Chapter 8



In this Chapter we shall be concerned with members of the second major family group whose origins are to be found in a swathe of north Devon parishes just south of Exmoor, from their first appearance in local records of the mid-16th century until the descendants of those early farmers left the county 2-300 years later.  As was remarked in Chapter 5 when considering the major group whose earliest known ancestor lived in the adjacent parish of Bishops Nympton, any such account must start untidily since none of the initial members has any known parent or background.  First we must set the scene.

Creacombe, where our story starts, is one of the smallest and most remote parishes in Devon, completely lost in high and moory country, almost all lying between about 600-850 feet above sea-level.  A mere 1050 acres in area, or barely a tenth the size of Bishops Nympton, the parish lies about ten miles north west of Tiverton, sandwiched between Rose Ash to the west, Rackenford to the east, Knowstone to the north and Witheridge to the south.  Even today Creacombe contains no semblance of a village.  The parish centre is simply a few cottages or small houses clustered around the church which, sadly, has been de-consecrated and is in a ruinous state.  At the time of the great lay subsidy of 1524 the parish was so unimportant that it received no mention at all; 45 years later its return for the 1569 Devon Muster Roll was merged with that for the neighbouring parish of Romansleigh, and cannot be separately identified.  Its population in 1676 may be estimated from the Compton census as about 40 souls, according to the convention outlined in Chapter 2, while almost 200 years later, in 1856, it was still said to have only 35 inhabitants. [1]   By 1878 its population had reached a peak of 62, living in 10 houses, since when numbers have remained steady at about 50 people, up until the 1960s. [2]

Rose Ash parish, extending to 5082 acres immediately to the west of Creacombe, lies on the back of a long ridge, nearly 800 ft. high, which is traversed by a prehistoric ridgeway.  Much of the parish is wild, moory ground from which, on a clear day, there are superb views of Exmoor to the north, Dartmoor to the south.  The name is sometimes said, rather fancifully, to be a corrupt form of Sir Ralfe de Esse, lord of the manor tempus Henry III (1216-1272), whose lady’s name was Rose, hence from Ralfe (or Rose)-Esse to Rose Ash. [3]   In truth the name is derived from the two Domesday manors from which it was formed, viz. Aissa (Ash, later Aishe Rafe, or Rose Ash) on which lived 20 villeins, 12 bordars and 8 serfs, and the smaller Hierda (Yard-Cole) with 8 villeins, 4 bordars and 5 serfs. [4]   The Yard family owned their manor continuously from 1270 to 1630, while eight generations of the Southcomb family were Rectors of the parish, in a single sequence from 1675-1948. [5]

Nowadays Rose Ash ‘town’ is a small group of houses close to the church, without shop or inn, while Yard is a cluster of 10 small houses.  Most people still live in isolated homesteads, as they have done for the past 900 years or so.  An estimate of the parish population since the Domesday Survey has ranged from 164-199 in 1086 to a peak of 587 in 1851, declining to 268 in 1961 and 271 in 1971.

In the following account of our family in Creacombe and Rose Ash we shall adopt the same convention for identifying individuals as in Chapter 5, by their year of birth/baptism (e.g. John 1602, etc) if known, or burial year (e.g. John bur. 1539) for members whose birth/baptism date is unknown.  There must always be a residual uncertainty in any genealogical history based primarily on an analysis of parish register entries often unsupported by independent documentary evidence, but the scheme proposed here accounts for almost all Loosemore baptismal entries in the parish church register and all male marriages.

Beginnings in Creacombe

The first known mention of the name Loosemore in Creacombe occurs in the parish returns for the lay subsidies of 1542/3 and 1544/5, when John Lowsemore/Losemore was assessed on goods valued at £5 (1542/3) and £8 (1544/5).  At that time Oakford and Bishops Nympton were the only other parishes in Witheridge Hundred in which the family name occurred. [6]   Nothing is known of John Losemore’s family, for the parish register extends back only to 1696 while the Bishop’s transcripts, which start in 1607, are extremely fragmentary until after the Restoration in 1660. [7]   We need attach no significance to John Losemore’s omission from the Creacombe returns for the group of three subsidies between 1549-1552 in view of the parish’s unimportance; only one name, that of John Dodge, appears in each return.  However in the next surviving return, for 1571, John Loysemore is one of four parishioners, assessed this time on land valued at 40s.; James Dodge is assessed on land valued at 12s.  The only other extant 16th century returns are those for 1582 and 1592, in each of which John Losemore is the sole name in Creacombe to be assessed on land, in each valued at £3.6

One other early mention of the name occurs in the proceedings of the Barnstaple Archdeaconry Court, when in a hearing at South Molton ‘John Losmore of Creacomb where he was born, aged 23’ was called as witness in a libel case.  The court summary is not dated but the previous case was heard on 4 November 1572 and the following one on 21 January 1573 [both dates in New Style]. [8]   So the younger John was probably born c1549.  By chance, the complainant was John Dodge ‘of Aysh Rasse [Rose Ash] where he was born, aged 28’, so he may have been a son of the James Dodge of Creacombe who was assessed in 1549-1552 but who left the parish to live in Rose Ash.  This information allows us to assume that John Losemore the elder, who may have been born about 1520, was assessed in 1544/5 and perhaps in 1571 but more probably it was his son John 1549 who was the subject of the assessments in 1582 and 1592.

We obtain the first definite information about the family in Creacombe when on 31 March 1607 the bishops transcript for the parish records the baptism there of ‘Mary daughter of James Loosmore’; barely a month later, on 26 April, there is recorded the ‘burial of the same Mary’.  Then three years later, on 19 May 1610 ‘Nicolas Loosmore the sonne of James Loosmore and Johan his wife’ was baptized.  In so small a community it is reasonable to conclude that James who married Johan was a son of John 1549, probably born about 1570-75.  The next two surviving bishops transcripts are a fragment dated 1630 followed by 1635, neither of which contains any reference to Loosemore.  Early Creacombe records contain only one further, doubtful, mention of the family, referred to below.

Loosemore of Rose Ash

It is not clear exactly when James and his family left Creacombe for Rose Ash.  The first 17th century lay subsidy return, for 1610/11, is in poor condition but examination under ultra-violet light reveals that the second name assessed in Creacombe parish is probably ‘…osmore’; the section including Rose Ash is so badly damaged as to be illegible.  In 1620-22 Jacobus (James) Loosemore was assessed in Rose Ash on land valued at 40s., while the family name is missing from Creacombe in this and all later returns. [9]   Loosemore first appears in the Rose Ash parish register on 21 August 1620 when Agnes, daughter of James Loosemore, married Alexander Kempe of Meshaw; it is therefore safe to assume that Agnes was born in Creacombe, perhaps about 1598. [10]   If she was the eldest child of James and Johan their marriage could not have been later than c1597, so that James’s birth may have been c1570-5.  For convenience we shall therefore refer to this James, son of John 1549, as James 1575.

We may reasonably conclude from all this that James 1575 with his wife and at least two children, Agnes 1598 and Nicholas 1610, moved from Creacombe to Rose Ash some time between 1610 and 1620.  James 1575 was buried in Rose Ash on 17 April 1624 at a comparatively early age; probate of his will (now lost) was granted in the Barnstaple Archdeaconry Court on 11 May that same year. [11]   Alexander Kempe, his son-in-law, died six weeks later and was buried on 6 June.  James’s widow Johan survived her husband and son-in-law some 20 years, being buried in Rose Ash on 1 December 1644 at the height of the Civil War.  She had inherited his property, for in the lay subsidies of 1624/5 and 1641 she, Johane Losemoore or Joanna Lusemore, was assessed for tax on land valued at 20s.9

The next piece of the jigsaw was recorded on 30 January 1633/4 when a James Loosemore of Rose Ash married Mary Colman in the parish church.  This James was probably born c1605 (his omission from the 1624/5 subsidy return implies that he was then under 21) and he is probably another son of James 1575, whom we shall refer to as James c1605, very probably born in Creacombe before the start of parish records.  We shall be concerned mainly, in what follows, with the family and descendants of James c1605 but first we must look briefly at the family of another presumed son of James 1575.

Family of John c1603 (James 1575, John 1549)

Information about this branch of the family is scanty, but fortunately the main line descends from James 1605 and not this John.  We know from the Rose Ash parish register that on 27 February 1638/9 Mary the daughter of John Loosemore was baptized, while on 10 March 1641/2 Margery the wife of John Loosemore was buried.  The Protestation Returns for Rose Ash, taken in March 1641/2, include the names of James 1605 and John Lusmore, so both men were then at least 18 years old. [12]   Joane the wife of John Loosemore was buried on 26 April 1667, from which we infer that John was twice married, his first wife Margery being the mother of his daughter Mary.  That John was alive in 1674 is confirmed from the parish assessments for the Hearth Tax; there was then no other member of the family with that forename in the parish.9   This John was buried in Rose Ash on 18 April 1678.  He was an almost exact contemporary of James 1605 and we shall regard him as another son of James 1575 and brother of James 1605.  His daughter Mary may have been the Mary who married Robert Mogford at Rose Ash on 16 January 1678/9.  That is the limit of our knowledge of John c1603 and his family.

A major difficulty now arises in interpreting Rose Ash parish records since the church register was not maintained in the period immediately following the Civil War: there are no entries between May 1646 and December 1660.  It is quite fortuitous that in spite of this 14 year gap family links between the descendants of James 1605 can be inferred with fair confidence.  He was twice married, first to Mary Colman.  After her death in June 1644 he re-married some time before 1650 to another Mary, this second marriage producing nine children, of whom the fourth, James 1656, is important in our story.  We shall meet him in Section 6 but here we consider the progeny of his father’s first marriage.

Descendants of the first marriage of James c1605 (James c1575, John 1549)

In the ten years after their marriage Mary Colman presented her husband James c1605 with five known children, one son and four daughters, all born at Rose Ash.  Nothing is known of the eldest two girls except that Anne was baptized on 28 March 1635 and Mary on 1 January 1636/7.  There followed Nicholas, baptized on 31 March 1639 and Joan on 5 June 1642, both of whom survived into adulthood.  The youngest daughter, Christian, was baptized on 20 June 1644 and buried two days later, on 22 June, just one day before her mother who followed her on 23 June 1644, almost certainly the result of a difficult birth.  Joan married John Locke jnr. of Knowstone on 24 April 1666 in her home parish and leaves our story.  We shall now examine the descendants of her brother Nicholas 1639 in some detail.

Family & descendants of Nicholas 1639 (James c1605, James c1575, John 1549, John c1520)

Nicholas 1639, the only son of James c1605 and Mary née Colman, married Joane Dodge on 3 July 1666 in Rose Ash parish, where they made their home.  The Dodge family had lived in the parish at least since 1594.  Joan was baptized there on 28 July 1642, the daughter of John Dodge and Grace née Zeale alias Eame.  Her elder sister, Grace, and younger brother John were baptized on 24 July 1640 and 28 February 1644/5.  John Dodge the father, who had married Grace Zeale in the parish church on 14 May 1639, was baptized on 28 January 1613/14 the son of Richard Dodge and his wife Anne (Anna) Yelmacott.  Richard Dodge’s marriage to Anna Yelmacott on 10 December 1594 is one of the very first entries in the parish register.

Joan née Dodge bore her husband Nicholas 1639 not less than seven, and possibly eight, children of whom five survived childhood.  Grace, the eldest, baptized on 7 April 1667, was buried in Rose Ash on 31 October 1675.  She was followed  by James, baptized on 5 August 1669 (James 1669), John on 4 September 1672 (John 1672), Nicholas on 25 December 1675 who probably died in infancy, Richard on 17 January 1680/1 (Richard 1681), a second Nicholas on 31 January 1685/6 (Nicholas 1686), while the youngest, Mary, baptized on 23 May 1688, was buried on 26 January 1713/14; probate of her will was granted on 28 May 1714 in the Barnstaple Archdeaconry court. 11   For reasons which will become clear shortly it seems likely that another son, Roger, was born c1683 (Roger c1683) to Nicholas and Joan although no record of his baptism appears in the Rose Ash church register.

Nicholas 1639 was churchwarden of his parish in 1684, when he was responsible for making and collecting a poor rate (tax) for the parish. [13]   The list of parishioners who contributed to the rate included ‘Mary Losemore’ and ‘James Loosemoore’, as well as Nicholas himself.  Mary was probably his elder sister while James, who acted as overseer to the collection, was probably James 1656, a son of his father’s second marriage.  Nicholas 1639 lived to the great age of 84 years, his burial being recorded in the church register on 17 March 1723/4 as that of ‘Nicholas Lusmore ye elder’.  Probate of his will, now lost, was granted in 1725 in the Principal Registry diocesan court at Exeter.11   Of his four/five surviving sons, James 1669 the eldest and Nicholas 1686 the youngest both married into the influential Southcomb family, whose members were Rectors of the parish in a continuous sequence from 1675 to 1948.

Family & descendants of James 1669 (Nicholas 1639, James c1605, James c1575, John 1549)

James 1669, eldest son of Nicholas 1639, married Margaret baptized 29 September 1667, a daughter of John Southcomb, in Rose Ash on 28 April 1692 after which they moved to the neighbouring parish of Mariansleigh where four children were born to them.  Grace baptized 1 May 1694 married John Morrice in her home parish on 31 December 1714; John baptized 4 March 1694/5 (John 1695) married Elizabeth Ridge in the neighbouring parish of Winkleigh on 4 March 1716/7; James baptized 1 April 1698 (James 1698) married Dorothy Vicary on 30 March 1725 but they had no known issue; and Margaret baptized 5 May 1700 about whom nothing more is known.  James 1698 was buried in Mariansleigh on 12 January 1744/5, Dorothy his wife following him on 17 October 1756; their marriage was childless.

Family of John 1695 (James 1669, Nicholas 1639, James c1605)

After their marriage John 1695 and his wife Elizabeth née Ridge lived for the remainder of their lives in Meshaw parish just south of Rose Ash, where they were both buried, John on 26 October 1738, Elizabeth on 1 February 1737/8.  John’s will, now lost, was proved in the Barnstaple archdeaconry court on 3 November 1738.11   Only two children are known, both born in Meshaw.  Mary was baptized there on 23 September 1718, and John on 25 January 1720/1 (John 1721).  Mary later married Daniel Bayly of Sutcombe on 23 September 1739 in his parish church by licence while John 1721 married Frances Greenslade on 21 October 1743, also  by licence, in the parish church of Exeter St. Mary Major.  His 1743 marriage bond, required before a licence could be issued, was entered in the names of ‘John Loosemore of Meshaw, husbandsman, and Roger Loosmore of Morchard Bishop, uncle of the said John’.  This is main reason for believing that Roger c1683 was a son of Nicholas 1639, as has already been mentioned above. [14]

No record of the birth of this Roger has been found; it certainly does not appear in the church registers of either Rose Ash, Morchard Bishop or Meshaw.  However, on 9 June 1712 a bond was entered into prior to the marriage of a Roger Loosmoor and Anne Webber of Morchard Bishop; the couple were married in Exeter St. David parish but made their home in Morchard Bishop, for three of their children were baptized there in 1713, 1718 and 1721.  Anne was buried in the parish on 24 September 1741 and on 17 May 1744 Roger re-married to Elizabeth Gotham.  A daughter, Joan, was born to them in Morchard Bishop and baptized there on 11 June 1745, so Roger was definitely ‘of Morchard Bishop’.  If this Roger was an uncle of John 1721 he would have been a brother of John 1695.  Yet as Roger was first married in 1712, his birth could hardly have been later than 1690 and was much more likely to have been several years earlier.  Family relationships in the 17th century were expressed less precisely than in modern times and it is quite possible that ‘great-uncle’ and ‘uncle’ would have been regarded as interchangeable when completing the cramped proforma of the standard marriage bond.  On balance therefore, and coupled with a gap between 1680 and 1686 in the otherwise regular sequence of baptisms of the children of Nicholas 1639, we may accept that this Roger was Roger c1683, a son of Nicholas 1639, the great-uncle of John 1721.  Further support is provided in the following two generations when, as we shall see later, the eldest son of Nicholas 1686 was named Roger 1728 and his eldest son in turn was Roger 1756.

Family of John 1721 (John 1695, James 1669, Nicholas 1639, James c1605)

John 1721 and his wife Frances née Greenslade made their home and raised a family in Meshaw.  He was buried there on 29 December 1763; Frances outlived him by 30 years and was buried in the parish on 13 November 1793.  Their wills were proved in Barnstaple archdeaconry court on 3 February 1764 and 16 November 1793 respectively though the wills themselves are lost.11   Their first two children were baptized in the very small adjoining parish of Romansleigh, though this may have been no more than a convenience: children of several prosperous Romansleigh residents were baptized in Meshaw in this period.  Their eldest son, John, was baptized on 3 December 1745 (John 1745), and a daughter Elizabeth was received into the church there on 4 March 1746/7, having been baptized privately some time previously.  Baptism dates for several of their remaining children have not been found but their burial dates and other information taken from wills enable them to be identified with reasonable confidence.  Thus James, born c1756 (James 1756), married Mary and although no other details have been found a common headstone in Meshaw churchyard records his death on 18 April 1818 aged 62, hers on 5 August 1824 aged 65.  William, born c1757 (William 1757) died a bachelor in Meshaw on 13 February 1843, aged 87.  There followed Richard, bap. 19 October 1760, bur. 6 February 1762; Mary bur. 19 June 1762; Joan bur. 19 June 1762; Richard bap. 7 March 1762, bur. 28 October 1770; and Roger bur. 1780.  The long interval between the baptism of Elizabeth in March 1746/7 and the birth of James c1756 may be due to deficiencies in the Meshaw church register, which may also explain the missing details for the younger children

John 1745, eldest son of John 1721, married Elizabeth Lee on 26 March 1772 in the adjoining parish of Rose Ash, where they made their home.  She had been baptized in Coleridge parish on 3 June 1747 the daughter of Richard Lee and his wife Margaret née Priest.  John was buried in Rose Ash on 24 March 1809, Elizabeth followed him on 23 November 1834 at the good age of 87 years.  Before examining his family we notice here the only two other children of John 1721 and his wife Frances née Greenslade who figure in our story:

James c1756 married Mary about 1785, though no details of the event have been discovered.  A headstone in the parish church records their deaths there, James on 18 April 1818 and Mary his wife on 5 August 1824. [15]  Their seven children all lived their lives in the parish.  The eldest, Jenny or Jane, baptized 27 August 1786, married Richard Veysey of Creacombe in Meshaw on 15 November 1813.  Then William was baptized 1 December 1788 but buried on 6 December 1789; the third child, Mary Ann Torrington, was baptized 11 September 1791 but she did not survive beyond 15 years, being buried on 4 November 1806.  Elizabeth, baptized 30 December 1792, married William Partridge Webber of Romansleigh on 18 August 1818 in her home parish.  Her marriage settlement, which has survived, is a lengthy document, dated 8 August 1818.  It involves the transfer of two properties in Romansleigh known as Rowleigh and Cathays, from Richard Webber, father of William Partridge, for the benefit of Elizabeth as part of an involved legal procedure called ‘Lease and Release’.  Detailed arrangements were set out in another document which has not survived. [16]   The remaining three children were William, baptized privately 21 September 1794 and received into the congregation 26 December of that year; Sarah, born c1797 and died 16 April 1822 in Meshaw, a spinster aged 2515 ; and John born c1801 (John 1801).  This John married Mary Anne the daughter of William Torrington by licence on 6 December 1837 in Meshaw but they had just five years together before John 1801 died on 3 December 1842.

William c1757, the remaining son of John 1721, died a bachelor, in Meshaw on 13 February 1843.

Wills which have survived for several of the children and grandchildren of John 1721 indicate that his family was relatively prosperous.  James c1756, yeoman, whose will is dated 4 Apr 1818, bequeathed £105 to each of his daughters Elizabeth and Sarah ‘at 21 or on her marriage day’, and £200 to his son William 1794 who was also made the residuary legatee and sole executor.  The will also mentions his wife Mary and grand-daughter Mary Ann Loosemore Veysey who was to receive ‘21s. per year when she becomes 16 for her life’. [17]   The will of his brother William c1757, yeoman, was dated 30 August 1834.  He left £100 to his nephew John Loosemore of Meshaw yeoman (John 1801), but the chief beneficiary was

“Mary Adams of Meshaw spinster who lives with me to have all my freehold and copyhold messuages etc and all other my real estate to hold unto her use forever, ON TRUST for such person(s) as William Loosemore Adams (the illegitimate son of the said Mary Adams) shall direct and in default ON TRUST for the said William Loosemore Adams and the heirs of his body and in default of such issue ON TRUST for herself the said Mary Adams her heirs etc; to Mary Adams all leasehold estates goods chattels whatsoever ON TRUST for the said William Loosemore Adams and if he die then to Mary Adams [then some elaborate phraseology intended to ensure that Mary Adams gets everything if the son should die]; Mary Adams to be sole Executor.” 

A codicil dated 3 Aug 1839 revoked the legacy of £100 to his nephew John.  The total value of his estate left on trust for William Loosemore Adams amounted to £2000. [18]

William Loosemore Adams, the illegitimate son of William 1794 and Mary Adams, was born c1830; later in life he was known simply as William Loosemore (William 1830).  His mother was born about 1807, the illegitimate daughter of Elizabeth Loosemore, daughter of Roger 1728 of Knowstone.  Evidently the Loosemores of Meshaw accepted responsibility for the boy and his mother for the two lived with William c1757 at North Down Farm, she acting as his ‘mistress and housekeeper’, until his death in 1843 when she inherited the farm.  Mary Adams and her son continued to live there, with George Boundy, a farmer who died some time between the 1861 and 1871 censuses although the 1871 census still shows her and her son, now aged about 39, living at North Down. [19]   William 1794 lived at South Hall, Meshaw which he had inherited from his younger brother John 1801 who had died in 1842. [20]   When he died in 1856 he left South Hall to his sister Elizabeth Webber whom he made his residuary legatee and sole executor. [21]

The result of these bequests was that after 1856 William 1830 became a relatively wealthy man.  Nothing is known of his life after 1871 but at some time he purchased Bunson Farm in Chulmleigh parish, where he was living when he died, a bachelor, on 10 January 1892.  Probate of his will was granted on 13 May 1893, after which it was contested, the resulting complex legal action over three days from 31st January to 2nd February 1894, being reported at length in the local press. [22]

Family of John 1745 (eldest son of John 1721, John 1695, James 1669, Nicholas 1639)

The nine children of John 1745 and Elizabeth née Lee were all baptized in Rose Ash.  Mary, baptized 18 April 1773 who married Thomas Sowden in Rose Ash on 30 March 1791, was followed by John on 13 January 1775 (John 1775); Robert, 13 April 1777 (Robert 1777); Richard, 10 September 1780 (Richard 1780); Elizabeth, 17 July 1785 about whom nothing is known; Ann, 1 October 1787 (Ann 1787) who married Benjamin Heal on 24 April 1815 in Lapford parish; Sarah, 4 September 1789, who married Joseph Boaden on 26 March 1816 in Rose Ash; William, 18 August 1791, buried 27 June 1802.  Ann 1787 and her husband Benjamin emigrated to Canada after 1851, living in Burgessville Township, Oxford County, Ontario where both were buried, Ann on 5 August 1855, Benjamin on 13 June 1866. [23]

John 1775, eldest son of John 1745, lived all his life in Rose Ash; on 15 January 1801 he married Agnes Newcombe there.  She had been baptized in Sandford, a large parish just north of Crediton, on 30 January 1772, the fifth child and eldest daughter of William Newcombe and his wife Mary née Tout.  John and Agnes had five sons, all baptized in Rose Ash: William 15 March 1801 privately (William 1801), Richard 26 December 1804 (Richard 1804), John 27 January 1808 (John 1808), Robert 25 March 1810 (Robert 1810), and James 9 August 1812 (James 1812) who married Elizabeth Fortescue (see below) and is my great-great-grandfather.  John 1775 was a husbandman of modest means.  On 24 Nov 1854, aged 80, he was awarded a testimonial certificate by Taunton Agricultural Association.  The citation reads: “Servant to Mr. J(ohn) T(anner); he being the winner of the Premium offered by the Society ‘To the man who has worked the longest period on a Farm or Farms occupied by a Subscriber, with a good character’.  He has worked for the above Master 50 years.” [24]   His wife Agnes was buried on 12 March 1851, John on 1 April 1855, both in Rose Ash.

Two of the sons of John 1775 together form one of the largest sources for the spread of our name to South Wales and, particularly, Canada and the U.S.A.  A detailed account of their progeny is beyond the scope of this account so the following very brief summary must suffice here.

Descendants of John 1775 (John1745, John 1721, John 1695, James 1669, Nicholas 1639)

William 1801, the eldest son, married Mary Hearton in Twitchen parish on 1 April 1830; their family of two sons and four daughters were all born in North Molton.  Their only surviving son, William Hearton, moved to Plymouth where his descendants continued to live.

Richard 1804, the second son, married Jane Huxtable on 14 March 1825 in Rose Ash parish, where their family of four sons and two daughters were born.  The marriage date was timely, for their eldest son, William, was baptized a fortnight later, on 27 March (William 1825).  This William married Anne Melhuish in Chittlehampton on 24 March 1848 and their family of eight sons and one daughter were all born in South Molton.  Work was hard to find in Devon at this time while the development in South Wales of coal mining and processing of iron and copper provided many opportunities for regular employment, so the entire family moved to the Swansea area some time after 1867.  More than 140 of their descendants are known who have lived in and around Swansea, where the name is still found.  The youngest son, Edwin, born on 4 June 1867 evidently decided that his future lay elsewhere and he emigrated to the USA, probably soon after his 21st birthday.  On 20 November 1894 in Burlington, Vermont, he married Elizabeth Charrette; over 70 of their direct descendants are known in the USA, the early ones mainly in the east coast states of Vermont and Massachusetts, but later in Texas, where they are still living.  The second son, John 1830, married Harriet Phillips on 17 February 1854 in Tiverton; one of their sons, William 1860, became a sergeant in the Devon Rgt and saw service in the Punjab, India while others moved to the Pontypridd area in South Wales.  The third son, James 1836, married Mary Ann Tucker, a union blessed with seventeen children of whom all but three survived to adulthood.  Their descendants in South Wales number at least 39, while a grandson also became a sergeant in the Devon Rgt and served in India where he was stationed in Quetta.  When all the descendants of Richard 1804 are taken into account the total number in South Wales exceeds 200.

John 1808, the third son, married Charlotte Partridge in Thelbridge parish on 30 April 1862, where their family of five daughters and two sons were born.  Neither of their two sons, William Henry and Sidney John, survived to marry so this branch became extinct.

Robert 1810, the fourth son, married Maria May in Molland parish on 8 November 1832, where their first child William was baptized on 4 February 1833 (William 1833).  Their remaining three children were all born in Twitchen parish, John baptized on 14 May 1837 (John 1837) and two daughters.  The family started by William 1833 remained in the area around North Molton, farming at High Bullen in that parish.  John 1837, the younger son, married Mary Ann Tapp on 30 March 1862 in Twitchen, where their four children were born; their only son, Robert 1863, married Mary Jane Blackford in Twitchen on 26 March 1885.  It was not surprising that the eldest son of Robert and Mary Ann, William 1888, decided to leave his home parish for even now Twitchen is one of the smallest and most remote parishes in Devon, offering very few career opportunities to an energetic young man.  He emigrated to the USA, probably as soon as he reached his majority, where he married Mary Louisa Hosegood in Massachusetts in 1911.  His known descendants in that area currently total 32.

James 1812, the fifth son, married Elizabeth Fortescue on 30 January 1834 in Witheridge parish.  Both the sons of this union, John baptized 28 September 1834 and William born 21 September 1837, left Devon for London, where they married and lived with their families.

Here we leave the descendants of John 1775.

Robert 1777, second son of John 1745, enlisted as a private soldier in the 1st Somerset Rgt of Militia some time between May 1802 and March 1803, as can be deduced from surviving records of the regiment. [25]   The militia in England was established as a home defence force whose volunteer members were not liable for service overseas: the Somerset militia remained within the county boundaries of Somerset and Devon.  On 8 April 1804 Robert married Honor Paddon in the parish church of St. Mary Arches, Exeter, by licence.  The marriage allegation sworn by Robert, dated 7 April, has survived but gives no additional information about the couple except that they had both passed their 21st birthdays and that Honor had lived for four weeks in the parish. [26]   During Robert’s several years of militia service his Company moved through Somerset and Devon, being stationed for various periods at Taunton, Bridgewater, Exeter, Tiverton, Dorchester, Gosport and Weymouth.  From his enlistment until 6 November 1807 he remained a private soldier, drawing pay of 1s. per day (5p in present money), but on 7 November 1807 he was promoted Corporal, his pay increasing to 1s.2¼d per day (about 6p) until the end of that quarter on 24 December.  It is likely that he was then discharged after some 5 years service, since his name does not appear in the records of any of the following three years.  It is therefore not surprising that a son, Robert Paddon Loosemore, was born to Robert and Honor c1808.  No details of the birth date or place have survived but when Robert P 1808 died in Plymouth St. Andrew parish on 17 August 1849 the death certificate describes him as a labourer aged 41 years.

Robert P 1808 married Elizabeth Strong on 13 April 1834 in Plymouth Charles parish and although the marriage entry describes him simply as Robert Loosemore, the parish church register for 24 August 1834 records the baptism of Robert Paddon the son of Robert Paddon Loosemore and his wife Elizabeth, who were then living in Morley Lane.  On 6 February 1836 the register records the baptism of Elizabeth Ann Weeks, daughter of Robert Loosemore and Elizabeth his wife, of Morley St., who had been born on 23 November 1835.  Five more children were born in Plymouth St. Andrew parish: Josiah Strong b. 1837Q4, d. 1838Q4; Susanna Strong b. 1839Q4, d. 1843Q4; Elizabeth Hannah c1841 who married James Alexander Fraser, a seaman on HMS Cambridge, on 25 July 1869 at Plymouth Register Office, when she was aged 28; John Weeks b. 25 April 1842 (John W 1842) when his parents were living in High St., Plymouth St. Andrew; and George Strong b. 1845Q2, d. 1849Q3.  Robert P 1808, their father, died of cholera, suggesting that their youngest son, who also died in autumn 1849, may have been a victim of the same dread disease.  Robert’s widow Elizabeth née Strong, then married Samuel Sparks, a rope-maker, on 5 October 1857 in Plymouth St. Andrew parish.

John W 1842 moved to London where he married Ellen Jane Edwards in Camberwell on 1868.  Their family and descendants settled mainly in south-west London, where they are still to be found.

Richard 1780, third son of John 1745, married Margaret Squire in Thorverton parish on 4 May 1807.  They moved to Dawlish St. Gregory in south Devon soon after their marriage for the church register records that on 12 February 1808 Elizabeth Lusemore the daughter of Richard and Margaret was baptized; a brother, Henry, born there on 12 December 1810, was baptized 1 January 1811 and buried the same October.  Some time later the couple returned to Thorverton where they were both buried, Margaret on 8 June 1825, aged 54, and Richard on 11 April 1830, aged 49.

Here we shall leave the descendants of James 1669, eldest son of Nicholas 1639.

Family of John 1672 (2nd son of Nicholas 1639, James c1605)

When in 1692 James 1669 married Margaret Southcomb and left Rose Ash for Mariansleigh, his two brothers John 1672 and Richard 1681 were aged 19 and 11 years, Roger c1683 was about 9 years old, while Nicholas 1686, the baby of the family, was just 6 years old.  Neither of the two older boys was married in his home parish, so we must look further afield to discover their subsequent movements.  One would not expect them to travel far from Rose Ash, nor would it be surprising if young Richard joined his brother John when his turn came to leave the family home and marry.  It is not difficult to locate, with reasonable confidence, the parish in which they settled on leaving Rose Ash.

The parish of Burrington, in North Tawton hundred, lies on high ground some nine miles east-south-east of Rose Ash, immediately west of the river Taw at its confluence with the river Mole, across from Chulmleigh parish.  Although the parish church register starts in 1601 it contains no mention of the Loosemore family until 10 January 1694/5 when it records that Mary the daughter of John Loosemore and his wife Jane was baptized; three sons and another daughter of John and Jane were then baptized in the period up to 25 February 1702/3. [27]   No record of John’s marriage has been found in the very untidy church register; a search through the registers of all parishes within 10-12 miles of Rose Ash has been equally unsuccessful.  Yet in view of the presence in the register of Richard and his family and their identical surname, there must be a strong presumption that John 1672 did marry Jane in 1694 when he would have been 22 years old, bringing her to Burrington to make a home (Jane is sometimes apparently spelt Jone, though ‘a’ and ‘o’ can easily present transcription problems).  No obvious reason comes to mind for the two brothers’ exile from their native village, but one may speculate that their father Nicholas 1639 had exhausted his financial resources in making provision for the marriage of his eldest son James 1669 to Margaret Southcomb and that in consequence the two next younger sons were forced to fend for themselves as soon as possible.

John 1672’s other children after Mary 1695 were John, baptized on 12 January 1696/7 (John 1697), James on 26 January 1698/9 (James 1699), George on 18 December 1700 (George 1700), and Joanna on 25 February 1702/3 (Joanna 1703).  Mary, the eldest child, married John Alford in Chulmleigh on 17 July 1734, when she is referred to in the church register as ‘of Burrington’; she then leaves our story.  The two eldest, John 1697 and James 1699, continued their father’s westward drift when they reached adulthood, both young men marrying and making their homes in the hilltop parish of Atherington, lying just north-west of Burrington.

Family & descendants of John 1697 (eldest son of John 1672, Nicholas 1639, James c1605)

John 1697 married Mary Tapp in Atherington on 10 May 1719.  The Atherington church register is imperfect and we have little firm evidence of his family but by reasonable inference a son, also John, was born c1723 (referred to as John 1723) who later married Elizabeth.  The William Loosemore who was baptized in Atherington on 22 July 1750 ‘the son of John and Elizabeth’ (William 1750) is assumed to be a son of John 1723 and Elizabeth.  Elizabeth, who was buried in Atherington on 9 May 1794, was a beneficiary in the will of her aunt Joanna 1703, see below.  William 1750 was twice married.  His first wife Wilmot Chidley, whom he married on 5 November 1775, was said to be ‘of St. Giles in the Wood’, a parish just south of Atherington.  She bore him a daughter and two sons all baptized in Atherington: Elizabeth on 25 July 1779, who married John Tucker on 15 June 1801; John on 9 March 1777 (John 1777) and William on 7 July 1782 (William 1782).  Wilmot, first wife of William 1750, was buried on 21 February 1808 in Atherington aged 69.  William 1750, then aged 58, re-married 12 April 1809 to Agnes Carter but there was no issue of this marriage; he died on 22 September 1823.  In his will, which describes him as a nurseryman, he left a house in Colebrooke parish to his younger son William 1782 and other property in Atherington to his wife Agnes for her life, with remainder to the same William. [28]

John 1777, a joiner, eldest son of William 1750, married Sarah Tucker on 2 December 1824 in Ilfracombe though all their five children, three sons and two daughters, were born and baptized in Atherington.  Most families have one or two skeletons in their cupboard, and the Loosemores cannot claim to be an exception.  It fell to their youngest child, baptized on 1 March 1835 as Henry Tucker Loosemore (Henry 1835) to earn the reputation of being a thoroughly bad hat.  Even before he married Maria Hill on 8 September 1861 in Barnstaple he had become known as a troublemaker, mainly due to his injudicious consumption of local beers and spirits.  After marriage he compounded his previous bad behaviour by ill-treating his long-suffering wife.  He appeared before the local magistrates on not less than fifteen occasions between 1857 and 1877, on a variety of charges ranging from being drunk and disorderly, causing grievous bodily harm, and damage to property.  Perhaps his outstanding achievement occurred in November 1867, when he was the ringleader of a full-scale public riot in Barnstaple, as was reported in extenso in the local newspaper. [29]   For this last offence he served 12 months imprisonment.  His lesser offences cost him various periods in custody ranging from 2 weeks to nine months.  Eventually Henry 1835 seems to have sunk out of sight and is believed to have died in Exeter in Autumn 1900.

Family of William 1782 (William 1750, William 1723, John 1697, John 1672, Nicholas 1639)

William 1782 married Joanna Parker in Atherington on 1 April 1807; over the next twenty four years eleven children, 4 sons and seven daughters, were born to them and baptized in that parish.  Their descendants proliferated there, where even today (August 2002) Thomas Loosemore, descended from William 1811, their second son, is still the village postmaster.  Indeed most of the descendants of William 1782 lived in or near Atherington, leading unexceptional lives.  However his third child, George baptized on 28 August 1814 (George 1814), is specially important for our story.  He married Elizabeth Braund in nearby Fremington parish on 24 December 1836, a union blessed with nine children of whom the first three were sons, all baptized in Fremington: William on 9 November 1837 (William 1837), John on 30 June 1839 (John 1839) and George on  25 May 1841 (George 1841).

Family of George 1814 (3rd son of William 1782, William 1750, William 1723, John 1697)

William 1837, eldest son of George 1814, married Emma Handford in her home parish of Frithelstock on 1 September 1860, which became another fruitful union.  The eldest of their eleven children, George born 25 October 1860 and baptized in Atherington on 18 November of that year (George 1860), emigrated to Canada in 1879 or 1880 where he married Jessie Dowswell on 20 November 1891 in Claude Co., Ontario.  He was a sharpshooter with both rifle and shotgun and came to Canada with a group of sportsmen to shoot competitively and/or hunt.  He and his wife lived for a few years in Brampton, Ontario, before moving to Skanee, Michigan, USA, in 1900; both became citizens of USA in 1905.  Later they sold their 160 acre homestead to a timber company and bought a farm closer to school, stores, and church.  Thirty of their Loosemore descendants are now known in Canada and USA.  Their sons George E and Russell A both served in the army in the 1914-18 war; two of their grandchildren, Wesley G born 4 October 1923 (Wesley G 1923) and Bernice, both children of George E, served in the 1939-45 war.  Wesley G 1923 volunteered for the USAAF, becoming a wireless operator on B17 aircraft (the Flying Fortress).  He served for a period in England, flying 35 operations with the USAAF 303 Bomb Group in 1944, both before and after D-day.  He and his wife Helmi live in Florida in the winter, retiring to a property in Michigan during the summer months.  They both revisited England in the summer of 2000 for the dedication ceremony of a memorial at the Bomb Group’s wartime base at Molesworth, Cambridge to honour members who fell in the 1939-1945 war. [30]

Ellen, a younger sister of George 1860, born in Atherington on 30 Jul 1871 (Ellen 1871) became engaged to a local boy Edmund Ley Down, born in Atherington on 21 April 1870 who then emigrated to USA in 1888.  She followed him four years later and they were married on 6 September 1893 in Newark, New Jersey.  Their descendants still live in N.Y. state.

John 1839, second son of George 1814, married Mary Moore in late 1860 in her home parish of Yarnscombe.  Eliza Mary, baptized 30 July 1861 (Eliza M 1861), the first of their three children, became engaged to William Symons, who emigrated to USA via Canada leaving his fiancée pregnant, unbeknown to him.  Thus the birth of their first son was registered in England, in autumn 1880, as Wilfred George Loosemore since his mother was still single.  When William Symons reached Canada and discovered that Eliza M 1861 was with child, he worked for 2-3 years, saving enough money to return to England, marry Eliza, and bring her and their son Wilfred George back again to Canada.  They also then brought back with them Eliza’s younger brother John, born on 23 December 1865 (John 1865), two months after his father died from typhoid fever.  The family stayed at Komoko, Canada until after the birth of their 4th child, afterwards moving to California, USA, where a further six children were born.  Their descendants still live in California, especially in the coastal area north of Los Angeles around San Luis Obispo.

George 1863, born in Yarnscombe on 6 September 1863, was the second child of John 1839 and his wife Mary Moore.  On 26 December 1885 he married Hannah Rocky in Dowland parish, after which they lived in Barnstaple where their only child, Wilfred John, was born in 1887 (Wilfred J 1867).  After the unexpectedly premature death of John 1839 on 13 September 1865 Mary his widow remarried on 7 April 1872 to John Darch, a master carpenter and a strict disciplinarian.  As a young man George 1863 was able to learn the trade of carpenter from his step-father, a period of training which stood him in good stead when he founded the Barnstaple firm of “G.Loosemore, builders”, which became “G.Loosemore & Son” when in 1914 his son became a partner.  In 1920 Wilfred J 1867 married a Scottish girl from Morayshire, Adah Joss Cowie Stewart, in Barnstaple, with whom he had a daughter Peggy Hannah Adah born in 1921 (Peggy 1921) and a son Denis George Stewart born in 1925 who in due course also became a director of “G. Loosemore & Son”.

Peggy 1921 was an enthusiastic, and proficient musician, becoming an Associate of Trinity College, London at the age of 18.  In 1950 she married a school teacher, Donald Jones, after which she was always known as Peggy Loosemore Jones.  After her marriage the couple moved to Middlesborough where she continued her musical activities, even finding time to write.  She had great success as a broadcaster, reading 16 of her short stories on BBC Radio 4; the BBC also broadcast several of her plays.  After the death of her husband in his 40s she began part-time teaching English, music and drama to support her three children.  In 1982 she returned to Barnstaple where she was active as a local music teacher.  She also became secretary of the Barnstaple Writer's Group, a member of the North Devon Choral Society and musical director of the Pilton Ladies' Choir.  As an author she wrote poetry and romantic novels of which 10 were pub. by Robert Hale.  She also contributed regularly to the local press, writing on a wide range of subjects.

John 1865, third child of John 1839, a young man of an adventurous disposition, worked his way to the central Pacific coast area, working on a ranch in San Miguel, near the coast about 20 miles north of Ascadero in southern California, for a while.  He was then a law officer (sheriff) in Handford, California, eventually earning enough money to buy a ranch in the Shandon area, not far from Handford..  The ranch which was, and still is, called the Antelope, is located between the connecting highways 46 and 41, about 15 miles east of Shandon, inland from Atascadero. During this period he married Gertrude Cecilia Word on 19 February 1902 in California.  Later he bought a place in Atascadero, south of San Miguel midway between it and San Luis Obispo, building an adobe home which still stands today.  Several members of the family still live in the Atascadero area, some 120 miles north of Los Angeles.  Towards the end of his life he developed prostate cancer and was nursed at home by his wife until he died on 17 March 1954.

George 1841, third son of George 1814, left Devon some time after the 1851 census for Islington, in north London, where he worked as a house painter.  On 10 October 1864 he married Eliza Phoebe Graham, a young widow; nine of their thirteen children born between 1865 and 1886 survived into adulthood.  Their families and descendants were still living in the same area at least up to the 1960s.

Family of James 1699 (2nd son of John 1672, Nicholas 1639, James c1605)

James 1699 married Margaret Milton on 24 December 1724, also in Atherington, though this union was less fruitful than that of his elder brother.  Relevant entries in the church register are confusing, and probably incomplete.  Jane, the daughter of James and Margaret who was baptized on 2 February 1725/6 may be the Joan Loosemore who married William Marly/Marley on 22 October 1758; she may also be the mother of Philip, a ‘base son of Johan Losamore’, who was baptized 7 November 1756.  Mary, described as a daughter of James and Margaret, was buried on 12 April 1722, two years before her parents’ marriage, so some irregularity was not unknown in this family.  The register is silent on the date of Mary’s baptism nor is anything known of the young Philip but he may well have died in infancy.

Family of George 1700 (3rd son of John 1672, Nicholas 1639, James c1605)

George 1700, youngest son, married Jane Beer on 23 September 1722 in her home parish of Meshaw but their time together was a mere four years.  The Meshaw burial register records that on 21 November 1726 were buried ‘George Loosemore & his son (a child) in one grave’.  Nothing more is known of Jane his widow.

Family of Joanna 1703 (youngest child of John 1672, Nicholas 1639, James c1605)

Joanna 1703 was twice married.  On 1 October 1728 she married William Matthews ‘of Colebrooke’ in Crediton parish where she had been living for a period long enough to establish residency.  The couple then made their home in Colebrooke parish where her husband owned several properties, as we shall see later. [31]   Nothing is known about their life there and it is not clear that there were any children of the marriage.  William Matthews made his will in October 1754 and died shortly afterwards, being buried in his home parish on 7 November of that year.  Apart from a few bequests he left all his estate to his widow Joanna whom he made his sole executrix. [32]   Joanna proved his will and on 28 October 1755 in Colebrooke parish church she took for her second husband William Wackerell ‘of Winkleigh’.  He seems to have been a man with a keen eye for any opportunity to better himself, as we shall see.  Their marriage was short-lived, for Joanna made her will on 6 April 1756 and died the following month; she was buried in Colebrook on 15 May 1756. [33]

Among several legacies in her will she left to ‘John Lusemoore of Atherington my brother [John 1697] the fee simple of a messuage and tenement of land in Colebrook wherein William Brown now dwells’, and to ‘Elizabeth Loosemoore’ a quarter share of ‘all my wearing apparell’.  A chief beneficiary was her nephew John Stephens, to whom she bequeathed a substantial property in Colebrooke known as ‘Late Ellots’.  Soon after her death he was forced to prosecute a suit in the Court of Chancery against William Wackerell and several others, alleging that Wackerell had gained possession of all the title deeds to his wife’s properties (presumably those left to her by her first husband), including the one bequeathed to him, and that therefore he had been unable to prove title to his bequest.  John Stephens’s bill of complaint has survived though in generally poor condition.  His argument is very involved, with much legal repetition, but supporting documents referred to in the bill have survived elsewhere, among which is a quitclaim to John Stephens signed by William Wackerell, the effect of which was a legal admission by Wackerell that he must cease his obstruction in this matter.  Stephens may therefore be presumed to have won his Chancery suit. [34]

Family of Richard 1681 (3rd son of Nicholas 1639, James c1605)

Richard 1681 and his family remained in Burrington, unlike his elder brother John 1672.  He married Joan Partridge in Barnstaple on 20 June 1722 though the Burrington baptismal register records that two children of Richard and Johan were baptized some years prior to this date: Johan on 23 August 1712 who was buried only six days later, and Nicholas on 7 April 1714.  These may have been issue of an earlier marriage so far undiscovered, since the baptismal register entries make no mention of marital irregularities.  A third child, also Johan, was baptized four months after the marriage, on 30 October 1722, and buried 13 December 1723.  There followed James on 20 November 1723 (James 1723), Roger 27 October 1726 (Roger 1726), Mary 22 May 1732, and their youngest child, Elizabeth, baptized in the adjoining parish of Roborough on 30 April 1734 and buried in Burrington on 11 December 1739.  Of the surviving children, Mary married John Ford in Burrington on 4 May 1763 and leaves our story.  Roger 1726 died a bachelor and was buried in Burrington on 8 August 1757; his will was proved on 2 September 1757 in Barnstaple but is now lost.

James 1723, the sole remaining child of Richard 1681, married Elizabeth Alford on 12 November 1758 in Burrington, a union which produced seven children, six daughters and a single son, all baptized in that parish.  Joan, the eldest daughter, baptized on 5 February 1758, married John Bradley 7 December 1788 in Burrington; Mary, 17 August 1759, was buried 20 January 1820 in Burrington, a spinster aged 63 years; Elizabeth on 11 January 1762, married James Turner on 16 September 1793 in Burrington; Susanna on 7 July 1765, married John Saunders on 16 November 1791 in Burrington; Grace 10 June 1762, was buried 6 October 1833 in Burrington, a spinster age 63 years.  The burial register states that Grace was living in High Bickington parish, perhaps with her younger brother Richard and his family who were then living at Little Silver farm in High Bickington; Richard had been baptized in Burrington on 20 June 1768 (Richard 1768).  The youngest child, Jane baptized on 17 September 1770, married Thomas Isaacs on 29 June 1803 in Burrington.  Nothing more is known of James 1723 and his wife, who were buried in their home parish, James on 12 April 1777, Elizabeth on 17 February 1799.

Family of Richard 1768 (only son of James 1723, Richard 1681, Nicholas 1639)

Richard 1768 married Grace Hill in Burrington on 14 January 1794, a union that proved not only fruitful but whose offspring eventually spread the Loosemore name to places as far apart as Tasmania, Canada and then widely into the USA.  Of their nine children, the first six were baptized in Burrington: Thomas 23 March 1794 (Thomas 1794); William 11 July 1797 (William 1797); Elizabeth and Mary, both 26 February 1800; Grace on 10 January 1803; Richard 27 March 1808 (Richard 1808).  The youngest three were baptized in High Bickington: John 19 May 1811 (John 1811); Ann 27 Mar 1814; and Jane 20 July 1816.  Their father, Richard 1768, died in South Molton on 10 June 1839; his simple will gave small legacies to several of his children and made John 1811 his residuary legatee and executor. [35]   Richard’s wife, Grace, had died aged 66 years the previous year, on 25 February 1838, as is recorded on a joint headstone in South Molton churchyard.  Of their children:

Thomas 1794, eldest son of Richard 1768, married Amey/Ann Manning on 31 March 1834 in Chittlehampton parish where, at the time of the 1851 census, he was farming 50 acres.  Their nine children, the first four of whom died young, were all baptized in that parish.  Wilmot Manning, the fifth child, baptized on 28 November 1841 (Wilmot 1841) died a spinster in Kings Nympton parish on 15 March 1923, but an illegitimate daughter, Emily Manning Loosemore, was born to her at Bagshot, Surrey, on 21 March 1866 (Emily 1866).  Emily 1866 was brought up by “auntie Em” (see below) and at first worked in a dairy. [36]   Later she became a domestic servant in York, then applied successfully to emigrate to Australia.  She sailed on the SS Cornwall, arriving in West Australia on 17 June 1898, where she was assisted with her baggage by one of the labourers on the wharf, a German seaman named Heinrich Blume.  This early meeting was followed by their marriage  on 11 Nov 1899, a union which produced six children.  Her husband was interred during the 1914-18 war and the marriage did not survive.  Emily 1866 died in Australia on 11 Feb 1954, her husband in 1940.  Ann Manning, the sixth child of Thomas 1794, born in mid-1844, married in Brentford in Autumn 1864; Jane Manning, the seventh child, was born in 1847 but nothing more is known of her.  Thomas Manning, the eighth child born 19 July 1849 (Thomas M 1849), married Sarah Rendell at Yeovil late in 1875.  Emily Manning, the ninth and youngest child, was born in 1852.  She was in service at Wood House Farm, South Molton in 1871 and may have been the “auntie Em” who brought up Emily 1866, see above.

Thomas M 1849 and Sarah his wife had a family of five sons and then one daughter.  They lived in the area around Exeter, where he worked as a railway guard on the new Great Western Railway.  Sarah died on 30 October 1879 at the young age of 49, after which Thomas M remarried; he died in Heavitree, Exeter in 1940 at the ripe old age of ninety.  Two of the sons died young, another did not marry, but another two, Thomas Charles born in summer 1876 (Thomas C 1876) and Francis Henry born 16 May 1886 (Francis H 1886) decided to seek their fortunes abroad.  On 18 December 1920 Francis H 1886, his wife Ethel May née Colliss and their two children (Francis Ralph, Ronald Henry) left London on the Orient Line SS Ormonde of 9021 reg. tons, arriving first at Melbourne, then on to Tasmania, where their descendants still live.  His brother Thomas C 1876 and his family travelled separately, eventually farming at Scottsdale, Tasmania; their descendants now live in Launceston.

William 1797, second son of Richard 1768, died in the parish on 16 February 1830 a bachelor of 32, as recorded on a headstone in the churchyard; Elizabeth 1800 and Mary 1800, possibly twins, both gave birth to sons outside marriage but later Elizabeth entered into a stable marriage;  Grace 1803 married John Norris on 7 June 1830 in Burrington; Richard 1808 married Elizabeth Smyth on 16 July 1837 in South Molton parish where they had a single son, Elias, who died in 1915 aged 75; Ann 1814 married William Heard on 10 February 1836 in South Molton; Jane 1816 married James Hancock in 1838Q1 in South Molton RD.

John 1811, baptized 19 May 1811, the seventh child and youngest son of Richard 1768, married Jane Hancock on 18 October 1836 in George Nympton, her home parish, as was reported in a local newspaper.  Ten children were born to them by 1851. [37]   The eldest two, Robert, 14 January 1836 (Robert 1836) and John, 20 February 1838 (John 1838), both born in George Nympton, were followed by Jane in 1839, Fannie in 1841, Thomas 1842, William 1844, Richard on 30 January 1845 (Richard 1845), and James on 25 May 1846 (James 1846) all born in South Molton, then George in May 1848 (George 1848) and Mary 1850 both born in Chittlehampton parish.  Their story is important since over 140 of their Loosemore descendants are known in the New World.

Family & descendants of John 1811 (Richard 1768, James 1723, Richard 1681, Nicholas 1639)

By 1851 John 1811, a yeoman farmer of South Molton, must have decided that opportunities for his large family were so limited in Devon that they must take the bold step of leaving their homeland to make a new life in the New World.  In May 1852 he applied to South Molton parish council for assistance in financing a passage by ship to Quebec. [38]   Whether or not his application was successful the whole family did reach Canada shortly afterwards, where their last two children were born, Ann in 1852 and Charles in 1854.  His boldness was vindicated, for the 1861 census for Barton Township, Wentworth County, Ontario, records that John 1811 was living with his wife and twelve children on a 188 acre farm with 128 acres under cultivation, growing spring wheat, peas, oats, corn, potatoes, turnips, barley, hay, butter and pork.  They had 2 bulls, 9 steers, 4 milk cows, 4 horses, 2 colts and 7 pigs.  No details of their life in Ontario have been found, but he died at the ripe old age of 91 on 1 June 1901; Jane his wife had died in 1889.  In his later years at least some of the family had spread out across the border with U.S.A.  Of his twelve children:

Robert 1836, the eldest, married Fidelia McMasters on 31 March 1869 in Spring Lake, Michigan, U.S.A, where their three children were born.  George Clinton 1872, their only son, later worked in the lumber industry in Burnside, Louisiana, where he married Lille Mae Valley.  Their family of six sons and three daughters were all born in that state.  Robert 1836 died in Ontario in 1919; his son George Clinton died in California in 1934.

John 1838, the second, married Sarah Finch on 26 September 1867, also in Spring Lake.  Their family of four sons and one daughter were born there and later all made their homes in the Michigan area except for their third son, Harry Alfred 1874, born on 13 August of that year.  He moved back across the border to Ontario, worked for a while as a lumber engineer in Thunder Bay on the north shore of Lake Superior, then moved eastwards along the north shore of Lake Huron to Cutler due north of Manitoulin Island, then to Killarney, where he met his wife.  After his marriage he was for 27-years the Lonely Island lighthouse-keeper, off the east coast of Manitoulin Island.  His tenure was usually from early Spring to late Autumn of each year when sea traffic ceased for the winter.  He retired in 1942 and was well respected locally as a gracious, good, man until his death in May 1957 after an illness lasting several weeks.

Jane 1839 and Fannie 1841, the next two children, stayed in Ontario, Canada, marrying two brothers.

Thomas 1842, the fifth, married Margaret Paire in Ontario province, Canada, where all their eleven children (six sons, five daughters) were born.  Thomas 1842 died in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1933.  Most of their children also stayed near to Hamilton, Ontario, except for John William 1888, the youngest son born on 23 September of that year.  He married Mildred Murphy in Hamilton in 1910 but the couple later moved to Gary, Indiana, U.S.A, where he worked for the U.S. Steel Co.  His eldest son John Vincent 1912 lived and married at Crown Point, Indiana but his two sons made their homes in Gary, as did their grandfather.

William 1844, the sixth, married Margaret Garvey in Illinois, U.S.A.  They then moved back north to Michigan and then west to South Dakota about 1876, where he died some time after 1881.  Their family included four daughters and two sons, one of whom lived in Gayville, South Dakota, the other in Minneapolis.

Richard 1845, the seventh, and George 1848, the ninth, both married and lived in Fruitport, Michigan.

James 1846, the eighth, stayed in Canada where he married; he died in 1921.

Nothing is known of Mary 1850 and Anne 1852 except that Anne was born in Canada.  Charles 1854, the youngest, also born in Canada, died in 1872.

There we leave the descendants of Richard 1681, third son of Nicholas 1639, son of James c1605.

Family of Roger c1683 (fourth son of Nicholas 1639)

Unlike his elder brothers John 1672 and Richard 1681 who moved eastwards to Burrington, when Roger c1683 was old enough to leave his parents he moved first to Meshaw parish, immediately south of Rose Ash.  Then on 9 June 1712 he married Ann Webber of Morchard Bishop parish, by licence in the parish church of Exeter St. David, so Ann may then have been a minor. [39]   The couple made their home in Morchard Bishop, where their three children were baptized, Elizabeth on 24 August 1713, Joan on 1 September 1718 and John on 25 April 1721.  Elizabeth later married John Webber in her home parish on 17 April 1744 by licence but Joan and John died in childhood, both being buried on 17 January 1723/4.  Their mother was also buried in Morchard Bishop, on 24 September 1741.  Three years later, on 17 May 1744, Roger c1683 married Elizabeth Gotham of the same parish, though the ceremony was held in the parish of Exeter St. Petrock.  Joan, a daughter of this marriage, was baptized in Morchard Bishop on 11 Jun 1745; she married Robert Gregory there on 14 February 1763.  Roger c1683 was buried in his parish on 24 June 1761; his widow outlived him by over 20 years, being buried there on 11 July 1782, aged 75 years.

Family of Nicholas 1686 (youngest surviving son of Nicholas 1639)

Nicholas 1686 married Mary Southcomb on 19 December 1718 in Barnstaple; she had been baptized in Rose Ash on 20 May 1694 the daughter of Robert Southcomb.  Together they had a family of six children, two sons and four daughters, all baptized in Rose Ash.  Their eldest child, Joan, bap. 15 February 1721/2, married Robert Harris of Rose Ash by licence on 19 November 1739; Mary bap. 27 July 1724 was buried 29 July 1727; next came Roger bap. 6 January 1727/8 (Roger 1728); Nicholas bap. 18 May 1730 (Nicholas 1730) was buried at Knowstone on 6 October 1799; another Mary bap. 15 July 1733 was buried 30 January 1745/6; and Grace bap. privately 27 February 1735/6, was buried a week later on 7 March 1735/6.

Nicholas 1686 seems to have prospered, perhaps assisted by the dowry brought by his wife at their marriage.  Only three years later he, together with Mary and his brother-in-law Anthony Southcomb, leased from John Courtenay of Molland that part of the manor of Knowstone Beaupel known as Poole, which included Poole Farm together with various other lands and buildings there, for the term of their lives at a yearly rental of 11s.5d.  The consideration, ‘2 pieces of broad gold marked with globe and sceptre and £260’, was at that time a considerable sum in ready money.  It was intended as an investment, for the counterpart lease dated 29 May 1721, which has survived, makes it clear that the property was already occupied by a sub-tenant. [40]   Nicholas 1686 was churchwarden of Rose Ash in 1730, [41] and was buried in the parish on 6 April 1738, probate of his will being granted on 5 May of the same year. [42]   Three years later, on 27 November 1741 in Rose Ash church, Mary his widow took as her second husband Thomas Veysey of Creacombe.  Of his two sons:

Roger 1728, eldest son of Nicholas 1686, married Elizabeth Nicholls on 27 May 1755 in East Buckland parish, where Roger, their eldest child, was baptized on 7 April 1756 (Roger 1756).  The rest of their six children were probably all born in Knowstone, though the church register is incomplete.  Joan married Richard Skinner there on 1 December 1797; Sarah was baptized there on 5 April 1765 (Sarah 1765); Ann, baptized there on 21 November 1771 was buried there on 31 January 1772; Mary was buried there on 17 May 1772; and Elizabeth, referred to as ‘daughter’ in her father’s will.  Sarah 1765 was the mother of an illegitimate son known as John Loosemore, baptized in Knowstone on 15 April 1793 (John 1793).  We shall meet him briefly below when discussing Sarah’s elder brother Roger 1756.  Elizabeth was the mother of an illegitimate daughter known as Mary Adams born c1807, though she (Elizabeth) was later living with Matthew Fisher of Knowstone.  Mary Adams has already been mentioned as the ‘mistress and housekeeper’ of William c1757 of Meshaw; their son William Loosemore Adams, later known as William Loosemore (William 1830) was the major beneficiary in his father’s will.18   Roger 1728, the executor of his father’s will, probably inherited Poole Farm from his father, though the parish land tax assessments only confirm his occupancy from 1780 until his death in December 1813. [43]   He was buried in Knowstone on the 13th of that month at the great age of 84 years, having outlived his wife Elizabeth by some 40 years.  She had been buried in Knowstone on 9 July 1773.  His will, made on 16 June 1808, does not give his date of death nor the date of probate.  His legatees were ‘my daughter Elizabeth wife of Matthew Fisher of Knowstone; my daughter Sarah Loosmore; my grand-daughter Mary Adams; my four grand-children William, John, Richard and Sarah sons and daughter of my late daughter Joan Skinner; my grandson John Loosmore [then a minor]’. [44]   His eldest son, Roger 1756, was named as his residuary legatee and sole executor.

Roger 1756, a bachelor and a shadowy figure, died on 17 September 1839, and was buried at Knowstone on 24 September, aged 83.  Probate of his will was granted on 27 November of the same year.  He is there described as a yeoman farmer of Pool, Knowstone, which he would have inherited from his father.  His beneficiaries include ‘my sister Sarah Loosmore, my sister Elizabeth Fisher, Mary Adams daughter of the said Elizabeth Fisher’ as well as naming several other children of the union with Matthew Fisher.  He bequeathed all his property to ‘John Loosmore, son of my sister Sarah Loosmore who now lives with me; the said John Loosmore to be the residual legatee and sole executor.’ [45]   As we have already seen, this John (John 1793), was the illegitimate son of Sarah 1765, who remained a spinster, probably acting as housekeeper for her bachelor brother in return for supporting her and her son.  A strong bond must have developed between Roger 1756 and John 1793 for, as we have seen, the younger man was made his residuary legatee and the executor of his will.  John 1793 married Jane Tidboald on 27 March 1841 in her home parish of Rackenford, after which they lived at Southwood Cottage, Dulverton parish. [46]   Jane died early in 1861 in Dulverton, seven years before John 1793, whose will records his death there on 19 December 1868; probate was granted on 13 July 1869 at Taunton.  Among his many bequests he left £50 in trust to the churchwardens of Knowstone, the income to be distributed among poor people in his home parish.  A wooden plaque commemorating the gift may still be seen in the parish church.

Nicholas 1730, the younger son of Nicholas 1686, was buried in Knowstone on 6 October 1799, probate of his will being granted on 26 October of the same year.  Nothing is known of his life but he probably died a bachelor.  In his will he is described as a yeoman of Landkey parish.  His brother Roger 1728 was made residuary legatee and sole executor. [47]

We now leave details of the later Loosemores of the first marriage of James c1605 and Mary Colman of Rose Ash, returning to examine the outcome of his second marriage.

Descendants of the second marriage of James c1605

In the summer of 1644 James c1605 was left a widower with at least two young children, Nicholas 1639 and Joan 1642 so it was almost inevitable that he should re-marry.  No record of this second marriage has survived but the parish register does contains information about several children of James from which we can infer that some time between 1644 and 1650 he remarried to another Mary.  This union produced at least nine children, three sons and six daughters, of whom all except one son survived childhood.  All the daughters were married in Rose Ash, Grace to Nicholas Aishelford on 20 June 1670, Wilmot ‘daughter of James’ to Thomas Beer on 16 September 1679; Emlin, also ‘daughter of James’ to James Pincombe on 23 August 1676; Charity to John Stick on 17 October 1688; Christian, baptized 8 April 1662, to William Stephens on 6 August 1700, and Elizabeth, baptized 28 February 1665/6, to John Tapp on 3 April 1700.  No baptismal record exists for the four eldest girls Grace, Wilmot, Emlin and Charity, so they were probably born before 1660.  Of the sons, John was baptized on 18 January 1660/1 and buried just six months later, on 18 June 1661 and the youngest son, another John, was baptized on 9 February 1663/4.  Nothing is known of his family and he may have died a bachelor.  The remaining son, James, probably born about 1656, will be referred to as James c1656.  He is also a central figure in our story and we now consider his family and descendants.

Family and descendants of James c1656, son of James c1605 (2nd marriage)

Useful information relating to his marriage and male descendants successively up to the mid-1840s is contained in a series of lease indentures relating to a property in Knowstone parish known as Rose House.  Details of the property are given in the 1840 parish tithe apportionment, from which we know that apart from the house and garden it comprised an orchard of 2¾ acres, two meadows totalling 3½ acres, and nine closes of land, the whole extending to 21¾ acres. [48]   The house, garden and most of the lands lie immediately east of Knowstone village astride the road towards East Knowstone, mainly on the south side.  The earliest lease indenture, a counterpart lease dated 10 September 1689, recites the content of another lease dated 24 December 1683, now lost, by which John Skinner leased Rose House to Joan Kingdon of Knowstone, widow, for 99 years ‘determinable on the lives of the said Joan Kingdon, John Kingdon her son and Joan Loosemore wife of James Loosemore of Rose Ash.’  The 1689 lease then transfers the property to James Loosemore, for 99 years determinable on the lives of John and Mary Loosemore, children of James, for a consideration of £52.7s. and an annual rent of 13s.4d. [49]   Hence we know that some time before 24 December 1683 James Loosemore had married Joan the daughter of William and Joan Kingdon, that Joan the elder was widowed before that same date, and that by 10 September 1689 James c1656 and his wife Joan the younger had at least two children, Mary and John.  Also, by the latter date he had replaced Robert Skinner as the chief lessee for this property of John Courtenay of Molland, lord of the manor of Knowstone Beaupel.  In fact, Joan the younger was baptized in Rose Ash on 12 April 1682, her brother John probably in Knowstone c1686.

Since the Kingdon family lived in Knowstone it is almost certain that Johan the younger was married to James c1656 in that parish.  Unhappily most Knowstone parish records of this period were destroyed in 1890 when the vicarage was gutted by fire; bishops transcripts are also incomplete, so the exact date of their marriage is unknown. [50]   The eight known children of James c1656 and Joan née Kingdon with their dates of baptism are: Joan 12 April 1682 (Joan 1682) and Mary 19 May 1684 (Mary 1684), both in Rose Ash; John c1686 and James c1689, both probably in Knowstone; Daniel 10 November 1691 (Daniel 1691) and Henry 10 April 1694 (Henry 1694), both in Knowstone; Elizabeth 16 October 1696 (Elizabeth 1696) and Robert 7 October 1699 (Robert 1699), both in Rose Ash. [51]

Joan 1682 married John Nott ‘of Swimbridge’ in Rose Ash on 13 February 1709/10; the marriage register entry describes her as ‘the younger’, no doubt to distinguish her from her mother.  They lived in Swimbridge parish where Joan was buried on 8 June 1746; she was then a widow.  Her sister Mary 1684 married Elias Nott, brother of John, in Rose Ash on 5 June 1715 but Elias died 6 months later and was buried on 3 December 1715, five months before their only child, also Elias, was baptized on 21 May 1716.  Mary later took as her second husband Elias Bray whom she married on 26 January 1720/1 in her home parish.  They were both still living in 1756, as we shall see later.  Elizabeth 1696 married John Southcomb in Rose Ash on 19 February 1722/3 and leaves our story.  Robert 1699 was buried in Rose Ash on 24 December 1724; he probably died a bachelor.  John c1686 and James c1689 will figure centrally later in our story but first we shall look briefly at the two younger sons.

Daniel 1691 left Devon for London, one assumes as a young man, but all that is known about him is contained in his will dated 3 September 1744, and in a suit prosecuted in the Court of Chancery by his nephew John Nott, a son of his eldest married sister Joan Nott.  Daniel’s will records that he lived in the Liberty of the Rolls, an extra-parochial liberty lying immediately outside the bounds of the City adjacent to St. Andrew Holborn parish. [52]   He is there described as cordwainer (shoemaker), so it is mildly surprising that he was able to make bequests on a fairly substantial scale.  After leaving £5 each to the poor of Rose Ash and Knowstone parishes and dismissing his brother James 1689 with 1s. he left £5 to ‘my sister Elizabeth Circum’ [53] , and £175 to be shared equally between ‘my brother John Loosemore and my sisters Joan Nott and Mary Bray’.  Mary Bray was also given ‘all the plate of which I was possessed before my intermarriage with my present wife’ while John was to receive ‘all my wearing apparel linnen and woollen’.  The residue of Daniel’s estate was bequeathed to his wife Mary who was appointed his sole executor.  She proved his will, receiving a grant of Administration in the PCC on 7 June 1745. [54]   It is unclear whether or not the odd reference to ‘my present wife’ implies that Mary was Daniel’s second wife.

After Daniel’s death his shared bequest of £175 caused dissension between the three beneficiaries which eventually resulted in the legal action referred to above.  It was initiated by young John Nott, son of Daniel’s sister Joan who had died in 1746, against Daniel’s widow Mary and her ‘confederates’. [55]   His bill of complaint, dated 10 May 1756, alleges that soon after Daniel’s will was proved Mary paid to John Loosemore (John 1686) and Mary Bray (Mary 1684) their share of the £175, i.e. £58.6s.8d each.  It continues:

‘After Joan Nott had asked several times for her third part Mary Loosemore, paid her 10 guineas in part payment and promised to pay the residue soon but about December 1746 John’s mother Joan Nott died a widow and intestate, and so John is now entitled to the residue of her third part.  He has obtained at different times a further eight guineas from Mary widow, the executrix of Daniel, making £18.18s. in all, but there remains  outstanding £39.8s.8d together with the legal interest.  Mary Loosemore refuses to pay it, and she will not disclose any details or exhibit an inventory of his goods, chattells’ etc. 

Daniel’s widow Mary, in her written answer to the allegations in the bill, dated 4 November 1756, explains that the grant of probate [which presumably included an inventory] ‘was sent to an attorney in Wales in order to recover a debt due to her late husband and has not been returned.’  She confirms that the sums as detailed in the bill have been paid, plus other expenses not stated there, but the attorney whom she employed to manage her affairs informed her that the gross total remaining of her late husband’s estate amounts to only £75.10s. and so she cannot pay the residue.  She denies unlawful behaviour and confederacy as alleged in the bill.

As is so often the case, surviving papers give no indication as to the final judgement in this suit, neither has any information come to light regarding Daniel’s marriage or burial.

Henry 1694, the youngest son of James c1656, is another shadowy figure.  Nothing is known for certain about his life though he may have followed his brother Daniel to London, for ‘Mr Henry Loosemore of St. Andrew Holborn, and Mrs Margaret Taylor’ were married on 26 May 1747 in St. George’s Chapel, Mayfair. [56]   The chapel was one of several in London where marriage ceremonies were performed, for a fee, without obtaining a licence, or consent of parents, or publication of banns. [57]   These clandestine marriages, although irregular, were perfectly valid and legal until Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1754 made them illegal.  Subsequently three children were born to Henry and Margaret Loosmore in St Andrew Holborn parish: Elizabeth, baptized 27 July 1748; John baptized on 22 July 1750, buried 4 March 1750/1; and Daniel baptized on 29 January 1754 who was recorded as born at Redlyon Street in that parish. [58]   The choice of John and especially Daniel as names for their sons suggests strongly that Henry of Knowstone was indeed their father, but some doubt must remain, not only because he would have been aged 53 years at his marriage and hence 60 at the baptism of his youngest son Daniel, but also because he was not mentioned in the will of his brother Daniel who had died in 1744.

Family & descendants of John c1686, 1st son of James c1656, James c1605

Nothing is known of the early life of John c1686 except that he is described as a yeoman farmer.  His date of baptism has not been found but he was probably born and baptized in Knowstone during the period between 1684 and 1689 when parish register entries are missing.  He inherited Rose House, Knowstone from James his father, confirmed by a lease indenture dated 30 November 1745 between ‘William Paston of Horton of co. Glos. Esq. and Mary  his wife and John Chichester of Arlington of co. Devon Esq. and Elizabeth  his wife of the one part and John Loosemore of Molland co. Devon yeoman of the other part’. [59]   On 3 January 1721/2 he married Jane Fisher of Molland parish in Exeter Cathedral. [60]   She had been baptized on 22 January 1692/3, the daughter of John Fisher, a prosperous farmer, and his wife Emlyn.  The couple farmed in Molland all their lives, John 1686 being buried there on 30 April 1754 while Jane followed him on 12 January 1755.  The only known child of their marriage, Robert, also inherited Rose House, as is known from the same lease indenture of 1745 which recited several generations of lessees, a fortunate circumstance as no record of Robert’s baptism has been found.  For convenience he will be referred to as Robert c1728.

Robert c1728 married Mary Oxenham on 26 February 1753 in Knowstone parish, a fruitful union which produced six children, all sons, all except one baptized in Molland.  John, the eldest, baptized there on 17 January 1755 was buried on 20 December 1767.  Robert was baptized in Knowstone on 20 November 1756 (Robert 1756). [61]   There followed, in Molland, James on 13 May 1759 (James 1759); William, 24 January 1762, buried 8 January 1778; Henry 6 April 1766 (Henry 1766); John 31 January 1773, buried 17 February 1792 in Broad Clyst parish.

Family of Robert 1756 (Robert c1728, John c1686, James c1656, James c1605)

Robert 1756 the eldest surviving son of Robert c1728 and a yeoman farmer, inherited Rose House as is confirmed by a lease indenture dated 17 January 1781 which recites that the property had been ‘formerly leased by John Loosemore and now Robert Loosemore father of the said Robert’. [62]   The ‘said Robert’ is Robert 1756 who was then stated to be about 24 years old.  He married Dorothy Hooper on 12 February 1787 in Rose Ash where they made a home for their five children, all of whom were baptized in the parish church, Mary on 6 May 1787 married William Pullman on 9 August 1821 in Knowstone; Robert born 11 November 1789, baptized 6 December (Robert 1789); Elizabeth 10 June 1792; John 26 December 1794 (John 1794); and Sarah in 1797 though the day and month are missing from the baptism register entry, who married William Knapman in St. James Westminster, London on 15 February 1833.  Robert 1789, the eldest son, inherited Rose House from his father, as confirmed in a lease indenture dated 20 November 1820 which refers to ‘the present lessee Robert aged c63, his brother Henry aged c53 and Robert one of the sons of the lessee aged c30’. [63]   The 1820 lease records the date on which it was renewed by payment of a fine, as was usual.  It is endorsed on the verso by a short statement dated 14 November 1833 when Robert 1789 actually took over the lease from his father for a token payment of £10.  Robert 1756 must have been a prosperous farmer for both his sons, Robert 1789 and John 1794 became well-known solicitors who practised in Tiverton, though nothing is known of the route by which they acquired their qualifications except that Robert was admitted in the Queen's Bench as a lawyer in Michaelmas term of 1817. [64]

Family of Robert 1789 (Robert 1756, Robert c1728, John c1686, James c1656, James c1605)

Robert 1789 married Sarah Rendell on 17 August 1821 in Bath Abbey.  She was a grand-daughter of William Wood, a wealthy serge-maker of Tiverton; one of her uncles was Sir Matthew Wood, a well-known municipal and political reformer who became Lord Mayor of London in 1815-16. [65]   Robert 1789 was a qualified attorney with a successful practice in Tiverton as a solicitor.  It was a good match—the omens for his future were promising.  The couple were blessed with four girls, then two sons, Robert Wood born on 21 July 1830 (Robert W 1830), Philip Wood on 18 November 1831 (Philip W 1831).  Both the sons attended Blundells School in Tiverton, joining together in August 1840.  However, due to a series of unfortunate circumstances the family was reduced to near penury in 1842.  Their two sons were forced to leave Blundells at the end of that year and Robert 1789 died alone in London on 13 January 1844.

Of their daughters, Frances Sarah born 19 September 1822, Maria Rosetta born 27 February 1825, Anna Matilda born 16 August 1827 and Louisa Barkly born 9 April 1829, only Anna Matilda married.  She lived for some years in Bermuda with her husband J.A.Darrell, where she died in January 1889.  In 1851 Frances and Maria were working as governesses, Frances in Exeter, Maria in Wilton, Somerset, while Louisa was staying in Dulverton parish with the family of an attorney; later Frances lived with her widowed mother Sarah who died in a poor area of Exeter in 1875.  In 1881 Frances and Louisa were living together with their cousin John Wellington Loosemore in St. Sidwell parish, Exeter.  Frances died in May 1910, Maria in October 1887, and Louisa in March 1920.

Both sons became Anglican priests:

Robert W 1830, eldest son of Robert 1789

Nothing is known of his education after 1842 until he entered St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge in 1851, proceeding B.A. in 1855 and M.A. in 1858.  He was priested in 1856 and after two years in a small Cornish parish was appointed priest in charge at St. Marks Low Moor, Yorks, where he stayed from 1857–1867.  In April 1864 he embarked at Liverpool, with his sister Louisa, on an overseas tour of duty via Halifax, Nova Scotia, thence to Bermuda where they met his other sisters Maria and Matilda with her husband.  Robert W stayed there until the following summer, having taken over the duties of a fellow priest and survived a yellow fever epidemic.  Then in June 1865 he and his sister Maria sailed to New York where he dealt with more church business.  Next, they took the opportunity to visit Niagara Falls where they met his brother Philip W who by then had married, the four of them travelling together to Montreal and Quebec.  Robert W and Maria then returned to New York, sailing in August 1865 for Liverpool where they were met by Louisa who had returned independently from Bermuda.  Robert W remained at St. Marks a further two years, until in 1867 he was inducted into the living at St. John’s Church Bradford.  That year was of special significance for on 6 June, in St. Paul’s Church, Exeter, he married Frances Elizabeth, the youngest daughter of T.E. Drake, a solicitor of Exeter.

Over the next fourteen years there were born to Robert W 1830 and Frances nine children, seven daughters and two sons, all except the three youngest born in Bradford.  He was a conscientious parish priest, highly regarded by his parishioners.  When in the summer of 1878 he with his family finally left Bradford they showed their gratitude at a ceremony on 30 July of that year by presenting him with “an address bound in morocco tastefully illuminated containing 150 signatures of heads of the families representing some 400 individuals, a purse composed of Russian leather, beautifully lined and containing £134 & for Mrs  Loosemore an electro-plated, massive and very pretty tray.”  Robert moved south where he was inducted as Vicar of Salehurst parish, Sussex.  It was to be his last move for he remained at Salehurst Vicarage until his death on 1 February 1901.  No details have survived of his activities during his 22 years as vicar of that parish, but he was a member and Worshipful Master of the Abbey Lodge of Freemasons, a very active and staunch Conservative politically but most of all a friendly, plain speaking and caring pastor, deeply interested in school and parish activities.  In December 1901 a stained glass window, paid for by his Salehurst parishioners, was unveiled in his memory by the Very Revd E.R. Currie D.D. Dean of Battle, positioned at the East end of the north aisle over the little communion table which was a favourite resort of their vicar. [66]

After his death Frances Elizabeth his widow retired to St. Leonards, Sussex where she lived until her death on 13 April 1922, with six of her seven spinster daughters, Frances Drake (1868-1949), Marion Louisa (1871-1951), Katherine Sarah (1872-1931), Mabel Maria (1874-1954), Gertrude Elizabeth (1876-1934) and Rosa Wood (1880-1961).  The seventh daughter, Adeline Harriet (born 1878) emigrated to South Africa where she worked as a hospital sister.  All that is known about the life of the eldest son, Robert Henry (1869-1947) is contained in two notes in a journal kept by his elder sister, Frances Drake, that “on 6th June 1890 Robert Henry Loosemore (elder son) started his life's work at Crewe” and that “Mr.Harry Loosemore (Chicago) elder son was unable to be present at the funeral of his mother”, in 1922.

The youngest child of Robert W 1830, Thomas Edward Drake (1881-1916), married Edith Louisa Roberts on 1 June 1912 at Chadwell Heath, Essex.  They had but a short time together, for early in the 1914-18 war Thomas enlisted as a private soldier in the 4th Bn., Middlesex Rgt and died of wounds at Étaples, France on 17 November 1916.  He is buried in Étaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais.

Philip W 1831, youngest son of Robert 1789

His early education after leaving Blundells School is unknown, but he entered St Augustin’s College, Canterbury in 1852, took holy orders as a deacon in 1855 and was priested the following year.  He left England as a young priest for Canada, where he was appointed Rector of Prince William and Dumfries, New Brunswick from 1855–1862.  This must have been a happy period for on 30 November 1858 he married Elizabeth Isabella, only daughter of John Davidson, Esq, Dumfries. [67]   We have already mentioned that in the summer of 1865 he and his wife met his elder brother, Robert W 1830 and sister Maria Louise at Niagara, travelling with them to Montreal and Quebec.  He received an Hon. M.A. from Bishop’s College, Lennoxville, Canada in 1866.  Later he was Assistant Minister at St.George’s Cathedral, Kingston where he became Examiner and Domestic chaplain and Secretary to Bishop Fulford 1866–1870, and later to Bishop Oxenden 1869–1870.  In 1870 he returned to England with his family and was inducted as Vicar of Aldburgh with Golden Parva, Yorkshire where he worked for the next 12 years.  In 1882 he became a Minor Canon of Canterbury, and until 1900 was Rector of St. Peter’s with Holy Cross.  A parish letter dated August 1885, which he wrote as Rector, gave details of the two sets of church accounts and mentions the mothers’ meeting run by Mrs and Miss Loosemore.  He also refers to parish Boys and Girls schools, run by the church. [68]   His final appointment was as Vicar of St. Michael church, Hadlow East Peckham Vicarage, Tonbridge, Kent, which he held until his death on 10 January 1911.

Philip W 1831 and his wife Elizabeth Isabella had 11 children, six sons and five daughters, of whom the first six children were born in Canada.  Fanny, the eldest, was born c1859 and married in 1881 after their return to England; Philip Wood jr. died aged 19 in late 1881, soon after their return to England; Margaret Davidson, born c1863 in Kingston Ontario, married in May 1889; Helen M was born c1865 in Kingston, Robert George c1868 and Mary Alice c1869, both born in Montreal.  The remaining five children were all born at Aldburgh, Yorks., Herbert Hatherley late in 1870, Alan Cummings in 1872, Francis Fulford in 1873, Elizabeth Isabella in 1875 and Charles Howard in 1876 who died in 1877.

Of his surviving sons, Robert George joined the Queen's Own Rifles in Canada and fought in the Northwest Rebellion in 1884-5; Herbert Hatherley married his first cousin Susanna Mary Davidson and emigrated to Canada, where his descendants still live; Alan Cummings married Kate Pardew in Devon and emigrated to Canada, where he was a fruit farmer in Kelowna, B.C. Canada, both he and his wife being buried there; Francis Fulford also emigrated, to the USA, arriving at Ellis Island in 1907.

There we leave the children of Robert 1789, eldest son of Robert 1756, and consider the second son.

Family of John 1794 (Robert 1756, Robert c1728, John c1686, James c1656, James c1605)

John 1794, younger brother of Robert 1789 also practised as a solicitor in St. Peter Street, Tiverton though no details have been found concerning the route by which he acquired his special training. [69]   On 12 March 1829 he married Hannah Aplin in the parish church at Misterton, Somerset; he was then aged 34.  Census returns for 1841, 1851 and 1861 show that Hannah was born in Combe St. Nicholas parish, Somerset and was 10 years younger than John.  In 1841 and 1851 they were living in Fore St., Tiverton but by 1861 they had moved to St. Peter Street, so they probably lived in the same house as he used for his practice. [70]   Hannah bore him eight children, five sons of whom only the youngest three survived into maturity, and three daughters of whom the younger two survived as adults.  Of the five survivors, Sarah Knapman, born 1 February 1833, married in 1859 and Hannah Elizabeth Dorothy, born 24 November 1844, married in 1884; they both leave our story.  John Wellington, eldest surviving son, was born 18 June 1837 (John W 1837); Robert Francis on 13 June 1840 (Robert F 1840) and William Henry on 9 April 1842 (William H 1842).  John 1794, their father, died on 3 January 1866 and his wife Hannah on 2 October of the same year, in Tiverton.  Each parent left a simple will, appointing their second son, Robert F 1840 as executor, probably because in 1861 he was an articled clerk in his father’s practice, so would have qualified as a solicitor by 1866. We shall look briefly at the three sons.

John W 1837, eldest son of John 1794, and his two brothers all attended Blundell's School, Tiverton.  The School Register lists No.2494: John Wellington Loosemore, 9, s. J.Loosemore, attorney Tiverton, Aug 15, 1846–Jun 1851; No.2535: Robert Francis Loosemore, 8, s. Mr John Loosemore attorney Tiverton, Aug 11, 1848–Dec 1855; No.2624: William Henry Loosemore, 9¼, s. John Loosemore esq, solicitor Tiverton, Aug 14, 1851–Jun 1857. [71]

Nothing is known of his early life until on 20 January 1859, aged 22, he married 26 year old Sarah Grant Miles, eldest daughter of Thomas Miles, gent., of Stanborough House, Halwell, Somerset. [72]   John was then living in Park-Crescent, Stockwell, London.  He seems to have been in the import/export business for in the 1861 census, still living in Park Crescent with his wife and young son, he was described as a “Mauritian merchant”. [73]   His eldest son, also John Wellington, born 15 September 1859 at Stockwell, later became a dental surgeon; he died in Sydney, Australia.  A second son, Arthur Francis Miles, born in autumn 1864, who was a law student in 1881, was followed by two daughters: Hannah Elizabeth Mary born in 1870, did not marry; Eleanor Sarah born in 1871, married in 1904.  Their father, John W 1837, died in 1886.

Robert F 1840, second son of John 1794, married on 13 December 1871 Mary Ann Miles, a sister of Sarah Grant who earlier had married his elder brother.  In 1861 he was an articled clerk, perhaps under the tutelage of his father, for in 1881 he was in practice as a solicitor in Tiverton, and a member of the town council.  He died in 1916.  His only son, Alfred 1873, matriculated at Brasenose College, Oxford in October 1892, proceeded B.A. in 1897, was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn in 1893, called to the Bar in 1898 after which he worked the Western circuit as a barrister.  In 1913 he married Ada Carlyle Graham, was awarded the Territorial Army Long Service Medal and died in 1933. [74]

William H 1842, youngest son of John 1794, enjoyed an adventurous life.  His father died in January 1866, at which time, he must have decided that as the youngest of three sons there was little future for him in England.  Accordingly, just three months after his 24th birthday he decided to try his fortune in the colonies.  On 10 July 1866 he left England forever, sailing from London in the fast clipper “Queen of the Colonies” of 1346 tons, arriving at Brisbane, Australia on 12 October.  He paid £18 for his ticket, which included full board.  On the ship he became a member of the Passengers Committee, which presented testimonials to the Master and senior officers on arrival in recognition of their satisfactory treatment during the voyage.  As a paying immigrant he was entitled to a land voucher of £30 under regulations promulgated by the Queensland Colonial Government to stimulate its struggling economy. [75]   Unfortunately nothing is known of his early years in Queensland, though he arrived at the beginning of the gold-rush at Gympie where large deposits of the precious metal had recently been discovered.  On 21 November 1873, aged 31, he married the 17 years old Ann Duncan Auchterlonie, whose parents had emigrated from Fife, Scotland, in 1854.  Initially her family had lived at Parramatta, now a suburb of Sydney, but about 1866 they moved to Inglewood Hill, Gympie, where the young couple now made their home and raised their large family of seven sons and six daughters.  Their many descendants, over 50 of whom are known, have spread widely throughout Queensland and New South Wales.

William H 1842 became a goldminer, and later a shareholder speculating in gold-mining companies.  At first life was hard and results very uncertain.  After about 5 years the surface, alluvial, gold in the Gympie field was worked out.  During the 1870s attempts to open deeper reefs were inhibited by lack of capital, though some mines produced significant profits for their shareholders.  It was in the next decade that fortunes were made.  At the end of 1883 a mining company known as ‘Wilmot Extended’, in which he owned 1300 shares, struck a rich patch of ground with so much visible gold in the rock it was called ‘a jeweller’s shop’.  His dividend for March 1884 alone amounted to £1300 (£1 per share was declared).  It is not known when he bought his shares, but if he held them for the twelve months ending September 1884 his total dividend would have been about £3300, a huge sum in 1884, probably equivalent to about £250,000 at present (2003) prices. [76]   William H 1842 died on 9 June 1915 of chronic bronchitis, aged 73, at Gympie where he was buried.  Ann Duncan, his widow, then moved with her family to Brisbane where she died on 5 January 1942.

Here we leave the descendants of Robert 1756, eldest son of Robert c1728, and consider the second son, James 1759.

Family of James 1759 (Robert c1728, John c1686, James c1656, James c1605)

As we have seen, James 1759 was born in Molland parish, where he married Elizabeth Bowden by licence on 31 January 1781.  The marriage bond refers to him as a mere husbandman, though in his will he is described as a yeoman farmer.  This is a more correct description, since before 1789 he had leased Little Champson farm in Molland from Lady Throckmorton who had inherited the manor of Molland Botreaux by an earlier marriage into the Courtenay family.  Molland land tax assessments show that he was still farming there in 1832, the latest year for which records are listed, so he probably continued his lease throughout his life. [77]   He died in Molland in 1845, having outlived his wife by 24 years.  James and Elizabeth had only one child, a daughter Elizabeth Bowden Loosemore, baptized in Molland on 10 January 1783 (Elizabeth B 1783).  On 19 December 1809 she married her third cousin, James 1783 in her home parish.

James 1783, whom we shall meet again later in this chapter, had spent his early years in Broad Clyst parish, a few miles north-east of Exeter, and it was there that he and his bride Elizabeth B 1783 made their home.  James owned the property known as Crabhayes, which had been brought into the family by his mother as part of her marriage settlement and then transferred to him by his father at his marriage. [78]   In the next 14 years three sons and three daughters were born to them, all in Broad Clyst: James baptized 28 February 1811 (James 1811), Ann Horrell 9 December 1812, Robert 25 April 1814 (Robert 1814), Elizabeth Jane Bowden 18 March 1816, John 25 May 1818 (John 1818) and Sarah Horrell 2 July 1823.  About 1817 James sold Crabhayes to Sir Thomas Acland, leasing it back and occupying it for a further 2-3 years until 1820, when it passed out of the family.  After the death of James 1783 in 1826 his wife Elizabeth Bowden re-married to William Veysey on 14 April 1829 in Exeter Holy Trinity parish.  She inherited a life interest in Little Champson farm from the will of her father James 1759, after which it was to pass to her children.  Her second marriage was childless, so we look now at the sons of her first marriage to James 1783.

James 1811, the eldest, inherited Little Champson after the death of his mother Elizabeth B 1783.  He married Ann Hookway in Oakford parish by licence on 8 October 1833.  Most of their descendants remained in the area around Molland, Rose Ash and other nearby parishes.

Robert 1814, the second son, was to inherit several properties from his great-aunt Jane 1760 whom we shall meet later in this chapter, the most important of which was Overcott Farm in Rose Ash parish.  Although Jane did not die until 1848 the terms of her will were known, so it was not surprising that when Robert married on 30 December 1845 his bride was Elizabeth the daughter of Alexander Fisher, a prosperous farmer of Whitechapel Farm in Bishops Nympton parish.  Overcott became their home and that of their family of six sons and two daughters; they became one of the most important families in Rose Ash.  Robert was churchwarden from 1855-77 and was for many years Guardian of the Poor, an official appointment requiring approval at the County Justices’ Petty Sessions.  He took a great interest in the parish school and was a member of a small committee set up to ensure that teaching standards were maintained.  Robert 1814 died in 1881, his wife Elizabeth in 1890, but the Loosemores of Overcott are still remembered in that parish.

Of their children, very little is known of the eldest, John Alexander Fisher, born 18 October 1847, died 12 October 1902; Robert, the second, was born in 1849, emigrated to U.S.A., and died in Sacramento in January 1882; Eli Augustus was born in 1850 but lived only for 3 months; Betsy Mary the eldest daughter was born in 1851 and lived all her life at Overcott where she died a spinster in 1930.  Harold Wilcox, born in 1854, emigrated to Australia where he farmed in Kerang, Victoria, married and raised a family there; his brother Ernest William Edward, born 1856, also emigrated to Australia and settled in Victoria as a farmer where he raised a family.  Augustus 1859, the youngest son, settled in Auckland, New Zealand where he prospered as a sheep farmer but did not marry.  Fanny Fisher, the youngest daughter, born in 1862, lived with her elder sister at Overcott all her life, which ended in 1940.  The two daughters were well-respected, always being referred to as ‘Miss Betsy’ and ‘Miss Fanny’.  Augustus 1859 is well remembered, for not only did he present to the parish church in 1934 a fine stained glass window on which is written ‘To the glory of God and in memory of the Loosemore family of Overcott 1846-1934’ but the next year he restored the chancel screen ‘in affectionate remembrance’ of his parents, as is recorded by an inscription carved on the screen.

John 1818, the third son of James 1783, also gained a benefit, as did his elder brother, from the will of his great-aunt, Jane 1760.  He inherited property in Charles parish known as Shutiscombe farm and married Mary Ann Fisher, sister of his brother’s wife, on 19 June 1849.  Their four children, three sons and a daughter, were all born at Shutiscombe and baptized in the parish church: William Henry in 1850 (William H 1850), Alexander Fisher born 25 August 1851 (Alex 1851), John Augustus late in 1857 (John A 1857) and Emily Jane Wilcocks in 1867.  John and his wife Mary Ann lived at Shutiscombe until late in their lives when they moved to Fishers Down, home of Mary Ann’s parents, where John died on 19 October 1896; Mary Ann died there almost exactly a year later, on 5 October 1897.  By their wills, William H 1850, the eldest son inherited Shutiscombe and another property in Charles parish, John A 1857 inherited a property in Mariansleigh from his father and Fishers Down from his mother’s will, while Alex 1851 and Emily Jane received various annuities.  We leave the family here.

Henry 1766 (4th surviving son of Robert c1728, John c1686, James c1656, James c1605)

He seems to have spent his entire life in Molland, where he was born; he was buried there on 2 March 1839, a bachelor yeoman.  In his uninformative will, dated 24th April 1838, he left most of his property to his elder brother James 1759 in trust, and made small bequests to several members of his family. Queries were raised before probate was granted, concerning the validity of several interleaved phrases which affected to a minor extent the legacies given to John 1794 and two of his sons, but these were resolved peacefully. [79]   No other details of his life have been found.

This completes our account of John c1686, eldest son of James c1656, son of James c1605.

Family and descendants of James c1689, 2nd son of James c1656, James c1605

James c1689, who like his elder brother John c1686 was probably born in Knowstone parish, is also an important figure in the Rose Ash family group.  On 29 December 1722 he married Jane Squire in Rose Ash; she had been baptized on 17 November 1697 in North Molton parish.  So far as is known they had only one child, James who was baptized in Rose Ash on 7 December 1724 (James 1724).

James 1724 spent his early years in Rose Ash parish, until on 9 December 1750 he married Mary Sanger by licence in St. David Exeter parish church.  Several branches of the large and well-to-do Sanger family are known to have lived in the area around Rose Ash from the late 16th century.  Mary’s father, John Sanger of Bishops Nympton, owned a number of properties in the neighbourhood, so James had made a good match.  The couple made their home in Rose Ash, where their five children were baptized, James the eldest in October 1751who died in March 1754, John on 12 November 1753 (John 1753), a second James in April 1756 who also died in infancy, Robert on 19 June 1758 (Robert 1758), and Jane on 16 December 1760 (Jane 1760).  James 1724 evidently prospered because in September 1761 he leased the Barton Farm of Knowstone Beaupel manor from the heiresses of John Courtenay “for a consideration of £357.4s., paying half of this sum before the lease agreement was sealed, the remaining £178 being secured by a charge on the premises”. [80]   It must be supposed that he received some help from his father-in-law in completing this substantial purchase.  The date of his death remains unknown but it must have been before 1767 since on that 26 May Mary his widow remarried, to John Slader in Charles parish, his home.  She died on 1 March 1824.

John 1753, eldest son of James 1724, seems to have been an enigmatic, dominating character who is always referred to in surviving documents as “Mr. John”.  He inherited his father’s interest in Beaupel Barton farm and several other properties which very likely came to his father at the time of his marriage to Mary Sanger.  John 1753 died a bachelor in 1818, being buried on 17 December in Rose Ash.  His will, a lengthy and complex document, gives explicit instructions as to the way each of his properties should be entailed so that beneficiaries retained only a life interest, the succession being specified through several generations. [81]   For example, he left Overcott farm in Rose Ash to his sister Jane 1760 for her life, quite independently of her husband, after which it was to pass to Robert 1814 and then to his heirs, as we have already noted above.

Robert 1758, the second surviving son of James 1724, made his home in Knowstone, where he married Harriet the daughter of John Horrell, gentleman on 18 March 1782, as was noticed in the local press. [82]   They then lived in Broad Clyst parish where two sons were born.  We have already met the eldest son, James 1783 who, with his son Robert 1814, were large beneficiaries of John 1753.  The younger son of Robert 1758, also Robert, was born on 6 January 1785 (Robert 1785) and baptized on 5 December 1786; he probably died young.  Robert 1758 was buried in Broad Clyst on 16 April 1803 at the young age of 45 years.

Jane 1760, the only remaining child of James 1724, married Samuel Wilcocks on 2 February 1809 at Witheridge.  Her eldest brother, John 1753, took great pains in his will to ensure that she and her mother Mary née Sanger were able to live comfortably after his death, instructing his executors that they should receive life interests in several of his properties.  We have already seen that Jane 1760 was left a life interest in Overcott farm, which she bequeathed to Robert 1814 in her will, in accordance with the will of her brother.

At this point the descendants of John c1686 and James c1689 have merged into a single line through Robert 1814 of Overcott, whose family we have already discussed.  We leave our story of the Loosemores of Rose Ash at this point.


[1] R Staines, The Devon Historian, October 1974, pp14-27 and April 1975, pp4-16 for the Compton Census returns; Post Office Directory of Devon and Cornwall, for 1856.

[2] W White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Devon, 1878-9.

[3] H Saunders, Notes on the History of a North Devon Parish: Aissa, Rose Ash, TDA xxxii, 1900, 212-228.

[4] VCH Devon, i, 463.

[5] W H Wilkin, TDA lvii, 1925, 289-305 and lxii, 1930, 341-346.

[6] The returns are PRO E 179/: 98/254 (1542/3); 99/292 (1544/5); 100/341 (1549/50); /100/332 (1550/51); 100/333 (1552); 100/372 (1571); 100/382 (1577); 100/385 (1582); 101/411 (1592).  See private communication from PRO dated 29 Nov 1984 for slight uncertainty in dates of returns for 1542-1545.
T L Stoate, ed. Devon Subsidy Rolls 1543—5, Bristol, 1986, is a transcript of nine returns for the period, including Witheridge and South Molton Hundreds.  It also exhibits minor uncertainties in dating, but the overall picture given in the present text is unaffected by these queries which extend for no more than one year on any return.

[7] Creacombe bishop’s transcripts are deposited at DRO, Exeter.

[8] See the Act and Deposition book of Barnstaple Archdeaconry Court 1570-1579, deposited at NDRO, their accession no. 1127EA/AD1, transcr. P Christie as Of Chirche-Reves, and of Testamentes, pub. 1994 by Devon Family History Society, see pp33-4.

[9] PRO E 179/: /101/451 (1610/11); /102/459 (1620-22); /102/463 (1624/5); /102/541 (1625/6); /102/488 (1641); /102/523 (1663/4); /245/17 (Hearth Tax 1674).

[10] The Rose Ash parish church register is deposited with the DRO, Exeter.  Two transcriptions made for DCRS are held in WCSL, Exeter: vols. 1-2, by A J P Skinner & vol.3, another complete copy, by J J Dredge.  There are minor discrepancies between the two transcripts; entries start in 1591.

[11] See Appendix 1

[12] See A J Howard, ed., The Devon Protestation Returns, 1973.

[13] See DRO 47/3/4/6a.

[14] The 1743 marriage bond is held at the DRO, Exeter.

[15] See list of headstones compiled by Devon Family History Society.

[16] The marriage settlement is held at NDRO, their accession no. 2309B/T53/40.  For details of the lease and release procedure see A A Dibben, Title Deeds 13th–19th Centuries, 1968 repr. 1971, 11, pub. by The Historical Association.

[17] The will of James c1756 is held at DRO Exeter, their ref. IRW L692.

[18] The will of William c1757 is held at DRO Exeter, their ref. IRW L705.

[19] Meshaw census returns: 1841: HO 107/260/14, North Down f3v; South Hall f6v;

1851: HO 107/1891, North Down f409 p2, South Hall f409 p3, William 1794 living alone Village f415 p14;

1861: RG 9/1485, North Down f130 p1, South Hall f133 p8;

1871: RG 10/2179, North Down f58 p1.

[20] The will of John 1801 is held at the DRO, Exeter, their ref. IRW L697.

[21] The will of William 1794 is held at DRO Exeter, their ref. IRW L707.

[22] See report in the North Devon Journal, issue dated 8th Feb 1894.

[23] Information from Kathryn Marie Dalgleish, a Canadian descendant of Ann Loosemore and her husband Benjamin Heal.

[24] The original is held at the Somerset Record Office, Taunton.  John Tanner Davy was an important Rose Ash parishioner.  He was a J.P., Lieut. Colonel First Devon Militia and for 14 years Provincial Grand Mark Master Masons of Devon.  A memorial plaque in Rose Ash church commemorates his death in April 1887.

[25] Surviving records for the 1st Somerset Rgt of Militia are held at the PRO, Kew; relevant papers examined are in class WO 13/1897-1901.  WO 13/1897 and 13/1898, for the years 1802 and 1803, are incomplete.

[26] The marriage allegation is held at the DRO, Exeter.

[27] The Burrington and Atherington parish church registers are deposited at DRO, Exeter.

[28] The will of William 1750 is held at DRO, Exeter, their accession no. IRW L703.

[29] See many issues of the North Devon Journal between 25 Jun 1857 to 7 June 1877.

[30] See “My English Trip, Summer 2000”, typescript account (unpub.) by Wesley G Loosemore.

[31] In the Crediton parish church marriage register her name is written ‘Joan Lewsmore’.

[32] The Colebrooke church register is deposited at DRO, Exeter.  William Matthews’s will was dated 6 October 1754, see refs 33,34 below for this and other details.

[33] Her will is held in the DRO, Exeter, their accession no. 530M/T55(D5).  Other items in this group, marked D1-4 and D6, are referred to in the bill of complaint, see ref. 34 below.

[34] The bill of complaint is PRO C 11/638/29, dated 27 October 1756; it recites the date of William Matthews’s will.  See also ref. 33 above.  DRO item 530M/T55(D6) is the quitclaim to John Stephens, signed by William Wackerell.

[35] The will of Richard 1768 is held in DRO, Exeter, their accession no. IRW L699.

[36] “Auntie Em” may have been Emily Manning Loosmore b. 1852, the youngest sister of Wilmot Manning, who was in service in South Molton in 1871.  Details of the life of Emily 1866 in Australia from her grand-daughter Patricia Funnell.

[37] For the marriage notice see the Exeter Flying Post, issue Thursday, October 27th, 1836: page 2c.

[38] See North Devon Journal, issue dated 6 May 1852 for the vestry meeting to decide whether to offer him £5 for the passage to Quebec.

[39] The marriage bond is held at the DRO, Exeter.

[40] The counterpart lease is DRO 50/11/25/12.

[41] Chanter, ed. Rose Ash Churchwardens Accounts 1712-66.

[42] See Appendix 1 for his will, now lost.

[43] See Knowstone parish Land Tax Assessments, held at DRO, Exeter.

[44] The will of Roger 1728 is held at DRO, Exeter, their accession no. IRW L701.

[45] The will of Roger 1756 is held at DRO, Exeter, their accession no. IRW L702.

[46] See 1851 census return for Dulverton, HO 107/1890, Southwood Cottage, fol.204, p14.

[47] The will of Nicholas 1730 is held at the Public Record Office, their call no. IR 26/337, No.157.

[48] The Knowstone 1840 Tithe Apportionment and map, prepared following the Tithe Act of 1836, are deposited at the North Devon Record Office (NDRO), Barnstaple, Devon and may be examined on microfiche.

[49] The original counterpart lease dated 10 September 1689, signed James Loosemore, is complete with his personal seal.  The lease is currently (February 2003) in the possession of Victor Loosemore of Bournemouth.

[50] All Knowstone registers between 1654-1689, and 1712-1812 were destroyed by fire at the vicarage on 27 Jan 1890.

[51] Rose Ash dates from the parish register, Daniel and Henry from Knowstone bishops transcripts; John and James probably in Knowstone since there is no record in the Rose Ash register, neither have bishops transcripts for Knowstone survived for their period.

[52] The will of Daniel 1691 is held at the PRO, their reference PROB 11/740, sig. 173, f204v.

[53] This spelling has been confirmed by staff at the PRO.  It is probably a phonetic misspelling of ‘Southcomb’ the married name of his younger sister Elizabeth.

[54] The grant of probate is recorded in the PCC Act Book, PRO PROB 8/138, in the section of the 4th clerk Collins (the last of four clerks after the Registrar).

[55] Surviving papers are held at the PRO, their call number C 11/2528/9.

[56] The Register of St. George’s Chapel is held at the GLRO (now London Archives).

[57] For these chapels see, for example, George Clinch, Mayfair and Belgravia, 1892, 56-61.

[58] The register of St. Andrew Holborn is held at the Guildhall Library, London.

[59] See SBTRO DR5/163; DR5/164 is a counterpart lease.

[60] See The Register of the Cathedral of Exeter, pub. by DCRS, vii, Pt.1, 1910, Exeter.

[61] All the Molland baptisms are recorded in the parish register; the Knowstone baptism of Robert is taken from the bishops transcript.

[62] See SBTRO DR5/165 between “Anna Maria Throckmorton of Weston Underwood Bucks widow and relict of George Throckmorton late of Weston Underwood deceased of the one part and Robert Loosemore the younger of Rose Ash Devon yeoman of the other part”.

[63] See SBTRO DR5/167; DR5/168 is the counterpart lease.

[64] Private communication from the Law Society dated 30 Nov 1982 to the present author.

[65] For Sir Matthew Wood see DNB.  For the wedding of Robert Loosemore/Sarah Rendell see the Exeter Flying Post, issue  27 Sep 1821: page 4b.

[66] All details of the life of Robert Wood Loosemore, including his wife’s funeral, have been taken from a scrapbook made by Frances Drake Loosemore, his eldest daughter, now kept at Salehurst Vicarage, SSX.

[67] For the announcement of his marriage see the Gentlemans Magazine, N.S. vi, 197, 1859.

[68] See “Holy Cross and St.Peter’s Canterbury: Letter from Rev. Philip Wood Loosemore, Rector, With Statements of Accounts, 1885”, dated August 1885, 8pp (BL shelfmark 4109.b.19).  It is a printed 8pp parish letter from the Rector, presenting the churchwardens’ accounts for the year 1885.

[69] Records at the Law Society say only that his practice was in St. Peter’s Street, Tiverton and that he died on 3 January 1866.

[70] For the census returns see in 1841: PRO HO 107/255, HO 107/255, Fore St, Tiverton St Peter, f12, p20;

1851:  PRO HO 107/1889, Town: Fore Street, f92, p6;  1861: PRO RG 9/1479, Town - Peter Street.

[71] For Blundell's School records see A. Fisher, The Register of Blundell’s School, Part I, 1778-1882, Exeter 1904,
(B.L. shelfmark X.525/1067; Bodl. G.A.Devon 253/1).  Part 2, (1882-1932) A.S.Mahood, 1932, (Bodl. G.A.Devon 253/2).

[72] See Gentlemans Magazine, New Series, vi, 1859, p6 for the marriage notice.

[73] For his entry in the 1861 census see PRO RG 9/362, 1 Park Crescent, Stockwell, on f32.

[74] See Brasenose College Register 1509-1909, Oxford Historical Society, lv, 1910, 704; Admissions Register of Lincoln’s Inn, vol.II, 1800-1893, pub. 1896.

[75] For the”Queen of the Colonies” and details of passage to Brisbane see Peter Collins’ web-site at; original documents are at John Oxley Library ref. OM74-2.

[76] See Gympie Jubilee Publications 1917 and 1967 held at the State Library of Queensland, John Oxley Library, MSS and Records Collection.

[77] The marriage bond and Molland land tax assessments for the period 1789-1832 are held at the DRO, Exeter.

[78] For Crabhayes lessees see Broad Clyst land tax assessments for 1780-1832, held at the DRO, Exeter.

[79] The Will of Henry Loosemore of Molland, made 24 Apr 1838, is listed in the Public Record Office Death Duty Register but details of the entry are illegible; the PCC copy is more reliable (Probate granted 4 July 1839.

[80] The original counterpart lease is held at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Record Office, Stratford (their ref. DR5/61).

[81] The Will of John 1753 is held at the DRO, Exeter, their ref. IRW L696.

[82] For a notice of the marriage see Exeter Flying Post, issue dated Friday, March 22nd, 1782: page 3d.