M*CH*MORE One Name Study

The MITCHMOREs of Brixham and Landscove

by Maureen Spinks, May 2008

Introduction

This history was initially written for Stanley Douglas Mitchmore, born in Landscove, Devon, on 26th May 1927, to celebrate his 80th birthday. However, during the past year, more and more information has come to light, and so it is only now, as Stan approaches his 81st birthday, that the work has been completed.1

Although Stan has spent most of his adult life in Middlesex, he is descended from families which have their roots firmly in the Devon countryside. His ancestors can be traced back on the paternal side to his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, Thomas Muchemore, and on the maternal side to his great-great-grandfather, William Ferris Tucker. Both surnames were and still are common in Devon. 

It was not until the latter part of the 19th century that Stan’s family came to be known as Mitchmore. In the United Kingdom, only the descendants of Stan’s grandfather have Mitchmore as their surname.

For this web site, only the text describing the Mitchmore line has been reproduced. Please contact the coordinator if you wish to read about the Tucker line.

Thomas Muchemore (174x-1778), Great Great Great Great Grandfather

The earliest known ancestor of Stan Mitchmore is Thomas Muchemore, who married Cecilia Borryer the younger in 1769 at Bigbury, in the South Hams area of Devon. Thomas is described as “of Thurlestone”. A researcher who has checked the Thurlestone baptism register has been unable to find a baptism entry for Thomas, but the registers for the 18thcentury are in poor condition, so it may just have been missed. It is possible that Thomas was the son of William and Elizabeth Muchamore, who both died at Bigbury in November 1778, four days apart.

Thomas and Cecilia had four sons and a daughter, but the only one known to have had children was Thomas, born at Bigbury in 1771.

Thomas Senior died at Bigbury in 1778, but it is not known when Cecilia died.

Thomas Mitchamore (1771-1837), Great Great Great Grandfather

As mentioned, Thomas Mitchamore was born at Bigbury in 1771, the second son of Thomas & Cecilia MUCHEMORE. In 1794, he married Elizabeth Beck at Bigbury. The banns refer to him as “sojourner of Newton Ferrers”, a parish about 12 km to the east of Bigbury.

Stan Mitchmore still has in his possession a medal which was awarded to a person by the name of William Beck, after serving on the Minotaur in the Battle of the Nile. It is assumed that William Beck was the brother of Elizabeth.

The Battle of the Nile was an important naval battle of the French Revolutionary Wars, which took place on the evening and early morning of 1st-2nd August 1798. The Minotaur was captained by Thomas Louis and had 74 guns and 640 men. On the Minotaur, a total of 87 men were killed or wounded (2 Officers, 18 Seamen and 3 Marines killed; 4 Officers, 54 Seamen and 6 Marines wounded). A cutlass that once belonged to William Beck was donated to the Totnes Museum in 1965.

Thomas and Elizabeth had two sons and a daughter, all born at Bigbury: Thomas (1796-1874), John Beck (1804-1866) and Elizabeth (1811). Thomas married Elizabeth Wakeham at Ringmore in 1816 and had four sons and six daughters: Edward Beck (1817), Thomas Wakeham (1818), Jane Wakeham (1820), Betsy Wakeham (1822), Mary Anne (1824), Sarah (1826), Hannah Wakeham (1827), Thomas Wakeham (1830-1896), John Beck (1831-1851), Mary Ann (1837). Elizabeth Mitchelmore (1811) married Samuel Evans at Bigbury in 1830. We shall learn more about the second son, John Beck, in the next section.

Thomas died at Bigbury in 1837 of influenza, his wife Elizabeth having predeceased him in 1828.

John Beck Michamore (1804-1866), Great Great Grandfather

John Beck Michamore was born at Bigbury in 1804, the second son of Thomas and Elizabeth Mitchamore. In 1826, he married Rachel Lane (who had been born at South Brent about 1799) at St Mary’sParish Church, Brixham. They spent the rest of their lives in Brixham.

John and Rachel had two sons and two daughters: Elizabeth (1827), John Beck (1829-c1830), Mary Lane (1832) and John Beck (1836-1902), all born at Brixham. Their first-born son died in infancy; his younger brother was given the same name.

At the time of the 1841 census, John and Rachel were living at Milton Street, Brixham, with their two young children, Mary and John; John Senior was an agricultural labourer. John and Rachel were still at Milton Street in 1851; John Senior was described as a labourer and 14-year-old John had no occupation listed. Mary was living in King Street, Lower Brixham, working for ship-owner Moses Tyrer as a house servant.

In 1861, John and Rachel were living at Drew Street, Brixham. John was described as a lime burner. Besides fishing, the other major local industry in Brixham was connected with the town’s rocks. Limestone was quarried extensively; it was used to build the breakwater, for houses and roads, and was also burnt in limekilns to reduce it to a powder which was spread on the land as an agricultural fertiliser. The old quarries and limekilns can still be seen in modern-day Brixham. Their son John, now married and with a baby son, was living in the same building.

John and Rachel's oldest child, Elizabeth, married Samuel Coyde at St Mary’s, Brixham, in 1856. Her younger sister, Mary Lane, married Henry Salisbury, a widowed fisherman, at All Saints, Brixham, the following year. We shall learn more about their sole surviing son, John Beck, in the next section.

John Beck Mitchelmore Senior died in 1866. His widow, Rachel, lived the rest of her life with her married son, John, and his family. She died at Brixham in 1883.

John Beck Mitchmore (1836-1902), Great Grandfather

John Beck Mitchelmore Junior was born at Brixham in 1836, the youngest child of John Beck and Rachel Mitchelmore. He was the second child of this name; the first was born in 1829 and died soon afterwards.

In 1856, at St Mary’s Church, Brixham, John married Ann Tucker, who been born at Blackawton in 1838. John was a wheelwright by profession. John and Ann had one son, John Thomas (1858), who was born at Brixham in 1858.

At the time of the 1861 census, John and Ann were living on Drew Street with their young son, in the same house as John’s parents. By 1871, however, they were living at Furzeham Hill, Brixham; John’s widowed mother, Rachel, was living with them. Their surname by this time was written as Mitchmore; John was described as “foreman at paint works”.

John and Ann had moved again by the time of the 1881 census. They were now living at 9 Horsepool, Brixham, still with their son, John, and John’s mother, Rachel. By 1891, Rachel had died and John Junior had married and set up his own home, so John and Ann were living alone—this time inn Frogwell Lane. John was still a wheelwright and Ann was described as a shopkeeper, despite the fact that John was a cripple and Ann was an invalid. In 1901, they lived on Drew Street, John being described as a retired cooper.

John Mitchmore died at Brixham in 1902; Ann died in 1920.

John Thomas Michelmore (1858-1922), Grandfather

John Thomas Michelmore was born at Brixham in 1858, the only child of John Beck and Ann Mitchmore. The spelling of his surname varied, but settled at Mitchmore by 1891. John was a carpenter by profession.

John married Sarah Jane Webber in 1886 at Ashburton. Sarah had been born at Staverton in 1865, the daughter of John and Margaret Webber; in 1881, she was working as a servant at Tidwell Farm House, next to Landscove School House Cottage, Staverton. John and Sarah spent the first years of their married life in Brixham, moving to Landscove in 1896.

According to their grandson Stan, John and Sarah had 13 children in total, but only nine survived to adulthood: Annie Maud (1886-c1981), Alfred John (1888-1979), Herbert Henry (1892-1970), William Ernest (1895-1915), and Florence Ada (1906-1946). The three eldest surviving children were born at Brixham and the six youngest were born at Staverton. The other children included Edith May (1891-1892) and Sidney George (1898-1899).

At the time of the 1891 census, John and Sarah and family were living at 5 Parkham Cottages, Burton Street, Brixham. Some 70 or so years after his grandfather, John Beck Mitchelmore, had moved from the South Hams, John Thomas returned to the area. John and family moved from Brixham to Staverton about 1896 because of John’s employment in helping to build the new cider factory at Hillcroft. In 1901, they were living in the Alms Houses, Staverton, and 1911 in Hillcroft, Staverton. Sarah’s parents, John and Margaret Webber, still lived at Landscove, which was part of the parish of Staverton; in 1901, John and Margaret lived at 3 Pethick’s Cottages, next to Thornycroft House, Landscove, with one of their sons, Frank Webber (1878-1918), who was later to perish in the First World War, as recorded on the Landscove War Memorial.

John Thomas died at Staverton in 1921. His widow, Sarah, survived him by more than 30 years, dying in 1956 at the age of 91. Her mental health was never the same after the death of both her brother and a son in the Great War, another son badly wounded, followed a few years later by the death of her husband. Initially, Sarah had been cared for at home by her youngest daughter, Ada. After Ada’s premature death in 1946, it was the turn of the eldest daughter, Annie, to help out, until it became too much for her and Sarah had to go into hospital. Sarah ended her days in a mental hospital in Exminster. Both John and Sarah are buried in Staverton churchyard.

We shall hear more about John and Sarah's eldest son, Alfred John, in the next section. Their eldest daughter, Annie Maud, married Charles Smith in 1911 and had two sons, Edwin (1912), known as Eddie, and Stanley (1922). Her husband died about 1927. After the time at Hillcroft looking after her mother during the 1950s and early 1960s, Annie returned to live in Torquay and died in a nursing home about 1981.

John and Sarah's son Bert was a regular soldier before the Great War, serving in the Jersey Militia, the Royal Marines and then the Devonshire Regiment. He was one of only two people from the village to fight at the Battle of Mons; he was severely wounded and gassed. He married Hilda Mary Ellis at Broadhempstone in 1919 and lived at Staverton. They had no children and were very upset by the death of their only nephew on Hilda’s side, Stanley Bennett, an RAF Flying Officer, who was killed in the last week of the Second World War. Bert died on Christmas Eve 1970. The ashes of Bert and his wife are interred at Staverton.

Their son Ern served with the 8th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, in the First World War. He died on 25th September 1915 at the Battle of Loos; Rudyard Kipling’s son, John, fell in the same battle just two days later. The Battle of Loos formed a part of the wider Artois-Loos Offensive conducted by the French and British in autumn 1915, sometimes referred to as the Second Battle of Artois; the Artois campaigns comprised the major Allied offensive on the Western Front in 1915. Ern has no known grave. He was one of over 20,000 officers and men who fell in the area from the River Lys to the old southern boundary of the First Army, east and west of Grenay. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial which forms the side and back of Dud Corner Cemetery and also on the Staverton War Memorial. In one of his last letters to his sister, Lily, he wrote of “this awful place”, referring to the front line in the trenches.

Their daughter Lilian worked in service in Staverton, and then moved to Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire, with the lady for whom she worked. There, she met Frederick Thomas Dyer, whom she married in 1925; she spent the rest of her life in Gloucestershire. Fred rose to become Head Gardener for Colonel Brassey. Fred and Lily had no children but entertained their nephew, Stan, and his wife, Pat, on many a holiday at their home in the stable block. Fred Dyer died in 1977 and Lily in 1984. They are buried in the churchyard at Upper Slaughter, together with Lily’s nephew, Ernest William King (the son of her younger sister, Ida), who lived with them from the age of about five.

Daughter Ida married Richard King, known as Dick, in 1923 and had four children: the twins Edward (Ted) and Ernest William, Barbara, and Jean. They lived at Dartington. Ernest was a frequent visitor to his aunt’s home in Gloucestershire (Lily, the wife of Fred Dyer). He liked it so much that he spent most of his childhood with Lily and Fred. They did not adopt him officially, but he was like a son to the childless couple. He died in 1947 at the age of 22 and was buried in the churchyard at Upper Slaughter. Both Dick King and his son, Ted, were long-distance transport drivers for Staverton Builders and used his sister-in-law Lil’s home in Gloucestershire for overnight stop-overs on many occasions. Ida, Dick and Ted were all cremated at Torquay.

John and Sarah's daughter Ethel married Edgar Jackman in 1931 at Staverton. She was given away by her eldest brother, Fred, as her father had died. The wedding reception took place at the Court Room, Staverton, now a listed building. Edgar’s father was the publican at The Live & Let Live Inn in Landscove. Edgar was an engineer, but later took over from his father as the publican of The Live & Let Live Inn. Edgar had a large workshop at the rear of the inn where he repaired the village bicycles in his spare time. Also, there was a fairly large piece of land behind the inn where he and his sister, Dora, grew tomatoes and cucumbers in large greenhouses and supplied them to the village. Ethel and Edgar lived at 5 Memory Cross; they had no children. Ethel died in 1937, having caught tuberculosis from her younger sister, Ada. She was buried at Landscove Church with one of the largest number of floral tributes ever seen there. Edgar died nearly 50 years later, in 1986; his ashes are interred at Landscove Church, close to the grave of his brother-in-law Fred.

Their youngest son Arthur Owen, known as Owen, married Rosina Teresa Stewart (known as Rose) and had one son, Barry. Owen and Rose lived at Landscove and then Staverton. Owen was trained as a carpenter by his father. After his brother Fred returned from the war, Owen joined forces with Fred to form a carpentry and nursery business trading as Mitchmore Brothers. Their father rented a field at Hillcroft where they were able to grow apples and plums. The business folded in the early 1950s after Fred had an accident. Owen then went to work at Staverton Builders. On retirement, Owen and Rose moved to a bungalow on the Dartington Hall estate. Owen died in 1992 and Rose in 2001; they were both buried at Buckfastleigh.

Owen’s son, Barry, lives in Torquay. He married Vivien F Plummer (née Haye) in 1985 and had two children: Nicholas John (1985), known as Nick, and Lucy (1988). The marriage was later dissolved and both Barry and Vivien married again. The children went to live with their mother, but retained the name Mitchmore. They are the only younger generation Mitchmores living in the United Kingdom today. Nick gained a degree in Photomedia & Design Communications from the Plymouth College of Art and Lucy trained as a hairdresser at the South Devon Technical College in Paignton.

John and Sarah's daughter Florence Ada, known as Ada, never married. She lived at home, caring for her mother until she died of tuberculosis, aged 40, in 1946. She spent her last years in a sanatorium called Hawkmoor. She was buried next to her parents in Staverton churchyard. Ada had a long-term friendship with a local lad, Jim Blackler. He remained a friend of the family and met his future wife, Anne, at the home of Ada’s sister Ida.

Alfred John Mitchmore (1888-1979), Father

Alfred John Mitchmore, always known as Fred, was born at Brixham in 1888, the eldest son of John and Sarah Mitchmore. When Fred was about eight years old, the family moved to Staverton. Fred was known as the studious one in the family. According to his younger sister Lily, while the younger members of the family played games, he was always reading. Fred attended Broadhempstone School, which had been constructed in 1870 adjacent to the church on the site of the previous village workhouse.

On leaving school, Fred worked for the cider manufacturer, Hill’s, at Hillcroft, Staverton. During the Great War, Fred served in the Devonshire Regiment and went to Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and Afghanistan. He sailed from Portland in 1914 and returned to Plymouth in 1919. During his army career, Fred learnt Morse code and shorthand which enabled him to join the Signals Branch, and also to take up something entirely new to him, haircutting. This was a skill he was able to use again, as in later years, on Saturday afternoons, his home resembled a barber’s shop when Fred cut the hair of many of the locals. In the army, he also played the fife in one of the Regimental Bands.

Fred married Rose Tucker at St Mary’s Church, Dartington, in 1921, and honeymooned in Torquay. In later life, their one regret was that no photographs were taken at their wedding.

Fred and Rose went to live at Landscove in the parish of Staverton, where their only son, Stanley Douglas, was born in 1927, in a house named Memory Shop (named after the blacksmith’s shop situated opposite the signpost to Staverton and Totnes). In 1931, Fred, Rose and Stan moved into a newly-built council house diagonally opposite across the crossroads. Four houses were built on a field named Beara Park, with a further two built after the Second World War.  The area was known as Beara Park for several years, until it began to be known as Memory Cross, a name which survives to the present day. The cottages have changed considerably since Fred and Rose first moved there. During Fred and Rose’s time, the persons living in those dwellings were well known for keeping up the appearances, their gardens both front and back being always in tip-top condition, but today, unfortunately, that is not the case.

Fred rejoined Hill’s after the war for a short time and was sent to look after their cider cellar at Staverton Railway Station. But he then decided that he wanted to branch out on his own. He joined forces with his brother, Owen, to form a carpentry and nursery business trading as Mitchmore Brothers. Owen looked after the carpentry side whilst Fred used a field at Hillcroft, known as Allerhead Nursery, which his father had rented to grow apples and plums. The main part of their business was the carpentry, decorating and general repair work in the large private houses, farm buildings and wagons in the villages of Landscove, Staverton, Dartington, Tigley and Brooking, right up to Puddavine on the outskirts of Totnes. The actual nursery was looked after when there was a lull in the building work, except when Fred was grafting new fruit trees and during the planting and harvesting of potatoes and fruit. The fruit was sold mostly to the cider factory. Those periods were very busy times for Fred. His brother Bert also rented a field at Staverton, and on part of that Fred grew additional fruit trees. In the 1920s and early 1930s, he also kept pigs and ducks, but eventually gave them up and concentrated on chickens. Rose would often sit over in the nursery and feed Fred’s piglets with a bottle. At times, Fred used to let the ducks wander in the meadow opposite, where there was a brook and a small pond. They soon returned when it was feeding time. On one occasion, they returned very agitated. Fred went to investigate and found that one had been caught in a rabbit trap. Fred also had a beautiful black cat named Tinker, which was kept in the nursery and was always wandering around with him.

In the Second World War, both Fred and Owen joined the Home Guard and Fred was able to use his experience in the Signals Branch once again. Their nursery was subjected to Ministry regulations and they had to grow potatoes on all available space.

In the early 1950s, Fred had an accident. He fell through the roof where they were working at Dartington and, as a result, he could not carry on the business. Fred kept on the Allerhead Nursery field where he had a few trees and kept chickens.

For over 50 years, Fred and Rose worshipped at St Matthew’s Church, Landscove, where Fred was a churchwarden for nearly 30 years. Rose also became involved with the local church, helping with the decorations at festival times and each year collecting from every house in the village for the maintenance of the churchyard (noted for being one of the tidy yards in Devon). Fred collected from all the outlying farmsteads and houses until this task was taken on by Mr Ford, the village shop owner, when travelling around on his rounds. Fred and Rose joined in local activities such as dancing the waltz and valeta at village dances, and participating in whist drives. Rose was a School Manager. In his later years, Fred took up painting as a hobby.

Fred died at Landscove in 1979 of a coronary, following a stroke in the early 1970s. The following obituary appeared in the Parish Newsletter:

Fred Mitchmore saw service in Mesopotamia during the Great War and, for many years after, ran his own business with his brother. He was a very fine old gentleman of the country; nothing stirred one more than seeing him tread his measured step out for a walk, before blindness and deafness eventually stopped such outings.

On his tombstone, his son has agreed to have written Churchwarden 1933-1960. According to the Archdeaconry Records, there could be one or two years missing; I will check up one day in Exeter. Mr Mitchmore was a sidesman from 1927 to 1934.

Active service for the Lord at his beloved little church for 33 years and a practising one long before and right up to his death is surely the mark of a true Christian following the example of his Master in both work and worship. So THERE is a real servant of the Lord on his way to meet his Maker. May he rest in peace.

Rose continued living at Landscove until it became necessary to move into Rushbrook, a care home at Totnes. A fall on Boxing Day 1985 necessitated a stay at Torbay Hospital. She was then transferred to Gardenhurst Nursing Home, Torquay, where she died in April 1986. Later in the year, on 21st September, St Matthew’s Day, a Celebration of Flowers in memory of Rose and Fred was held at Landscove Church.

After Rose’s death, a memorial plaque to Fred and Rose was placed on the north wall of the church. Tapestry kneelers were also dedicated to them.

Stanley Douglas Mitchmore

[I need Stan's written permission before I include this section on the web site, since it deals with a living person.]

Stanley Douglas Mitchmore was born at Landscove in the parish of Staverton on 26th May 1927, the only son of Fred and Rose Mitchmore.

Stan attended Landscove Primary School from 1931-1938 and then King Edward VI Grammar School, Totnes, from 1938-1943. Totnes Grammar School was an ancient foundation (founded 1553) and, from 1887 to the 1960s, occupied a fine redbrick Georgian mansion built in 1795. The classrooms were in a two-storey building connected to the rear of the mansion. In the mansion itself were the Headmaster’s study, the teaching staffrooms and, because it was a boarding school, the dormitories, dining room, House Master and Matron’s rooms, etc. Charles Babbage, the “father” of the computer, was a former pupil. The Mansion is now home to King Edward VI Community College, or KEVICC's (as it is known locally) and is the main centre for community education in Totnes.

All pupils were addressed by their surnames; this was so ingrained that, if meeting a fellow pupil in later life, the temptation was still to address him that way. What Stan hated most of all was having to attend school on Saturday mornings. There was a punishment system of “order marks” and, if you received four over a certain period, that meant losing your half-day on Wednesdays. Pupils also had to touch their cap each time they passed a master in the street; failure to do so could result in an “order mark”. Stan admitted to losing some Wednesday afternoons. 

On leaving school, Stan worked for the cider company for 12 months from 1943-1944. He then went to work as an apprentice at the Devon General Omnibus Company at Torquay from 1944-1951, during which time he attended South Devon Technical College, Torquay, on a day release scheme. Stan then moved to London where he worked as a fitter for the AEC Motor Company. He later applied for a position in the Technical Publications Department and was promoted to the staff in 1954; later he was promoted to Section Supervisor. The company was subsequently taken over by British Leyland. In 1978 he was offered a similar position at Leyland, Lancashire, but, after spending three spells there (one with his wife), Stan decided the upheaval was too involved at their age. Shortly afterwards, London Transport approached Stan and offered him a position in their Specifications Department at Chiswick, which he accepted; he remained there until 1987.

Stan met Patricia Jean Eagles, the youngest child of Leslie and Ada Eagles, at the Kew Palais in January 1954; they were both keen ballroom dancers. They married on 24th September 1955 at St John’s Church, Isleworth, and honeymooned in Brighton.

Pat and Stan initially lived at Haven Green, Ealing Broadway, for five years, and then moved to Bedfont in 1960. They moved to their present house in Hampton, Middlesex, in 1967.

For their Silver wedding, Pat and Stan held a party at Linden Hall, Hampton, for family, close friends and members of the dancing circle. This was followed by a holiday in Guernsey. On the actual day of their anniversary, Pat and Stan celebrated by having a dinner at the Hampton Court Mitre Hotel by the river.

Pat and Stan’s Ruby wedding was spent in Cornwall. For a celebration lunch at the Housel Bay Hotel, The Lizard, they treated themselves to pâté, roast beef, apple pie, clotted cream, cider and coffee. The holiday included a visit to the Isles of Scilly and a mini-cruise from Plymouth to Santander, Spain.

Pat and Stan’s Golden wedding anniversary was spent in the USA with Stan’s cousins, Alan and Liva Tucker, at Buckhannon, West Virginia. A celebration party had been planned at cousin Dorreen’s home town, New Martinsville, but, owing to Stan’s illness, it unfortunately had to be cancelled; a smaller reunion was held at Alan and Liva’s home. Pat and Stan were able to meet all the close relatives. Alan and another cousin, Bob Reinhart, County Sheriff, drove them literally hundreds of miles, visiting the states of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and Ohio, as well as Washington DC, Arlington and Gettysburg. During the weekend stay with Liz and Bob Reinhart, Pat and Stan were driven to the state capital, Charleston. It was Bob’s intention to introduce them to the State Governor but, unfortunately, he was called away on another duty. They were given a tour of the Senate and State government buildings and were introduced to the Attorney-General.

On 26th May 2007, Stan celebrated his 80th birthday at The Royal Oak, near Bognor Regis. The birthday celebration was shared with his brother-in-law, Ted Main, who had had his 80th birthday just 16 days earlier. Present at the celebrations were Stan & Pat Mitchmore, Ted Main & Beryl Pratt, Marjorie Spinks, Tony, Maureen & Jonathan Spinks, Paul Spinks, Bob Wallace & Peggy Roberts, Dil & Eve Hunter, and Zelma May.


1Sadly, Stanley died on 26 Jul 2010.

 

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