Hello from a descendant of Matthew Gear / Mary Leman.
Their son William Gear married Maria Boddy (a widow, nee Hill, lived 1810-1893) at Tiverton in 1849. Maria ran a farm at Chevithorne, Tiverton, Devon where she and William went on to live as a family.
I was brought up on that farm. When the farm was sold to a big estate (The Knightshayes Estate) in 1856, it was known as “Branscombes, otherwise Chevithorne Tenement”. It is now known as “Chevithorne Farm”.
William and Maria’s daughter Matilda Gear (1850 – 1923) married William Hill Gale (1850 – 1922) (lived and farmed at Chevithorne Farm)
Their son Percy Gale (1885 – 1959) married Edith Mary Brock (1888 – 1979) (lived and farmed at Chevithorne Farm)
Their son William Cecil Gale (1920 – 1978) married Lilian Evelyn Williams (born 1925) (lived and farmed at Chevithorne Farm)
I am their son– and as far as I know, the first male member of this line to leave farming!
The 1841 census shows a family of Gears living at Chevithorne Barton (a fine old manor house):-
Matthew Gear, farmer aged about 25, born “out of the County of Devon” Robert Gear, farmer aged about 20, ditto Susan Gear aged about 45, ditto William Gear aged about 15, ditto Mary Gear aged about 20, born in Devon (?) Matthew Gear aged 1, ditto
(note : In the 1841 census, ages were shown to the nearest 5 years, except in the case of young children. Unlike later censuses, there is no note of family relationships or precise place of birth in 1841)
Peter Gear (a miller, aged about 25), his wife Sarah and daughter Mary (aged 1) are listed in the same census as living nearby at Crazelowman (about 1 mile South of Chevithorne Barton).
It took me a long time to trace the Gear family back to Misterton. In the 1851, 1861 and 1871 censuses William gives his place of birth as “Puggington, Dorset” or “Puggiditon, Somerset”. I haven’t traced this definitively, but old maps show a place called “Puddletown” near Misterton in Somerset, close to the Dorset border.
The Gear family has a long history in Misterton / Crewkerne area. William Geere of Misterton (a tailor) was involved in a court case which was heard at the Quarter Sessions in 1611 (you can find his witness statement at the Somerset County Record Office), and Walter Gere is listed as a “pekeman” (i.e. a pikeman) in the Crewkerne Muster Roll of 1569.
Incidentally, Robert Gear went on to marry a woman called Hannah (born Clayhanger, Devon). Their son Robert was born at Rackenford, Devon circa 1863 – and they were living at Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon at the time of the 1871 census.
There is a tombstone in the churchyard of St Peter’s, Tiverton on the grave of Mary Gear (died 31 January 1810) and Matthew Gear. Most of the inscription is illegible. Peter Gear / Martha Wilce had a daughter called Mary born at Crewkerne in 1777 – is this her grave? There are just too many Matthews to conjecture!
I have not discovered when or why the Gears moved to Chevithorne.
I’d be interested in any more information about this family or their forebears.