Occupants of 15 Rock Street

15 Rock Street 2016-10-25T14:26:17+00:00
1881 OS plan with house numbers

1881 OS plan with house numbers

We are disappointed not to have any photos of this house.  It was one of five houses located between the Seven Stars and the Oxhouses.  The house was one of a row of 5 houses owned by the same owners.  Click here to read about the OWNERS

We have had great difficulty in identifying the occupants of each house in the 19th century census records so we have not attempted to do so until we get some other supporting sources. The history of occupants is therefore based on what people have been able to tell us, backed up by church records, electoral registers, school records etc.  In this case, we know the house was occupied by:

Jeremiah Mahagan – according to the rating books and census records, the house was occupied in the 1861 and 1871 censuses by Jeremiah and Ruth Mahagan.  By 1881 they had moved to 19 Rock Street.  Click here to read more about them

Thomas Bendall – the 1881 census shows the house was occupied by Thomas Bendall, an agricultural labourer aged 25 from Milbury Heath and his wife, Fanny aged 25 from Alveston living with their children: John aged 4, Albert Henry aged 3 and Edward aged 1.

Thomas was baptised on 7th October 1855, the son of John Bendall, a labourer and his wife, Mary from Grovesend.  In 1877, Thomas married Fanny Ball, presumably the Fanny baptised on 6th May 1860, the daughter of Henry Ball, labourer and his wife Mary from Crossways.  Thomas and Fanny had two other children in Thornbury: Ada baptised on 6th March 1886 and she died within a few months and Thomas baptised on 7th December 1887.  There is no further sign of the family in Thornbury or elsewhere.

The Petty Sessional Court records of June 1888 gives us a clue of what happened to the family.  Thomas was charged with having run away from the Parish and leaving his wife and children chargeable to the Thornbury Union.  The records lists his abandoned children as Fanny, John, Albert, Edward, Matilda, Charles, and Thomas.  At the time of the Court Thomas had not been apprehended and we don’t know what happened to him.  The 1891 census shows the family together again in the Rhondda area of Wales.  In 1901 Thomas was away from home.  Four of the children were now working in the coal mines as hewers including 13 year old Tom, and two were horse drivers.

Henry Olpin – the 1887 rate book shows that ‘Henry Olpin’ was occupying the house.  We are not sure whether this should have been ‘Holpin’ – Scribes Alcove website shows there were Olpins in the Stone and Berkeley areas.

In the 1890 rate book the house was void.

Charles John Woodward – in the 1891 census, Charles was a baker aged 19 from Bridgewater living with his wife, Mary Ann aged 20 from Thornbury.  In 1890 Charles had married Mary Ann Mundy.  Mary Ann was baptised on 2nd April 1882 the daughter of Charles Mundy, a haulier and Hannah.

Charles and Mary Ann had at least two children whilst living in Thornbury: Annie was baptised on 26th March 1892 and Cecil Charles John was baptised on 2nd December 1894.  The 1894 rate book shows that Charles had moved to 10 Rock Street.  The 1901 census shows that the family had moved to Llanvihangel, Llantarnum, Monmouthshire.

William Hicks – the 1894 rate book shows the house was occupied by William Hicks.  We are puzzled because William Hicks is also listed against the Severn Stars which he was running a lodging house in the 1891 census.  In the 1899 rate book the name of William Hicks appears as occupant of 17 Rock Street, but the name is crossed through indicating that he had been living in the house previously.

Henry Charles Webb – in the 1899 rate book and the 1901 census the house is occupied by Henry Charles Webb and his family.  Henry was born in Charfield about 1861.  In 1871 Henry was living with his parents, Henry Webb, an agricultural labourer and his wife, Fanny at their home in Golden Lane, Kingswood near Wotton under Edge.  By 1881 Henry had moved to the Thornbury area where he was working at Churn Gate Farm, Kington.

On 10th May 1890 Henry married Harriett Clare Hunt, the daughter of Meshack Hunt, a labourer.  The 1891 census shows Henry and Harriett living in Duckhole Road.  By 1899 they had moved to 15 Rock Street.  The 1901 census shows Henry was a builder’s labourer, his wife, Harriett aged 27 from Hawkesbury Upton and their children: Albert Henry aged 10, Mabel aged 8, Elsie aged 6 and Edith aged 2, all born in Thornbury.

In 1903 when Elsie started at the Council Upper School the family were living in Chapel Street.  In 1910 when Charles and Thomas, twins born on 8th October 1902, started at the school the family’s address was Bath Road, and when Arthur, born 8th September 1906, and Jack, born on 4th March 1913, started there their address was Upper Bath Road.  It’s possible that the house at 15 Rock Street was named in some records as being in Chapel Street (as is certainly the case with the Severn Stars 19 Rock Street).  He is shown as being in number 19 Rock Street in the 1905 and 1910 rate books.  The 1911 census shows Henry as a builder’s labourer aged 49 living with Harriett aged 39 and their six children: Albert, a builder’s labourer aged 20, Elsie aged 16, Edith aged 12, Thomas and Charles both aged 8 and Arthur aged 5.  The 1914, 1915 and 1916 Prewett’s Directories list Henry as living in Rock Street.  

Harriet died aged 45 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 4th March 1916.  In the 1918 electoral register, Henry Charles is listed under Outer Back Street and is 1921 registered under Horseshoe Lane.  Henry’s daughter, Elsie, died aged 25 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 5th June 1922. Henry died aged 64 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 7th July 1925.  He was described as a labourer living in Upper Bath Road.

Of their children, Arthur died aged 11 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 18th August 1917.  Albert Henry married Evelyn Maud Longden on 16th October 1920 at Thornbury Registry Office.  Evelyn was the daughter of Samuel Charles Longden and his wife, Emily Clara (nee Hendy).  Albert and Evelyn had two children, Henry Major born in 5th May 1921 and Iris May born on 6th August 1925.  Albert died in 1927 aged 36.  Evelyn then married Albert’s brother, Thomas, in Thornbury’s Methodist Chapel in 1928.  Thomas and Evelyn had Gwendoline and Eileen whilst living in Thornbury and then following their move to The Crescent, Old Down, Ruth, Arthur, Connie, Cyril and Raymond were born.

John and Sarah Ann Screen – the 1911 census appears to show that the house is occupied by John and Sarah Ann Screen.  They were still living there until 1915 – click here to read more

We don’t yet know who lived in the house for a long period.

Arthur and Charlotte Niblett – locals have told us that the Niblett family lived in 15 Rock Street.  The electoral registers show that from 1921 to 1938 Arthur and Charlotte Niblett lived in Lower Bath Road, then in 1946 and 1950 only Charlotte is shown and she was listed as living in Bath Road.  We suspect that this was the same house and that this refers to 15 Rock Street.

Arthur Lionel Miner Niblett was born in Sherston Magna, Wiltshire on 3rd May 1873 and baptised on 24th August 1873.  He was the son of Samuel Niblett, a groom and his wife, Georgina (nee Miner).  In 1881 the family were living at France Lane, Hawkesbury.  On 18th April 1904 Arthur married Charlotte Jane Rodway in St Giles Church at Hillesley.  Charlotte was born on 13th October 1868, the daughter of John Rodway, an agricultural labourer and Sarah Rodway.  Charlotte’s sister, Sarah, married Thomas Pearce in 1895 and although they were living at Cromhall in the 1901 census they moved to Thornbury in 1910.

In 1901 Charlotte and her family were living in Cornock’s Barn, Hawkesbury.  Arthur and Charlotte had several children including Lionel Arthur Rodway Niblett born in 13th February 1905 who died on 29th December 1905, Douglas Arthur born on 15th August 1907, Violet Madge on 10th October 1909 and Dorothy May born on 10th December 1911.

The Niblett family

The Niblett family

The photo above shows (left to right) Dorothy, Arthur, Charlotte, Douglas and Violet.  It appears that the family moved to Thornbury in December 1918 as the three children were transferred to the the National School in Thornbury from a school in Wotton Under Edge.  The school record shows that the family were living in St John Street at that time.  An article is the Gazette shows that Arthur had moved to Thornbury in 1918 from Wortley, Wotton Under Edge.  In September 1918 Arthur was employed by Harry M Trayhurn, the butcher and he was allowed to occupy The Court House, one of Trayhurns houses there, along with the family of another employee.  The rent was 5 shillings per week rent.  Arthur was dismissed from this employment in March 1919.  He carried on living in the house in spite of it being wanted by Harry Trayhurn so that he could allow the other employee sole occupation of the house.  Trayhurns took the matter to court.  The Magistrate asked Arthur to vacate the premises within 30 days.

Niblett & Gazzard wedding

Douglas Niblett & Mollie Gazzard wedding 1934

By 1921 they had moved to what we believe to be 15 Rock Street.  Arthur was employed as a carter, although we understand that he had been a shepherd and had served with the Royal Garrison Artillery.

The register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war shows Arthur and Charlotte living in 15 Rock Street with their married daughter, Dorothy May Cox.  Dorothy had married Bertram J. Cox in the Bristol area in 1933.

Arthur died on 18th December 1940 aged 67.  He was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 21st September 1940.  His burial record describes him as a labourer.  Charlotte died on 3rd November 1953 aged 85.  She died at South Mersham and was brought back to Thornbury for burial in the Cemetery.

Of their children, we know that Douglas became a gardener and part-time fireman.  The photo on the right below shows Douglas’s wedding to Rosina ‘Mollie’ Gazzard in Alveston on 2nd August 1934.  The Gazette of January 28th 1933 reported the wedding of Violet Madge Niblett to Wilfred James Teague son of Mr and Mrs Teague of Mustay House in Tockington.

Ellen Barnes – the 1958 electoral roll shows that Ellen Maria Barnes was living in 15 Rock Street.  In 1954 Ellen was living at the Seven Stars with her son, Peter.  Ellen died in Thornbury in 1959 aged 77.  Click here to read more

Dennis Henry Mahagan – when he died on 20th January 1960 his address was 15 Rock Street.  Click here to read about Dennis

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