William Sillifant was baptised in Pyworthy in 1808 and married Mary Petherick in 1833 in Ashwater. Both Pyworthy and Ashwater are very small, rural parishes near the market town of Holsworthy:
The married couple settled at Burnards House, Pancrassweek (located on the A3072 from Holsworthy to Bude) and in the 1841 census, they have three children, William aged 4, Ann aged 3 and John aged 1. A further four children followed, including Samuel, my great-great-grandfather, in 1844. John died shortly before the next census in 1851 of ‘mortification of the leg’ aged 11.
Ann was born in 1838 and in 1861, was a cook for John and Fanny Symons in Launcells. Her daughter, Mary Ann, born out of wedlock in 1859 remained with Ann’s parents, William and Mary, at Weeks Lane, Holsworthy, though Mary Ann is recorded as their daughter in the census, possibly as she was only a few years younger than their youngest daughter, Norah (born 1853).
Mary Ann Sillifant was baptised 21 January 1859 at the Bible Christian Chapel in Holsworthy. She grew up with her grandparents and her grandfather, William, continued to care for her throughout her early years, despite being widowed in 1866. Mary’s mother, Ann, was a cook in many Devon households and the 1871 census records her with the Simpson family – the head of the household being a Justice of the Peace – in East Stonehouse, at 4 Lower Durnford Street. A few years later, she married William Cotton in 1874 and they had three children: William J., Bessie and Samuel A. Cotton.
Mary Ann moved closer to her mother, Ann, in the late 1870s/early 1880s, her grandfather, William, being in his 70s. In 1881, Mary Ann was a cook – taking after her mother! – before marrying David Schofield on 14 September 1882 at East Stonehouse:
Interesting that she stated that her father was William Sillifant, grocer….. and David’s father’s surname is not Schofield…..
When naming their children, Mary Ann ensured that the Sillifant name continued, with Mary Eustace Sillifant Schofield (born 1883) and Norah Victoria Sillifant Schofield (1897-1898), perhaps named after her aunt who she grew up with in Holsworthy.