'The Hern vault starts with William Hern, the tanner who died in 1791 and ends with John Hern (died 1914) of Chuleigh, the house that sadly was demolished for widening the A38 in 1972. In the churchyard extension, then are large marble memorials to the family including William Hern, OBE, MRCS, who died 1939, and George Hern, MRCS, LRCP, who died in 1935.'
Background to the tombstone survey
William Hern, tanner was buried 13 September 1791
1824 William Hern, widower, married Charlotte Harris, spinster, by licence on August 12th, 1824. Both were of the parish.
In the 1851 census 53 year old Charlotte Hern, farmer's wife, is head of Chuley House. John Hern, 23, a farmer of 50 acres employing 7 men, is her son, and 13 year old Charlotte Mary is her daughter.
1851 census HO107, piece no. 1871, folio 358, p1
They may not have been there long. In 1849 the wife of Jas Scott gave birth to a son at Chuleigh House, Ashburton
Western Times 22 September 1849 p5, col1
In November 1852 John Hern, yeoman, married Caroline Susanna Restalic at Ashburton parish church. John's father was William Hern, tanner.
1854 A desirable tanyard was available to rent in Ashburton. Mr L Evans was the current occupant of the premises, which consisted of various buildings and a dwelling house. The area was described as a 'good bark neighbourhood.' John Hern of Chuley Farm could provide particulars.
Western Times 20 May 1854 p4, col2
John Hern of Chuleigh House was sworn in as portreeve in November 1854
Western Times 18 November 1854 p7, col4
Boro Wood was for sale by auction in 1859, consisting of over 80 acres of oak coppice, with an average of 14 years growth. Interested purchasers were instructed to contact Mr John Hern of Chuley House for particulars.
Western Times 2 April 1859 p1, col2
The 1861 census shows 33 year old John Hern, a farmer of 50 acres employing one man and one boy, living at Chuley. With him is his wife Caroline Susanna, two daughters and two sons.
When Jessie Mary Hern married Simeon Berry at St Andrew's Church it was described as a fashionable wedding, with a large congregation. John Hern accompanied his daughter to the altar, and amongst the bridesmaids were her sisters Lucy, Harriett and Ellen.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 28 April 1876 p8, col3
Brothers John and Alfred Luscombe were charged by Mr John Hern with stealing pears in the autumn of 1877. They were fined 10s each including costs.
Western Times 24 September 1877 p3, col3
In 1883 Dr John Hern MB, MRCS, eldest son of Mr John Hern of Ashburton, graduated as a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Edinburgh. He was senior resident medical officer at Darlington Hospital.
Western Times 31 August 1883 p8 col5
Harrie (sic) Hern, the daughter of John Hern of Staverton House, married William Dudley Richardson in 1887. Seven year old Harriet is with her parents John and Caroline S on the 1871 census.
Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough, 20 May 1887, p3 col7
1871 census RG10, piece no. 2080, folio 73, p20
Maud Beavis, a servant at Staverton House*, was charged at the Petty Sessions of setting fire to a store belonging to her master, John Hern. Beavis was under notice to leave, and after seeing smoke pouring from the store members of the family found boxes of dresses on fire inside. The charge was dismissed through lack of evidence.
Western Times 21 June 1887, p2, col5
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 24 June 1887 p3, col1
*Mentions of family members suggest this is in fact Chuley House.
John Hern, MD, FRCS, the eldest son of John Hern, married Minnie Brock in 1890. John Hern senior was described as being of Ashburton and Scobeter, Widecombe.
York Herald 26 May 1890 p4, col2
1894 The annual treat for the Sunday school children of the North Street Gospel Hall was held at Chuley, with the ground lent by Mr John Hern.
Western Times 6 July 1894 p6 col4
The following year Chuley House was up for rent. It had 5 bedrooms, 3 attics, drawing, dining and breakfast rooms, a large walled garden, conservatory and lawn.
Western Times 29 November 1895 p1 col5
1903 John Hern, of Chuley House, was summoned at the Petty Sessions for keeping explosives without a licence. He pleaded guilty and was fined 8s 6d costs.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 29 October 1903, p3, col 3
The 1911 census shows 83 year old John Hern living at Chuley house with his unmarried daughters Caroline, Ellen and Lydia. A widower, he is a cyder merchant. The house had 10 rooms: the instructions for filling out the census said that kitchens should be included, but not sculleries, bathrooms, lobbies, landings or closets.
1911 census RG14, reg district 272, piece no 12725
John Hern died suddenly in May 1914. He had been ill for some time, and had been completely blind for two years.
Western Times 29 May 1914 p14, col1
George Hern, of Chuleigh House, Ashburton, features on the Dentists Register in 1932. He was LDS RCS Eng in 1890, MRCS in 1891 and LRCP in London in the same year.
The Dentists Register, Her Majesty's Printing Office, 1932, p127
He died in December 1935 at Beaconsfield, Bucks, and left £122,036 net. He left various bequests, including ones to his niece Eileen Mary Hern, his brother John, and in trust to his sisters Lucy Caroline Ellen and Alice Lydia.
Western Morning News 10 February 1936, p4 col6
Dr John Hern, of South Nutfield, Surrey, died in 1936, aged 81. He was the eldest son of the late Mr John Hern of Chuley, and the brother of William Hern, of Beaconsfield, Bucks. An MD and FRCS, Dr Hern had been a surgeon, physician and opthalmic surgeon at the hospital in Darlington before his retirement in 1927.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 30 October 1936, p16 col3
When Caroline Lucy Hern died in 1938, she was described as the eldest surviving daughter of the late Mr and Mrs John Hern of Chuleigh. The house, said the Western Times, had been the family home for four generations. Part of the service was conducted by Mr A Palk, of the Ashburton Brethren. William, Ellen and Lydia Alice, brother and sisters of the deceased, were the chief mourners.
Western Times 8 April 1938 p7 col7
William Hern, of Beaconsfield, Bucks, died in 1939 aged 82. Born in Ashburton and educated at the Grammar School, he trained at Middlesex Hospital and the Royal Dental Hospital. He was hon. consulting dental surgeon to the London Military Hospital, and a lecturer on dental surgery at the Royal Dental Hospital. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, he was member of the BMA and BDA. He married Laura Herschell in 1899*.
He left a net estate of £59,986
Western Morning News 14 June 1939 p8 col5
Birmingham Daily Post 24 July 1939, p3, col7
*This should be 1889
St James's Gazette 31 May 1889, p14 col1
Who was Who describes him as the second son of John Hern, of Chuley, Ashburton.
Who was Who, vol 3, 1929-1940, A & C Black, 1960, p629