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The seventh son, (1826-1871)

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  6 older brothers and 2 sisters        Thomas WINDEATT = Elizabeth FROOM
                                                                                                                                                                               d. 6/2/1940

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The seventh son is the subject of legend and myth but Thomas may not qualify because he was only a seventh son and not the "seventh son of a seventh son".  There were also girls in born between the brothers.  However, his life certainly seems to have been an unhappy one.

He was christened in 1826 in Exeter St. Paul and survived the poor, crowded conditions suffered by working people in Exeter at that time.  He was apprenticed as a jeweller to his big sister's husband, George TURNER.

And although he and his wife had a two-year-old daughter in 1851, she presumably died in childhood  because they were living alone ten years later. They don't appear to have had any other children.  

He died in Exminster Lunatic Asylum of "softening of the brain" in 1871 aged only 44.  His wife was living on her own and keeping herself through 'plain needlework'.

Baptism Register for the Parish of St. Paul in the County of Exeter in the Year 1826

When baptized Child's Christian Name Parents Names Abode Quality, Trade or Profession By whom the 
Ceremony was performed
September  10th 1826 Thomas Frederick son of  John & Thomasin WINDEATT Paul st Plasterer by me E. BARTLETT

Death in the district of Kenton, Exeter 1871

When & Where Name Sex Age Occupation Cause of Death Signature, description and residence of informant When registered
14th April 1871
County Asylum
Thomas WINDEATT Male 44 years Formerly a Working Jeweller at 12 Church Street, Torquay Softening of the Brain
present at the death
15th April 1871

Parents and Siblings

Thomas was the tenth child and seventh surviving son of John WINDEATT and Thomasine HOSKINS.

Wife - Elizabeth Ann FROOM

Marriage solemnized by Banns in the Parish of Tor Moham in the County of Devon
Both bride and groom and all three witnesses signed the certificate.  Mary Ann Turner was Thomas's big sister and the wife of George TURNER who was probably Thomas's boss.

Date Name & Surname Age Condition Rank or Profession Residence at the time of Marriage Father's Name and Forename Rank or profession of Father Witnesses
29/09/1847 Thomas FredericK WINDEATT 22 Bachelor Goldsmith Torquay John WINDEATT Mason George Haycock
?Sonia Jane FROOM
Elizabeth Ann FROOM 22 Spinster - Torquay Philip FROOM Waggoner

We knew next to nothing about her until recently when we heard from a FROOM descendant that she was the niece of Mary Ann FROOM who married Thomas's older brother John (and not a younger sister of Mary's as I had previously surmised).

More about the seven brides for seven brothers

Benjamin & Elizabeth FROOM               John & Thomasine WINDEATT
       |                                            |
       |_________                      _____________|___________________________________________________________
       |         |                     |                          |                                            |
Philip FROOM   Mary Ann FROOM(b.1809) = John WINDEATT (b.1805)  Mary Ann WINDEATT(b.1814)=George TURNER        |
       |                                                                                                       |
       |                                                                                                       | 
       |_______________________________________                     ___________________________________________|
                                               |                    |
                                   Elizabeth FROOM (b.1826)= Thomas WINDEATT (b.1826)

Here she is in the 1841 census living in Fore Street, West Teignmouth with John's family.  John was the oldest of the seven brothers and Thomas the youngert.  Mary Ann ne FROOM, John's wife, was Elizabeth's aunt.  Elizabeth was probably helping out with the younger children or even working elsewhere but lodging with her aunt.

Name Age (rounded down) Occupation Born in County
John WINDEATT 35 Plasterer Y
Mary Ann WINDEATT 30   Y
Robert 9   Y
Emma 8   Y
Charles 3   Y
Mary Ann 2   Y
Betsey 2 months   Y
Living in same house but recorded as in a separate household - actually probably lodgers
Richard CAUSELEY 20 Stone Mason Y
Elizabeth FROOME 14 Female Servant Y

(HO.107/220/16 Folio. 12 Page.17)

At this same time, 1841, Thomas was apprenticed to his uncle George TURNER and living with them in Torquay.

1847 Marriage solemnized by Banns in the Parish of Tormoham in the County of Devon

Date Name & Surname Age Condition Rank or Profession Residence at the time of Marriage Father's Name and Forename Rank or profession of Father Witnesses
September 29th 1847 Thomas Frederic WINDEATT 22 Bachelor Goldsmith Torquay John WINDEATT Mason George HAYCOCK 

Sonia Jane FROOM

Mary Ann TURNER*

Elizabeth Ann FROOM 22 Spinster - Torquay Philip FROOM Waggoner

*Mary Ann TURNER was Thomas's big sister who had married George TURNER, a jeweller, in Torquay and was probably instrumental in getting Thomas an apprenticeship as a jeweller.  Sonia Jane FROOM was probably another FROOM sister.

We don't know when Elizabeth died.  Let's hope she married again and wasn't condemned to miserable widowed penury for the rest of her life.


Elizabeth, a daughter of two, appears in the 1851 census.  But she must have died and the couple do not seem to have had any more children.  Certainly no more appear on future census returns.

Census Transcriptions

1841 Census (taken 6th June 1841)

Thomas, aged 14, is living with his elder sister, Mary Ann Turner, serving his jeweller's apprenticeship with his uncle in Lower Union Street, Torquay.

Name Age (rounded down for adults) Sex Occupation Birthplace
George TURNER 25 M Jeweller Y
Mary Ann TURNER 25 F ?May M Y
Mary Ann TURNER 6 F - Y
Sarah TURNER 4 F - Y
Elizabeth TURNER 2 f - Y
George TURNER 1 month M - Y
Thomas WINDEATT 14 M - Y
Thomas TURNER 9 M - y

HO 107/229/10 Folio 19, Page 32

1851 (taken 30th March 1851)

Living at ?11 Church Street, Torquay, Devon.  He was probably working for his uncle George Turner.

Name Relationship Mar Age Sex Occupation Birthplace Possible DOB
Thomas WINDEATT Head M


M Working Jeweller Exeter 1826
Elizabeth  WINDEATT Wife M 24 F Jewellers Wife Exeter 1826
ElizabethWINDEATT Daur - 2 F --- Torquay 1848


Living in no. 12 Church St. Torquay, with 3 other households (11 other people)

Name Relationship Mar Age Occupation Birthplace
Thomas Windeatt Head Mar 34 Working Jeweler Exeter, St.Paul's Parish
Elizabeth Windeatt Wife Mar 34   Exeter, St.Paul's Parish


Elizabeth living alone in no. 12 Church St. with 3 other households (14 other people).  Thomas is in the lunatic asylum.

Name Relationship Marriage Age Profession Birthplace
Elizabeth Windeatt Head Mar 44 Plain Needleworker Exeter, St.Paul's Parish

The 1871 census for The Devon County Lunatic Asylum is very feint and quite indecipherable in parts but I think it is Thomas recorded as the last male patient in a list of 279 (page 12, piece RG10/260).  He is recorded as married, age 44, a jeweller and a lunatic.  He died about a week later.

We don't know what happened to Elizabeth after 1871.  Hopefully she married again and had a better life?

R Adair, W Forsythe and J Melling
'A danger to the public. Disposing of pauper lunatics in late Victorian and Edwardian England: Plympton St Mary Union and the Devon County Lunatic Asylum', Medical History, 42 1998: 1-25.