Picture of Parkham, taken May 2003
Surnames come in three broad groups. Place names such as those with ton or ham at the end, personal names such as Rogers, Peters , Jackson , Anderson etc and trade names such as Taylor, Mason, Smith and Glover. And to a certain extent with these three categories , you have a greater or lesser chance of finding documentary evidence of their lives . With the place name people , inevitably you will have at some period, land ownership or tenanting, and with that comes the chance of wills , IPMs , land tax assessments, subsidies , musters, Hearth Tax and many other bureaucratic documents. With the latter two categories the chances are slimmer although there are always the Overseers and Churchwardens accounts , settlement certificates and removal orders , local bureaucracy, and despite the paucity of their belongings, wills . ..
Since Tudor times , Great Torrington has been well known for its glove making industry. Not the same world wide fame as Honiton attracted for its lace, but none the less the glove industry was important to the town and to the many surrounding villages as the women provided the main source of outworking. Indeed even as late as 1871 , the Bideford Gazette reports that Mary Clements the late wife of Anthony Clements was a pack walker, and her job was to collect gloves from all the houses in the village of Parkham and perhaps others, and to walk these packs of finished gloves to Torrington. Presumably at Torrington , she would have collected the payments for the glovers and would bring more cloth and orders for the next batches of gloves . It is good to know today when so few people wear gloves except in the course of their jobs, that once gloves were a commonplace necessity, and my grandmother for instance had a glove drawer, with a pair of gloves for every occasion . And I like to think our mutual ancestors were THE makers of gloves of a high standard , sufficient to warrant being named after their craftsmanship in this part of North Devon.
Luckily the parish registers of Parkham have survived , with gaps , to the early 16th C and the Glovers appear first in the marriage register , in 1538 when -------- Baker married Sible Glovr. But the main tree starts with William Glover married to Sible Sanders in 1544, and their first child recorded in Parkham is Alice bapt " in festo St Maria " 1546. In the next year 1547 , John Glover married Mary , no surname given. And William and John may very well be brothers and the sons of John Glover who appears in the 1525 Subsidy both for Alwington in goods and Parkham in lands. The registers continued un-interrupted by the Prayer book revolt , Pilgrimage of Grace, in 1549, and only break for the Civil War period 1650 - 1665. And although this is a big wide spread parish , there seems at all times to be just the one family of Glovers and they all descend from this first William and Sible and John and Mary.
No doubt it is possible to find documents about Parkham and about the Glovers in the archives of one of the manor owning families, in their wills, but the first bureaucratic information comes with the Subsidies of Henry Vlll, like all monarchs anxious to assess how much he can call on in taxes, and how many men owe him service , the Subsidy roll of 1525 shows our first Glovers even before the start of the parish registers, as John Glover assessed as taxable in Parkham in lands, and John Glover, maybe the same man, as taxable in Alwington in goods.
Picture of Parkham pub The Bell Inn, taken May 2003
This John may very well be the John buried at Parkham in 1548/9 and maybe the husband of Johana buried Jan 1560/1 and the father of the above William and John. In parenthesis , the words maybe , perhaps, likely , will appear often in the pages below, because it is not possible to be 100% certain of any of the relationships early on in the registers, when there is no other supporting documentation, and when the entries are of only the bare bones of fact, ie John son of John baptised.
John and Mary have four recorded children and it would appear that their only son Thomas died without issue in 1546, and the other three were daughters bapt 1551, 1558 and 1562 all in Parkham
William and Sible had three recorded daughters and a son William bapt at Parkham Jan 1550/1 . This is probably the William who married Johana who was buried at Parkham in Jan 1585/6 Although it was the law from 1537 that all baptisms marriages and burials should be recorded, it does seem that quite a few failed to be noted in the intial decades . And therefore these early generations are not as well documented nor can the relationships be guaranteed. William and Johana `s children are John bapt Parkham 15 July 1578, and Lewis bapt Parkham 10 July 1580. They may also have had Thomas born circa 1585 who is the only Glover of the 1538 - 1858 period to have left a will. He certainly paid 4s 8d tax in 1642, and he was buried in Parkham in Feb 1649/50, will proved Exeter 1650. This will did not survive the Luftwaffe nor did it warrant inclusion in the Murray /Moger will extracts.
List of wills of Glovers of North Devon.
For more information, or to discuss
the Glovers of North Devon, England
Please contact me, Elizabeth at My email address
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