The houses in the photograph above were the row of houses known as 2 to 8 Upper Bath Road. Number 2 is the house furthest away from the camera.
We are grateful to South Gloucestershire Council for allowing us access to the deeds and documents that relate to this house and its neighbours. From these documents we have learned the details of some of the early owners and occupier of this property.
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 original paddock and who bought the land
The information given to us by South Gloucestershire has also enabled us to trace the owners of the land from the early 1700’s. Click here to read the early historyThe land on which these houses (later numbers 2 and 4 Upper Bath Road) were built was bought from the trustees of Matthew Mills by William Ann. They do not appear in the 1840 Tithe Survey as houses, although one house may have been built by the 1841 Census. We are not certain when they were built. They were owned by Mrs Ann later to become Mrs Martin. Click here to read about the OWNERS of these houses
John Wilson – the 1851 census shows that John Wilson was occupying the house. John was a nailer aged 50 living with his wife, Eliza aged 47 and their son, Joseph aged 11. A nailer was a person with skills similar to a blacksmith but who specialised in making nails.
John was a widower when he married Eliza Davis in Thornbury on 9th April 1839. Eliza was the daughter of John Davis a shoemaker. In the 1840 Tithe Map John Wilson was living on plot 116 owned by Robert Ann. This house later became one of two houses in Chapel Street (12 and 14). John was living in one of the house in the 1841 census and we believe that this census shows he lived in part of number 14 Chapel Street. At that time John, Eliza and Joseph (then aged one) were living with a John Wilson, a shoemaker aged 78 who was presumably John’s father. There is a record of a John Wilson born in Thornbury on 29th December 1797 which might refer to John. His parents were John and Sarah. Their son Joseph Wilson was baptised 21st of April 1844 in Thornbury.
The 1861 and 1871 censuses show that John continued to live in that house and work as a nailer. In the 1861 census Joseph was still living at home with his parents and had become a blacksmith. John’s wife Eliza died in 1870 aged 66 years. In the 1871 census John was a widower sharing the house with William Bendall (see below). John died in 1873 aged 73.
William Bendall – in the 1871 census William appears to be sharing the house with John Wilson (see above). William was an agricultural labourer aged 36 living with his wife, Mary Ann aged 46 from Cam and children: Henry William aged 6 and Sarah Ann aged 3, both born in Bristol. We suspect that William was baptised in Thornbury on 4th May 1833, the son of Meshach Bendall and his wife, Sarah. They were living in the Borough at the time of the baptism.
William married Mary King at Clifton on 30th August 1863. The marriage record under the name of ‘William Bendle’ gives his father’s name as ‘Meshach Bendle’. In 1881 they lived in a house in Lower Bath Road which later became known as 8 Rock Street. William was a labourer aged 45, Mary Ann aged 50 and William H. was aged 15 and Sarah Ann aged 13. The 1887 rate book suggests that William had recently moved into 6 Rock Street.In 1891 the family were living in one of the two cottages on Gillingstool Hill which were demolished to make way for the school extension. William was a general labourer aged 56 and Mary Ann was a charwoman aged 64 from Cam, Henry William was a newsman aged 25 and his sister, Sarah Ann a charwoman aged 23 both from Bristol. In 1896 Henry William married Sarah Ann Lacey in Barton Regis area of Bristol in 1896. Click here to read more about Henry and Sarah The 1901 census shows William and Mary Ann now living at Gillingstool. Their unmarried daughter Sarah Ann was still living with them a domestic servant aged 32. Sarah Ann was born in Bristol. William died aged 73 whilst living at Gillingstool. He was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 5th June 1903. Mary Ann died aged 79 whilst living in Horseshoe Lane. She was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 14th March 1907.
Mark Curthoys – the 1881 census shows that 2 Upper Bath Road was occupied by Mark Curthoys, a letter carrier aged 34 from Aust, his wife, Alice a semptress aged 28 from Thornbury, and their children: Elizabeth aged 9 and Annie aged 7, both born in Thornbury, Luke aged 6 born in Aust and Ellen aged 3 and Matilda aged 1, both born in Thornbury. The fact that they lived in this house is also confirmed by the 1880 Rate Book.
Mark was born in Aust about 1847, the son of Luke Curthoys, an agricultural labourer and his wife, Ann. The 1861 census shows Mark started work as a butcher’s boy still living with his parents. In 1870 Mark married Alice Reeves. Alice may have been the daughter of Charles and Bethia Reeves.
The 1871 census shows Mark had become a cordwainer (shoemaker) that he and Alice were sharing the house of Bethia Ball, a married seamstress living in Silver Street. Mark and Alice had one daughter, Elizabeth aged 2 months. They seemed to move a lot. In 1879 they appeared to be living at 2 Horseshoe Lane. In 1881 they were living at 2 Upper Bath Road, and by the 1885 rate book they had moved to Chapel Street and then in the 1890 rate book the family were living in 35 St Mary Street. The 1891 census shows that Luke, Ellen and Matilda were still at home and other children had been born: William aged 8, Ella aged 6, Arthur aged 4 and Mabel aged 2 months.
The 1894, 1899 and 1905 rate books show Mark in the house which later became known as 13 Rock Street. The 1901 census shows that they had just Mabel at home, plus some new children: Evelyn aged 8 and Frederick H aged 7. That makes at least 11 children that Mark and Alice had. Mark was still listed as living in 13 Rock Street in the 1905 rate book but by 1910 he had moved to 8 Upper Bath Road.
The records of the Congregational Church show that Alice was the ‘Chapel Keeper’ from 1886 to 1899 for which she was paid £1 per annum. This role seems to have been the same as a caretaker. In 1900 Mark takes over the job and the salary rose to £2 per annum until 1909. In 1910 and 1911 he was paid a pension of £5. We understand that Alice was paid separately for attending heating apparatus on Sundays and sundry other jobs..
We know that things got pretty tough for Mark and Alice in making ends meet. The log book of the Council School has one record which shows that the family had difficulty paying the 2 pence per week fee for each child which was the charge in those days. ‘Curthoys brought in 2/10 instead of 7/6 (2d x 13 weeks x 3 children = 7/4d)”.
Alice died aged 58 and she was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 29th December 1910. The 1911 census shows Mark living in 8 Upper Bath Road. He was described as a widowed boot repairer aged 64 living with his daughter, Mabel, a housekeeper aged 20. Mark died aged 66 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 2nd April 1913.
Rowland Morgan – the 1885 rate book shows that the house was occupied by Rowland Morgan. He was born in Swansea about 1851, the son of Thomas Morgan a mason. He came to Thornbury and married Hester Emma Wilson on 9th June 1873. Emma was baptised on 7th May 1854, the daughter of William Wilson, a labourer and his wife, Elizabeth from Thornbury.Rowland and Emma had three children: Henry William baptised on 14th June 1874, Mary Elizabeth baptised on 11th June 1876, both born in Thornbury and George who was baptised in Thornbury on 9th June 1878 but born in Shirehampton. The 1881 census shows them living in Avonmouth Road, Shirehampton. Rowland was a dock labourer. The 1887 Rate Book shows Rowland had recently vacated the house.
Thomas Millard – the 1887 and 1890 rate books and the 1891 census show the house was occupied by Thomas Millard a general labourer aged 59 from Tockington, his wife Elizabeth aged 59 from Wotton Under Edge and their children: Henry aged 21 and Frank aged 14 both general labourers from Olveston and Sarah Ann aged 7 from Tockington. Elizabeth’s sister, Louisa Jane Tilley aged 34 from Rudgeway was also living with them.
Thomas married Elizabeth Tilley in 1863. In 1871 they were living in Old Down, next door to Elizabeth’s widowed father. In this census they had other children living with them: George aged 7, Eliza aged 5, Thomas aged 4, William aged 3 and Henry aged 1, all born in Olveston. In 1881 census they were still living in Old Down and they now had 4 extra children: Elizabeth aged 9, Minnie aged 7, Emma aged 4 and Francis aged 3. The 1885 and 1887 Rate Books shows Thomas living in 11 Rock Street, but the 1887 book shows he had recently left that house and moved to 2 Upper Bath Road.
We don’t know what happened to the Millards after 1891, except for their daughter, Emily, who on 15th May 1893 married William Bendall. Click here to read about William and Emily
William Cook – William was listed as living in the house in the 1901 census where he was shown as a caretaker of infirmary aged 35 living with his wife, Rose J aged 31 from Berkeley and daughter, Minnie L aged 5. The 1911 Census shows that William was still living there with Rosa aged 42 and their son, Albert aged 7 and a sister-in-law, Minnie Woodward, a domestic aged 32 from Rockhampton. A sale notice dated 1916 shows that the house was occupied by William Cook at a rent of 2s 4d per week. It also mentions that this house has a large outhouse.
We have not yet been able to confirm William’s parentage. There was a William James Cook was born at the Thornbury Union and baptised on 23rd December 1863, the son of Hannah Cook. The 1881 census shows William was aged 17 living in the Thornbury Union Workhouse with his mother, Hannah aged 54 and his brother, Solomon aged 22. Both Hannah and Solomon were labelled ‘imbecile’. This might be the William Cook who married Rose and lived in Upper Bath Road. However the rate books show William as William Cook Junior which implies there was a father called William Cook which we have not found in this case.
In 1891 William may have been the labourer lodging with George James in Silver Street. Also lodging there was George Woodward. We are not sure if George was related to William’s future wife. The 1899 rate book shows William in 2 Upper Bath Road. William was a labourer aged 29 on 9th December 1893 when he married Rosa Jane Woodward a servant aged 25 and the daughter of Thomas Woodward, labourer. The marriage took place at Hill which is where Rosa lived. They had a daughter, Minnie Louisa Cook who was born on 25th December 1896 and baptised at Thornbury on 4th April 1897.William was a sawyer at this time. Another child, Albert Edward, was baptised on 29th September 1904. The electoral registers of 1910 and 1913 show that William continued to live in the house (as he is listed under Raglan Castle Road). By 1918 he and Rosa were listed under Gillingstool. Rosa died aged 52 and she was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 17th May 1921. The Gazette of 27th September 1927 reported the funeral of William James Cook of Gillingstool. Those attending the funeral included his son Mr A Cook and his brothers and sisters in-law Mr and Mrs Strong , Mr and Mrs Bennett, W Woodward and “J Woodman,” which may be a misprint for J Woodward.
William George Cornock – we know from older locals that the Cornocks lived in this house. The electoral registers of 1918 and 1921 show William George and Louisa Cornock living in Upper Bath Road and the 1925 Valuation List and 1926 Rate Book show clearly that he was living in the house which later became known as 2 Upper Bath Road.
William George was born about 1867, the son of George Cornock, an agricultural labourer from Alveston and his wife, Jane from Olveston. In 1881 census, the family were living in Chapel Street. Apart from this we know little about William’s earlier life. At the age of 11 in 1879 he was caught with Albert Screen aged 10 stealing some sticks from a field in Thornbury belonging to to John Crowther Gwynn. The sticks were valued at two pence. The boys were found guilty and sent to Clifton Wood Industrial School in Bristol until they reached the age of 16. We don’t know what happened but the 1881 census shows both boys were back living with their parents.
We know he married on 2nd October 1909 at the age of 42 when he was a labourer living in Horseshoe Lane. His wife was Louise Esther Ellis aged 38 of Horseshoe Lane. She was the daughter of Joseph Ellis, a deceased labourer. The voters list of 1913 shows that Williams George moved from his house in Horseshoe Lane to one in St Mary Street in that year.
We know that Louisa died in 1923 aged 51. On 30th October 1923 William George married again. This time his wife was Lily Elizabeth Till, aged 50, a widow of Chapel Street . Lily was the daughter of Henry Wilks, a carter and she had married Alfred Till and they had lived at 7 Bath Road in the 1911 census. The marriage record shows that William George was working as a chimney sweep at this time living in Upper Bath Road. The electoral registers of 1927 & 1931 show William George and Elizabeth Cornock living there. William George died aged 71 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 6th April 1939.
The register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the war shows Lily living in 2 Upper Bath Road. She was born on 31st May 1874. Also living in the house in 1939 were her son, Alfred William Till, a baker’s general labourer born on 27th October 1911 and James Wilkes Calder, a butcher’s salesman, born on 27th April 1923.
Lily died aged 66 and was buried on 27th February 1941. Her address at the time of her death was Raglan Castle.