We apologise that we have no photographs of this house and would love to hear from anyone who does!
We are grateful to South Gloucestershire Council for letting us see the deeds and documents that relate to this property. One of these indentures dated 3rd of August 1861 refers to a list of previous occupants, the first of whom was “Joseph Isles, butcher.”
Joseph Isles – Joseph was a a butcher and he and his wife Betty lived in Thornbury in the second part of the Eighteenth Century. They seemed to have the unusual habit of baptising several children at one time. George (born 1774), John (born 1772), Betty (born 1776) and Ann (born 1778) were all baptised in 1778. On December 28th 1785 they baptised Celia (born in 1779 baptised aged six) Sarah (born in 1782) and Hannah born in 1784. There must also have been a Joseph born in 1787 as he was buried in 1802 aged 15 years.
The land tax records show Joseph rented a property from Thomas Hendy from at least 1783.
Betty died in 1826 aged 80 and Joseph died 6th March 1836 aged 95. The Trade Directories appear to indicate that Joseph was still trading as a butcher as late as 1830.
John Nelmes – he was shown as the occupant from 1809 through to our last record in 1832. We do not think that this is the same John Nelmes who was thought to be occupying 55 St Mary Street owned by Mary Williams from 1800 to 1818 but probably they were related. We believe that the earlier John Nelmes was a pork butcher, born in 1771 to Abraham Nelmes and Mary nee Lippiatt. This John Nelmes probably married Hannah Reeves on 29th March 1801.At present we only know about one of their sons. This was Thomas Nelmes. John Nelmes senior died aged 48 and was buried on 11th December 1818. Hannah his widow married another butcher, George Motley. At this time we do not know whether John Nelmes senior had another son, called John Nelmes (junior).
Hugh Davis – the 1840 Tithe Survey and the 1841 census show Hugh living in the house. The census shows that Hugh was a shoemaker aged 30 living with Elizabeth aged 30 and their children: Frederick aged 6 (baptised on 20th June 1834), George aged 4 (baptised on 29th May 1839), and Alfred aged 2 (baptised on 29th May 1839) and an Irishman James Murphy, a tailor aged 30.
Hugh and Elizabeth had further children after 1841. Mary Anne baptised on 10 March 1842, Henry baptised on 21st April 1844, Hester baptised on 12th July 1846 and Arthur William baptised on 4th March 1855.
In the 1851 census, Hugh and the family were living at ‘Top of Back Street’ which was another name for the street otherwise known as Chapel Street. Hugh was a journeyman cordwainer living with Elizabeth, a boot binder, Frederick and Alfred, errand boys, Mary Anne aged 9, Hester aged 5 and John aged 2. There was also one lodger, Orlando Walker, a road walker aged 17.
In the 1861 census Hugh and the family were living back in St Mary Street at number 8. Click here to read more
Charles Hopton – in 1851 census the house was occupied by Charles Hopton, an agricultural labourer aged 53 born in Slimbridge and his wife, Hannah aged 54 from Thornbury and their children: Celia aged 13, Ellen aged 9 and four lodgers. Click here to read more
In 1859 the house appears to have been empty and owned by Morris Edmonds.
Simon O’Reilly – the 1861 census shows the house was occupied by Simon O’Reilly, a lodging house keeper aged 40? from Kilrush in Ireland, his wife, Elizabeth aged 40? from Tipperary and their four children all born in Thornbury: George aged 19, Henry aged 12, Richard aged 2, Catherine aged 1 and a lodger, Mary Casey a domestic servant aged 25 from Macroom in Ireland. The 1862 rate book shows that Simon O’Reilly was the occupant of the house at that time. Click here to read more
Joseph Alexander – the 1871 census shows that Joseph was running the lodging house at 57 St Mary Street with his wife, Catherine. Joseph’s occupation was actually a ‘sweep’ so perhaps he left Catherine to run the business. Joseph was aged 47 from Bradford in Wiltshire. Catherine was aged 43 from Thornbury. Their lodgers seemed to consist of one family, that of Jacob Fisher, a labourer aged 53 from Thornbury and his wife, Elizabeth aged 29 from Hambrook and their sons, John, Richard and Charles.
Joseph had married Catherine Gardiner in the Bristol area in 1857. Catherine already had a daughter, Rose Ann born 1850 in Pontypool. The 1861 Census shows Alexander was living in 59 St Mary Street. He was a chimney sweep aged 43 living with Catherine aged 33 and her daughter, Rose Ann Gardiner aged 11 born in Pontypool.
Joseph was not shown as being the main occupant of any house in Thornbury in the 1876 Rate Book. The 1880 rate book and the 1881 census shows that Joseph had returned to live in 59 St Mary Street. The census shows that Joseph was living there alone. Catherine was working as a servant in 128 Wilder Street, Bristol. Joseph died at the Union Workhouse aged 66 and he was buried on 8th March 1886. We can’t trace Catherine in the 1891 census, but in the 1901 census Catherine was still in Bristol living at 15 Rose Street, in the Temple District. She was working at home as a plain sewer aged 73.
Frederick Avery – the 1876 rate books shows that Frederick had moved into the house owned by John Stevens. The 1881 Census shows that Frederick was a railway guard aged 59 from Yatton in Somerset. He was living with his wife, Mary Ann, a laundress aged 55 also from Yatton and their children: Blanch aged 15, Rose aged 12, both born in Bristol and William aged 10 born in Hereford.
Frederick was born about 1820, the son of Samuel Avery, a cordwainer and his wife, Matilda (nee Roe). In 1841 census Frederick was an agricultural labourer living with his parents in Yatton. In 1850 Frederick married Mary Ann Hamblin in Bedminster area and the 1851 census shows them living in Yatton. Frederick had become a railway porter, Mary Ann was a dressmaker aged 24 and they had one child, Charles Frederick aged 5 days. The 1861 census shows the family had moved to 7 King Street, Bedminster. Frederick had become a railway guard and they had two extra children: Mary A aged 5 and Laura aged 2, both born in Bristol. By 1871 they had moved again, this time to 84 Edgar Street, Hereford – this census shows that they had Sarah aged 15, Frank aged 13, Rose aged 11, Mary aged 9 and Frederick aged 6.
The railway came to Thornbury in 1872. This was probably why the family had moved to Thornbury by 28th February 1875 when their daughter, Laura, was baptised aged 15. Two of their other children, William Samuel and Rose Emma, were baptised here on 9th May 1875. We also note that there is a baptism of Frederick James Avery baptised in Thornbury on 25th July 1875 – he was the son of Frederick’s son, Charles Frederick, a fireman on the Midland Railway and his wife, Louisa, who were living at Aston in Birmingham. On 25th February 1885 Frederick’s daughter, Laura, married in Thornbury. Her husband was Francis William Marment, a baker and the son of William Marment, a stone mason. The 1885 Rate Book shows Frederick still living in the house that became known as 57 St Mary Street and that it was now owned by Austin Honeyborne. It was described in a schedule of property owned by Austin Honeyborne in July 1885 as “a lease hold cottage in occupation of Avery.”
The 1891 census shows the family had moved to 22 Digby Street in Bristol. Frederick was still a railway guard aged 66. Three of their children were living with Frederick and Mary Ann: their son, Frederick, a foreman on the railway aged 28, Rose was a dressmaker aged 21 and William was an engine cleaner aged 19. Their daughter, Laura, had also moved to Digby Street and was living with her husband Francis Marment at number 30.
Thomas Powell – the 1887 rate books shows Thomas Powell was the occupant. The 1891 census shows the house was ‘St Marys Lodging House’. It was being run by that Thomas was described as a licensed hawker aged 38 from Leigh, Worcestershire living with his wife, Elizabeth aged 36 from Olveston and seven lodgers. The rate books make it clear that Thomas was occupying two adjoining houses, one owned by Mary Ann Wilmott who owned number 55, the other by Austin Honeyborne who owned 57.
An Indenture of 11th November 1903 appointing trustees of A J Honeyborne lists the property owned by him and confirms that Thomas Powell still lived in this house which is described as a leasehold property in St Mary Street.
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. We have learned that this had noting to do with ships but was instead something more like a “rag and bone man” or scrap merchant. Various trade directories between 1888 and 1927 show Thomas carrying out this work. Click here to read more
John Radford – a deed relating to the division of the Honeyborne estate shows that John Radford was occupying the house in 1914. The 1925 Valuation Book and 1926 rate book confirms that John was still living in the house owned by A. Honeyborne. John and Lucy Radford had been living in St Mary Street in the 1918 to 1927 electoral registers.
John Radford was born in Loxbeare, near Tiverton in Devon about 1875. He married Lucy Bowden in the Tiverton area in 1900. Lucy was born in Washfield near Tiverton about 1873. The 1901 census shows John and Lucy had moved to West View, Marsh Common, Pilning where John was working as a wheelwright-smith. They had a son, Reginald John, who was one month old. Reginald died in 1907 aged 6 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 11th March 1907 when the family were living in John Street, Thornbury. They appear to have had another son, Alexander, who died aged 1 in 1904. Their daughter, Gwendoline Eva, born in Thornbury on 20th September 1908.
The 1910 rate book and 1911 census show John was then living at 61 High Street. The family’s address was St Mary Street when Gwendoline started at the Council Upper School in 1916.
John was a Lance Corporal in the 4th Gloucester Regiment in the First World War. He was also listed as a member of the Thornbury Fire Brigade in the 1916 Prewetts Almanack. By 1931 they had moved to The Club, Victoria House, High Street. On August 5th 1933 the Gazette reported the death of Gwen Radford the only daughter of Mr and Mrs. J Radford of the High Street. She had died in Bristol Royal Infirmary and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 7th August 1933. Gwen was only 24 years old and a member of the choir and Sunday School teacher at the Congregational Church where her funeral service was held. Amongst the mourners was her fiancé Mr Frank Bennett.
John Radford died on 18th February 1934 aged 59. The burial record describes John as a blacksmith. His burial was a large affair where the hearse was taken to the church on a fire engine bedecked with floral tributes and the coffin draped in the Union flag. It was escorted by an honour guard of firemen. Also present at the funeral were representatives from the British Legion, the City of Bristol Battalion, Thornbury Grammar School and the Bowls Club. Wreaths were also sent from the Thornbury Social Club, and Thornbury Tennis Club. The Gazette published a wonderful photo of the procession nearing the Church – click on the thumbnail on the right to see a copy of this photo.
Lucy was listed as still living in the Club, High Street in the 1935 electoral register, but she does not appear in 1938 register.
James William Knapp – we have been told that James and his wife Catherine lived in the house. James William Knapp had been living with his mother, Verona Ursula Amelia Knapp, at 75 High Street in the 1935 and 1938 Electoral Registers. They were listed as living in 57 St Mary Street in the register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war. This shows that James was born in North Kensington area of London on 27th April 1902 and was working for the Thornbury and District Electricity Company at their shop in High Street, although he was also a volunteer in the Thornbury Fire Brigade. James was living with his mother, Ursula V. A. Knapp who was born in Magor, Monmouthshire on 12th April 1879. James’s sister, Phyllis May Laver was also living there. Phyllis was born in Willesdon Green on 31st July 1905. She married Harold Alfred Laver in Thornbury area in 1933.
James’s father was William Neal Knapp who was born in Oldbury in 1880. He became a police constable and moved to live in London. In 1900 he married Verona Ursula Amelia Cullimore in Paddington, London. He died in Thornbury in 1935 aged 55.
In 1942 James married Catherine McCann in Bristol. Apparently they met whilst James was working as an electrician in Thrissels Engineering Company in Fishponds and Catherine was working in the canteen there. They are shown in the electoral registers of 1946 and 1950 as living in ‘3 St Mary Street’ which was probably an old number before the houses were re-numbered in the early 1950’s. Verona died on 10th June 1948 aged 71.
James and Catherine had four children, including Ann and Susan, who were born in Bristol and twins James and Jane who were born in Northern Ireland. By the 1954 electoral register the family had moved to live in North East Road. Catherine died on 4th July 1983 aged 78. James died on 12th November 1984 aged 84.
The McLoughlins – the 1954 electoral register shows that the house was occupied by Patrick, Jeanne Alberta and Teresa McLoughlin. We know that Patrick was born in Mohill, County Leitrim in Ireland on 16th June 1914. He married Jeanne Alberta Byron in the Stroud area in 1948. Jeanne was born on 11th June 1925. They had a son, Shaun born in Thornbury in 1949. We are not sure who Teresa was. Patrick died on 9th April 1985. Jeane died on 21st March 1995. They are both buried in the Roman Catholic Section of Thornbury Cemetery.
Thomas Trayhurn – the electoral registers of 1961 and 1965 show that Thomas occupied the house. Click here to read more about Thomas and his family