Son and heir
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(Our thanks to Huw Davies and Doris Roberts for their invaluable assistance with this article)


In Issue 45 we wrote about the children of John Stentiford and Elizabeth Pike, most of whom spent their lives  in, or close by, Zeal Monachorum, the place of their birth. But two of their sons - William and James - left, and made their way south. Initially, both may have  found work in Kingsteignton, possibly working in the clay industry. William married in Teignmouth, the landing place of the clay barges which came down river from Kingsteignton and he turned up eventually in St. Marychurch, then a small village between Teignmouth and Torquay.

James did well for himself in Kingsteignton. He met and married Mary Ann Pool, daughter of the local miller and soon was farming 40 acres on his own account and running the village bakery.

To bring us to the beginning of the story we have to tell in this Issue, we'll quote a paragraph  from Issue 45:


"Soon after the birth of their last child in 1858, James made the decision to take the lease of a much larger farm.  He moved to New House Farm in the parish of Ipplepen on the other side of Newton Abbot where he farmed some 250 acres of prime land, giving employment to five agricultural labourers and three boys besides the usual retinue of domestic servants. He was now farming in a big way - a very far cry from the status of his father John back home in Zeal Monachorum. Mary's parents had both died by now and she may have inherited the money which enabled the family to make this advantageous move."


Newhouse Farm on a 19th century OS Map

Today it is known as Newhouse Barton 

Should family members wish to find the farm, use OS Explorer 110

(Torquay and Dawlish)

The grid reference is SX 825650


James had three sons - William, Frank and John - William being the eldest. In those days being an eldest son was everything and William would  have been expected by the whole family to inherit the lease on the property with money to enable him to consolidate and build on what his father had begun. Mary Ann would  have had enough to live on and would have been expected to move out of the farm house to make room for William's wife and family while the other brothers made their way in the world as best they could.

Well, that was what the scenario was meant to be.  But as every parent knows, you cannot control what your children do once they become adult - if your wishes are ignored or flouted, then you have either to learn to adjust and accept the new circumstances - or break off with your son or daughter and let them go their own way without you. If that son is your first-born child and heir, then you are talking about a really serious schism - and that's precisely what occurred in this family with disastrous consequences for any number of people, including those still to  be born.


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Last modiied: 26/11/2006