The plan on the left shows the area covered by this page as it was in 1840. This page covers the earlier history of this area when it was mostly just land. Click here to read about the owners and occupants in the 1840 Tithe Survey
We are grateful to South Gloucestershire Council for allowing us access to the deeds and documents that relate to this house. From these documents we have learned the details of some of the early owners of this property.
An Abstract dated 1833 in the documents held by South Gloucestershire Council begins with an indenture of 31st May 1727. This document provides a very detailed an interesting history of that part of the town, from a time when there was a large close of undeveloped ground on the south side of Chapel Street from its corner with Upper Bath Road along to the Wheatsheaf and right back to where the railway was to be built in the 1870’s. We are not sure about when there was a building on the site of the Wheatsheaf, but the documents indicate there was only one building on this plot which covered two acres. We believe that this building was near the corner of Chapel Street and Upper Bath Road (described as the lane leading to Grovesend) and feel it likely to have been the property which became known as 16 Chapel Street.
John and Elizabeth Mansell – John Mansell was a butcher and he and his wife, Elizabeth, raised a number of mortgages on this property from 1723 to 1727. John was described in these document as the eldest son and heir of Elizabeth Mansell deceased. John was the son of Phillip Mansell snr and his wife, Elizabeth (nee Barton).
John Mansell died intestate and was buried on 9th May 1729. He owned a considerable amount of land including this close of ground which was called The Paddock “by estimation two acres” which was occupied in 1727 by Samuel Tanner. The property appears to have been inherited by John’s brother, Robert.
Robert and Sarah Mansell – Robert was described as being ‘of the City of Bristol a cutler’, the eldest brother and heir of the late John Mansell, a butcher of Thornbury made a will on 27th December 1729 which devised this property to his wife Sarah. At this time the property was described as a messuage or tenement with a garden, orchard and paddock in the Back Lane occupied by Thomas Cox, gardener. His will also mentioned his daughter Elizabeth Mansell to whom he left “four score pounds” to be held in trust and the interest be paid to her until she attained the age of 21 or married. (Elizabeth later married Thomas Syms, a merchant of Bristol). Robert appointed two trustees; Christopher Willoughby a merchant and Maurice Smith gentleman. By indentures of lease and release of 1st and 2nd January 1771 Sarah sold the property to John Rudge for £90.
John Rudge – John had earlier owned the property on the site of Rosemount at the upper end of the High Street on the west side. He sold this property to Walter Spann in 1744. John was Mayor of Thornbury in 1750/51. John is listed in the 1775 land tax records as owning several properties. These include one which is noted as being ‘for Mansels’ indicating the previous owner of the property which we assume to be The Paddock. On 27th February 1777 John Rudge was buried in Thornbury aged 70. He died intestate, but indentures held by South Gloucestershire Council show that at the time of John’s death he owned the following properties:
‘all that messuage or tenement wherein the said John Rudge before his death inhabited and then occupied by widow, Mary (the greatest part whereof was rebuilt by John Rudge during his lifetime) adjoining the High Street otherwise Fore Street having a messuage of Ann Baker widow on the south part and a messuage or tenement in the occupation of Thomas Clark tallow chandler on the north part and the said street on the western part thereof’ (note in 1780 a document adds ‘wherein Elizabeth Wagstaffe doth now dwell’) (we believe this to be 5 High Street)
and also all that messuage or tenement adjoining to the Back Street of the Borough of Thornbury wherein John Hulbert, baker formerly inhabited and Joseph Iles the younger, Anthony Wisse and Thomas Gough do now dwell with garden orchard and backsides thereunto adjoining and belonging (assumed to 47, 49 and 51 St Mary Street)
and also all that one other messuage or tenement wherein Thomas Sharp some time since inhabited and one John Mills labourer doth now dwell and standeth on the eastward part of the garden last mentioned (assumed to 20 Rock Street)
and also all that messuage or tenement wherein Susannah Ward spinster lately inhabited and Thomas Walker butcher doth now dwell together with the garden thereto adjoining and belonging and one close of ground also thereto adjoining and belonging formerly called The Paddock but since planted with fruit trees and now called the Orchard containing by estimation two aces (be it more or less) which said close of ground now is or late was in the tenure or occupation of Edward Wisse pigdriver and the said messuage or tenement garden close of ground and premises last mentioned are situate lying and being in the Borough of Thornbury at the southward part of the said Borough and adjoin to the street or foot road leading towards Grovesend on the north and eastwards parts thereof.
and also all that messuage or tenement commonly called the Pest house wherein George Budding formerly dwelt adjoining to the foot way leading from Thornbury to Tytherington on the southward side thereof with the garden and orchard thereto adjoining and belonging and also one orchard called Gromage containing three quarters of an acre (be it more or less) thereto also adjoining which said last messuage or tenement and premises last mentioned are situated lying and being in the Borough of Thornbury and are now in the tenure or occupation of Robert Caddy and William Attewell or their undertenants under certain articles of purchase made by them with John Rudge in his lifetime and remain uncompleted.
All which said several messuages tenements gardens orchards lands hereditaments and premises above mentioned and hereby or mentioned or intended to be hereby bargained or sold are situated in the Borough of Thornbury were late the inheritance in fee simple of the said John Rudge deceased on whose death intestate the same came and descended to the said John Jones his nephew and heir at law and yeoman of Ruardean.
On 1st July 1780 John’s relict, Mary Rudge, sold her ‘dower rights’ in the property to a group of her relations. These were Thomas and Ann Rogers (Ann was the daughter of John’s sister, Elizabeth or Betty, and Betty’s husband, George Jones) and Thomas Hatton and his wife Mary (Thomas was the son of Elizabeth or Betty and Betty’s second husband, Thomas Hatton). Thus both Ann Rogers and Thomas Hatton were nephews and nieces of Mary Rudge through her husband’s only sister. For renouncing her dower rights, Mary Rudge received £15 15s. On 4th October 1780 another of Mary’s nephews, John Jones (the son of George Jones and his wife Betty, and sister of Ann Jones, and half brother of Thomas Hatton) gave up his right of inheritance in the property.
William Taylor – on 13th and 14th February 1783 the property was sold by the relatives of Mary Rudge (see above) for £100 to William Taylor, late of Alveston, yeoman. It is interesting to see that the land tax and rent roll records list William in one case as ‘William Taylor of Cole’, in another as ‘William Taylor (Coat), but it could be (Coal) and in another as ‘William Taylor Quch’. We can’t understand what these notes mean. We believe it may refer to a place called Cote near Aust. By indentures of lease and release dated 25th and 26th March 1811 William sold the property to Matthew Mills for £294 15s. During the ownership of William Taylor, we know of the following tenants of the property: the abstract of 1833 say that the house was occupied by Thomas Walker a butcher.
Matthew Mills – by indentures of lease and release dated 25th and 26th March 1811 Matthew Mills bought the property from William Taylor for £294 15s. We believe Matthew Mills was the son of a mason James Mills and born 5th September 1762. Matthew married Ann Trayherne on 28th June 1788 in Thornbury. Their son James Mills was born on 13th February 1790 and baptised in Thornbury on 7th March. They had daughter Elizabeth Mills born on 16th March 1792. We know of two other sons; Matthew born on 9th July 1795 and Thomas Mills who was born on 22nd November 1797. The account books of the Feoffees show that Matthew was a tenant living in 50 Castle Street, one of their properties, from 1797 to 1802. The 1800 land tax record indicates that he had taken over as owner of 24 Castle Street which was previously owned by his father, James Mills. He continued to own this property until at least 1809. Matthew became a mason by trade, although he may have been licensee of the Cock Inn at 67 High Street in 1809.
The property was then said to be in the tenure or occupation of Mathew Mills his tenants or assigns and now in the several occupations of Matthew Mills, Sarah Gough and …..James. The first mentioned Matthew Mills was both the owner and occupier. We know that Mathew Mills owned the large piece of ground which was called the paddock, and then planted with trees and known as the orchard. He seems to have divided this into smaller segments and sold some of it off. We know of at least two people who bought pieces of this paddock.
By Indentures of lease and release dated 24 and 25th March 1819 Matthew Mills sold to Charles Gayner “all that piece or parcel of ground lately allotted to from and taken out of a certain close of ground of him the said Matthew Mills formerly called the paddock since planted with fruit trees and now called the orchard containing by a late admeasurement one formerly one perch and a quarter situate in the borough of Thornbury and which said piece of ground adjoins on the north side to a garden belonging to the said Charles Gaynor on the east side to other part of the said close of ground on the south side to other parts of the said piece of ground lately purchased by Luke Trayhurn of the said Matthew Mills.” The garden plot acquired by Charles Gayner became the site of two houses (8 & 10 Chapel Street) which had been built by 1840.
Luke Trayhurn – the tailor had actually bought two parcels of this ground on 2nd June 1814 – one was 16 perches and the other 36 perches. Part of Luke’s property later became 12, 14 and 16 Upper Bath Road
An indenture of 5th December 1812 (when Matthew Mills borrowed £150 from John Birt) explains what happened to the house itself. As one property it had been occupied by Susannah Ward then Thomas Walker a butcher and then Joseph Sheerman (or Sherman) and then Hannah his widow and finally their son Joseph Sheerman (see above). Matthew Mills had bought the property and then converted it into two messuages. Matthew lived in one of these but he let the other to William Walker a butcher who used the house and a newly erected stable and butcher’s shop.
Matthew had owned and used the ground formerly called The Paddock (either by himself or by his tenants) but prior to that it had been rented out separately to other people, including Edward Wisse, Thomas Neale innholder, James Knapp a blacksmith and Joseph Sheerman.
In 1821 by indentures of lease and release William Slain bought part of a section of the Paddock which had been planted with fruit trees and called the orchard. He built what later became 10 Upper Bath Road on this.
By January 28th 1823 the two messuages with the butcher’s shop had become three messuages occupied by Matthew Mills or his tenants. The will of Matthew Mills a mason made in 1824 gave “all those three messuages or tenements with the gardens” to his wife Ann for her lifetime. After her death the trustees Thomas Trayhurn and John Williams were to sell the property and give one quarter to his son Thomas, one to his other son Matthew and one to Elizabeth and Mary Mills the daughters of his late son James. The last quarter of the estate was to go to Elizabeth Nichols (sic) and her son George Nicholls (sic). Anne Mills appears to have died in Thornbury in 1831 and been buried on 17th October 1831 aged 74 years.
On 3rd May 1833 Thomas Trayhern and John Williams acting as trustees for the late Matthew Mills sold to William Ann of Cheltenham a yeoman “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. These later became 12 and 14 Chapel Street. William Ann fenced off the southernmost part of the garden of these properties and sold them to his nephew Robert Ann by lease and release of 6th and 7th May 1833. These later became 6 and 8 Upper Bath Road.
The widow of William Ann married the much younger James Martin on 8th September 1856. We believe that on her death he must have inherited what later became 2 and 4 Upper Bath Road.