History of Thornbury Pump
1725 - Michaelmas
[From Gloucestershire Quarter Sessions Order Book, reproduced in the Society for Thornbury Folk Bulletin Series 2, No. 14, June 1959]

'Inhabitants of Thornbury indicted for not repairing their Town or common Pump. - Fined 10, to be levied and raised by an equal rate by Thomas Alway, John Hughes and Thomas Lewis on lands, tenements and hereditaments of the land-holders and inhabitants of the whole town by distress and sale of the goods and chattels of landholders and inhabitants refusing to pay their several proportions, which sum is ordered by this Court to be expended on the reparation of the said Town or Common Pump by the said Thomas Alway, John Hughes and Thomas Lewis who are hereby appointed collectors and expenditors thereof.'

[From the Society for Thornbury Folk Bulletin Series 2, No.7, January 1957]

Thornbury Pump 'In 1924 there was in the middle of the Plain a pump - not a very good pump for more than half the handle was missing. It was surrounded on three sides by railings, while the fourth side was open - and a shallow stone trough on bricks received the water. Over the pump was a street lamp on bent iron brackets.
It had been used for washing carts and its water was seldom, if ever, drunk, but when on Monday September 15 in that year of grace the Thornbury Rural District Council, which had maintained it, sent their workmen to remove it, the pump suddenly became to the inhabitants of Thornbury a beloved and sacred object. One hundred and thirty-two ratepayers signed a letter to the district Council saying "We require you to repair the pump and railings on the Plain lately removed." The Chairman of the Council received a communication "How much longer have we to wait before our pump is put in repair as I have not been able to have my trap washed as I used to do?"
A crowded parish meeting at the Cossham Hall demanded the return of the pump. One bold man, it is true, mounted the platform and declared that Thornbury was a declining town. Presumably the removal of the pump would somehow arrest this decline!
The climax came when a large and excited crowd brought back the pump in triumph on a waggon and erected it amid cheers on its original site, where it remained leaning over rather drunkenly with a placard "This pump belongs to the ratepayers of Thornbury". The police feared a riot. The sergeant went to one of the Magistrates to ask what he should do. The J.P. replied "You must do your duty, Sergeant" - a reply which, however correct, was small comfort to a policeman who had never faced such a situation before.
The R.D.C. were not intimidated. They censured the owner of the waggon, a member of the Council, and investigated the history of the pump. It appeared that when the old White Hart inn was demolished and a Bank built on the site, the pump in front of the building was removed lower down in Castle Street and a new well dug in the middle of the Plain for "The Pump". This was in 1861. The District Council took counsel's opinion on the legality of their action. His opinion was that the pump was an illegal obstruction of the highway and that the R.D.C. would be liable for damages if anyone had a collision with it. So the pump was removed once more and, as in the case of Oliver Cromwell's expulsion of the Pump, "not one dog barked."
All that remains is a manhole cover over the well. Sic transit.'

[From Thornbury Gazette, June 13, 1959, reproduced from the Society for Thornbury Folk Bulletin Series 2, No. 15, Sept. 1959]

'Recent road widening work at The Plain, Thornbury near the National Provincial Bank where a bus bay is to be made led to the discovery of a well which almost certainly is one which served the old pump on The Plain whose removal caused such controversy. The well which contained pure spring water was 44 ft. deep with about 11 ft. of water in it. The well has now been sealed and has been closed for ever. No trace was found of the missing pump.'
Note added in Bulletin:'The pump mentioned above was placed in its position in the middle of The Plain in 1861, having been removed from a position in front of the White Hart over the well mentioned above. The White Hart was demolished in that year and the bank built on the site.'

[From The Gazette, August 17, 2001]

'Then 60 years after the removal of the original pump its successor, an exact replica made at Almondsbury Forge was installed. The circumstances were ironic. Whereas Thornbury District Council had argued that the pump was a traffic obstruction, Avon County Council now decided that a traffic-calming scheme in the form of a road island was imperative at this busy junction.
The conservation group Concern for Thornbury had the initiative to suggest it could take the form of a replica pump, and 3,000 was raised to finance this. Today the Thornbury pump is once again a much-loved feature of the town.'