Henriatta VODDEN 

*27 Feb 1859 - †10 Feb 1868


a) "REFUSAL OF A FATHER TO SUPPORT AN IDIOT CHILD - Newspaper clipping from March 1866.
Henry Vodden, of Harracott, Tawstock, was summoned to show cause why he should not contribute to the maintenance of his child, who was now an inmate of the Devon Lunatic Asylum, at the expense of the Board ofGuardians of the Barnstaple Union. Mr. Barry, the Clerk to the Board, stated the circumstances of the case. Vodden was a shoemaker and small farmer living at Harracott, in the parish of Tawstock. He had 6 or 7 children, one of whom was a hopeless idiot, - a little girl ten or eleven years of age; and some time ago, at the instigation of the clergyman, the Rev. W. Hocker, the magistrates granted an order for herremoval to the Lunatic Asylum. The child had been there ever since at the expense of the Union, the Union not having been instrumental insending the child there; and he might say that the Visiting Justices,as well as the authorities at the Asylum, were of opinion that she was a very improper person to be there. It was a great pity that the child could not be removed, but there she was and the Union was obliged to maintain her. They paid 10s. a week to the Asylum. and all they asked the father to do was to contribute 2s. 6d. of it. He had offered to pay a shilling, but he would not characterise this as it deserved. He should show that the man was in good circumstances and was able to contribute at least half-a-crown per week. Mr. Moore, assistant overseer of the parish of Tawstock, proved that Vodden rented a house and orchard, three quarters of an acre in extent, which was well stocked with trees; and that he occupied a part of an estate called Venn, part of a field and garden, quarter of an acre in extent. - Gaydon, one of the relieving officers, said he had visited the premises, and he appeared to be in pretty flourishing circumstances. Vodden stated to him, however, that he had a number of children to maintain. One of them, a lad of 14 or 15 years of age was a servant at the Rev. Mr. Hocker's, the clergyman, but he only received nine-pence a week wages. - The defendant put in a balance sheet to show that he really was not in a position to pay anything; but among the items on the debit side was one of 35 Pounds owing for leather. - This the Bench thought was pretty conclusive evidence of the amount of business the man was doing, and made an order upon him of 2s 6d a week."

Obtained a certified copy of an entry of birth BXBZ 986050 dated August 1, 2003 Registration district of Barnstaple in the sub-district of Bishops Tanton in the of Devon.

Subject«tab»Henrietta VODDEN of Tawstock & Exminster Asylum«tab»«tab»«tab»
Research Service
Reference«tab»GAF/2005-2774«tab»Supervisor«tab»BC«tab»*«tab»Devon Record Office
Great Moor House,
Bittern Road,
Sowton, Exeter
Devon, EX2 7NL
e-mail: devrec@devon.gov.uk
Tel: 01392 384253 Fax: 01392 384256
Date received«tab»27/06/05«tab»Date sent«tab»31/08/05«tab»«tab»
Payment«tab»£10 (lagan)«tab»Enclosures«tab»4«tab»«tab»
Report to:
Mrs L Hauley
222 Chambers Crescent
L3X 1T1«tab»«tab»«tab»«tab»
I regret the delay in carrying out your research which was due to a number of factors including our move to new premises, the retirement of a research service staff member and staff holidays. Consulted: Rootsweb, FreeBMD: This is an ongoing compilation of the General Register Office quarterly indexes of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales from July 1837-1983. However, not all names have been entered, and coverage varies from year to year. Nevertheless I found an entry for Henrietta VODDEN, age 9, Barnstaple Registration District, volume 5b, page 321, September quarter 1869. This would be relatively consistent with a birth in 1859 and may relate to the daughter of Henry and Mary Ann VODDEN. Death certificates which would give the cause of death may be purchased online at http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/.
Records: Devon County Asylum register of admission, 1857-65 [3769A/H3/2]
The Devon County Lunatic Asylum was at Exminster near Exeter and took patients from throughout Devon. Searching the register of admissions I found an entry for Henrietta. Number in order of admission 3015, date of admission 4 March 1865, Henrietta VODDEN, female, age 6, previous place of abode Tawstock, chargeable to Barnstaple Union, sent by authority of M Marshall, Esquire and T J Dennis, Esquire, medical certificate signed 1 March 1865 by R Budd, form of mental disorder idiocy, supposed cause a fright of the mother previous to the child's birth, bodily condition bad health (paralysis of lower limbs), an idiot from birth, date of discharge removal or death 10 February 1868, condition not improved. I regret I am unable to provide a copy of the entry but we do not photocopy volumes on conservation grounds.
Devon County Asylum admission papers, 1865 [3679A/H2/21]: I enclose a copy of Henrietta's admission paper.
Unfortunately the earliest surviving register of discharges, removals and deaths dates from May 1868 which is just too late to contain information about Henrietta. Furthermore, there is a gap in the series of medical case books, and the volume covering the years when Henrietta was a patient does not survive. Without the name of the newspaper and an approximate date it is likely to be very difficult to trace the article about Henrietta's father refusing to contribute to her maintenance. It may be best to start with The North Devon Journal which covers Tawstock and Barnstaple and is indexed for the period 1850-95. You should contact North Devon Local Studies Centre, Tuly Street, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 1EL where the newspaper and index is kept. I regret I do not have an e-mail address. I have now used your fee.