Christmas Family

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), pp. 210-212.


O.A.R. Murray

Prepared by Michael Steer

The Note relates to the earlier article by W.R. Prior on the Christmas family of Bideford, (Note 165, p. 175). Its author attempts to link the North Devon family with eponymous ancestors from Waterford, the seaport of Southeast Ireland. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

Note 197. CHRISTMAS FAMILY (VI., par. 165; p. 175). - The family of Christmas of Waterford was connected with North Devon as follows: -

Thomas Christmas, merchant, Mayor of Waterford in 1664, and High Sheriff of the County in 1678 (will dated 30 May, 1699; proved Dublin, 16 Feb., 1704); married Elizabeth, daughter of James Gamon, of Barnstaple, merchant, by Mary Sweet, of Exeter. She was baptized at Barnstaple, 10 Nov., 1639, and her descent from the Downes, of Barnstaple, will be found in "Jonathan Hamner's Memorial," printed in Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica, 3rd Series, Vol. I., p. 199.

They had nine children : Richard Christmas, of Water- ford, Esq. (ancestor of Christmas, of Whitfield, in that County); James and John, both merchants, of Barnstaple, as to whom see below; Charles, d.s.p., buried at Barnstaple, 10 May, 1688; Joseph William (Junior Fellow of Trinity Coll., Dublin; will proved Dublin, 1703); Mary, unmarried, buried at Barnstaple, 21 Jan., i68|; Margaret, unmarried, buried at Barnstaple, 8 Oct., 1725; Elizabeth (married John Hallam, Esq., of Waterford ; his will proved Dublin, 1699 ; and hers, 1712).

James Christmas, merchant, of Barnstaple, married there 14 Feb., 1696/7, Susanna, daughter of Alexander Rolle, gent., of Tawstock ; no issue ; both buried at Barnstaple, he, 30 Aug., 1704; and she, 26 June, 1706. His will dated 25 May, 1703, with codicil 7 Aug., 1704; proved P.C.C., 19 Jan., 1705/6 (3 Gee).

John Christmas, merchant, of Barnstaple, owned lands in Westdown (where churchwarden in 171 1) and Chulmleigh ; buried at Barnstaple, 16 Sep., 1714; will dated 25 May, 1714; admon. cum Test P.C.C., 5 Jan., 1714/5 (5 Fagge) to trustees during the minority of his only son, who proved the will 28 July, 1725. Married (i) at Barnstaple, 8 Aug., 1688, Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Parminter, mercer, who was buried 19 Nov., 1692, having had two daughters, Elizabeth and Rebecca, who died young. Married (ii) Margaret, daughter of Dennis Rolle, of Petrockstowe, gent* (by his wife jane, who had re-married 13 July, 1675, at Barnstaple, the above-named Richard Parminter). She was buried at Barnstaple, 26 July, 1746, having had (with two daughters, Elizabeth and Frances, who died young), the following children, all baptized at Barnstaple: -

(i.) Jane, bapt. 11 Dec, 1694; married at Westdown, 1724 (as his second wife), Edward Smith, gent., of Westleigh, son of John Smith, of Bideford, gent.

(ii.) Mary, bapt. 1 April, 1697 ; married at Westdown, 1716, Daniel Davie, of Great Torrington, gent.; buried at Westdown, 1749/50.

(iii.) Margaret, bapt. 17 March, 1697/8; buried 28 Dec, 1736.

(iv.) Elizabeth, bapt. 5 July, 1701; living 1714.

(v.) John, bapt. 1 March, 170^; buried 29 June, 1737; apparently unmarried.

The following children of Edward and Jane Smith were baptized at Westleigh : — John, bapt. and buried 1726 ; Margaret, bapt. 1727/8; Edward, bapt. 1728/9; Christian, bapt. 1730. "Edward Smith, gent.," was buried at Westleigh 174I/2, and "Mrs. Jane Smith" at Barnstaple, 3 Dec, 1733. Probably the John Christmas (or Smith) referred to by Mr. Prior was their

It may be added (as another link with North Devon) that a sister of Thomas Christmas married Mabanke and had a son Richard married at Barnstaple 10 June, 1675,  " Mrs. Margarit Lile "; also that the will of Richard Christmas, of Bristol, merchant (brother of Thomas), proved P.C.C., 1679 (105 King), mentions Guildford as his birthplace, so that this would seem to be the same family whose pedigree is recorded in the Visitation of London, 1633.

                                      O.A.R. Murray.