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 12 Rock Street is the house squashed in between the double gable fronted building (number 14) and the house on the right of the row(number 10). In the photo on the right below number 12 is the house which is second from the right.
We are grateful to South Gloucestershire Council who allowed us to copy the deeds of this properties. The earliest records show that 12 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.
There had been a barn on the land which was next to the original Presbyterian Meeting House (see 14 Rock Street). This barn was knocked down, replaced by a porch entrance to the Meeting House which was later converted into a Vestry Room which is shown in a plan of the area in an indenture dated 1817. When the Chapel closed in 1826, this Vestry Room was knocked down and the ground left open.
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. When Thomas died in 1841, his son, also Thomas Savery inherited the property and when he failed to repay money owed he eventually sold all the property to William Rolph and Francis Yates, the bankers. 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. The 1861 census shows William was was farmer aged 64 living in Frampton Cotterell. Click here to read more
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 some time after 1862, a new house was built which later became known as 12 Rock Street. The property was to remain in the Honeyborne family for the next 60 years, although they let it out to tenants. Click here to read about the Honeybornes
We know at least six of these tenants of 12 Rock Street:
Walter Baylis – we suspect that the earliest tenant was Walter Baylis, whose sister, Emma, owned the property following the death of her husband, John Honeyborne. The 1871 census shows Walter as a journey carrier aged 27 living with his wife, Ann aged 34 from Chipping Sodbury and their daughter, Elizabeth Mary aged 1 and a boarder, Mary Elizabeth Arthur aged 7. Click here to read more about Walter Baylis
Henry Pratt – the 1876 and 1880 rate books show that the house was occupied by Henry Pratt. In the 1881 census Henry was a baker aged 32 living in Bulls Lane (Bath Road) with his wife, Elizabeth aged 32 from Thornbury with children: Bessie aged 8, Henry J aged 5, Rosina aged 3, Austin aged 2, Lucy 6 months & brother Henry Pratt aged 26.
Henry was born in Wanswell near Berkeley, the son of William Pratt, a labourer and his wife, Lucy. He was baptised at Berkeley on 11th June 1848. In 1861 Henry was living with his parents in Stock Lane, Berkeley. In 1871 Henry married Elizabeth Hinder. She was baptised in Thornbury on 28th January 1849, the daughter of James Hinder, a labourer and Eliza from Kington.
By 1884 the family had moved to Bedminster in Bristol where another daughter, Annie E was born. In the 1891 census the family were living in Nelson Villas, Bedminster. Bessie had become a clerk and Harry a grocer’s errand boy. In the 1901 census they were living at 24 Lower Pearl Street, Ashton Gate, Bristol. Rosina was working as a dressmaker and Lucy and Annie as cigarmakers. Henry & Lucy’s son, Henry was now married to Lavinia and they appear to be sharing the house with Henry’s parents and he was working as a journeyman baker.
Joseph Mustoe – in the 1881 census Joseph was a railway porter aged 26 from Kemmington, Gloucestershire living with his wife, Sarah aged 27 from Linby, Nottinghamshire and their daughter, Annie E aged 6 born in Linby. Joseph had married Sarah Wood in 1876.
A newspaper report 17th December 1881 mentions Joseph – “This town has for the past month been visited by a number of revival preachers, male and female. The originator of the movement was Joseph Mustoe, a porter at the railway station. At the first he received no encouragement from the religious bodies, but being determined to accomplish the work, he hired the old Wesleyan Chapel, a disused building, situate near the entrance to the town from Bristol. Here services have been nightly held for the past month, preceded by processions through the town, singing the hymns of the Salvation army. Mr and Mrs Sperrin (of Bristol) conduct the services. Some of the worst characters of the neighbourhood have, it is said, been reclaimed.”. Later newspaper reports in 1883 refer to riots and disturbances following processions of the Salvation Army in the town.
Joseph and his wife had moved away from Thornbury by 1891.
George Carter – a document in the deeds of the Honeyborne family shows that George Carter was renting the house for 2/6d per week in 1885. He is listed as living there in the 1885 rate book. The 1887 rate book indicates that George Carter has recently vacated the house.
Charles Wiltshire – the 1887, 1890 and 1894 rate books show Charles as being the occupant of the house. The 1891 census shows Charles was an insurance agent aged 36 from Westerleigh living with his wife, Rebecca aged 34 from Bitton and their children: Olive an apprentice dressmaker aged 15, George Stibbs a grocers apprentice aged 13, and Emily Minnie aged 11, Arthur Charles Herbert aged 9, Caroline Blanche aged 6, all born in Pucklechurch and Beatrice Louise aged 3 born in Thornbury. In 1895 the family moved to 23 Pullins Green – click here to read more
Frederick Walker – in the 1901 census and the 1905 and 1910 rate books the house is occupied by Frederick Walker. The 1901 census shows that Frederick was an engine driver at the Saw Mill aged 23. He was living with his wife, Olive, a dressmaker aged 24 from Shortwood and their children: Beatrice M aged 3 born in Ashley Road, Bristol and Mabel G aged 7 months and born in Thornbury and a boarder, Charles H James a porter aged 24 on Midland Railway from Warwick.
Frederick Richard Walker was born on 25th October 1877 and baptised on 25th November 1877, the son of Thomas Walker, a mason and his wife Ellen who were living at Crossways. On 20th February 1897, Frederick married Olive Wiltshire, the daughter of Charles and Rebecca Wiltshire who had been living in the house in the early 1890’s (see above).
The rate books show that Frederick continued to live here until at least 1910. The 1911 census describes Frederick as a stationary engineman at the saw mills. He and Olive were living there with their children: Beatrice aged 13, Arthur aged 9, Herbert aged 5 and Leslie aged 2. Frederick is still listed as living in the street in the 1916 Prewetts Street Directory. The Council School records show that Arthur was born on 16th November 1901, Herbert born on 30th July 1905 and Leslie born on 19th January 1909.During the War, Frederick applied for exemption from military service. At the time it was noted that he was an engine driver for Edmund Cullimore at the Saw Mills and he had been an engine driver for 18 years. It was noted that he was very deaf. He was granted condition exemption whilst employed in a reserved occupation.
The electoral registers show that Frederick and Olive continued to live there until at least 1921. Frederick died aged 61 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 5th August 1959. The burial record describes Frederick as an engine driver.
Walter and Nellie Rugman – the Honeyborne’s ceased to own the house in 1923 when Walter Rugman bought 12 Rock Street from Austin Walwyn Honeyborne on 14th March 1923 for £230. At the time of the purchase, the house was void and the previous occupant was Frederick Walker. Walter was described as a quarryman.
We are a bit puzzled by Walter and Nellie who lived in the house from about 1931 until the early 60’s. We know that Nellie was Nellie May Mahagan, the daughter of Henry and Sarah Ann Mahagan who lived at 19 Horseshoe Lane. Click here to read about the Mahagan family
A marriage certificate shows that on 24th September 1924 Nellie May Mahagan married Alfred James Hunt (otherwise Rugman). He was a labourer aged 40 from Bath Road. We are puzzled about this man’s changes in name. We have discovered that his parents were John Rugman who married to Ellen Hunt on 25th February 1886, two years after after he was born, which partly explains the changes in surname.
However the mystery deepens because we know that he also used different forenames. His birth was registered as Arthur James Hunt in Chipping Sodbury in 1884. (His naval record shows Walter Rugman was born in Thornbury on 30th January 1884). He was however baptised in Thornbury in 1897 as Walter Rugman, the son of John and Ellen Rugman. He first worked for Mr Salmon as a labourer.
Although he applied to join and was apparently accepted by the Gloucester Regiment in February 1902, he actually joined the Royal Navy as Walter Rugman on 10th January 1903. He was described as a labourer 5ft 3 inches, auburn hair, grey eyes and ruddy complexion. He had a tattoo of a woman with clasped hands on the right forearm and an anchor on the left forearm. Walter served on several ships until 1922. His conduct was rated as very good, although there was one rating as fair and another time in 1914 when he spent 14 days in the cells. He started as a Stoker and then in 1916 he was promoted to Leading Stoker and then in 1917 he became a Petty Officer.
He married Edith Webb in 1918 and the FreeBMD website shows that Edith married both Arthur J Hunt and Walter Rugman so both his names must have been noted on the marriage certificate. Arthur and Edith had four children: Violet Margaret born June quarter 1921, twins, Edith Joyce and Walter Henry born in September quarter 1922 and Kenneth J born in June quarter 1924. Both the twins died in 1923, as did Ellen Rugman, Arthur’s (or Walter’s) mother aged 56. When his daughter, Violet, started at Council Infants School in 1925 and the Upper School in 1927 her father was noted as Walter Rugman and we can find no further references to Arthur James Hunt. We don’t know what happened to Violet or Kenneth.
In 1924 Walter lost his wife, Edith aged 25. She was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 22nd April 1924. On September 24th 1924 he married Nellie May Mahagan. The name on his marriage certificate was described as Alfred James Hunt (otherwise Rugman).
The 1934 rate book lists Walter Rugman as the owner and occupier of the property. The register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war lists Walter and Nellie as living in the house. Walter was described as a heavy worker employed in the roadstone quarries and born on 12th Jan (or Jun) 1884. Nellie was born on 9th March 1896.
Walter and Nellie continued to live in 12 Rock Street for many years. Walter died on 7th November 1961. The abstract of title gives his full name as ‘Arthur James Walter Rugman’. The property passed to Nellie. On 22nd November 1962 Nellie sold the house to Thornbury Rural District Council for £700. The house was demolished and the land incorporated into the new car park which still exists.
Nellie moved to the new houses at 18 Streamleaze living with Barrie, her nephew and son of her sister, Miriam Ruth.