John Hamlyn. [Obituary]

Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. 10, (1878) pp. 55-56.

Prepared by Michael Steer

The Hamlyns were an ancient family of Devonshire gentry, resident at Widecombe in 1522 and still at Buckfastleigh in the late 19th century. The family arms are; Gules, a lion rampant ermine crowned or. The family is believed to have descended from Hamelin, the Domesday Book tenant in 1086 of two manors (Alwington and Broadhempston) under the Norman magnate Robert, Count of Mortain (d.1090), half-brother of King William the Conqueror. He may have been the same Hamelin who also held two manors in Cornwall from the same overlord. Sir John Hamlyn, of Larkbeare, in the parish of St Leonard, Exeter, father of Sir Osbert, was at the Battle of Bouroughbridge in 1322, and his arms are recorded on the roll of arms of the Knights present. 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.

John Hamlyn was senior partner in the well-known firm of Messrs. Hamlyn Brothers, woollen manufacturers, Buckfastleigh. Over half a century ago his father carried on the business of a tanner at Buckfastleigh ; and as his sons grew up, he brought them into the business. After a time the eldest son started the business of a woolcomber and manufacturer, and founded the present establishment of Hamlyn Brothers. Nine years later John became associated with the firm, which commencing with four men, gradually increased to sixty; and subsequently, by the aid of modern machinery, to five hundred and upwards. Mr. John Hamlyn was possessed of more than ordinary business abilities, and in all his dealings he was noted as an upright, straightforward man of business. In private life he was esteemed for his kindness of heart and genial nature; and among his poorer neighbours he was ever known as a man of open-handed liberality. In the performance of public duty he bore his full share, being a Guardian of the Poor, Chairman of the Buckfastleigh School Board, Commissioner of the Dart, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Buckfastleigh and Totnes Railway Company. By his energy and industry Mr. Hamlyn amassed large means; and not long since he built himself a prettily-situated house, overlooking the town of Buckfastleigh, and found a source of amusement and enjoyment in his leisure hours in the arrangement of Fullaford and its grounds.

Though he possessed an apparently robust constitution, yet it was not strong enough to resist the sharp attack of disease. Early on the morning of the 21st of June, 1878, after an illness of little more than three hours, he expired at Fullaford, at the age of sixty-one.