MAY 2020


Firstly, I must apologise to our Members and others who take the time to look at our website, and read our monthly Report, and I thank you for that. My apologies are for being a few days late this month, because. as you might expect, there is not much to report due to the enforced inactivity imposed on us and most other organisations who rely on regular organised Open Meetings for their existence. The situation as set out in the last two paragraphs of April’s Report still prevails for the time being.

As we have no Report (as such) this month we are taking the opportunity to include on the website, as well as in the Parish Magazine, what we think is an informative and interesting article below about one Francis Garrett, who built both Marldon House and Marldon’s Almshouses (opposite the Church).

To close, please take care to observe the restrictions imposed on us, which are for not only ourselves, but for others also. As always, it‘s better to be safe than sorry ,
Best wishes.
Tony Chidlow .. Chairman

Some things you might have missed in our Church
The first of an occasional choice

I must admit that I don’t go into our Church frequently, although I do go regularly. I don’t want this to turn into a puzzle, but I go with three or four other people, doing something we consider very worthwhile. Quite often, when we are doing what we do, casual visitors, either on holiday or just interested in old Churches, come in and wander about before wandering outside again, having spent variable amounts of time looking, sometimes quite intently, at something which takes their eye.

There are many Memorials in our Church, some of which, naturally, get more attention than others. One which does not get as much attention as it might is nearest to the main door into the Church, which may be part of the reason why it is passed without being seen. It is on the South wall, in the corner created by the wooden porch. It is a memorial to Frances Garratt, who died in 1860, and is a little piece of art in its’ own right.

The main part of the memorial is a window of green stained glass, decorated with wild flower heads around the border, and flower heads in a triangular pattern in each corner . The text, which is not always easy to read, is as follows: –

“Ye East window of the chancel of this church was filled with stained glass in memory of FRANCIS GARRATT of Parkfield in this parish esquire by his relatives friends and neighbours in affectionate remembrance of his goodness and charity ……
he deceased the 15th day of July 1860”

What I’m hoping now is that you are asking “who was Francis Garratt?” Well, Francis Garratt was born in 1783 at Clapham, London, the 2nd son of 7 children. His father (also Francis) was a tea dealer, and the young Francis was later apprenticed to a Goldsmith. In 1810, at the age of 27, Francis married Marriann, also of Clapham. We can assume that the family was “well off”.

Francis Garratt came to Marldon in the early1830’s, and immediately set about buying vast areas of the Compton Castle Estate, his name appearing numerous times in the 1840 Marldon Tithe Map and Apportionment Records.

Between 1835 and 1840 Francis built himself a new house, as befits the “Squire” he perhaps imagined himself to be.
The house overlooked the old Village (as it was then) having open views to the Church, the Moors and open countryside. The land on which he chose to build was called “Parkfield”, but between the 1st and 2nd World Wars the house was given the name we know it by today – “Marldon House”. The original field name as shown in the 1840 Tithe Map and Apportionment is still remembered by it’s name being given to the
cul-de-sac in the present housing development from the 1960’s.

Marldon’s Almshouses

The history of Almshouses stretches back to the late Medieval period (14th /15th C), in most cases as an extension of the Church system, which would no doubt have been the case in respect of Marldon’s Almshouses, in view of their location directly opposite the Church.
Marldon’s Almshouses were built c.1654 by Sir Edward Cary, a member of the Cary family of Cockington, but living at Stantor which was then in the Parish of Marldon. In his Will, amongst many legacies and bequests, Sir Edward bequeathed ……………..
Unto the poore of the Parish of Marldon for ever all those fower (ie four) dwellinfhouses which I built for them neare the Church there …………….
Having completed his brand new, splendid house, which would at the time been the largest and finest in the Parish, if not in the immediate area of South Devon, Francis may well have been considering what other acts of generosity and goodwill he might embark upon to bolster the image of the “Squire” he perhaps aspired to be. The answer was within sight of “Marldon House”.
In 1822 the Government of the day (George 111) commissioned a Report on land owned by each Parish in the Country for charitable purposes, and the Report was eventually published in
1907 ! The Almshouses in the Village are briefly mentioned, thus: “There are almshouses in the village near the church, which were rebuilt by Mr. Garratt about 1850 on the site of some old almshouses, but they have always been dealt with as private property. The present owner, Mr. Charles Hellyer, charges rent for them“.

So, the original almshouses were built by Sir Edward Cary in about 1654, and about 200 years later were rebuilt by Francis Garratt, in about 1850, having presumably fallen into an uninhabitable state. There is of course no mention of the Almshouses in the 1851 Census, but the 1881 Census refers to Numbers 1, 2, 3, & 4 Alms Houses as being occupied by James & Mary Cleanick (79 & 77), John Bridgman, (71), John Stuerdon (57) and Jane Harvey (57). Interestingly, in this corner of the village, there were a total of 7 cottages, including the Almshouses, and 5 villagers named Bridgman, 7 Wills and 1 Harvey !

It is hoped that you have found this two-part article about Francis Garratt and his impact on Marldon, interesting and informative. In a later edition of the Magazine, I hope the Editor will be able to find space for a final episode about one of his brothers, who led a more than interesting life !

Tony Chidlow .. Chairman


  1. A very interesting article. When able to do so again I’ll make a point of visiting the church and looking for The Garrett window. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Derek, Thanks for the posting on the website for this month, which has already attracted a Comment from Member Raye Blake, who lives on the Brockhurst Estate.   It looks and fits in very well – many thanks. Tony.


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