(B.1845 D.1812) Richard Charley & Jane Dunsford (B.1844)

Richard and Jane Charley

Isett Charley gave birth to a baby boy on the 29 October 1845 in the Union Workhouse at Barnstaple Devon, she named him Richard and he took his mothers surname Charley. In 1851 Isett (spelt Izet here) aged 32 was living at High Preston, Kentisbury her occupation was workwoman (Ag Lab). Her eldest son John must have died because he's not recorded in this census, but her younger son Richard now aged 6 and a scholar. The head of the house was William Harris aged 36 born at Martinhoe an agricultural labour with his wife Mary aged 34 born at Kentisbury. By 1861 Richard aged 15 was working at Tidicombe (Tydicombe) Arlington Barnstaple as a servant and a carter born in Kentisbury. When Richard was in his late teens and early twenties he was working as a stonemason and living in Pilton Barnstaple. It was here he meet Jane Dunsford who was living in Pilton at that time. Then on the 15th March 1867 Richard Charley aged 21 married Jane Dunsford aged 23 at the Baptist chapel Barnstaple. Going back to the 1851 census. It shows that Jane was born in Columpton (spelt Culmlumpton) in 1844. She was living with her parents William Dunsford (B.1810 in the Bradnich division) a paper maker and his wife Sarah (B.1808 in Columpton). The address they were living at was 1, Blatchford, Sherwill, Barnstaple. Jane was one of 8 children; they were Sarah (B.1833 in Columpton) a paper sorter, William (B.1834 in Columpton) a shoemaker, James (B.1838 in Ivy Bridge) a scholar, John (B.1841 in Shirwell)) a scholar, Henry (B.1842 in Shirwell)) a scholar, Susan (B.1848 in Shirwell) aged 3 and Edwin (B.1850 in Shirwell) aged 1. In 1869 Richard and Jane's eldest daughter Maude Mary Charley was born in the parish of Pilton, Barnstaple. By 1871 they were living at Raleigh, Pilton and he had a small holding there the family believe. In the census of 1871 he was a stone polisher aged 24 born at Kinsbury (but we know it was Barnstaple workhouse). His wife Jane aged 27 and born at Collaton (this could be Columpton?). Lodging with then at that time Mr Roberts a cabinetmaker, who could have well worked in the cabinet works at Raleigh at that time. Ten years later in 1881 they ran a butchers at 90 Boutport Street Barnstaple and took in Lodgers. In that same year their second daughter Edith Gertrude Charley (whom they called aunty Gertie) was born and two years later their third daughter Minnie Jane Charley in 1883.

{Maulde Mary Lerwill with daughter Gertrude Minnie Lerwill}

Maude Mary Lerwill with daughter Gertrude Minnie Lerwill In 1888

Richard's eldest daughter Maude married William Charley Lerwill (see note below). They moved to Pontypridd Glamorgan in Wales looking for work. William found work as a butcher and in 1894 Gertrude Minnie Lerwill was born. It was hard going in Wales, so young Gertrude went to live with her grandparents Richard and Jane Charley in Barnstaple Devon. It was here that Gertrude grew up with her grandparents and never lived with her mother and father in Wales. This as you can imagine caused a little resentment between her and her brothers and sisters, who had a harder time of it in Wales. Gertrude was one of five sisters Hilda, Grace, Gladys and Ada and four brothers Ivor, Frank, Reginald and one who died vary young. They all grew up in Wales while Gertrude (whom the Charley family called Minnie) grew up with her grandparents in Barnstaple.

In 1901 Richard Charley was still a butcher at 90 Boutport Street, this was on the corner of Church Lane and Boutport Street. Richard was now 55, Jane 57, Edith Gertrude (always called aunty Gertrude) 20, Minnie Gertrude 18 and Granddaughter Gertrude Minnie Lerwill 7. Richard now had Assistant Butcher Rodger Phillips 19 yrs, A Butcher General Assistant Wilfred Cockram 17 yrs and two general domestic servants. Lodging with them were two Borders, the business was now expanding. By 1906 Kelly's Directory described the business as, Richard Charley's Butchers and Refreshment Rooms 90, 91 & 92 Boutport Street. We assume they were still taking in borders

{Edith Gertrude Charley & Minnie Charley}{Minnie Gertrude Pugsley (nee Charley)}{Maude Mary Charley }

Left Edith Gertrude Charley & Minnie Charley Centre Minnie Jane Pugsley (nee Charley)

Right Maude Mary Charley

Edith never married but Minnie about this time married a Mr Fredrick John Pugsley (possibly from Ilfracombe). Not long afterwards Richard's wife Jane died (around 1910), which was a great loss to Richard and he took this lose vary hard. Soon after Jane's death Edith persuaded Richard to sell the business and bye the Lamb on the corner of Boutport Street and Bear Street. This became the Lamb Butchers and Refreshment House (still taking in borders). Richard was now in his sixties, with the loss of his wife and money worries drink started to get the better of Richard. Sadly one morning in 1912, while walking along the riverbank, he some how fell in and drowned.


MARCH 14TH 1912



Mr. Richard Charley, one of Barnstaple's oldest and most esteemed family butchers, who had also carried on business as a refreshment housekeeper for some time, was found drowned in the river Taw on Monday morning. The deceased, who was 66 years of age, left his establishment about 6.30 on Saturday morning in order to go for a walk, and was subsequently, seen proceeding along the riverbank close to the sports ground. About an hour later a bowler hat identified as having been worn by Mr. Charley was found floating in the Taw, and this lead to the river being dragged, Mr. Charley's lifeless body being recovered about 50 yards below the G.W.R. bridge on Monday morning. The sad affair caused a painful sensation in the town, and the utmost sympathy is expressed with Miss Charley (deceased's daughter) and other relatives in their great bereavement.

The body was removed to the mortuary, at the North Devon Infirmary, at which institution the inquest was held on Monday, before Mr. T. A. R. Rencraft (Borough Coroner), and a jury of which Mr. C. McLeod was foreman. The Coroner said he had no doubt they had all heard the distressing circumstances attending the death of Mr. Charley, who was an old and highly respected townsman. The deceased had for a long time been in business as a butcher in Boutport Street and for the last few years had occupied premises formerly known as the Lamb Hotel. He proceeded to give a resume' of the evidence he proposed to call.

Miss Edith Charley, deceased's daughter, who was greatly distressed whilst giving evidence, stated her father was 66 years of age, and she had been accustomed to assisted him in his conduct of his business as a butcher and refreshment house keeper. About fifteen years ago her father had a seizure and was seriously ill for some time. That illness seemed to have left an effect upon him, as at times he would get excited about small things. After a time however, he would be all right again. About a month ago he complained of rheumatism in one arm and Dr. Jones attended him. The business had been going on fairly well, but on Friday a cheque, which he had drawn was returned from the bank. Her father could have met the cheque without difficulty, but it upset him, and he got in an excited state. Witness remained with him a considerable time during the night, and about 6.30 a.m. he said he would go downstairs. He was apparently better, and shortly afterwards left the house as she thought to go for a walk. Her father had never threatened to do away with himself; and if she had thought of anything like that she should have followed him on Saturday morning.. Except for the cheque incident, there had been nothing else to disturb him, - By the foreman: Her father was greatly depressed over the death of her mother; but eventually got better. He however, seemed to worry about little trifles that nobody else would trouble about.

Charles Symons, assistant in the shop, spoke to Mr. Charley leaving the premises about 6.45 on Saturday morning. Witness thought he was going to a farm in the country, and had never heard him threaten his life.

Harry Moore, foreman cutter, stated that whilst taking a walk about 7.20 a.m.on Saturday he met Mr. Charley on the riverbank adjoining the sports ground about 20 yards the Barnstaple side of the G.W.R. bridge. Witness said, "Oh, you are out for a stroll this morning, Mr. Charley," deceased smiling replying "Going a little way Mr. Moore," and then passed on. Deceased was walking rather quickly, but seemed to be all right.

The Coroner recalled that a breached was recently caused by the flood tide in the riverbank at a point just above where Mr. Moore met Mr. Charley.

Mr. Moore said there was no water in the breach in question that morning. The Coroner: It was rather wet and slippery. Witness: How far would you have to go before coming to deep water? Mr D. Moxham (a juror): about 150 yards beyond the bridge.

Thomas Avery, Fisherman, produced a bowler hat identified as having been worn by Mr. Charley. Witness found it in the river at 8.10 a.m. on Saturday morning about 20 yards beyond the G.W.R. bridge, about 20 feet off the park side of the bank. The spot, he added, was about 20 feet off the park side of the bank. The spot, he added, was about 50 yards below where the body was found.

Fred. Mock, boatman informed the jury that he found the body in about 3 or 4 feet of water, in the middle of the river, about 100 yards the Barnstaple side of G.W.R. bridge. From the position of the body it might have come down form either bank. He agreed that there was considerable water in the river at the time, and thought it quite possible Mr. Charley had accidentally fallen in.

P.C. Pearce, Who with the assistance of messr. Harding (park constable), J.Gilbert, and a young fisherman named Knott, removed the body to the mortuary, was next called. Witness searched the body, but found no note of any kind. Dr. Quinn, house surgeon at North Devon Infirmary, attributed death to drowning.

The Coroner remarked that it was for the jury to say to what conclusion the evidence pointed. Mr. Charley was troubled, it was true, about certain things, but was well enough to enjoy his pipe of tobacco even on Friday night, and the following morning seemed to be perfectly well, and free from trouble. All of them had there troubles at times, but what they had to look for in this case was petty trouble, but adequate motive for any rush act, which he failed to find. He recalled the terrible seizure from which Mr. Charley suffered some years ago, and said that since that time he had always been more or less liable to fall down in a fit.

The jury returned a verdict of "Found drowned," and through the Forman expressed deep sympathy with Miss Charley and other members of the family in their great bereavement.

The Coroner joined in the jury's expression of sympathy, which was acknowledged on behalf of Miss Charley.

The funeral yesterday was attended by a large number of sympathising friends. Numerous members of Court Taw Vale of the Ancient Order of Foresters - with which the deceased had been identified for many years - headed the procession to the cemetery, where the internment was made.

The family mourners were Miss. Charley, Mrs Pugsley, daughters; Miss. Lerwill, granddaughter; Mr. Pugsley, son in law; Mr. And Mrs Griffith, brother in law and sister in law; the general mourners included Messrs. Thorne, Maddocks (2), C. Symons, Pugsley, junior, Misses. Pears, Pugsley and Hutchings. In addition to the Foresters - headed by Bros. Ayre, P.C.R., and F. Northcote, Treasure - there were present Councillor F. Elliot, Messrs. C. H. Lake, W. Beer, F. Webster, E. H. Seldon, Howard (3), C. Richards, W. H. Parkin, J. Avery (representing Thomas and Co., Exeter), G. Yound, Ridge, Kingdom, Britton, G. Catford, M. Froulkes, Sillifant, E. Karslake, Pile, Frayne, Nancarrow, R. Causey, Delbridge, W. Ridge, Acland, Stone, Boyle, and Isaac.

Messrs. R. Sanders and G. Fisher, of the Brethren cause conducted the service, and at the graveside, Bro. Ayre, P.C.R. read the Foresters oration.

The floral tokens were; With sincere sympathy, from Florence A. Pears; with profound sympathy, from E. and E. H. Sillfant; With sincere sympathy, from Mr. and Mrs. Maddocks, and Frank; In loving memory of a vary dear friend, from Mrs. Stevens, Charlie, and Sarah; In affectionate remembrance, from Mr. and Mrs. Moon, Lynton; With deepest sympathy, from Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Lake, Misses Bray and Stentiford; With deepest sympathy, from Mr. and Mrs. W. Beer; In loving memory of dear Dad, from Gertie (Edith), Minnie, Jack, and Minnie (Gertrude); With sincere sympathy, Mr. Jewell, and Mrs. Yeo; With sincere sympathy, from Mrs. Adams.

Mr. E. Kerlake carried out the funeral arrangements, Messrs. Northcote, Bros., supplying the morning carriage.

The business was in trouble and so it was sold. Daughter Edith went to work as a cashier at Bromley's coffee house, which ran from the High Street through to the Strand in those days. Granddaughter Gertrude Minnie Lerwill went to work at the Belmont school for boys at Bickington, Barnstaple. This would have been around the years 1910 to 1912 up to and at this time in her group of friends was a Frank Maddocks and a Friendship sprang up between them. Gertrude Minnie Maddocks and Frank Robbins Maddocks Frank left his job with Daw's outfitters in Barnstaple High Street and moved up with his brother Harry in Bristol. Shortly after Gertrude moved to Bristol and took a job at Frenchay Hospital (a mental hospital at that time). She became ill so in 1914 they married and she was now Gertrude Minnie Maddocks.

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