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THE ROGERS OF THE OTTER VALLEY 

 




Devon is approximately 60 miles across and 70 miles in length with the great mass of Dartmoor in the middle , so the county is almost completely square , its western and eastern boundaries are Cornwall and Somerset and Dorset, and its northern and southern boundaries are the Bristol and English Channels. You are therefore never more than an hour, even with Devon`s winding roads, from the sea. The sea brings trade in the shape of coastal and fishing vessels, emi- and immi-grants , food for the table , work of all types and prosperity . Most Devon families who lived by the sea were never rich but neither were they workhouse poor . And when the fashion for the health giving properties of the sea and sea bathing started in the early 19th C , new businesses developed, particularly in villages along the warm Lyme Bay coast line. 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 
Budleigh Salterton is an old fishing and salt making hamlet but developed its present identity as a seaside resort at the end of the 1700s and the first terraces of elegant Georgian houses appear in the early 1800s . But the parish church of St Peter`s was not consecrated until 1893 and so all baptisms marriages and burials had to take place in East Budleigh although a non-conformist chapel did open in 1812 and a chapel of ease in 1813. 

 

 

 

 

 


The first of the Budleigh Salterton Rogers to be within living memory was James Rogers, fisherman . He is in the 1851 census living at Cliff Terrace , with his wife Mary a tailoress, and their children John , William , James , Thomas and Isabella . All are born in Salterton . Later census show later children , beyond Isabella to Harry and Mark . John his eldest son was John Richard and born in Salterton in 1843 and also a fisherman, who married Margaret Wood Evans dau of Thomas Glover of Appledore in 1868 , and this marriage links the two families from North and East Devon together . James` second son William also a fisherman born 1846 married Ann Melinda Sedgemore in 1874 the dau of another fisherman , James Sedgemore .Of James and Mary`s other children , Isabella , the second of that name the first having died aged 3, died unmarried in 1919 aged 73 , and beyond Thomas came Harry b 1852 and Mark b 1857, and the last named became a gardener, all the others making their living from the sea . Harry`s obituary in the Exmouth Journal 1936 says ` The death of Mr Henry Rogers who passed away at the Den , (means) that Salterton has lost one of its oldest inhabitants .......(he) followed the calling of a fisherman .......he was the son of the late Mr James Rogers .......and was the last surviving member of one of Salterton`s oldest families ........during the Great War he was appointed Captain of the Salterton beach by the Board of Fisheries ...........his grandfather served in the Navy during the Napoleonic wars and although he had his right arm shot off in battle , he was retained in the service for seven years ." 

James Rogers b 1818 the fisherman and main progenitor of the early Rogers family of fishermen of Salterton , died in 1908 at the remarkable age of 90 and is buried in the Baptist cemetary in Salterton with his wife Mary who predeceased him by 30 years . She was Mary Down and they married in Exeter in 1841 . She was a dress maker living in St David`s Hill, and her parents were Richard and Melony Down. . Richard was a mariner with some interest in property in Seaton , they are deforciants in a concord of 1809 of some considerable land 15 acres in all. By 1810 Richard is described as a mariner of Budleigh Salterton in a lease of a close of pasture land called Knowles which may be in Salterton . In 1797 the will of George Hook shipwright of Beer, mentions his nephew Richard Down to whom he leaves two dwelling houses , it seems that Richard Down`s mother Betty is a sister to George Hook . And in 1806 there is a deed of partition to convey the lands in Seaton formerly of George Hook, shipwright , to James Townsend of Honiton , gent , the other parties being George Hook , of Beer , shipwright and Richard Down of East Budleigh , mariner . 

James` father and Harry`s remarkable grandfather was John Rogers , also a fisherman when not in the Navy , was bapt East Budleigh in 1774 , and buried there in 1836. He married Elizabeth Grey at East Budleigh in 1799 , she outlived him by many years and is buried there in 1862 . She lived to be in the 1841 census and is recorded as 55 and Ind living in Chapel St with her married son James and his wife Mary, though clearly the enumerator of the census has been kind and allowed her at least a 5 - 10 yr age reduction . With them is Henry Rogers aged 18 and Thomas Rogers aged 9 . These last two seem not to be Elizabeth`s children ........if she was married in 1799 then she would have been born c 1775 - 1780 although her baptism has yet to be discovered , so to have a child b 1832 is stretching the bounds of credibility, so Thomas aged 9 may well have been her grandson the son of William and Mary Rogers of Exeter, carpenter and millwright , who don`t appear to have any other children than Anna b c 1832 , or the one of her late husband`s cousins , the same may apply to Henry also living with Elizabeth and James and Mary in the 1841 at Chapel St, he was b c 1823 and is likely also to be the son of William and Mary of Exeter . 

The one armed John Rogers, navy man and fisherman was bapt in East Budleigh in 1774 and married in 1799, Elizabeth Grey . He lived until 1836 and she lived on until 1862 . John was brother to Joseph Rogers also a fisherman, bapt East Budleigh 1772 , who married Mary Webber in East Budleigh in 1793. He died young in 1817 aged 45 and she died in 1831 . They had 9 children , four sons and five daughters, of whom the eldest Joseph died aged 25 having just married Mary Green the same year , Elizabeth who was 23 when she died in 1823 , Sarah who was 26 when she died in 1832, Susan who died as an infant , John bapt 1817 the last child has not been traced nor has Robert b 1808 but neither appear in the 1841 or 1851 census for Devon so may also have died as children . Of the remaining three , Hannah married Robert Friend , Maria lived unmarried into her 60s and Thomas married Elizabeth Pope in 1836 in Exeter , and was living in Broadclist in 1851 with two children though there may well have been others . 

John and Joseph`s other brother was Thomas bapt East Budleigh 1768 who married Sarah Lugg in 1791, and who died in 1821, again its not clear if he and Sarah had children , none are recorded in East Budleigh ; their sisters were Mary bapt 1764 who married Charles Palmer in 1784 , and Elizabeth bapt 1766 who married Joshua Crispin in 1790 . 

These five Rogers , John the one armed Navy man, Joseph the fisherman , Thomas , Mary and Elizabeth were the children of Joseph Rogers and first wife Elizabeth Dyer. Joseph was a fisherman and churchwarden of East Budleigh bapt in 1734 and he lived to be 84 dying in East Budleigh in 1818 . Elizabeth is buried in 1779, and in 1781 Joseph married again , a widow Sarah Skinner whose maiden name was Weeks . She and Joseph had a daughter Sarah who was bapt in East Budleigh in 1782 and who died in 1830 . 

 

 


Joseph had an elder brother also named Joseph who died as an infant in 1732/3, and a younger brother Nicholas bapt and buried 1736 /1739 also in East Budleigh . 

Joseph`s parents were Joseph Rogers , a sailor or mariner, of Upottery who was born c 1703 , this is assuming that he was around 25 yrs old at his marriage . He left a will dated 1745 which sadly did not survive the bombing of the Exeter archives in 1943 , and he married Arabella dau of Richard and Catherine Sweetland , of East Budleigh, baptised there in Jan 1696 , they were married by licence in Honiton in March 1728/9 this licence describes Joseph as a sailor of Upottery . Arabella is buried at East Budleigh in 1759 . The fact that she was approximately 33 at the time of her marriage, may explain why the couple only had three children in all and only one of those survived to adulthood . 

Sadly from this point backward the lines of ascent are largely conjectural as the parish registers for Upottery , Membury and Luppitt are missing up to the 18th C and the Bishops Transcripts for the 17th C are very incomplete . 

However with sons Joseph and Nicholas , the first Joseph b c 1703 may be the son of Nicholas and Anne Rogers . Here and backward in time, the naming patterns change completely and this is most unusual but it seems certain that the Rogers family of East Budleigh cease to be recorded in that parish`s registers around 1730 . By coincidence the parish registers of Otterton have Rogers recorded from the mid 1500s to the beginning of the 1700s . However Joseph b c 1703 who married Arabella Sweetland of East Budleigh is certainly the progenitor of the East Budleigh and Salterton families . This couple had Joseph bapt East Budleigh 1734, who must have died as an infant ; a further Joseph bapt East Budleigh in 1736 and a Nicholas bapt East Budleigh 1738 who may be the same Nicholas described as an infant of Newton Poppleford buried East Budleigh 1742 . From this it is clear that the family were moving down from Upottery to Honiton to Newton Poppleford to East Budleigh down to Salterton from the 1600s to the 20th Century . In fact they follow the route of the river Otter from its beginnings in the Blackdown Hills to its estuary in Lyme Bay and out into the English Channel .. 

 


Nicholas and Anne Rogers of Upottery have a number of children bapt in both Luppitt and Upottery but in both cases the registers only survive from the 1705 and 1710, and the Bishops Transcripts are very patchy . However in 1696 Christopher son of Nicholas is bapt in Luppitt , in 1700 John son of Nicholas is baptised , in 1704 Sarah dau of Nicholas of Upottery is buried , Nicholas and Perriam sons of Nicholas of Upottery are buried at Luppitt in 1712 and 1713 , and Nicholas Rogers of Upottery is buried in Luppitt in 1719 and there is a will for him in the Index of Devon Consistory Court wills , which had it survived would have revealed the links between the families . There is a Nicholas Rogers senior, husbandman, of Upottery in 1720 who being unable through sickness to keep up his holdings of a cottage , orchard and garden at Furley Common , hands them back to the overseers and churchwardens .. And a John Peck is apprenticed to Ann Rogers widow in 1742 for the farm she how lives in , which may be Nicholas`s widow Anne . In Upottery itself there are a further three baptisms , that of Sarah bapt 1704 who was buried at Luppitt, and Thomas in 1705 and Nathaniel in 1707 . So Nicholas and Anne appear to have had 9 children altogether , and Anne died in 1743 the date of her will , which again has been lost . ( Somewhere along the line there is another William Rogers of Membury whose son Nathaniel with his wife Joan Harvey married Membury 1773 , and children William aged 3 , Francis aged 2, and Nathaniel aged 1 are removed from Membury in 1778, to Axminster . In 1798 Nathaniel son of William born in Membury brought up by his father who rented an estate at 20 pa , was apprenticed to Wm Summers of Stockland in Dorset cordwainer for 7 yrs , aged 13, but who after a dispute with his master over clothing , a new indenture was drawn up and whilst Nathaniel was with Mr Summers his father moved to Chard but Nathaniel never lived with him there , so settlement is granted at Membury. There are two marriages in Stockland of a Nicholas in 1702 and William in 1713 ) 

From Nicholas and Anne backwards , it is all guess work . Assuming they were married in 1695 , an approximate date of birth would be 1670 . Nicholas`s parents could be any of the following . William and Ellen Rogers of Luppitt have a daughter Susanna bapt Luppitt 1667 . William and Mary Rogers of Membury have a daughter Mary bapt 1673 . Richard and Dorothy Rogers of Membury have four children bapt William in 1669, Jean 1672, John 1676 and Nicholas in 1681 . There is a Perriam Rogers whose will is dated 1692 who must have some connection with the family , who has three children bapt at Luppitt and Upottery, Abigail in 1634, Sarah in 1648 and Nicholas in 1651 . This Nicholas has children bapt and buried in Luppitt , Isaac buried in 1683, Joshua bapt in 1683 and Samuel in 1685 . With such a dearth of wills and early parish registers it really is not possible to make accurate family links 


 


There is a much earlier Joseph of Luppitt whose will is dated 1670 ; an earlier William Rogers the son of William Rogers of Membury who was bapt 1575 and became parish Clerk of Membury and is buried there in 1644 ; he may well be the father or grandfather of Nicholas Rogers who married Jane ?, who was also the parish Clerk of Membury in 1689. There is the remarkable Robert Rogers son of Nicholas Rogers of Luppitt, b c 1606, who entered New Hall Inn of Oxford University BA 1626, MA 1629 of whom nothing further is known , though he may be the father of Sylas bapt Honiton 1627, Elizabeth 1629 and Tabitha bapt 1631 . This Robert`s father Nicholas may well be the churchwarden of Luppitt in 1622 and warden of Sharcombe also in 1622, mentioned in the lay subsidy of 1624 of Luppitt . And which branch of the Rogers family can claim the Monmouth rebel who escaped capture , Christopher Rogers of 1685 , who must have been about 30 at the time of the rebellion so born circa 1655 , who may also be the father of another Christopher bapt Luppitt in 1696, and five others bapt between 1683 and 1699. Perhaps most remarkable of all is the miller of Luppitt, Robert Rogers who organised a petition to the then Lord Chancellor Christopher Hatton in 1591 demanding a change in the tithes charged to villagers by the Rev Walter Knott the then vicar of Luppitt . This Robert may well be the son of Christopher Rogers and Joan ? , whose will was proved in 1588 , in which Robert is executor and in which another son Nicholas brother to Robert is named . This Nicholas maybe the above named churchwarden of Luppitt of 1622 . 

 

 


Earlier still at the local court of Peter Carew of 1550/2 there are two jurors at the court which was held annually to decide the tenancies and occupancies of land, and to settle any disputes arising in the parish by the lord of the manor in this case the current Carew of Mohuns Ottery. One juror is Christopher Rogers and the other is either Edward or Edmund , and these two who would have been at least 21 yrs old and tenants before becoming jurors at the court leet or court baron, would have been born c 1525 . Using Christopher as a starting point b c 1525 , a local official with sufficient tenancies to be listed in the lay subsidy of 1581/2 , to leave a will dated 1588, who married Joan ?Eames in Exeter in 1564 , and later Ellen mentioned in the 1588 will, whose sons Robert who perhaps became the miller of Luppitt petitioning for tithe relief in 1591 , and Nicholas ,another official and churchwarden of Luppitt, again mentioned in the lay subsidy to Robert the Oxford university graduate of 1629 , who must have been the son of either Robert or Nicholas , and was William , parish clerk of Membury their brother , to Nicholas the later parish clerk of Membury in 1689 was he the brother of Christopher the Monmouth rebel of 1685 and Luppitt ? So where does our Nicholas b c 1655 fit in , clearly somewhere in amongst these , with his grandson Joseph also a churchwarden in the late 1700s of East Budleigh . 

The family tree annexed on these pages therefore only starts at Nicholas and Anne Rogers as it seems most likely they are the parents of Joseph born circa 1703 . The earlier generations are linked by broken lines to indicate that there is no proof of relationships. . 


 

 

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