Poverty and the Edwards' Family of Hatherleigh

Order of Settlement relating to the Edwards' Family
Order of Settlement relating to the Edwards' Family.

I've recently been delving into the family of my 5 x great-grandparents, Nathaniel Edwards and Grace Reckett/Rickett.

Blacksmith and scythe manufacturer, Nathaniel was born in Hatherleigh in North Devon in about 1750 and baptized there in the Presbyterian Church. Grace was from nearby Inwardleigh where the couple were married in 1775. Their eldest daughter, born in 1776, had the unusal name of Beaten and my 4 x great-grandmother, Maria arrived in 1779.

Times were hard because, in 1780, the Edwards' found themselves the subjects of a Removal Order from Inwardleigh back to Hatherleigh....

"...Nathaniel Edwards, Grace his wife and Beaton aged about four years old and Mariah one years old their daughters lately intruded themselves into your said Parish of Inwardleigh there to inhabit as Parishioners contrary to the Laws relating to the Settlement of the Poor and are likely to become chargeable to your said Parish of Inwardleigh..."

Nathaniel was in need of Poor Relief and therefore he and his family were sent back to the parish which had the legal responsibility to provide it.

Four more children followed; Angel, Elias, Israel and Abet. The family might have moved around during this period as Angel was baptized in Crediton and Elias and Israel were baptized in North Tawton.

In 1804, Beaten had an illegitimate son. She went on to marry Edward Bowden, who was 25 years her senior, in June 1811 but not before giving birth to another son in April of that year. Edward died in 1813 and was buried on the same day as their daughter, Grace, was baptized. Beaton was living with her daughter in Hatherleigh in 1841 and she died in 1850.

Another wedding took place in 1811 when Maria married a labourer from Okehampton called William Ball. The family moved between Hatherleigh and Okehampton and had four children, the eldest being my 3 x great-grandfather, Israel Edward Ball. William died in 1845 and Maria had outlived her son Israel by two years by the time she died in 1849.

Angel enlisted in the Army Reserve during the time of the Napoleonic Wars and fought in the War of 1812 (or the Anglo American War) in the 8th (King's) Regiment of Foot - 1st Battalion. He died of his wounds in 1814 after the Battle of Lundy's Lane (also known as the Battle of Niagara Falls).

Israel Edwards and his family emigrated to Australia in 1847, Elias stayed in Devon, dying in 1871, and Abet's fate is unknown.

Nathaniel Edwards died in 1809 and his widow outlived him by 22 years. Grace was reportedly 85 years old when she died in 1831. Both are buried at Hatherleigh.

Coming soon - the history of Nathaniel and Grace's forbears.

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