St. Peter's Church, West Buckland


Leary is a hamlet which used to be within the ecclesiastical Parish of Chittlehampton but is now in the Parish of West Buckland. Leary and Chittlehamholt were originally detached parts of the Parish.

Along the narrow winding lane through the hamlet of Leary, there are a number of farmhouses with a cottage or two adjacent. Names of these cottages are as follows:- Buckingham's Leary, Bright's Leary, Melhuishes' Leary, May's Leary, Huxtable's Leary, and Gould's Leary. They are all named after an occupant in the past.



The following information was found in the October 1982 Edition of the Devon Family Historian:-

"The Huxtable Family - The Parish Church of St. Peters, West Buckland, has a memorial to the Huxtable family. The Huxtables were well known in North Devon particularly and on Exmoor for many centuries."


The memorial stone reads as follows:-

'This stone is inscribed to perpetuate the memory of the last of the Huxtables of Leary in the Parish of Chittlehampton who have been landowners of parts of Leary before the days of Oliver Cromwell, the latter part of whose life was devoted wholly to the service of his Saviour. His end was peace.'


The above is on the east side of the stone. The following appears on the west side of the stone:-

"In memory of BETTY Daughter of JOHN and Betty HUXTABLE of the Parish of Chittlehampton who departed this life on the 7th Day of March 1806. Aged 4 years."

"Also ELIZABETH daughter of the above JOHN and BETTY HUXTABLE who departed this life the 18th day of December 1808. Aged 9 months."

"Also RICHARD son of JOHN and BETTY HUXTABLE above said who departed this life on the 25th day of April 1811, aged 2 months"

"Also in memory of BETTY wife of the above JOHN HUXTABLE who departed this life on the 25th day of September 1836 aged 58 years."

"Also in memory of JOHN HUXTABLE husband of the above BETTY HUXTABLE who departed this life the 13th day of October 1857 (or 1851?) in the 84th year of his age."

In the above photograph of St. Peter's Church, West Buckland, the memorial stone for the Huxtables of Leary is the stone just to the left hand side of the church door.

The 1841 Census shows John Huxtable, aged 70 years and daughter Sarah, 23 years, living in Leary Cottage, Parish of Chittlehampton.

A lady living at May's Cottages in Leary told me that the Huxtable that used to originally live in May's Cottages moved out after his son was killed in some machinery out the back. He moved to Barnstaple and started an Engineering firm. He was a blacksmith while at May's Cottages. She also said that he apparently invented a plough while at May's Cottages which was eventually Patented. Stuart Windsor was able to generally confirm this story on 7 April 1997 as follows:-

"I noticed on your page that you spoke with a resident of May's Cottages, Leary, who told you about John Huxtable."

"John Huxtable was born at Brayford, the son of John Huxtable, a blacksmith, and his wife Elizabeth Thorne. Following his invention of a particular kind of turn-wrest plough, he started a plough works first a Brayford, possibly in his fathers shop (called the Eclipse Plough works I think), and then later moved to West Buckland where he started a larger works. I don't think that John jnr actually stayed long in West Buckland - the works had a waterwheel, and a hot summer during which the water dried up and stopped work, was followed by a harsh winter, again halting work. The final straw came when John's son, also called John (perhaps we should adopt the American John III !!!) was playing around the waterwheel, with one of the employee's, a youngish lad (can't recall his name) - they were, from what I gather, trying to run either inside the wheel, or on top of it. Anyway, the lad (not John's son) slipped and got trapped between the wheel and the wall, and was killed almost instantly. Following this John (II) moved to Barnstaple and started the Alexandra Iron works, a steam driven plant. Incidentally, John's first wife Thirza Cook was killed in 1904, when her horse drawn carriage went out of control at Bickington. I also believe that John's (II) brother Frank (Francis) ended up a trap in London. "

Best Wishes,
Stuart Windsor


I received the following E-Mail from Stuart Windsor on 10 April 1997:-

Hi Peter,

Here is the family tree for the Huxtable's of Leary that I was telling you about. I don't know who produced the manuscript, but it is quite old (the manuscript was held in the North Devon Record Office):-

Descendants of: Richard Huxtable

1 Richard Huxtable m. Mary Pugsley (of Ilfracombe)
  2 Richard Huxtable m. Susan Keen (of George Nympton)
    3 Richard Huxtable m. Joan Huxtable (from this came the connection with Ford jeweller)
    3 John Huxtable m. *Unknown Warren (of Kings Nympton)
    3 William Huxtable m. *Unknown Laramy (Kingsland)
  2 Mary Huxtable 
  2 John Huxtable b. abt 1767 d. 13 Oct 1851 m. Betty Cole (of North Molton) b. abt 1878 d. 25 Sep 1836 
    3 John Huxtable m. Mary Bailey 
                    m. Prudence Tamlyn
      4 William Huxtable
    3 Mary Ann Huxtable m. John Ridd (of Combe Martin)
      4 Mary Ridd m. J. Pincombe 
        5 William Pincombe 
        5 Ann Pincombe 
        5 Gertrude Pincombe 
      4 Thirza Ridd m. John Ridd 
        5 Lottie Ridd (unmarried)
        5 Jane Ridd m. R. Marshall 
          6 Flossie Marshall 
        5 Frank Ridd 
        5 Sarah Ridd m. *Unknown Hawke 
          6 Dorothy Hawke m. *Unknown Morgan 
            7 Dianna Morgan 
      4 Frank Ridd (died at sea)
      4 Sarah H. Ridd m. W. Oram 
        5 Francis Oram 
        5 Alfred William Oram 
        5 Frank Oram 
        5 Nellie Oram 
        5 Harry Oram 
    3 Betty (or Betsy) Huxtable b. abt 1805 d. 7 Mar 1806
    3 Elizabeth Huxtable b. abt 1808 d. 18 Dec 1808 
    3 Richard Huxtable b. abt 1801? d. 25 Apr 1801 
    3 Maria Huxtable m. J. Bendle 
      4 William Bendle 
      4 James Bendle 
      4 John Bendle 
      4 Mary Bendle m. Richard Brumfell? 
      4 Sarah Bendle (unmarried)
      4 Maria Bendle 
      4 Elizabeth Bendle m. J. Thorne 
    3 Sarah Huxtable m. Joseph Sanders 
      4 Joseph Sanders 
      4 John Sanders 
      4 Mary Bryant Sanders 
      4 Robert Sanders m. Mary Mayel? 
      4 John Sanders m. Nellie Oram 
    3 Betty Huxtable m. W. Smith (of East Buckland)
      4 John Smith (of Lane) m. Mary Ridd 
                m. *Unknown Larr 
      4 James Smith (of Farnham) m. *Unknown Burgess 
      4 Henry Smith (of Brayford Hill) m. E. Tucker 
      4 Mary Smith m. *Unknown Buckingham (of Morebath)
      4 Eleanor Smith 
    3 *Unknown Huxtable (boy died in infancy)

Prudence (nee TAMYLN) and her step-son William are buried at High Bray.

Best wishes,


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This page first produced 11 April 1997

This page last updated 01 November 2018