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Hodge Brooks

Images kindly donated by Janet King and Margaret Gully


Will of John Hodge

 Will of John Hodge

Old Kingskerswell

Old Kingskerswell
The Hodge Brooks family were established residents of Kingskerswell
In 1881 Ellen's father William was a Fish Dealer and in 1871 a Potato Dealer
William was born in Kingskerswell in 1838 and died in 1930
His mother was Mary Yabsley Bpt 31.10.1796 m Samuel Brooks
His father was John Hodge.

Mary's parents were Peter Yabsley and Mary Bulley ( married Kingskerswell 1795 )
IGI records Peter Yabsley christened 30.08.1746 Kingskerswell
Peter Yabsley christened 20.12.1771 Kingskerswell

According to Pallots Marriage Index Mary Yabsley married Samuel Brooks in 1823, he was a sojourner, she retained the surname Brooks throughout her life. A daughter Agness was born in 1823. We are still researching Samuel , we can find no death or other records. . John Hodge was a Fish Dealer in the village, in 1841 Mary Brooks was a Female Servant in his business. According to John's Will Mary was his Housekeeper. Three Hodge sons appear on the Census, John , George and Wiilliam. We have found a marriage in 1830 between Mary Brooks and John Hodge in Kingskerswell on IGI, this appears to be false. After the death of John Mary subsequently took over the business, then her son William after her. She never changed her name to Hodge.
But there was a gap around 1861 when Mary and William were living with son George, both George and William were Clay Cutters.
Mary was a Pauper on the 1871 Census living in Kingskerwell, she died on 22.12.1871 still known as Brooks. William was married and had become a Potato Dealer at 2 Daccabridge Road Kingskerswell, Mary lived next door at no 1.
In 1881 he had become a Fishdealer in the main street of Kingskerwell.

The children were known sometimes as Brooks and sometimes as Hodge, on the 1841 Census all were Hodge, but around 1900 all were known as Hodge Brooks or just Brooks.

On the 1901 Census William Hodge was a Fish Merchant in Fore Street living with wife
Martha (Marsh) born c1845 Exbridge in 1861 she was working as a servant for the
Butcher John Crocker in Kingskerswell
Charles 18 was described as a Baker and two of his brothers worked for GWR in various jobs.

Ellen died & the eldest son William Lang Bovey took over the business until 1947 when he moved to Cator near Widecombe. The bakery was then run by Charles but I am not sure who actually owned it although Alfred Lang Bovey definitely built it (shown in error as Arthur in 1901 census on website) & at one stage the land was rented from a Mr Crocker.
Mr Crocker owned the land, had a butchers shop & slaughterhouse behind the bakery so it all fits into place re Martha.

Many thanks to Janet for helping with the background information

Peter Yabsley Shoemaker Kingskerswell

Peter Yabsley Shoemaker Kingskerswell

Mary Yabsley christening 1796

Mary Yabsley christening 1796

Wedding Samuel Brooks & Mary Yabsley

Wedding Samuel Brooks & Mary Yabsley
First Witness William Neck was a Landed Proprietor of Green Hill Kingskerswell.
Later Agness Brooks (Mary's illegitimate daughter ) would become a servant for his son William a Farmer in Broadgate
Second Witness John Cholditch Mary's uncle, connected to the family as he married Joan Bulley sister to Mary Bulley, Mary Yabsleys mother. The Bulleys were farmers in
Lower Willborough Kingskerwell, there are records of the Bulley family as far back as 1510 originating in Ipplepen

Mary Yabsley. She married Samuel Brooks and had two children by
him - Agnes and Joseph Brooks (he moved to Plymouth and sometimes
called himself Brooks and H. Brooks.) Don't muddle him up with Joseph H.
Brooks son of William & Martha - he went to America and that's another story.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to find where Samuel Brooks and John Hodge
came from, not Kingskerswell. We know that Mary was 27 when she married
Samuel Brooks and I think it would be safe that they were together in 1830,
as Joseph was born in 1830 The curate was not soft-hearted regarding Agnes
though born after marriage was described as a base daughter of Mary
(Yabsley) Brooks. Joseph on the other hand the parents are listed as Samuel &
Mary Brooks. John Brooks was just son of Mary Brooks batpised 25 May 1833
couldn't find a record for George but we do know that William born 1839 was
the son of John Hodge. Mary and John Hodge had another son Thomas who died
about ten moths old baptised 30 November 1841, burial 27 August 1842

The Devon Records found that John Hodge and Mary Brooks filled out banns
between January and April but did not sign them - Mary said she was a
widow - which indicates the banns were never read and no marriage took place
in Kingskerswell. The marriage register was up to July 1837 but
unfortunately the Records Office didn't say the year the banns were made, I
took it that the banns were written in 1837.

John Hodge died in Kingskerswell and the burial is given as 11 August 1849
aged 49 - pity he died before the 1851 census as then we would know where he
came from.

I have sent you John Hodge's Will and you will see that Mary is his
housekeeper - I like to think that she was more than that. There must have
been a reason why she kept the name Brooks, her poor boys called themselves
Brooks one minute and Hodge the next, I suppose by putting Hodge as a middle
name that might have been telling us who the father was. It really looks as
if John, George and William were illegitimate and I have tried to prove

My husband knew most of the eleven children born to William and Martha as
during the last war he went to Kingskerswell most weeks with his grandmother
to get a chicken, veg or anything going to help out their rations, he often
spoke of Fred Bovey who he said had an allotment which was very handy and he
also mentioned the bakery where I presumed they got a few cakes etc.

Margaret Gully
( Many thanks to Margaret )

Agness Brooks daugh of Mary late Yabsley born Feb 1823

Agness Brooks daugh of Mary late Yabsley born Feb 1823
Agnes - named after Mary's grandmother Agnes Bulley b 1768 - House Proprietress

'Base daughter' Always a sensitive subject....
It means that her father is unknown or the parents were not married. Often found in records in place of the other "B" word...
"base" is the child of a single woman and "illegitimate" is a child born to an unmarried couple

In our main Bird family the father completely changed his name so that the children would appear legitimate on their certificates.Their mother's surname appearing as a christian name.

On the 1841 census Agnes (s) was a female servant for William Neck, Farmer in Broadgate Kingskerswell
She married in 1848 in the Newton Abbot registration district.

Joseph Brooks son of Samuel & Mary 1830 (?)

Joseph Brooks son of Samuel & Mary 1830 (?)
On 1861 census a Joseph Brooks born Kingskerswell c 1833 was a Royal Marine living in East Stonehouse married to Mary Ann

On 1881 census a Joseph H Brooks born Kingskerswell c 1835 was a Police Constable in East Stonehouse. married to Livinia

A Joseph Brooks died East Stonehouse in 1899

John Brooks son of Mary born 1833

John Brooks son of Mary born 1833

William Hodge Birth Certificate

William Hodge Birth Certificate

Hodge family Kingskerswell

Hodge family Kingskerswell
William & Martha Hodge with their 13 children
Daughter Annie with husband James Mitchell their son David on her lap

Martha Hodge Brooks

Martha Hodge Brooks

William and Martha Hodge Brooks

William and Martha Hodge Brooks


In 1901 Ellen Hodge Brooks who married Arthur Lang Bovey was working as a Cook for a wealthy widow Mina Tucker and her two spinster daughters who were born in India and two small grandaughters born in Burma. There was also a Nurse and three maids living in at 'The Firs' Ilsham

I have checked the headstones in Kingskerswell graveyard & found Ellen & Alfred's with a small plaque for Charlie. It reads Ellen Bovey who entered into further life 1-11-1939 aged 69 "A dear wife & mother who radiated happiness in the common walks of life". Alfred Lang Bovey died 23-10-1956 aged 88.
I think Ellen must have been a special person to have such unusual words written about her.