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’.
From our research in Gloucester Records Office, we are fairly confident that the house was built in the mid 1820’s by John Bevan, a Thornbury cooper. We found two indentures, the first dated 1824 refers to a newly erected dwelling built by John Bevan on the garden land to the north of St John Street. We believe this refers to the house now known as number 15. The property was sold by John Bevan to James Withers of Thornbury, carpenter. Mary Jefferys of Southampton is also mentioned in the indenture, but we assume she may have provided the mortgage for John Bevan.
The second indenture dated 1827 refers to the same newly built dwelling and three other properties all built by John Withers Bevan on the garden land. We believe this refers to the houses now known as numbers 11, 13 and 15. We are somewhat confused by the reference to 3 other properties, and it might just mean that number 15 is one of the three. The other obvious problem with this document is that it is saying that John Withers Bevan built all the houses. This is contradicting the 1824 document which says that John Bevan built the first house. John Withers Bevan was the son of John Bevan, the cooper and his wife Hester (nee Withers). It is possible that father and son were both responsible for building the houses or that the author of the document had simply confused the two John Bevans.
The indenture also appears to suggest that James Withers had a mortgage from John Withers Bevan and that the two of them were leasing the properties to Thomas Smith of Henbury, yeoman, for a period of one year. It was standard practice to lease for one year as a first step in the purchase of a property. In this case however it would appear that the sale was not completed as the houses were owned by Luke Withers in 1840 and still in his ownership in the 1859 Rate Book.
John Withers Bevan, who was described as a cooper, coal dealer and licensed to let horses, was a prisoner of the Kings Bench sometime between 1824 and 1833. Apparently he was an insolvent debtor which may explain why there was not a release and sale by John Withers Bevan from Thomas Smith. We hope to learn more about this incarceration.
There would appear to be a connection between John Bevan, John Withers Bevan and the person who bought the property from them, 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.
The Withers family – the earliest occupant of the house about whom we have any information was Luke Withers, but we know he inherited it from his father, James. Click here to read more
The Cullimores – the Rate Books of 1876 to 1899 show that the house and the two houses next to it (numbers 11 and 13 ) were owned by Hester Cullimore. We assume that she was left the property by Luke Withers following his death in 1st April 1868 when she was also left the Crispin. Click here to read more
By 1905 the Rate Books show this house and the two next to it were owned by Luke Cullimore. Luke was Hester Cullimore’s younger son. 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 should be sold by his trustees. Mrs Amy Lucy Cullimore died 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. Click here to read about Luke Cullimore
William Young Sainsbury – in the censuses of 1871 and 1881 the house was occupied by William Young Sainsbury, a relieving officer and his family. Click here to read more
Frank and Alice Tucker – the Rate Book of 1885 says that Frank Tucker was the tenant of the house and he and his family occupied it in the 1891 census and they were to remain there until their deaths, Frank in 1937 and Alice in 1951. 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 15 at the same time. Click here to read more
Emily Fox – from 1954 the house was occupied by Mrs Emily Fox. In 1958 the property was advertised for sale for £1650. The ground floor was described as having two front sitting rooms, one with china pantry off, a kitchen with a fitted sink with hot and cold water and an Ideal boiler and a large pantry or back kitchen. The first floor had three bedrooms, one with airing cupboard and a fitted bathroom. There were two bedrooms on the second floor.
Emily was to live there up to April 1978 when she sold the house to Miss Joan Higgins of number 13 Pullins Green. At the time of the sale Emily’s address was given as Woodmans Close, Chipping Sodbury.
After 22nd August 1978, the house was divided into two separate maisonettes and let by Miss Higgins to various tenants. The conversion caused some problems as the owner of the neighbouring property (number 17) complained that the building work caused damp on his side of a party wall and a lengthy correspondence ensued. Tenants of 15A St John Street included Eric Newham (1980) and Margaret Harwood (1998).
Miss Higgins died in March 2008.