We have identified the following persons known to have lived at 31 St Mary Street:
Thomas Ann – Thomas was born in Alveston about 1806. In the 1841 census he was a mason living at the house which later became number 31 St Mary Street. He was sharing the house with Charlotte Jones aged 60 described as being of ‘independent means’ who was not born in Gloucestershire.
Thomas Ann married Ann Wilkes – we haven’t been able to trace the marriage, but the 1851 census shows them as married and their daughter, Mary Ann, was born in September quarter 1851. In 1851 census when they were living in Chapel Street, Thomas was a builder employing 3 men. Ann died in September quarter 1856. The 1861 census shows Thomas living in another house in St Mary Street – we believe it to be the house which later became known as 53 St Mary Street, a house which had also been passed to Ann from her mother, Mary Wilkes. Thomas was described as a master mason employing 5 men and 2 boys. He was living with his daughter, Mary Ann aged 9 and a housekeeper, Sarah Winstone aged 34. Sarah was a cousin of Ann Ann. Thomas died in September quarter 1864. Click here to read about the Wilkes and Ann families
Thomas Moxham – the 1851 census shows that the house was occupied by Thomas Moxham, a journeyman stonemason aged 23 and his wife, Susannah, aged 23 from Littleton, and their daughter, Ellen aged 8 months. Click here to read more
We believe the house was vacant in the 1861 census.
William Robinson – the 1871 census shows that William Robinson was living there. William was a railway labourer aged 37 from Aldbourn in Wiltshire. His wife was Sarah aged 39 from Marlborough in Wiltshire.
Henry Blake – an indenture dated 4th June 1874 shows that Henry was an occupant of the house. The 1876 Rate Book also confirms that the house was occupied by Henry Blake.
Henry Blake born in Colerne in Wiltshire about 1839. He was the son of William Blake, an agricultural labourer and his wife, Dina or Diana (nee Golding). In the Census of 1841 he was living in Colerne in Wiltshire with his parents and siblings. The 1861 Census showed him still living in Wiltshire in Slaughterford with his parents William Blake aged 62 from Wraxall and Dina aged 61. In 1863 Henry Blake married Mercy Knight in the Chippenham area. Mercy was born in Slaughterford about 1842.
By 1871 the couple had moved to the Thornbury area where his brother George Blake had come to live twenty years earlier. They were living in the Kington Road with their two children Edward aged six and William aged three. Both children were born in Wiltshire and so it appears the family had not lived in Kington very long at this point.
The 1881 Census shows that the family now lived in 36 Castle Street. In that census Henry was aged 40 and a labourer from Colerne. His wife Mercy was aged 39 and she was from Slaughterford. Their children were 17 year old Edward, a groom, and 13 year old William a scholar.
Mercy Blake died in 1889 aged 46.
Henry re-married. His second wife was Mary Jane Jones whom he married in Bristol area in 1890. Mary was born in the Redcliffe area of Bristol.
The records of the National School show that he family had moved to Morton by 1898 when Edith was admitted to the school. The 1901 Census shows that Henry and Mary Jane were living in Lower Morton where Henry was described as a farmer and dealer aged 60. In spite of his age, Henry had had three children with Mary Jane: Winifred Mary J born on 1st June 1891, Edith born on 18th November 1893 and Florence Elsie on 29th March 1900. We have been given a collection of photographs including some images of these daughters and they can be seen on our family albums page. Click here to see them
The Western Daily Press of December 1903 reported that Henry had been charged with driving his horse in Gloucester Road, whilst it was lame. The horse had been killed by the time of the trial so the case was dismissed.
By 1911 Henry then aged 71 was described as a market gardener assisted in the business by his daughter Winifred Mary aged 20. His daughter Edith aged 17 was a housemaid. His wife Mary Jane Blake aged 56 was not working and their daughter Florence aged 11 was still at school.
Henry died in 1913 aged 71. Mary Jane Blake appeared in the special register of 1939 when she was living in Lower Morton with her daughter Winifred Pearce, Winifred’s husband Arthur Thomas Pearce and their son Don. Mary Jane died in 1945 aged 90.
Of their children;
Edward Blake. The son of Henry by his first wife Mercy, Edward was baptised at Yatton Keynell on 30th October 1864. He was a groom in 1881 in Thornbury but by the Census of 1891 he was living in the Cromwell Road in London and working as a policeman. By this time he had married ‘Sececila’ and they had a two year old daughter Leila.
William Blake. William was Henry’s second son by Mercy and he was baptised at Yatton Keynell on 7th July 1867. He went to live at 40 Castle Street
Winifred Blake. The daughter of Henry by his second wife Mary, Winifred was born in Thornbury in 1891. She married Arthur Thomas Pearce on 16th June 1919. Arthur was born in Littleton but the 1911 Census shows him living with his parents George and Emma in Morton. George was a market gardener. In the special register of 1939 Winifred was living in Lower Morton with her husband, Arthur Thomas Pearce and their son Don.
Edith Blake. The daughter of Henry by his second wife Mary, Edith was born in Thornbury in 1893. She married Benjamin Jenkin in 1915.
Florence Elsie Blake. The daughter of Henry by his second wife Mary, Florence was born in 1900. She became a housekeeper at Rosemount for Courtney Chambers and died in Thornbury in 1981.
Samuel Barge – the 1880 rate book shows that Samuel Barge was occupying the house. The 1881 and 1891 censuses and the 1885, 1887 and 1890 rate book show that Sam continued to live here with his family. Click here to read more
William Sims – the 1894 rate book lists William Sims as living in the house. It looks likely that this is the same William Sims who was later living in Rock Street. Click here to read more
William Bendall – the 1899 rate book shows the name of William Bendall. We are not sure which William Bendall this is.
In the 1901 census, the house appears vacant.
Charles Hurn – the 1905 rate book shows that the house is occupied by Charles Hurn. In the 1910 rate book, his name is crossed through so he may have just left the house.
According to the 1891 census Charles was born in Alveston about 1849. We don’t have any record of him up to 1882 when he married Elizabeth Morgan in the Bristol area. There is a 1871 census record of a Charles Hurn in Alveston who was an agricultural labourer aged 37 – he was shown as a widower. We can’t be sure if this is the same person because of the age difference.
Charles and Elizabeth moved around a little. The rate books show they were in Chapel Street in 1885 and in Silver Street in 1890 and 1894. The 1891 census shows they were living in a 2 roomed house in Silver Street, one of the three houses which were demolished in 1922 and replaced by the property later known as 7 Silver Street.
Charles and Elizabeth had quite a few children, but tragically most of them died young, possibly because the 2 roomed house in Silver Street wasn’t an ideal place to bring up children. They had William Charles baptised on 1st April 1883 and buried on 19th May 1883 aged 6 months, Sidney Charles baptised on 19th September 1884 and buried on 27th September 1884 aged 2 months, Frederick Charles baptised on 13th January 1886, Ernest baptised on 23rd March 1887 and buried on 23rd February 1887 aged 11 months, Edgar baptised on 26th February 1888 and buried on 17th September 1889 aged 1 year 8 months, Henry John baptised on 2nd August 1891, another Sidney Charles baptised on 1st November 1896 and buried on 5th December 1896 aged 1 year 1 month, and finally Daisy born on 28th March 1894 and baptised on 1st July 1894.
In the 1891 census Charles was a hedger and ditcher aged 42 from Alveston living with Elizabeth a laundress aged 35 from Crossways and children: Frederick C aged 5 and daughter, Annie L Lane Hurn aged 7 from Thornbury. We are puzzled about Annie L Lane as there is record of a birth of Annie Louisa Lane in Thornbury in 1883 and the Scribes Alcove website shows the baptism of Annie Louisa Lane on 7th November 1886 which shows her mother as Eva Lane who was living at Coomsbridge.
The 1896 voters list shows Charles still living in Silver Street, but in 1898 he was shown as a tenant of a house in St Mary Street which was being sold at auction. We believe this house to be number 35 St Mary Street which is where he was living in the 1899 rate book and the 1901 census. In this census, Charles was a general labourer aged 52, born in Thornbury living with Elizabeth aged 45, Frederick C aged 15, Henry J aged 9 and Daisy C aged 7.
By 1905 Charles had moved to 31 St Mary Street. He is shown as living in St Mary Street in the various electoral registers up to 1927, although he appears to have moved around 1910 to 39 St Mary Street. His name is crossed out in the 1910 electoral register against number 31 and shown as a ‘late’ entry against number 39. This is confirmed by the 1911 census which shows Charles and Elizabeth were living there with their son, Henry, a house decorator aged 19.
We believe that from 1917 onwards Charles shared the house with his daughter, Daisy, and her husband, Victor Henry Payne. Charles died in 1927. He was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 18th November 1827. The FreeBMD website, the burial record and the notice in the Gazette both show his age as 87 which is a few years older than Charles would have been based on the census records. Elizabeth died aged 72 and was buried on 28th March 1926. Daisy and Victor Payne carried on living in the house after Charles’s death.
Of their other children, we know that Frederick married Rosina Alice Cole in the Dursley area in 1912. In 1913 when their daughter, Doris Elizabeth was baptised, they were living in Horseshoe Lane and Frederick was employed as a sawyer. They had another daughter, Amelia R born in 1914. During the War Frederick joined the Gloucester Regiment and died fighting near Albert in Northern France on 17th July 1916. He was aged 31. The newspaper report of 9th September 1916 that reported him “missing” said that he had recently been recommended for the DCM for rescuing a comrade under heavy fire. The article also said that he was known locally as Toby and was serving on the Somerset Light Infantry (number 3906) at the time of being reported missing. Another son, John Henry, died aged 25 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 10th November 1916. He was a labourer.
Alfred Edward Smith – we are not sure if Alfred and his family lived in 31 St Mary Street or 33 St Mary Street in the 1911 census. Alfred was a stone quarry labourer aged 31 from St Pancras, London. He was living with his wife, Susan Georgina who was aged 27 from Marylebone and their children, Beatrice Elizabeth aged 4 born in St Pancras and Stanley Edward aged 3 months born in Thornbury.
Henry Skuse – the 1925 Valuation List and 1926 rate book show that Henry was the occupant of the house. Click here to read more
Jesse and Rose Perkins – the 1935 electoral register shows that Jesse George and Rose Perkins were living in the house. They were still living there in the 1958 register. By the 1961 electoral register Jesse had died and Rose was living there alone. The 1965 electoral register shows she had moved to 74 Streamleaze. Rose died in Frenchay Hospital in December 1982 aged 91.
Rose was born Rose Maud Moreman in Downend on 19th February 1891. She was the youngest daughter of Charles Moreman, a mining contractor. We understand Rose’s mother died shortly after her birth and Rose was adopted by George Fowler, a woodman and his wife, Elizabeth. We are not sure if there was any connection between the Fowler and Moreman families. George and Elizabeth were living at Watch Oak Lodge which is near the Pithay, down the lane behind the Castle. Rose started at the National School (St Marys) in March 1897. When she left school in 1905, we understand that she went into service working at various houses around the area including Breadstone House, near Berkeley, and Park House and Fairfield Houses in Thornbury.
On 14th October 1914 Rose married Robert Elton Perkins. Click on the thumbnail on the right to see a photo of Rose and Robert’s wedding. We understand that the wedding took place at St Arilda’s Church at Oldbury on Severn. Robert Perkins was born on the 1st September 1894, the son of William James and Louisa Perkins who lived at the Light House at Shepperdine where Robert was lighthouse keeper. Robert’s elder brother, Jesse, was the best man at Rose and Robert’s wedding. Robert was a baker and he had worked for English the baker before joining the Army. At that time Robert and Rose were living in a cottage in Easton Hill rented from P. G. Hawkins.
In March 1916 Robert applied for exemption from military service. He was a baker at that time working for Thomas English and living in Easton Hill. His case for exemption was based on being needed at the bakery, but the application was rejected. Robert went on to serve overseas. He was a Private with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment when he was injured in action and had to have a hand amputated and discharged from the Army. Robert’s army recorded shows that there was an enquiry into his injury. A statement says that on 27th August 1916 at 11.30 pm Sergeant Lewis relieved Robert from his duty and he took the opportunity to visit the latrines. Shortly afterwards a shot was heard. Private Perkins came back saying he had been inured in his left hand – possibly by shrapnel. His hand was bound up and the next morning he was able to go to the hospital. He was diagnosed with trench fever and a severe wound that ‘might easily have been caused by a fragment of shell.’ The results of the enquiry meant that Robert was entitled to a pension from the army.
Having survived the War, they were both affected by the influenza epidemic which was sweeping the country. Rose survived, but Robert died on November 13th 1918 aged 25. He was buried in Thornbury Cemetery with military honours. The coffin was shrouded with the Union Jack and the funeral procession was led by Thornbury Platoon of Gloucestershire Volunteers. At the close a firing party of Volunteers fired three volleys other the grave.
Rose carried on renting the cottage in Easton Hill until April 1926. In June quarter 1926, Rose married Robert’s brother, Jesse George Perkins in 1926. Jesse was born on 27th January 1891. We have been told that Jesse was a boatman at Oldbury lighthouse and rowed to Black Rock and back to light the beacon. He then worked as a gardener, but had to give up work and he was bedridden for much of his married life. During all these years Jesse and Rose carried on living at 31 St Mary Street. Jesse died in 1960 aged 69. By 1965 Rose had moved to 74 Streamleaze. She died on 18th December 1982 whilst shopping at Riddifords shop in the High Street.