Lapford book discovery

Notes on an interesting book discovery by David Cann

When clearing through the house of my late uncle, George Gunn, in Lapford, my mother Ann Cann (maiden name Gunn) found various books that seemed to have nothing to do with the family even though we've been there for 75 years. Many had family names Dart, Horwill and Snell written inside.

The one important one of these is a handwritten volume bound in white board, it is marked in gold on a burgundy label as being the "Overseers' Book of Receipts & Payments" for Lapford. As far as we are aware it had literally been sat in a cupboard for the last 75 years. It is handwritten inside the front cover by John Dart many times and twice adding Assistant Overseer Lapford and also by Samuel Dart and Henry Dart.

The entries are from 9 May 1848 to a last entry 6 March 1868. They are an account book registering various payments paid into the scheme and those paid out to people for various reasons, particularly when the gentleman of the household had run away leaving the family to fend for themselves.

For anybody interested in village history this is a particularly important book. The Devon Heritage Centre in Exeter has various Overseers Books for Lapford and this volume appears to be missing from the collection as they only have records up to 1848. This volume ends with the account for the half year ending Lady Day 1868 and audited 9 June 1868 at about half way through, rest is blank.

To ensure that the information can be easily used locally, the Lapford Village Archive has been allowed to photograph the book so they can work on it before it gets deposited for safekeeping at the Devon Heritage Centre.

So before it is worked on by the Lapford Village Archive here are just a few example entries:

1 April 1852 paid for warrant to apprehend William Raymont who has deserted his family. 2s 6d

1 March 1864 Paid George Woolway, Carpenters Bill for repairing Parish Property. £5 11s 4d

1 March 1864 Paid Magistrates Clerks fees for commitments of John Ferris for vagrancy. 8s 0d

David Cann

18 March 2022