The Pidgeon family
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At some point in the 1860s, William and Sarah moved away from Sampford Courtenay. Both had lived there for the whole of their lives up to this point and it must have been a brave thing to do, to move across the county to Torquay. But this is what they did, taking with them their two youngest children - Emily and James.


The eldest son, John, remained in Sampford Courtenay and became the last of the Stentifords to do so. He worked as a  fellmonger - a fairly unpleasant job, involving removing hair from animal hides shortly after slaughter in preparation for the tanning process which would turn the skins into leather. This would have been done in the tannery in nearby North Tawton. 


John married Eliza Pengelly in the June Quarter of 1873. They lived in the centre of the village where Eliza kept a little shop. By 1901, John had developed skills enabling him to sell leather goods useful on the farm such as straps, harnesses and whips.


Of his brother William, we can find no trace after the 1861 census.


Just one shop remains in Sampford Courtenay today

The days when every village had a row of shops have long gone.

Just one shop remains in Sampford Courtenay today (where the cars can be seen) - it is occupied  by a house agent!

©Richard J. Brine


The eldest daughter, Wilmot Ann also left Sampford Courtenay at some point. The next we hear from her is that she is in the village of Kenton where she married Henry Pidgeon, a gardener on 20 August 1871 when she would have been 21.


Although we already knew  much of the information below, we were most interested in the additional facts we found on Ian Pidgeon's website which is well worth a visit:


It's a very full page so use FIND and STENTIFORD to pick out our two connections with this family.



Henry Pidgeon


b 22 Dec 1849 Powderham

m 20 Aug 1871 Kenton

d ?

Wilmot Ann Stentiford


b 1849 Mar Sampford Courtenay

m 20 Aug 1871 Kenton

d ?




William H




idbury - from a corner of the churchyard

Sidbury - from a corner of the churchyard

This is the village where Frank, William and Harry Pidgeon were born

©Richard J. Brine


Before we leave this particular page of the Pidgeon Family History we can find another entry. It is that of the marriage of Lillian Ethel Pidgeon to Reginald G. Stentiford in 1934.


 The Pidgeon family seem quite clear about who Lillian is but we Stentifords have another mysterious Reginald to find. No - he is not the Reginald we were seeking in Issue 51 - that was REGINALD HENRY STENTIFORD - this is REGINALD GEORGE STENTIFORD. We know he was born in the March Quarter of 1910 somewhere in that vast registration area called St. Thomas. We know  he married Lillian in the March Quarter of 1934, again somewhere in the St. Thomas registration district (see Issue 44 when we attempted to explain its complexities). We also know that Lillian died in Exeter 7 Oct 1982 when she would have been 74. But of  Reginald's death we can find no trace.


We should be pleased to hear from anyone who can help to solve yet another of our mysteries!


Click here to return to Issue 55


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Last modiied: 29/12/2007