Turns out the Ann Maunder who was present at Grace STILING’s death is not the family member I suspected and apparently no relation at all (Read related post HERE).
For some reason, bad transcription I guess, I was unable to find Ann on the 1871 census through name & town alone. Using the find my past address search function, I was able to finally locate Broad Lane on 1871 census and there she was – married to a James Maunder and nearly 50 years younger than the Ann Maunder I expected/hoped her to be.
Ann’s maiden name was Bowden and she married James in 1851.
At least I’ve cleared that up for myself. In other news, I’ve ordered Grace’s son, Edward STILING’s death certificate. Will Ann Maunder appear as witness there too?
Recently, I saw in the indexes that Grace STILING and her bachelor son Edward died in the same year and the same month. It turns out that they’d actually even died on the same day! A newspaper article stated that the duo died on the same day at ‘Ashleigh, Tiverton’ – ages given but no reason.
I knew from the 1871 census that mother and son were living together in Ashley Cottage so I was expecting to find mention of a local tragedy or even an inquest in the newspapers but… nope. I ordered Grace’s death certificate (since she was my direct ancestor) and presumed I’d find some clue there but again… nope.
The death certificate records Grace’s cause of death as ‘Valvular disease of the Heart – Bronchitis’. Obviously, the son’s certificate will need to be viewed next if I’m to solve this mystery. Note: The newspaper incorrectly stated that Grace was the widow of ‘E. Styling’ – it was in fact, J. Stiling (who died 10 years previously in 1862).
However, this death certificate did throw up a new puzzle for me to solve…
The death was registered 2 days after by Ann Maunder of Broad Lane, Tiverton who was present at the death.
Is this the same Ann Maunder who married wrestling star, William WREFORD after his first wife, Drusilla died? The relationship between the two women on ancestry is ‘wife of father-in-law of daughter’. Confused yet? I had to make up a mini tree to try and get it straight.
So Ann’s stepson was married to Grace’s daughter and therefore very likely they knew each other. Perhaps these two women had a kind of friendship. But why use her maiden name MAUNDER and not her married name of WREFORD?
Before Harriotte STILING married George WREFORD, she was living in Tiverton with Thomas & Sarah LEAMAN. As she was recorded in the 1841 census as a female servant (‘F.S.’), I presumed she was the LEAMAN’s live-in maid. This may still be true but somehow suspected there was more to this relationship.
(I can’t remember exactly how this suspicion came about but I recently rediscovered a note on my ancestry ‘TO DO’ list to investigate the relationship.)
It turns out that Mrs LEAMAN was actually Harriotte’s sister, Sarah STILING who married the widower, Thomas LEAMAN, Esquire (!) in 1840.
My reasons for accepting this:
John Stiling, yeoman is recorded as father (same as Harriotte’s marriage certificate in 1845)
Edward & Charlotte STILING are witnesses at the marriage – her siblings’ names
A Sarah Stiling was born to John & Grace of West Barton in Tiverton, yeoman (West Barton was Stiling residence for 60 years)
Sadly, the marriage was very short – Thomas died only 3 years later. I was unable to find the couple on the 1851 census but instead came across a mention in The Gentleman’s Magazine that Thomas died June 15, 1843 and had also been the mayor of Tiverton!
Strangely, I have not yet found any other information about this man, other than a note in the next volume of The Gentleman’s Magazine that his sister’s son would change his name as heir of Thomas’ apparent fortune:
I had learnt via the works of Jane Austen that women usually didn’t inherit from their husbands – but it still seemed a little harsh for this young bride. Sarah managed to get back on her feet with a later marriage to Richard BRANSCOMBE in 1849 and was visiting her mother and brother on the night of the 1871 census (retired farmer’s wife). It’s always nice to find evidence that families stayed in each other’s lives.
Find out more about Mayor Thomas Leaman and his premature death
The marriage of George WREFORD and Harriet STILING (for which I have both the original parish entry AND official copy of entry, as well as the record of banns) was recorded twice in the registers – same parish, church, year and even volume – within pages of each other.
At first I thought it may be a different George Wreford since Wrefords abound in Devonshire, but Harriet is mentioned in both entries (albeit with different spelling).
Perhaps the clue lies with the only other name from both entries – Elizabeth Galliford recorded as marrying George Marley/George Manby. Perhaps it was just recorded twice to clear up the spelling mistakes but that also doesn’t make sense as the parish records show both marriages actually took place in the April Quarter.
I have tried searching for a second ceremony in the Tiverton area via the Devon Parish Registers on findmypast but there doesn’t appear to be any.
Why would the marriage which took place in May be initially recorded in the previous quarter? I guess the next step is to order the record from page 407 although I don’t want to spend more money just to get the exact same copy sent to me.
I will now begin spelling Miss Stiling’s name as Harriotte as that is how she signed the register herself.
I found out while researching this that Phillip Chave, who appears in both entries as witness and several times in the Cove registers was actually the assistant to Mr William North Row of Cove House – magistrate for Devon. I presume this meant he often ‘sat in’ as witness for these smaller ceremonies where required. I had originally thought he may have been a friend or relative.
Order Jan qtr marriage certificate
Revisit Harriet STILING to find connection to Cove area
At the top of my ancestry ‘To Do’ list for many years now has been ‘Find out who Blind Wreford is’.
Today I’ve finally found out…
I’m not even sure where I first heard of Blind Wreford but I’ve kept an eye out for any mention of him. Finally I found mention of him in obituary for another old wrestler, John Bolt.
He was full of anecdotes of “Blind Wreford,” a wealthy farmer of Cheriton, whodied in 1835 at a very advanced age, and who, notwithstanding his blindness, was a renowned wrestler, often followed the hounds without sustaining severe falls, and was an excellent judge of the weight and general qualities of cattle.”
According to this, he had been totally blind since he was 8. “He was a strongly limbed, well grown and powerful man, about 5 feet 10 in. in height, and was usually led into the ring by a boy, as a guide, and indulged with the privilege of taking hold of his antagonist by the collar…”
I’m really surprised that it’s been so hard to find mention of this guy as he really does seem quite extraordinary.