Remarkable and interesting people

                                                                     

                                                                       John Cooke

John Cooke was born at the Rose and Crown, 'on the old bridge' in 1765. In a pamphlet quoted by S Baring-Gould, he says that his father was a plasterer and hellier, but later became a publican and maltster. At the age of 15 John was apprenticed to an Exeter saddler. A strong loyalist (as opposed to republican) he later became a well-known character in the city, posting bulletins of the news outside his shop with his own comments on events. On one occasion he got his apprentices to help him with ladders to post notices to the wall of the Castle.
Devonshire Characters and Strange Events, S Baring-Gould, London 1908 p478ff

These placards, noted for their unusual spelling, were known as 'Cooke's Bullenteens'.

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 28 November 1846 p4 col3

His views were diametrically opposed to those of Richard Carlile, who was also Ashburton born. (See Famous Ashburtonians). Carlile wrote of him: 'His apparent purpose seems to be, to instruct the good people of Exeter in matters of politics!....had he more intellect, his intense mental excitement would bring on that species of insanity which requires restraint.'

The Republican, Vol 12, 1825 p739
Amongst the records of The London Metropolitan Archives is an insurance document for John Cooke of Exeter, saddler - it includes property in West Street, Ashburton
London Metropolitan Archives October 1792, ref MS 11936/391/605728

In 1834 The Western Times published an agreement between John Cooke and Elizabeth Metherell of Ashburton - Elizabeth's husband was going to America. 'I agree to let her my bake house in the West Street for one year from this Lady day at six pounds a year half of its price. She to heat the oven with coal, not with furze or wood, and if she cannot get on in six months and can afford advance of two pounds a year and so on the original rent of ten pound a year and no more In the main time I shall take no advantage and get her a proper share of the Parish Bread and recommend all my tenants to deal with her and I to do her all the good in my power There is a pig's sty and part of garden with the house.'
The witness to the agreement was Wm. Jordan Taperell (See Inns and hotels for William Jordan Taperell - various spellings - as landlord of the London Inn). 
Western Times 27 September 1834 p3 col3
Above: John Cooke
When he died in September 1840 the North Devon Journal described him as a 'very old and respectable inhabitant of Exeter.' Although a saddler and harness maker, he was, said the paper, better known as 'Captain Cooke', from his role of being in charge of the javelin men. The javelin men escorted judges when they went to open the Assize Commission, and John Cooke had been fulfilling this role for fifty years.
North Devon Journal 24 September 1840 p3 col2
Illustration from Devonshire Characters and Strange Events, S Baring-Gould, London 1908 facing p482

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                                                                       Thomas Taylor                                                               


On 14th June 1773 Susan(n)a Glanville was baptized at Ashburton, the daughter of Roger and Mary Glanvill.
https://familysearch.org/
(see Researching Ashburton for two websites on the Glanvill/e family).

She is said to have married Thomas Taylor, and their son Thomas Glanville Taylor was born in Ashburton, allegedly on 22nd November 1804. According to the Royal Observatory website, Thomas Taylor Snr. was Assistant to Nevil Maskelyne, and later to John Pond, and Thomas Jnr. lived at the Observatory.
http://www.royalobservatorygreenwich.org/ - Accessed 22-1-2015


Cambridge University Digital Library has copies of various letters connected with the Observatory and Thomas Taylor. According to the inventory, Thomas Taylor Snr. was Thomas J. Taylor, who was born in 1772.
When John Pond became ill, Taylor 'lapsed into drunkeness'
http://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/ - Accessed 23-1-2015

Awards made by the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures etc.
15 guineas to Mr. T. Taylor of the Royal Observatory, for a repeating alarum
Westmorland Gazette 5 June 1819 p1 col4

Above: This is probably the repeating alarum invented by Thomas Taylor, 'designed to wake up the astronomer when particular stars are due to pass overhead.'
Information and image from the Royal Museums Greenwich.
http://collections.rmg.co.uk - Accessed 23-1-2015
Image shared under the

Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) licence
                                                                 
When the number of assistants was increased, Thomas Glanville Taylor joined the staff, on a salary of £100 a year.
In 1830 the Observatory in Madras, run by the East India Company, needed a new Director. Taylor was the second candidate approached, and he resigned his position at Greenwich to take up the post. Whilst in India he published a large number of catalogues and volumes of his observations. He married Eliza Baratty Eley on 4th July 1832, and they had four children (three according to other sources). He became a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society 10th February 1842. 
http://www.royalobservatorygreenwich.org/ - Accessed 22-1-2015



On the 29th April 1848 Thomas returned from India (on the Hindostan) after spending 18 years in India. On the 30th his daughter, Fanny Ashton, died, aged 9, at Hanover Buildings, Southampton. Thomas, aged 41 according to a newspaper report, died on May 4th.
Hampshire Advertiser 6 May 1848 p8 col5


Thomas Glanville Taylor's death was registered in the June quarter of 1848 in the Southampton registration district. 
http://www.freebmd.org.uk/

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                                                                       John Rich

John Rich, a dealer in rags, died in 1848. For 23 years he had lived in a kitchen in an alley near the market place. He was discovered lying dead on his bed of rags, and at his inquest a jury found that he died of apoplexy. Although he lived in a hovel, he was not a poor man: he had £60 in the Exeter Savings Bank, £200 in the late Totnes Bank and £63 in the Western District Bank. His head was resting on an old pair of breeches with about 40 sovereigns sewed into them. 15 years before he had been robbed of £20 by a woman whom he had invited into his hovel - he had been wary of 'the fair sex' ever since.
Sherborne Mercury 12 February 1848 p4 col4

A John Rich aged 71 died in the March quarter of 1848; probably the same John Rich who is living in North Street in the 1841 census, aged about 65. His occupation on the census is 'Independent',
https://www.gro.gov.uk
1841 census HO107, piece no. 253, folio 11, p17


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                                                                   Richard Bunclark

Richard Bunclark died at Ashburton in December 1854, at 100 years old. He was 'The oldest inhabitant in the borough'.
Western Times 23 December 1854 p5 col2

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                                                                   Henry Baskerville

There were several obituaries written in local papers when Henry 'Harry' Mathews Baskerville died in 1962. The Western Morning News headed its tribute, 'The original Baskerville dies, aged 91', and went on to say that as the coachman to Mr B Fletcher Robinson he had driven Sir Arthur Conan Doyle over Dartmoor to gather atmosphere for his story, The Hound of the Baskervilles. Henry's family had a first edition of the book, signed by Robinson (who collaborated on the work) and with an inscription apologising for using Mr Baskerville's name.
Western Morning News 30 March 1962

Over time, Henry's accounts of the writing of 'The Hound', both what he had witnessed and his own participation, perhaps became a little embellished, but he had had a part to play whilst working for the Robinson family in Ipplepen. Later he and his family moved to Ashburton, where he lived for the rest of his life. For the following information (including the newspaper item above) I am heavily indebted to Paul Spiring, who has generously made his research notes on Bertram Fletcher Robinson available to me. He has written (sometimes jointly) several books on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Bertram Fletcher Robinson and the character Sherlock Holmes.

Henry Mathews Baskerville's birth was registered in the Newton Abbot district in the March quarter of 1871. He first appears in the censuses at two months old, with his father John (the surname looks like Baskervill), mother Mary Grace and two siblings: 11 year old John and 8 year old Mary Catherine.
Ten years later Henry is a scholar on the census, and the family are living at Smerdons Lane, Ipplepen.
http://www.freebmd.org.uk

1871 census RG10, Piece 2083, Folio 13 P 17 

1881 census RG11, Piece 2164, Folio 20, P 6


During 1886 Joseph Robinson employed Henry Mathews Baskerville at Park Hill House, Ipplepen. As a domestic servant he was expected to pump water from a well for the house, polish silverware and clean out fireplaces.

Henry, or Harry as he was known, co-founded the Cottage Garden Society and Ipplepen Cricket Club  in 1890, where a year later he was photographed with Bertram Flectcher Robinson.
Information from Paul Spiring
By 1891 he was a coachman and domestic, and was paid 12/6d a week, living in a cottage in the Credefords area of Ipplepen. This corresponds to the modern day junction between East Street and Dornafield road, close to the Methodist Chapel built by the then owner of Park Hill House in 1866. Also in the cottage were Henry's parents, John and Mary G Baskerville, and his great uncle, Henry Mathews. Henry Snr was living on his own means.
1891 census RG12, Piece 1699, Folio 93, P11
Additional information from Paul Spiring
Left: Henry Baskerville when coachman to the Robinson family.
With many thanks to Paul Spiring for this photograph.


At the end of 1894 Henry Baskerville married Alice Pering in Torquay. They made their home in Ipplepen, near Credefords. By 1901 they had a young daughter Myrtle (Alberta), born in 1895, and were living in 'Chapel Street or
Wesley Cottages'. He was still a coachman and domestic (for Joseph Fletcher Robinson). Henry's parents and great uncle still lived at Credefords, and Henry Snr. now describes himself as a retired coachman and domestic.
Later still Henry Jnr. became head coachman with an assistant to help him - the household had three coaches and two horses.
1901 census RG13, Piece 2055, Folio 27, P4
http://www.freebmd.org.uk
Additional information from Paul Spiring

On May 25th of that year Henry collected Arthur Conan Doyle from Newton Abbot Railway Station. Where Arthur Conan Doyle stayed is a matter of debate, (Henry later claimed that he stayed at Park Hill) but Henry did drive the author and Bertram Fletcher Robinson across the moors to research the developing story, The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Henry referred to this visit in a letter to the Western Morning News in 1949.
Article by H J W Dam, Sunday Magazine, New York Tribune, 1905.
Western Morning News 16 February 1949 p2 cols 6,7

Henry received a first edition of The Hound of the Baskervilles from Bertram Fletcher Robinson in 1902. It was inscribed 'To Harry Baskerville from B Fletcher Robinson with apologies for using the name!'
I have spoken to an Ashburton resident who nursed Henry Baskerville in his old age. His daughters showed her this book and its inscription.

In 1906, shortly after the death of Bertram Fletcher Robinson - whose parents had predeceased him - Henry left the Robinson family after working for them for nearly 20 years.
In 1907 he was elected to Ipplepen Parish Council.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 28 March 1907 p7 col4

At some stage after this he moved to Penrae, Ashburton, and was employed by Mr Sawdye, then an auctioneer, estate agent and publican. Tradition links him with the Golden Lion Hotel, and Edward John Sawdye was indeed an auctioneer, surveyor and hotel keeper at the Golden Lion in 1901. However, Edward Sawdye died in 1909, and by the time of the 1911 census James Clymo was in residence at the hotel.
1901 census RG13, piece no 2053, folio 56, p12
Parish records
1911 census RG14, piece 12728


Above: Penrae? The Baskervilles were at Penrae in the 1911 census, which seemed to be one door down from No. 39 East St.
My own photograph 2015

Henry may well have then worked for Edward J's son, also called Edward, and also an auctioneer, surveyor and valuer (see below). Edward was with his father on the 1901 census, and is living at Brooklands by 1911.
At the time of the 1911 census Henry is a groom gardener, and he and his wife now have a second daughter, Eunice (Freda), born in 1902. 15 year old Myrtle is now a servant for the Fitzpatrick family at Hiram Lodge, East Street.
!911 census RG14, Piece 12727
1911 census RG14, Piece 12727, Schedule Number 20
1911 census RG14, Piece 12727, Schedule Number 63
http://www.freebmd.org.uk

1920 Dorncliffe was sold at auction to Mr H Baskerville for £440.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 6 November 1920 p1 col6

In 1924 Properties belonging to the late John Hannibal Foaden came up for sale.
13 St Lawrence Lane sold to Mr Baskerville for £370 - presumably Henry.
Western Times 28 November 1924 p8 col2

Above: Dorncliffe, West Street.
My own photograph, 2015
Electoral registers show that the family moved to Laburnhams from 1918 to 1932, and at Dorncliffe, 18 West Street, from 1932 to 1962.
Information from Paul Spiring

H M Baskerville was one of the coffin bearers at Edward Sawdye's funeral in 1933. Mr Sawdye was said to be of Laburnhams. So many people attended the funeral that some had to stand in the aisles.
Western Times 30 June 1933 p10 col1

1933 Edward Sawdye left various bequests,* dependent on the beneficiaries being in his employ at the time of his death. The newspaper report does not mention Henry Baskerville as one of them.

See Wills, under People and Properties

Western Times 17 November 1933 p10, col4

Henry and Alice Baskerville celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1944. A newspaper report stated that the couple had been involved with the Methodist Church all their lives*, and Henry had served on two occasions as Circuit or Mission Steward for the Ashburton section of the South Devon Mission. He had served on the Urban District Council for 6 years, and for 12 years as president of the local Co-operative Society.
A report five years later noted that Henry had been a judge at the Cottage Garden Show.
Evening Herald, 21 November 1944
* When Ipplepen Methodists held a fete to raise money for renovations, Mr H Baskerville of Ashburton, 'an old member of the church' performed the opening ceremony. Torbay Express and South Devon Echo 4 August 1939 p5 col5

Henry had also been chairman of the Ashburton and District Fanciers' Assocation.
Western Times 2 May 1930 p10 col6

1951. 85 year old Alice Baskerville died, having been ill for some time. The mourners at the Methodist Church included her husband Harry, her daughters Hilda Mann and Eunice Wellington, and Mr and Mrs J Sawdye.

Harry died in 1962, and was buried with his wife in St Andew's churchyard. One of the newspaper obituaries said that he had worked for the Sawdye family for 52 years. The same paper said that photographer Stuart Black had taken his portrait in 1951, and it had been exhibited in London.
 
Henry's estate was proved at £1495 4s net in 1964. Dorncliffe was left to his two daughters.
Information from Paul Spiring

With very many thanks to Paul Spiring
See Paul's website at http://www.bfronline.biz and his author page on http://www.amazon.co.uk

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                                                                  Hannah Parkhouse

Mrs Hannah Parkhouse of Ashburton died in January 1928, aged 104. She was born on May 29th 1823. Her husband predeceased her 60 years before, at which time she took up nursing. During her nursing career she made her first trip out of Devon, when she went to Cornwall to attend a patient.

Hannah may be living in the Alms Houses, 3, The Grove, Totnes, in the 1911 census. Born in Newton Abbot, she is a former monthly nurse.

By 1927 she was in East Street, when Henry Naylor, the headmaster of the Grammar School, wrote to the Western Morning News, wondering if she was the oldest person in the county.

Western Morning News 28 October 1927 p2 col5
Western Times 20 January 1928 p6 col4

1911 census RG14, Piece 12831, Schedule Number 194