HOME    [Strays] Harriet Windeatt of St. Mary Church, Torquay

Harriet WINDEATT (1835-?)

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Sexual Harrassment at Work in 1852 - complaint upheld.

Harriet WINDEATT was only 16 in 1852 when she brought a court case against her employer, The Reverend Hugh Kelly, for indecent assault.  She had started working for him in August, 1851 and complained that from just before Christmas onwards he had started "taking liberties".  Then, one day, Mrs. Kelly went into Torquay for the day and he assaulted her.  She took him to court and he was found guilty at the Petty Sessions and fined 2.10s.0d. with 11s.6d. costs.  Apparently the case aroused a lot of interest and she had to stand up to a defence lawyer who tried hard to blacken her character.  It must have been daunting for a sixteen-year-old servant to have lodged this complaint when it was just her word against that of a clergyman.

Such cases illustrate the difficulties faced by domestic servants when they were pestered by their masters or the master's sons.  If they complained they could be accused of lying and dismissed.  And, without good references, it was very difficult to get another respectable job.

Family History Tree

I originally thought that she was the Harriet who was the daughter of George and Harriet CALL and who emigrated to Victoria, Australia aged 21 and married Edwin COWLISHAW but thanks to the online newspaper databases recently available, the more detailed reports of the case reveal that she was the daughter of Thomas WINDEAT/WINGET of St. Mary Church who lived only a quarter of a mile away from the KELLYs and the family were his parishioners.

WARNING:  This tree is speculative and has been put together from secondary sources and guesswork.

Thomas WINDGATE m. Agnes
                       |                       other brothers and sisters
            Mary WINGETT
            cr.13/9/1773, Marldon,  m. James MARE on 21 07 1803 in Tormoham 
                       |                                            |
           Thomas WINDEATT              Robert and John MEYER: Thomas' half brothers
            cr.11/5/1794, Marldon
            m. (1) Mary Ann ?                          m.(2) Grace WEBBER
 _________________|___________________                    |
 |                          |                             |                   ??
Mary                    Harriet                     William
bpt 24/11/1833     bpt 23 Aug 1835     bpt 30/6/1837
b. 11/11/1833       b.1/5/1835            b. 11/2/1837


We think Harriet's father is the Thomas who was baptised in Marldon in 1794, the base child of Mary WINGETT who later married James MARE/MEYOR.  See the Marldon page for a transcription of relevant parish records.  We don't know where this Thomas came from but there is some speculation on the Walkhampton to Woolwich page.

We know from the court case that Thomas married twice because Grace is said to be Harriet's 'stepmother'.  According to Free BMD a Mary Ann WINDEAT died in the Newton Abbot register district in the September quarter of 1838 and this could be her [Ref 10 [8_]7 ].  Also on Free BMD a Thomas WINGETT marries a Grace WEBBER in the Newton Abbot register district in the March quarter of 1846 [Ref : 10-273].

Thomas's children listed above are only those found in the IGI who were all baptised at "Totnes, Fore Street" Independent Chapel.  But Thomas and Mary Ann may have had more children prior to 1833 and further children after 1837.

We don't currently know what happened to Harriet after the court case, nor to her sister, Mary.  Her brother, William, also is a mystery, although he may be the William WINGEAT, aged 23, who was serving in the Royal Navy in the 1861 census.



(taken 6th June 1841) © Crown Copyright (taken 6th June 1841) Crown Copyright

I haven't found Thomas and his family in the 1841 yet but if his wife is the Mary Ann who died in 1838 then he could be anywhere - perhaps he went to sea.  We have found what might be his son William WINGEATE, aged 4, in the Newton Abbot Union Workhouse.  However, also in the workhouse are an ANN WINGEATT, aged 35, and a Grace WINGEATT, aged 6, so one would think William must be Ann's son which would probably rule him out to be our William. 

Here is Mary (presumed ne WINGATE) with husband and son (born when she was 49 according to the census data).  He doesn't have an occupation listed.  Perhaps an oversight on the part of the enumerator?

Name Relationship Age Sex Occupation Born in county? Possible DOB?
James MAYER Head 62 M Ag. Lab Y 1778
Mary MAYER Moth 67 F   Y 1773
John MAYER Son 22 M      
  Address: Coombe, St Marychurch  Devonshire

Also In 1841 a Robert MEYRE, Sawyer, is living in St. Mary Church with an Elizabeth.  Their ages (rounded down to the nearest five years) are given as 25 and 20.  This is almost certainly Mary's other son, Robert because she was living with him ten years later, see below.

1851 census

Here is Thomas and his second wife, Grace, living in St. Mary church.  The grandchild must be the child of a son of Grace's.

Name Status Mar Sex Age Occupation Birthplace
Thomas WINGATE Head M M 57 Coal Retailer Devon Marldon
Grace WINGATE Wife M F 43 Laundress Devon - Chawley
Grace WEBBER GDau - F 3 Scholar Devon - Newton Abbott

Here's Robert, Thomas's stepbrother, living with their mother Mary. in Old Road, St. Mary Church.

Name Relationship Mar Age Sex Occupation Birthplace Possible DOB?
Robert MAYER Head w 37 M Timber Sawyer Tormoham-DEV 1813
Mary MAYER Moth W 77 F Pauper Marldon-DEV 1807

And here is the infamous Hugh KELLY living with his wife and a servant in New Road, St Mary Church.  I wonder if Susan BRIMMICOMBE experienced a similar harassment?

Name Relationship Mar Age Sex Occupation Birthplace
Hugh KELLY Head M 58 M American Clergyman Sunderland-DUR
Letitia KELLY Wife M 48 F - Sheffield-YKS
Susan BRIMMICOMBE Serv U 17 F House Servant Brent-Dev
1861 census

Here are Thomas and Grace living at 26 Fore Street, St. Mary Church, Torquay but this time they have a grandson living with them.  We think this is the James who later moved to London.  I stupidly thought for a time that he could have been the son of Thomas' son, William, but as William was only 23 in 1861 this is patently impossible.  William, we think, is the William WINGEAT, who was serving in the Royal Navy in the 1861 census (secondary source).

Name Status Mar Sex Age Occupation Birthplace
Thomas WINDIAT Head M M 68 Seaman Devon Marldon
Grace WINDIAT Wife M F 54 Wife Devon - Chawley
James WINDEATT Grnson U M 13 Painter Devon - St Mary Church

Next door at no. 25 are Robert MAYER and his wife and family. If Thomas is Mary MAYER's illegitimate first child then Robert is Thomas's elder half-brother.

Name Status Marr Sex Age Occupation Birthplace
Robert MAYER Head M M 47 Labourer Devon St Mary Church
Elizabeth MAYER Wife M F 35   Devon - Sth Bovey
Frederick MAYER Son U M 8   Devon - St Mary Church
Henry James MAYER Son U M 7   Devon - St Mary Church
Clara MAYER Dau U F 4   Devon - St Mary Church
Sophia MAYER Dau U F 6m   Devon - St Mary Church

Author picture These pages are being put together by Sandra Windeatt with a lot of help from many correspondents and in particular 

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