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A change of management

This was a particularly significant time in the history of the village.  In 1841 John Knight had moved to Rome, (where he died in 1850) and his son, Frederic, had taken over the management of the Exmoor estate.  Frederic adopted a different approach to his father - particularly building and letting farms - and presumably there was a great deal of work for the estate carpenter at this time. [More to follow]

We do not yet know how long Thomas Hodge and his family lived in Simonsbath but by 1861 they had moved to Heasley Mill, North Molton and he was working there as a carpenter, as was his eldest son, William (20).

The family may have moved to Withypool in the late 1860s as Thomas and Jane had a son, Henry, who was born there in 1869.  However by 1871 they were back in Heasley Mill and Thomas (aged 65) and Jane were still living there at the time of the 1881 Census. 

It seems probable that Jane died in 1888 (aged 68)  and by 1891 Thomas was lodging with John and Grace Sturges.  He was then 75 and is still described as being a wheelwright. 

No record of Thomas Hodge’s death has yet been found.  (A Thomas Hodge of the right age – 88 – is recorded as having died in Kingsbridge, Devon in 1899).

© Graham Wills