Benjamin C Hutton and Maria Pierce Rowe

Holy Trinity Exeter Devon

Benjamin Charles Hutton was born around 1788 in the parish of Holy Trinity, Exeter, Devon, England to parents Benjamin Hutton (1770-1788) and wife Elizabeth (d 1786).

I haven’t been able to find his baptism record, but his marriage license states he was from the parish of Holy Trinity, so it is assumed that is most likely his baptism parish.

It is believed that Benjamin’s father Benjamin Hutton (senior) died around the time of his son’s birth, on 31 March 1788 at All Hallows on the Walls, Exeter. Benjamin Hutton senior was born around 1770 to parents John Hutton (1738-1817) and Elizabeth (1753-1816).

From DNA records it seems that Benjamin’s grandfather John Hutton was born around 1738 in Exeter and married twice – firstly to Mary, with whom they had a son John born 1780, and secondly to Elizabeth (ca 1753-1816) with whom he had two children Benjamin (senior 1770-1788) and Elizabeth (1791-1824).

I have at least two DNA matches with descendants of Joseph Perkiss Hutton, the grandson of William Hutton, probable brother to my John Hutton b 1738 above.

On 14 March 1811 Benjamin married Maria Pierce / Pearce Rowe at St Michael & All Angels, Heavitree, Exeter, Devon. The marriage transcript states the marriage was by license, and that the occupation of Benjamin was that of a gentleman, and that Maria’s surname was Pierce, otherwise Rowe. Witnesses to the marriage were John Upjohn and Elizabeth Stone. The marriage notice appeared in the Taunton Courier Newspaper on 21 March 1811. Notice that the surname Rowe is not mentioned at all.

Taunton Courier 1811

Maria Pierce was born in 1785, the illegitimately born daughter of Charles Pierce and Martha Row. She was baptised on 6 February 1785 at nearby Upton Pyne, Devon, and was described as the base (illegitimate) daughter of Martha Row and Charles Pearce of Exeter.

St Michael and All Angels Sowton Devon

Maria’s mother Martha was born as Martha Taylour in 1745 in Sowton, Devon and baptised there on 29 Jan 1745 to parents George and Sarah Taylour. Martha Taylour had three partners – firstly her marriage to William Rowe (1742-1781) on 24 Apr 1764 in Sowton by license.

Martha had six legitimate children with William Rowe – William b 1769, Elizabeth b 1770, George b 1773, John b 1774, Mary b 1778 and Charles b 1778. Her husband William Rowe died in 1781, and it seems just four years later Martha had another child, illegimately with Charles Pierce in 1785 – Maria.

Then, Martha went on to marry another man widower (of Alice Clapp) Charles Please on 6 March 1790 at St Pauls in Exeter by license. Charles Please died in 1817 aged 82 and left a will.

Charles and Maria had four children –

  1. Charlotte Pierce b 1811 d 1895
  2. Mary b 1814 d 1902
  3. Elizabeth b 1815 d 1885
  4. Charles Benjamin b 1817 d 1873

In 1815 Benjamin appears in the Exeter Flying Post Newspaper on 14 September under a List of Person who have obtained General Certificates – Devon – Game Duty. He was described as a gentleman of Heavitree.

The English Gamekeeper (wikimedia commons)

1784 saw the introduction of the Game Acts which made it compulsory for individuals who wished to kill game to purchase a certificate at a cost of 2 guineas per year. Anyone caught killing game without a licence or even simply refusing to show their certificate could be fined £50. The Act officially came into place from the end of July 1785 so after that date anyone caught killing game without a certificate had to pay a fine of £20.

The Act required everyone who kept a dog, gun, net or other engine for the taking or destruction of game whether for sport or in the capacity of a gamekeeper, to register each year with the clerk of the peace, and on payment of a fee, receive a certificate, so it seems Benjamin was a gentleman who liked to shoot.

His wife Maria died in August 1817 at Bartholomew Terrace in the parish of All Hallows, Exeter and was buried at St Mary Steps, Exeter, Devon on 19 August. It seems a very respectable address.

In a book about Devon by Bridget Cherry in 2002, it mentions that one “can make a detour along Bartholomew Terrace, a footpath around the NW corner of the city wall with a delightful group of small early C19 stuccoed houses overlooking the slopes down to the river. No 7 is a pretty gothic cottage with concave arched windows, lattice balconies and a vermiculated (ornately decorated with wavy lines) doorway.” 

Benjamin died in 1820 in the parish of Friars, Exeter and was buried at his parish church of Holy Trinity, Exeter on 14 July 1820. He was just 31 when he died with four young children and so arrangements were then made for the children to attend boarding schools. (see Charles Benjamin Hutton). Fortunately, the family were very wealthy and it appears Maria’s relatives the Pierce and Northmore families took care of the children.