October 6, 2015

Born: 1853 Clawton, eighth of ten children of Richard and Philippa (nee FANSON) SILLIFANT.
Married: Jane BASSETT, September qtr 1877, Holsworthy Registration District.
Died: 22 October 1923 at Station Road, Halwill.

Richard Sillifant married Philippa FANSON in Holsworthy, 30 June 1836. They had ten children: Charlotte (1838-1853), Isaac (1840-1910), Arscott (1841-1842), Frances (1841-?), Elizabeth Ann (1846-?), Mary Ann (1849-1850), Richard (1851-?), William (1853-1923), Selina (1856-?) and William Rundle (1860-?). Ashwater was the family home for many years and after his marriage to Jane BASSETT in 1877, the couple lived in the village until the late 1880s when they moved to Halwill where William was a ‘rural postman’.

The following description of HALWILL is from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)1:

‘HALWILL, (or Halwell by Holsworthy) a parish in the hundred of Black Torrington, county Devon, 7 miles S.E. of Holsworthy. The village consists of a few farmhouses, and is a meet for Sir H. Seale's hounds. There are stone quarries. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Exeter, value £210, in the patronage of the lord chancellor. The church2 is an ancient structure, with a high tower, containing five bells. The Baptists have a chapel and Sunday-school.’

Halwill Church

Halwill Church

Halwill is a village in Devon, England just off the A3079 Okehampton to Holsworthy road. About a mile away on the main road is another settlement called Halwill Junction. This name brings to mind the former significance of the two villages, as home to an important railway junction, where the North Cornwall Railway (forming part of a main line railway from Exeter to Plymouth) diverged from the earlier Okehampton to Bude Line. Portions for the two routes separated and rejoined at Halwill station, giving the villages a much better service than larger habitations in the area.

Halwill Junction

Halwill Junction

William and Jane were Bible Christians and the non-conformist records for the area show that many of their children were baptised at home by the Bible Christian Minister. They had a relatively large family, with nine known children in all:

1. Thomas SELIFANT baptised 22 July 1878 at parent’s house. Married Alice ABBOTT in 1907 at the Independent Chapel in Beaminster.
2. Elizabeth Ann SILLIFANT baptised 11 April 1880 at Spring Cottage, Ashwater.
3. William SELIFANT baptised 5 November 1882 at parent’s house. Married Elsie JEFFERY in 1911 at the Union Chapel in Sherborne.
4. Eber SELLIFANT baptised as HEBER, 26 July 1885 at parent’s house. Married Olivia Emily SNELL in 1913 in Eggerford. Interestingly, Olivia is residing with the Sillifant family in the 1911 census.
5. Emily SILLIFANT baptised 8 January 1887 at parent’s house. Died aged 6 in June qtr 1893.
6. Ernest Richard SILLIFANT baptised 29 September 1889 at parent’s house. Married Beatrice WATKINS in 1916. Died 19 December 1937 aged 45 years at Tavistock Hospital as a result of an accident3.
7. Frederick SILLIFANT born 12 August 1892, baptised 1 January 1893 Halwill. Married Winifred Helen WHITE at the Baptist Church in Halwill.
8. Herbert John SILLIFANT born 31 December 1894, baptised 17 March 1895 Halwill. Married Ada NALDRETT in Dartford in 1919.
9. Hedley Charles SILLIFANT born 30 April 1897 Halwill. Enlisted to Royal Field Artillery as a driver in December 1915. Discharged ‘unfit’ a year later with ‘Graves Disease’4. Appears to have married three times – (1) Mabel HAWE in 1922, died 1946, (2) Rosa L.E. LARNER in 1949 and (3) Helen J. BROOMFIELD in 1955. Hedley died in Swindon in 1970.

William and Jane remained at Station Road in the village of Halwill, despite their children’s travels to other counties. William continued to work as the village postman in Halwill5 throughout the war years it would appear. He passed away in 1923, leaving £429 7s. 2d.6 Jane outlived him by just seven years and died in 1930.

William Sillifant Administration

William Sillifant Administration

The question I have is: why on earth did William also have a younger brother called William?!

Kirsty Gray
Member 1002


1 http://genuki.cs.ncl.ac.uk/DEV/Halwill/Gaz1868.html - Transcribed by Colin Hinson, 2003

2 Image from the author’s personal collection and not to be used without prior permission

3 http://family-wise.co.uk/34-ernest-richard-sillifant/

4 http://goo.gl/Eh5bmJ - WO 364/3706 Hedley Charles Sillifant, WW1 Pension Record (Ancestry)

5 https://goo.gl/1Q8TkZ - Map of Halwill Junction, 1946

6 http://goo.gl/0G7ZHD - National Probate Calendar (1924) - William Sillifant

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