This site is a work-in-progress. There is a massive amount to cover. I have included both male and female lines, and some go back 30 generations. Keep coming back for more.

I have numbered the generations working backwards from my own as (1)






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RICHARD BREWER was the third son of Ambrose and Joan Brewer , though his brother Ambrose died before Richard was born. He was baptised in Witheridge in 1681.

Baptism. Witheridge.

1681 Richard son of Ambrose Brewer & Joan his wife was baptized y e 22 th day of May


He started work as a daylabourer.


EMELING BOWDON was born a year later, also in Witheridge. Though her own surname is always given as Bowdon, her father was usually known as Thomas Voydon alias Bowdon. Her mother was Elizabeth Downey.

Baptism. Witheridge.

1682 Emeling daughter of Thomas Voydon alias Bowdon & Elizabeth his wife was baptized y e 24 th day of May

Her name, given variously as Emling, Embling or Emlyn, was not uncommon in Witheridge. At least two other girls of her generation shared it.

Her father died when she was five.


Richard and Emling married in Witheridge in 1702.

Marriage. Witheridge.

1702 Richard Brewer & Emling Bowdon were marryed y e 15 th day of Aprill

There is a probable baptism for this couple, under yet another version of Emlingís name.

Baptism. Witheridge.

1702 (3) Richard son of Richard Brewer & Amy his wife was baptized the 19 th day of March

If so, he must have died young, for there follows:

1705 Richard son of Richard Brewer & Embling his wife was baptized y e 23 rd day of May

This Richard certainly died in infancy.

Burial. Witheridge.

1705 Richard son of Richard Brewer was buried y e 2 nd day of December

Then came the first son to survive childhood.

Baptism. Witheridge.

1706 Thomas son of Richard Brewer & Embling his wife was baptized y e 13 th day of June

But tragedy continued to haunt them

1708 (9) Embling daughter of Richard Brewer & Embling his wife was baptized ye 19th day of February.

Burial. Witheridge.

1710 Embling daughter of Richard Brewer was buried y e 28 th day of May

Meanwhile, Richard was determined to have a namesake.

1709 (10) Richard son of Richard Brewer & Embling his wife was baptized y e 19 th day of February

1712 Joane daughter of Richard Brewer & Embling his wife was baptized y e 21 th day of Aprill

In 1714 the Stuart Queen Anne died and the first Hanoverian king, George I, came to the throne. On 9 March 1715, still 1714 by the old calendar, Richard and Emling brought their daughter Mary to be baptised in Witheridge parish church.

Baptism. Witheridge.

1714 (5) Mary daughter of Richard Brewer & Emling his wife was baptized y e 9 th day of March

Several other children followed, including a second daughter Embling.

1716 Embling daughter of Richard Brewer & Embling his Wife was Baptized y e 1 st day of February

From then on, at an unusually early date, the Witheridge parish registers record the fatherís occupation, allowing us to see the progress of Richardís career.

1718 Ambrose son of Richard Brewer daylabourer by Emlin his Wife Baptized Oct ye 29th

1723 William son of Richard Brewer Mason by Emlin his wife Baptized August ye 23rd

1725 Robert son of Richard Brewer Mason by Emlin his wife Baptized May ye 7th

Robert only lived a few months.

Burial. Witheridge.

1725 Robert son of Richard Brewer Mason Buried August y e 8 th

Perhaps it had been a difficult birth from which she never recovered her strength. At the end of that year, after bearing eleven children, four of whom died young, Emlin herself died

1725 Emlin wife of Richard Brewer Mason Buried December y e 12 th


Richard remarried. Unusually for this time, he travelled some distance from his home in Witheridge to his second wifeís parish of St Thomas the Apostle, across the river from Exeter. There he married Alice Trix on 24 December 1726. But he had already known Alice in Witheridge for a long time. Her maiden name was Alice Thomas and she married Elisha Trix in Witheridge on 23 June 1707. Elisha, a daylabourer, died there in 1723. Alice apparently then left Witheridge for St Thomas.


The couple had a daughter four months later. Like Richardís other children she was baptised in Witheridge.

1727 Anne Daughter of Richard Brewer Mason by Alice his wife Baptized April y e 19 th

1730 Robert son of Richard Brewer Mason by Alice his wife Baptized Dec. y e 29 th


By 1731, Richard was no longer working as a mason. When his eight-year-old son William died, he was an almsperson, in receipt of public charity.

1731 William son of Richard Brewer Almsperson Buried Dec. 24

With no retirement pensions, people usually worked on into old age. Richard was still only 50. It may be that he had suffered an accident at work which prevented him from continuing his trade.

By 1733 he was a grandfather and his son Richard was following in his footsteps as a mason.

1733 Richard son of Richard Brwer Jun r Mason by Joan his wife Bapt. Oct y e 2 d


His daughter Mary moved to West Worlington, where she married John Lockyear of East Worlington in 1739. It is not yet clear whether the whole Brewer family moved from Witheridge or whether Mary went there to find work. It appears to have been her settled parish. There is no further mention of Richard in the Witheridge registers and his death has not been found there. If he was in receipt of parish relief it is unlikely that another parish would have taken him in, but he might have gone to live with one of his children.

Richard and Emblingís daughter Embling (Emlyn), became a maidservant in Meshaw, and married her employer, Mr James Marks in 1741. This marriage, across class boundaries, took place in West Worlington, presumably to escape public notice. Mary , however, fell into poverty and the Lockyear family appear frequently in the accounts of the East Worlington Overseers of the Poor.


Richardís youngest son, Robert, also continued the masonís trade.

Burial. Witheridge.

1776 Robert son of Robert Brewer Mason by Elizabeth. Jan 9 th .





Next Generation: 8. LOCKYEAR-BREWER

Previous Generations: 10. BREWER

                                                          10. BOWDON-DOWNEY