James Stentiford in Ilfracombe

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Roy Hayter writes about his Great Grandfather, James Stentiford.


The service records of James and George Stentiford, brothers, who served in the Devon Police Force are described in Issue 9 of this magazine. James was my Great Grandfather. Additional information about James and his family, taken from family records and oral memories, may be of interest to the wider Stentiford community of www.Stentiford.org.


Lantern Hill, Ilfracombe

Lantern Hill, Ilfracombe

After entering the Devon Police Force in 1872, James served in Braunton, Marwood, Dartmouth, and after 1877, in Ilfracombe. In 1896, James retired from the Devon Police at the early age of 44. His retirement was followed by a period of illness after which, in 1899, he was appointed as Harbour Constable in Ilfracombe.

He carried out his duties with courtesy and urbanity and gave attention to the bedding and other plants in the Pleasure Garden at Lantern Hill.


He served in this capacity until World War 1 began, when he rejoined the County Police Force and was stationed at Dawlish. A formal photograph  taken of James in Dawlish shows his pride at again becoming a member of the County Police Force.

James Stentiford on Duty, early 1920s

James Stentiford













James Stentiford

Devon County Police - Dawlish 1914.


James Stentiford on duty, early 1920s
Pleasure Grounds Constable, Ilfracombe I.U.D.C.

After the war, James returned to Ilfracombe. In 1921, he was appointed Caretaker at the Town Hall and later, Constable of the Pleasure Grounds under the Ilfracombe District Council. His duties included Hackney Carriage and Boat Inspection for the Council.

During this time, the Chief Constable of Devon expressed concern that the term "constable" on Stentiford's uniform was inappropriate. He proposed that such officers should be sworn in as "special constables", that he would supply armlets and warrant cards and they could wear the Ilfracombe Coat of Arms and the letters "IUDC" as ornaments for the uniform, instead of the word "constable".

The Council responded that they were entitled to have the word "constable" on the Pleasure Ground Constable's uniform as shown in the photograph  of James Stentiford. His slight smile may reflect his satisfaction with the Council's decision!

Ilfracombe's Constable - James Stentiford

Ilfracombe's Constable - James Stentiford

When he retired in 1925, James was given a testimonial to the good order maintained during the previous five years, throughout which only 27 offences were brought to the Council. His long and faithful service had fully earned him many years of leisure and health.

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