The houses shown on the left of the above photograph were the row of houses known as 2 to 8 Upper Bath Road. We are grateful to South Gloucestershire Council for allowing us access to the deeds and documents that relate to these houses. From these documents we have learned the details of some of the early owners and occupiers of this property. Click on the links on the sidebar on the left to read about each house.
It is clear from the documents in the folder that numbers 2 to 8 Bath Road were built on what had once been a large close of ground called The Paddock. Part at least of the Paddock was planted with fruit trees and became known as The Orchard. Click here to see a plan of the paddock and who bought the land
In 1811 this was acquired from Willliam Taylor by Mathew Mills who sold much of it off in smaller sections. By indentures of 3rd and 4th May 1833 Thomas Trayhern and John Williams acting as trustees for Matthew Mills sold to William Ann of Cheltenham a yeoman the property where Matthew Mills may have actually lived and which he subdivided. It was described in 1833 as “all those three several messuages or tenements formerly one messuage wherein Susannah Ward then inhabited and Thomas Walker butcher, Joseph Sheerman deceased Hannah Sheerman his widow and William Sheerman their son afterwards successively dwelt.
On 6th May 1833 William Ann sold to his nephew Robert Ann for £16 10s a piece of of land that was the southernmost end staked off from a garden belonging to the three messuages or tenements that William Ann had bought. This land was described as ‘on the lane or road leading to Grovesend on the north and eastward part thereof’. The three messuages mentioned were three fronting what became Chapel Street. The land ‘staked off’ fronted what became Upper Bath Road.
William Ann married a widow Mary White, the daughter of Robert Taylor, on 15th October 1848 in Westbury on Trym. In view of his forthcoming marriage William made a settlement with his heirs Robert Ann and John Ann and his future wife Mary White on 29th September 1848.
William Ann died 1st December 1854 intestate. Mary Ann William’s widow then married the much younger James Martin on 8th September 1856.
Robert Ann – by lease and release 6th and 7th May 1833 William Ann of Cheltenham sold to Robert Ann an area of land amounting to five and a half perches, “adjoining to the street or road leading towards Grovesend.” A later indenture of 29th January 1871 whereby the trustees of Robert Ann sold what was then two messuages to James Martin explains the history of this land and the properties built on it. This document describes the plot as being eight perches (perhaps Robert had added to the five and a half he bought from William Ann). It goes on to say that the two houses were then built upon this land and were part of what later became plot 115 on the Tithe Apportionment Map that was drawn up about 1840. Robert Ann also owned plot 116 that became numbers 10, 12 and 14 Chapel Street.
The 1840 Tithe Map confirms they still were owned by Robert Ann. The map appears to show that there were three buildings on plot 115 at that time, but the details accompanying the survey show only two occupants and later documents show that Robert only owned two houses. At the time of the Tithe Survey the occupants of the two houses were William Walker and Isaac Sly. The two houses were later to become known as 6 and 8 Upper Bath Road. Plot 116 was divided into four households. They were occupied by John Wilson, John Beale, Matthew Mills and William Lippiatt.
Robert Ann was born about 1876, the son of John Ann and his wife Ann, nee Greenwood. Robert’s father, John Ann died in October 1814. Robert was a stonemason who lived in Alveston with his wife, Esther Hester nee Williams, whom he married in Bristol on 10th September 1821. We understand that they had a daughter called Lucy. Robert died aged 84 on 5th July 1870.
Robert Ann had made his will on 14th September 1869. He appointed as his executors his brothers in law Edwin Williams of Almondsbury a mason and Henry Poole a tiler of Staple Hill (and then of Lydney). Henry was the husband of Robert’s sister Eliza. Robert, already a widower, died on 5th July 1870.
On 3rd August 1870 there was an auction of his estate. This included ‘two dwelling houses in Upper Bath Road leading to the new railway in the occupation of John Stinchcombe and Mrs Murphy’. These were two houses which later became known as numbers 6 and 8 Upper Bath Road.
James Martin – was probably the son of George Martin and his wife Mary nee Cullimore, although we understand that his name does not in the Alveston parish register, where George’s other children were baptised. He was born about 1824. In the 1851 census James was living with his widowed father George and brother Hugh in Alveston where they farmed 12 acres.
James and Mary Martin lived at Alveston Down in a house called Penrose. James had married Mary Ann, the widow of William Ann and the daughter of Robert Taylor, on the 8th September 1856. William Ann was the previous owner of the land that James now owned. The records show that Mary was born about 1800, well over 20 years older than her husband. We believe that Mary Ann had inherited from her late husband, William, two of the houses in Upper Bath Road and that these later became 2 and 4 Upper Bath Road.
On 8th January 1859 James Martin entered into an agreement with John Ann a labourer of Alveston. By the terms of this agreement John Ann, the nephew and heir of Mrs Martin’s former husband William Ann, sold for £45 his expectations of inheriting property on the death of Mary Martin. The properties involved were later to become 12 and 14 Chapel Street.
On the 29th September 1871 James Martin a timber merchant bought two properties for £82 from the executors of Robert Ann who was responsible for building them. They were then in the respective occupations of John Stinchcombe and Mrs Murphy. The indenture described the houses as adjoining “a street or road called the Upper Bath Road there leading towards Grovesend and to the railway now in the course of construction from Yate to Thornbury.” Click here to read about the railway. These were what later became 6 and 8 Upper Bath Road. Thus James Martin was now the owner of all of the properties that had been built on the land once bought by William Ann from Matthew Mills. Mary Martin died in 1882 aged 82.
James was living on his own at Alveston in the 1891 census, but by the 1901 census he was now married to another Mary who was born in Thornbury about 1850. From the details shown in her Will, it would appear that this was a Mary Brown born in 1850, the daughter of Thomas and Susan Brown of Buckover. There is one possible marriage of James Martin and Mary Brown but that takes place in Salford in Lancashire in 1895 and we have no knowledge of James or Mary ever being in that part of the world. In 1891 Mary Brown was a house maid in Westbury on Trym in Bristol.
James Martin of Penrose Alveston made a will dated 8th August 1904 leaving his property to his wife Mary Martin for her life time with a bequest of an income to his brother Hugh Martin for his life time. Hugh Martin had died on 11th February 1906.
James Martin died on 4th February 1907 aged 85. Mary Martin made a will on 16th July 1915 and died on 5th February 1916. The houses were put up for auction again on 30th May 1916 as part of the estate of Mrs Mary Martin (deceased). The auction of 30th May 1916 of properties belonging to Mrs Mary Martin (deceased) included the following:
Lot 4 – all those two cottages with yards and premises situate in Raglan Castle Road, in the occupation of Miss Sherman and Mr William Cook at the weekly rent of 2s 6d and 2s 4d respectively. Each house contains two bedrooms, front room, kitchen with small garden. There is a pig sty on that occupied by Miss Sherman and a large outhouse on that occupied by Mr Cook. (2 and 4 Upper Bath Road)
Lot 5 – all those two cottages with yards and premises situate in Raglan Castle Road, in the occupation of Messrs Henry William Bendall and Robert Sainsbury at the weekly rent of 2s 4d and 2s 6d respectively. Each house contains two bedrooms, front room, kitchen and small garden. (6 and 8 Upper Bath Road)
And also three cottages on the southern side of Chapel Street occupied by Alfred Till, John Prewett and Mary Day.
Bertha Annie Exell. On 7th August 1916 John Taylor Chambers, an organist, John William Chambers of Alveston and Julia Adelaide Andrews of Hope Farm as executors and trustees for James Martin sold properties to Thomas Exell acting for his daughter Bertha Annie Exell for a total of £285. Click here to read about Thomas Exell and his family
Bertha Exell – bought four cottages and outbuildings on the western side of Upper Bath Road (later numbers 2-8) in the occupation of William Cook, Annie Sherman, Henry William Bendall and Robert Sainsbury. She also bought three cottages on the southern side of Chapel Street in the occupation of John Prewett and Mary Day.
Bertha Annie Exell married Wilfred P Winter on 26th December 1927. On 8th December 1958 Bertha Annie Winter of Overdale Tytherleigh in Axminster sold the properties to Thornbury Rural District Council for £410. This included the four cottages in Upper Bath Road (numbers 2-8) and the three cottages 10a 12 and 14 Chapel Street. The properties then became part of the re-development scheme for Thornbury and were demolished to build Council flats.