The two houses known as 29 and 31 St Mary Street are the two white houses in the photo shown on the left. This photo was taken in the early 1960’s. Click on the thumbnail on the right below to see the view of the top end of the street.
We are grateful to South Gloucestershire Council who allowed us to copy the deeds of this and adjoining properties in St Mary Street and Rock Street.
Richard Williams – the deeds show that the two houses were owned by Richard Williams. We know that Richard had inherited the property from his father, Richard Williams, a tiler and plasterer who appeared to own a large part of this area according to his will dated 1785.
An abstract of title (dated 1890) describes the property as it was before 1831 as ‘all that messuage or tenement wherein James Bedggood and Margaret Bedggood theretofore dwelt late in the occupation of Hugh Clark and then of Josiah Bedggood with garden thereto belonging…’. We are not sure about the Bedggoods, although we do have other records of James and Josiah Bedggood. We know that the Land Tax records from 1827 to 1832 show that Hugh Clark lived in a house in St Mary Street owned by Mary Wilkes. This was either 29 or 31 St Mary Street. On 24th and 25th April 1826 Richard sold the two houses to Henry Wilkes, the Thornbury clock maker. Click here to read about Richard Williams and his family
Henry and Mary Wilkes – in 1817 Henry Wilkes had married Mary Williams, the widow of John Williams, one of the sons of Richard Williams (Senior). We are not sure what happened to Richard junior and how Mary acquired the property from him. Henry died in 1828. Mary Wilkes is shown as the owner of Plot 135 in the 1840 Tithe Survey. When Mary Wilkes died in 1849, the property was passed on to one of their daughters, Ann Wilkes, who married Thomas Ann, and subsequently on to their daughter, Mary Ann Ann. Click here to read about the Ann and Wilkes families
Mary Ann Ann married Samuel Mullett Wilmot. Click here to read more about the Wilmots
Robert Sargent – purchased the property from Mary Ann Wilmot (nee Ann) on 7th July 1890. The price was £130. Richard was a tiler and plasterer living in Thornbury. The houses were described as being then late in the occupation of Mark Williams and Henry Blake and then of Sarah Vizard and Samuel Barge as tenants. It appears that Robert raised the cost by obtaining a mortgage of £100 from John Allen, a bootmaker’s foreman from Thornbury. On 30th March 1895, another indenture shows that although Robert had paid the interest owing on the mortgage, he had not reduced the capital owing John Allen, and the loan was then transferred to Jane Hatherell whom Robert promised to pay off within three months.
Robert Sargent died on 8th December 1896 aged 76. In his will dated 29th September 1890, he devised his property to his wife during her lifetime and for it then to be sold by his trustees. Robert specifically instructed his Trustees to offer the two cottages in the Back Street to his son-in-law, Sidney Weaver, an insurance agent, at a price of £140. As the debt of £140 had not been repaid, Robert’s widow, Sarah, agreed to sell the property to Sidney on 29th October 1897. Sidney immediately arranged a mortgage for £140 to enable him to pay off the debt owned. Sidney was a carpenter living at Resolven near Neath. Sarah Sargent died on 24th May 1899 aged 76 years. Sidney is shown as the owner in the 1899 Rate Book and when the two houses were put up for auction by him on 7th May 1901. Sidney was living in Pontypridd. One of these was let to Albert Rugman at a rent of £6 10s per year, the other was void. Click here to read more
Howard Knight – the houses were bought by Howard Elwell Knight for £137 on 24th June 1901. Howard was baptised on 21st July 1880 in the Congregational Church in Thornbury, the son of Henry and Louisa Knight. Howard became a carpenter and he appeared to move away from Thornbury for some time. In the First World war he served with the Royal Navy. In 1921 Howard married Selina Kennedy in the Grimsby area although they settled to live in the house of The Plain in Thornbury. Howard and Selina had several children: Henry Kennedy born 17th April 1922, Howard Ian James born 17th February 1924, Gilbert A born in 1926 and died the same year, Ernest born in 1927 and died the same year and Ruth Elizabeth born on 9th November 1928.
The properties continued to be owned by Howard Knight until 17th August 1964, although by that time the houses had already been demolished. At that time Howard sold the land to Thornbury Rural District Council for £425 for the building of the new library.