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Saturday, 31 October 2009

James Gidley, jeweller of Plymouth, 1824 - 1910

Having just returned from another visit to the Devon County Record Office, I'm pleased that a marriage entry I was checking for its additional notes proved so informative that I can now say that the family of James the jeweller of Plymouth, one of the small "orphan" trees, can be added with some certainty to the Gidley of Dean Prior tree.
Susanna Gidley married John Brand in Plymouth St Andrew on 6 January 1811. The extra notes in the parish register contain the information that John was a "mate of the Nile Transport no. 13", and also that Susanna was a spinster, and married with the consent of her mother Ann, a widow. A Robert Gidley also made his mark as a witness to the marriage. These names together made the link to the family of Nicholas Gidley, christened in Rattery in 1756, who married Anne Brownson in Buckfastleigh in 1790. They had three children, Susanna, Robert and Henry. Nicholas's burial is evidently that in Plymouth Charles in 1804. Robert is clearly placed in Plymouth, and therefore is highly likely to be the licensed victualler of Britonside and of the Black Bull in Exeter Street, and father of James Gidley, the jeweller, by his wife, Frances Elford. Robert died in 1842 and his age tallies closely enough with the Robert Gidley christened in Rattery in 1793, son of Nicholas and Anne.
Intriguingly, Robert's executor was Bartholomew Gidley, the surgeon of Plymouth, and Gustavus Gidley was his solicitor - both from a completely different Gidley tree. Was Robert also intrigued by the co-incidence of the names? As far as I know, there was no link at all between the two main branches of Gidleys after about 1600, when the first Gidley is mentioned in Buckfastleigh.
There are no known descendants of this family in the male line, but one of James's daughters married Frederick Farthing, and is known to have many descendants. Unusually for the times, James and his wife Eliza seem to have eventually gone their separate ways, and Eliza travelled round the country as a cook for some decades.