View From Thornbury And District Museum

February 26 2018
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REDEVELOPMENT of the former council offices in Castle Street involves the latest transformation of the site where Stokefield House was built in the 19th century.

Stokefield House

 

REDEVELOPMENT of the former council offices in Castle Street involves the latest transformation of the site where Stokefield House was built in the 19th century.

The original house was built for Adrian Stokes on a paddock bought from Joseph Parslow in 1821 and included property acquired from Benjamin and James Smith in the same year.

It then continued as a private residence for a succession of influential families until it was taken over by the former Thornbury Rural District Council (RDC) in 1958, after which it was extended for office use.

The old Northavon District Council, created in 1974, later built new civic offices on the site after demolishing Stokefield House, with the premises going on to become the headquarters of South Gloucestershire Council when it came into existence in 1996.

With South Gloucestershire vacating the offices more recently, a retirement village of 59 flats and five cottages is now being built on the land.

Although the first owner of Stokefield House, it is thought Mr Stokes did not use it as a main property as he had homes at Stanshawes Court in Yate and in Nailsworth.

His heirs sold the house to Sir John Key in 1853 in what appears to have been a short term investment as it was put up for sale the following year.

Subsequent occupiers included Major John Gwennap Hume and his sister, Eleanor Rodney.

Mrs Rodney lived at Stokefield for 18 years until her death in 1873, when the property passed to Henry Craven St John, the husband of her daughter Catherine.

Henry had a distinguished career in the Royal Navy and he and Catherine lived at Stokefield until their deaths in 1909 and 1914 respectively.

It was then that the house acquired a temporary new name when it was bought by the widowed Madeline, Lady Jenkinson, who called it Clouds.

On her death in 1927, it was sold to William Hammond and Anita Walker but just a few years later was bought by Captain William Dutson, of Stoke Bishop, Bristol, the son of Bishopston tea traveller William Dutson and his wife Edith.

Captain Dutson had married Dorothy Huddleston in 1921 and during his time at Stokefied House was understood to be a farmer.

Thornbury RDC bought the property and some land from Captain Dutson but sold off 2.15 acres in 1959 to structural engineers Robert Watson and Co for £2,400 for the building of Stokefield Close.

Pictures: Stokefield House when used by the former Thornbury Rural District Council.

The civic offices built by the former Northavon District Council.

Information and pictures supplied by Thornbury and District Museum.