Histories of those buried here
George MansonGeorge was born in Edinburgh in 1850 to Eliza & Magnus, a merchant.
After school George entered a five year apprenticeship with a firm W & R Chamber’s producing woodcuts. He also found time to attend the School of Art & to contribute to the Sketching Club and in the summer of 1870 he spent his holiday making studies of the national collections. The following year saw George at the Edinburgh School of Art. 1873 was a busy year, George’s painting titled “Bertha” was accepted for the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition and George also travelled to France, Belgium & Holland. His paintings are distinguished by fine colour & great tenderness of handing and many of his paintings survived today. However on his return he was feeling unwell and in 1874 he travelled to Sark for health reasons. Feeling better, he travelled back to Scotland, then on to Paris before a spell in Croydon. But it was not long before he was ill again with his health finally broken, and it evident to all but himself that he had not long to live, he moved to Lympstone accompanied by his sister. Yet he still busied himself with his art, until this too was too much and he quietly locked away his paintings and etching materials. He died on the 27 th Feb 1876 of TB. aged 25.
Worthington BriceThis is the brick built tomb of Worthington Brice who lived in Parsonage Stile House, located on the shore of the Exe in the parish of Woodbury, just around the corner from Cliff Field in Lympstone.
Worthington was born in 1701 and the family seat was at Dinnington, Somerset between Ilminster, Yeovil & Crewkerne. The name Worthington was carried by a number of male heirs, the name coming from a marriage of Hugh Brice & Dorothy Worthington of Worthington Hall, Lancs. In national records one Worthington Brice was fined £300 during the Commonwealth for supporting the wrong side.
Our Worthington was brought up in Kenton, on the other side of the Exe, by parents Worthington & Margaret. Worthington attended Wadham College in Oxford.
The next record we have of Worthington is a yearly contribution to Rev Hancock for Gulliford Chapel in 1733 of 14 shillings.
Worthington appears to have been a bit of a 18th century Richard Branson with Worthington’s name appearing on documents relating to mining rights, ship building, property and the whale trade.
In 1751 he built a ship called “Mary & Sarah”, especially for whaling. He also had his Try-Works on the shore at Parsonage Stile where he boiled the whale blubber, until the posh folks of Burgmann’s Hill area complained of the smell and it was moved to Sowden End, south of Lympstone.
Worthington’s name is also on a record in 1752 as a trustee of Gulliford Chapel and on a document to increase the land and build a larger chapel on the site, along with Thomas Smith jr, a tallow chandler of Lympstone who would have made candles out of the whale fat.
Worthington continued to live at Parsonage Stile until his death aged 80 & is buried here with his wife Joan & five of their children.
Lee FamilyI would like to talk about this chest tomb next [Editors Note: Photo will be uploaded soon], it’s the family vault to the Lee family. Sadly the memorial plaques are in a bad state of repair and I only know of 8 names of the deceased buried below, how many more we don’t know.
The first person buried here was not a Lee but a Robert Yeates, a trustee of Gulliford who died in 1779 aged 25 leaving a wife Jenny with sons aged 1 & 2. Jenny widowed at the age of 21 was the daughter of Matthew Lee.
We mentioned Thomas Lee of Sparkhays as giving the original plot of land for the building of Gulliford. Sparkhays was between Woodbury Village & Woodmanton but was lost much later in a fire.
The family inherited Ebford Barton in 1728 where they continued to live until 1891. The Lees obtained a coat of arms in 1759 which can be seen in the parish church at Woodbury. The family also lived in St Leonard’s, Exeter opposite Larkbeare House, home to the Baring family who started the Baring Bank. This is just passed St Leonard’s Church where the judges lived & now I believe the registry office is. The Lees having made money in farming moved into the woollen trade.
Jenny’s mother is buried here, she was the daughter of a rich London linen draper and had married Matthew Lee in 1742. Matthew had kept a diary of that time & in it recorded the cost of the marriage as an embroidered waistcoat £11, an Irish silk nightgown for himself £2, a brides diamond ring with 24 stones £16, a pair of 3 drop brilliant diamond earrings £105. In today’s money over £12,400 or in 1742 it could have bought 15 horses or paid for a skilled trades man to work for over 1,000 days. He also recorded the cost of drums & fiddles at 5s.
The other thing about the widowed Jenny was that having lost Robert, she went on to marry Nathaniel Wakeford, nothing unusual in itself until you know that Jenny’s older brother Matthew married Hannah Wakeford and Jenny’s younger brother Thomas Huckell married Mary Wakeford, all the Wakefords are from the Andover area, we know that Hannah was an only child of Joseph, a draper and that Mary was the daughter of Brice, also a draper, so maybe they are cousins. Nathaniel remains a mystery.
Thomas Huckell Lee is down as a trustee for Gulliford in 1777, living in St Leonards as a merchant. We know he was also the owner of a couple of ships registered in the Port of Exeter which covered the whole of the Exe. A letter of 1788 shows Thomas trying to sell one of the ships stating it was in the Greenland trade which was the cod trade. It’s not surprising he dabbled in this as his good friend Charles Baring who was now living at Courtlands on the boundary between Exmouth & Lympstone, had at least 16 ships over time. Charles & his wife are buried over there. Thomas & Mary had 12 children, the first 8 children were baptised at Topsham with the last 4 at Gulliford, was this when they moved from Exeter to Ebford? Thomas died in 1822.
The last 2 names on the plaques are to Thomas & Mary’s son Brice & their daughter Ann. Brice had decided on a life in the army. He didn’t marry. As Colonel he served in the Madras Native Infantry & also in the East Indies and by 1861 he is a retired Major General living back at Ebford, who’s estate covered 106 acres and employed 8 labourers this does not include house servants. We are lucky to have a portrait of Brice seated on the right, along side his brother Major George Lee dressed in black and their nephew Col Sir James Jackson standing behind. Brice dies of a stroke in 1871 leaving his unmarried sister Ann to continue living at Ebford keeping house as she had for her brother whilst he was away in the army. Ann dies in 1883 of heart disease, with Col Jackson present, as Gulliford is starting to decline in popularity.
This was the last of the Lee burials in this vault, however there was one last family link. Jenny and Robert’s son Matthew Lee Yeates, the little boy who lost his father when he was just 2. Matthew grow up and married, living at Primrose Cottage, Budleigh Salterton, a cottage we all know as it was to become the museum at Budleigh. Matthew had made his money setting up the Exmouth & General Devon Bank in Rolle Street. Sadly this went bankrupt in 1813. Sometime later we find Matthew in the records for Gulliford as a trustee, acting as a treasurer in 1845, he is now the Rev Matthew Lee Yeates of Cullumpton. He dies just 2 years later in Tiverton, deciding not to be buried at Gulliford.
George LeeThis beautiful headstone is also one of the saddest, a memorial to George Lee, who was the 9th child of Thomas Huckell Lee & his wife Mary.
George was born July 1787, baptised at Gulliford in August and died the following month in September the same year, and sadly this is all we know of baby George. We can hope that because there is space left for any other children that didn’t survive infancy that this was the last of Thomas & Mary’s 12 children to die young.
Sarah & Eliza RussellNext to George is Sarah & Eliza Russell, they were aunt & niece, both unmarried, both working at Ebford Barton for the Lee family, but George & Sarah and Eliza never met in life.
Sarah was born in Clyst St George and Eliza the daughter of a farm labourer John who rose to become a blacksmith, was born in Woodbury.
Sarah & Eliza worked in the Lee household as servants, under Brice Wakeford Lee. In 1851 there was also a James Russell working as a house servant born in Farrington, duties would have been footman, valet etc we don’t know if he was related but 10 years later Mary Russell has joined the household as cook and 12 year old Adam Russell as Boy of all Work. James Russell is visiting the Lees as Professor of Music at Oxford and John Russell and family are farming nearby at Lower Ebford. So it looks like both families looked out for each other.
We have no record of what Sarah and Eliza looked like but they would have attended chapel here at Gulliford each Sunday with their employer walking through the gateway just as you have today. We know from the headstone that Sarah worked for the Lees for 47 years and Eliza 37 years. Sarah was 69 when she died in 1870 of asthma & a diseased heart whilst Eliza was 47 when she caught T.B and died the same year as Sarah. Employer Brice Lee died the following month.
I’m sure that the Lee family would have paid for the headstone for Sarah & Eliza, the wording they chose such as much esteemed, especially respected, speaks volumes about these 2 women and their relation with the Lees which went further than just employer & employee, burying Sarah & Eliza next to a family member.