We apologise but we have no photographs of these two houses and would love to hear from anyone who does!
We know from early land tax and rent roll records that the house was occupied by John Nelmes at least from 1800 to about 1818 and then by John Withers from about 1819 to 1823. We don’t know any more to identify these people.
Simon Slade – the early land tax record show that Simon Slade was living in the house from about 1824 to 1832. He may have lived there longer, but by 1840 he was living in Kington.
Simon was a tallow chandler. We note that at least one family tree on the Ancestry website shows that Simon married Mary Barge. This seems likely in view of the fact that the 1851 census shows that Mary had a sister in law called Sarah Barge. There is a record of a Simon Slade marrying Mary Barge on 16th April 1817 at St James in Bristol. We know that they had several children: Mary Ann baptised on 22nd August 1819, Eliza baptised on 22nd April 1821, Louisa baptised on 4th May 1823, Thomas baptised on 23rd July 1826 and George Charles baptised on 25th October 1829.
The Land Tax record for 1819 appears to indicate that Simon may have lived for a short time at Stokefield Cottages. An indenture dated 13th April 1820 shows that Simon Slade was living in 61 St Mary Street at the time it was being sold. The Land Tax records appear to indicate that he remained there until about 1824. In the 1840 Tithe Survey and the 1841 Census Simon was living in Kington Lane at the property now known as The Hollow. He was a tallow chandler aged 52 born outside Gloucestershire. Mary was also aged 52. They were living with Mary Ann aged 26, Louisa aged 19, Thomas aged 16, and George aged 13. There was a servant Elizabeth Berry aged 16.
Simon died aged 59 and was buried on 16th August 1846. In the 1851 census Mary was living on Colwell Street (an old name for The Plain). She was a laundress living with her sister-in-law, Sarah Barge a housekeeper aged 72 and Sarah’s grand-daughter, Sarah Shuker? aged 16. Mary died aged 70 and was buried on 27th February 1859.
Of their children we know that Louisa Slade married Thomas Burbidge on 17th august 1867 at the age of 42. Louisa married in the church of St Augustine the Less in Bristol. Mary Ann Slade married Josiah Thurston (also at at St Augustine’s in Bristol) on 21st November 1842.
In the 1840 Tithe Survey, the house was described as a house and garden owned by Mary Wilkes and occupied by George Davis.
George Davis – he was said to be occupying the house at the time of the 1840 Tithe Survey, but we haven’t been able to trace George and Charlotte in the 1841 census, although we note that their son, Bryan is a servant in the Vicarage. We also noted that in the 1841 census George’s brother, Hugh, was living at the house which later became number 57 St Mary Street and that his parents were living in one of the houses which became 33 and 35 St Mary Street. Click here to read more
Henry Williams – in the 1841 census the house was occupied by Henry Williams. He was a saw handle maker aged 45 who was born outside Gloucestershire. He was living with Mary Williams who was aged 40 born in Ireland, a female servant, Isabella Martin who was aged 15 and born in Ireland and three others who were presumably lodgers: William Parker, an agricultural labourer aged 40 and George Southcole? a distiller aged 50, both born outside Gloucestershire and Andrew Miler, an engine smith aged 25 born in Ireland.
William Tanner – the 1851 census shows that the house was occupied by William Tanner. He was an agricultural labourer aged 28 from Alveston living with his wife, Sarah aged 27 from Thornbury and six lodgers.
We know from FreeBMDs that William Tanner married Sarah Wheeler in 1849, but we know nothing more about the family.
Hannah Greenwood – the 1861 census shows the house was occupied by Hannah Greenwood. Hannah was a widow aged 49 from Thornbury. She was running a lodging house with one boarder and eight lodgers.
Hannah was married to William Greenwood, a farmer. They seemed to live in Falfield when their son, George, was baptised on 13th April 1828 and in Whitfield when their son, William, was baptised on 15th April 1829. We assume that William and Hannah separated before the 1841 census. This shows William was living near Combe Cottage in Gloucester Road whilst Hannah was living in a lodging house run by William Cullimore at 45 St Mary Street. Her son, William was also living there aged 11. In the 1851 census Hannah was a housekeeper at a lodging house run by John Cullimore in the house which we think later became 59 St Mary Street. Meanwhile William had moved to The Hackett where he was a yeoman living with a housekeeper, Hannah Hancock aged 57 and a general servant Susannah Hancock aged 22.
William died aged 45 and was buried on 15th July 1851. His death was a subject of an inquest. By 1861 Hannah had moved 55 St Mary Street and set up as a lodging house keeper in her own right. The 1871 census also shows Hannah living there as a lodging house keeper now aged 61. She was then living with her grand-daughter, Emma aged 16 and 14 lodgers who were in the house on census night. Hannah died aged 64 and was buried on 31st January 1874.
The 1876 rate book shows that William Greenwood was living in the house so we assume that this was the son of William and Hannah. This William was a maltster married to Elizabeth. We don’t know what happened to William and Elizabeth after 1876.
Thomas Powell – the rate books from 1880 to 1910 show that the house was occupied by Thomas Powell.
The 1881 census shows Thomas was a hawker aged 29 from Leighsinton in Worcestershire. He was living with his wife, Emily, aged 35 from Cirencester and 13 lodgers. It is interesting to note that five of the lodgers were coal miners. We are curious why they were lodging here when the nearest coal mines were many miles away.
In 1883 the Bristol Times and Mercury reported that Thomas was causing a nuisance injurious to health by keeping swine. Although Thomas denied that the pigs were in any way offensive, the Bench decided that the nuisance had to be abated after an inspection of the premises and ordered Thomas pay costs. On Boxing Day 1883 there was a ‘domestic’ incident at the Powells home which resulted in a case of assault in the Petty Sessional court held on 28th December 1883. Fortunately Thomas pleaded guilty and the case was dismissed.
Emily died in 1885 aged 38. Thomas re-married in 1888, his second wife was Elizabeth Pope. From 1890 rate book it appears that Thomas was renting both 55 St Mary Street and the house next door (number 57) owned by Austin Honeyborne and running both these as a lodging house. The 1891 census lists the house as ‘St Mary Street Lodging House’ and shows that Thomas was a licensed hawker aged 38 from Leigh in Worcestershire. He was living with his wife, Elizabeth, aged 36 from Olveston and seven ‘visitors’. The 1901 census shows Thomas was a licensed hawker aged 49 and Elizabeth was aged 48 from Elberton. They had seven lodgers.
It appears that Thomas also traded as a marine store dealer from his premises in St Mary Street as well as running the lodging house. Various trade directories between 1888 and 1927 show Thomas carrying out this work.The 1911 census shows describes Thomas as a general dealer. He and Elizabeth only had three lodgers in the house at this time. The census notes that there were 11 rooms in the house. We believe that in 1921 Harry Skuse may have been living in part of the premises. Elizabeth Powell died in 1923 aged 68.
In 1925 the Gazette reported a property dispute in which Thomas appears to have been taken to court by Thomas Birkett who had bought 55 St Mary Street in 1924. Thomas Birkett claimed that he had undertaken some alterations to the property on the understanding that Thomas Powell would give up his occupancy. Thomas Powell denied that there was any agreement but the court found in favour of Thomas Birkett. In spite of this agreement Thomas Powell was still being shown as an occupant of part of the property when it was sold on 15th December 1927 to George Thomas Legge. The electoral registers up to 1935 continue to list Thomas Powell as living in St Mary Street but we don’t know where he was living.
Thomas and Lily Birkett – Thomas bought the property for £235 on 29th September 1924. As mentioned above Thomas had to go to court to remove Thomas Powell and then he was able to live there himself. The conveyance shows Thomas was a clothier of Buckover. An abstract of title shows Thomas as having a second address at 11 Church Road, Redfield, Bristol. He was also described as being a market gardener and smallholder.
The 1926 rate book and 1927 electoral register show that they were also living there for a short while. He was also listed as renting some buildings and land in Gloucester Road. Thomas married Lily A Mills in Thornbury in 1923.
Thomas was also involved in one other dispute reported in the paper in 1925. It was said that Thomas went to the home of Charles Symes on The Plain where he used ‘most objectionable language’ and threatened to strike Charles. Thomas was fined 10 shillings, but there was no explanation as to why he had acted in the way he did.
Thomas ran into financial problems and on the 6th December 1926 his property was taken over by trustees so that his debtors could be paid off. 55 St Mary Street was sold to George Thomas Legge for £275. The conveyance shows that Thomas Powell was still occupying part of the property at the time of the sale in spite of the court case in 1925 and that Thomas Birkett was referred to as being a clothing salesman of Buckover.
Harry and George Henry Skuse – we know from locals that Harry and Emily Skuse lived in number 55 St Mary Street in the mid 1900’s. (Note the register compiled in 1939 in preparation ofr the war suggest the Skuses might have lived in 57 St Mary Street). Henry appears in the electoral registers from 1921 onwards as living in St Mary Street, but we only know that he was in 31 St Mary Street at the time of the 1925 Valuation List and 1926 rate book.
The 1927 electoral register shows that Harry’s brother, George Herbert and his wife, Florence were living in St Mary Street. We don’t know which house George and Florence were living in, but it may have been the same house as Harry and Emily. George had been baptised on 26th May 1899 and he married Florence Jessie in 1918. She was a widow and her husband, Gilbert Maurice Pritchard had died in France in 1914. Click here to read more about the Pritchards
George and Florence were living in St Mary Street in 1924 when their son, Leslie Herbert, started at the Council Infants School. Leslie was born in the West Ham area of London on 17th December 1919.
In the Gazette of October 6th 1928 it was reported that G H Skuse of St Mary Street a married man was one of those leaving for Canada “under the harvesting scheme”. They were seen off by Mr Fudge of the Labour Exchange and a large crowd that gathered at Thornbury Station. The answer to a question in Parliament to the Secretary for the Dominions in December 1928 reveals that he was not alone in returning after the harvest. “The number of harvesters who went to Canada was 8,449, and the number who have returned is 6,876. Of those who have returned 4,577 received a loan of the whole or part of their return passage money.” By 1931 George and Florence had moved to 18 Eastland Avenue.
Harry Skuse was born on 28th May 1890 and baptised on 6th July 1890, the son of George Skuse, a labourer and his wife Hester who were living at Milbury Heath. The 1901 census shows George was a carter on a farm and the family were living at Buckover. During the First World War, both Harry and his brother George served in the Army. Harry was in the 7th Gloucester Regiment and when the townspeople of Thornbury sent out Christmas gifts to the local people serving in the forces, Harry was a Private in Mesopotamia 1916 and 1917 and George was a Private serving in France.
Harry married Emily Ellen Harris in the Bristol area in 1920. Emily was the daughter of William George Harris and his wide, Ellen (nee Derrick). They had three children: Brenda born on 28th January 1921, George Henry born on 5th July 1922 and Jean Cynthia born on 19th July 1930. All three children attended the Council School.
Harry was a labourer when Brenda was baptised on 3rd August 1921. When George was baptised on 2nd August 1922 Harry was shown as a quarryman. Harry’s obituary printed in the Gazette mentions that he had been employed by the local builders, Messrs W. W. Pitcher & Sons for over 30 years so, as he died in 1965, he must have been working there by the early 1930s at least.
Harry and Emily carried on living at 55 St Mary Street until they were re-housed and the houses demolished to make way for St Mary’s Street car park. The 1965 electoral register shows that Harry and Emily had moved to 4 Streamleaze. Harry died that year on 13th November 1965 aged 75. In his obituary printed in the Gazette it notes he was living in Chapel Street, although he died in hospital after a long illness. It adds that during the War he had served with the Gloucester Regiment in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia. Frank Vizard of Rudgeway who served with Harry had told the paper that Harry had saved his life in a desperate situation at great risk to himself. For a time Harry had been an officer’s servant and one of his treasured possessions was a pair of scissors he used in cutting the hair of high-ranking officers, including Sir Stanley Maude, commander-in-chief of the Mesopotamia forces very shortly before the General died.
Emily died about 1978 aged 84. Of their children:
- Brenda – married Harold Henry Moss in 1946. Harold came from Chelmsford in Essex. The marriage report in the Gazette indicated that they intended to live in Kingston in Surrey, but they later moved back to live in Thornbury, in 1958 they were living in the flat above 23 St John Street. The 1965 electoral register shows that they were living in the bottom flat at 3 Pullins Green. Brenda died in October 1965 aged 44, a few weeks before her father died.
- George Henry – before the Second World War he worked as ‘second operator’ in the town’s cinema, the Thornbury Picture House. In 1942 he joined the Army. In a little article printed in the Gazette in January 1945 it mentions he was serving in Holland with ‘R.L.A.’ – (our search of Wikipedia to find out more about this unit only shows the unlikely translations of the ‘Royal Lao Army’ or ‘Russian Liberation Army’). The photo of the right is one of George taken from that newspaper article in which he sent greeting home to his relatives and friends in Thornbury. By 1954 George was married to Edith and they were living in 44 Gloucester Road.
- Jean Cynthia – married Anthony George Frank Brown on 1st December 1951. Anthony was aged 24, a sales representative from The Green at Iron Acton and son of George Edward Brown. Jean was a chemist’s assistant. Anthony and Jean carried on living with Jean’s parents in 55 St Mary Street for many years. We know that in 1961 they were living at ‘Resthaven’ 3 Pullins Green when their daughter, Charlotte Brenda was baptised on 21st May. The 1965 electoral register shows that when Harry and Emily were re-housed to live at 4 Streamleaze, Anthony and Jean moved to live at 75 High Street.