South Wonford

South Wonford

There seem to be a number of places in Devon with the name Wonford, the most famous being an area of Exeter now more usually called Heavitree.  In this case the origin of the name is given as wynford meaning ford on a fair stream whereas on the Thornbury Hamlets website the origin is given as meaning a place where a wagon was able to cross a ford, based on the ancient spelling Wenford.  Whichever is correct, it clearly relates to a ford.

In both the 1839 tithe map and the latest map, South Wonford is a closely clustered community with cottages, farms, gardens and fields all jumbled together off to the south of the road from Bagbeare.

wonford tithe wonford ge

In 1839 when the Tithe Apportionment map was produced, the main landowner was Elizabeth Frances Spencer who didn’t appear to be a local resident.  PS April 2019 : I have now tracked her down – more details to follow!  Other landlords included: William Quick, John Millman Senior, and Peter and John Sanders.  Owner occupiers were: Robert Collins, William Squire and John Yeo.  Tenants were: Lenard Collins, John Sanders, Bernard Collins, Samuel Skinner, William Lewis, William Furse, John Millman Junior, Thomas Skinner, James Downing, James Mason and Gideon Jollow.  The cottages and farms are clearly identifiable and many are recognisable on the modern map.

Some properties have gone, and new ones built but the layout is little changed over the intervening 175 years. One obvious change is the loss of the cottage on the north side of the lane (plot 835) which appears to jut out into the road where, according to the 1841 census, Gideon Jollow lived aged 65.  Most don’t actually have names on the tithe schedule, the exception being Buckpitts (Plot 806). Some cottages were shared as in the case of William Lewis and William Furse who each had half of a cottage and garden (plots 803 and 804).  Is this Puddleduck Farm now?  If anyone has old photos or documents relating to South Wonford I would be very pleased to see them.

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