Since 2001, 19 St John Street in Thornbury has been combined with number 21 to form one house which is called ‘Willow Cottage’. The photograph above shows the house about 2005. Number 19 was the left hand one of the two cottages.
The photograph on the right is a rather dramatic one taken in 1992 at the time of the fire at the tyre warehouse. Click here for more information about the fire
We are fortunate to have found a bundle of deeds relating to this property in Thornbury Museum. These and the help of the present owners of the house provide a very good history of the ownership of the property and refer to various tenants of the property. This help us tie in with census and other records.
Interestingly they make it clear that the histories of 19 and 21 St John Street had been closely linked from the very beginning. The documents shows that James Wither bought land from Thomas Rolph in 1796. The Rolph family had owned a large area of land between what is now Gloucester Road and Sawmill Lane. Thomas Rolph had inherited this and had sectioned off a portion of it to sell to James Wither. Click here to read about the Rolphs
An indenture, dated 25th March 1812 tells the story of what happened to this property which was one of the ones built on this piece of land. It described the house next door (number 21) as:
“All that messuage or dwelling house wherein Mark Williams lately inhabited and Isaac Pullen doth now dwell lately erected and built by the said James Wither on part of a piece or parcel of land or garden ground containing about 21 perches situate in the Borough of Thornbury aforesaid which said James Withers purchased of the said Thomas Rolph.
And also the garden attached and belonging to and used with said messuage or dwellinghouse all which said messuage or dwellinghouse and garden above mentioned and described and hereby granted and released or intended so to be are situate and being in the said Borough of Thornbury and adjoined to a certain street called Saint John Street on the southward part to another messuage or dwelling house there lately erected and built by the said James Wither on other part of the said parcel of land or garden ground and wherein the said James Wither doth now dwell on the westward part to a small piece of enclosed copy hold garden ground late of William Taylor deceased on the eastward part and to land of the said Thomas Rolph on the northward thereof and are now in the occupation of the said Isaac Pullin as tenant thereof to the said James Wither “.
This document seems to indicate that the builder of both properties was James Wither who was living in this house, which late became 19 St John Street.