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Written by JAMES ERNEST HOBBS who researched this family in the 1960ís




†† The parish of South Brent is a large one extending up into the Dartmoor Hills. The village lies at the southern end of the parish just north of the main road from Exeter to Plymouth. The railway from Exeter via Totnes also passes through South Brent and it is the railway which has been the most important factor in the development and growth of South Brent and the doubling of the population over the last 150 years.


†† The village of Blackawton does not appear to have possessed any local industry in the past 150 years (see "The Hyne Family of Blackawton, Devon"), and the parish as a whole, comprising the village of Blackawton and numerous small hamlets and isolated houses, is today, as it has been in the past, wholly agricultural. It is situated in a fairly inaccessible part of the region, the mother village of Blackawton is difficult to approach, and the history of the parish is the history of a typically rural community, whose decline is the result of diminishing employment opportunities in agriculture and allied pursuits. Population today is half what it was in 1801.


†† The parish of Loddiswell increased its population steadily until 1841 after which the familiar decline commenced, but not so markedly as for Blackawton possibly because Loddiswell has been on a branch railway from South Brent to Kingsbridge.


†† The changes in population of the three villages over the last 150 years have been as follows:


†††††††††††††††††† 1801†††† 1851†††† 1901†††† 1951

†††††††††††††††††† ----†††† ----†††† ----†††† ----

†††† South Brent†† 1032†††† 1205†††† 1360†††† 1851

†††† Blackawton††† 1019†††† 1360††††† 946††††† 485

†††† Loddiswell†††† 608††††† 949††††† 650††††† 599


†† These changes are reflected in the family tombstones in the three churchyards. At South Brent the descendents of two marriages,


††††††††† Richard Hosking and Zilpha White†††† 21 June1744

††††††††† Henry Hosking and Joan Ellomes†††††† 23 April 1756


continued to live in the parish and there are, in the churchyard, thirteen tombstones mentioning twenty six people with the surname Hosking dying in the parish after 1850. Valentine Hosking who married Rachel Andrews at South Brent in 1745 moved to Loddiswell. There the number of tombstones with the surname Hosking and dated after 1850 is only three and the number of names is four. At Blackawton there are none.


†† The first mention of the family found in South Brent is the marriage of Richard Hosking to Susannah Waymouth in 1722. Where he came from is not known. In the registers his burial in 1734 is entered as "Richard Hosking junior" and a Richard Hosking buried at South Brent on 27 June 1751 may have been his father. The Devon and Cornwall marriage licences include three entries which no doubt refer to his brother and sisters:


†††† 1739 December 26John Hosking of Brent, husb.

†††††††††††††††††††† ††and Alice Lang of Ugborough, spr.


†††† 1739 August 7†††† Philip Bowerman of Dean Prior, husb.

†††††††††††††††††††††† and Hannah Hoskyn of S. Brent, spr.


†††† 1724 October 6††† Aubrey Sparke of Dean Prior, farmer

†††††††††††††††††††††† and Ann Hoskins of S. Brent, spr.


†† One child, John, of John and Alice Hosking, was baptised at South Brent in 1743, other children of the marriage, including a son Richard, were baptised at Cornwood, where John Hosking married a second time in 1761.


†† Richard Hosking of South Brent (ob. 1734) was the ancestor of Catherine Hosking, the mother of Jane Beer Hyne who married Frederick Charles Francklin at Boulogne in France in 1890. Her ancestry is traced in the family tree entitled "The Hosking Family of South Brent, Loddiswell and Blackawton, Devon". In this Richard and Susannah Hosking are shown to have had three sons surviving infancy but there may have been two other children born in 1728 and 1732. One of these could have been Henry Hosking who married Joan Ellemes at South Brent in 1756 and whose children including a son Richard were baptised at South Brent. The other might have been George Hosking whose children Joan and George were baptised at South Brent in 1748 and 1757.


†† Valentine Hosking (1726-1802), the second son of Richard and Susannah moved to Loddiswell after his marriage to Rachel Andrews in 1745. She was the daughter of John Andrews who married Rachel Codd at South Brent in 1721. One of the older stones in South Brent churchyard is in memory of her grandmother:


††††††††††††††† "In memory of Rachel the wife of

†††††††††††††† John Codd who departed this life ye

††††††††††††††† 12 day of September Anno Dom 1727

†††††††††††††††††† and five of her children".


†† The Andrews were a family well established in South Brent, who still owned 150 acres there in 1873.


†† Valentine's occupation is not known. As the next three generations were often cordwainers he may also have been a cordwainer. Of his five sons only Stephen and Joseph continued to live in Loddiswell. Joseph Hosking, cordwainer, of Loddiswell (1759-1828) was 34 years old when he married Joanna Kennard and she was 32. She had a child, baptised Robert, in 1785 when she was 24. She died in 1853 age 92.


†† Of Joseph's three sons, William moved to Blackawton and John Andrews and Richard settled in Loddiswell, the former following his father's occupation of cordwainer, the latter becoming a mason.


†† William Hosking of Blackawton (1795-1873) was also described as cordwainer at the time of his son's baptism in 1822. By 1841 the census records show that he was running the George Inn, which is in the main street at Blackawton near the church. There were, however, two apprentice shoemakers living in the inn in 1841 and he, no doubt, at that time, continued to ply his trade. The 1841, 1851, and 1861 census records for the George Inn indicate that as William grew older he concentrated more on the inn and in 1861 he is described as innkeeper and there is no suggestion of any shoemaking on the premises. Probably his son took the work over as in 1851 Henry Cole, one of the apprentices in 1841, was still living at the inn but was described as "farm labourer".


†††† The entries in the three censuses were as follows:

1841†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† PRO ref. HO 107/211

William Hosking45 Publican

Mary -†††††††††† 40

Thomas -†††††††† 15

Joanna -†††††††† 75

Mary -†††††††††† 14 Female servant

James bowdon†††† 15 Apprentice shoemaker

Henry Cole†††††† 12 Apprentice shoemaker


1851†††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††PRO ref. HO 107/1875

William Hosking†† Head†† M55VictuallerDevon, Loddiswell

Mary Ann†† -††††† Wife†† M51††††††††††††† Devon, Halwell

Mary ann†† -††††† NieceU23House serv. Devon, Loddiswell

Henry Cole†††††† Servant U23Farm lab.†† Devon, Slapton

Thomas Pillage†† F-in-LM79Ret. farmer Devon, Morley

Mary Ann Pillage M-in-LM72Wife††††††† Devon, Diptford

Charles White††† LodgerU27Chim. sweep Somerset, Frome


1861††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† PRO ref. RG 9/1422

William HoskingHead††† M65Innkeeper†† Devon, Loddiswell

Mary Ann†† -†††† Wife††† M61††††††††††††† Devon, Diptford

Mary Ann Pillage M-in-LW83††††††††††††† Devon, Diptford

Mary Ann Hosking Niece†† U33House serv. Devon, Loddiswell


In 1840 the tithe commutation records show that William Hosking was renting stables and an orchard nearby the inn and also some 13 acres of arable land. His one son, Thomas Pillage Hosking (1822-1872) was described as cordwainer when he married Betsy Hannaford in 1847 and in 1851 they had an apprentice cordwainer, Peter Isaacs, aged 18, living in the house, where no doubt the shoemaking was done. By 1861, however, there were five young children, no apprentice, and Thomasí occupation is given as Cordwainer and Dairy. He had found it necessary to augment a trade which declined as a local occupation as factory production of boots and shoes steadily developed during the century. When his daughter Catherine married Charles Henry Hyne in 1867 her father was described as Farmer and was then living in Blackawton but he later moved to Plymouth and must have found work at his old trade for when he died at Devonport in 1892 he was described as Journeyman Shoemaker.


†† As W.C. Hoskins in "Devon" states, there was steady depopulation of the rural parishes from the 1820's onwards. Between 1841 and 1851, especially, hundreds of rural parishes lost people to the towns, above all to Plymouth, Exeter and other towns. Most of the migrants, like Thomas Pillage Hosking, went to the local towns, but some left the county entirely, many, like Catherine and Charles Henry Hyne, going to London. The Hoskings, as other families, were affected by these economic and social changes.



Devon:W.C.Hoskins 1954.

Rural Depopulation in England and Wales 1851-1951:J.Saville 1957

Directory and Gazeteer of Devon: Wm. White 1850 and 1879.

Parish Registers: Devon Record Office, Exeter.

Marriage Licences: Devon Record Society, Exeter.

Return of Owners of Land 1873.

Burnett Morris Index: Exeter City Library.

Census Records: P.R.O., London.

Tithe Commutation Records: Tithe Redemption Commission, London.


††††††††††††††††††††††††††† July 1966




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