The photograph above shows the group of buildings at the rear of The Exchange (The Knot of Rope). This property is the tall building in front of the mini-car in the photo. At the time of writing this in 2012 it is occupied by Shellys Cafe and Christopher’s Barber Shop and known as 32 St Mary Street. This building has seen many uses over the years. For many years it was used as stables of The Exchange Hotel, but prior to that it was a butchers and grocers shop going way back to the 1700’s.
We’re grateful to Meg Wise who has shared with us her collection of deeds relating to The Exchange and the neighbouring properties. We think that prior to 1776 the history of this property is connected to that of the adjoining building on the corner of Chapel Street. Until that time it seems that there was one property on the site bought by Robert Caddy at that time. It was described as ‘a messuage with barn, stable and ground in the upper end of the Back Street, otherwise St Mary Street’. Click here to read about the later history of the adjoining property now known as 7 Chapel Street
The earliest document found so far is dated 24th March 1774. This shows that the property was ‘the inheritance of Arthur Ayleworth’.
Arthur Ayleworth (or Aylworth as it is sometimes spelt) – Arthur was a butcher born about 1684 (based on his age at his death). We suspect that he might be the son of Arthur Aylworth who died in 1710. Arthur Snr had been occupying the Vine House, 8 High Street and the fields behind it in 1703. On 10th August 1713 Arthur married Anne Legg in Thornbury. Arthur’s will shows that Arthur and Ann had four daughters: Sarah baptised on 23rd August 1713, Betty baptised on 24th October 1716, Mary baptised on 24th April 1721, and Ann whose baptism record we haven’t found unless it is the unnamed entry of a baptism of a daughter of Arthur Ayleworth on 14th December 1718.
Arthur’s wife, Ann, died aged 42 years and was buried on 5th January 1736. Arthur died aged 70 and was buried on 24th October 1754. Of his daughters: Sarah married William Tayler on 25th April 1740, Elizabeth married Thomas Tyson (the son of Samuel Tyson of Hope Farm) at Rockhampton Church on 2nd June 1744 and Ann married William Rudge (jnr) of St Mary de Crypt, Gloucester on 25th May 1756. She died three years later aged only 33.
We know from an indenture dated 1759 that Arthur had formerly lived in a house which later became known as 28 Castle Street. We don’t know when or for how long he lived there.
In his last will and testament written on 10th December 1748 Arthur left his daughters Mary Aylworth and Ann Aylworth his customary messuage with land, barn, stable, cider mill, mill house and garden and orchards in Kington. He also left to them land called Well Close in Kington. He left his daughter, Sarah, (wife of William Taylor) his messuage in High Street opposite the messuage called The Green House and then after Sarah’s death to her son John Taylor. Grandson John was also given customary ground late Tunbridges in Tithing of Kington. Grandsons John and William Taylor were also bequeathed £20 each.
Arthur left to his daughter, Elizabeth, (wife of Thomas Tyson) his ‘messuage with barn, stable and ground in the borough of Thornbury in a street called the Back Street otherwise St Mary Street and some money.
Elizabeth (Betty) Tyson – inherited the property in 1754 following the death of her father, Arthur Ayleworth. An indenture of lease and release of 24th and 25th March 1774 when she sold the property to Thomas Hendy, butcher of Thornbury. Betty was then living in the Hackett. The property was described as ‘all that messuage with barn, stable and garden wherein Mehitabel Barton, widow doth now, or lately inhabit’.
Thomas and Betty had at least two children: Ann baptised on 11th February 1747 and Betty born on 19th January 1749 and baptised on 2nd February 1749. Thomas died aged 49 and was buried on 11th June 1767. The burial record describes him as a Gentleman living at The Hackett. Betty died aged 69 and was buried on 25th May 1789. Her daughter, Betty, married John Fewster, the surgeon and apothecary of Thornbury on 26th April 1770.
Thomas Hendy – Thomas bought the property from Betty Tyson on 24th and 25th March 1774 for £60. Thomas sold the property to Robert Caddy on 27th September 1776. It was described as ‘All that messuage wherein Mehitabel Barton lately inhabited and wherein the said Robert Caddy doth now dwell with barn, stable and garden at upper end of Back Street, otherwise St Mary Street lately bought by the said Thomas Hendy from Elizabeth (Betty) Tyson’.
Thomas’s wife, Mary, died aged 59 and was buried on 24th March 1805. Thomas died in Morton aged 86 and was buried on 16th August 1821. Click here to read about Thomas Hendy
Robert Caddy – Robert bought the property on 27th September 1776 for £73 10s. Robert was a pig driver who was living in the property at the time he bought it. We think that Robert moved further down the street to the house which became known as 19 St Mary Street in 1784, but he kept this property until 24th and 25th March 1817 when he appears to have sold it to Daniel Pitcher. The property was described as:
‘ All that messuage wherein Mehitabel Barton formerly inhabited and Robert Caddy since dwelt and wherein Michael Mills doth now dwell, and eastward side of barton or yard situate or behind the said messuage and intended to be divided from the other part of the said yard or barton by a wall of six feet in height to be built in a northerly direction across the said barton or yard from a white mark or cross already made by Daniel Pitcher and Thomas Walker against the brewhouse or washhouse belonging to and in the occupation of the said Thomas Walker to a white mark or cross in the wall dividing the said yard or barton from a court and premises belonging to Thomas Osborne Wetmore which situate at the upper end of Back Street, otherwise St Mary Street’. Click here to read more about Robert
Daniel Pitcher – Daniel was a saddler. He bought the property from Robert Caddy on 25th March 1817. On 12th June 1824 Daniel borrowed £200 from William Dorney using the property as security. Click here to read more
On 22nd October 1824 Daniel sold the property to John Baker Liddatt, a labourer for £295 which enabled him to repay William Dorney. The property was described as:
‘All that messuage or tenement wherein Mehitabel Barton formerly inhabited and the said Robert Caddy since dwelt Michael Mills afterwards inhabited lately in the occupation of William Wither shoemaker and now of Edward Williams as tenant thereof to the said Daniel Pitcher together with the barton or yard situate behind and adjoining the said messuage and building which said messuage or dwelling house yard or barton and premises are situate lying and being at the upper end of a certain street called the Back Street otherwise St Mary’s Street‘.
John Baker Liddiatt – John was a labourer of Thornbury. He bought the property from Daniel Pitcher on 22nd October 1824.
John Baker ‘Lydiatt’ was baptised in Thornbury on 11th October 1780. He was the son of Thomas Lydiatt and his wife Esther. John married Mary Clements in Thornbury on 16th December 1806. They had a daughter Eliza born on 3rd April 1810 and baptised on 29th April. At the time of the 1840 Tithe Survey the property was Plot 147, a house and court owned by John Liddiatt (inaccurately transcribed – Lidiard) and occupied by Thomas Facey.
On 25th January 1850 John borrowed £100 from Samuel Hadley, a timber merchant of Cambridge (Glos) using the property as security. By 26th March 1852 John had not repaid Samuel so John sold the property in St Mary Street to Thomas Watkins for £120 which enabled him to pay Samuel the £100 he owed him. The sale indenture shows that John was then living in Brimscombe and working there as a labourer.
Thomas Watkins – was a pig butcher of Morton when he bought the property on 26th March 1852.
In the 1841 census living in Morton with is daughter, Ann aged 13 and his mother in law, Ann Ball aged 75. The 1851 census shows Thomas still living at Morton with his mother-in law. His daughter Ann was now married to Henry Honeyborne (see below) and they were also living in the same house with their daughter, Sophia aged 2. We also note that Thomas became a shareholder in the Thornbury Gas Works in 1858.
In 1855 Thomas and John Honeyborne had made a loan of £100 to William Cullimore, a beerhouse keeper at The Rose and Crown in St Mary Street to enable him to buy the adjoining property, later known as 41 St Mary Street. When William was unable to repay the debt, Thomas and John took over the property. They sold it to William Parker on 24th June 1858.
In his will dated 30th November 1858 Thomas left the property in St Mary Street to his only child, Ann Honeyborne. Ann was born in 1826. According to an abstract of title dated 1894 Thomas Watkin’s will specifies that although Ann is given the property it is for the specific use of John Honeyborne.
Thomas died on 17th September 1862 aged 66 and he was buried in the Congregational Chapel burial ground.
The Honeybornes – the Honeybornes inherited the property in 1862 when Thomas Watkins (see above) left it to his daughter, Ann, who had married Henry Honeyborne in Bristol on 23rd May 1847.
In the 1859 rate book and the 1861 census the property in St Mary Street was occupied by Henry’s brother, John Honeyborne, and his wife Emma. John was a grocer aged 32 and Emma was aged 30 with their son, Austin John aged 2. John died on 29th December 1867 aged 38 and the 1871 census shows Emma was still living in the St Mary Street shop with her two children, Austin aged 12 and Clara aged 4. Emma was a grocer.
Henry and John were the sons of John Honeyborne and his wife, Sophia. Click here to read more about John and Henry
By the 1876 rate book Henry had moved to live in the St Mary Street shop and he continued to live there until he died on 13th April 1883 aged 60. The 1885 rate book shows that Ann was living in the house but by 1887 she was living in what was then described as Cockmead on Kington Lane but is now Vine Cottage.
Richard Hobbs Smith and The Exchange – Richard bought the property for £160 on 26th March 1894. In 1892 Richard had acquired the public house called Michaels and set about seriously expanding on that business. In 1894 he bought the gabled property next door to Michaels and incorporated that into the new pub he called The Royal Exchange. He also bought the property at the rear and on the side adjoining Chapel Street and made the pub into a Hotel. The shop previously owned by the Honeybornes was converted into a stable and store room.
The buildings continued as part of the Exchange under the various ownerships. Click here to read about the Exchange
We understand that for a period, the buildings were let out as residential accommodation called ‘The Exchange Rooms’. William and Celia Holpin and their family were listed as living there in the 1935 electoral register.
In the 1960’s and 70’s the ground floor of this property was bought by Mr Tucker who lived on the A38 at Rudgeway. He let the property to Vernon Bland who used it as a small wood machine shop. Vernon was assisted for several years by Joan Pearce (wife of Ron Pearce). Vernon had a number of business ideas including the preparation of small wooden blocks sold to schools, the acquisition, refurbishment and sale of old wood machine equipment and the bottling of honey. After Vernon gave up the business in St Mary Street he concentrated on his farm in Oldbury which became well known in the district for the sale of his cider and honey.
In more recent times, the building is well known as ‘Shellys Cafe and Christopher’s Barbers Shop’. Shelly is the daughter of Mr Tucker and her family still owns this building and the adjoining property occupied by the opticians.