The Goldsworthy Family of Devon

Goldsworthy and Clyst St George

John the baker of Sidbury and London was born in 1797. His family was from Clyst St George in Devon. The family tree, from his great-grandfather forward is:

     Henry          Anne      Joseph        Mary                   
   1704-    m:1733  1718-              |
               |                       |
              John                 Elizabeth  
             1742-      m.4 May 1768  1747-   
                     (Clyst St George)
                         Frederick        Elizabeth    Thomas        Sarah
                        GOLDSWORTHY=====v=====STONE    DENNIS===v===BREWSTER             
                           1771-  m.29 Dec 1795                 |
                             (Clyst St George)                  |
                                     |                          |
                             John GOLDSWORTHY======v========Mary DENNIS
                                 1797-1889   m.28 Mar 1828  1802-1874      
                                            Henrietta BOWCHER 
                                              14 children
                                         (London and Australia)

The Goldsworthy Graves at Clyst St George

The village of Clyst St George lies a few miles southeast of Exeter, in Devon. A number of GOLDSWORTHY family are recorded in the births, deaths and marriages for this parish, so on a trip to England in 2003 we decided to find the village and see if the church and graveyard still existed.


We travelled down the A376 from Exeter and turned off onto a narrow side road to the village. The village seemed to consist of a pub close to the A376, a few houses and a school attached to what would once have been a reasonably modern church. The churchyard was now full of flowers and children's play equipment, and across the lane was the village green. No sign of graves or headstones. We concluded that the church that we had been seeking had long been converted into a school. Then I spied a small hand-painted sign nailed high up on a power pole "Parish Church 1/2 mile". A quick drive in the car and we arrived at the old brick church complete with bell tower, wrought iron fence and plenty of headstones. We had found the parish church of Clyst St George, and it did not take long to discover several headstones bearing the Goldsworthy name.

The front of the Parish Church. The Goldsworthy vault is in the bottom right corner of the photo.
The steeple and bell tower of the church at Clyst St George.
Interior of church
(Click on photos for enlargements)
The rear of the church and graveyard.

The original church is several hundred years old, and the oldest headstones are late 18th century. The church was partly destroyed by fire from a rogue incendiary bomb during the Second World War and subsequently rebuilt using the same bricks. The graveyard was undamaged.

The Goldsworthy family was obviously a staunch supporter of the church, as there is a vault, the only one in the church yard, positioned just to the right of the main door so that the occupants have a close view of all who enter the church. There is another Goldsworthy headstone adjacent and almost leaning on the church wall for mutual support .

The Goldsworthy vault at Clyst St George. The headstone of Thomas Goldsworthy is to the left of the vault, near the dark coloured drainpipe. The Jane Goldsworthy grave is directly behind the vault alongside the path.
The Goldsworthy vault with the headstone of Thomas to the left.

There are seven Goldsworthys interred at Clyst St George:

Name Born Died Headstone
Robert 1776 20 Aug 1840 Stone 1
Sarah (Robert's wife) 1796 20 April 1843 Stone 1
Thomas (?interred in Robert's vault)     Stone 2
Jane (Thomas' wife) 1765 11 Dec 1844 Stone 3
Thomas 1740 12 June 1808 Stone 2
Mary (Thomas's wife) 1741 29 March 1817 Stone 2
Thomas (son of the above) 1779 5 June 1814 Stone 2

It would appear that Thomas Goldsworthy was a local landowner. He is recorded as the owner of Kenniford Farm and Ashmore Mills, between 1780 and 1789. (see here for more information).

Headstone 1
Inscription on the side of the vault for Robert and Sarah GOLDSWORTHY
(click on photo for enlargement)
Headstone 2
The headstone of Thomas GOLDSWORTHY
of MARY his wife
Also of THOMAS
Eldest son of the above
Headstone 3
The headstone of
Widow of the late
whose remains are interred
in a vault near this grave
She departed this life
December the 11th 1844
Aged 79 years

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Last updated: 21 May 2021