In the period between 1840 to about 1870 there were THREE houses on the site where numbers 3 and 4 The Plain now stand.  In the 1840 Tithe Survey the three houses on Plot 203 owned by Thomas Crossman and occupied by Henry Withers, Thomas Lavis and William Eddington.  The three houses didn’t have numbers so for the convenience of the website we will call them Houses A, B and C.

House A (nearest to St Mary Street)

William Eddington – the 1841 census shows William Eddington was a plasterer aged 35, living with his wife Sarah aged 30 and children: Elizabeth aged 15, Thomas aged 8, Elwin aged 7, Edward aged 5, Sarah aged 3 and Mary Ann aged 2.  There is no sign of any of this family in Thornbury in the period just prior to 1840 although there were Eddingtons in Thornbury in the mid 1750’s.

According to the census records, William was born in Berkeley about 1800.  According to his marriage details he noted that his father was Thomas Eddington, a butcher.  We can’t find any record of his birth in Berkeley – interestingly the only possible baptism we have found shows the baptism of a Thomas Eddington in Berkeley on 28th July 1799 – he was the son of Elizabeth Eddington.

William Eddington, the plasterer is listed as being an occupant of a property at 1 Silver Street in a legal document relating to that property.  William’s first wife, Sarah died shortly after the 1841 census.  It seems likely that she died in the December quarter of 1842 as there was the death of Sarah Edington (sic) recorded in the FreeBMD website for this quarter.

On 30th November 1843 William married for a second time.  His new wife was Jane Tanner, the daughter of James Tanner a tailor from Wickwar.  James Tanner and his family lived in the High Street in Thornbury at what is now 75 High Street.

The 1851 census shows that William was now a painter aged 49 from Berkeley living with his wife, Jane aged 37 from Wickwar and their children: Thomas an assistant aged 18, Elwin an assistant aged 17, Mary aged 6, William aged 3, Jane aged 1 and Emily aged 9 months and a house servant.

The 1861 census shows William was a tiler and plasterer aged 61 living with Jane aged 46 and their children: Mary aged 16, William aged 13, Jane aged 11, Emily aged 10, George aged 9, Sarah aged 7, James aged 5 and Robert aged 4.  That makes 13 children (at least) fathered by William and seven of these were baptised on the same day – 17th January 1860.

There are various family trees on the Ancestry website which mention that William died in Ontario, Canada and we know from the 1871 Canadian census that William’s wife and children did move to Canada.  However we have some doubts about his going to Canada.  We’ve found no evidence of William ever being there.  The 1859 rate book shows William as the occupant of the house on The Plain in which he was listed in the 1861 census.  The 1862 rate book shows ‘Mrs Eddington’ as the occupant of that house.  We also have copies of indentures relating to the erection of a weighing machine on the adjoining garden in 1862.  This refers to the occupant of the house being Mrs Eddington, widow so we assume that William must have died in Thornbury before the family moved to Canada.  We are puzzled that we can find no trace of his death in this country.  We’d love to hear from anyone who can clarify this situation.

The 1871 census shows that several of the family members had moved to Canada.  Jane and some of her children were living at Normanby Township in Grey County, Ontario.  The census lists, Jane as a widow aged 45.  This is the wrong age but it must be right person as she is living with Emily aged 20, William a painter aged 22, George aged 16, James aged 15 and Robert aged 13.  Jane died on 8th October 1881 in Normanby Township, Grey County, Ontario.  She was aged 67 from Gloucestershire.  It was noted she died suddenly from heart disease.

Of William’s children:

  • Thomas – became a painter and decorator and settled in 28 Castle Street.  Click here to read about Thomas
  • Elwin – moved to the Birmingham area where he married Matilda Edwards in 1854.  The 1881 census shows them living in 167 Park Lane, Aston.  Elwin had become a house decorator and they had four children.
  • Emily – married Thomas Anstey and lived at 24 High Street.

William Bevan – in 1862 there were plans to erect a weighing machine (for the purposes of the cattle market which was then taking place on The Plain) in the wall of the garden which stood on the junction of The Plain and St Mary Street.  The indentures show that William was renting the garden from the Corporation at that time and he was owner and occupier of the adjoining messuage on the western side of the garden.  The 1867 and 1869 Rate Books show that William was occupying both houses (what we have called House A and House B).

William was baptised on 24th October 1830, the son of Harriet Bevan.  In the 1841 and 1851 censuses, William was living with James and Ann Bevan at the bottom of the High Street.  The 1851 census shows William to be James’s nephew (although from the information available on the Scribes Alcove website we believe William to be their grandson) and to be aged 20 and working as a journeyman shoemaker.  It appears that William is also the great nephew of the William Bevan who was living in what we have called ‘House B’ in the 1851 census (see below).  William (the nephew) had a very varied career!

By 1861 he was married to Ann aged 44 from Burnham and they were living in Silver Street.  We can’t be sure about their marriage, but we suspect that it was in 1853 when William Bevan married Ann Eastment in the Clifton area of Bristol.

In the 1861 census William was working as an ale and porter keeper, the first licensee of the beerhouse which initially became known as the Ale and Porter Stores, which shortened to The Porters Stores and later changed to the Barrel.  The 1867 rate book and 1871 census shows William Bevan was living on The Plain.  William was now a butcher and grocer aged 41 living with his wife, Ann aged 52 and niece, Florence Prewett an assistant aged 16.  It appears from the 1876 rate book that William was the owner of the two houses which were there on The Plain.  He was occupying the house nearest St Mary Street, whilst his cousin, James Bevan, was occupying the other.

In 1879 William got in trouble with the Police.  He was caught having a drink in the Boars Head (now called The Royal George) during closing time.  He was fined five shillings with eight shillings costs.

By 1881 William was living at Duckhole, lodging with Anna Knapp and working as a butcher.  We don’t know what happened to Ann and have no certain knowledge of William after 1881.  There is a possible William Bevan living in the Workhouse in Bristol.  He was a farm labourer aged 73 and born in Thornbury, but his marital status was shown as ‘single’.

House B (the middle of the three houses)

The Wither(s) Brothers – the 1840 Tithe Survey lists Henry Withers as being the occupant of the house, but the 1841 census Henry had moved to live in Castle Street with his wife, Sarah and their four children.  The 1841 census shows that the house on The Plain was now occupied by three of Henry’s brothers: William Wither, an agricultural labourer aged 25 and Edwin Wither, an agricultural labourer aged 20 and Ambrose Wither a blacksmith aged 16.  All these four lads were the sons of William Wither, a pig jobber/pig driver/drover/pig dealer and his wife, Anne (nee Millins).  Henry was their first child, baptised on 25th February 1807, William was baptised on 24th December 1809, Elizabeth baptised on 27th September 1812, Edwin baptised on 24th December 1815 and Ambrose on 1st January 1823 when his parents were noted to be living at Sibland.

By 1851 all three had moved elsewhere.  Edwin and Ambrose were living with their widowed mother in Gillingstool.  She was a nurse aged 78.  William Withers had married Susan McCae on 11th November 1843 and they settled in 12 St Mary Street.  Susan was a widow; she was born on 4th December 1805, the daughter of Joseph Gough, labourer and his wife, Hester.  On 2nd February 1857 Ambrose Withers married Hannah Bell, the daughter of Joseph Bell and they settled in 39 St Mary Street.

William Bevan – the 1851 census shows that William Bevan, a journeyman tailor aged 67 was occupying the house.  He appears to have there there after living for a short time at 9 St John Street.  We suspect that William was born on 7th January 1784, the second child of James and Joan Bevan and would have been born in the Swan Inn in the High Street.   In the 1841 census William had been living in Castle Street (then called High Street).  He was living with his wife, Ann who was aged 73.  Ann died aged 77 and was buried on 8th July 1845.  William died aged 72 and was buried on 28th January 1857.  We are a little puzzled by the 1859 rate book which lists William Bevan as the occupant.  This might be explained by the fact that the rate book is showing out of date information or the entry might refer to a different William Bevan (see above).  

James Screen – in 1861 James Screen was a chandler aged 34 living with his wife, Mary aged 32 and their daughter, Amy (baptised 4th July 1860).  James Screen was baptised on 24th September 1826 in Thornbury, the son of Thomas Screen, a labourer, and his wife, Jane Georgina.  In the 1851 census James had become a journeyman tallow chandler and moved to live with Mary Olive (whose husband had been a tallow chandler).

On 13th August 1859 James married Mary Olive, the daughter of Robert and Mary Olive.  When James had been lodging with the Olives in 1851, Mary had been away working as a housemaid for the Lloyd family in Castle Street.  James and Mary had another child in Thornbury, Edward Olive Screen baptised on 1st February 1863.  The family then seemed to move to Frampton on Severn.

The 1881 census shows them living in Long Street, Dursley, but they had four children at the time living with them, all of whom had been born during their stay in Frampton.  James was still a chandler.  Edward was a carpenter aged 18, Olwin, a school teacher aged 14 (presumably what we would call a classroom assistant today), and Mary and Robert aged 13 and 10 respectively.  The 1891 census shows James still in Long Street.  He was now working as a postman and gardener.  His son Robert was a Training College student.  James died in 1902 aged 75. Mary died in 1910 aged 81. 

William Bevan – the 1867 and 1869 rate books show that William was occupying both houses (what we have called House A and House B).

HOUSE C (adjoining 2 The Plain)

Richard Greenwood – the 1841 census shows he was a sawyer aged 25 living with his wife, Sophia aged 35 and son, Edwin aged 3.  We know from later censuses that Richard was born in Thornbury about 1811, but we haven’t found his birth or identified his parents.  We have also failed to find his marriage to Julia who was born about 1803 in Frocester, Gloucestershire.  Her maiden name might have been Beale because their first daughter was baptised Elizabeth Beale Greenwood on 15th March 1836.  Elizabeth died when only 3 years 4 months old and she was buried on 26th June 1839.  There was an inquest into her death, but we don’t know the circumstances.  Richard and Sophia had a son, Edwin, baptised on 20th October 1840.  Later censuses recorded that Edwin was born at Alveston.  This is interesting because the 1840 Tithe Survey listed Richard as occupying a house in Thornbury which later became known as 10 Upper Bath Road.

Richard and Sophia continued living in the house on The Plain for the next 25 years or so.  In the 1851 census Richard was a sawyer aged 40 employing one man.  Edwin was aged 13 a scholar at home.  The 1861 census shows Edwin was still living with his parents.  He was a carpenter aged 23.  The 1867 rate book shows that Richard had just left the house on The Plain (as his name is crossed through and replaced by George Rice).  The 1871 census shows that Richard and Sophia had now moved to 13 St Mary Street where they were sharing a large house with several other families.  Edwin had married a lady called Adelaide and they had moved to Bristol where they had five children by the time of the 1881 census.  Sophia died shortly after the 1871 census aged 70 and was buried on 25th June 1871.

In 1881 Richard was listed as a sawyer aged 73 boarding with Esther Thorne in Crossways Lane.  He died aged 79 in the Thornbury Union workhouse and was buried on 31st October 1889 “by his friends.”

Elizabeth Woodland and Henry and Ophelia Luce – the 1867 and 1869 ratebBook show the house was occupied by Elizabeth Woodland.  By 1871 census the house was occupied by Elizabeth’s daughter, Ophelia and her husband, a butcher, Henry Luce.  Henry was baptised on 18th February 1846, the son of John Luce, a butcher and his wife, Ellen.  In 1872, Ophelia died aged only 21 and in 1881 Henry married her sister, Olivia.  Click here to read more about the Woodlands and Luces

We think that at some time between 1871 and 1880 the three houses were replaced by the two large houses which are visible today.  This is because we have a copy of old photograph which from the names of the tradesmen above two shops in the High Street (Williams and Tidman).  We don’t know who was responsible for undertaking the work.  We note that there seems to be only two occupants in the 1871 census and afterwards in the Rate Books and census records.  We have decided to show the names of the occupants from 1876 on a separate page for the present numbers 3 and 4.

Click here to read about 3 The Plain
Click here to read about 4 The Plain