Talk on Family History by Eric Rodd. (CAHMS event). Please note the date of this event has been revised since it was first published.
In January retired local builder Eric Rodd told the History Society’s members and friends how he had managed to trace his family back to the time of Henry VIII (when the registration of births and deaths began). Eric’s earliest recorded ancestor was William Rode (the spelling was later changed to Rodd) a tenant farmer, born in 1527 at Frithelstock near Great Torrington. After marrying Joan Avery in 1552 at Roborough, the couple ‘begat’ 6 boys and 3 girls in quick succession.
Eric found William’s headstone at Roborough which reads “In memory of William Rode of this parish who fell victim to distemper of cancer. With patience to the last he did submit and murmured not of what the lord thought fit. He with Christian courage did resign his soul to god at the appointed time.”
Using Land Tax records, wills and parish registers, Eric learned so much about the family and the many farms his ancestors ran, all in North Devon. He commented that his ancestor Thomas Rode’s signature on his special marriage licence dated about 1783 in the Devon Record Office looked exactly like Eric’s father’s!
Eric’s research involved studying headstone inscriptions and he related several humorous ones: “Here I lie outside the door. Here I lie because I’m poor. The further in the more you pay but here I lie as warm as they.” “Here lies a man who whilst he lived was happy as a linnet. He always lied on earth and now he’s lying in it.”