Bickleigh links up with Tasmania and New Zealand.

Bickleigh Local History News

Bickleigh links with Tasmania and New Zealand.

The Bickleigh village website recently received an enquiry from Dunedin in South Island New Zealand. They asked for information about the Jarman Family of Millhayes Farm and Tannery.

Those who attended the 500 years of Bickleigh History evening in April 2019 may remember that one of the characters featured was Susan Jarman of Millhayes, spoken by Polly Thompson. In 1843 Susan’s husband Richard Jarman had died leaving her to run the farm and tannery. In his will Richard left two rather unusual bequests - £50 to a sister who had married a gentleman he despised on condition she used the money only on herself and £50 to sister Esther who had emigrated to Tasmania in case she needed to return to England.

It was a descendant of Esther who made this recent contact. Esther married in 1823 in Bickleigh Church. Being regarded as a minor at age 18 she needed the approval of her mother Mary as her surviving parent and guardian. Her husband, John Badcock Gardiner, was born in Poughill and along with their 2 young children they set sail from London arriving in Tasmania in 1829. With the help of a Government grant they purchased land and property which they named Chudleigh. More children were born. One daughter married the son of an Irish convict and had 11 children resulting with family members spread throughout Australia and New Zealand. 

Both Esther and John died in the 1860’s in the town of Launceston so another west country connection. Good to hear that their decision to leave Bickleigh for a new life overseas worked out well for them. There was no need for Esther to spend her £50 on a return fare!

David Meredith

01884 855210

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