This page covers the history of the occupants of the house which became 10 The Plain from 1851, the time that the single house was divided into two separate houses. Click here to read about the earlier history of the two houses
Thomas Harney – the 1859 rate book and 1861 census shows Thomas was occupying the house. The 1861 census shows Thomas was an accountant aged 40 from Bristol and his wife, Elizabeth aged 39 from Thornbury and their daughter, Elizabeth aged 5.
Thomas Harney was born in Clifton in Bristol about 1821. He had moved to Thornbury by the time of the 1841 census when he was lodging with Mary Wilkes, a grocer in the Back Street (a house which later became the Horseshoe pub and later still 25 St Mary Street). He was described as an attorney. In the 1851 census Thomas was described as a general clerk lodging in a house on the west side of the High Street which later became known as 30 High Street.
Thomas married Elizabeth Jones in Bristol in September quarter 1854. They must have settled in Thornbury after their marriage as their daughter Elizabeth was born there in December quarter 1855. A son, Charles Edward was born in June quarter 1859 but he died shortly after his birth. The 1871 census shows the family still living at 10 The Plain. Thomas Harney, an accountant from Bristol aged 50 and his wife, Elizabeth aged 49 born in Thornbury and their daughter, Elizabeth aged 15 and a servant Sarah Ann Martin aged 18 from Thornbury. They seem to be sharing the house with a lodger, his sister and friend. As well as being an accountant as noted in the census records, Thomas was also involved in many other activities in Thornbury. The trade directories show that in 1856 he was the deputy superintendent registrar, and by 1869 he had become the Registrar of Births and Deaths. He later became the Superintendent Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths, Secretary to the Savings Bank, and Clerk to the Guardians of Thornbury Union and the Rural Sanitary Authority.
By 1876 Thomas had moved away from The Plain. The 1877 trade directory shows he was living at ‘Wellfield‘ on the Kington Road. He was there at the time of the 1881 census by which time their daughter Elizabeth had become a daily governess aged 25. The 1885 rate book shows Thomas had moved to 36 High Street and the 1891 census shows just Thomas and Elizabeth living in this house. Elizabeth died on 6th January 1892 aged 70.
On 23rd October 1893 the Bristol Mercury reported that Thomas Harney was retiring from his post as clerk to the Board of Guardians of the Workhouse in Thornbury. He was presented with a silver plated reading lamp bearing the inscription ” Presented with a purse of money to Mr Thomas Harney by the officers of the Union in token of their esteem and regard; October 20th 1893.” The 1901 census shows Thomas living at 36 High Street with a housekeeper Ellen Lambert aged 39. Thomas died on 26th March 1907 aged 86.
Thomas Nichols – the 1876 rate book shows that Thomas was occupying the property. We don’t have enough information to be able to identify Thomas. The trade directory of 1877 says that Thomas Payne Nicholls (sic) was a private resident of Porch House The Plain.
Charles Davis – the 1880 rate book shows that Charles Davis was occupying the house. He must have just moved there as the word ‘Void’ was crossed out. We don’t have enough information to be able to identify Charles.
Miss Paynter – we know from the notice of sale advert when the two houses were put up for auction on 28th February 1879 that Miss Paynter was occupying Lot 1 (number 10) at the yearly rent of £24 10s. She hadn’t been living there long as there was no mention of her in the 1876 Rate Book. We know that there were two Misses Paynter who were living at the Georgian House on The Plain in the 1880 rate book and the 1881 census. Click here to read more
Charles A Bevis – the 1881 census shows number 10 occupied by Charles A Bevis, an Inland Revenue ride officer aged 26 from Eye in Suffolk and his father, George T Bevis, a Mathematical Teacher aged 54 from Ramsgate in Kent and his mother, Elizabeth F G Bevis aged 60 from Folkstone in Kent, sister Lizzie aged 25 from Eye and Ann aged 15 from Bath.
Charles Bevis’s occupation is quite interesting. For tax collection purposes the Inland Revue divided the country into Collections which were County sized areas. They were split into Divisions, which were further split into Rides. A Ride was an area that one man on horseback, (thus Ride), could cover to perform his duties of assessing and collecting Duty.
The Bevis family had moved to Thornbury by 1876 when they lived for a short time at 6 St John Street. There was no sign of them in the 1885 rate book so they must have moved away.
Edmund Cullimore – Edmund became well known in the area for the various business enterprises he started in Thornbury, particularly the sawmills and brickworks and he was also involved in the introduction of electricity to the town and the building of the cinema. He only lived in the house for a short time. The 1887 and 1890 rate books show him as living here, presumably whilst his new house was being built at Shen in Gloucester Road. Click here to read about Edmund
Walter Emery – the 1894 rate book shows that the house was occupied by Walter Emery. We don’t have enough information to be able to identify Walter. However he may have been the Walter Emery who was an exciseman who was connected to the Swan coaching house.
The house was vacant in the 1899 rate book.
Richard Quin – the 1901 census shows Richard living here. He was described as aged 65, living on his own means and born in County Meath, Ireland. He was living with his wife, Elizabeth aged 50 born in Winterbourne and their children: Oswald W, a draper’s apprentice aged 19 and Daisy L a dressmaker aged 16, both of whom were born in Thornbury.
Richard had moved to The Plain from being the landlord of The Swan in the High Street. Click here to read more
Wesleyan Manse – following the departure of the Quins, the house appears to be occupied for several years by church ministers, the Reverend F. S. Chesters in 1905, the Reverend Cornelius Wood in 1909 and Reverend A. Fentiman in 1910. The 1911 census shows that Albert Fentiman was living in the house with his family. Albert was a Wesleyan Methodist Minister aged 69 and born in Egham in Surrey. He was living with his wife, Charlotte Ada aged 54 from Madras in India and his children from an earlier marriage: Daisy Ethel, a lady nurse aged 29 born in India, Arthur Hayward aged 19 and Florence Ada aged 17, both private students and both born in Launceston. They had one visitor, Euphemia Catherine Bell an assistant teacher aged 25 and born in Castletown, Isle of Man. Albert had met and married Charlotte Ada McIntosh in Benares, India in 1890 after his first wife, Elizabeth, died there in 1887.
The Reverend Albert Fentiman’s daughter, Florence Ada, was admitted to the Grammar School on 16th September 1909. The records show she had moved to Thornbury from Eley High School. She left the 5th Form of the school on 5th October 1910 having achieved a Cambridge Senior exam qualification. She continued her education through a correspondence course with Clarke’s College. Albert moved to Idle n Yorkshire where he died on 10th October 1915.
The Gayners – Lucy Gayner moved in to live at 10 The Plain following the death of her husband, Francis Gayner, in 1923. The 1926 rate book shows that the house was owned by Mrs Gayner and occupied by her son, Sidney. She was joined by her widowed daughter, Marjorie Annie and her daughter, Vivienne.
We have been told that during the War part of the building was used as a Food Control office and wagons used to stop outside each whilst the drivers went to be told how many workers were need and by which farms and then they went to the Italian Prisoner of War camp in Gloucester Road to pick up and deliver the workers to the farms. In the 1950’s when Lucy’s son, Sidney Gayner retired from his draper’s shop at City House, High Street, he and his wife, Dorothy took over the house. Click here to read more about Francis and Lucy (with links to a separate page about Sidney and his family and another to a page about earlier Gayners).
The 1970 rate book shows the house as vacant. In more modern times, the building has been used by Pickfords and then the Thornbury Osteopathic Practice