This photo taken in 1969 shows the two houses on the west side of St Mary Street just down the street from the Barrel. Number 6 St Mary Street was the house with the two bay windows on the ground floor and Number 4 St Mary Street was next door. The part of the building at the bottom (northern) end of number 4 was a barn used for storage.
The early history of Number 4 is hazy. The 1840 Tithe Map shows it was Plot 174 described as a house and court owned by Frances Gayner and occupied by George Withers.
The Rate Books shows us that it was owned by William Henry Councell, possibly as early as 1859 and may be earlier. William Henry was a grocer operating from the shop on the High Street. His property extended back to St Mary Street including number 4, the barn next door and several large outbuildings fronting the yard between the two streets. This became known locally as Councell’s Yard. Click here to read more about the Councell family
William Henry Councell died in 1887 but his family retained ownership of the house and the business was run under the name of ‘Councell and Sons’ until around the Second World War.
Then on 9th October 1947, Edith Caroline Councell and Irene Clarice Stokes (whose first husband had been Henry Martin Councell), both living in Windsor Road, St Andrews, Bristol sold the property to Thomas Henry Ashcroft for £300.
The Ashcrofts – Thomas Ashcroft was a cycle dealer who ran his business at 5 Silver Street. We think Thomas rented out 4 St Mary Street to other families during his ownership of the property, although he was to live there a little later when his mother re-purchased the property. On 24th June 1954 Thomas Ashcroft conveyed the property to Grantley Charles Parsons of the High Street for £450.
On 9th November 1955 Grantley who was living there at the time sold 4 St Mary Street to Annie Louise Ashcroft, widow of Crossways. She paid £950. Annie was Tommy’s mother. Annie Louise carried on living at the house. On 21st January 1967 she died aged 82 at Thornbury Hospital. Annie died intestate, but her daughter Doris Georgina Duck was granted administration of her estate. On 1st January 1968 Doris Georgina Duck of 45 Cleeve Drive, Cleeve sold the property to Thornbury Rural District Council for re-development of the Town Centre. Click here to read more about the Ashcrofts
Grantley and Eileen Parsons – on 24th June 1954 Thomas Ashcroft conveyed the property to Grantley Charles Parsons of the High Street for £450.
Grantley Charles Parsons was born in Thornbury on 6th December 1923. He was the son of Henry Herbert Parsons who ran the White Lion. Grantley attended the National School and then went on to Thornbury Grammar School. In 1951 he married Eileen Francis King, the daughter of Walter and Eliza King who lived in what is now Laburnum House in Gloucester Road. Grantley was a land drainage worker at the time of the marriage. Eileen worked for the Co-op and for Thompsons (bottom shop). Grantley and Eileen lived for a time in a flat above The Picture House in the High Street.
He didn’t keep the property long. On 9th November 1955 Grantley who was living there at the time sold 4 St Mary Street to Annie Louise Ashcroft, widow of Crossways. She paid £950. A deed in the collection of documents belonging to the Eyles family shows that Grantley and Eileen Parsons bought The Bungalow in Gillingstool from Minnie Eyles on 20th June 1958. At the time of the sale, Grantley’s address was The Black Horse, Gillingstool where he and Eileen were living with his mother. The 1961 and 1965 registers show them still living at The Bungalow. Grantley died in 2005.
In the town re-development, the houses were demolished and a shopping arcade was built there. Click on the thumbnail on the right to see the new shops which replaced the houses.