Bill Taylor & Jean Holpin

Bill Taylor & Jean Holpin outside 2 Saw Mill Lane

The occupants of the house that became 2 Saw Mill Lane in Thornbury;

Thomas Barge – In 1840 Tithe map indicates what appear to be two houses on the Plot 311 and these are owned by George Taylor and occupied by two households: Thomas Barge and Aaron Newman.  These two families are shown as living in these houses in 1841 census, and although we cannot be sure which family lived in each house, we are guessing that it was Thomas Barge who was occupying number 2.

It is possible that Thomas Barge married Jane Savery on 8th September 1804.  We know that sometime between 1809 and 1820 the couple lived at what became 61 St Mary Street.  The 1841 census shows that he was then aged 65 and living with his wife Jane aged 75.  Thomas was a pig butcher.  They had a lodger called Isaac Nichols, a journeyman nailor aged 25.  Thomas died and was buried on 5th December 1841 aged 66 years.  Jane was buried on 16th June 1843 aged 81 years.

William Lippiatt.  In the 1851 census the house was occupied by William Lippiatt, a master plasterer and tiler aged 70, his wife Elizabeth, a washerwoman aged 58 from Cromhall and their children: Thomas an errand boy aged 14 and Eli aged 8.  Although this census records Eli as being the son of William and Elizabeth, the 1861 Census correctly records him as being their grandson and the son of their unmarried daughter, Alithea.

William was born on 9th March 1781, the son of Edward Lippiatt, a pargeter, and his wife, Sarah who lived in Moreton.  We understand that a pargeter was a plasterer.  On 2nd February 1807, William married Hester Pinnell at Thornbury St Mary’s Church.  We have a receipt for money paid to William Lippiatt for a considerable amount of tiling work at Grovesend for Mr Rolph.  The bill makes it clear that William employed “a boy” at that time.  Around 1809 William lived at what became 61 St Mary Street.

Hester Lippiatt died and was buried on 17th July 1814 aged 32 years.  William married again on 31st December 1815.  This time his wife was Elizabeth Roberts.  William and Elizabeth had several children: Joseph baptised on 17th February 1816, William baptised on 9th August 1818, Henry baptised on 1st March 1820, Alithea baptised on 14th March 1821, another Henry baptised on 15th June 1823, Eliza baptised on 25th September 1825, Charles baptised on 3rd February 1828, Robert baptised on 12th September 1830, Frederick baptised on 2nd December 1832, and Tom baptised on 23rd August 1836.

The land tax records show that William was occupying a house which we believe later became known as 11 Rock Street.  He is shown as living there in 1823 to 1827.  We think the 1840 Tithe Survey shows William was living in Chapel Street.  The 1841 census also shows him living at 10A Chapel Street.  He was described as a plasterer and tiler living with Elizabeth and their children: Alithea, Charles, Robert, Frederick and Tom and and Thomas Mills a journeyman mason aged 19.

In the 1861 census William and Elizabeth still lived in the house with Eli, now an apprentice tinplate worker aged 18.  William died on December 2nd 1865 and was buried on 10th December aged 85 years.  Elizabeth was buried on 11th January 1886 aged 89 years.

Joseph Mabbott – In the 1871 census the house was occupied by Joseph Mabbett (or Mabbott), a labourer aged 72, his wife, Sarah aged 69 from Stone and grand-daughter Emma Greenman aged 16.  Joseph Mabbott was still the tenant in the 1876 rate book but he had moved by the 1880 Rate Book.  Click here to read more  

George Power – The 1880 rate book shows that the name of the tenant was George Power.  By the 1881 census George had moved to 48 Castle Street where the census shows he was a groom aged 34 born in New Passage and that he was married to Mary aged 36 who was born in Tytherington.  At that time they had four children; Charles aged 6, Thomas aged 5, Lucy aged 4 and Emily aged 1.

William Bendall – The 1881 census and 1885 rate book show that William Bendall was the tenant at this time.  William was baptised on 8th December 1850, the son of John Bendall, a labourer and his wife, Mary.  Click here to read about John and Mary

On 26th February 1871 William married Angelina Hillier, the daughter of Robert Hillier, a stone-mason.  At the time of the 1871 census they were living in Gloucester, but they seemed to have moved to Thornbury shortly after.  The baptism records show that their first son, William, was baptised in Thornbury on 5th November 1871, Robert was baptised on 9th July 1873 but he died aged 6 months and was buried on 13th December 1873, Alfred was born on 19th August 1875 and baptised on 10th October 1875 and Lemira May baptised on 9th June 1878.  Another daughter, Esther, was born in September quarter 1887.

The 1881 census shows William was a labourer aged 30 and born in Thornbury.  He was living at 2 Saw Mill Lane with his wife, Angelina, aged 31 who was born in Sherston in Wiltshire and their children: William aged 9 who was born in Gloucester, Alfred aged 5 and Lemira M aged 2.

By 1891 census the family had moved to a house in Mutton Lane (now called 4 Crispin Lane) where they were living in one of the small cottages near the Crispin beerhouse.  William was now described as a labourer and haulier aged 40, Angelina was listed under the name of ‘Ann’ and she was shown as aged 41 born in Sherborne in Dorset.  They had two children living with them: May aged 12 and Hester aged 3.

On 19th August 1893 William’s son, Alfred signed on for the Royal Navy and was to stay with them until 1907.  Click here to read more about Alfred

William’s name appeared in the local press on several occasions.  The first report we have found shows that at the County Court in October 1884 George Hughes made a claim for £1 9s 0d being the price of a pig sold him by William and which died shortly after the sale.  William admitted the sale and said he had a verbal warranty of the soundness of the pig.  The Court judged against William.  In the 1890s the newspaper reported trouble of a ‘domestic’ nature.   In July 1896 Angelina applied for an order of judicial separation and maintenance on the grounds of persistent cruelty, which caused her to leave and live separately and apart from William.  An order was granted her with custody of her child nine years old and a weekly allowance of 10s for maintenance. In February 1898 William was charged with disobeying the maintenance order – Angelina ‘only claimed for £2 out of a considerable sum due’.  The case was adjourned for two weeks to allow William to find the money.  In June 1899 William re-appeared in Court when Angelina made a claim for £1 arrears, but she emphasised that a large amount was actually owed her.  William was committed to gaol for two weeks, suspended to give him an opportunity to pay her.

Angelina died aged 49 and was buried on 14th September 1899.  The 1901 census shows William living with his son, William, at 17 Rock Street.  When William junior left the district in 1906, William Snr continued to live in Thornbury.  The rate books and voters’ lists of 1910 and 1913 show him living in Raglan Castle Road (we believe this house became 5 Upper Bath Road, and he is listed as living in Upper Bath Road in the 1918 electoral register.  He died aged 76 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 29th July 1926.

William Alfred Phillips – The rate book of 1890 shows that the next tenant was William Phillips.  The 1891 census has further details.  In 1891 the house at 2 Saw Mill Lane was occupied by William, a stationary engine driver aged 29 from Thornbury and his wife, Eliza aged 29 from Newent. They had children: Francis George aged 6 born in Chepstow, Henry 4, John 2 and Fanny aged 1, all born in Thornbury. Click here to read more

Robert Long – The 1899 rate book shows that Robert Long was now the tenant and Robert was a carter working for the saw mill living in the house in the 1901 census.  Click here to read more

William Higgins – the 1911 census shows the house occupied by William Higgins, a widowed gardener aged 55 and his daughter, Ethel Higgins, aged 10 born in Shirehampton and a visitor, Gladys Walker aged 10 born in Thornbury.  The records of the Council School show that Ethel May was born on 24th April 1900 and she started at the school in 1909 when the family moved from Shirehampton.  Their address in 1909 was Saw Mill Lane.

Alice Jefferies and Sidney Taylor – from about 1923 onwards until the house was demolished in the late 1950s, it was occupied by the family of Alice and Sidney Taylor.

Alice Elizabeth Tandy was born on 12th April 1893 and baptised on 13th May 1894, the daughter of Lewis Tandy, a labourer and his wife, Harriet who lived at Grovesend.  In 1901 Lewis was a carter on a farm at Grovesend.

In 1914 Alice married Sidney Jefferies.  We think that Sidney may have been born in Thornbury about 1886.  We don’t know a great deal about him apart from that he was a farm servant at Edward Lashford’s farm at Lower Morton in 1901.   Shortly after the wedding, Sidney went off to War and never came back.  He was killed in Gallipoli on 8th August 1915 whilst serving as a Private in 7th Battalion of the Gloucester Regiment.  Two of Alice’s brothers were also killed in 1915.  Joseph and Hubert Tandy were serving with the Gloucester Regiment in Northern France.  Joseph had previously served eight years in the Army, mostly in India, when he recalled to 2nd Glosters.  He was shot through the lungs and spine on 14th October 1915, dying of wounds on 28th October aged 34.  Hubert died in a French hospital on 26th February 1915 following an operation.

We don’t know when Alice and Sidney John Taylor got together. Sidney was born in Oldbury on 29th November 1891, the son of John Bennett, a road labourer and his wife, Fanny Frances (nee Bennett).  The 1911 census shows Sidney had become a farm labourer and he was living with his parents in Oldbury Naite.  Sidney appears to have married Harriett R Sansum in the Thornbury area in 1912.   We don’t know what happened to Harriett but Sidney and her were officially divorced in 1934 and Sidney and Alice married later that year.

Taylors Lordie Ma & Bill

(from left) Lordie, “Ma” & Bill Taylor

Sidney and Alice went on to have four sons: Reginald born on the 10th November 1918, William John on 11th November 1925, Ronald on 10th October 1930 and Donald on 16th March 1933.  Of these, Ronald became known locally as ‘Lordie’, Donald became ‘Fonzo’ and Miss Higgins told us that she always called Reg ‘Bubbles’ because he was always singing the song ‘I’m forever blowing bubbles’.  The photo on the right shows Lordie, Alice and Bill outside of 2 Saw Mill Lane.

We don’t know when Sydney and Alice moved to 2 Saw Mill Lane.  The Council School records show that they were there when Reginald Sidney, their first son, started at the School in 1923.  We can’t explain why, but the 1925 valuation list and 1926 rate book both show the name of the occupant as ‘Harold Taylor’.

Sidney was a as a waggoner at the Saw Mill, although we understand he also helped out at the Brick Works.  His job was to drive the wagons carrying the long heavy lengths of timber from the fields where the trees had been felled to the Saw Mill.  The wagons were pulled by shire horses – there were four all together – Prince, Jubilee, Sammy and Captain.  It was apparently a very tricky job getting the horses and wagon to negotiate the sharp bend at the top of Gloucester Road and into St John Street.  A waggoner’s job also involved looking after the horses which were kept in the stables next to the houses in Saw Mill Lane.  After work on Fridays the horses were taken down to fields past the hospital in Gloucester Road where they were allowed to run free.

Alice did washing for people and helped her neighbours, the Holpins, out when Mrs Holpin’s arthritis prevented her from doing the washing.  Mrs Taylor was a very house-proud and several locals have told us that she was always polishing her front step and one recalled that she had the ‘shiniest lino in town despite having a front door which opened on the saw mill mud’.  She was also a substantial lady and reminded one neighbour of Norah Batty.  He claimed she had a ‘stentorian voice’ particularly when shouting for her husband from the front door “SIDNEY!!!!!”

The register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war lists eight persons in this household.  Sidney was described as ‘Head Carter in Timber Yard’.  In addition to Sidney and Alice there were four persons whose details have been ‘blacked out’.  The remaining two persons appear to be lodgers, Ethel H. Penduck born on 20th August 1888 and John Curtis a stone cutter in the quarry born on 3rd September 1915.

Reginald Taylor

Reginald Taylor

Having lost a husband and two brothers in the First World War, it must have been difficult for Alice when World War Two started.  Two of the Taylor boys served in the forces, and another served in Home Guard. Tragically, Reginald Sidney (shown below on the left) was killed in June 1944.  He had worked in the Tytherington Quarry before being called up.

Sidney died in 1955 aged 64.  When the house was earmarked for demolition in the 60s, Alice moved to The Old School House, 3 Horseshoe Lane and from here to Bath Road.  She died in 1984.

Of their other children:
Donald (Fonzo) married Esme Shepherd from Tytherington.

William Taylor

William Taylor

Ronald (Lordie) worked for Tucker Brothers, married Marion and lived in 7/9 Lower Bath Road before they settled in Gloucester Road opposite the Grammar School.

William was employed by Trayhurns, the butchers until he joined the Army during the Second World War. William joined the Gloucesters Regiment and was posted to India.  His photograph appeared in the Gazette of 10th November 1945 to mark his 20th birthday the following day.

We apologise for the very poor quality photograph which is shown here on