Local history
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Local history

Welcome to MyThornbury's local history section. There's plenty to explore:

Thornbury & District Museum

The museum was started in 1986 to house a collection of artefacts bequeathed to The Thornbury Society, and rapidly expanded. It is an independent museum and financed by grants and donations.

Come and visit our exhibition rooms, chat to our volunteers, visit our shop, enjoy your local museum. Click here to visit the Museum's website.

Thornbury Local History and Archaeology Society

Thornbury's local history society meets monthly - details on the right, and have produced a series of articles based on these talks. Visit the Society's page for more information and to read the articles (articles are also listed below).

Local history groups

Lots of local history groups, covering a variety of subject areas.


Our local history resources page has links to many useful websites.

Family history

Genealogy groups and resources for family history hunters.

Local history books

Old maps

Explore MyThornbury's collection of old maps of Thornbury and the surrounding area. Includes a map browser that lets you switch between different age maps.

Old photos

We've teamed up with Francis Frith to offer reprints of old Thornbury and district photos.

We'd also like to recommend the fascinating Images of Thornbury site, with its large collection of old photos and now-and-then comparisons.


Dinosaurs at Tytherington (Oct 2013)
Keeping Local Old Buildings in One Piece (Sep 2013)
Lydney's Lost Fleet (Apr 2013)
The Cotswold Way (Mar 2013)
The Work of Francis Simpson (Jan 2013)
Mysteries of the Charfield Rail Crash (Oct 2012)
Thornbury Workhouse (Sept 2012)
Electrical Appliances of a Bygone Era (Oct 2010)
Bristol in the Civil War (Sep 2010)
The Berkeleys and Berkeley Castle (Apr 2010)
Clifton Suspension Bridge (Mar 2010)
The Purton Hulks (Feb 2010)
Thornbury High Street (Dec 2009)
Arnos Vale Cemetery (Nov 2009)
Basket Weaving (Oct 2009)
The Luftwaffe's Attacks (Sep 2009)
Redcliff Street, Bristol (Apr 2009)
Gloucestershire ballads (Mar 2009)
Farm buildings (Feb 2009)
Bristol Castle (Jan 2009)
Walls & boundaries (Dec 2008)
Dark Satanic Mills (Nov 2008)
Clarkson and the Slave Trade (Oct 2008)
What to wear at work (Sep 2008)
Thornbury Pubs (Mar 2008)
Rethinking Militancy (Feb 2008)
Down the Garden Path (Jan 2008)
The Slave Trade (Dec 2007)
Crinoline and Corsets (Nov 2007)
Love Thy Neighbour (Oct 2007)
Digging up the Glass Works (Mar 2007)
Death and disease on the SS Great Britain (Jan 2007)
How the forest was won (Oct 2006)
Clifton Rocks Railway
Gloucester and Sharpness Canal
In sickness and in health
Mr Lister - a gentleman employer

Charterbridge Private Financial Planning


Acton Court
A Tudor House built for the pleasure of Henry VIII

Acton Court is believed to be the most original Tudor house in Britain. The East wing was built by Nicholas Poyntz in 1535 for a weekend visit by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.
Acton Court will open to the public from 2 July to 10 August 2014, closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Full access to the house and grounds is with a professional guide only. There are a number of special events throughout the season; please check the website below for details.

Latteridge Road, Iron Acton BS37 9TL
Tel: 01454 228224

Thornbury & District Museum

The museum was started in 1986 to house a collection of artefacts bequeathed to The Thornbury Society, and rapidly expanded. It is managed by the Thornbury & District Heritage Trust, a registered charity as well as a Trust company, and is supported by South Gloucestershire Council and Thornbury Town Council. It is an independent museum and financed by grants and donations.
Come to visit our exhibition rooms, chat to our volunteers, visit our shop, enjoy your local museum.

The museum is next to the Armstrong Hall, and opening times are Tuesday to Friday 1-4pm, and Saturday 10-4pm. We have a small shop with books, leaflets, pamphlets, postcards, all of local interest.

Postal address: Thornbury Museum, c/o The Town Hall, 35 High Street, Thornbury, BS35 2AR

Chapel Street, Thornbury
Tel: 01454 857774

See also

Thornbury Library

St Mary Centre

Berkeley Castle ...where history is a home
Dr Jenner's House

Related events

Saturday 26th July 2014
Exhibition: Stitches in Time
Thornbury and District Museum

This exhibition has been extended to run until the end of July, and the Museum is open 1pm-4pm Tuesday to Friday, and 10am-4pm on Saturdays.

“Stitches in Time” shows examples of textiles, garments, craftwork and fine needlework, plus tools of the trade and some old sewing machines, all from the Museum’s store. Pride of place though, goes to the “Thornbury Quilt”, a wonderful piece of needlework over one hundred years old which lay hidden away for many years. Come and find out why it is unique to Thornbury and the story of when and why it was made and how it was recently rediscovered.

Entry is free, to this exhibition and all other parts of the museum. For more details, check out What’s On at our website below.


More details >>

Sunday 10th August 2014
Henry VIII and the Royal Wedding Planner
Acton Court

Julia Gwynne stars in this fascinating, comic and poignant journey through the lives of the wives of Henry VIII from the eyes of longstanding lady in waiting, Jane Parker.

Jane marries Anne Boleynʼs ill-fated brother and becomes Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford, building an intimate knowledge of the comings and goings of the royal bedchamber. With each wife brilliantly portrayed, Jane tells us the story of the Tudors, climaxing with her surprising destiny. This absorbing solo performance is a piece of theatre that is accessible, fast-paced and illuminating.

Tickets £12 | (£10 concessions)


More details >>

Wednesday 20th August 2014
6.30pm: Museum-led Summer Walk: Butcher, Baker, Candle Maker
Thornbury and District Museum

A walk around Thornbury, looking at the history of local traders and their premises.

The walk starts from the museum at 6.30pm. (We assemble at 6.20pm.) Approx. one and a half hours. Not suitable for children under 10. Sorry, no dogs (except guide dogs) or unaccompanied children.

£2 per person. There is a maximum group size, so places need to be booked in advance. To book, contact the museum by phone (01454 857774) or email below.


More details >>

Thursday 11th September 2014
South Gloucestershire Discover Festival 2014

South Gloucestershire’s biggest festival 11 September – 31 October 2014

Now in its third year, the Discover Festival is an exciting and diverse programme of events for young adults, adults and families to discover something new in South Gloucestershire. It is organised by South Gloucestershire Council, local residents, community groups and businesses. We want to show why South Gloucestershire is a great place to live and work.

Discover 2013 featured 225 events and 8 exhibitions. Over 8000 people attended events which ranged from one to one advice sessions to large scale open days. 2013 saw a 25% increase in the numbers of events featured in the festival and a 33% increase in people attending from 2012.

The Discover 2014 will take...


2.30pm: Old Cyder House Talk: William Tyndale
Edward Jenner Museum

William Tyndale, born in Stinchcombe in the late 1400s, was executed at Vilvoorde in 1536. His crime was to have translated the New Testament, and parts of the Old Testament, into English. Although denounced as an heretic at the time, Tyndale's work went on to form the basis of many subsequent authorised English-language Bibles and his words and phrases continue to pervade our conversations. David Smith's talk will explore the life and legacy of Tyndale, including his posthumous contribution to the King James Bible.

David Smith was City, County and Diocesan archivist of Gloucestershire from 1980 to 2000, and is now the archivist of Berkeley Castle.

Doors open at 2:00pm and the talk will commence at 2:30pm. Teas and coffees will be available... Read more >>


More details >>

Saturday 13th September 2014
10am: Heritage Open Day
Thornbury Town Hall


Thornbury Town Council is once again taking part in Heritage Open Days, and the town hall and chamber will be open for tours. Do come have a look and take the tour to learn more about the Town Hall which used to be the Police Station.


More details >>

1pm: St Mary's Church Heritage Open Day
St Mary's Church, Thornbury

1-5pm. Our annual Heritage Day, continuing with guided tours and refreshments. As always volunteers needed to help with the guided tours, and refreshments.

If any of you are able to help with the provision of the cakes for sale, please let the office know or sign up on the sheet at the back of the church. All funds will go towards the Church.

More details >>

Tuesday 16th September 2014
11am: Goldwork Embroidery Exhibition
Berkeley Castle

September 16th – 1st October

The ancient art of precious metal embroidery using traditional techniques. From 2000 years ago to the present day, it adorns heraldic, ceremonial, military, ecclesiastical and regal costume. A glittering collection of work inspired by both past and present.


More details >>

Sunday 21st September 2014
9.30am: Thornbury New Park Pig Pond Dig

Coincides with the NGS open day.

We would like as many people as possible to attend on this occasion as we hope to start plan drawing the pond as well as continuing our excavations.


11am: National Gardens Scheme Open Day
The Sheiling School

Provisional arrangements to be confirmed: Open from 11am to 4:30pm. Admission for adults £4, children free. Refreshments available and a plant sale.

Thornbury New Parke Archaeology Group are expected to be back by popular demand, holding another dig at the pig pond or the castle pond.


More details >>

Thursday 25th September 2014
7.30pm: Old Cyder House Talk: The Story of the Loch Ness Monster
Edward Jenner Museum

A Terrific Commotion: The Story of the Loch Ness Monster, with Professor Gareth Williams, University of Bristol

Tickets cost £5.00 and can be purchased from the museum in advance, or on the door (subject to availability). For more information, and to reserve your ticket, please contact 01453 810631 or email below.


More details >>

Sunday 5th October 2014
A Celebration of Harvest from River to Meadow
Berkeley Castle

October 5th – 15th

Click below to find out more...


More details >>

Where next...?

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