Thomas Elford was my gggg-grandfather on my father’s side – a long way back! He was born in 1804 and baptised in Plympton St Maurice on 3 August 1804, the third known child born of Edward and Ann ‘Nancy’ (nee Cannon) Elford. W.G. Hoskins in Devon (1956) wrote:
‘PLYMPTON EARL (or PLYMPTON ST. MAURICE) lies on a by-road 1.5 m. S. of the busy main road from Plymouth to Exeter. Those who have a special feeling for the small, ancient, and decayed boroughs of England will be delighted with Plympton. It has been left on one side in the past two hundred years or so, and one smells cow-dung in the streets instead of petrol fumes: the immemorial life giving smell of the land from which the little town took its birth in the 12th century.’
Thomas was a butcher and grocer, marrying Maria Dodridge in Plymstock on 23 September 1827. Maria was the daughter of Thomas and Mary (nee Symons) Dodridge of Brixton. Thomas and Maria Elford had quite a large family beginning with Thomas William in 1828. Several children were baptised with ancestral surnames as middle names, like Ellen Symons Elford (my ggg-grandmother) and James Weeks Elford.
Interestingly though, Ellen’s birth is not registered with her middle name:
Robson’s Directory of 1839 – the years of Ellen’s birth – records Thomas Elford as a butcher as well as three Doddridge blacksmiths: John, Robert and Thomas, though I am not sure how they are related to Maria, if at all!
In 1851, Ellen was not living at home with her parents, but with an uncle and aunt, William and Tamzine Elford in Plympton St Mary. Thomas and Maria were at Fore Street, Plympton St Mary with six children still living at home. Thomas was widowed in September qtr 1858 and in 1861, just two of his sons remained at home (Source: RG9/1428/16/26):
Thomas remarried in 1861 to Rosamond Apter and he continued to work as a butcher until the late 1860s. He outlived even his second wife – she died in 1881 and Thomas died in 1886.
[Ellen married in 1855 and passed on the surnames of Elford and Symons to her children – Thomas John Elford, Emma Jane Symons, Elizabeth Maria and William Henry Oats.]