Inherited CrazinessA place to share all the nuts found on my family tree

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Hugh Tapp and Harriet Middleton

Sheep pasture above Marledge
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Roger Cornfoot -

Harriet Middleton, bap. 4 May 1834, in Knowstone, daughter of Robert Middleton and Elizabeth Baker and younger sister of Jane Middleton, married Hugh Tapp, christened on 22 Apr 1832 in Twitchen, Devon, in 1858 in South Molton registration district. Hugh was the son of Hugh Tapp and Ann Yendell, who had married in Twitchen on 27 Mar 1829, who in turn was son of Hugh Tapp and Joan Gunter, who married on 1 Apr 1799 in North Molton.

At home with his parents at Marledge in 1841, Hugh Tapp was then eldest of three surviving children: Hugh (9), John (5) and William (2). His grandparents, Hugh (77) and Joan (84) also lived at Marledge

Hugh's father died in 1846, aged just 47.

By 1851, Hugh Tapp (17) was one of the labourers employed by Roger Buckingham, Farmer Of 70 Acres 2 Laborers, in Twitchen. James Buckingham, Hugh Buckingham, William and Roger Buckingham, as well as a John Tapp and a William Tapp, are all listed as farmers in Twitchen in WHITE'S DIRECTORY OF 1850. At that time, Harriet Middleton was employed as a general servant by George Gilliard at Sandyway, Exmoor, on the Devon & Somerset border.

By 1861, Hugh and Harriet Tapp were living at Hough, Twitchen, with their first two children.
  1. John Tapp born 1859 
  2. Hugh Tapp born 1860
  3. Mary Ann Tapp born 1863
  4. William Tapp born 1866, died 1870, aged 4
  5. William Henry Tapp born 1870
  6. Henry Tapp born 1871
  7. Jane Tapp born 1873
They appear to have escaped the 1871 census, then Hugh Tapp himself died young in 1877, aged just 45. He was buried that year in Molland.

Widowed Harriet Tapp married Henry Blackford in South Molton, in 1879. 

In 1881, Harriet Blackford (48) and her two youngest children, Henry Tapp (10) and Jane Tapp (8), were living at Headgate, Twitchen. Still married, her husband is not in the household. Henry Blackford died, aged 66, in 1883. 

Widowed again, we next find Harriet Blackford (56), in 1891, employed as a female servant in the household of Charles Purchase in North Hensley, North Molton. So far, I haven't found a record of a death for Harriet Blackford, nor found her in a subsequent census. There is a marriage of a Harriet Blackford in 1894, so she may have married for the third time, but I haven't been able to find other records yet to confirm if this record definitely relates to her.

Twitchen: towards the church
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Martin Bodman -

Friday, 26 February 2021

Robert Middleton and Mary Pyke

The Square, North Tawton
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Derek Harper -

Robert Middleton, bap. 4 Jun 1826 in Knowstone, son of Robert Middleton and Elizabeth Baker, elder brother of Jane Middleton, married Mary Pyke, bap. 1 Feb 1829, daughter of Hugh Pyke a Cordwainer, in the town of North Tawton in Devon and his wife, Elizabeth Ellis, in 1855. The marriage may well have taken place at her parish of St Peter's, North Tawton
A cordwainer is a shoemaker who makes new shoes from new leather. The cordwainer's trade can be contrasted with the cobbler's trade, according to a tradition in Britain that restricted cobblers to repairing shoes.
At home with her parents in Oakhampton Street, North Tawton, in 1841, Mary was the third of five children: John Pyke (15), Jane Pyke (14), Mary Pyke (11), Samuel Pyke (9) and Sarah Pyke (6). There was a further sister, Elizabeth Pyke, two years younger than Sarah.

At that time, Robert Middleton, then 15, was already out working, as an Ag Lab, for William Follett at Bransford, Knowstone. 

Unable to find the couple in 1861, by the time we catch up with them in 1871, in Sampford Courtenay, when Robert was still employed as an Ag Lab, and in 1881, in Brightley, Okehampton, when Robert has become a Railway lab - Packer, we find they've been a bit busy. They have at least 7 children: 
  1. James Middleton born 1860  
  2. Thomas Middleton born 1862
  3. Sarah Ann Middleton born 1864
  4. Robert Middleton born 1867
  5. Mary Middleton born 1870
  6. William Middleton born 1873
  7. John Middleton born 1874
Robert Middleton died, aged 63, and was buried on 20 Jul 1889, in Okehampton. In 1891, the widowed Mary had moved into the household of her now married daughter, Mary, and her husband, John Lang, in Oakhampton and stayed with them for the rest of her life. In 1901, aged around 70, Mary was described as a Monthly nurse. Mary died in 1912, aged 84.

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Jane Middleton

Knowstone: Beaple’s Moor
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Martin Bodman -

Jane Middleton, baptised on 15 Mar 1829 in Knowstone, Devon, daughter of Robert Middleton and Elizabeth Baker, was my 2x great-grandmother. 

By 1841, then aged around 12, Jane had already left home and was working as a farm labourer for John Bucknell at Beaple's Barton. The still-important farmhouse is about one mile south west of Knowstone village, bordered to the south by Beaple's Moor and to the north by Beaple's Wood. 

Listed among the workers at Beaple's Barton at the same time was Thomas Baker (20), who may well have been a relative of Jane's mother. 

South Molton: The Square from the SE corner
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Martin Tester -

In 1851, however, Jane (20), is a Pauper inmate of The Workhouse in Church Lane, South Molton, along with her son, Robert, aged 1. Presumably, this was the only place she could go as a single mother and clearly she was either still there or back there in 1853/4 when she had her second son, William.

Jane actually had 4 children out of wedlock. Only one survived.
  1. Robert Middleton, born 1850, baptised on 3 Mar 1854, record marked 'dead' (abode given as 'Union', i.e. Workhouse) and buried on 6 Mar 1854 in Knowstone, aged 4 years. 
  2. William Middleton, born 1853, baptised 9 Feb 1854, record marked 'dead' (abode given as 'Union', i.e. Workhouse), buried 5 Mar 1854 in Knowstone, aged 8 months.
  3. Frederic Middleton, born 1858 and baptised (posthumously) on 3 Oct 1858 in West Anstey, and buried 20 Jan 1858 at St Peter’s ChurchRose Ash, Devon, aged 2 months.
  4. Emma Middleton, born 6 Aug 1862, bap. 5 Oct 1865, in West Anstey.
In 1861 Jane Middleton (32), is a House Servant in the employ of John Micks at Woods, Hill, West Anstey. (Woods Farm?) And 10 years later, in 1871, Jane (34) is Housekeeper to William Short (66) at Rowry, Molland, South Molton, Devon, with her daughter Emma (8) listed as a Boarder. 

Molland Panorama (Lobsterthermidor (talk) 12:49, 8 May 2013 (UTC))

Jane Middleton later married William Flew, widower, who was then aged 38, back at her own parish of St Peter's, Knowstone on 2 Sep 1875. On the record of the marriage, Jane is said to be 30. She was actually 46. 

However, only one year into the marriage, William Flew died, aged 40. He was buried on 5 Mar 1876, at All Saints Church, Rackenford. William also left four children from his first marriage; Thomas, Jane, Sarah and William. 

Jane Flew then married John Howe (or How) in the first quarter of 1877.

St Margaret's Church, Stoodleigh
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Derek Harper
John How, born 12 Mar 1842 to John How and Mary Ann Broom (who married in 1837 in Oakford, Devon), was baptised on 3 Apr 1842 in Stoodleigh, Devon. 
In 1851, at Hasswells Cottage, Stoodleigh, John was the second of six children; Mary Ann (11), John (9), Matilda (7), Ellen (5), Robert (2) and William (0). John's maternal grandmother, Mary Broom, widow (78), born in 1773, lived with the family.
John How Sr had been baptised on 13 Mar 1810, in the wonderfully named village of Huish Champflower in Somerset, the son of Nathaniel Howe and Joan Rogers, who had married on 25 Mar 1805 in Chipstable.

In 1881, John and Jane How were living at Babcott Cottage on the Stoodleigh Estate, Stoodleigh. John, an Agricultural Labourer, was 38. It says 49, but Jane was 52. John's parents, John and Mary Ann How, also lived in Stoodleigh at 1, Little Coleford. (Perhaps a cottage on Little Coleford Farm?)

In 1891, living at Habridge Cottages, Steart Road, Stoodleigh, John How (49) and Jane How (49 again, really 62), are joined by John's mother, Mary Ann (76), widow - John's father had died in 1887 - and William Henry Middleton (2), described as 'Wife's Daughter's Son'. My dad just called him Uncle Bill.

When my father had hand drawn a family tree for me some years ago, he had added John and Jane Howe with some of their dates, unlinked, at the bottom of the page. Clearly he knew of them (he was a small boy when John died), but didn't know who they were: that Jane was his great-grandmother.

By 1901, John and Jane Howe had moved to Manley Cottage, 2, Halberton - near to the Manley Bridge on the Grand Western Canal (here's what the property at 1 Manley Cottages looks like). John was 59 and Jane had clearly become tired of lying about her age, as she's listed accurately at 71. 

Jane Howe died in November 1905, she will have been 76.

In 1911, John Howe (69), Widower, is a boarder in the household of George Cockram at Marsh Cottages, Bolham Road, Tiverton, close to where Jane's daughter was living. John Howe died on 31 Mar 1927 at the age of 85.

Manley Bridge, Grand Western Canal, from the west
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Christine Johnstone -

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Robert Middleton and Elizabeth Baker

At the west end of Knowstone village, the road narrows to a cart's width between the cottages.
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Jonathan Billinger -

Another pair of my 3rd great-grandparents, Robert Medelton (sic) married Elizabeth Baker on 21 Sept 1821 in the parish of Knowstone, Devon. 

Spellings are always variable, but none more so than with Middleton / Medelton and it's variations, which I'm sure is as a result of the officiator writing down what they heard said in a thick West Country accent. 

Robert and Elizabeth had seven children, all of whom were baptised at St Peters Church, Knowstone, but only four survive infancy: 
  1. Elizabeth Medelton (sic) bap. 19 Jan 1823 (buried 23 May 1824)
  2. William Medelton (sic) bap. 13 Mar 1825 (buried 5 Jun 1825)
  3. Robert Medelton (sic) bap. 4 Jun 1826
  4. Jane Medelton (sic) bap. 15 Mar 1829
  5. Maria Middleton bap. 22 Jan 1832 (buried 21 Sep 1834)
  6. Harriot Medelton (sic) bap. 4 May 1834
  7. Thomas Middleton bap. 25 Jul 1841
In 1841, Robert (50), an Agricultural Labourer, and Elizabeth (40), are living, as are many other families, in "Part of Lower High Building" in Knowstone, with Harriet (7) and Thomas (0). By that point, Robert Jr was working, also as an Ag Lab, for William Follett at Bransford, Knowstone, while Jane (12), was similarly employed by John Bucknell at Beaple's Barton. 

It appears that Robert Middleton Sr died in the 1840s and we lose track of Elizabeth in the 1850s and 1860s, but catch up with her again in 1871, when Elizabeth Middleton (71), widow and annuitant, is a lodger in the household of George Bawden at Bawden Cottage, Knowstone. Elizabeth Middleton died, aged 73 and was buried on 31 Aug 1873, at St Peters Church, Knowstone.

St Peters Church, Knowstone
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Roger Cornfoot -

James Ridgeway and Mary Ann Lock

Ashbrittle Village with Court Place Farm (foreground left)
Photo © Lewis Clarke (cc-by-sa/2.0)

The very first record I can find for James Ridgeway and Mary Ann Lock, another pair of my 3rd great-grandparents, is that of their marriage, on 29 Apr 1833, at the Church of St John the Baptist, Ashbrittle. The witnesses to this marriage were Henry Vickery and Elizabeth Webber.

The couple appear to have seven children, with records existing only for the baptisms of first two children; Mary in 1833 and James in 1835. Once civil registration had been introduced (in 1837), there are no more baptism records for the subsequent five children, but neither are there civil registrations for most (only for the sixth child, John, in 1847), just listings on the census.
  1. Mary Ridgeway bap. 28 Dec 1833
  2. James Ridgeway bap. 25 Oct 1835
  3. Jane Ridgeway born 1839
  4. Harriot Ridgeway born 1841
  5. Thomas Ridgeway born 1844
  6. John Ridgeway born 1847
  7. William Ridgeway born 1850
In 1841, James (32) and Ann (33), are living in Ashbrittle Village, with children; Mary (7), James (5), Jane (2) and Harriot (0). 

Bridleway to Little and Great Tadbeer
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © David Smith -

And in 1851, still living in Ashbrittle Village, we find James (45) and Ann (45), with Harriot (10), Thomas (7), John (4) and William (1). 

Mary (19) had already left home and was working as a Servant in the household of William Sweet at Appley Court, Appley, Stawley; James (15) had also left home and was working as a Servant in the household of Robert Venn at Little Tadbeer Farm, Ashbrittle; while Jane Ridgeway (12), was a Servant in the household of Robert Johns of Kittisford at Stawley, Somerset. 

James Ridgeway died in 1854, said to be 44, and was buried on 18 Jun 1854 at St John the Baptist, Ashbrittle. In 1859 there is a marriage, in Kittisford, between James Mash and Mary Ann Ridgway (sic), but I haven't located either of them in 1861 or 1871, nor a record of a death for James Mash. 

In 1881, however, Mary Ann Mash (74), Widow, is living with her son, Thomas Ridgeway, in Whitnage, Uplowman and is listed as his mother. 

Uplowman: Whitnage
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Martin Bodman -