, the daughter of George Cornock, labourer. The birth record and subsequent censuses indicate that Mrs Sims was baptised Eleanor Mary Cornock. The marriage record shows that William was living at Stroud at the time and working as a butcher. He was also the son of David Sims then described as an engine driver. According to school records William’s daughter ‘Nellie’ was born on 5th December 1891. She was baptised Eleanor Mary on 23rd November 1896 when William’s job was described as a labourer.
In the 1894 rate book William and Eleanor appeared to live at 31 St Mary Street. When their daughter Eleanor Mary Sims was baptised on 23rd November 1896 in Thornbury William was described as a labourer. By 1899 we know that he had moved to what became 10 Rock Street. It is likely that he had moved shortly before that time as he appeared in the Trade Directories for 1899 with the address of Bath Road, which was often used to describe what we now know as Rock Street.
The Trade Directory of 1904 gives the address of William Sims as Bath Road. This is likely to mean that he was still living at Rock Street. By 1910 the rate book shows that William and Eleanor had moved to what later became 16 Chapel Street. The South Gloucestershire Chronicle reported that William was fined 15 shillings for driving a vehicle with a loaded timber carriage with no lights on a very dark night. The vehicle was pulled by three horses and on the way to the Saw Mills.
William and Eleanor’s daughter, Eleanor Mary, known as Nellie, died aged 45 and she was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 8th March 1937. She was living in Chapel Street at the time of her death.
The register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war lists William and Eleanor living in the house. William was described as a retired butcher. There was one other person listed as living there but their name is blacked out
William James Sims died in 1943 in Thornbury aged 78 and Eleanor continued to live at 16 Chapel Street. The electoral roll of 1946 shows that she lived with her grand-daughter, Elizabeth Sims.
In 1946 the house at 16 Chapel Street was advertised for sale as “for many years in the occupation of Mrs Sims.” The sale catalogue dated 1947 catalogue described her home “Lot 5 the semi detached stone built corner house situate at Chapel Street with frontage also to Upper Bath Road let to Mrs Sims at an inclusive rental of 5s 7d per week. The accommodation comprises small entrance hall two front sitting-rooms, kitchen with Nelson grate, pantry and four bedrooms. There is also a lean to wash house at rear with sink and boiler and lean to coal shed. It has all main services, good garden with side entrance. Lot 6 a valuable stone built large shed and stabling with loft situate at upper Bath Road adjoining lot 5 and let to Mr Salisbury at a rental of £1 12s 6d per quarter.” Eleanor Sims died in Thornbury aged 80. She was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 7th December 1951.
Bert Pleass – the 1911 census shows that Bert Pleas and his family were living in the house. Bert was described in the census as a railway porter guard and checker aged 25 and born in Bristol. He was living there with his wife, Elsie Ethel aged 25 born in Weston Super Mare and their two children: Walter Vernon aged 1 and Kathleen Muriel aged 4 months.
In this case, we have been told of only one family living in the house later in the 1900’s. William George and Amy Harris lived in the house from the WW1. He was listed as living in the street in the 1914 Prewetts Street Directory and the register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war. They continued to live there until the time the houses were demolished in the 1960’s.
William George and Amy Harris – William George was born on 7th February 1890 and baptised in Thornbury on 6th April 1890 . ‘Bill’, shown at the back of the photo on the right, was the son of William George Harris and his wife, Ellen, (nee Derrick). Click here to read about Bill’s parents and siblings
Bill became a stone mason and was given the nickname of ‘Wedger’. He was also a fireman on the Thornbury Fire Brigade. On 26th January 1907 he enlisted in the Horse and Field Artillery Corps of the the Royal Artillery. He was described as a quarryman, height 5ft 7 and one quarter inches, 131lbs, 36 inch chest, fresh complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. He didn’t serve long before being found ‘medically unfit for further service and discharged in Portland on 22nd June 1907.
On 24th March 1913 he married Amy Poulton in Thornbury St Mary’s Church. Amy was born on 5th February 1893 and baptised on 2nd April 1893, the daughter of Maurice John Poulton, a chimney sweep and his wife, Emily. They were living in Silver Street at the time of her birth, but had moved to 14 St Mary Street at the time of the marriage.
Bill and Amy had two children: Margaret Emily, born on 22nd April 1913, and Derrick, born on 18th January 1929.
The 1934 rate book shows William George Harris as the occupant of the house, owned by A. W. Honeyborne. In 1954 when house numbering was introduced and in 1958 and 1961 Bill and Amy are shown in 10 Rock Street. Bill and Amy carried on living there until the houses were demolished. They were still listed as living there in the 1961 electoral register, but by 1965 they had moved to 9 Stafford Crescent. Bill died on 6th January 1974 aged 83 years and Amy died on 14th July 1976 aged 83 years.
Of their children:
Margaret Emily married David Matthew Rees on 2nd August 1938. They are shown in the photo on the right with her father. David was a mason living in Chapel Street and was the son of Thomas Rees, a labourer. David and Margaret moved into one of the new council houses at Market Site (now called Bath Road). They had one child: Anita born on 30th October 1941. David worked in the Transport Department of the Bristol Aeroplane Company. He died on the way to work in 1945 aged only 33 years. He was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 20th March 1945. The burial record describes him as an engineer.
At some stage in the early 1960’s the property was demolished. Finally on 6th September 1963 the site of the building was sold to Thornbury Rural District Council, together with the land on which 14 Rock Street stood, for £425. They incorporated it into the St Marys Street car park which is still used.