John and Elizabeth's family

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We have seen family trees ascribing up to three more children to this couple: John, said to be baptised 8 Feb 1795 but not found in the parish register of Zeal; Mary said to have died in Coldridge in 1796 and even a Grace, born in Zeal in 1834, many years after John's death. 

In Issue 24, in an article about village poor houses, we referred to two children - William and Richard Stentiford - whose parish records still exist and who were sent out as apprentices in 1801 by the parish council of Spreyton, William then being aged 12 and Richard 7. Both remained in that village throughout their lives. Later on, when hard times came along, responsibility for William and his family was taken by the parish council who housed them in their Poor House. After his apprenticeship at an estate called Barton  , Richard spent most of his working life at another large  farm called Falkedon a couple of miles to the south of Spreyton village but still within the parish.

There is no doubt that this John and Elizabeth had a child who they named Richard and whose baptism appears in the Zeal Parish Register dated 18 May 1794. If the child named Richard and apprenticed in Spreyton in 1801 was that son, what is extremely odd is why Spreyton Parish Council accepted financial responsibility for him and bore the cost of his upkeep since his birth was not registered there. The Poor Laws had to be strictly adhered to and they limited each parish to supporting those who were born in the place or who acquired Settlement. There are no application papers in Spreyton for Settlement by John and Elizabeth Stentiford - in fact, there is no real evidence that they ever left Zeal Monachorum.

The only possible explanation is that the "Spreyton" Richard is a different child and that he and William were brothers. John Stentiford's parents - Richard Stentiford and Mary Corin - had two more sons - yet another William (born in 1757) and another Richard (born in 1764). Could the Spreyton boys be the sons of one of them?

Spreyton's contiguous parishes are North Tawton. Bow, Clannaborough, Drewsteignton, Hittisleigh and South Tawton. North Tawton and Drewsteignton are not in the IGI. Some of the Birth and Marriage records for South Tawton which are included in the IGI cease after 1738 leaving a huge gap for researchers. 

Anyone working on family history in this area of Devon should remember the tremendous impact made by John and Charles Wesley who stopped to preach in nearby Sticklepath on their journeys to and from Cornwall in the 18th century. Non-conformism spread like wildfire all over the surrounding district and  baptisms often took place within the home of the child. Some non-conformist Baptismal registers with early records covering many of the parishes mentioned above still exist and can be examined at the Devon Record Office - in other cases, however, no records were ever kept. 


John Stentiford


ba 23 Aug 1761 Zeal Monachorum

m 17 Nov 1793 Zeal Monachorum

d 2 Nov 1818 Zeal Monachorum aged 57

Elizabeth Pike


b 1780? Zeal Monachorum

m 17 Nov 1793 Zeal Monachorum

bu 29 Oct 1859 aged 79

Richard ba 18 May 1794 Zeal Monachorum ?
Elizabeth ba 11 Mar 1798 Zeal Monachorum m 26 Dec 1819 Zeal Monachorum d ? John Webber
Mary ba 27 Apr 1800 Zeal Monachorum m 19 Dec 1819 Zeal Monachorum d 14 Aug 1862 Zeal Monachorum* aged 62 William Mitchell*
John ba 10 Oct 1802 Zeal Monachorum bu 15 Feb 1866 Zeal Monachorum aged 64 NI


ba 24 Feb 1805 Zeal Monachorum m Mar 1826 d 1851 Dec Okehampton (46)

Francis Bassett

William ba 4 Nov 1806 Zeal Monachorum m 10 Mar 1833 West Teignmouth bu 14 Dec 1876 St. Marychurch aged 70 Jane Gidley
Philip ba 9 Jul 1809 Zeal Monachorum m 5 May 1833 Sandford d 1883 Jun Sandford aged 74 Sarah Moore
James ba  1 Sep 1811 Zeal Monachorum m 13 Jan 1842 Kingsteignton bu 6 Apr 1871 Ipplepen aged 59 Mary Ann Pool
George ba 4 Feb 1816 Zeal Monachorum m 10 Nov 1838 Zeal Monachorum d 1890 Mar Hendon aged 75 Tryphena Cooke
* Visit the Mitchell website for info about the family -,uk

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