Joy Clist, d. 1935


» Show All     «Prev 1 2 3 4 5 Next»     » Slide Show

John Clist (b. 1835) and his family
by Roger Clist

My great-great-grandfather John Clist was born in 1835 in Hemyock, Devon. As Civil Registration of births started on 1 July 1837, we do not know his birth date. However, I have obtained his marriage certificate, which confirms he was aged 26 when he married on 3 Apr 1861. I have subsequently found from parish records that he was christened on 25 Jan 1835. But this also revealed a big surprise!

July 2011
John Clist was a blacksmith who lived and worked at Shoreditch, near Taunton, Somerset, England.

Tracing John's ancestry has been difficult. According to census information, he was born in Hemyock, Devon, where the Clist name has been present for many generations. Some genealogies give John's father as also being John, but I think this could have arisen through a misunderstanding of the census data. I was told by my grandmother Mercy Clist (wife of Sidney Clist) that the names John and George had alternated with successive generations, so I was expecting to discover that John's father was George.

John Clist married Elizabeth Manfield, and they had 3 sons and 3 daughters (George, Ann, Frank, Ellen, Lucy, Mark). I have just one photo of John, and several of Elizabeth in her latter years. John Clist died aged 56, but Elizabeth lived to 82. Both are buried in Orchard Portman Churchyard. I have visited their grave, and their headstone is still quite easy to read.

  • Eldest son George was my great-grandfather, and there is a separate history for him and his family. There are many living descendants, mostly in Argentina and New Zealand. I have met and been in contact with many of them.

  • I don't know much about Ann, but I believe I have photos of her, and that she remained single and lived to a great age.

  • Frank entered the teaching profession and rose to the position of Headmaster. I have one photo of him. His living descendants are in Canada and Italy.

  • Ellen became Mrs Henry Brewer of North Curry, Somerset, and they lived at the Higher Huntham Farmhouse. Her descendants are living in the area and I met some of them in June 2012.

  • Lucy married James Huxtable and had children, but I have not yet established contact with her descendants.

  • Mark was the youngest son, and I have some photos of his wedding day. Sadly he died just two years after his marriage. He is buried in Frome Dissenters' Cemetery, and I located his grave. His headstone is now hard to read. I have met some of his descendants, who live near Bristol.

September 2012
I was puzzled that John's marriage certificate (see PDF document) reveals no information as to John's father. Why would the name and occupation fields be vacant, whereas his wife Elizabeth's father is clearly identified as "John Manfield", "Labourer"?

It was then that I found that the Devon Family History Society published a CD containing Hemyock parish records, so I ordered the CD, and sure enough, it shows John Clist baptised 25 Jan 1835 born to Mary, "Single Woman". This means that we will likely never know for certain who is John's father.

It was then that we remembered being told by Dorothy Jenkins (John's great-granddaughter, and my father's first cousin) in the early 1970's that there "was illegitimacy in our line" "arising from one of the girls being a maidservant at Dunster Castle" (or words to that effect). We thought that Dorothy was referring to some vague relationship in the dim past, so were somewhat taken aback to find it was as close as our great-great-grandfather! Just imagine the consternation that would have been caused within the family at that time!

1841 Census
Searching for John Clist b. 1835 reveals two boys aged 6, both living in Devonshire; one in Tiverton & Dulverton, the other in Wellington. On inspecting the image of the enumerator's page, I found that the Wellington record was actually Hemyock Village in the Parish of Hemyock. This is our John! Furthermore, the household comprises the following people:
CLIST, George, 60, b. Devon, Carpenter
CLIST, Mary, 55, b. Devon
CLIST, William, 14, b. Devon
CLIST, Jane, 10, b. Devon
CLIST, John, 6, b. Devon
There are no details recorded as to relationship. Also, note that the ages of older people were rounded to the nearest 5 years.
So here it appears that John Clist is the youngest child of George and Mary, and no doubt this is how the family brought him up. But John was actually the grandchild of George and Mary, being the illegitimate son of their daughter Mary.

1851 Census
CLIST, John, Servant, 15, b. Hemyock, Devon
He is living on Shuttleton Farm, Hemyock, with Mary ELLIS being Head, a widow and farmer of 160 acres employing 5 men. Others in the household are Henry (36) and William Ackland ELLIS (26) and their sister Elizabeth (22), all being unmarried, with two other servants James RICHARDS (25) and William BLACKMORE (14)..

1861 Census
CLIST, John, Head, Married, 26, Blacksmith, b. Uffculm (indistinct), Devon
CLIST, Elizabeth, Wife, Married, 25, b. Sheldon, Devon
They are just 4 days married and living in Shoreditch Road, St Mary Magdalen, Taunton. There are no others in the household. Their marriage was on 3 Apr 1861. The census was taken on the night of 7 Apr 1861. It doesn't look as though they enjoyed a honeymoon.

Owner/SourceTribute by Roger Clist
Linked toJohn Clist

» Show All     «Prev 1 2 3 4 5 Next»     » Slide Show