The Lapford Bride

Eight scenes in the remarkable life of Mary Ann Partridge who married at seventeen and was accused of wilfully murdering her husband the following year

William Hitchcock, serge maker-hero or villain?

The once wealthy industrialist William Maunder Hitchcock (b.1822) lived in Lapford for the last 25 years of his life until his death in 1894. He boarded quietly with James and Mary Crook at remote Little Hole, Lapford away from public life. Those who met him during his years in Lapford may have […]

William Snell: cut from a different cloth?

Many serge weavers lived on the edge of poverty, even in full employment. But for their immediate masters, the serge makers, there was financial opportunity. Lapford serge-maker William Snell appears to have grown wealthy from the work of the village’s weaving community.  On his death in 1800 William Snell left a £1300 share of his estate to his three children (over £1 […]

The life and paintings of Eliza Wilson 1837-1915

Three Victorian paintings of Lapford were brought together in a display at The Ark, Lapford in September 2017. They were painted between 1882 and 1901 by Eliza Wilson, wife of Canon Cornelius Wilson the, then, Rector of Lapford. It was probably the first time that the paintings have been on display: they are now all […]

The Gaters: from mill to mansion

The Gater family owned Lapford Mill until about 1820 when it was sold to William Croote. We can’t be sure of the reason that the Gater’s left Lapford but it is possible that the mill was no longer needed as a source of family income following the 1822 marriage of […]

Croote’s land agency

The Crootes were one of mid-Devons’s oldest families. A George Crowte was living in Lapford in the 1620’s. In the nineteenth century the family were land agents representing, amomgst others one of the areas largest land owners, The Earl of Portmouth. The offices of Croote and Son were based in […]

Hugh Browning & the flower seller of Monte Carlo

Of the Lapford men who went to war, few had a more colourful past than Hugh Campbell Browning. He was educated at Eton and Cambridge and was once heir to his father’s wealthy estate at Clapham Park, Bedfordshire. But, age 24, his prospects were changed forever when he, and a […]