12 High Street
The two photographs above show Park House, the one on the left is taken from the rear facing west, the one on the right is taken from the front. We have a copy of an abstract of title for Park House which shows that the house was built by Thomas Osborne Wetmore around 1821 on the site of an earlier building.
Thomas Osborne Wetmore - an indenture of lease and release dated 27th and 28th September 1819 shows that William Rolph acting as executor for the late Hester Bagnell sold the property to Thomas Osborne Wetmore. The other parties of the indenture, namely Hester Romaine, Simon Pritchard, Alexander Pritchard, William Greenslade and Mary his wife were presumably the children of the late Betty Pritchard named in Hester Bagnell's will and their spouses.
Shortly after the indenture Thomas took down and removed the old messuage and erected a capital messuage in its place and converted part of the close of land into a walled garden.
Thomas also set about expanding his property. An indenture of lease and release dated 24th and 25th March 1820 shows that he acquired an adjoining property which appears to have been located between the Lion and the Toll House. The other parties to the sale were William Ford and his wife, Ann and Joseph Ford and his wife, Sarah, but we are not sure who actually owned it. Thomas took down and removed the messuage, barn, carpenters shop and other buildings which were formerly in the occupation of Joseph Ford and erected a stable and coach-house on some parts and laid open the other part containing about one perch and incorporated it into the garden of The Lion which was also owned by Thomas. We believe that this property is the one shown in the 1840 Tithe Survey as being Plot 55, a house and court owned by Thomas Osborne Wetmore and then void. This property enabled Thomas to create a second access to Park House which is referred to as the 'Back Lane' in the deeds.
Another indenture of lease and release dated 7th and 8th April 1820 enabled Thomas to expand his property further. The parties involved were Joseph Laver of the first part, Thomas Osborne Wetmore of the second part and Joseph Parslow of the third part. We are not sure which property is being referred to. It is described as being 'the messuage where Ursula Cotton formerly dwelt and wherein Charles ???? doth now dwell as tenant to Thomas Osborne Wetmore with the garden thereto adjoining situate in the High Street of the Borough of Thornbury adjoining on the northward part of the said hereditaments and premises of Thomas Osborne Wetmore'. The abstract quoting this indenture adds that Thomas 'has since fenced off the garden of the last mentioned messuage and has laid the garden open to the hereditaments first mentioned' We believe that this could refer to The Lion which we know Thomas Osborne came to own and suspect Thomas bought it to enable him to take some of its garden land into the property of Park House.
By the time of the 1840 Tithe Survey and Map (shown below) the property covered Plots 55, 59, 61 and 340. He also owned two other properties, Plot 54 The Lion which was let out to James Prewett and Plot 62.
Park House was advertised for sale on 8th July 1847. The description of the property was similar to that shown below when it was advertised again in 1855, following the death of Thomas's wife, Margaret except it was it was also said to be 'adapted in every respect for the residence of a family of respectability'. In 1855, it was described as: 'A Freehold and Substantial modern built residence called "THE PARK", the residence of T. 0. Wetmore, Esq., and situate at Thornbury, with the Outbuildings, Pleasure Grounds, Garden and Paddock of Land adjoining, containing in the whole – 3a 2r 34p. The House contains on the Ground Floor, an Octagon Entrance Hall, Vestibule, Geometrical Stone Staircase, Drawing, Breakfast and Dining Rooms, and Study, Servants Hall, Butlers' and other Pantries, Kitchen and other usual Domestic Offices; on the first Floor are a Drawing Room, seven best Bedrooms, two Dressing Rooms and Water Closet; there are Servants Rooms above. The Rooms are of good dimensions, and tastefully fitted up in Cedar, &c.; the detached Offices comprise Coach-house, Stabling for 3 Horses, Brew-house and Laundry; the Premises are supplied with spring and soft Water, the Cellarage is extensive. The House is delightfully situated, and commands extensive and varied views of the River Severn, Thornbury Church & Castle and the surrounding Country. The Entrance is by a private Carriage Road from the High Street of the Town of Thornbury; the Pleasure Grounds and Gardens are tastefully laid out, and the whole forms a desirable Family Residence'.
A newspaper report of 21st October 1865 shows that Thomas 'is leaving the neighbourhood' and he tried again to sell off some of his property including his home, Park House. An indenture dated 20th December 1865 Thomas Osborne Wetmore, late of Thornbury but then of Bath, gentleman and widower, conveyed Park House to William Henry Councell grocer of Thornbury for £2200. Click here to read more about Thomas Osborne Wetmore
William Henry Councell - an indenture dated 20th December 1865 shows that William bought the property known Park House from Thomas Osborne Wetmore for £2200. William was a grocer and a member of the Councell family who had several shops in Thornbury. Click here to read more
On 29th September 1879 William sold the property.
Dr Edward Mills Grace - Edward bought Park House from William Henry Council on 29th September 1879 for £2200. On 30th September 1885 Edward purchased a plot of garden land (of about 5 perches) for £50 from William Yarnold the owner of the property now known as 16 High Street which William Yarnold had recently purchased from William Henry Councell. This garden was incorporated into the garden of Park House. Edward also seems to have had a desire to gain control of the walls surrounding his property. He bought the wall between his own garden and that of William Yarnold (number 16 High Street) and another wall between his garden and that of Thomas Morgan (20 High Street).
Edward Mills Grace was a very important person in Thornbury and his name was well-known throughout the region because of his work as a medical practitioner and coroner and his involvement in local affairs. He was even more well-known as a cricketer and his fame in this context spread throughout the country and the other cricket-playing nations. Click here to read more
Edward Mills Grace died on 20th May 1911. In his will dated 20th September 1909 he left his property to his trustees. His wife Sarah was given choice of furniture and household effects that she might want. At the time of his death, Edward still owed £1400 on a mortgage held against the property. The property was put up for sale at auction on 16th August 1911 and it was bought by Henry Privett Thurston for £1400.
Henry Privett Thurston - Henry Privett Thurston was one of the sons of Obed Edward Thurston and his wife, Louisa. He was a solicitor and keen sportsman and played a very active life in Thornbury. He bought Park House in 1911 for £1400 and it became his home. Henry died in 1918. Click here to read more
Edgar Mervyn Grace - we haven't seen the indenture, but we know from the 1925 Valuation List and 1926 Rate Book that Edgar bought the house at some time following the death of Henry Privett Thurston. Edgar was the son of Edward Mills Grace (see above) and Edgar had been brought up with Park House being his family home until they were forced to sell it following his father's death in 1911. Edgar had followed in his father's footsteps and become a medical practitioner in Thornbury and also a successful cricketer. Click here to read more
The 1921 electoral register shows Edgar and his wife, Hilda Henrietta living there with his stepmother, Sarah Elizabeth. The three carried on living there until Sarah Elizabeth died in 1932. Edgar and Hilda carried on living there until the late 1950's when they moved to Hilltop in Alveston. The 1950 electoral registers lists Dr Douglas Henderson and his wife, Cicley, (the daughter of Edgar and Hilda) as living with them at Park House. On 2nd October 1957 Edgar sold Park House to Lyndon Augustus Hawkins of Rudgeway for £4850. Lyndon set about gradually converting many of the outbuildings to residential accommodation. According to an account written by Lyndon's brother after 19 years living in the main house, Lyndon and Kathleen moved to ‘Park Acres’, presumably one of the new properties built there, and then ten years later they moved into their newly rebuilt ‘Coach House’. According to the electoral register, some of the other properties became known as 'Treetops' and 'The Cottage'.
The 1961 electoral register shows that Park House was occupied by Lyndon and Kathleen Hawkins, Treetops by James and Margaret Hunter and The Cottage by Alexander and Norah Johnstone. We understand that Peter Birkett the dentist also had a surgery here at one time and the main building was later used by the Ordnance Survey.
In 2012 Park House became the European HQ of the firm called 'Yankee Candle'. They specialise in the manufacturer of home fragrance products. Their website tells us that the firm was set up in the States when at 'Christmas 1969 a seventeen-year-old Mike Kittredge, too broke to buy his mother a present, melted some crayons to make her a candle. A neighbour saw it and convinced Mike to sell the candle to her. With that small stake, he bought enough wax to make two candles - one for his mom, and another to sell. That was the birth of Yankee Candle'.
This page was last updated: 31/08/2014