This house was in a row of four very small houses in Rock Street known locally as ‘The Oxhouses’. The plan on the left dated 1880 shows the area around the junction of Outer Back Street (now known as Rock Street) and Bath Road. There was a row of four houses on Rock Street, just to the south of the junction with Bath Road. When house numbering was introduced in the 1950’s, they became known as numbers 3 – 9 Rock Street and we have marked the numbers on the plan.
Unfortunately we have not found any photos of these houses. We understand they were very small with one room downstairs and one bedroom upstairs. There were no doors fronting Rock Street. Access was via the shared court at the rear, between the back of the houses and the gardens. The toilets were at the bottom of the garden (you can actually see the block of toilets in the plan above).
We have had great difficulty in identifying the occupants of each house in the 19th century census records and even with the Rate Books we found the sequence of occupants is inconsistent. We have therefore provided our best guess as to who was living in each of the Oxhouses.
Henry Herbert – in the 1876 rate book, the name of Henry Herbert appears in one of the Oxhouses. We can’t be sure which Henry Herbert this refers to. One of them had been listed as an occupant of one of these houses in the 1840 Tithe Map. This Henry was born about 1809 and in 1871 he was living in Pound House, near the Castle with his wife, Mary Ann who was aged 59 at that time. By 1881 they had moved to Gillingstool.
William Duncombe – the 1881 census shows the house was occupied by William Duncombe a labourer aged 17 and Hannah Duncombe a charwoman aged 56. William was the Hannah’s stepson. He was baptised William John Duncombe on 25th May 1864, the son of William Duncombe, a porter at the Workhouse and his wife, Fanny (nee Elliott). Fanny died aged 44 and was buried on 23rd January 1868. William re-married on 17th November 1868 – this time to Hannah Ford, the daughter of James Ford, a labourer. Hannah was widowed when William died on 10th May 1879 aged 57.
On 9th October 1880 William was charged with embezzling and stealing money from his master. He was sentenced to 42 days in Gloucester Prison. The prison records describe him as being a labourer aged 16 and was 5ft tall with light brown hair. In 1884 he was charged again – this time for being in debt to Henry Baylis for 16 shillings and 6 pence. He was sentenced to 21 days in Gloucester Prison. The records now describes him as being 5ft 7 inches tall.
The 1885 rate book shows Hannah was living at 43 St Mary Street. The 1887 rate book indicates that she had recently vacated that property and moved to one of Sir John Stafford’s Almshouses in St Mary Street.She carried on living here until she died aged 82 in 1907. It is interesting to note that Hannah was the sister of George Ford who was living at number 3 Rock Street.
George Ford – the 1885, 1887 and 1890 rate books appear to show that George Ford was occupying both number 3 and 5 Rock Street. Click here to read about George
Hester Phillips – the 1891 census shows the house was occupied by Hester Phillips, a widowed laundress aged 58 from Alveston. In 1881 Hester had been living at Alveston Down with her husband, Joseph, a quarryman and their daughter Lucy aged 11. Joseph died in 1888 aged 67. The 1894 rate book shows Hester had moved to one of Sir John Stafford’s Almshouses in St Mary Street. She was still living there at the time of the 1901 census and the 1894 Rate Book. She died aged 73 years and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 17th August 1906. The address shown in the burial register was John Street.
Frederick Davis – the 1894 rate book shows Frederick Davis occupying the house. We do not have any other information about Frederick.
Sarah Greenman – the 1899 rate book and 1901 census show that the house was occupied by Sarah Greenman. Click here to read more
There is a long period in the 1900’s when we do not know who lived there.
Miss Bendall – an indenture dated 1913 when Albert Bevan bought the cottages shows that Miss Bendall was the occupant of the cottage.
Wilson George Parsons – in 1931 when the cottages were sold this one appears to have been occupied by Wilson George Parsons. Wilson was born in Gloucester area in 1903. He married Lily R Palmer in Gloucester in 1928. By 1935 they were living in Gillingstool and they were still there in the 1938 electoral register, but not in the 1946 register. We understand that William may have been a coalman and that he and Lily had three daughters and two sons.
Sidney and Lilian Cole – the register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war shows Sidney’s family were living at 5 Rock Street, three doors away from where Sidney’s mother was living at 11 Rock Street . There is no sign of Sidney, but his wife, Lilian M. and her son, Gordon E. were there, together with another entry whose details are ‘blacked out’ but we suspect that Sidney and Lilian’s son, Michael. The register shows Lilian was born on 7th May 1910. We note that there is an entry in the register for a Sidney Cole born in 1908 who is a patient in the mental hospital at Gloucester, but we have no way of confirming that this is the same person. Click here to read about the Cole family
Jack and Rose Bond – lived in the house from about 1942 until the houses were demolished in the early 1960’s. Click here to read about the Bonds