Richard Sillifant (#49), the rabbit trapper (1875-1945)

14 December 2014

Richard Sillifant was born in 1875, the fifth of eight known children of Isaac and Ann (née Heard) Sillifant. In 1881, Isaac and his family lived at Bassetts Cottage, Ashwater (Source: RG11/2267/6/6):


Isaac worked as a wood ranger in 1881 though in his latter years, he turned his hand to farming with his son, Richard, working as a farm servant in 1891 when the Sillifants farmed 1 Higher Prestacott, Ashwater.

Richard married Ada Lavinia Tamlyn on 22 October 1900 at the Register Office in Okehampton:


On 28 March 1901, Gwendoline Victoria was born and Gladys Lavinia followed on 14 September 1902. In 1903, Richard appeared in the North Tawton Petty Sessions with (presumably) his younger brother, Isaac (as reported by Western Times on 6 November 1903):


The newspaper did not report the precise offence but Isaac and Richard were charged with ‘an offence under the Ground Game Act’. Isaac pleaded guilty and, when they were both found guilty, was fined 1 shilling less than Richard, presumably for his confession!

Richard and Ada had a further seven known children, though two died in infancy (as can be seen in the 1911 census below from Ancestry): Vera Alberta (1904), Edgar Isaac (1906-1908), Doris (1908-1910), Alfred Richard (1910), Albena M. (1914), Thomas (1916) and Walter Henry (1919).


Lob Hill, Lew Down, Devon


Most members of the family remained in the Holsworthy/Okehampton area throughout their lives marrying Barriball, Cole, Skinner, and Spry amongst others. However, Richard and Ada’s youngest son, Walter Henry, married in Louth Registration District in 1946 and died in Coventry in 2012.

Richard died aged 69 towards the end of World War II (March quarter 1945), though Ada outlived him and died September quarter 1955 aged 80.

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