We are fortunate that South Gloucestershire Council allowed us to see the deeds of these properties.  They show that the six houses (47 – 51 St Mary Street and 16 – 20 Rock Street) were all built on on an area of orchard between the two streets.

The earliest deed dated 27th May 1672 outlines the history of the orchard showing that it had previously been the site of a ruined messuage which had been occupied by Robert Bedggood and then his widow, Margaret Bedggood.  When the buildings were demolished the land was planted as an orchard.  It had been owned by John Thurston, a ropemaker of St Stephen’s Parish in Bristol who passed it to his son, William Thurston, a ship’s chandler also of St Stephen’s Parish in Bristol.  In 1672 William Thurston sold the orchard to John Bird the elder from whom it passed to William Bird and then to William’s nephew, John Thurston, gentleman of Thornbury who was the youngest son of Robert Thurston.  On 4th October 1708 John Thurston sold the orchard to Andrew Buck, currier of Thornbury.  On 21st July 1716 Andrew and his wife, Sarah sold the orchard to Thomas Hulbert, a carpenter of Thornbury for £13.

The Hulberts – the deeds show that on 21st July 1716 Thomas bought the orchard from Andrew Buck for £13.  Thomas was a carpenter and he built one house on the part of the orchard fronting St Mary Street and another at the eastern end of the garden fronting Rock Street.  The house on St Mary Street was later converted by Thomas Hendy (see below) into three houses which became known as 47, 49 and 51 St Mary Street.  We think that the house on Rock Street was the one later known as 20 Rock Street.

On Thomas Hulbert’s death the two properties descended to his eldest son, John Hulbert.  We are not sure when Thomas died, although we note that one Thomas Hulbert was buried on 6th August 1726 which might be the same person.  On 24th August 1754 John Hulbert, a baker borrowed £40 from Thomas Barrow using the two houses as security.  At that time, John Hulbert, the baker occupied the property in St Mary Street and the house in Rock Street was occupied by Thomas Sharp.

On 17th June 1758 John Hulbert still owed Thomas Barrow £40 loaned to him and John arranged for his mortgage to be transferred to Ann Leonard.  When John Hulbert died intestate the property was transferred to his eldest son, Thomas Hulbert.  Meanwhile the debt increased to £45 and the mortgage was transferred first to John Day, then John Rudge and then Thomas Clark.  Thomas Hulbert died intestate and was buried on 11th January 1770.  The property transferred to Thomas’s brother, Joseph Hulbert a tailor of Iron Acton.  On 4th November 1774 Joseph Hulbert sold the two properties to John Rudge, a gentleman of Thornbury for £100.

John Rudge – the indenture shows that following Thomas Sharp, the house on Rock Street had been occupied by Mary Summers and then by John Mills, a labourer.  Following John Hulbert, the house on St Mary Street had been occupied by William Cowley, wheelwright and then John Nott, Sarah Watkins and Hester Trotman.  We do not know at this point whether they were all sharing the same house or whether there was more than one property on the site.  By 1777 Mary Morgan had replaced Hester Trotman.  

John Rudge died and was buried on 27th February 1777 aged 70.  At the time of John’s death John owned several properties in the Thornbury area.  John’s wife, Mary, died aged 85 and was buried on 2nd September 1788.  For a few years the property appears to have been administered John’s relatives.  During the period around 1780, the property on Rock Street was occupied by John Mills and the property on St Mary Street was occupied by Joseph Iles the younger, Anthony Wisse and Thomas Gough.  On 14th February 1783, John’s relatives sold the St Mary Street and Rock Street to Thomas Hendy, butcher of Thornbury.  Click here to read about John Rudge 

Thomas Hendy – we believe that Thomas was baptised on 23rd May 1739, the son of John and Mary Hendy.  On 22nd September 1767 Thomas married Mary Grove.  They had at least three children: Ann born on 13th April 1768 and baptised on 12th October 1768, Thomas Hendy who was baptised on 5th June 1770 and another daughter, Elizabeth, born on 30th September 1772 and baptised on 18th November 1772.

We think Thomas lived at 18 High Street.  Although a butcher by trade, Thomas seemed to be very active in the property market and often made good use of the properties he bought by building new houses on the garden land attached to the houses, and in one case by converting one house into three.  On 24th and 25th March 1774 Thomas bought a property for £60 at the top of St Mary Street, now known as 32 St Mary Street.  Thomas sold that property to Robert Caddy on 27th September 1776.

On 22nd December 1780 Thomas bought the property later to be known as 13 St Mary Street.  Deeds of that property indicate that Thomas took down the house and re-built it.  He also built a house at bottom of the garden on land fronting St John Street which he sold to Richard Greenman.  He lived in the house for a short time before he sold it in 1801 to Thomas Young.

Thomas bought two other properties in the St Mary Street/Rock Street area on the 14th February 1783 from various parties associated with the late John Rudge.  Thomas undertook some major development of the site.  The house on St Mary Street was converted into three houses which later became known as 47, 49 and 51 St Mary Street.  He also built two more cottages fronting Rock Street adjoining the cottage (later known as 20 Rock Street) previously built by Thomas Hulbert.  We believe these two cottages were the ones later known as 16 and 18 Rock Street.  According to the deeds of the adjoining property, the house on St Mary Street was occupied by Thomas Whitfield in 1793.

On 24th January 1801 Thomas sold all six properties to William Hunt.  Thomas’s wife, Mary, died on 20th March 1805 aged 58.  Thomas died on 13th August 1821 aged 86.  He was living at Morton prior to his death.  Thomas and Mary’s son, Thomas, married Amelia Cullimore on 6th February 1792.  Thomas and Mary’s daughter, Elizabeth, married John Weeks on 2nd August 1795.

William Hunt – when he bought the properties on 24th January 1801 William was described as being a yeoman late of Thornbury but then of St Arvans Grange, Monmouthshire.  The price paid for the several properties was £245.  At that time William Liddiatt occupied 20 Rock Street and William Walker and Hester Cossham occupied 16 and 18 Rock Street.  The three houses in St Mary Street were occupied by Phillip Thomas, Hester Clutterbuck widow and John Tilley.  We know from the deeds of the adjoining property that in 1836 47/49 & 51 St Mary Street were occupied by Sarah Webb widow and Charles Woodward.

It appears likely William Hunt was baptised in Thornbury on 13th July 1760, the illegitimate child of Hannah Hunt of Oldbury.  On 21st April 1783 William married Mary Burgess at Thornbury.  Their first son, William, was born on 19th January 1784 and baptised on 15th February 1784.  A daughter, Anne, was born 2nd April 1786 and baptised on 28th May 1786.  A son, Thomas, was born on 6th February 1789 and baptised on 22nd March 1789 but he died as an infant and was buried on 16th March 1790.  Another son was given the name of Thomas.  He was born on 1st February 1791 and baptised on 20th March 1791.

The transcription of the 1840 Tithe Survey shows that the three houses in Rock Street and three in St Mary Street in Plot 142 were owned by ‘Thomas Hunt’.  However according to the deeds of these properties the owner was William Hunt a farmer who lived in Tidenham, Gloucestershire.

The 1841 census shows William Hunt was a farmer aged 85 living in Tidenham, Gloucestershire.  William Hunt died on 9th November 1842.  In his will written on 1st May 1841 he appointed his executors as his son, Thomas Hunt blacksmith and gunsmith of Chepstow and John Hall, a victualler of Llandogo and the husband of William’s sister, Elizabeth and he left the various properties in their trust to sell or dispose of.

The Halls – John was one of the two executors of William Hunt (see above) and thus responsible for disposing of William Hunt’s properties.  It appears that John paid £250 for the six properties on 29th June 1855.  The rate books confirm that John Hall became the owner of the six properties.  The 1841 census shows John Hall as a publican living in Llandogo with Elizabeth.  The 1851 census shows John was a victualler aged 48 and born in Leominster. Elizabeth was aged 46 and born in Tidenham.  They were living at the Sloop Inn, Llandogo.

We are not sure when Elizabeth died, but in 1868 John married again – this time his wife was Frances Kirk Skinner and the marriage took place in the Chepstow area so it might have been at Llandogo.  John and Frances had one child, John Augustus Hall born in 1869.  John senior died on 26th August 1870 and the 1871 census shows Frances living with young John at 11 Mount Pleasant, Chepstow.  Frances was aged 38 and had been born in the Spilsby area of Nottinghamshire.  Frances became the owner of the properties in Thornbury.  She remained living in Chepstow and died there on 16th December 1913.  John Augustus served for many years as a member of the Chepstow Urban District Council.  He died on 7th December 1928.

The Balls – on 13th April 1929 the three houses in Rock Street were sold by the Public Trustee for £100 to Sarah Jane Ball, the wife of Luke Ball of Thornbury, gardener.  They were occupied at that time by M Ford, H. Walker and Mrs Barton.  On 18th April 1929 Sarah sold the three properties in St Mary Street to Joseph Davis for £110.

On 20th February 1946 Sarah Jane Ball of Alveston sold 20 Rock Street to William Thomas Lambert hardware merchant of St Mary Street and his wife, Florence Beatrice Lambert for £450.  Sarah continued to own 16 and 18 Rock Street until 8th May 1963 when she sold the two houses to Thornbury Rural District Council for £145.  She was living at Fieldside, Alveston at the time of the sale.

On 4th October 1950 the Lamberts sold the property to Ernest Frank Dickerson for £420. On 29th August 1963 Ernest Frank Dickerson sold the property to Thornbury Rural District Council for £50.  At the time of the sale Ernest was living at 9 Quarry Mead, Alveston.