WILLIAM TAVERNER and MARY LANGAMEAD (7)
There were two William Taverners born in Moretonhampstead within a
few months of each other. One was the son of Gilbert Avery alias Taverner
and Loyalty Wotton, the other the son of William
Taverner and Jane
Aggett. It is probable that this second child became
the father of James Avery
alias Taverner. It is also likely that Gilbert and Loyalty
were his uncle and aunt.
1720 (1721) February 28 was Baptized William the
son of William Taverner
William Taverner senior may have been a yeoman farmer.
In 1740 Mary Tozer was apprenticed
to William Taverner, yeoman. William senior
had died in 1736, when the younger William was 16, but Gilbert Taverner
was still alive. The fatherless William, son of William,
seems thus more likely to have been a yeoman at the young age of 19,
inheriting the farm from his father, than another William, son of
Gilbert, whose father was still living.
Mary’s marriage took place in Moreton. Since
she is not stated to be from another parish, we may presume that this
was then her home. But there is no record of her being baptised in
From 1603, the first year of the surviving Moreton registers, onwards,
Peter Longmed had eight children baptised there. But this family does
not appear to have stayed in the parish.
There is a William Langmeade in the 1642 Protestation Return for Moretonhampstead,
a William Langaman who had three children baptised between 1673 and
1682, and a single reference to a child of Richard Langmead in 1685.
Then Oliver Langmead raises another large family from 1743 onwards.
From the date of Mary’s marriage, 1755, we may assume she was
born around 1725-35. This is probably too early for her to be Oliver’s
daughter born outside Moreton. But if she moved to the town about
the same time, he may be related to her, perhaps her brother.
A settlement examination for John Nosworthy, blacksmith, says that
he was born in Moretonhampstead and apprenticed to Oliver Langmead.
When he was 19 he joined the army and served for 35 years. The document
is dated 1786, so John would have left his apprenticeship in 1751.
This is four years before Mary’s marriage, so it is the Oliver
of her generation who was the blacksmith. It may give some clue to
the sort of family she came from.
In 1748 John Langmead married Sarah Western, and he may be another
of this family.
An earlier Oliver Langmead’s name appears in a will of 1668
made in Sampford Courtenay. This could be where the Mortonhampstead
Langmeads came from. Sampford Courtenay is about 12 miles from Moreton.
There are a number of other Langmeads in the Sampford Courtenay records.
The name also occurs in Okehampton, Belstone and Spreyton, giving
a cluster around Okehampton. This would suggest a possible baptism
in Belstone of Mary, daughter of Richard
and Charity Langmead on 3 Dec 1734, making her 21 at the
time of her marriage. But the baptism of the Moretonhampstead Mary
may be in a register lost to us.
After the Restoration of the monarchy
under Charles II in 1660, there was a reaction against Oliver Cromwell’s
Commonwealth. The name Oliver went out of fashion. That fact that
the Langmeads were using it around 1720 probably means that they,
at least, retained Parliamentary and Puritan sympathies.
The profusion of William
Taverners makes it difficult to determine precisely who is
who. The best evidence comes from the naming of their children.
In 1740 there is a marriage.
Marriage. Moretonhampstead, St Andrews.
1740 Septembr 30th were Married William Taverner & Anne Tremlett
Both Williams would have been 19 then, which is untypically young.
There follow a succession of baptisms, including a son James, born
in 1746, and a daughter Loyalty, who died in 1754 at six months. Her
unusual name makes it a near-certainty that the father of this group
of children was William, son of Loyalty and Gilbert Taverner. rather
than William, son of William and Jane Taverner.
There is then another marriage in Moreton.
Marriage. Moretonhampstead, St Andrews.
1755 May 9th were Married William Tavermer and Mary
It is reasonable to suppose that this William is
the son of William Taverner and Jane Aggett.
The sequence of births then continues.
Baptisms. Moretonhampstead, St Andrews.
1755 July 31st was Baptized William son of William Taverner
1757 July 25th was Baptized Daniell son of William Taverner
1759 June 22nd was Baptized James son of William
1761 Augt 16th was Baptised Susanna Daughter of William Taverner
Susanna was buried on May 2nd, 1765.
1764 July 8th was Baptized Mary Daughter of William Taverner
1766 Augt 24th was Baptized Susanna Daughter of William Taverner
These could be the children
of William and Ann or William and Mary Taverner.
If there were two men with the same name fathering children at the
same time, a distinguishing detail was often added, such as an occupation
or place of residence. But this was not always done, and does not
appear to be the case in Moreton at this period. However, the intervals
between births are just what we would expect for one couple. The typical
gap between children at this time was 2-3 years. In no case are there
two baptisms so close that they could not be children of the same
couple, nor is there an overlap of names. At her death, Treleaven’s
Diary confirms that Mary Taverner was the mother
of Daniel. It seems likely that most, if not all,
in this second group of baptisms are the children of William
Taverner and Mary Langamead. In particular, the fact that
William and Ann already have a son James makes it extremely likely
that our James, the younger one, is William
and Mary’s son.
William and Mary
lost only one child in infancy. It is likely that they were not amongst
the poorest families. The Universal British Directory of 1791 lists
William’s son Daniel as one of six carpenters in Moretonhampstead,
under ‘Traders, &c’. This suggests that Daniel had
his own business. No other Taverners are listed in this directory.
If William was not a yeoman farmer, then it is possible that he was
a carpenter and handed on the trade to his son, but he may have apprenticed
Daniel to someone else.
Daniel became a well-regarded craftsman in Moreton, more so than his
younger brother James, who was suspected of misappropriating funds
from the toll-gate.
There is a burial for William
Taverner on 30 April 1780, though given the frequency of
this name it is impossible to be certain which one this was.
There is a possible cloud
over the elder son too, though, again, the number of William Taverners
in the area makes identification unclear. Treleaven reports in his
Diary for 1799:
"Wed. Sep. 18th. Last night ran away from their Masters George
Hamlin an Apprentice to Mr. John Pinsent and John Ash an Apprentice
to Mr. John Stevens. Ash’s Father pursued them to Plymouth,
and brought back his son but Hamlin would not return.
Sat. Sep. 21st. Hamlin return’d
and by the intercession of his Mother & the promising to behave
better in future, and undergoing a severe flogging which he justly
deserved, his Master condescended to take him in again.
Tue. Dec. 24th. George Hamlin
an Apprentice to Mr. Pinsent, detected by his fellow Apprentice (George
Harvey) in stealing candles from his Master, he was immediately taken
in Custody, and carried before Justice Roberts at Drewsteignton where
he confessed he had frequently been guilty of the same crime, and
sold them to William Tavernor and his wife who keep a shop in Court
Street. Tavernor and his wife absconded on hearing of Hamlin's confession."
In 1814, a few months before the Battle
of Waterloo, Treleaven’s Diary records:
"Fri. Nov. 11th. Died
aged 82 Dame Taverner mother of Mr D. Taverner, Carpenter."
‘Dame’ was a courtesy title given to respected older women.
Treleaven uses ‘Mr’ more freely than the parish registers,
which accord it only to gentlemen. We know from the parish register
that the deceased was Mary, and that she was buried
three days later. She had been living in the town of Moretonhampstead,
and not on an outlying farm.
Burial. Moretonhampstead, St Andrews.
1814 Mary Taverner Town 14th Novr 82
All Buried in Wooling According to Act of Parliament.
Generation: 6. TAVERNER-WITHYCOMBE
Generations: 8. TAVERNER-AGGETT