Double Marriage Entry

Came across something very curious last night…

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.

Jan-Mar Quarter 1845, Volume 10 page 407
April-Jun Quarter 1845, Volume 10 page 431

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.

Marriage of George Marley to Elizabeth Galliford
Marriage of George Wreford to Harriotte Stiling

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.


  1. I will now begin spelling Miss Stiling’s name as Harriotte as that is how she signed the register herself.
  2. 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.

Next Steps:

  • Order Jan qtr marriage certificate
  • Revisit Harriet STILING to find connection to Cove area

Blind Leading the Blind

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.

Pedigree Chums

George Wreford of Gray’s Inn

I am fortunate enough that part of my family history – the WREFORDs – was already recorded years ago.  Long before I came along, George WREFORD of Gray’s Inn, Barrister at Law was the family historian.  He compiled a  ‘Pedigree and Sketch of the Wreford Family of Clannaborough and Morchard Bishop, Devonshire’ back in 1888 and a revised edition, ‘Records and Pedigree of the Wreford Family of Devonshire’ in 1909.

Genealogy was a completely different’ kettle of fish’ back then and I (as well as many of my Wreford cousins, I’m sure) am grateful that George took the time to do it.  But I can’t have him taking all my fun, so over the years I’ve fact-checked, evidenced and fleshed out the details pertaining to my direct line.

You can access physical copies at the West Country Studies Library in Exeter but I have chosen to include the pages pertaining to my line here.  You can access these via the top menu or click here to start.

Wreford Versus…

Looks like George may have been trying to raise some money for his emigration to New Zealand:


Wreford v. Manning.-The plaintiff, George Wreford, now of Tiverton, sued Mr. John Manning, high bailiff of this Court, for the recovery of £2 odd, which he alleged to be due for the keep of a horse, &c. – Mr. Shapland for plaintiff. – Mr. Manning said the claim was four years old; it dated Feb., 1861, and plaintiff passed the Insolvent Debtors’ Court on the 23rd April in that year, so that whatever was due to the estate belonged to his creditors. – After repeated and ineffectual attempts to elicit from the plaintiff the dates when Mr. Manning put his horses to pasturage and when they were withdrawn, &c., his Honour determined to adjourn the case, that a bill of particulars might be furnished.  If he had to make out the account it might take him a week. -Mr. Shapland: – Not quite so long as that. -His Honour: I will not make out the account for him; the rule requires that he shall furnish a bill of particulars with dates, &c., and not merely: To keep of horse, £2. -Case adjourned.

And a couple columns over…


Wreford v Cummings. – An action for the recovery of £2 8s., alleged to be due from Mrs.Cummings, of Witheridge, for two months keep of a cow and 10s. on some other account. – The latter claim was disallowed, as plaintiff was a bankrupt at the time the debt was said to have been contracted, and the money (if due at all) belonged to his creditors.-Mr. Manning (the high bailiff) said he had put in two executions in virtue of which Wreford had been sold up. He (Mr.M.) took the fields in question of him, and allowed him for the rent in the settlement.-Plaintiff said he never made a bargain with any body.-His Honour:-Then you are not in a position to sue any body. Judgment for the defendant.

North Devon Journal – 17 Nov 1864, p6 [South Molton County Courts]

Killing Off William Wreford

On the hunt for William’s death certificate, I realised I hadn’t attached an 1861 census record to him yet.
The Wreford Pedigree recorded his death date as November 1866 and the last census I had him on was the 1851.  The only appropriate death record I could find was registered in East London but didn’t know whether it was the right guy.  So I searched for William WREFORD and found one in the house of his sister, Sarah BROOKS:

Knowle Downe Bishops Nympton 1861 BROOKS & WREFORD
1861 Census – William WREFORD staying with his sister, Sarah BROOKS

I checked that William did indeed have a sister called Sarah (baptised 18 Apr 1797 in Morchard Bishop, Devon to the same parents, John & Mary) and then checked for a marriage between a Sarah WREFORD and a man named BROOKS.

Sarah Wreford
Sarah WREFORD baptism
sarahwrefordcharlesbrooksmarriage Chulmleigh 1818
Marriage of Charles BROOKS & Sarah WREFORD (Chulmleigh, Devon)

It all checked out and I am confident that the William living with his sister in 1861 IS my William WREFORD (b. 1793).  I ordered the death certificate and hoped there was some clue as to how he ended up in London.  Unfortunately there was not.  Since then, I learned that both his eldest son William (1817) and his daughter, Elizabeth lived in London at the time and am still tracing his other children.  More information can be found in my ‘Wrestling with Death‘ post.

Next steps:
  • Trace all of William’s children
  • Find out who Thomas Cusiok/Cuscok