The Barbers of Ilminster

Stevie and I started to research our family history a few years ago, we had done nothing much before this and we were both amazed at what we turned up.

We had moved down to Devon from Surrey where I had grown up, and where we both met and lived for the first part of our married life, only to find that all the "Barbers" in my tree originaly came from the Ilminster area which is only 30 minutes away

Tatworth - Chard Parish

Apart from looking at records in county archives, we spent many a day walking round graveyards looking for names. One day we decided to have a look at gravestones in the Chard area and just before Chard we came to a village called Tatworth. I saw a church "St John the Evangelist" and suggested we stop, but Stevie wasn't that keen. At the last minute I signalled and turned off the main road into the church car park. There, Stevie found the gravestone of my Great Great Grandparents "George and (Anne nee Broughton) Barber. It was a truly amazing find. (below left)

Left: the grave stone of George and Anne Barber
Right: The gravestone of Anne's brother Benjamin Broughton


George was born in Ilminster on the 3rd February 1790 and died on 2nd March 1875 in Tatworth. Anne was born in 1800 at Chardstock (near Tatworth) , and died 9th February 1875. So George outlived Anne by about three weeks.
In Tatworth graveyard we also found Benjamin Broughton and his two wives, (above right photo) so we believe George and Anne moved back to Tatworth from Ilminster to be with her siblings.

Benjamin Broughton lived in Forton at Blacklands Mill House along with 12 acres of land, (mostly water)

The Old Meeting House

Between the years 1700 and 1900 their were lots and lots of "Barbers" living in the Ilminster area, today you will find very few in the phone book. We did find one "Barber" just outside Ilminster, and a few in the Chard area. Many of the "Barbers" who lived in Ilminster in the 1700/1800's would meet at "The Old Meeting House" where they held prayers but had no license to marry. The "Old Meeting House" was built and used by the "Non-conformist Presbytarians".

North Street, Ilminster cir 1904

The building on the left (above)  was called "LONDON HOUSE", and the shop beneath was "BARBER SADDLER Co". The building today (2016) is LloydsTSB, and has had a face lift of some kind as the name "LONDON HOUSE" has been removed. The plaque "below" which looks fairly old, is on the wall above the main entrance. The only difference to me, between this horse and the one on the present LloydsTSB sign, is the strap for want of a better word, around the horses middle. If this was put there by LloydsTSB, why is it the only one of its kind, I have not seen another like it anywhere. It is my belief that it was put there when the shop was "BARBER SADDLER Co"

The present LloydsTSB Sign with the horse looking very much like the horse
above it, wouldn't you say

Broughton Family

My GG Grandmother Anne Barber ne Broughton was born in Chardstock which is only a few miles from Tatworth where she is buried. I have found records of two brothers also born in Chardstock , James Broughton and Benjamin Broughton

1861 Census.

James Broughton and daughter Eliza Broughton and a granddaughter Maria (Mara) b.1850 (aged 10) were living with George and Ann Barber at Frith Green in Tatworth (could be Frith Green House) Occupation of James : Boffin finisher in Lace Factory.

Benjamin Broughton is also buried in Tatworth Churchyard, along with his two wives.

There was only one Broughton Family living in Chardstock cir 1800 and none of them are buried in Chardstock that we could find. Anne's father is possibly called John.