[HOME] [Introduction] [Horrabridge tree] [John WINGATE (1742-1823)] [John WINDEATT (?1778-1851)] [William P.G. WINDEATT (1816-90)] William Robert Windeatt (1839-?1887)

The marine who drowned his sorrows


THIS PAGE: [About William] [Tree ][Parents] [First wife & child ] [Second Wife & Children ] [Death & Widow] [Author's Note]

William Robert WINDEATT, senior, 1839-1887

William Robert WINDEATT joined the Royal Marines. He was a Sergeant in 1863 (aged 23) when his first son was born. He was still a Sergeant in 1865, but the following year it would appear that he had been demoted to a Private! He eventually regained his previous rank - see his service record.

During the eighteen sixties and seventies he was living in the Stonehouse area of Plymouth, although they moved several times: 39 Adelaide Street in 1863; 93 Admiralty Street in 1865; 89 Admiralty Street in 1866, 6 East Street in 1869 and 2 Garrison Green in 1887.

William Robert WINDEATT senior, died, aged only 47, of "Alcoholism 3 months". I can't help wondering what his problems were? And whether the drunkenness was also the reason for his demotion back in 1866? 

His eldest son William Robert was present at the death and is registered as the informant and living at the same address. 

Family Tree - scroll on down for more detail!

       More
         |_____________________________________________________________11 more brothers & sisters
         |
 Wm R WINDEATT =(1)Phillipa BOWDEN    =(2)Elizabeth SOUTHERTON
          |                           ______________|____________________
          |                           |             |                   | 
    William Robert                 John Henry    Beatrice Maud     Alfred Edward Southerton 
          |                          dsp       m. John COCHRANE         L
       More

Parents & Grandmother

William Robert WINDEATT'S father, also William, was a Plasterer in 1839, 1844 and 1854, but appears as a Porter in the 1851 Census.

READ FIRST
When & Where Name Sex Name and Surname of Father Name, surname and maiden surname of mother Occupation of father Signature, description and residence of informant When registered
1st November 1839 in St. George William Robert Boy William WINDEATT Selina WINDEATT formerly JERMAN Plasterer Wm WINDEATT
Father
Butcherow
17th November 1839

His parents, William P. G. Windeatt and Selina (nee JARMAN,  had married on 16th June so it is always possible that William P.G.  was not his biological father - although I have read that at this time (a little before the Victorians took such a firm hold on morals) it was reasonably common for brides to become pregnant while they were betrothed and then they married once fertility was assured.

Here is baby William Robert in 1841 living in "Smithen Street/Butcherow" with his parents and Grandmother, Ann.   His Grandfather, now deceased, had been a Butcher - hence the address.  [HO/107 266/16/8/7]
Name Age Occupation Born in County DOB?
Ann JARMAN 42 Nurse Yes 1798
James JARMAN 20 Carpenter Yes 1820
George JARMAN 19 Stone Mason Yes 1821
mma JARMAN 17 - Yes 1823
William JARMAN 12 Printers A. Yes 1828
Living in the same house but recorded as a different household
William WINDEATT 24 Plasterer Yes 1816
Sarah* WINDEATT 22 - No 1818
William WINDEATT 18m. - Yes 1839

Early Life - 1839-1861

We don't know much about his early life but he was the eldest of twelve children and was the only one to move completely away from the family and not return.  His parents, William and Selina, and the other children appear regularly on each other's marriage or death certificates as witnesses, informants, etc. but there is no evidence that William Robert WINDEATT kept in contact with the rest of the family after he went to Plymouth and joined the Royal Marines.  The only tenuous link is that his slightly younger brother, John, called his first son, William Robert - probably after his older brother.

We can't be sure, of course, (he could have written to his mother everyday for all we know), but his extended family are unusually absent from his own official records.  This has caused me to wonder if he could possibly be from a different family - there were plenty of other Williams about at the time and who could have been his father   If, however, as seems likely, William and Selina are his parents, then perhaps he had a row with them before he went off to Plymouth and joined the marines. Or perhaps he was not actually William's son and never fitted in.

His job, before he joined up, is given as "Lawyer's Clerk".  This was a surprise as most of the rest of his family, and indeed his descendants remained resolutely in the ranks of manual labourers for generations (although other branches of the family and both his brothers moved up into service or clerical occupations during the nineteenth century).  Not that a "lawyer's clerk" was much of a job - we all know what it was like from Dickens' Bob Cratchit, but it was a step up from the hazards of the building trade.  I wonder why he gave it up to join the Marines?

1851 Census

In 1851 the family were living at Summerland Terrace, St Sidwell, Exeter and William Robert appears in the Census as the eldest son, aged 11.

Name Relationship Mar Age Sex Occupation Birthplace DOB?
William WINDEAT Head M 34 M Porter Horrabridge-DEV 1816
Selina WINDEAT Wife M 32 F Seamstress Exeter-DEV 1818
William WINDEAT Son - 11 M Scholar Exeter-DEV 1839
John WINDEAT Son - 10 M Scholar Exeter-DEV 1840
Selina WINDEAT Daur - 6 F Scholar Exeter-DEV 1844
Ann WINDEAT Daur - 2 F --- Exeter-DEV 1848
Emma* WINDEAT Daur - 1m F --- Exeter-DEV 1851

1858 Court Appearance

He had a brief brush with the law aged 18 when he was fined 2/6d. for using obscene language in the street.  However he and his companion were described as a "respectable young men".  We now know (from his service record) that he was a "Lawyer's Clerk" before he joined the marines.

I wonder if he had a further run in with the law and that could have been a reason for his leaving for Plymouth and 22 years in the Royal Marines.

1860 Enlistment in the Royal Marines, Plymouth

He would have been twenty years old when he joined up.  We can only speculate about the reasons.  Did he get a girl into trouble?  Did he have another run-in with the law?  Did he just get fed up with sitting on a high stool, like Bob Cratchit, copying letters by hand for long hours in a dismal little cell and fancy a life of adventure n the ocean wave?

1861 Census transcription

Living on St. Nicholas Island, East Stonehouse, Plymouth, Devon along with many other privates in the Marines.
Name Relationship Mar Age Sex Occupation Birthplace Possible DOB
WINDEATT, W. R. - U 21 M Private 'Marines' Devon: Exeter 1840

 


1862 First Marriage to Philippa BOWDEN

Marriage solemnized at the Register Office in the District of East Stonehouse in the County of Devon

READ FIRST
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
18/05/1862 William Robert WINDEATT 23 Bachelor Corporal
Royal Marine Light Infantry
Royal Marine Barracks, East Stonehouse William WINDEATT Mason E.J. THURLOW

Ann THURLOW (MARK)

Phillippa BOWDEN (MARK) 22 Spinster   39 Adelaiade Street, East Stonehouse Edward BOWDEN (Deceased) Carpenter

The groom signed and one of the witnesses signed but the bride and the other witness both made their marks.  The certificate itself was signed by both the Registrar AND the Superintendent Registrar.

The witnesses, Edward THURLOW and his wife Ann are living at 39 Adelaide Street, East Stonehouse in the 1861 census, i.e. the same address as Phillippa gives on the marriage certificate.  Edward Thurlow is 26, from Chatham in Kent and a Sergeant in the Royal Marines.  His wife, Ann, is a milliner of 25 and born in Cornwall and they have a two year old son, Edward J.   Now that we know Phillipa was born in Cornwall, the chances are that Ann is her sister.  Phillippa doesn't appear to be living with them in 1861 but we might guess that Edward was William Robert's sergeant and that he met Phillippa through them.  There were other BOWDENs living in Adelaide Street in 1861 who could have been relatives of Phillippa.

I have had great difficulty finding any trace of Phillippa BOWDEN or of her father but the little I have found out is now written up on a separate page.

She gave birth to his eldest son, also William Robert ,on 23rd March 1863 but then died of Phthisis Pulmonalis* on 31st October the same year. Her husband William was present at the death and reported it.

*Phthisis: A term which was often used in the last century. It is often used to describe TB but also used of other wasting diseases.

1863 First child with Philippa:  William Robert WINDEATT junior

Poor little William Robert, his mother, Philippa, died when he was only six months old. Who looked after him then I wonder? When this William Robert - junior - grew up he had a daughter, himself, in 1898 and he called her Philippa. Tragically, this little Philippa also died aged only two. 

William Robert senior had, by this time, been promoted to sergeant - quite a swift rise through the ranks.


1864 Second Marriage to Elizabeth SOUTHERTON

William married again a year later.  I wonder who looked after little William in the meanwhile?  Possibly his mother back in Exeter but, of course, we don't know.

Marriage solemnized at the Register Office in the District of East Stonehouse in the County of Devon

READ FIRST
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
6/12/1864 William Robert WINDEATT 25 Widower Sergeant
Royal Marine Light Infantry
Royal Marine Barracks, East Stonehouse William WINDEATT Mason James ALLEN

Edward SOUTHERTON (MARK)

Elizabeth SOUTHERTON 20 Spinster - 4 Leigham Terrace,  Plymouth John SOUTHERTON Agricultural Labourer

Both bride and groom signed as did James ALLEN but Edward SOUTHERTON made his mark.  The certificate was signed by both the Registrar AND the Superintendent Registrar. 

As with Phillippa BOWDEN, his first wife, I have found it difficult to find out anything much about Elizabeth SOUTHERTON.  Presumably Edward was her brother.


1865-79 Children with Elizabeth SOUTHERTON

  1.  John Henry WINDEATT 1865

    Elizabeth's first child was a son who sadly died of Pneumonia when he was only 11 months old.  His name follows the pattern of calling the children after their father and his brothers in sequence.  John was William Robert senior's younger brother and Henry was his next surviving brother who was born only a few years earlier in 1861.

    READ FIRST
    When & Where Name Sex Name and Surname of Father Name, surname and maiden surname of mother Occupation of father Signature, description and residence of informant When registered
    05.08.65 John Henry Boy William WINDEATT Elizabeth WINDEATT formerly SOUTHERTON Serjeant R.M. E. WINDEATT
    Mother
    93 Admiralty Street
    East Stonehouse
    4th September 1865
     

    Death in the Sub-district of East Stonehouse in the County of Devon, 1866

    READ FIRST
    When & Where Name Sex Age Occupation Cause of Death Signature, description and residence of informant When registered
    29th June 1866 89 Admiralty Street John Henry  WINDEATT Male 11 months Son of William Robert WINDEATT, Private R.M. Pneumonia Certified Ann TEPPETT, present at the Death
    89 Admiralty Street East Stonehouse
    3rd July 1866

    No idea who Ann TEPPETT was.  Perhaps she was a lodger or the wife of another Marine.

    It was some time between the birth and death of John Henry that William Robert senior was demoted back to Private.  We have no idea why.
     

  2. Beatrice Maud 1869

    READ FIRST
    When & Where Name Sex Name and Surname of Father Name, surname and maiden surname of mother Occupation of father Signature, description and residence of informant When registered
    19/07/ 1869
     6 East Street
    Beatrice Maud Girl William Robert WINDEATT Elizabeth WINDEATT formerly SOUTHERTON Corporal
    R.M.
    E. WINDEATT
    Mother
    East Street
    East Stonehouse
    2nd August 1869

    Beatrice married young - only three months after the death of her father.  She then disappears from any records I have been able to find.  See below for her marriage certificate to John COCHRANE.
     

  3. Alfred Edward Seatherton 1879

    READ FIRST
    When & Where Name Sex Name and Surname of Father Name, surname and maiden surname of mother Occupation of father Signature, description and residence of informant When registered
    2nd February 1879
    23 St. Paul St.
    Alfred Edward SEATHERTON Boy William Robert WINDEATT Elizabeth WINDEATT formerly SEATHERTON Corporal R.M. E. WINDEATT
    Mother
    23 St Paul Street
    East Stonehouse
    14th March  1879

    There is a very big gap of years between Beatrice and Alfred. We now know that William Robert W away with the Marines probably from 1872.    Perhaps Alfred was conceived when he was home on leave at some point in 1878.  Incidentally, Alfred was registered very close to the 6 week deadline and "Alfred Edward" are not WINDEATT family names.

1871 Census (taken 2nd April) © Crown Copyright >

Living at 30 Admiralty St., East Stonehouse  sharing with 6 other households (24 other people) [RG11/2204/65/63]]
Name Relationship Mar Age Birthplace Occupation ?DOB
Elizabeth WINDEATT Wife M 27 Bishopton, Devon Marines Wife 1838
William R WINDEATT Son   6 Stonehouse, Devonl Scholar 1856
Beatrice WINDEATT Daur   1 Stonehouse, Devon   1834

William Robert, senior, is missing.  According to his service record he was still "on shore" - but where?  He doesn't appear to have been sent overseas until 5th February 1872 when he was demoted to Private (again!) and was sent "Afloat" on the troopship "HMS Urgent" - presumably to join HMS Terror on which he served for some time (including spells in gaol and in the cells).

1881 Census (taken 3rd April 1881) Crown Copyright

Living at 23 St Paul's St., East Stonehouse  sharing with 5 other households (15 other people) [RG11/2204/65/63]]
Name Relationship Mar Age Birthplace Occupation ?DOB
Wm Robert WINDEATT Head M 41 Exeter, Devon Lance Sergt Royal Marines 1839
Elizabeth WINDEATT Wife M 36 South Molton, Devonl   1838
Beatrice M. WINDEATT Daur   11 Stonehouse, Devon   1834
Alfred Ed. S. WINDEATT Son   2 Stonehouse, Devonl   1856

1884 Pensioned from Royal Marines

In 1884, William Robert W had finally notched up enough time to be able to leave the Royal Marines with a Pension.  But, I assume, retirement did not suit him because he died just a few years later of alcoholism.


1887 Death

Death in the Sub-district of East Stonehouse in the County of Devon, 1866

READ FIRST
When & Where Name Sex Age Occupation Cause of Death Signature, description and residence of informant When registered
19th August 1887, 2 Garrison Green, U.S.O. William Robert WINDEATT Male 47 years Marine Pensioner Alcoholism 3 months
Certified by William H PEARSE M.D.
W.R. WINDEATT, son
Present at the death
2 Garrison Green, Plymouth
3rd July 1866

Oh dear!  I still have to find his service record to see what light this might shed on anything.  I wonder when and why he 'took to the bottle'.  Well, at least William Robert junior has returned to family home and was there when his father died.

1887 Daughter Beatrice's Marriage

Marriage solemnized at the Register Office in the District of Plymouth in the County of Devon

READ FIRST
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
20/11/1887 John COCHRANE 28 Bachelor Bandsman 80th Regiment The Citadel Plymouth Henry James COCHRANE Mason William Robt WINDEATT

Annie JACKETTS(MARK)

Beatrice Maud WINDEATT 19 Spinster - 2 Garrison Green Plymouth William Robert  WINDEATT (deceased) Pensioner Royal Marines

All signed except Annie JACKETTS and the Deputy Superintendent Registrar signed as well as the Registrar.

Beatrice was born in 1869 so she was actually eighteen years old and not nineteen as she states here.  Perhaps she added a year to her age to make it seem less of an age gap with John COCHRANE.  Her half-brother, William Robert, signed as a witness so they were obviously on good terms even though William himself had left home some years previously (in 1881 he was off in North Devon working as a Hawker).

After the marriage I cannot find any definite trace of Beatrice or John either on the 1891 census nor on any birth or death records.  Perhaps they emigrated?

If you know anything about John or Beatrice COCHRANE please get in touch via the Message Board.  NOTE:  This surname is often spelled COCKRAM in Devon.

STOP PRESS
Thanks to a kind MEDLON family researcher who has sent the census details of Beatrice living with her mother in Plymouth in 1901 (see below) we now know that John and Beatrice had several children before he died (probably in about 1900) and that he must have been posted to Ireland in 1891 because their ten-year-old daughter in 1901 is listed as having been born in Kildare.

1889 Widow Elizabeth's Re-marriage

READ FIRST

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
23/02/1889 William Greenslade MEDLON 58 Widower Naval Pensioner 13 Emma Place, East Stonehouse John MEDLON (deceased) Tinman George ?DUDLEY (Mark)

Emilie TREDINNICK

Elizabeth WINDEATT 48 Widow - 27 George Street  Plymouth John SOUTHERTON labourer

All signed except George DUDLEY

1891 Elizabeth and son, Alfred in the census

Living at 27 St George St., East Stonehouse  at The Builders Arms in a building to themselves. [RG11/2204/65/63]]
Name Relationship Mar Age Birthplace Occupation ?DOB
William G MEDLON Head M 63 Devon - Exeter Licensed Victualler 1827
Elizabeth MEDLON Wife M 48 Devon - South Molton,   1838
Alfred WINDEATT Stepson - 12 Devon - East Stonehouse Scholar 1879
George LANE Boarder S 34 Devon - Devonport Coal Porter (Employee) 1856

 

Alfred Edward WINDEATT
1879-1931

Although Alfred Edward would have been only eight when his father died, Alfred followed him into a military career (or perhaps it was his stepfather who had also been in the services that he emulated?).  He served in the Royal Garrison Artillery and later worked as a caretaker.  He married Rosa Olive  RICHARDSON in 1904 and they had one son some four years later and even later adopted a daughter.  Given the length of time before the birth of the first child, it may be that their son was also adopted. 

Here is a a photo of the family - probably in the late 1920s, courtesy of a kind relation, Alfred and Rosa are seated with their children standing behind.

Alfred died aged 51 in 1931 of stomach cancer - a condition that has occurred more than once among the middle-aged men in this branch. A relative tells me that they were Catholics and I am curious as to where this came from as, as far as I can tell, there were no other WINDEATTs who were Catholics - apart from the author Mary Fabyan Windeatt who must be a rare convert from the otherwise staunchly non-conformist Totnes tree.

 

1899 Elizabeth is widowed for a second time

William Greenslade MEDLON is listed as dying, aged 69, in the Plymouth Register Office District [5b 155].  It looks as though Elizabeth carried on the 'victualling' business and that her daughter, Beatrice, was widowed shortly afterwards and joined her in Plymouth.

1901 Elizabeth and widowed daughter, Beatrice in the census

Living at in four rooms at 5 Clare Place, Plymouth in a house shared with a young couple - the LAPTHORNs - who were living in two rooms at the same address (details courtesy of a MEDLON family researcher).   [RG13/2097/147/15/100]]
Name Relationship Mar Age Occupation Employed? At Home? Birthplace
Elizabeth MEDLON Head Wid 55 Shop General dealer own account at home Devon - Bishop Nympton
Beatrice Maud COCHRANE Daughter Wid 31 Living on own means     Devon Plymouth
Elizabeth Maud COCHRANE Granddaughter S 13 Scholar     Devon Plymouth
Beatrice Louisa COCHRANE Granddaughter S 11 Scholar     Devon Plymouth
Winifred ?O  COCHRANE Granddaughter S 10 Scholar     Ireland, Kildare
Lilian Daisy COCHRANE Granddaughter   6 Scholar     Staffs Lichfield
William John COCHRANE Grandson   5 Scholar     Staffs Lichfield
Francis James COCHRANE Grandson   3 Scholar     Staffs Lichfield
Gertrude Rosina COCHRANE Granddaughter   1       Staffs Lichfield

It looks as though John COCHRANE must have died some time in the past year or so and Beatrice has moved back to live with her mother.   I haven't found a record of her husband's death - perhaps he died in service overseas.  There is a John Michael COCKRAN, aged 42 (which would be about the right age), listed as dying in the December quarter of 1900 in the St. George's East Register Office District (Stepney area) which could just be him I suppose.  There is a coincidence in that Beatrice's half-brother, William Robert WINDEATT, was living in this area at the time and sadly also died at a similarly young age (39) and only about a year later.

 

NOTE: If you can correct or add to any of the information on this page I would be very grateful.  Please leave a message on the Message Board.