The families shown below lived in the house later known as 2 St John Street or the Court House in Thornbury.
George Hughes. The earliest evidence that we have found so far that someone is living in the building is the 1894 Rate Book which lists George Hughes occupying a house and garden in St John Street owned by the Trustees of the late Abraham Cole. The 1899 Kelly’s Trade Directory gives George’s address as ‘Court House, St John Street’. Read more about George Hughes
George Hill. We are not sure that George Hill lived here, but he was certainly living in this part of the street. George was a licensed hawker aged 41 from Bristol living with his wife, Rachel aged 30 from Wales who was helping in the business and George’s father, William Hill who was a general dealer aged 69 from Bristol.
The Trayhurns. The next family we know to have had links with the building was the Trayhurns. Read more about the Trayhurns
We understand as the family butchering business expanded, the Trayhurns acquired the Court House and the land adjoining on which they built their slaughterhouse and associated buildings. They also acquired several fields in the region where St Mary’s Church Hall now stands which they used for rearing pigs, sheep and cattle. The sale notice of the property of the late Abraham Cole which took place in 1910 shows that Elizabeth Trayhurn was occupying the house as a tenant. On 28th September 1910 Elizabeth Trayhurn and two of her sons, Henry Trayhurn and Albert Edward Trayhurn, bought The Court House and the Malthouse now used as warehouses.
From time to time, they used the Court House to house members of the family or the business’s employees. In 1919 an ejectment order was granted against Arthur Niblett who had previously worked for Trayhurns. In 1921 two families are listed in the electoral register, family members, Albert Edward Trayhurn and his wife Ellen Elizabeth (nee Horrell), and Thomas George and his wife, Ellen who must have been employees.
Albert Edward Trayhurn was the son of George and Elizabeth and he became a butcher, at first helping his mother and then in partnership with Harry. Harry and Albert formed the business which became known as Trayhurn Brothers which operated from the shop on the junction of The Plain, St John Street and St Mary Street for many years. Albert was listed as living in the Court House in 1914, 1915 and 1916 Prewett’s Directories and continued living there for many years. After his first wife, Ellen, died in 1926 aged 42 years, Albert married Gertrude May. They had a daughter, Esme Jean, born in 1929 and the family were still in the Court House in 1930.
The 1935 Electoral Register shows Albert had moved away from the Court House and that his brother, Harry Trayhurn and his second wife, Millicent Mary were now living there. The Trayhurns Brothers finally sold the property to Northavon District Council on 14th January 1977. The Council paid £43000 for the butcher’s shop and adjoining house and the Court House and Malthouse. The Courthouse and Malthouse were demolished and the land used by the Council as part of the Quaker Court residential home for the elderly.
The King family. In 1936 Walter King moved with his family from Fishponds in Bristol. In this year he enrolled his four children in the Council School and gave the Court House as his address. He later moved to Laburnum House, 6 Gloucester Road. Read more about the King family
The Haskin family. In 1937 the family of Henry Haskin was living in Court House. Harry enrolled his three children in the Council School at this time.
The Nott family. The next occupants shown in the 1939 electoral register are Alan Arthur Nott and his wife, Eleanor Mary. In 1935 they had been living in Empire House, Silver Street.
Alan was born in Randwick near Stroud on 18th November 1907. He was the son of Daniel Jesse Nott and his wife, Keturah. In the 1911 census the family were living in Woodbine Cottage, Randwick. Daniel was a rag weaver in a carpet manufacturer and Keturah was a tailoress.
On 21st April 1930 Allan married Eleanor Mary Thomas at Tewkesbury. At the time of the marriage Allan was a grocer’s assistant living at 1 Machin Cottage, Burford. His father, Daniel, was described as a builder. Eleanor was living at Orchard Cottage, Barton Street, Tewkesbury. She was described as a book keeper aged 27, the daughter of William Harry Thomas, a gardener. Eleanor was born in Twyning near Tewkesbury on 26th July 1902. In 1911 census the family were living at Severn View, St Marys Road, Tewkesbury.
Alan worked as a foreman with the Trayhurns. They had one son, Peter who attended the Grammar School. Peter was a keen air cadet and after leaving school in the early 1950s, he joined the RAF as a pilot officer. He was flying in a vampire jet above Culmhead near Taunton when a wing broke off and the aircraft went into a spin and Peter died on impact. A subsequent inquiry found that there was a fault in the design of the aircraft. Peter died on May 12th 1952 when he was aged 19 years. We have been told that Alan and Eleanor spilt up following this tragedy and Alan moved away. Eleanor continued to live in the Court House. She died in 1964 aged 61 years and is buried in the same grave as Peter in Thornbury Cemetery. She died in Berkeley Hospital although her address at that time was 44 Streamleaze, Thornbury. Allan died in 1969.
The Organ family. We understand that Robert Victor Organ and his wife, Amy (nee Green), lived in the Court House immediately after their wedding in 1941. The photo on the left shows Robert and Amy at their wedding.
The Gazette of 1943 has an announcement in the ‘Births’ column which reads “On Tuesday January 19th, to Amy wife of Robert Organ of St John Street – the gift of twin daughters.” The births of these girls were registered in Bristol as Carol and Noreen Organ. They moved on to settle in Wotton Under Edge.
The Austin family. In the 1961 Electoral Register Stanley G and Winifred M Austin were sharing the house with Eleanor Nott. By 1965 they seemed to have the house to themselves. We assume Stanley was employed by the Trayhurns, but know nothing about the family.
The Dagger family. In 1970 the house was occupied by Phillip Dagger and his wife, Hilda Mary and his son, Alan John. Philip told Tom Crowe from Thornbury Museum that at that time he had been ‘custodian’ of the slaughterhouse when it was purchased from the Trayhurns by Northavon District Council in 1977. He also told Tom that whilst working as a young man at Parnell’s factory in Yate one evening a week he left work one hour early to cycle to Milk Street in the centre of Bristol to go to night School at the Merchant Venturers’ Technical College until 9pm and then cycled home.
Philip was born in 1924, the son of Richard Henry and Edith Ellen Dagger who lived at number 19 St John Street from 1927 through to the 70’s. On 21 September 1940 Philip was driving a motor cycle in St John Street during the blackout and tragically he knocked down and killed Robert Wilcox, who was walking from his home at 4 Crispin Lane. In the 1950’s Philip and his family were living at 50 Gloucester Road.