James and Sarah Gear
Berrynarbor, Devon
Berrynarbor 1832
Engraving by J Harwood & J Thomas
(Devon Library Local Studies Collection)

James Gear

Born Berrynarbor, Devon 1796-8 died 1882

Married: 03 July 1820

Sarah (Sally) Draper
Born Berrynarbour 1799 died 1876














1820 Ilfracombe

7 Sept 1824 Berrynarbor

1826 Berrynarbor

1828 Berrynarbor

1830 Berrynarbor

1833 Berrynarbor

1835 Berrynarbor

1837-9 Berrynarbor

1840 Berrynarbor

14 December 1843 Berrynarbor


James and Sarah (Sally in records from 1851 onwards) lived at South Lee Farm, near Berrynarbour, Devon for many years. They had a large family, who kept close ties, and socialised and married within a tight-knit farming community. James and Sally often had various grandchildren living with, or visiting them in censuses ???Amelia etc???, and obviously had ongoing close relationships with their children. Sarah  passed away in the Jan-March quarter of 1876. James had gone to live with his daughter Fanny by 1881, and died in the Oct-Dec quarter of 1882. 

Quite a number of James and Sarah's children and grandchildren ended in emigrating to Australia - probably because there were simply so many grandchildren that they could not all have been supported on the land. Compared to England at the time, Australia was (and many would argue still is) an absolute paradise with land, food and wealth aplenty. James' brother Richard's son John and his wife Betsy (nee Beer), also moved to Australia, where they had a large family. Details to follow when I get to it :-)

James and Sally's family: 

Benjamin married Mary, born about 1827 in Brayford, and had at least eight children, Benjamin born about 1846, William born 1851, Mary about 1853, Hellen about 1855, George about 1857, Martha about 1859, James about 1860, and Ann about 1871. Benjamin gave his birthplace as Ilfracombe. He farmed 160 acres at 'Henstridge Farm', Berrynarbor by 1881, and had a staff of four servants, Edward Dart 21, George Norman 15, Sarah Coats 18, and Ellen Tucker 14. 

Benjamin's daughter Hellen married Charles Gammon, a lodging house keeper. Hellen and Charles' son William C Gammon was born Ilfracombe 1881 and a daughter Elizabeth Ann was born in Arlington about 1879. She was visiting her grandparents on the night of the 1881 census, aged 2.  

Ann Gear, born about 1871, was visiting her sister Hellen Gammon at 2 Tawstock Place, Ilfracombe the night of the 1881 census - she is listed as Charles' sister-in-law. This is different than family records, who had Martha as Benjamin's youngest daughter. 

James was a rate collector, and married Maria Irwin, born about 1826 in Combe Martin. Her family were known to have had some type of connection with the Pack'o'Cards Inn - apparently 'running' it, but I'm not sure if that means being licensee's or owning the property. They had children John, a ships engineer/master mariner, and Helen, born in Bromley, Kent about 1854.  Helen was married in 1875 to Edmund Morgan, born in 1852 in Swansea, they were living at 4 James St, Reading St Mary, Berkshire, in the 1881 census with their daughter Mabel. Their son Edmund was born later that year. There's a record for their other son George Irwin Morgan age 4 in the 1881 census, staying with his grandparents, James and Maria, then aged 56 and 55. They had moved from Devon and were living at 22 Scyborfach St, Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales. They had sons Arthur 17, Albert Irwin Gear 15, and Sydney Irwin Gear age 13, all born in Swansea. I have contacts for this line of the family in both Wales and Canada. There is also a record of the death of James Irwin Gear age 15 months in Swansea in 1899, who had to have been James and Maria's grandson, but no father's name is on the listing. 

Another Swansea connection, and I don't know how he ties in precisely, is George Gear - 21 in the 1851 census with his wife Sarah 20, and son William 3, living at Ravenhill, Glamorgan. Sarah and William both born at Swansea, and George was born in East Down, Devon, four miles from Berrynarbor. Being born in 1831, he'd likely be a cousin of James' family. It's also likely that he ties in in some way to the family of George Gear, born in Berrynarbor in 1857, who married Mary Elizabeth Williams, and had children Florence Elizabeth born in West Down 1879, Mary Helen in Combe Martin 1880, and later Stanley and Montague. They were living in Combe Martin in 1881. I've had contact with a descendant of this family, and I'd like to see just how this pans out! There's a lot of coincidences there with James and Maria...

Prudence married John Lovering, a farmer from Braunton, Devon. There's also a Prudence born Berrynarbor married to George Lovering, a farmer from Braunton, Devon - as you can imagine, this got a bit confusing for a while!  My Prudence had daughters Prudence (born 1848) and Mary (born 1850), is listed with husband John in the 1851 census, but unfortunately died in 1852 in Braunton. Living with them in 1851 were Prudence's sisters Fanny and Mary, and Mary's future husband Phillip Dendle. 

The 'other' Prudence was born 1820 rather than 1826, is listed in 1851 with HER daughter Prudence (born about 1846), and husband George Hartnoll Lovering.  She was Prudence Clark, married in the Barnstaple area in the March quarter of 1845. Living with them was another George Lovering, a 16 year old servant, no doubt related!

Sarah married John Burge, a farmer. Somewhat coincidental, but my direct line Burge family from Somerset did not seem to connect with these Burge's... This John was the brother of William Burge, see below. 

John and William were the sons of John and Ann Burge of Bratton Fleming, grandsons of John and Susanna Burge, also living in Bratton Fleming in 1841 and 51. Their siblings were Mary, Sussan and James. John Burge Snr was born in Stowbridge, Dorset about 1783, Susanna in Somerset... so maybe they WERE related to my Somerset Burge's!

Sarah and John Burge were living in Bratton Fleming in 1861, with Sarah's sister Fanny, who no doubt got along well with John's brother William :-) Sarah and John had no children by 1871, and by 1881 John was a widow, living with his brother William and family, and Sarah's father James Gear. Sarah died in the Jan-March quarter of 1880.

Mary married Phillip Dendle born in Marwood Devon, who had been a farm servant of her brother-in-law John Lovering. They emigrated to Australia on the Shand, in 1854 with their son Samuel. A daughter Sarah was born on board but died in 1856. The family went on to farm in Leopold, Victoria. 

John married Elizabeth Chugg from Trinteston, Devon, born about 1842. By 1881 they were farming 219 acres at Litcharden, Fremington, Devon. John had two labourers, one of whom was Henery Dendle 18, likely related to John's sister Mary by marriage. John and Elizabeth's children were John 19, James 15, William 13, Sarah 10, Samuel 8, Mary E. 6, George 4, Martha 2, and Elizabeth A. age 1.There was also Sarah Smale 26, a general servant living with the family. John 's son Samuel married his first cousin Helena Burge, daughter of Fanny Burge, and went to Australia. This is within the law in both Britain and Australia.

Fanny married William Burge from Bratton Fleming, Devon, the brother of her sister Sarah's husband John - see above, also for the lineage of these Burge's. William and Fanny employed 2 men and 3 boys, and were farming 370 acres at 'Leworthy' Bratton Fleming by 1881. They lived with their children William 19, Emily 17, Sarah 15, John 13, Helena 11, Hannah 8, James 6, Eva 3, and Fanny 1. James Gear, aged 85, was listed as Fanny's father, an annuitant - there is no mention of her mother, Sarah, and it appears that she'd passed away by then.  John Burge 47, Sarah's widow, also lived with the family, listed as William's brother, occupation farmer.  The family also had servants William Boyne 19 and Alice Turner 18. 

There was also a James Burge and his wife Lucy and their five children in the 1881 census at Benton, Bratton Fleming, likely William and John's brother. The children were Frederick F. 13, Ann S. 10, John F. 7, William H. 4, and Charles E. age 1. 

Helena Burge, daughter of William and Fanny, married her first cousin Samuel, son of John Gear, and emigrated to Australia. 

William married my great grandmother Kezia Underhill, and emigrated to Australia - full details on their page following :-)


Next: William and Kezia Gear

Back: Burge-McLean Family History Index


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