The Family of Richard Stentiford and Elizabeth Hooper

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In Issue 6, we told Ann Stentiford's story. Through the various well-documented stages of the Poor Law procedures under which a mother was compelled to name the father of her illegitimate child, we know that the openly acknowledged father of this Richard Stentiford was Francis Counter.

Of his early years, we know little else. No Apprenticeship papers have yet been found for him so probably he found work, starting at 6 or 7 as all children in this area did. He went on to work on farms as a labourer throughout his life. 

Conditions for the farm labourers of Devon were never worse than in the late 1850s and 1860s. They lived in appalling conditions, were forced to accept cider as part of their already low wages so that they were habitually drunk, and were denied education for their children. This became the time of the greatest migration that the County has ever seen and most village populations were halved between 1850 and 1880. The coming of the railways made it easier to move around but the abject poverty in which the poorest people were expected to live made the movement necessary. It was said that most local landowners housed their horses better than their farm labourers. No wonder then, that four of the seven children of Richard and Elizabeth left rural Devon behind them.

It is from their sons and daughters that we can learn much about Richard and Elizabeth. It must have been from the parents that the children learned to improve their lot in life by using initiative, intelligence and adaptability. We see their confident signatures on documents, showing signs of a literacy denied to most of their peers. We note their employers - a Rector, a Deputy Lord Lieutenant among them - and we get an impression of some of the extras that they were able to bring to the workplace like dependability and loyalty. Whatever Richard's start in life, he and his wife don't seem to have let it  touch the lives of their children.


Richard Stentiford

ba 11 Mar 1810 South Tawton
m 6 Feb 1837 Down St. Mary 
bu 4 Mar 1883 Zeal Monachorum (73)

Elizabeth Hooper

ba14 Apr 1811 Bow
m 6 Feb 1837 Down St.Mary

d 15 Jun 1880 Zeal Monachorum (69)


William John ba 2 Aug 1837 Clannaborough  1862 Dec Stoke on Trent 1908 Jun Stoke on Trent (70) 

Olivia Harrison

George ba 22 Sep 1839 Zeal Monchorum m ?1870 Ireland d 1915 Mar  St. Thomas (76)


James b 6 Nov 1841 South Down m 1869 Jun Zeal Monachorum  d 21 May 1909 Zeal Monachorum (68)

Mehala Drake

John ba 6 Apr 1845 Zeal Monchorum m 1868 South Tawton d 1907 Sep Zeal Monachorum (63)

Mary Ann Dustan

Richard ba 23 Sep 1849 Zeal Monachorum m 21 Apr 1877 Zeal Monachorum  d 1932 Jun Zeal Monachorum (82)

Mary Ann Rice

Jane Hooper Ba 12 Oct 1851 Zeal Monachorum d 1874 Dec Stoke on Trent (23)

 No Issue

Mary Ann Ba 15 Oct 1854 Zeal Monachorum m 3 May 1879 Zeal Monachorum d ?

John Beer


Clannaborough Church

Clannaborough Church

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