We are grateful to South Gloucestershire Council who allowed us to copy the deeds of this properties. These documents enabled us to learn a lot about the early history of the house. The earliest record is dated 1688.
The Penducks – on 3rd November 1688 Mary Penduck of Thornbury relict of John Penduck weaver and John Penduck weaver of Wotton Under Edge and eldest son and heir of the late John Penduck sold the property to Thomas Penduck cloth worker of Tytherington and second son of the said late John Penduck for £32. The property was described as:
‘all that messuage or tenement situate and being in Thornbury in a street there called St Marys Street als the Back Street wherein the said Mary Penduck and one Elizabeth Search widow now inhabit and adjoining to a messuage of one Edmond Hughes on the northward side thereof and to a house belonging to the poor of Thornbury now in the occupation of on William Russell on the southward side thereof and one other dwelling house called the Backhouse to the first mentioned messuage adjoining wherein one John Smith now inhabiteth with the garden orchard backside and outlet to the said messuage and dwelling house hereby conveyed adjoining and belonging and extending from the said messuage forwards to the one backstreet there leading from Collins Street Lane towards a place there called Gillingstool backwards‘.
Note – the transcription of the 1670 Rent Roll published by the Society of Thornbury Folk includes the following item ‘John Cenduck now Harvest 1/2 burgage’. This item is listed as being on the east side of St Mary Street next to the item relating the ‘William Russell the poor landes’ so we believe that this shows that John Penduck owned the property in 1670, although it appears he may have been letting it to a person called ‘Harvest’.
On 4th October 1689 Thomas Penduck sold the property to William Hobbes for £20.
William Hobbes – William bought the property from Thomas Penduck on 4th October 1689 for £20. The indenture refers to him as a yeoman of Thornbury. On 30th April 1723 William arranged a mortgage of £15 with John Gayner the Elder yeoman of Thornbury. The property was described as it was in 1688 (see above) except that William Hobbes was now living in 13 St Mary Street and Edward Hill was now associated with the house on the northward side.
William died and was buried on 29th December 1723. His executor was John Hobbes blacksmith of Winterbourne to whom he devised the property in St Mary Street. The loan to John Gayner was still not repaid and on 26th February 1724 John Gayner the Elder contracted with John Hobbes for the absolute purchase of the property. The value of the property was agreed as being £20 and thus John Gayner paid John Hobbes £5.
The Gayners – John Gayner purchased the property from John Hobbes on 26th February 1724. John was a blacksmith in Thornbury and owned several other properties in the Town. He died on 17th February 1725 aged 83 and in his will he left the property at 13 St Mary Street to his grandson, William Gayner who was the son of John’s son who was known as John Gayner the Younger. Click here to read more about the Gayners
An indenture dated 14th September 1737 lists the properties owned by William Gayner. These include the following text:
‘And also of all that formerly messuage or tenement now run into decay and converted to a garden situate and being in Thornbury in a street there called St Mary Street otherwise the Back Street wherein one William Hobbs formerly dwelt and adjoining to a messuage late of one Edmund Hughes and afterwards of one Edward Hill since that of one ….. Hill his son and now of William West on the northwards side thereof and to an house belonging to the poor of Thornbury on the southward part thereof and one dwelling house called the Backhouse to the said first above mentioned messuage adjoining wherein one John Smith formerly dwelt with the garden orchard backside and outlet to the said messuage or tenement and dwelling house adjoining and belonging and extending from the said messuage towards the Back Street there leading from Collins Street Lane towards a place there called Gillingstool backwards‘.
Thus we assume that the main house had been demolished by 1737, but the house called The Backhouse may still have been there. We don’t know how the property passed from the Gayners to Thomas Sparkes, nor do we know anything about the nature of the building on the site at the time.
Thomas Sparkes (or Sparks) – we know from Thomas’s last will and testament that he owned the property at 13 St Mary Street. In the will dated 20th December 1776 the property was described simply as the messuage or tenement wherein Isaac Shill lived.
We are not sure when or where Thomas was born. The burial record and his monumental inscription say that he was aged 70 when he died on 13th August 1778. However according to the Scribes Alcove website there is a note alongside the burial record which says he was ‘supposed to be near 80’.
Thomas was a pigdriver of Thornbury and he had been an alderman of Thornbury and the Mayor in 1743/4. He married Lucy Maria Meredith in Thornbury on 21st June 1771. Lucy was Thomas’s second wife. We suspect that she was baptised in Chipping Sodbury on 19th July 1751, the daughter of Matthew Meredith and his wife, Lucy Maria.
Thomas had earlier been married to Sarah Smith, the daughter of Thomas Smith. They had been married by 1743 when Sarah and her son, Solomon Smith purchased ‘The Burnt House Orchard’ from John Gayner. Sarah died aged 66 and was buried on 16th May 1771.
The deeds of 21 & 23 St Mary Street indicate that Thomas Sparkes had owned a house and shed on the site of those properties and he had sold his property to John Taylor. The house and shed were demolished at some time before 1819 allowing Daniel Burchell to develop the site.
In his will dated 20th December 1776 Thomas left to his wife and her heirs the house in which he was living (in Chipping Street) and two other house wherein James Orchard and Isaac Shill lived. He bequeathed £80 to his brother, Charles Sparkes and in default of this the money was to be shared between his three children: Thomas, Eleanor and Mary. He also left £80 to his sister, Elizabeth, otherwise Betty, Harding, a widow, and in default of this the money would be shared by her three children: Thomas, Sarah and Deborah.
Shortly after Thomas’s death, Lucy married again. She married Thomas Neale the Younger, an innholder on 18th November 1778. On 22nd December 1780 Thomas and Lucy Neale sold the property to Thomas Hendy for £60. Lucy moved to live in Berkeley with Thomas Neale. She died and was buried there on 1st September 1809.
Thomas Hendy – on 22nd December 1780 Thomas bought the property later to be known as 13 St Mary Street for £60. The deeds show that Thomas took down the house and re-built it.
Thomas also built a house at bottom of the attached orchard on land fronting St John Street. This house was one of two old houses built on the site of the two houses which became known later as 6 and 8 St John Street.
As was usual, Thomas arranged a mortgage to fund his activities. However in 1793 Thomas borrowed £700, originally from John Wetmore but this loan was then transferred to Thomas Hewett in 1793. This was a huge sum to borrow at this time and Thomas had to put up several properties as security. In 1800 Thomas ran into difficulties and was unable to repay Thomas Hewett nor the interest on the loan. First, he sold the new house built fronting St John Street to raise funds to appease Thomas Hewett. The sale of the house to Richard Greenman raised £50. On 29th September 1801 Thomas Hendy sold 13 St Mary Street to Thomas Young for £165.
The deeds show that Thomas Hendy lived in the 13 St Mary Street house for a short time before he sold it to Thomas Young. Click here to read about Thomas Hendy
Thomas Young – on 29th September 1801 Thomas Young, a baker of Thornbury bought the property, excluding the part sold to Richard Greenman, from Thomas Hendy for £165. (Note Robert Young, the schoolmaster and known Quaker was a party to the agreement so he was presumably related to Thomas).
We suspect that Thomas married Elizabeth Shill in Thornbury on 3rd November 1795. was born on 20th January 1776, the first child of Isaac Shill and his wife, Martha (nee Knott) who used to live in the old house that stood was on this property about the time that Elizabeth was born.
Thomas Young living there in 1818 when he arranged mortgage with Daniel Shipp. We don’t know how the property transferred from Thomas Young to William Hawkins, but there seems to have been family connections. The land tax records show Thomas living there himself in 1819. By 1821 he was letting the house out to William Parker.
William Hawkins – a baker of Bristol, but then a gentleman of Almondsbury. In his will dated 5th June 1827 he left 13 St Mary Street to his son-in-law, George Young, a baker of Bristol. The will was proved on 25th March 1834.
George Young – George was the son-in-law of the previous owner, William Hawkins. George was a baker of Bristol in 1827 when he was left the property in William’s will. The property was then in the occupation of John Wither. George was still listed as the owner at the time of the 1840 Tithe survey when the property was occupied by James Morgan.
The Knapps – the next reference to the ownership of the property is an indenture of mortgage arranged between Edwin Knapp and William Gibbs dated 28th February 1844 so we assume that Edwin had recently bought the property. On 2nd July 1856 Edwin Knapp then described as boot and shoe manufacturer of Old King Street, Bristol sold the property to Henry Knapp, smith of Thornbury. The value of the property was agreed as being £135. Henry paid Edwin £45 and took over the existing mortgage of £90 which Edwin had arranged with Hester Olive. On 8th October 1862 Henry repaid Hester Olive the £90 plus interest.
Edwin and Henry Knapp were brothers, the sons of William Knapp, the blacksmith and his wife, Elizabeth. The 1876 and 1880 Rate Books show that the property was then owned by Henry Knapp. Following Henry’s death on 16th December 1882, the property was put up for auction on 27th January 1883. Click here to read more
Robert Sargent – Robert bought the property on 29th March 1883 from the Trustees of Henry Knapp for £160. He also acquired Henry’s three properties in Mutton Lane (see 6 Crispin Lane).
Robert was born about 1820, the son of Daniel Sargent, an agricultural labourer and his wife, Mary who lived in Yate. The 1841 census shows Daniel was a tiler and plaster living with his parents. In 1841 Robert married Sarah Hodges in Bath. Sarah came from Dartford in Kent. They had had a son, Walter Frederick, born in Middlesex about 1844, another son, Herbert, born in Yate in 1846 and another, Alfred, born in 1850 in Thornbury.
The 1851 census show the Sargent family living in 61 St Mary Street, Thornbury. The 1851 Census shows Robert was living there. He was a journeyman plasterer aged 30 from Yate living there with his wife, Sarah, a dressmaker aged 29 from Dartford in Kent and their children: Walter aged 7 born in London, Herbert aged born in Yate and Alfred aged 2 months born in Thornbury. They had a visitor Richard Ashwood, a journeyman baker aged 28 from Stevenage in Hertfordshire. By the 1861 census the family had moved into the house which later became 41 St Mary Street. They had other children: Florence Louisa born in 1852, Agnes Eva born in 1857, Eleanor Kendric born in 1861, Amelia Henrietta Hodges Sargent born in 1864. Sarah was a seamstress.
By 1885 they had moved to their own house at 13 St Mary Street. The 1891 census shows the house was occupied by Robert, a plaster and tiler aged 70 from Yate, Sarah his wife was aged 69 from Dartford in Kent, and Amelia H H Weaver, their daughter aged 27 from Thornbury, and her husband, Sydney Weaver, a commercial traveller (insurance agent) and their children: Cuthbert Robert aged 4, Winifred Florence aged 3, Ada Louisa aged 2, all baptised in Thornbury but living in Iron Acton when baptised. They had one boarder, Joseph Smith a widowed saddler aged 64.
Robert died on 8th December 1896 aged 76. In his will dated 29th September 1890, he devised his personal estate to his wife during her lifetime and for it then to be divided by his trustees between his three daughters who were all living in Australia. The three daughters were Louisa Mary Hodge, wife of Robert Hodge mason, Agnes Eva Sargent and Eleanor Margaret Poole, wife of Robert Poole surveyor. In the event Eleanor Margaret pre-deceased Robert and he made a codicil to the will leaving Eleanor’s share to her husband. In this codicil he added that a cottage he owned in Gillingstool occupied by George Livall should be left to Robert’s son, Alfred Sydenham.
After Sarah’s death, Robert left his house and shop at 13 St Mary Street to his youngest daughter, Amelia Henrietta Weaver, the wife of Sidney Weaver of Wimborne in Dorset. This house was subject to a mortgage. Robert also left the three cottages in Mutton Lane to his youngest son, Alfred Sydenham subject to the repayment of the same mortgage.
Sarah died on 24th May 1899 aged 76 years. During his lifetime Robert Sargent had arranged a mortgage for £200 with Frances Gayner and Henry Court Smith covering 13 St Mary Street and the three cottages in Mutton Lane. In 1895 the mortgage was transferred to Frances Gayner’s sister, Leah Ellen Gayner (who married Ernest Edward Gough Griffiths, a ecclesiastical glazier on 28th June 1899). On 9th May 1901 Leah exercised her right of sale under the mortgage arrangement and sold all the properties to George Henry Exell for £190.
George Henry Exell – George acquired the property from the mortgagees of Robert Sargent on 9th May 1901. George paid £190 for 13 St Mary Street and three cottages in ‘Blakes Avenue otherwise Mutton Lane’ (now Crispin Lane). George owned a number of properties around Thornbury. George died on 5th May 1908 aged 77 years. In his will he left the house and shop occupied by William Clutterbuck in St Mary Street in trust to his trustees to pay his debts and funeral expenses and to leave legacies to Mary Ann Strong, his daughter, Emma Exell, the widow of his son William, and to Francis Williams, his executor. The residue was to be shared amongst his grandchildren. Click here to read about George Henry Exell
William Leonard Hobbs and Mary Louisa Clutterbuck – on 18th May 1909 Mary Louisa bought the house and shop at 13 St Mary Street for £200 from the trustees of George Henry Exell. They had been renting the building since about 1894 and traded there as a grocers shop. On 1st October 1942 Mary sold the property and moved to live at Gloucester Road. Click here to read more
Roman Catholic Church – following the Clutterbucks the property was acquired by the Roman Catholic Church on 1st October 1942. They converted one of the front rooms into a small chapel which they used for daily services and the rest of the house was used to provide accommodation for members of the church. The property was listed as ‘The Priests House’ in the electoral registers and rooms on the upper floors were used to provide accommodation for various members of the clergy and housekeepers or caretakers. We were told by one local person that when she visited her uncle living next door she was not allowed to flush the toilet when there was a service on in church because it would disrupt the service. On 18th November 1964 the Salvatorian Trustees sold The Presbytery to Thornbury Rural District Council for £2500.
The building was demolished and the site re-developed as part of the St Marys Shopping Centre.