The Ancient Brinsmeads


The Village of Witheridge

Witheridge, DevonWitheridge is a village situated about 20 miles to the south east of St. Giles in the Wood, and about 10 miles west of Tiverton.  Witheridge has a magnificent website dedicated to its history which provides a wealth of information on the village, its people and its past.

The parish records

The parish records, starting in 1681, show a family of Brinsmeads living in Witheridge.  The last entry was a burial in 1754.  It appears the name died out at that time.  These records suggest the male members of the family were carpenters by trade.  The records of the Protestation Returns of 1641 or the Heath Tax compiled in 1674.  The Land Tax records, starting in 1780, are similarly free of Brinsmeads.

The Brinsmeads in Witheridge

The family in Witheridge starts with a John and Mary Brinsmead.  We have no information as to where they came from, or as to Mary's maiden name.  The couple had at least three children:

John Senior was buried on September 9th, 1717.  His widow Mary was buried on May 6th, 1725.

Thomasin died and was buried on September 6th, 1685.  On January 31st,  1704, Elizabeth married a William Smale. John Jnr. appears to have married a Rebecca, although not in Witheridge.  Rebecca was buried on March 25th, 1750.  She is listed as the widow of John, Carpenter, so presumably he died before that date.  John Jnr. and Rebecca had children:

Thomazin married a Richard Comins or Chilcot on September 17th, 1749.  A John Brinsmead, Carpenter was buried on March 24, 1754 which we presume was John (III) as his father died before Rebecca in 1750.

This leaves unaccounted for the following parish register entries:

If this is all correct, it explains the name dying out in the village since there appear to have been no further male lines. Smales existed in the village until at least 1822. Comins were still in the village in the 1870's and the name is said to be "of an old established family" in the village.