Elizabeth Veale, who was to marry John McArthur, of later Australian Wool Industry fame, was born on 14 August 1766. She was the eldest daughter of Richard and Grace Veale (nee Hatherly) of Bridgerule. It is a small rural parish in north-west Devon with mixed farming of sheep, cattle, and cropping. At this time, there were about fifty families in the parish.
The Veale family had resided at Bridgerule, from at least the early 17th Century. One Richard Veale died there in 1636 and left a detailed Will.
By the late 17th Century one William Veale was the owner of the family farm. He married on 10 October 1690, Elizabeth Jewell, at the parish church of St Swithin, Pyworthy, a parish adjacent to Bridgerule. Their eldest daughter, Grace was baptized there on 20 September 1691. She is believed to have died as an infant.
The second daughter, Mary was baptized at St Bridget’s, Bridgerule on 28 February 1692. The following children were all baptized at St Bridget’s.
Grace (2),born 1696, died 1718
Martha, born 1699, died 1703
Richard, born 1702, died 1772
Martha(2), born 1706
William, 1709, died 1757
John, 1712, died 1763
Elizabeth Veale, the wife of William Veale, died and was buried on 16 April 1714 in St Bridget’s churchyard.
In the 1721 Devonshire Freehold Land List, William is listed as ‘William Veale, Gentleman.’
His sons Richard, William, and John are believed to have been assisting him on the family farm.
William Veale died and was buried on 21 December 1744.
His son, William Veale died and was buried on 20 June 1757, and son John, on 9 June 1763. Richard Veale was the sole surviving freeholder of the family farm. He is listed in the 1771 Devonshire Freehold List.
Richard Veale was born in Bridgerule, the son of William and Elizabeth Veale. He was baptized at St Bridget’s on 29 April 1702. He grew up on Lodgeworthy Farm. This farm is on the edge of Bridgerule, and the farmhouse is still there today.
He began his education under the Rev William Bayly, long-term rector of Bridgerule. We do not know whether he was also educated at a nearby Grammar School.
The Veale family were considered Upperclass having been on the land for many generations. To protect their land ownership, these families not only married within their class, but many of these marriages were arranged by parents. ‘Romance and love’ were not the driving force of unions. ‘Social position and land’ were considered a family’s most valued commodity.
Richard Veale lost his father and brothers within a few years. He was no longer a young man and needed an heir to protect the family estate.
He married on 8 August 1764, at St Bridgets, Bridgerule, by Banns, Grace Hatherly. She was the youngest daughter of John and Grace Hatherly, also a landed family of Devon and Cornwall.
Grace was born c 1747 and was baptized on 15 April 1747, at Launcells, Cornwall.
Their daughter, Elizabeth Veale was born at Bridgerule in 1766. Her story is continued in following blogs.