Westminster Bank and Silver Street

The two properties on the left of the photograph above were known as 1 and 1A Silver Street during the 1950s.

We believe that the building on the left had been 1 Silver Street and it had been demolished and replaced by an extension to the Westminster Bank on the corner of the High Street and Silver Street.  The house shown in the photograph became known as 1a Silver Street and continued as a private house up to the late 1960s when it was acquired by Thornbury Rural District Council.  It was demolished to make way for the new St Mary Centre shopping arcade.

We haven’t seen the deeds of these properties which makes research in their history difficult, but things are exacerbated because the rate books and other records indicate that there were three houses on the plot, at least from the mid 1800s to 1910.  We’ve done our best to put together a history of these properties and the various families we know who were connected with them, but we can’t say for sure what the houses were like or which families lived in each house.

Our earliest information that can be clearly linked to these properties is derived upon the 1840 Tithe Survey.  The names shown in the tithe survey have enabled us to trace the history back to around 1809 when it was owned by Abraham Riddiford.  Since Abraham, the property has only been owned by the Mawley family who were connected to Abraham Riddiford through the marriage of one of his daughters and then the Williams family until number 1 Silver Street was sold to the Westminster Bank and in the case of 1a Silver Street until the late 1960’s when it was acquired by the Council and demolished.  We are not sure when the Bank acquired 1 Silver Street but it appears to have been before 1947 as the property was not mentioned in the will of Henry William Williams.


Abraham Riddiford – we know from the 1809 Rent Roll that Abraham Riddiford was the owner in 1809 when he let the property to Richard Smart.  The name of Richard Smart is crossed through and replaced by Joseph Isles which shows at some time after 1809 Joseph Isles was living there.

Abraham was a grocer and draper.  He owned several buildings in the town including 28 Castle Street.  His home and shop appear to have been at 31 High Street, the other properties he let lout to tenants.  Click here to read more

The 1830 Rent Roll shows the property in Silver Street owned by ‘Riddiford’ was taken over by ‘Mawley’ and that Joseph Iles who was there in 1830 was replaced at a later date by Sarah Mills.

Abraham Riddiford and his wife, Hester, had at least three daughters who survived into adulthood and who were married; Emma Riddiford born 18th May 1800, Ann Child Riddiford born on 5th May 1802 and Eliza born 15th July 1804.  Abraham died aged 66 and was buried on the 27th January 1831.  In his will, he divided all his property messuages and estate equally between two of his daughters; Emma and Eliza except certain properties specifically left to the other daughter Ann Child Freem.  The rent rolls suggest that the property in Silver Street descended to Emma who married William Mawley in 1833.

The Mawleys – Emma Riddiford married William Mawley in Bristol on 7th July 1833.  Sadly the marriage did not last very long as Emma Mawley died in September 1834.  William Mawley then married Harriett Luce in February 1835 and they agreed on a marriage settlement sharing the property they had both inherited.  William and Harriet had one daughter Harriet Luce Mawley baptised in Thornbury on 11th October 1837.  The family doesn’t appear to have stayed together long.  William moved away to live in Bristol and Harriett and her daughter moved back to live with her widowed mother, Mary Luce, at 22 High Street.  We don’t know how William and Harriett settled the division of their property following the apparent breakdown of their marriage, but by the time of the 1840 Tithe Survey Harriett appears to have acquired the properties in Thornbury.  Read more about the Mawleys

The 1840 Tithe Survey shows that Harriett’s property in Silver Street was Plot 178 described as a house occupied by Mary Luce and Elijah Hopkins.  Harriett continued letting the property out to tenants (see below).  Following her mother’s death in 1868, Harriett moved from 22 High Street to one of her houses at 1 Silver Street.  The 1871 Census shows Harriett was a house proprietor aged 63 living with her unmarried daughter, Harriett aged 35.

The 1881 Census shows the two Harriets still living in Silver Street.  Harriet senior was an annuitant aged 73, her daughter was a confectioner aged 40.  Harriet senior died on 14th May 1885 aged 77.  In the 1891 Census the younger Harriet was living in Silver Street on her own.  She was unmarried aged 55.

Harriett Luce Mawley of Silver Street died in 24th January 1901 aged 64.  Administration of her estate was granted to Harriett Luce Chambers, widow.  She was a second cousin, one of the grandchildren of George and Mary Luce.

By the time of the 1905 Rate Book John Hodges Williams had acquired the property at 31 High Street and also the three houses belonging to Harriett Mawley in Silver Street.  The property at 31 High Street appears to have been conveyed by an indenture dated 20th March 1902 between Harriett Luce Chambers and John Hodges Williams.

The Williams family – by the time of the 1905 Rate Book John Hodges Williams acquired a lot of property in the High Street and also the three houses belonging to Harriett Mawley in Silver Street.  John was a draper by trade, but expanded his property empire to include other shops and houses throughout Thornbury.  Click here to read more

In due course, the property was transferred to Henry William Williams, son of John Hodges Williams.  Henry had run a grocer and tea dealer’s shop at ‘The Golden Key’, Thornbury and eventually became the owner of much of the ‘Williams’ property in Thornbury including the properties in Gloucester Road.  Henry moved away from Thornbury although he kept his interest in the properties here.  He and his wife moved to Southgate in Middlesex.  When he died on the 21st December 1960, the house became part of the estate administered by his widow, Ada Williams, who was living in Southgate and her nephew, John Merrick Williams, who was living in Westbury Park, Bristol.  In 1967 the property was acquired by Thornbury Rural District Council under a Compulsory Purchase Order.  Click here to read more about Henry


Mary Luce – the 1840 Tithe Survey shows Mary as one of the occupants of the house.  The 1841 Census shows two houses, one occupied Mary Luce a hairdresser aged 63 living with Mary a milliner aged 25 and Thomas a hairdresser aged 23.

We suspect that Mary was Mary Virgo born on 26th June 1777 and baptised at Oldbury on 9th November 1777.  She was the daughter of William and Mary Virgo.  On 28th July 1815 Mary married Thomas Luce in Thornbury.  They had several children: Sarah and Thomas both baptised on 15th February 1818, Ann baptised on 24th April 1822 and another Sarah baptised on 18th July 1832.  The census record mentioned above also suggests that there was a daughter Mary born about 1815.  The baptism records show that Thomas Luce was a barber.

Thomas Luce died aged 53 and was buried on 2nd June 1829.  He was likely to have been the brother of George Luce, another barber who had lived in the town and died in 1823 aged 56.  If this is the case, then Mary Luce would have been the aunt of Harriett Mawley (nee Luce) the owner of the property (see above).  Mary died aged 69 and was buried on 22nd November 1846.

Elijah Hopkins –  the 1840 Tithe Survey shows Elijah as one of the occupants of the house.  He was born on 24th March 1795 and baptised on 10th May 1795.  He was the son of Stephen Hopkins and his wife, Mary nee Ford).  We can’t find any trace of Elijah in the 1841 Census or any later census.  It is possible that he was the Elijah Hopkins who sailed from Bristol to New York in 1840 aboard the SS Cosmo.  He was travelling with Ann Hopkins aged 36 and Eliza Hopkins aged 13.

Richard Smart – the 1809 rent roll shows the name of Richard Smart as tenant of the property.  The 1810 and 1812 land tax records appear to show that Richard had become the owner and occupant of 41 High Street.  He also appeared to own the property next door (number 39 High Street) which he let out to John Barnett.  We don’t know anything about Richard.

Joseph Isles – we suspect that this is Joseph Isles, the butcher who died aged 95 and was buried on 20th March 1836.  His son, John, was listed as a butcher in Silver Street in 1839 trade directory.  Click here to read more

Henry Gayner – Henry is mentioned as being an occupant of one of William Mawley’s properties in the marriage settlement of 1835 (see above).  It notes that he was a tailor.  We suspect that Henry was born in 1807, the son of Charles Gayner and his wife, Ann.  Henry died on 3rd June 1841 aged 34.

William Eddington – William is mentioned as being an occupant of one of William Mawley’s properties in the marriage settlement of 1835 (see above).  It notes he was a plasterer.  Click here to read more

Sarah Mills – the 1830 Rent Roll indicates that Sarah Mills replaced Joseph Isles as an occupant of one of the houses at some time after 1830.

Samuel Collins (or Collings) – the 1851 Census shows ‘James Collins’ was living in the house.  James Collins a master watchmaker aged 59 born in Downend living with his wife, Elizabeth aged 64 from Herefordshire and their daughter, Elizabeth aged 23 born in Thornbury.  We are fairly confident that this was actually Samuel Collings who was also a watchmaker.  In the 1841 Samuel and Elizabeth Collings were living just a few doors away at 29 High Street and their ages fit with those given for James Collins.  It is also interesting to note that the 1841 Census shows Samuel’s wife, Elizabeth, was not born in Gloucestershire.

Elizabeth Collings, Samuel’s wife died aged 73 and she was buried on 20th July 1859.  In the 1859 rate book and the 1861 Census Samuel was living in the same house in Silver Street in which ‘James Collins’ was noted as living in the 1851 Census.  In the census he was described as a widower aged 69 born in Mangotsfield who was still trading as a clock maker living with his daughter Elizabeth H aged 32 born in Thornbury and Alfred J a grandson aged 6.  Also in 1861 Samuel was chairman of the jury in the case of the suicide of Edward Gill, Dr Long’s assistant.  In 1867 rate book Samuel had moved to 7 Castle Street.  Click here to read more

Frederick Jones – the 1851 Census shows Frederick Jones was living in the house.  Frederick Jones was a journeyman tailor aged 40 from Broadway, Worcestershire, his wife, Sarah aged 36 from Thornbury and their children, Frederick aged 8 and Mary Ann aged 4, both born in Thornbury.  The 1859 rate book lists Frederick as a tenant of the property, but his name is crossed through, usually indicating that he had recently vacated the property.  Click here to read more

Sarah Iles (or Isles) -the 1841 census shows that Sarah was living in the house at Silver street.  She was aged 49 and a charwoman and living with her son Joseph an agricultural labourer aged 24.  There appear to be a number of lodgers in the household; George Virgo an agricultural labourer aged 35, David Tanner an agricultural labourer aged 50 and Joseph Hall aged 47.

We suspect that Sarah was the daughter of Joseph Isles who had been living in the property earlier.  Sarah Isles was born on 20th December 1782 and baptised on 28th December 1785, the daughter of Joseph and Betty Isles.  Sarah’s son, Joseph, was baptised on 2nd April 1815.  The baptism record notes she was a single woman.  It seems likely that Sarah had taken over the tenancy from her father, Joseph Iles (see above), although she does not appear in the 1840 Tithe Survey.

The 1851 Census shows ‘Sarah Iles’ was still living in the house.  Sarah Iles was an unmarried charwoman aged 68 living with her son Joseph Iles an agricultural labourer aged 37 and a lodger, Jane Davis, a widowed housemaid aged 36 from Olveston and her children: Henry an errand boy aged 15, Sarah aged 14, Jane aged 7 and Hester aged 4.

John Luce – the 1859 rate book and the 1861 Census show that John was living in one of the houses.  The census shows John Luce was a master butcher aged 51 living with Ellen aged 46 and their children: Jane a dressmaker aged 21, John a blacksmith aged 19, Henry a butcher aged 14, Emma aged 12 Harriett aged 10 and Ellen aged 5.  In 1871 the family were still living in Silver Street.  Of their children only John and Ellen are living at home.  Click here to read more

Daniel Raggatt – the 1871 Census show Daniel Raggatt and his family were living in one of the houses.  Daniel was a journeyman wheelwright aged 32 from Yate.  He was living with his wife, Elizabeth aged 32 from Yatton and their children: William aged 8 born in Yate, Ernest aged 6, Mary aged 4, Eliza aged 2 and Alice aged 10 months.  They also had a lodger, John Collings an agricultural labourer aged 20.  Click here to read more

Thomas Powell – the 1880 rate book lists Thomas as living in one of the houses.  We don’t know any more to be able to identify which Thomas Powell.

George Trayhurn – the 1881 Census shows George Trayhurn was living in one of the houses.  George was a butcher aged 25.  He was living with his wife, Elizabeth a shopkeeper aged 26 and their three sons: Harry M aged 3, George aged 2 and Arthur aged 2 months.  They had a servant Elizabeth J Morgan aged 13 from Oldbury.  They were still living in Silver Street according to to the 1885 Rate Book.  Click here to read more

Susan Birt – the 1890 rate book shows that the property was occupied by Susan Birt.  Susan was baptised on 30 April 1845.  She was the daughter of George Birt, a labourer and his wife, Harriett (nee Gough).

Caroline Smart – the 1890 rate book and the 1891 Census shows Caroline living in one of the houses.  The census shows Caroline Smart was living in a three roomed house.  She was a widow, living on her own means, her age is difficult to read but she was born in Brinkworth, Wilts.  Her grand-daughter, Naomi Caroline Jones aged 11 and born in St Briavels was living with her.

Caroline Smith was born in Brinkworth, Wiltshire about 1826.  She was the daughter of Robert and Mary Smith who were living at Giles Green Farm, Brinkworth in the 1841 Census.  In 1846 Caroline married James Smart in the Bristol area.  James was baptised on 9th June 1816 at Oldbury, the son of James Smart, a farmer and his wife, Mary.  James and Caroline had two daughters, both registered in Thornbury.  Fanny was baptised on 25th July 1847 and Matilda baptised on 27th February 1850.

The 1851 Census shows they were living in Kington where James was a butcher and farmer of 28 acres.  He was aged 34 and employing one labourer.  He was living there with Caroline aged 25 and Fanny 3 and Matilda aged 1.  The 1861 Census shows they were still in Kington.  James was a farmer of 44 acres aged 44 and employing one man.  Caroline was aged 36 and they were living with their daughters: Fanny aged 13 and Matilda aged 11.  By the 1871 Census the Smarts had moved to St Briavels.  James was a farmer of 143 acres aged 55.  He was living in St Briavels with Caroline aged 48, their unmarried daughter, Fanny aged 23 who was born in Kington and a nephew, William Parker aged 29 who was born in Blagdon.  The 1881 Census shows the family had returned to the Thornbury area.  James Smart was a farmer aged 65.  His farm was of 8 acres at Lower Morton.  Caroline was aged 57.  Two grandsons were living them: Sydney S Winter aged 12 from Iston in Monmouthshire and Smart Jones aged 3 from Whitfield.

James died aged 72 in 1888 and this must have caused Caroline to move into the town.  The 1901 Census however shows she returned to St Briavels where she was living alone in a two roomed cottage called Townsend Cottage in St Briavels.  She was aged 76.  We think she died later that year.  Her death was registered in Tewkesbury.

Lucy Boucher – the 1894 and 1899 rate books show the property was occupied by Lucy Boucher.  It appears from the census that Lucy didn’t live in the property, but she used the shop for her business as a ‘drysalter’.  The trade directories show Lucy as a drysalter in Silver Street in 1897, 1899, 1902 and 1904.

According to Wikipedia, ‘Drysalters were dealers in a range of chemical products, including glue, varnish, dye and colourings.  They might supply salt or chemicals for preserving food and sometimes also sold pickles, dried meat or related items.  The name drysalter or dry-salter was in use in the United Kingdom by the early 18th century when some drysalters concentrated on ingredients for producing dyes, and it was still current in the first part of the 20th century’.

Lucy Agnes Boucher was born in 1842, the daughter of John Boucher and his wife, Eliza Leonia (nee Bryant).  John died in 1842 and Eliza married again.  Her second husband was James Vaughan, a druggist from Thornbury.  They were married in the Clifton area in 1844.  We can’t find Lucy in the 1851 Census.  Her mother and sister, Eliza, were living with James Vaughan at 1 The Plain, Thornbury.  The 1861 Census shows Lucy re-united with the rest of the family at 1 The Plain.  She was now working as a milliner.  In the 1871 Census Lucy is shown as a milliner aged 25 living with her stepfather, James Vaughan, a druggist on The Plain.

By the 1881 Census Lucy had moved next door to 2 The Plain to live with her sister, Eliza Balls.  Lucy was described as a housekeeper aged 38.  The 1891 Census shows Lucy still living there with her sister, Eliza.  Eliza died on 30th January 1900 aged 62.  The 1901 census shows Lucy as a drysalter and shopkeeper living with Eliza’s son, Percy Balls and his family at 2 The Plain.  This means that she was living on The Plain whilst running the shop in Silver Street.

In the 1901 Census she is described as an aunt born in Castle Street, Bristol.  It is interesting to note that in 1843 there was an advertisement in the Bristol Mercury for the firm of W Boucher called “Boucher’s Manufactury” selling beds, mattresses and bedding at 4 Castle Street, Bristol.  In the same year William Boucher of Castle Street was appointed a Guardian of the Poor in Bristol.  This was at a time when Lucy was still a baby and just after her father had died.

The 1911 Census shows Lucy was staying in Oldbury.  She is recorded as a visitor at the home of George Jones a farm labourer aged 56 from Cromhall and his wife, Amelia Jones aged 55 also from Cromhall.  However the fact that Lucy is described as a companion aged 68 might suggest she was living there.  We don’t know what happened to Lucy after 1911.  She died in 1924 aged 80.

Sarah Cossham – the 1894 rate book also shows that Sarah Cossham occupied one of the house, but her name was crossed through indicating that she had left.  We are not sure about Sarah and can find no other mention of Sarah in Thornbury.

Agnes Ann – the 1901 Census shows Agnes was living in one of the properties.  Agnes was an unmarried governess and teacher of music aged 35 born in Alveston.  Agnes ran a private school from the property in Silver Street and was still be listed as living here in the 1912 Prewetts Directory.  Click here to read more

Alfred Charles Hillier – the 1910 Rate Book shows that Alfred was occupying one of the houses owned by John Hodges Williams.  The 1911 Census shows that the house occupied by Alfred in Silver Street was a 6 room house.  He was an assistant superintendent aged 40 born in Ilminster with his wife Ellen aged 42 born in London and their daughter, Agnes Millicent aged 12 and unmarried sister in law, Florence Gamblin aged 33 born in Taunton who was living on private means.

Alfred was born in Ilminster in 1871, the son of Alexander Hillier, railway station master and his wife, Mary Ann.  They were living at Horton Road, Illminster at the time of the 1871 census.  The 1881 Census shows Alfred was a member of a large family still living in Ilminster.  At that time Alexander and Mary Ann has 12 children.  By the time of the 1891 census Alfred had left home.  He was a general labourer aged 21 boarding in Upper Green, Mitcham in Surrey.

In 1897 Alfred married Ellen Gamlin in the Taunton area.  The 1901 Census shows them living at 3 Iona Terrace, Bradford upon Avon.  Alfred had become an assistant superintendent of the Prudential Assurance Company.  They had a daughter, Agnes Millicent born on 8th April 1898 at Fishponds.

When Agnes Hillier was admitted to St Mary’s School in Thornbury in 1909 the record said that the family lived in Silver Street but that Agnes had previously been educated at a private school in Birmingham.  Agnes Hillier was admitted to Thornbury Grammar School on 20th September 1911.  The address of the family at that time was Silver Street.  Agnes left Thornbury Grammar School in July 1916 to go to the Elementary Training Department of Bristol University.

The 1918 electoral register shows the Hilliers still living in Silver Street.  By the 1921 they had moved away to live in Southbourne, Bournemouth.  Alfred died on 21st May 1932.  His probate record shows his address as ‘Thornbury, Newcombe Road, Southbourne, Bournemouth’.  The obituary printed in the Thornbury Gazette more than ten years after he had moved away said he had been closely involved with the Thornbury Bowling Club.

John Samuel Prichard – the electoral register of 1921 shows that John Samuel and Ida Eugenie Pritchard lived in Silver Street and the 1925 Valuation List shows John is occupying one of the houses.

The 1901 Census shows John Samuel Prichard aged 24 was a tailor in Gloucester living with his parents, Philip George Prichard a farmer and his wife, Mary Jane.  John is also listed in a Gloucester trade directory in 1902 when he was a tailor in St Johns Lane.

John married Martha Ellen Williams in the Newent area in 1907.  They had a daughter, Christabel Dorren Prichard born on 29th July 1908 in the Wheatenhurst area and a daughter, Enid born in Gloucester in 1910.  In 1910 John was listed as living at The Gable in Hardwick near Gloucester.

The 1911 Census shows John Samuel Prichard aged 34 and born in Llansay in Monmouthshire.  He was living in Gloucester and he had been married for 3 years to Martha Ellen who was aged 20 and born in Acton Beauchamp in Worcestershire and their two children, Christabel Dorren aged 2 and Enid aged 1. Another son, Leslie Henry was born on 10th September 1911.

We don’t know what happened to Martha Ellen.  In 1917 John re-married.  His second wife was Ida Eugenie Powell whom he married in Gloucester.  They had a son, Douglas Owen born in Dursley area on 13th September 1918.

Based on the records of the Council Upper School the Prichards moved to Silver Street in Thornbury in 1919 when his daughter, Christabel joined the school.  The record shows Christabel had moved from a school in Slimbridge.  In 1920 Leslie joined the Upper School and in 1922 when he obtained a free place in Thornbury Grammar School the records for that school show his father, John, was a tailor in Silver Street.  In 1923 another son, Douglas Owen Pritchard joined the Council Infants School.

The Pritchards seemed to stay in Silver Street until 1925 when the school records show they left the District.  John died in the Cheltenham area in 1934 aged 57.  He was buried in Charlton Kings.

The Tailor of Gloucester
We discovered that John Samuel Prichard was the inspiration behind Beatrix Potter’s story, The Tailor of Gloucester.

According to Wikipedia: ‘In the summer of 1901, Potter was working on The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, but took time to develop a tale about a poor tailor she heard in the Gloucestershire home of her cousin Caroline Hutton probably in 1897.  The tale was finished by Christmas 1901, written out in an exercise book with a dozen watercolours, and presented as a holiday gift to ten-year-old Freda Moore, the daughter of her former governess. The tale was based on a real world incident involving John Pritchard (1877-1934), a Gloucester tailor commissioned to make a suit for the new mayor.  He returned to his shop on a Monday morning to find the suit completed except for one buttonhole.  A note attached read, “No more twist”.  His assistants had finished the coat in the night, but Pritchard encouraged a fiction that fairies had done the work and the incident became a local legend. Potter sketched the Gloucester street where the tailor’s shop stood as well as cottage interiors, crockery, and furniture.  The son of Hutton’s coachman posed cross-legged as a model for the tailor.  Potter privately printed the tale in December 1902.  She marketed the book among family and friends and sent a copy to her publisher who made numerous cuts in both text and illustrations for the trade edition, chiefly among the tale’s many nursery rhymes.

Although Pritchard was a contemporary of hers (he was about 11 years younger than Potter and in his twenties when the incident took place), Potter’s tailor is shown as middle-aged and the action is set in the 18th-century’


James Philpott – the 1926 rate book shows that James Philpott was occupying one of the houses, the other was void.  The 1927 electoral register shows James and Ada Philpott lived in Silver Street.  There was no sign of them in the 1931 register so they must have moved away from Thornbury.’

William King Tayler – we were told by Millie Mansfield who used to live nearby that William King Tayler and his family used to live in the house.  William King Tayler was born in Stone near Falfield on 27th September 1902.  The 1911 Census shows that William’s father, William Knight Tayler was an innkeeper and carpenter at Stone.  His mother, Florence Lottie (whose maiden name was King) was assisting in the business.

On 24th June 1933 William married Dorothy Poole in Thornbury St Marys Church.  Dorothy was born 30th November 1912, the daughter of William Poole and his wife, Elizabeth (nee Bartlett) who seem to have worked at the Castle Estate.  They were living at Watch Oak Lodge when Dorothy started school at the National school in 1918 and they were later living at Pound Cottage .

William and Dorothy had three children: William Keith born in December 1933, Roger James born in December 1935 and Elizabeth Ann born in 1937.  The 1935 electoral register shows William and Dorothy living in an identified house on The Plain.  The electoral register and school records shows that by 1938 the family had moved to live in Silver Street.  All three children attended the National School and went on to Thornbury Grammar School.

We know from Millie Mansfield that ‘Keith’ became a painter and decorator working for Mills’ business in Castle Street.  William and Dorothy carried on living in Silver Street until the 1960s.  They are listed there in the 1965 electoral register shortly before the property was acquired by Thornbury Rural District Council and demolished.  We are not sure where the Taylers went.  We understand that from a family tree published on the Ancestry website that William King Tayler died 21st November 1977 and that Keith died in Bristol on 4th December 1999.

Number 1 Silver Street was absorbed into the premises of the Westminster Bank many years ago and it is still part of the building which was used by the Britannia Building Society.  We note however that in 2012 there is still a business, ‘Charterbridge Private Financial Planning’ using 1 Silver Street in Thornbury as its address.