June 1678 A lease involving John and Johane Hyne of Ipplepen and Thomas Witheare, yeoman of Ashburton, concerns a house in St Lawrence Lane. The building was currently a stable, but was formerly a slaughterhouse.
By 1727 the lease was for a house formerly a slaughterhouse, then a stable, but now fallen down to the ground.
In 1732 a newly erected dwelling, formerly a slaughterhouse, was leased in St Lawrence Lane.
48/14/65/2, Devon Archive and Local Studies Service, http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk
48/14/65/3a-b, Devon Archive and Local Studies Service, http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk
Ref 48/14/65/5,
Devon Archive and Local Studies Service, http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk


John Stephens, butcher, was one of the parties named in a lease for one year in 1711.
The premises consisted of messuages, stables, courtilage and a garden in West Street.
Devon Heritage Centre, ref 872A/PZ/21
https://devon-cat.swheritage.org.uk/records/872A/PZ/21 - accessed 06-03-2024

In 1711 Furse close, part of Bayland tenement, Ashburton, was leased for a year at a peppercorn rent*. One of the parties was Hugh James of Ashburton, yeoman; the other was Robert Foote, also of Ashburton, a butcher.
2180/3 http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/31086e90-5b1f-46f0-a41a-ae6a5556acad
*A small amount, only charged to maintain a formal landlord/tenant agreement

Robert Foote, butcher, appears in other documents in 1728, concerning a close of land called Rowborough.
Ref 872A/PZ/25 and 872A/PZ/26-27 Devon Heritage Centre
https://devon-cat.swheritage.org.uk/records/872A/PZ/25 - accessed 12-03-2024
https://devon-cat.swheritage.org.uk/records/872A/PZ/26-27 - accessed 12-03-2024

Thomas Foot, butcher, had to appear at the next Quarter Sessions in 1738, to answer charges that he unlawfully took a bull belonging to William Bickford of Bickington, taking it into Newton Town and beating him with dogs. Robert Foot, butcher, is also named.
ref QS/4/1738/Midsummer/RE/65 5 July 1738, Devon Heritage Centre https://devon-cat.swheritage.org.uk/records/QS/4/1738/Midsummer/RE/65 - accessed 31-10-2020

A counterpart of a lease of closes of land in Ashburton from 1761/2 was from John Kelley of Exeter, gent to Peter Cockey of Ashburton, Devon, butcher
Deeds and associated papers relating to property at Ashburton and Buckfastleigh, ref MS3101/A/F/1/6, Birmingham Archives, Heritage and Photography Service, 1641-1761/2 https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/cfa9020a-69ca-43aa-ab19-41d09424cb3f - accessed 18-03-2021
Many thanks to Annie Pomeroy for passing on this reference

1766 Richard Bales, a butcher of Ashburton, was one of the parties to a lease and release of various lands and properties in Ashburton.
Ref 48/14/73/9a-c Devon Archives and Local Studies Service, http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/9868c0e0-a739-4cf1-8b50-f19bf6065164

Puttisham Wood, Buckland in the Moor, was leased for a year in 1766. Winifred Smerdon, a widow of Ashburton, and Richard Ellis of Ashburton, butcher were one of the parties; Richard Smerdon of Plymouth, a butcher, was the other.
74/693/15 http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/a17dc35e-bdc4-4d42-87bc-347cfba092f6

John Ireland, butcher, was one of the parties to a lease and release for a messuage, tenement, orchard and herb garden in Cad Lane in 1733.
Z16/1/8/1a-b, Devon Archives and Local Studies Service, http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/57ec3937-4da8-4482-8b43-a48326a7c456

According to the website of Westminster Abbey John Ireland, who later became Dean of Westminster, was born on 8 September 1761 at Ashburton, the son of butcher Thomas and his wife Elizabeth.
http://www.westminster-abbey.org/our-history/people/john-Ireland - Accessed 21-09-2017

Amongst the sacrament certificates* held by the Devon Archives and Local Studies Service are ones for Thomas Ireland, an Ashburton butcher, for various dates between 1762 and 1774. The reference is for one in 1766
Ref QS/21/1766/6 http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/f848a51c-a48d-46d2-872b-804c52e1edf9
*An oath of loyalty to the Crown and to the Church of England.

Thomas Ireland, butcher, takes on Thomas Endle as an apprentice in 1783, Richard Smerdon as an apprentice in 1784 and William Ireland in 1791.

Register of duties paid for Apprentices' Indentures 1710-1811

                                        Butchers in the late 1700s
George Bovnes
John Ireland
Thomas Ireland
Jeffery Mitchelmore

John Pierce

James Sparkes

John Sparkes 

Richard Smerdon

Thomas Smerdon

A transcript of trades and professions from the Universal British Directory of Trade, Commerce and Manufacture, Vol 2, late 1700s

1796 Two sisters were co-heiresses at law of John Ireland, late of Ashburton, butcher, dec'd.

Elizabeth (wife of John Orchard of South tawton, butcher) was one of them, and Susanna, wife of John Lemon of Ashburton, butcher, was the other.

Documents connected to the Palk family of Haldon, in the Devon Heritage Centre. Ref Z10


The will of James Spark, butcher of Ashburton, dated 30th October 1801, is held at the National Archives.
PROB 11/1364/245, http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk

The will of William Ireland, butcher of Ashburton, dated 19th September 1826, is held at the National Archives.
Ref PROB 11/1716/340, https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D153374
1821. At the Devon Lent Assize Wm Lee was sentenced to 3 months' imprisonment for stealing a quarter of Mutton from John Ireland, butcher, Ashburton.
Exeter Flying Post 29 March 1821, p4 col3

In 1839 John Pierce, butcher, gave evidence in a case of sheepstealing. He testified that some mutton found in houses of the accused was not cut up in the way a butcher would have cut it.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 23 March 1839, p3 col2

Elizabeth Barnes, the wife of J Barnes of Plymouth, died in January 1841. She was the third daughter of Mr J Pearse, a butcher of Ashburton.
Western Times 13 February 1841, p2 col5

Joseph Tarr, a butcher aged 41, died in May 1841.
Western Times 29th May 1841, p2 col6

April 1848. Charles Yolland, a butcher of Ashburton, married Susan Wills at Ideford.
Western Times 15 April 1848, p3 col1

Devon Heritage Centre holds a draft will for John Hooper, butcher, dated 1850.
In November 1840 the wife of J Hooper, butcher, gave birth to a son.
In the 1841 census a John Hooper, aged circa 20, butcher, was living in North Street.
In April 1842 the wife of J Hooper, a butcher, gave birth to a daughter.
Devon Heritage Centre, ref 924B/F/4/110
Western Times 28 November 1840, p2 col5
1841 census HO107, piece no 253, folio 9, p13
Western Times 9 April 1842, p3 col1

1855 John Pearse, butcher, died in April, aged 50.
Western Times 21 April 1855, p5 col4

Grace Pearse, the eldest daughter of butcher J Pearse, committed suicide by hanging in September 1856. Described as a 'person of property', she had held a 'confidential situation in the family of the Dowager Lady Carew.'
Bell's Weekly Messenger, 27 September 1856, p5 col3


In the 1861 census there were 8 butchers and a butcher's assistant:

William Mann was both a butcher and auctioneer, living in East Street
His son Thomas Mann was also a butcher
John C Matterface was a butcher in East Street.
His 25 year old son William H Matterface, in the same household, was also a butcher
40 year old Thomas Pearse was a master butcher in West Street
13 year old Richard Pengelly was a butcher's assistant
29 year old Charles Smerdon was in North Street
Richard Smerdon was a butcher in East Street
Charles Yolland was in East Street

                                                The Mann family

In the 1841 census William Mann, a butcher circa 35 years old, is living in East Street with his wife Elizabeth. With them are their four young children.

At Christmas 1848 William Mann supervised the distribution of meat to poor families living at Holne. Sir B P Wrey of Chace House and the Reverend H Wrey of Holne Park donated the fare - a conservatory had been cleared of plants to accommodate the mutton and beef, and 'resembled the establishment of an extensive butcher'.
Western Times 30 December 1848, p5 col4

By 1851 William is a butcher and auctioneer, and his son William, 17, is also a butcher.
1841 census HO107, piece no 253, folio 11, p14
1851 census HO107 piece no 1871, folio 266, p15

In 1871 William Snr is an auctioneer, but his son Thomas W, living in the same household, is a butcher. William's son William, and his daughters Betsy Ann and Maria, all unmarried, are down on the census as 'No occupation'.
1871 census RG10, piece no 2080, folio 68, p10

In October 1875 William Mann, auctioneer, a widower, married widow Laura Charlotte Kingwell at the parish church. William's father is also William, but his occupation is hard to read.
Parish records
Laura married again as a widow in 1880. Her husband was George Perkins, a batchelor whose rank or profession was 'Gentleman'. In the 1881 census George is 42 and his wife 60 - although her age at death in 1888 (75) appears to show that she would have been nearer 68.
Parish records
1881 census RG11, piece no 2161, folio 68, p12

                                           The Matterface family

John Campion Matterface was baptised in March 1803, the son of John and Harriot
Parish records

John Snr. may be the John Matterface buried in Ashburton in 1832, aged 62. Harriot/Harriet may be the Harriet Matterface, abode St Andrew's, Plymouth, who was buried in Ashburton in 1848. She was 82.
Parish records

In 1827 John Matterface of Ashburton married Ann Hallett of Teignmouth.
27 year old Ann Matterface was buried at Ashburton in 1830
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 6 January 1827 p3 col3
Parish records

January 26th 1829. Thomas, the eldest son of John Snr., died in St Lawrence, Newfoundland, 'In his 33d year'.

Sherborne Mercury 18 May 1829 p4 col4 

John Campion Matterface married Sarah Ireland in 1832
Devon Marriages Transcription, available via http://www.findmypast.co.uk

John Campion Jnr. was baptised in February 1834, the son of John Campion Matterface, a butcher, and his wife Sarah.
Parish records

In 1840 John Campion Matterface put an advertisement in the Western Times 'To Sportsmen and Others'. Apparently a fine dog called Monarch was for sale, whose qualities involved scent and speed. Monarch was well appreciated by those who hunted with 'The Tory Pack of Ashburton Hounds'. Joe Varnham [??], 'That Crack Sportsmen' had been in charge of the pack, now broken up because of the absence of the dog.
I suspect this advertisement is a comment on the relationship between the young Queen Victoria and her Prime Ministers. There had been a political crisis the previous year, Lord Melbourne had resigned, and Conservative Robert Peel had been expected to come to power. When the queen refused to comply with the usual requirement for Whig ladies of the bedchamber to be replaced with Tory ones, Peel then refused to form a government.
Western Times 5 December 1840 p1 col1

September 1850 When 21 year old Thomas Matterface married Lucy Abbott in St Clement Danes, Middlesex, his father was named as John Matterface, butcher. Thomas was a draper. The Western Courier said that Thomas was of Ashburton.
Parish records
Western Courier, West of England Conservative, Plymouth and Devonport Advertiser 2 October 1850 p5 col4

By 1891 Sarah Matterface, aged 83, was a butcher, an employer, in East Street. Her son William was an employee, and her brother, 80 year old Thomas Ireland, was a butcher's assistant.



                                              The Smerdon family

Charles Smerdon, born in February 1831, was baptised in June of that year at the Great Meeting chapel. He was the son of Thomas Pope Smerdon, a butcher, and his wife Ann Knott.
Non-conformist births and baptisms, available via https://search.findmypast.co.uk

Richard Smerdon, formerly a butcher and yeoman, died on March 17th, 1841. He was 82.
Western Times 27 March 1841, p3 col4

In January 1857 Charles Smerdon, a butcher of Ashburton, married Charlotte Smerdon, of Whiddon Farm.
Western Times 24 Janaury 1857 p5 col2


1867 After a decree at the High Court of Chancery (Coope v Cresswell) a large number of properties and estates in Devon were up for sale. A house and butcher's shop in East Street , with Mr Charles Yolland in occupation, was one of them.
Western Times 24 September 1867 p1 col3
1874. At Ashburton Petty Sessions John Palmer of Ashburton, butcher, was fined 15s plus costs for having two 'unjust weights'
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette Daily Telegrams 24 March 1874 p3 col4


In 1879 William Willis, a butcher from Ashburton, was one of the last people to see John Hawkins, a Totnes cutler, alive. William testified at the inquest that Hawkins was perfectly sober when he last saw him - later he was found drowned near Holne Bridge.
Western Times 18 March 1879 p7 col4


1890. The wife of Thomas Pearse, a retired butcher aged 69, found him dead in bed one afternoon. An inquest was held, and the jury heard that he had been suffering from 'lowness of spirits' for some time, causing him to remain in his bedroom. Dr Ackerley testified that death had been caused by heart failure and exhaustion, and a verdict was given of 'Death by natural causes'
Totnes Weekly Times 15 March 1890 p3 col2

33 year old Charles Henry Halse was a butcher in North Street in the 1911 census. His wife Edith Alice assisted in the business.
1911 census RG14, piece no. 12727
See People and Properties The 1900s for evidence linking Mr Halse to 10 North Street (The Card House).

Mr George Pitts, of Froma, formerly a butcher of Card House, died in April 1912. He left property valued at £3,317. 
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 4 September 1912, p3 col2

George was a resident of Denbury when he married Susan Wills Yolland in January 1878. He was a butcher by trade.
Devon Marriages and Banns, archive ref 2141A/PR/1/15, South West Heritage Trust

Prof Satterley remembered that at Christmas a Mr Pitts put a whole pig on his window slab with an orange in its mouth.
Prof John Satterley, Ashburton in Late Victorian Days, Transactions of the Devonshire Association, vol 84, Torquay 1952, p49

                                              The Cowls family

The banns of marriage between widower David Foale Cowls and Mary Harriet Harvey were read at Ashprington in January 1887.
Ashprington parish records

David Foale Cowls, a 42 year old butcher, was living at Bow, Ashprington, with his wife Harriett at the time of the 1901 census. With the couple were their five sons Sidney, Frederick, Bertram, David and 1 year old Harvey.
Not on the census was their daughter, Catherine Gladys, who had been baptised at Ashprington in January 1890. According to family sources, Catherine went to live with a bachelor uncle as a young child, and never rejoined the family.
1901 census RG13, piece no. 2071, folio 9 p9
Ashprington parish records
Many thanks to Jeremy Webb for the family information

Kate Cowls, the daughter of David F. of Bow Bridge started school in 1893. She left in July 1897, with the reason given that she had 'Left the parish.'
National School Admission Registers and Log Books, Ashprington, 1870-1914

Catherine G Cowles, aged 8 and born at Bow Bridge, was with her grandfather John on the 1901 census. Living at 40, Fore Street, Ivybridge, he was a 69 year old widower, working as a cattle dealer. Also in the household were John's three adult children: Philip, a butcher, Sarah C., a pork and poultry shop keeper, and Avis S.
1901 census RG 13, piece no. 2086, folio 8 p8

Catherine's brother Sidney, who started school in early 1894, has 'Gone to Harbertonford' written on his undated record.
Frederick joined the school in 1895. He left in 1904, 'Gone to Ashburton'.
National School Admission Registers and Log Books, Ashprington, 1870-1914

Arthur Leslie was born in June 1901, and baptised in September, the son of David Foale, butcher, and his wife Mary Harriett.
Ashprington parish records

Philip, the son of David Foale and Mary Harriett Cowls, was baptised in Ashprington in April 1903. He was buried in May, aged 5 weeks.
Ashprington parish records

Bertram Cowls, who had started school in 1897, left in September 1904. The reason given was 'Gone to Ashburton'.
National School Admission Registers and Log Books, Ashprington, 1870-1914

Wilfred Harry, the son of David Foale and Mary Harriett Cowls, was baptised at Ashburton in September 1906. The couple lived in East Street, and David was a butcher.
Ashburton parish records

David Cowls, a butcher of East Street, Ashburton, died in June 1908, when he fell backwards whilst getting into his van near Leusdon. His 6 year old son Leslie, who was accompanying him on the round, found that his father could neither move nor speak after the fall. He turned the horse and van around and drove nearly a mile to get help from a nearby farmhouse, but when assistance arrived Mr Cowls was already dead. The family had only moved to Ashburton from Ashprington about 2 or 3 years before.
At the inquest Sidney Cowls, another son of the deceased, identified the body and said that his father, 48 years old, had been in his usual good health on the day of the accident. Dr Crawford, of Ashburton, had been called by wire at about 6.30, and arrived at the scene at about a quarter past eight. He found 'the mark of a blow which was sufficient to cause instant death'. The jury returned a verdict of 'Accidental death'.
Totnes Weekly Times 13 June 1908, p8 col2

He was buried at Ashburton on June 9th, aged 48.
Parish records

Administration of David Foale Cowls' effects was granted to his widow, Mary Harriett, in July 1908. They came to £1241 5s 6d.
Government Probate Death Index, 1858-2019

Katherine Cowls is listed as living at 40 Fore Street, Ivybridge, on the 1915 electoral register.
On the same register Philip F Cowls is shown as a lodger in a furnished bedroom at 40 Fore Street, with Miss Cowls of the same address being the landlord.
England and Wales Electoral Registers 1910 - 1932

Mary Harriett Cowls, widow, was head of house at the time of the 1911 census.
With her on census night were 6 sons: Sidney Herbert, Frederick, Bertram Cecil, Harvey, Leslie and Harry. Sidney and Bertram were both butcher's assistants; Frederick was a fitter in an iron foundry.
1911 census RG14, piece no 12728, schedule 52

Bertram Cecil Cowls joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve as an Able Seaman in 1916. 5'7" tall, he had fair hair and blue eyes. A butcher in civilian life, his home address was 22 East Street, Ashburton.
Royal Naval Division Service Records, 1914-1920

Frederick J Cowls R N died by drowning in 1917. His body was brought by train to Ashburton, and was buried in the churchyard after a short service.
Western Times 11 May1917, p10 col6

Bertram died in February 1918, and is buried in the Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport, France.
See also Roll of Honour WW1 A-F, under Ashburton in Peril

Catherine G Cowls married William J Nicks in the September quarter of 1918. 

In later years she told her daughter, Cecil Mary Nicks, that Bertram's mother, Mary, had been to France to visit her dying son.
Many thanks to Jeremy Webb for this information

The idea that next of kin could visit dangerously sick or wounded relatives in France in WW1 seems unlikely, but apparently this did happen.
'https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/132391-next-of-kin-visits-to-wounded-soldiers-still-in-france/ - accessed 4-10-2021
See also the VAD accounts in Scarletfinders http://www.scarletfinders.co.uk/184.html - accessed 4-10-2021
See also the role of the YMCA in looking after visiting relatives https://www.ymca.org.uk/about/history-heritage/ymca-and-ww1 - accessed 11-10-2021

An advertisment in a theatre programme in 1932 has M H Cowls, family butcher, in East Street.
Many thanks to Ashburton Museum and Julia Homans

Mary Harriett died in January 1936, after being in 'indifferent health' for some time. She left a daughter and five sons.
Western Times 10 January 1936, p13 col1

Administration was granted to Sidney Herbert Cowls, butcher.
Government Probate Death Index, 1858-2019

Sidney H Cowls was a butcher and shopkeeper at 22 East Street on the 1939 register. He was also a special constable. 
With him in the household was Kate Cowls, and Bertram J Cowls, who had been born in 1921. 
Wilfred H Cowls, born in 1906, was also at 22 East Street - he was a slaughterman and butcher.
1939 register


                                                  E E Brendon
21 year old Edwin John Brendon, a farmer, was a visitor in Robert Seward's household in Hennock in the 1911 census. One of Robert's daughters was Edith Evelyn, aged 17.
1911 census RG14, piece no. 12713, schedule 99

Edward [sic] J Brendon married Edith E Seward in the Newton Abbot district in the June quarter of 1911.

In 1921 Edwin John Brendon was living at Higher Mead, according to the electoral register.
By 1923 Edwin John Brendon and Edith Evelyn Brendon were in North Street.
England and Wales Electoral Registers 1910 - 1932

A [sic] J Brendon, a butcher of 10 North Street, had to pay damages for an assault on Thomas B Hamlyn of Poundsgate in 1923. There had been 'a certain amount of feeling between the parties' and this culminated in the assault outside the vicarage gate. Brendon commented that he thought Mr Hamlyn 'was a man who would take his lacing in a proper manner.' The plaintiff was awarded £20 plus costs.
Western Times 23 November 1923, p12 col8

Edwin John Brendon, of North Street, was summoned at the Petty Sessions for failing to have a licence to use certain premises as a slaughterhouse, and for failing to give notice of a slaughter of two pigs. He argued that he had used the premises since 1924, that they were rated as a slaughterhouse, and that he had a licence issued by the Council.
He was fined £1 1s plus costs on two counts.
Western Times 2 June 1933, p7 col5

Right and below: E E Brendon, family butchers, occupying part of the 'Card House' in North Street.
Edith E Brendon ran the Card House Café next door during the 1930s, which suggests that the butchers was there at the same time. The '[God] Save the King' banner suggests that the date of the photograph may have been 1937, the year of George VI's coronation.
With many thanks to Ashburton Museum and Julia Homans
See also Cafés, under Banks and Businesses 2
September 1938. Rendell and Sawdye were selling nearly new butcher's trade utensils in Paignton, for Mr E J Brendon. 
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 2 September 1938, p2 col2

In 1939 Edwin J Brendon, born in 1889, was a foreman carpenter in Wareham and Purbeck R D in Dorset. He appears to have been living in a caravan.
1939 register
                                          Charles Edward Beavis

At the time of the 1891 census 16 year old Charles E Beavis was living with his parents, George and Caroline, at Dolbear. He was a butcher's assistant.
1891 census RG12, piece no. 1698, folio 11, p1

By 1920 Charles Edward and Clara Ellen Beavis were at 28 East Street.
England and Wales Electoral Registers 1910 - 1932

Ashburton parish magazine for April 1938 has an advertisement for C E Beavis. butcher, in East Street.
Many thanks to Ashburton Museum and Julia Homans

Charles E Beavis was a butcher at 28 East Street in 1939. A slaughterhouse was in between nos. 26 and 28.
1939 register

Charles died in June 1951, and probate was granted to John Leonard Williams in September. He was of 3 Orchard Road at the time of his death.
England and Wales Government Probate Death Index, 1858 - 2019


                                                42 East Street 

In the 1911 census Robert Mitchell is shown as a butcher in East Street, assisted in the business by his wife Elizabeth, daughter Annie, and George Poolman, aged 17. The property has a name - Hillview - but its number is not recorded: however, it is three properties down from Greylands, which we know is No 48. (See the 1900s section of People and Properties). As all the houses on that side of the street are even-numbered, Mr Mitchell and his family were probably at No 42.

 Above: 42 East Street when it belonged to W J Eales.
Thanks to Jane and Arthur Smith for all of the items and photographs connected with 42 East Street

In 1916 Rendell and Sawdye held an auction at the London Hotel for the sale of Nos 42 and 44 East Street. Freehold houses and shops, they were both owned by Mr C R Halse, who was occupying No 42. No 42 was a shop, house and premises with a walled garden and greenhouse; No 44 was a chemist's shop, house and premises, rented by Mr E R Moss, chemist. 

A side entrance led to premises suitable for a butchery business, including a slaughterhouse, cowsheds and piggeries. Mr C H Halse was the successful bidder, buying both properties as one lot for £750.

Western Times 30 May 1916 p5 col7

In 1917 Mr S F Willis, a butcher of Ashburton, was accompanying Mr C H Halse of East Street when their car was involved in an accident. Cyclist James Shillabeer, who was riding to Newton Abbot with Florence May Rodgman, collided with the car at the bend of the Travellers Rest; he died a few days later. At the inquest, held at the market hall, Dr E A Ellis testified to the severe injuries that James sustained.
Western Times 13 July 1917, p3 col6

1929 'As a consequence of ill-health' C H Hales sold No 42 and the business for £550

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 26 April 1940 p9 col3

In Kelly's Directory of Devonshire 1935 Wm Eales is shown as a butcher at 42 East Street. The telephone number at that time was 50.
It is likely that William is on the 1911 census as W Eales, an assistant butcher to S J Willis, in North Street. W Eales was 16, and was born in Ashburton.
Kelly's Directory of Devonshire 1935, p35
See the 1930s section of the Virtual Museum for W J Eales's 'Hygienic delivery bag.'


By the 1940s the business belongs to G B Soper.

1942 George Brendon Soper of 42 East Street was summoned at the petty sessions for employing a boy under 12 years of age. With his parents' consent the boy had often ridden in the delivery van, and occasionally took a basket and delivered goods. He received no payment for this, but the County Education Committee's case was that the boy was employed, whether he was paid or not. The case was dismissed after costs were paid.

In February 1947 C C Roberts of the Forest Inn, Hexworthy, sent a letter to the Western Morning News. The letter, carried 7 miles through the snow, said that the last postal collection or delivery had been on January 29th, and the last delivery of provisions had been on Janaury 27th. The inn had been without a telephone since the first fall of snow.

Mr Roberts wanted to praise Mr Soper, butcher of Ashburton, who had twice attempted to reach the villagers of Hexworthy. On February 2nd he got as far as Holne Chase, where Mr Roberts had met him with a pack-horse; on February 8th he reached Poundsgate.

Western Morning News 14 February 1947  

Mr Soper was Honorary Secretary of the Ashburton gymkhana horse and pony show for several years, and was mentioned in this capacity at 42 East Street in 1950 ( E R Tucker was joint Hon Sec at this stage).

Western Morning News 26 July 1950 p4 col3

See the 1940s section of the Virtual museum for items connected to G B Soper.


George Brendon Soper died in 1955, aged 49, and William George Smith bought the business at the end of July of that year.

Mr Soper's gravestone is in St Andrew's Churchyard.

Information about George Smith acquiring the business came from the family.


Above: This picture was taken when a company producing machines for slicing ham discovered that Smiths'  had the oldest working model in the country. 'They gave us a new one'.

Left to right: George Smith, son Arthur Smith, representative of the company, son John Smith.


 Above: Dennis Coysh, John Smith and Arthur Smith


George died in 2002 - Arthur and John ran the shop for another 10 years before retiring in 2012.