Number 13 is the house on the right in the above photograph.
We believe that the house at number 13 St John Street was one of three houses built by John Withers Bevan in 1824. It was erected on part of a piece of land which had previously been a garden and orchard known as Brayes or Brays.
Brayes or Brays
‘Brayes’ was first mentioned in 1674 in documents relating to the property acquired for the building of a Quaker Meeting Hall on the opposite side of St John Street. At that time it was owned by ‘late of one Henry Marsh’. ‘Brays’ was listed in the 1696 Tithe Terrier when it was described as being a paddock owned by Henry Marsh of about three quarters of an acre fronting St John Street.
On 10th October 1788 Hester Bagnell sold ‘Brayes’ to James Hodges gardener of Thornbury. It was described as ‘one close of arable or pasture ground planted with fruit trees and then used as a garden containing one acre’. At some stage the garden must have been conveyed from James Hodges to William Rolph. On 3rd May 1817 William Rolph sold the garden to John Croome. John died in 1821 and the garden passed to his daughter Eliza and her husband John Lane. They sold the garden to Anne Gibbons, a widow on 2nd April 1824. At that time it was already in the occupation of John Bevan. Anne must have bought it for her daughter Grace and her husband, John Bevan as it was conveyed to them only a week after Anne bought it. Grace only lived for another month. She was only 23 when she was died and she was buried on 23rd May 1824.
Indentures dated 1827 and 1833 indicate that John Bevan had built three houses on the garden. We assume that these houses became numbers 13, 15 and 17 St John Street.
John Withers Bevan
We found three indentures written in 1824, 1827 and 1833 referring to the houses built by John Bevan on the garden land to the north of St John Street. The first two indentures refer to James Withers carpenter of Thornbury as one of several other parties involved with the transactions. The 1827 indenture appears to show that John Bevan and James Withers were borrowing money from Thomas Smith yeoman of Henbury using the property as security. The 1833 indenture appears to show that Thomas Smith of Henbury is now the owner of the property which is being conveyed to Joseph Hignell of Charlton near Henbury.
We know that John got into financial difficulties. In 1831 he appears to have served time as a debtor in Kings Bench Prison in London. When charged at Gloucester Courthouse on 16th July 1831 he was described as a cooper and dealer in coals and also licensed to let post horses, currently out of business.
We don’t understand what happened to the ownership of the property but we do know that by 1840 the properties in St John Street were owned by James Withers’ son, Luke Withers.
The 1840 Tithe Map shows that Luke Withers owned three properties on the areas numbered 239 and 240 which are now known as 11,13 and 15 St John St, and that he was living in number 15 which is referred to as ‘a house and garden’. The other two properties were described as two ‘houses and courts’ occupied by Martha Allen and Susan Watkins. We guess that it was Martha Allen who lived in number 13. The term ‘court’ suggests that there was just a little courtyard at the rear, and no garden.
Note – there would appear to be a connection between John Bevan, John Withers Bevan and James Withers. It is possible that James Withers was a brother of John Bevan’s wife Hester but we have not found any evidence to confirm or disprove this. Click here to read about the Withers family
The Rate Books of 1876 to 1899 show that the house and the two houses next to it (numbers 11 and 15 ) were owned by Hester Cullimore. By December quarter 1899 Hester Cullimore died. Click here to read about Hester Cullimore
By 1905 the Rate Books show this house and the two next door were owned by Luke Cullimore. Luke was Hester Cullimore’s younger son. Click here to read about Luke
Luke Cullimore died on 28th April 1917 aged 71. In his last will dated written in 1901 he had given his property in trust for the benefit and use of his wife, Amy Lucy Cullimore and after her death it was to be sold by his trustees. Mrs Amy Lucy Cullimore died on 21st December 1925. The Trustees were Arthur Daniel Cullimore of 179 Westbourne Grove Bayswater London butcher and Wallace James Cullimore of Exton House, Second Avenue, Hove, Sussex, retired officer of the Merchant Service.
We know from the deeds of number 11 that that property was sold in March 1926 to Frank Tucker, a Thornbury builder. We suspect that Frank also acquired number 13 at the same time because from around this date number 13 became the office for the Tucker Brothers building business. Click here to read about Frank
Frank Tucker died on 7th August 1937 and put his property into trust for the benefit of his wife Alice. His Trustees were Norman Frank and Ronald George Edward Tucker, builders and Frederick Thomas Sainsbury, house decorator.
We understand that the house was next owned by Jack Hodges of Castle Street and then he sold it to Miss Joan Higgins of 13 Pullins Green. Neither of these people lived in the house – they used it to house tenants.