14. The Sundial Trio et al in 1808

It is interesting, but not surprising I suppose, to note that the three men named on the sundial were among the first named in the 1808 Land Tax record.

The Rev. Thomas Clack, with his magnifying glass, occupied the Parsonage and paid a hefty 6-18-0 in taxes. Besides his interest in agriculture and its improvement Clack was active in hunting circles having come, according to Harris, from a sporting family. I was not surprised to find his name among the subscribers to William Chapple’s 1785 revision of Tristram Risdon’s seventeenth century topographical peregrination from the Dorset border round  to North Devon. That historical work would have been right up Clack’s alley.

The second property listed, Derworthy, always by far the largest property in the parish, other than the glebelands, paid 7-6-3 1/2. The occupier was Edmund Mountjoy who had been at Derworthy for the previous fifteen years, even through a change of ownership. Derworthy’s successive owners from 1780 were Arscott, then Gay and now Tickel which are not names you see or hear of much these days. It is interesting to note that the amount of tax paid did not change from year to year. Derworthy had been assessed the very same amount from at least 1782. This was so in spite of the political and economic turbulence of the previous quarter century with its ups and downs caused by war and by successive poor harvests.

No. 3 in 1808 was Ley whose proprietor and occupier was none other than the churchwarden John Rattenbury of the sundial who paid a mere 1-15-11. There were only half a dozen larger properties in the parish but Ley was just one of John’s holdings at the time. During the eighteenth century, in order to determine who was eligible for jury duty, lists of freeholders and leaseholders were compiled annually for use by the Quarter Sessions. Among the several useful projects carried out by the The Friends of the Devon Archives is one which provides access to some of the Devon Freeholders Books. The earliest one in which Milton Damerel appears is 1733. There was a John Rattenbury, yeoman, leaseholder, at that time and again in 1751 and 1762. Then there is a break from Johns in 1762, 1771 and 1783 and a reappearance in 1799 when John of the sundial make his appearance in the Devon Freeholder’s transcription. There are, incidentally, two other names besides John’s listed as eligible jurists from  Milton Damerel in 1799.  They are Arthur Fishleigh and Richard Fulford.

No 4. in 1808 is South Woodford assessed 1-8-9.  It’s proprietor is also John Rattenbury, its occupier is Francis Fishleigh, the other churchwarden on the sundial.

Nos. 5 & 6  Ley and The Lands were also occupied by Francis from John Rattenbury at 1-5-10 and 0-11-6 respectively. Besides the Rattenbury properties Francis occupied seven other properties in the parish.

It’s time to look at the 1808 document in its entirety.


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