HERITAGE HOUND - Bespoke Genealogy

A specialist family-tree service from expert researcher and professional genealogist William Hall, formerly  Chief Researcher and Assistant to the late Garter King of Arms at the College of Arms, and editorial assistant to Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage. 

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I had some trouble finding the maiden name of Mrs William Farley, Bessie, mother of Lily Saunders, who married William Farley, of Okehampton, in 1907. I knew nothing but her first name, that she was very young on her marriage (no more than 17) and was almost certainly pregnant at the time. So I went through all the births of Bessies for the indicated years in North Devon (this took a very long time, but paid off) and found this Bessie was a Bessie Reddicliffe, born circa 1890 at Okehampton to Thomas and Sarah Anne. Thomas was a gardener who worked for himself (probably a market gardener), so not in domestic service. He and his wife lived in Okehampton all their lives, he dying in 1921, she probably in 1928. I have frustratingly been unable to track down her maiden name, which may be due to the fact she alternated use of Sarah and Anne as her given name, also some grey area over her place of birth, some censuses giving Sampford Courtenay, others as Okehampton. She was born in one or the other in 1851. There was the baptism of a Sarah Anne Chudleigh in Sampford Courtenay in 1853 (17 April) daughter of William and Mary Chudleigh (miner, of Sticklepath) but I am not convinced that this is her. I even went through all the births and baptisms available in the two parishes, and the same for her marriage, without any luck.

The Reddicliffes were living at 79, East Street, Okehampton in 1911. Thomas's age is also a bone of contention - in 1911 he says he is age 66 (i.e. born circa 1845) and most censuses agree with this date give or take a few years either way. Having checked the Okehampton parish registers I could not find his baptism or that of his wife.

Thomas and (Sarah) Anne had ten children, of whom 8 were still alive in 1911, two dying in infancy: Sarah Anne (the younger, born c. 1871, so doubtless fairly soon after the marriage, as that is recorded as c 1871 on the 1911 census, but cannot be found thus far, it may need a trip to Devon Record Office); Edward John (born at South Tawton c 1873) he married Mary Jane and had two daughters, Lilian Mabel (born c 1902) and Doris Kathleen (born c 1906) and an as yet unnamed son (born 1911). He was engaged in 'home trade' and in 1911 lived at Taw Green with his family; Emily Jane (born c 1875) who became a domestic servant at the Fountain Inn, Okehampton where she was in 1891; Mary Elizabeth (born c1877); James (born c 1880) later a stone quarryman like his brother-in-law William Farley, he was living with his parents by 1911 and was a widower, he worked at Delver stone quarry and was also employed on L.S.W. Railway; George (born c early 1882, baptised Okehampton 30 September 1882, died infancy); Ellen (born c 1882, baptised Okehampton 5 November 1882, died infancy); (William) George (born c 1885, baptised at Okehampton  November 1885, died 1956); Ellen (born c 1888, baptised Okehampton 7th October 1888, married c 1907 Albert Glover, quarryman, of Okehampton and had issue, May (1908-1911), Albert John (1910), Phyllis (1912) and Elizabeth (b and d 1921); and finally Bessie, the youngest Reddicliffe, born circa 1890, baptised at Okehampton 4th May 1890. Sadly the Reddicliffes only christened their children at Okehampton after 1882 - a search of South Tawton may yield results. Also, the two children baptised in 1882 are unlikely to have been twins, or why not baptise them together, so perhaps were both born the same year, which may explain why neither luved past infancy - if both had been weak or premature.

Thomas's actual birthdate I believe to be 1844. He was the second son of James and Anne Reddicliff(e) of Sourton - they had at least 7 children: Elizabeth (1840); John (1842); Thomas (1844); George (1849); Ann (1855); Jane (1858) and Charles (1862). I believe the Reddicliffes must have originated somewhere other than Sourton, where all the above children were born, as could find few records of this family in the Sourton registers. James was born there circa 1810 and died 1884, an agricultural labourer of Brewley Moor, Sourton, in 1851 listed as James Riddicliff of Lower Beatdown. Another listing names his wife as Ann Sharp, which I have discounted as the ages are all wrong, but this lady is unhelpful as she changes her age with every census. I believe her to have been Anne Mil(l)man, daughter of John Millman, yeoman of Sourton, by Anne his wife, baptised there 19 April 1818. The Millmans married at Sourton on 3rd January 1809, Anne being a Miss Chidley (born c 1785, died 15th June 1870 at Sourton). John (born 1780, died Sourton Down 24th November 1867) was probably the son of Jonathan Millman of Sourton by Mary his wife and himself produced 8 children with Anne: William (1809-1895); Elizabeth (born 1811, died 24 June 1838); Richard (bapt Sourton 24th October 1813-1898); John (bapt Sourton 17th Sept 1815 -1893 - he married Dionysia Ball Maddaford (1816-1903) and had issue: Eliza Jane 1843; Dinah 1844; Elizabeth Ann 1849; William George 1850; Mary Ann 1852; John Murray Millman who emigrated to the USA 1856-1936; and Louisa 1858); Anne (later Reddicliffe); Jane (bapt Sourton 2nd April 1820 -1849); Thomas (1823-1831) and George (bapt Sourton 6th June 1824 -1916). Jonathan Millman's brother Richard died at Sourton on 7th July 1836 and was buried there aged 83. 

James Reddicliffe was *probably* the son of Charles Riddicliff of Sourton who married Elizabeth Soper at Sourton 1st January 1799. They had three more children if that is the case: Thomas (bapt Sourton 11th July 1813); Grace (bapt Sourton 25th June 1813) and William (bapt Sourton 11th October 1818, prob died 30th January 1837, see memorial at Sourton).

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