Uglow Family History

Uglows in Bideford and North Deveon

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First and foremost, my birthplace............

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from Upcott Hill: copyright Burton Art Gallery


The town of Bideford was probably formed around the old bridge which is at the site of the original ford over the river Torridge. The existing bridge was first built to replace an earlier wooden bridge thought to have been built in the twelfth century. Bideford was created a borough in 1217 showing that it had some importance at that time. Around the fifteenth century, Bideford was a thriving town with much of the wealth coming from the importing of tobacco from the newly developing North American colonies and later timber and fish from Canada taking their turn as the main cargoes. Being of some substance, Bideford made a contribution of ships to the Armada fleet. Sir Richard Grenville leaving from here to play his part in history aboard his ship Revenge. One has to bear in mind that the lack of a proper road system was, until quite recently, a barrier  to better links with the rest of the country, so the natural outlet to the sea was developed. As with Barnstaple the opening of bigger ports and better communications hit the town hard and it went into a decline towards the end of the eighteenth century and never regained its former wealth, although there was some respite through the link to Canada and the importing of timber, needed to make ships, and salted cod.   A variety of small shipyards, making various vessels, and the quay were the main money earners for the town together with weaving of both the local wool and, when that was in short supply, imported wool. A low grade type of coal was also mined at East-the-Water. Known as Bideford Black it was used as pigment in the paint made there.  

You can read about the Bideford Witches Trial in 1682


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1. The whole of Devon
2. Here is a map to get you to Bideford.

Family 1: Richard and Mary Richards

Richard 1707 from Alwington marries Mary Richards in Bideford in 1730 (but also see Richard 1706 from Poundstock). There are lots of Mary Richards to choose from but in 1707 see Mary, daughter of William and Mary, born in Bideford. Perhaps William Richards was the local tidesman - there is a 1704 record which talks of 'William Richards as tidesman in fee at Bideford loco William Broad deceased'. [From: 'Warrant Book: July 1704, 21-31', Calendar of Treasury Books, Volume 19: 1704-1705 (1938), pp. 311-325]. A tidesman (tidewaiter) was a custom-house official who attended ships to prevent breaches of revenue laws. The tidesman was responsible for watching the landing of goods and securing the payment of customs.

Richard and Mary bring up their family in Bideford during a very prosperous period. W G Hoskins writes that the town had a large share in the Newfoundland cod trade, but it was the tobacco trade with Maryland and Virginia which made Bideford fortunes, a trade which was at its height around 1680-1730, and ceased about 1760. It was during this period that Bideford became the leading port in North Devon, far surpassing its ancient rival of Barnstaple. The handsome houses in Bridgeland Street (c. 1690- 1700) and the Royal Hotel, at East-the-Water, formerly a merchant's house, testify to the wealth of these days. One after another, however, Bideford's over-seas trades dwindled or collapsed, mostly as a result of the incessant wars of the 18th century, and partly because of the collapse of the woollen industry in the county. By the early 19th century only a coasting trade remained.

Obviously there would have been plenty of unskilled labouring jobs but finding out more about Richard's employment has proved impossible. Equally scanty are records on Richard and Mary and their children.

  • son John 1731 born in Bideford.
  • daughter Elizabeth 1734 born in Bideford 
  • son William 1737 born in Bideford 
  • daughter Sarah 1738 born in Bideford - dies young
  • daughter Mary 1740 born in Bideford - dies young
  • daughter Sarah 1741 born in Bideford. She marries John Williams in Bideford in 1773 - however the IGI marriage record talks of Sarah, born about 1752. Possibly this is a younger Sarah and the older, 1741, Sarah died? John and Sarah have at least one child, Sarah, born in Bideford in 1783.
  • daughter Mary 1743 born in Bideford 
  • daughter Susanna 1746 born in Bideford - we know nothing of her life except that she may be the Susanna in IGI record for a Susanna Oglow who marries Matthew Young in Stoke Damerel in 1789.

Family 2: Lewin and Emily Raddenbury

Lewin 1878 was the son of Richard Henry and Elizabeth Trenerry and the grandson of Richard and Susan Underhay, all in Denbury. Lewin was a police officer with the Devon County Constabulary for many years but, on retirement, first lived in Appledore where he ran the Champion of Wales pub (still existing) and then in Northam. 

In 1881, he was with his parents and his brothers in Wolborough - in the cottage adjoining the stable. His father was working as a florist's assistant. In 1891, the family is in Teigngrace, north of Newton Abbott. He left school and worked in the Denbury rectory gardens and later joined the police in London. He wasn't happy and within months came back to the Devon force
- his service included 1901 Lifton; 1903 Membury; 1905-1907 Fore St Exbourne ; 1908-1909 Newton St Cyres ; 1910-1912 Candy's Cottage, Knighton Hennock ; 1914 Lifton; 1916-1919 Rushford, Lamerton; 1921 Ashburton and finally in 1926 Northam.

In early April 1901, he was living in the Police station in Lifton with his sergeant, Thomas Hill, his wife, Ellen and their son, Thomas who, at 16 years old, was a school teacher. Only a few days later, on April 8th in Kenn, Lewin married Emily Raddenbury. Emily was born in 1874. In 1891 she was working for a living as a kitchenmaid at the Reverend Porter's house in Kenn. In 1901, Emily was a cook at Mrs Coade's house.  She and her family were living in Kennford - her father John Wills Raddenbury, was a  blacksmith employee who was born in 1850 at Kenford. Her mother was Susannah, born in 1848, also at Kenford. Emily possibly had perhaps 6 siblings all born in Kenford: William 1872, Philip 1876 and a stonemason in 1901, Arthur John 1879, Thomas 1882, James 1883 (a gardener in 1901) and Alice 1885.

Lamerton Police House

In the 1911 census, Lewin and Emily are living in Chudleigh Knighton in Devon with their daughter, Gertrude.

He retired to Champion of Wales pub in Appledore. From 1954, he was at 7 Kimberley Terrace, Northam but was active enough to chair the parish council. He died in Bideford Hospital in 1962. Emily had died in 1960. They are buried in the local cemetery, adjacent to Northam church. Their son, Philip 1912, is buried in the same plot. Daughter Gertie and her husband, Harry Elston, are buried beside the church.

  • daughter anon
  • Gertrude Audrey 1903 born in Membury, Axminster.  In 1911, she was living with her parents in Chudleigh Knighton. In 1930 in Appledore she married Walter Henry (Harry) Elston (1903-1983). They lived at 6 Grenville Terrace, Northam, Devon. Gertie was a teacher at Alwington CP; Harry was apprenticed as plumber, trained as an engineer, in the NFS in the war and then worked as a maintenance engineer for Buckleigh laundry. 
    • daughter Mary Katherine born 1943 in Northam. She was educated at Alwington county primary followed by Edgehill School in Bideford, followed by a year at North Devon tech.
      Joined the W.R.A.F. in 1961 and served at RAF Benson. She left on marriage to Ian Lewis Fletcher (born 1943 Worcester Park, Surrey) in 1964. Ian was an instrument fitter in the RAF. They moved to
      RAF Little Rissington, Glos. and RAF Lyneham. Since 1973 they've lived in Wootton Bassett. They have two sons,
      • son Keith born 1967 Moreton-in-Marsh, educated in Wootton Bassett and still lives locally, working for Motorola as import/export controller. He married Tracey Ann Dixon (born 1974 in South Africa) in 1997 and they have two children
        • daughter Lauren Emily born 1998 Swindon
        • son Alex Christopher Lewis born 29 April (census day!) 2001 Swindon
      • son Mark born 1969 Wroughton, educated in Wootton Bassett and still lives locally where he runs his own electrical installation firm. His partner, Sarah Jane Gale (nee Harper born 1964 Southampton) has daughter Jordan Gale born 1995
        • Toby Elston Fletcher born 1999 Swindon
  • Philip Lawrence 1912 born in Knighton Hennock - Family 3

Family 3: Philip and Olivia Vigers

Philip Lawrence Raddenbury 1912 is the son of Lewin and Emily Raddenbury and the grandson of Richard Henry and Elizabeth Trenerry. In 1939 he married Olivia Vigers (1915-2007 ) in Crediton. Phil went to the University College of the South West (now Exeter University) and left with a general degree. He went into teaching in Plymouth where he played cricket and met Olivia's brother, Stanley - Olivia was working in the post office in Plymouth. Introductions were effected and the rest is history. He moved to Barnstaple Secondary Modern School but immediately went into the RAF where he taught radar technology, a love affair with valves, condensers and resistors that carried on for his working life. After the war, they settled in Barnstaple, living in Newport for twenty years before moving to 59 Yelland Rd, Fremington on retirement and to Herons Lea residential home near Westward Ho! Phil died in 1997. After his death, Olivia lived in residential homes in Bideford, Instow and Torrington and died in July 2007.

  • daughter Margaret 1940 born in Barnstaple. Margaret went to Barnstaple Grammar and to Exeter University to read history. She then worked for the North Devon Journal Herald as a reporter but found time to marry Geoff Smith, a geography teacher at Barnstaple Grammar (boys' side). They moved to Oxfordshire where Geoff took a job at Westminster Training College. Mag worked for the Oxford Mail and papers in Aylesbury and the Bucks Free Press in High Wycombe. They live in Witney.
    • son Andrew 1963 born in Barnstaple. Educated in Witney and Bangor University - now works for Citibank
    • son Patrick 1964 born in Barnstaple. Educated in Witney and Imperial College - now works as a consultant scientific editor
    • daughter Ellen 1967? born in Barnstaple. Educated in Witney, University of Leeds and University of Swansea.  Works for BBC and married Paul Nicholson in 1996.
      • son Gabriel 1997 born in London
      • daughter Felicity 2001
    • daughter Emma 1970 born in Witney. Educated in Witney. Emma suffered from epilepsy all her life and died in 1995.
  • daughter Helen Elizabeth 1945  born in Barnstaple. Helen went to Barnstaple Grammar and to Salisbury training college to read geography. She worked as a teacher in Guildford where she met and married accountant Richard Holwill in 1970. They moved back to Devon in the 1980s where Helen taught in Bideford and Richard worked for the local authority. In 2009, they are both retired.
    • daughter Katherine 1973 born in Surrey. Educated at St Alfreds Winchester, reading medieval history - married to Antony and lives in Eastleigh, Hampshire where she works in recruitment and Antony for the inland revenue
    • son Michael 1974 born in Surrey. Educated at Aston University reading business. Now working in Birmingham where he and his partner, Kat, have two children, Sam 2003 and a daughter 2004.
    • son David 1978 born in Surrey. Musician and postman.
  • son Stephen 1947 born in Bideford. Married Jenny Crowther - Kent Family 5


  • Edmund 1816 was born in Week St Mary but reared in Devonport. In 1851 he was working in Plymouth as a clockmaker and his mother was with him - at that point he was unmarried. By 1871, he is in Bideford and a widower, at Willett St. where he died in 1876
  • Arthur Herbert 1903 Denbury - Family 4. This is the eldest nephew of Lewin (above) and also in the Devon police. In 1928 in Bideford Arthur marries Lillian Curtis from Wales.

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