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We have identified the following persons who have lived in 29 St Mary street.

John and Sarah Files – our transcription of the 1840 Tithe Survey shows that the house was occupied by John Pyle, however we suspect that this might have been John Files who is shown as the occupant in the will of Mary Wilkes in 1845.  In the 1841 census, the house is occupied by Sarah Files aged 35 and her children: Sarah aged 10, George aged 7, Mary aged 5, Ann aged 3 and John aged 4 months.  The census notes that Sarah’s husband, John, was a coachman away from home.  John was working for William Rolph, an attorney who was originally from Thornbury.  They were living in Melcombe Regis in Dorset.  Note – we suspect that John and Sarah may have had a son, William born in Thornbury about 1828.  We found him in the 1891 census living in the Frome area and working as a coachman.

The 1851 census shows Sarah was working as a seamstress born in Monmouth about 1801.  She was still living in the house with daughters, Mary aged 15 and Ellen aged 8.  John is away from home again.  He is now working as a coachman and groom for William Rolph and they were living in Clevedon.  The census shows John was aged 60 and born in Lancashire.  It appears that John may have died in 1854 as there is the registration of a death of John Files in the Clifton area of Bristol and the 1861 census shows Sarah as a widow living in St Pauls, Bristol and working as a ‘monthly nurse’ with her daughter, Ellen employed in the same occupation.  Sarah died in Bristol in 1880 aged 77.

Thomas Luce – the 1861 census shows the house was occupied by Thomas Luce, a hairdresser aged 43 from Thornbury, and his wife, Eliza aged 39 from Worcester and their children: Thomas aged 9 and George aged 7.  Thomas was born in 1818, the son of Thomas Luce, a barber and his wife, Mary (nee Virgo).  In 1841 Thomas had been living at home in Silver Street with his widowed mother, Mary.  Both Mary and Thomas were working as hairdressers.  Living with them was Sarah, Thomas’s sister a milliner aged 25.

In 1851 Thomas was living in the High Street where he appears to be sharing a house with William Jones and his family.  Thomas is a hairdresser living with a housekeeper, Eliza Bruton aged 39.  Eliza’s birthplace is extremely difficult to read, although it does say that the place is in Gloucestershire.  In spite of this, we think there is a good chance that it was Eliza Bruton who became Thomas’s wife.  We cannot find any record of the marriage.  Thomas is listed as being a hairdresser in St Mary Street in 1856.  Thomas died aged 46 and was buried on 26th January 1864.

Charles and Emma Withers – an indenture dated 4th June 1874 shows that Charles Withers was an occupant of the house.  The 1876 rate book shows that the house was occupied by Emma Withers.  Charles was born about 1847 but not baptised until 6th April 1851.  His parents were William Withers, a labourer and his wife, Susanna who were living at 12 St Mary Street.   On 2nd November 1872 Charles married Emma Withers.  Emma was baptised on 18th October 1837, the daughter of George Withers, a shoemaker and his wife, Hannah who lived at 4 St Mary Street at the time of the 1841 census.  At the time of Charles and Emma’s marriage Charles was a postman.  It is interesting to note that in the 1871 census she is shown as living with her parents in Grovesend and listed under the name of ‘Emma Davis’.  Charles and Emma had one daughter, Annie, baptised on 1st June 1873.  Charles died aged 27 and was buried on 14th August 1875.

The 1881 census shows Emma had moved to Bristol.  She was living at 51 Grafton Street, St Phillips, Bristol.  She was working as a mantle maker aged 33 and born in Alveston.  Her daughter, Annie, was living with her aged 8.  On 25th November 1883 Emma re-married in Bristol.  Her new husband was Oscar Tidman, aged 28 and the son of Joseph Tidman.  Emma was said to be aged 36.  She seemed to be fairly loose in describing her age.

John Savery – the 1887 rate book indicates that John had recently vacated the house.  It appears John had moved to 17 St Mary Street.  Click here to read more

Mark Williams – Mark was mentioned as living in the house at some before 7th July 1890 (when a mortgage was arranged by the owner, Robert Sargent with Jane Hatherell).  We don’t know which of the many Mark Williams this might have referred to.

Sarah Ann Vizzard – the 1887 and 1890 rate books, 1891 census and the 1894 rate book all show the house was occupied by Sarah Ann Vizard (Vizzard).  The census shows that she was a widow aged 56 living there with her daughter, Amelia aged 16 and two lodgers, George Tiley, a general labourer aged 55 from Alveston and Thomas Prewett a general labourer aged 48 from Almondsbury.  Click here to read more

Albert Rugman – the 1899 rate book shows that Albert Rugman was living here.  According to the 1901 census Albert was a gas stoker aged 30 living in the house with his wife, Fanny aged 29 from Coleford and their children: William Albert aged 10, Howard Leonard aged 8, Harold Charles aged 5 and Jane Augusta aged 4.  The 1905 and 1910 rate books show that they continued to live in the house and they were there in the 1911 census.  Albert died aged 64 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 15th May 1934.   He was described as a labourer on his burial record.  Click here to read more

The Screen family – we know that the house was occupied by the Screen family for a long time in the 1900’s.  The 1921 electoral register shows John and Sarah Ann Screen were living here in St Mary Street with their son, John Junior.  He took over the property with his wife, Minnie Ella and their family.  They carried on living there until at least 1961.  Click here to read more

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