We are disappointed not to have any clear photos of the property. The one above was taken from a street photo. Numbers 16 – 20 Rock Street were the three houses where the lady is standing on he pavement. Number 18 appears to be the one where the lady is at the door.
We are fortunate that South Gloucestershire Council have allowed us to see the deeds of this and several other adjoining houses. They show that the three houses (later known as 16, 18 and 20 Rock Street) were built at the eastward end of a garden of a property in St Mary Street. The house on St Mary Street had been a single building, but later converted into three houses which became known as 47, 49 and 51 St Mary Street. A house was also built fronting Rock Street and later two more houses were built adjoining this house. We believe that 16 Rock Street was the first of the three houses built in this area. Click here to read about the OWNERS
OCCUPANTS OF 18 ROCK STREET
We have had great difficulty in identifying the occupants of the house in the census records so we have not attempted to do so unless we have some other supporting sources. The history of occupants is therefore based on what people have been able to tell us, backed up by census, rate books, church records, electoral registers, school records etc.
The 1840 Tithe Survey shows that the 3 houses in Rock Street in Plot 142 were occupied by George Bennett, Thomas Wetmore, Mary Cossham. We are not actually sure which one of the families occupied each house. For convenience we have assumed that Mary Cossham occupied number 16, that George Bennett lived at 20, and Thomas Wetmore lived at 18.
Thomas Wetmore – although Thomas Wetmore lived in this house in the Tithe Map by the 1841 census the family had moved to 10 Chapel Street. The 1841 census shows that Thomas was a tailor aged 36 living with his wife, Sarah aged 37, and their children: Matilda aged 7, Frances aged 5, Elizabeth aged 3 and Eliza aged 1. Click here to read more
Frances Hall – the 1876, 1880 and 1885 rate books show that the house, along with the 2 adjoining houses, was owned by Frances Hall. Click here to read more
Thomas Long – the 1876 rate book shows that the house was occupied by the Long family. The 1880 rate book shows the occupant was George Long. In the 1881 census it was Thomas Long who was living in the house. Thomas was an agricultural labourer aged 55 from Hill and he was living with his wife, Mary a charwoman aged 44 from Kesley in Shropshire and their son, William aged 11 also born in Kesley.
In 1861 Thomas and Mary were living in Lydney where Thomas was working as a coal heaver. By 1871 they had moved to Thornbury. We can’t trace Thomas but Mary was in the Workhouse. She was described a ‘wife of a labourer’ and she was living with several children born in Lydney: Esther aged 11, Elizabeth aged 9, Thomas aged 8 and Anne aged 6 and one born in Thornbury, William aged 1.
In the 1885 rate book, Thomas is still occupying the house. He died in the Union Workhouse and was buried on 21st June 1886. He was aged 62 . The 1887 rate book and other rate books up until 1910 show Ann Long as the occupant. The 1911 census shows that Mary was living in the house on her own. She was a widow aged 75 with no occupation. She had been born in Wellington in Somerset and had had five children, three of which had died. ‘Mrs Long’ was also listed as living in the street in the 1916 Prewetts Street Directory and the 1925 valuation list shows Ann Long is living in the house. The 1926 rate book shows her name as the occupant but her name is crossed through (which normally means that she had left the property). We are puzzled by who this Ann is. We suspect that she is Thomas and Mary’s daughter, Ann. We know that the 1891 census shows us that Mary, Thomas’s widow, was a nurse aged 53 working for William Yarnold in the High Street. Her daughter, Ann, was living across the road from 18 Rock Street, in the house on the corner of Bullseys Lane which later became 2 Bath Road. This house is occupied by James and Hester Ford. Hester was Ann’s sister. Her brother, William, a soldier in 3rd Battn Grenadier Guards is also living there. In the 1901 census William was living in 16 Rock Street with his nephew, Charles Ford aged 18, both general labourers.
The Bartons – the 1927 electoral register shows just William Henry Barton was living in Rock Street, but the registers from 1931 through to 1958 shows William Henry and his wife, Winifred Mary Barton living there. We understand that Bill worked for the Bristol Aeroplane Company. His photo is shown on the left taken in 1978.
We haven’t been able to identify which family of Bartons, Bill is connected to. Bill was born on 19th March 1901 and there are 2 William Henry Barton’s born in Bristol in that year. One clue as to his father is the fact that in one of the electoral registers he is referred to as ‘William Henry Jnr’.
Bill married in Thornbury in June quarter 1922 and his wife was Winifred Mary Barton whose picture is shown below on the left. Winifred was born in 1895, the daughter of James Barton quarryman of Baden Hill and his wife, Sarah. Winifred was the sister of Harold Barton who lived in this area of Thornbury with his family for many years. She was known as ‘Aunty Barty’ to the Longden family.
Bill and Winifred had a daughter, Marjorie, born on 15th March 1922 and a son, Edward W. Barton born in 1928. It is possible that Winifred may have had another son, Ernest Reginald Fowler Barton, born on 14th August 1920 when Winifred was living in Horseshoe Lane.
The register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war shows William and Winifred living there. William was a builder’s labourer and Winifred was an office cleaner. There was one other person listed in that register, but the name is ‘blacked out’.
In 1965, after the Rock Street houses were demolished ‘Bill’ and Winifred were living in a new council houses at 12 Streamleaze. Bill died on 12th July 1982 aged 81 years. Winifred died on 22nd April 1984 aged 89 years.
Marjorie Barton married Goronwy (Joe) Williams, a lorry driver who we understand came to Thornbury to work on the railways. Joe (shown in the photo on the left) and Marjorie lived with the Bartons in Rock Street for a short time. They had one daughter, Elizabeth Myfanwy born about 1944. By 1950 the Williams family had moved to 64 High Street and by 1958 they had moved to 13 Hawthorn Crescent. Goronwy died on 16th January 1997 and Marjorie died on 18th August 2004.