Thorne family at Yarner House and Yarner Wood

Mum told me about her grandad living on Yarner estate as the head gardener and that she went there on holiday (by train to Bovey Tracey or Lustleigh) played in the woods and visited Becka Falls.

We went there in the 1960's when I was a child and got a permit to view the woodland nearby (it was owned then by the Nature Conservancy), so presumably there actually was a connection with this estate. I remember that we also stopped the car outside a house as it was where she used to visit. I visited again in Feb 2002 - Yarner Wood is now owned by English Nature. We also found the Yarner house (road west from Bovey Tracey towards Haytor).

With the 1901 census and his death certificate in 1935 both being "Barnstaple", together with wife's death certificate in 1925 at the same almshouses, there seemed to be some doubt as to this story. But it now appears to be true after all. I met a cousin, Roger, who had researched the family some 25 years ago and, although he hadn't remembered it, he had made some notes about Joseph Henry from talking to his mother. Towards the end it said "Joseph Henry became the head gardener at Yarner House ......"

Although the photos that my mum had were in the 1930s, it appears that the visits to Yarner may have been earlier - say around 1920 and that the 1933 photos were a visit to show my dad where she had visited as a child. The photos of Joseph Henry taken outside the almshouses, probably in 1935, were with his second wife, Lucy.

The cottages on the Yarner estate were :
Yarner House, Yarner Farm House, Keepers Cottage, Yarner Lodge, Yarner Wells Cottage, North Lodge, Captain Dicky's Cottage. Yarrow Lodge (at Yarner Wood) was apparently derelict from about 1901 until 1950s. On the 1881 census, Yarner House is called "Chad Wyche" and occupied by the Chadwick family. It had been renamed from Yarner when Henry Chadwick bought it in 1878. The description of ED5 for RG11/2158 F52 refers to "Yarner now Chadwycke Farm" and "Yarner now Chad Wycke Lodge". In 1901 (ED6 refers to "Chadwyck and Lodges" as well as Yarner Well) it is still referred to as "Chadwyck House". It is in the Bovey Tracey parish. The 1889 map on also shows the house as Chad Wycke. The house and estate were renamed Yarner in 1902 when it was bought by Sir Harry Trelawney Eve. Sale particulars of Chardwycke (the Yarner estate), by auction, are at DRO reference Z18/39. He sold it in 1919 to Richard Henry Lee. I suspect that JH Thorne worked there until about 1919.

At least part of the story has been proved through checking the Electoral Roll books for Bovey Tracey and my guesses about the timeframe were very close.

The voting qualifications are R=Residence, O=Occupation, HO=Husband's Occupation
The two qualifications were for parliamentary and local elections

Ashburton Division 1914 and 1915
Separate lists for Ownership, Lodgers, Occupation qualifications
No reference to Thorne

1916 and 1917 - no registers produced - World War 1

Totnes Division 1918 (whole year)
960 Thorne Eliza Ann Drive Bungalow Yarner HO HO
961 Thorne Joseph Henry do R O

Totnes Division Spring 1919
989 Thorne Joseph Henry Drive Bungalow Yarner R O
990 Thorne Eliza Ann do HO HO

Totnes Division Autumn 1919
no entry for Thorne

Totnes Division Spring 1920
1150 R O Thorne Joseph Henry Rachel Cottages
1151 HO HO Thorne Eliza Ann do

Totnes Division Autumn 1920
1155 R O Thorne Joseph Henry Rachel Cottages
1156 HO HO Thorne Eliza Ann do

Totnes Division Spring 1921
1170 R O Thorne Joseph Henry Rachel Cottages
1171 HO HO Thorne Eliza Ann do

Totnes Division Autumn 1921
1169 R O Thorne Joseph Henry Reddafird Bungalow
1170 HO HO Thorne Eliza Ann do

Totnes Division Spring 1922
1152 R O Thorne Joseph Henry Reddafird Bungalow
1153 HO HO Thorne Eliza Ann do

Totnes Division Autumn 1922
no entry for Thorne

Totnes Division 1923 and 1924
no entries for Thorne in either Spring or Autumn

Information provided by English Nature at Yarner Wood (click for link)
Rachel cottages is on the left heading down the road towards Lustleigh at SX 788795 approx. When we first came here in 1986 it was known as Yarner Cottage which caused a lot of confusion. It reverted to its original name a few years ago. In the sale there are No's 1 and 2 which are still there although both have been extended.
Drive Bungalow is probably (but not definitely) what is now called Yarner Lodge at SX 783781 approx. The bungalow at Long Brake (opposite) looks much more recent.
Reddaford Bungalow is probably what is now known as Little Reddaford SX 786 791 approx.

We visited again in June 2006 and found all three of the houses that he is known to have lived in. Little Reddaford is definitely the one I remember us seeing all those years ago. I talked to the current owner who has been there for over 45 years. According to his deeds it was once used for the estate chauffeur - probably after Joseph Henry had left. I mentioned that it was odd that Joseph Henry was a stone mason, yet was at Yarner as head gardener. He wondered if he had originally come because of the quarries etc and then changed jobs - might be possible.

Map of Yarner Wood

Front of Little Reddaford

Rear view of Little Reddaford


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