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Those living in Newton Abbot Union building according to 1881 Census:

Ann Mear, (Unmarried).(50) listed as Pauper.. Domestic Servant.

No records of this lady having been born or having lived in Widecombe.

Joanna Hannaford. (40) listed as pauper, listed as “Idiot from Childhood.”

In 1871 census listed as living with parents John Hannaford (74) and wife Betsy (69) at Poundsgate. Joanna had brother Samuel also listed in 1871 as “imbecile”.

Joanna remained at Woolborough and is named on the Workhouse census return for 1891. Samuel does not feature in the 1881 census.

The third name to appear is

Richard Caunter listed as a pauper, Married, (66), described as an Agricultural Labourer. Richard had married his second wife Elizabeth in 1871 two years after his first wife Martha had died. Richard was to father 3 children with Elizabeth all of whom were housed in the workhouse in 1881 Mary Ann (8), Mildred (6) and Richard Henry (4). Richard died in 1881 about the time of the census but his name remains in the records.

Elizabeth managed to get herself and the children out of the workhouse and in 1891 she is listed as a “charwoman” working and living in Torquay. She had to return to the workhouse in her latter years and is listed as living in Newton Abbot Union in 1911. Elizabeth died in 1913.

1891 Census

Joanna Hannaford ,now aged 56, remained at the workhouse is listed on the 1891 census as living there. She died at the workhouse in 1892.

A second person was named as an “inmate” on the 1891 census Elizabeth Jane Stevens aged 20 but it has not been possible to identify this person as a former Widecombe resident.

Checking for Widecombe Inmates:

The 1911 Census for the Newton Abbot Union Workhouse listed 424 “inmates” plus a resident staff of 20. The inmates were made up of 254 males, and 190 females. Of these there were only 26 children under the age 0f 17 (17 boys and 9 girls). The census lists 74 persons considered “imbeciles and weak minded” (43 females and 31 males). The vast majority of the “inmates” were at least 60 years of age and came from all parts of the United Kingdom and a few from Europe. The census did not identify anyone who had previously resided in Widecombe.

DA July 2019. Sources: ancestry.co.uk    ukcensusonline.com