We have listed below people known to have occupied this property since 1851.
Jane Lee – the 1851 census shows that the house was occupied by Jane Lee, a widow described as ‘almswoman formerly a charwoman’ aged 79 from Kington. Jane was born in Kington on 14th August 1771 and baptised at Thornbury on 29th September 1771. She was the seventh child, and fifth daughter of Thomas Hopkins, a husbandman and his wife, Mary. On 9th February 1792, Jane married Caleb Lee in Thornbury and they went on to have seven children. Caleb was a butcher and he died aged 43. The report of his death says “This man in a state of intoxication, fell into a pool at Cowhill from which he was with difficulty extracted and sustained such injury that he died within two days after.” He was buried on 10th February 1812. Jane died aged 88 and was buried in Thornbury on 25th August 1859.
Jane Harris – the 1861 census shows the house occupied by Jane Harris, an unmarried lady aged 40 from Thornbury. We are not sure about the accuracy of her age in this census. We think Jane was baptised on 25th December 1813, the daughter of Thomas Harris, a drover and his wife, Jane. Her mother died aged 67 and was buried on 17th May 1840. The 1841 census shows Jane was living with her father in St Mary Street. Thomas was listed as an agricultural labourer and Jane as a female servant. In 1851 Thomas was in the workhouse – he was described as ‘formerly a dealer in cattle’ aged 72. We can’t locate Jane in that census. Thomas died in the Thornbury Poor House aged 74 and was buried on 8th April 1852. Jane died aged 54 and was buried on 1st April 1866.
Charlotte Davis – the 1871 census and the 1876 rate book show the house was occupied by Charlotte Davis. The census shows Charlotte was a widow aged 70 from Stone and she was living with her married daughter, Mercy Gardner aged 28 from Thornbury. We understand that Charlotte was baptised in Stone on 11th May 1800, the daughter of Daniel and Sarah Shipway. She married to George Davis, a cordwainer (shoemaker) who was born on 17th November 1798, the son of John Davis, a shoemaker and his wife, Betty. They had at least 8 children, all baptised in Thornbury: Hester baptised on 21st May 1820, Ann on 12th May 1822, Alfred on 4th July 1824, Bryant on 10th September 1826, Ellen on 27th November 1828, George on 30th November 1830, Fanny on 19th March 1834, Mercy on 13th March 1839 and Edwin on 18th May 1842.
In the 1851 census George and Charlotte were living further up St Mary Street, we think it was at the house which late became 37 St Mary Street. Of their children, Brian, a groom aged 24, Fanny a seamstress aged 17 and Mercy and Edwin were still living with them. By 1861 they were still living in the same house. George had given up shoemaking to become a post office messenger and only Mercy was living with them. Mercy married John Gardner in 1868. George died aged 67 and was buried on 7th December 1865. Charlotte died aged 77 and was buried on 18th November 1877.
Ann Nelmes – the meeting of the Trustees of Thornbury Grammar School dated 12th November 1877 resolved that as Charlotte Davis had died, the vacant house should be let to Ann Nelmes. George Hodges was instructed to carry out the necessary repairs. The rent was one penny a week. In the 1881 census the house was occupied by Ann Nelmes, a widow aged 82 from Rockhampton. Ann had been married to John Nelmes, a labourer and they had lived at Morton. John died aged 69 and was buried on 20th April 1856. Ann moved to this almshouse in Thornbury where she died aged 88. She was buried on 2nd January 1883.
Eliza Fowler – the 1885 rate book shows the almshouse was occupied by ‘Sarah Fowler’. We think this is a mistake as the 1890 rate book shows Eliza Fowler and the Mayors Accounts Book has a reference of a meeting on 16th January 1883 which says that ‘Eliza’ Fowler was selected as the occupant of the vacant almshouse in the place of (blank) Nelmes deceased’.
We think Eliza had been married to William Fowler who was an agricultural labourer. In 1861 they were living in Back Street (now called Rock Street) with their son, Edward aged 8. Eliza was a seamstress at this time. In 1871 they are listed in Upper Bath Road (which is also now called Rock Street) with Edward now working as a labourer. Eliza was a laundress and William is an unemployed labourer – sadly the comments columns notes that he was a lunatic.
We haven’t found a record of William’s death, but in the 1881 census Eliza ‘Vowler’ is listed as a widowed charwoman aged 58 living in part of Old Rectory House. The 1876 shows she had been living there at that time. The 1891 census shows Eliza Fowler, a widowed laundress aged 68. Eliza died aged 77 years and was buried on 9th January 1900. We know from a newspaper article dated 10th January 1900 that ‘Mrs Fowler met an untimely death by being burnt to death’. It explains that she had been in an almshouse at 12 in the morning where she had been in the care of a young 12 year old girl called Thorn. The girl explained that Mrs Fowler had sat in front of the fire whilst the girl went to sleep on a nearby bed. The lady must have fallen on the fire as she fell asleep.
Their son Edward bought properties later called Appledore and The Dingle in Gillingstool. Click here to read more.
Harriett Hewlan – the 1901 census shows the house was occupied by Harriett Hewlan, a widow aged 77 from Aust. We don’t know anything about Harriett.
Mary Ryan – the 1905 rate book shows Mary occupying the house. She died in December quarter 1907 aged 66. The 1881 census shows Mary was born about 1840 in Cork, Ireland. She was married to William Ryan, a hawker aged 50, also from Cork. They were living in 51 St Mary Street with their daughter, Mary aged 13 born in Birmingham and their son, John, who was aged 6 and born in Thornbury. The 1876 and 1885 rate books show William Ryan in St Mary Street. In 1891 William and Mary were living in Crossways where William is shown as a hawker. His age is clearly shown as being 82 which seems inconsistent with other records. Mary is aged 60. William died on 30th January 1898. We are unsure as to his age at death – the cemetery burial register shows it to be 82 and the FreeBMD website shows 61. In 1901 Mary Ryan is listed as a widowed licenced hawker living in one of the little houses which became part of 7 Silver Street. She died on 21st December 1907 aged 66. The Gazette published a report on her death saying her body had been discovered by her son-in-law Joseph Davis after a neighbour reported that she had seen her for a couple of days. The doctor said she died of heart failure following bronchial pneumonia.
We know that on 19th October 1889 William and Mary’s daughter, Mary, married Joseph Davis, another hawker and that on 8th November 1880 Ellen, another of their daughters, married Job Loveridge, a labourer.
Hannah Comeley – the 1910 rate book and 1911 census show Hannah is occupying the house. On 5th December 1870 Hannah White married William Comeley, the son of William and Mary Ann Comeley who had lived in Horseshoe Lane. Click here to read more
There is a period of 25 years when we don’t have much information about who was living in the house. The Town Trust Accounts Book shows that Elizabeth Hester Harris and Miss Fanny Jeremy followed Hannah Comeley living in this house. There is a ‘Mrs Harris’ listed in St Mary Street in the 1915 Prewett’s Directory, but we can’t be sure it is the same person or which house she was living in at that time. In the case of Fanny Jeremy we know she was living there in 1926 according to the accounts records of P.G. Hawkins and she was listed in the 1926 rate book and the electoral registers from 1927 to 1935. In 1935 we have a record of Mrs Fanny Jeremy living in the house when it was connected to the water mains. Fanny died as a spinster aged 70 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 27th March 1936.
Eliza Maria Watson – the register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the War shows Eliza was a charwoman born on 22nd May 1875. Eliza died in Thornbury on 5th April 1949 aged 73 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery. Click here to read more
Dora Gloin – the electoral registers from 1950 to 1965 show that the house was occupied by Dora Gloin. Dora was a spinster born as Theodora Gloin in Clifton in 1895. We suspect she was the daughter of Eva Gloin, who was from Buckland in Devon and was working as a housemaid in St Johns Road, Clifton in 1891. In 1901 Dora was boarding with Thomas and Emily Tudor in Aust. We don’t know when Dora moved to Thornbury. The electoral registers of 1931 to 1938 show she was boarding with Ernest and Annie Pitcher in 3 Castle Street and then in 1946 she was at Pound Cottage. In 1949 when she applied to the Town Trust she said that she was 54 years old, had lived in Thornbury ‘practically all my life’ and had previously lived with Mr Poole until his death. The records also show that Dora was in Thornbury Hospital in 1972 but that she had been allocated a place at Eastbury Close flats owned by the Town Trust. Dora died in 1972.
In the late 1960’s the house was purchased by the District Council under a compulsory purchase order as part of the central re-development. It was demolished and the land was eventually used in the 1980’s when a new road was made linking Rock Street to St Mary Street.