The four houses on the right of the photograph above were numbered 2 – 8 Rock Street when house numbering was introduced in the early 1950s. We understand that they were similar in design and construction to the rows of cottages in Horseshoe Lane and Gloucester Road. (click here for a description of the houses in Horseshoe Lane)
Click the links in the sidebar on the left to read about the individual houses:
We don’t know when the houses were built. We suspect that the orchard and garden land on which they were built was owned by Richard Williams, a pargeter or plasterer and tiler. On Richard’s death the property was given in trust to his wife, Mary Williams. On Mary’s death they eventually ended up being owned by Mary Wilkes – click here to read the full story
In the 1840 Tithe Survey, the houses were part of Plot 133 which also included the 4 similar houses in Horseshoe Lane referred to above. All these houses were owned by Mary Wilkes. The eight houses were occupied by Thomas Grigg, John Thomas, William Clutterbuck, Thomas Smith, Thomas Elton, Joseph Pym and William Matthews. We know from the 1841 census that Thomas Smith, Joseph Pym and William Matthews were living in Horseshoe Lane at that time, and we assume that Thomas Elton was also in Horseshoe Lane and that Thomas Grigg, John Thomas and William Clutterbuck were occupying 3 of the four houses in Rock Street.
On Mary’s death in 1849, she left the four houses to her daughter, Emma Knapp, the wife of Henry Knapp, the blacksmith and ironmonger. When they both died in 1882, the houses were left to their niece, Mary Ann, the daughter of Emma’s sister, Ann Ann and her husband Thomas. Click here to read about the Wilkes and Ann families
Mary Ann Ann became the wife of Samuel Mullett Wilmot. Read more about Samuel and Mary Ann Wilmot
Mary Ann attempted to sell several of her properties in 1890. We don’t know if these four houses were amongst the lots put up for sale, but they remained in her ownership. Mary Ann died on 23rd February 1917 aged 65 and Samuel died on 5th October 1923 aged 78. Following Samuel’s death, the four cottages were put up for the sale at auction in 1924, but were unsold at £250.
The 1926 rate book shows the houses still owned by the ‘Trustees of S. M. Wilmot’. They continued to be owned by the Trustees up until the time they were demolished. The houses were demolished in the mid 1960’s even before the land was sold by the Wilmot trustees to Thornbury Rural District Council on 27th June 1968. The land was used as part of the town’s re-development and is now used as a service yard at the rear of the Library and shops.
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 have 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. Click on the links at the top of this page to read about the occupants of each house.