The houses on the left in the above photograph were the row of houses known as 2 to 8 Upper Bath Road. Frustratingly,we think number 8 is just off the left edge of the photo.
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 history
By lease and release 6th and 7th May 1833 William Ann of Cheltenham sold to Robert Ann an area of land on which this house and its neighbour (now 6 and 8 Upper Bath Road) were built.
The Slys – the 1840 Tithe Survey shows the house was occupied by Isaac Sly. We don’t know anything about Isaac. The 1841 Census shows that Richard Sly was the occupant of the house. He was described as a brewer aged 45, living with Sarah aged 40 and their children: Elizabeth aged 10 and Anna aged 4. Click here to read more about the Slys
Abraham Gale – the 1851 Census shows the house occupied by Abraham Gale, a farm labourer aged 35, his wife, Ann aged 50 from Frampton Cotterell and their children: Sarah aged 16 and Lucy aged 12, and a servant Julia Lyons aged 23 from Alveston. Abraham was baptised in Thornbury on 3rd September 1797, the son of Richard and Sarah Gale. Click here to read about Richard
Abraham married Ann Stephens in Thornbury on 13th May 1823. It seems that Ann died and was buried on 17th June 1832 aged 35 when her address was ‘Vilner’. Abraham married again on 27th January 1834. His second wife was Ann Williams. Abraham had three children: Eliza and Sarah Ann were baptised on 24th August 1834 and Lucy was baptised on 15th July 1838.
In 1841 the family were living in Thornbury. Abraham was an agricultural labourer aged 37, Ann was aged 30 with children: Eliza aged 9, Sarah aged 7, and Lucy aged 3. In 1861 they are sharing the house with their daughter, Lucy and her husband, Oliver Screen (see below).
Abraham died aged 73 and was buried on 29th December 1867. In 1869 Ann was mentioned in the will of Thomas Morgan as a tenant of one of the three cottages in the court at the back of the pub which became the Exchange. In the 1871 census Ann was living in one of Sir John Stafford’s Almshouses in St Mary Street where she was described as a pauper. Her grand-daughter, Sarah Ann Screen, was living with her aged 11. In the 1881 census, Ann was still living at the almhouses now accompanied by another grand-daughter, Eliza Screen aged 8. Ann died in the almshouses aged 89, although the newspaper report of her death says that Ann was born in Frampton Cotterell on 25th February 1788 and was over 100 when was buried on 7th August 1888. The report in the Bristol Mercury of August 21st 1888 says that up until her death she had been in good health and still able to thread a needle without spectacles. The article also said that for fifty years she and her husband worked at the villa for Richard Scarlett the solicitor.
Her daughter, Sarah Ann, had pre-deceased her – she died at the Thornbury Union aged 22 and was buried on 5th March 1865. Sarah Ann had been in the news in 1864 when the Bristol Mercury printed a report. Sarah Ann, a single woman, had summoned Alfred Pepworth of Henbury. a labourer and a married man to court. She asked why Alfred should not contribute towards the support of her illegitimate child. The court ordered that he should pay 1s 6d per week as well as the costs of the case.
Oliver and Lucy Screen – the 1861 census shows that Oliver and Lucy were living in the house together with their children: Ann and John. Also sharing the house were Lucy’s parents, Abraham and Ann Gale (see above). Click here to read more
John Packer & Eliza Stinchcombe – the 1871, 1881 and 1891 censuses all show that John and Eliza Stinchcombe were living in the house. We have quite a bit of information about their family and photos – click here to read more
Frederick and Julia Cann – they were listed as living in the house on the 1901 Census which shows Fred Cann a general labourer aged 28 and his wife, Julia aged 28 from Winterbourne Down. The Electoral Registers up to 1910 show they continued to live there for several years. The 1911 census shows that they had moved to 10 Chapel Street. Click here to read more about the Canns
Mark Curthoys – the 1910 rate book and 1911 census show the house occupied by Mark Curthoys. Click here to read more about Mark and his family
Robert and Jemima Sainsbury – they are mentioned in a sale notice for the property as living in the house in 1916. Robert was listed in the 1914, 1915 and 1916 Prewett’s Street Directories as living in Raglan Castle Road which we assume to be the same house. He and Jemima are also listed as living there in the 1918 electoral register. We don’t know how long they actually lived there but it appears they had moved by 1925.
Robert was baptised on 1st March 1857, the son of William Sainsbury a labourer and his wife, Maria. In 1881 the family were living in Gillingstool Road where Robert was a labourer aged 23. In 1891 Robert was living at 2 Rock Street with his sister, Mary Ann a housekeeper aged 22 and brother, Charles aged 14. Robert was still working as a general labourer.
In 1896, Robert married Jemima Vizzard, the daughter of John Vizzard, labourer and his wife, Sarah Ann nee Virgo. Jemima was baptised on 5th January 1873. In 1881 census the Vizzard family were living in Lower Bath Road. In the 1891 census Jemima was a domestic servant working for Ann Wathen in Horseshoe Lane. The Voters List shows that Robert was living in what later became 9 Gloucester Road at the time of his marriage in 1896.
In 1901 Robert and Jemima were living in Sibland with Robert’s younger brother, Charles. Robert was working as a mason’s labourer. Charles was a labourer at the Saw Mills. Robert died in Thornbury in 1930 aged 72. Jemima died in Thornbury in 1954 aged 84.
Rosina Maishment – the 1925 valuation list and 1926 rate book show Rosina as living in the house. She may have been living there from at least 1918 as she and her husband, Arthur, were listed as living in Upper Bath Road from that time in the electoral registers. Rosina was the widow of Arthur Maishment who had died in Flanders during the First World War. Arthur was the son of William Maishment who lived at The Laundry in Kington Lane. Click here to read more
Victor and Emily Harris – we understand that Victor and Emily lived in the house and their names appear as living in Upper Bath Road in the electoral registers which we have seen from 1931 to 1938. Victor Albert Harris was born 13th October 1899, the son of William George Harris and his wife Ellen (nee Derrick). Click here to read about the Harris family
Victor enlisted in the Gloucester Regiment on 18th December 1916. He was working as a sawyer in the Saw Mills. He was described as 5ft 5.5 inches, weight 131 lbs and 35 inch chest when fully expanded with 2 inch range of expansion. He was transferred to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in May 1918 and demobbed without injury on 10th October 1919. The records show that he was only hospitalised for 10 days suffering from diarrhoea.
Victor married Emily Longden in Thornbury in the March quarter of 1927. Emily was born in Thornbury on the 9th March 1900, the daughter of Samuel Charles Longden, a stone mason, and his wife, Emily Clara (nee Hendy). Click here to read about the Longden family
Victor and Emily had four children, the first of whom, Doreen, was born on 2nd October 1927. In the Gazette of October 6th 1928 it was reported that Victor Harris of Upper Bath Road a married man was one of those leaving for Canada “under the harvesting scheme”. They were seen off by Mr Fudge of the Labour Exchange and a large crowd that gathered at Thornbury Station. We know that Victor did not spend very long in Canada, probably just for the harvest. The answer to a question in Parliament to the Secretary for the Dominions in December 1928 reveals that he was not alone in returning so soon. “The number of harvesters who went to Canada was 8,449, and the number who have returned is 6,876. Of those who have returned 4,577 received a loan of the whole or part of their return passage money.”
We know that Victor returned very quickly because their twins, Joan and Patricia were born in Thornbury on 21st February 1931. They had another daughter, Vera, born early in 1939. Tragically little Vera died aged only two months and she was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 8th March 1939. Their address at that time was given as ‘Raglan Castle’ which probably means that they were still living at 8 Upper Bath Road.
The 1939 register compiled in preparation for the war confirms that they were living in 8 Upper Bath Road with Doreen, Patricia and Joan. Victor is described as a road labourer.
Joan also died in 1946 aged only 15. She died in Bristol Royal Infirmary and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 23rd March 1946. Doreen married David Russell Browning from Littleton in 1948. When Victor and Emily moved from Upper Bath Road they moved to 15 St Mary Street about 1942 to enable them look after Victor’s father. They continued to live there until the late 1960’s when the house was re-developed as part of the St Mary Centre and it was occupied for many years by the Mind Charity Shop.
Reg and Edna Vowles – during the War, the house became occupied by Reginald and Edna Vowles who had been bombed out of their house near Filton airfield. In the early 50’s they moved across the road to the house which became known as 11 Rock Street. Click here to read more about Reg and Edna
Leslie and Doris King – Les and Doris are shown as living in the house in the 1958 electoral register. Les was the brother of Edna Vowles who had lived in the house earlier. Leslie John King was born in Filton on 4th September 1919, the son of John King and his wife, Annie (nee Harris). He moved to Thornbury during the War when the family house was bombed out. On 8th May 1946, Les married Doris Elizabeth Critchley in Bristol. Doris was born in Bristol in 1920.
In the 1946 and 1954 electoral registers Les and Doris were listed as living in The Laundry, presumably the laundry run by Ethel Higgins in Crispin Lane which is now known as 2 Crispin Lane. They had one daughter, Jacqueline. The family later moved to 6 Stafford Crescent.
When the house was vacated prior to demolition around 1960 Les and Doris moved to 6 Stafford Crescent. Doris died in January 1982 aged 62. Les loved his football and was an enthusiastic gardener. He was very active in the local horticultural society and well known for exhibiting his auriculas at shows throughout the country, as well as to anyone he could lure into his garden and greenhouses. His expertise in relation to auriculas led to him being a sought after judge at various events.