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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

Directory Listings





Parish Records




War Memorials


by John Chudley


John Chudleigh was married in Crediton Parish Church to Ann Tapp on 17 June 1839. He was a 'husbandman' and Ann was a servant and neither of them could write. They settled in the parish of Shobrooke, just to the east of Crediton, at the tiny hamlet of Shute. Their first child, James, was born there on 17.2.1840, and the surname appears on his birth certificate for the first time spelled Chudley. There followed Henry, Elizabeth, William and Sarah. By the time of the 1851 census, James, aged 11, was already a farm labourer, but two of the other children were 'scholars'. When the next census was taken, in 1861, the whole family appears to have adopted the present spelling of the name.


Their circumstances were also changing. Many of them had moved into the parish of Newton St. Cyres; John and Ann appear to be now on their own, James, now 21, having begun an apprenticeship, was listed as being at the household of William Taylor, tailor and draper, working as a servant/tailor; Henry (18) was a servant at another household, as was William (13); Elizabeth (15) was in service at East Holme Farm. John's brother, William, had also by this time settled in Newton St. Cyres and was rearing his own large family, which included a daughter, Bessie.


On 10.12.1863, James married Eliza Dunn, who came from Exbourne, but who was at the time in service in Shobrooke. The wedding took place at Crediton Register Office; I suspect that this might be because by this time James had become a member of the Bible Christian Church and was not altogether in sympathy with the Church of England. Both James and Eliza could write, as could Henry, who acted as a witness. They settled down in Newton St. Cyres and at least by 1871 they were living at Blenheim House in Sweetham. Sweetham is a hamlet about one mile east of the centre of Newton St. Cyres; it probably grew as a result of the railway station being sited there. The station, in fact, is literally at the bottom of the garden of Blenheim House. Here James and Eliza brought up their ten children - Susan (1865), John (1866), William (1868), Richard (1870), Frank (1873), Samuel (1874), Frederick (1877), George (1879), Albert (1881) and Amy (1885?). An eleventh child was lost in infancy.


The family of James and Eliza Chudley
The family of James and Eliza c. 1890

Back row L to R: Frank; Richard; John; William; Frederick

Front Row L to R: : George;  Albert (standing); Susan; James Chudley;

Eliza Chudley (standing) Amy; Samuel

©John Chudley


From Blenheim House, James ran his tailoring business. He would travel around the neighbouring farms repairing clothes and taking orders for new ones that would be made up in the annexe attached to the house.


At some time not known to me, James moved out of Blenheim House and into a cottage attached to the Bible Christian Chapel at Sweetham. This cottage has long since been demolished and the Chapel rooms were erected in its place. The Chapel finally closed for worship in 1988 and has been converted into living accommodation. Blenheim House remained in the family, and George continued to run the family business from there until his death in the 1950's.


Blenheim House, Newton St. Cyres

Blenheim House, Newton St. Cyres

© John Chudley




The contents of this page are the copyright property of John Chudley


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