Ken & Teresa Ripper's Ancestors and Family





Oldridge Family of Newton St Cyres



The first recorded entry of our Oldridge family is in Newton St Cyres, a village in Devon, near Crediton. Interestingly, in the hills to the west of Newton St Cyres is a hamlet named Oldridge but other than its geographical closeness to the homes of the Oldridge family, no connection has been found. In Devon there is another family of Oldridges to whom no link has been established. That family originates from the South Hams, around the town of Salcombe, although some did move to Plymouth as the naval dockyards developed and work became available there. There are also Oldridge families to be found originating from around Leeds in Yorkshire and on the Lincolnshire side of the Humber estuary. No connection has been found between the Devon Oldridges and any of these families.


Joseph Oldridge married Ann Jarman in Newton St Cyres in 1715. We know of the last two Oldridges to live in the village almost two and a half centuries later; George Butt Oldridge and his twin Thomas Woodman Oldridge were born there in 1899 and died there in 1950 and 1951 respectively. Their grave can be seen in the graveyard. Succeeding generations of the family remained in the village but a few of the children ventured to other Devonshire towns and villages. Joseph’s grandson Richard moved to Topsham in 1779 and there is a branch there, some of whom have changed the name from Oldridge to Eldridge. It is, though, rare that the name was corrupted to Aldridge or Eldridge, usually the Oldridge name remained with an initial letter O. There is a branch of our Oldridge family in Plymouth, also attracted by the work provided by the dockyard.


Mark and Emma Oldridge about 1870

Living on the fertile pastures of Devon it is no surprise to discover that many of them were agricultural labourers. Members of the family worked on the plentiful farms in the Exe valley and the eastern flanks of Dartmoor, as did the women and children, particularly at harvest but also at other times. Families were large and children were vulnerable in their early years as many did not survive beyond infancy. Times must have been very hard trying to feed and clothe their large families. As there was no provision for caring for older people (other than parish relief and the feared workhouse) a large extended family was an important social structure to ensure the continuation of the family.


Throughout the generations we can see the intermarriage with other families in Newton St Cyres and surrounding villages - Venton, Woodman, Tucker, Mitchell, Carter, Luxton and Suxpitch are but a few of the family names on our tree. (Click on the Mitchell link to see Ian Mitchell’s impressive website).


In early Victorian times Teresa’s branch of the tree moved to the nearby village of Brampford Speke, when her great grandfather Mark Oldridge married her great grandmother Emma Venton of Brampford Speke on Christmas Day in 1855. Mark was an agricultural labourer all his life but was also responsible for being the keeper of the hounds for the local hunt.


As the industrial revolution took hold and transport to larger centres of population improved Mark and Emma’s family moved away from the fields of Devon. Subsequent generations can be seen in Leicestershire and in London. Our Oldridge family has now reached many corners of Britain and the English speaking world.