St Matthew's Secret

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The Gibbing's
Chris Gibbings


My father put together our family tree until about the mid 1600's in Bampton North Devon and there was no way of going back further as the local church was sacked and records destroyed in the Civil War (1642 - 1651).
I went on holiday to Perth in Western Australia to see friends and while driving around found a "Gibbings Road" about 110KM south of Perth in a place called "Coolup". Now our name is not common so I had to make enquiries and supprise surprise in Lot 1 Gibbings Road a lady still lived who had been a Miss Gibbings. She recognised me as "a Gibbings" when I knocked on the door and showed me photographs of her relations who looked the same as mine but weren't. She provided me with their family history back to a ship called the "John C Munro" which left London for Fremantle on 28th March 1886 with a William Pockcock Gibbings (Born 1829 died 1892) , his wife Fanny Mary and their nine children. They came to take up land offered to settlers but found it was just bush and had a very hard life for a while. They went shopping by Ox cart twice a year in Perth and the journey took nearly a week. The family still farm this land and have thrived. She had discovered that William was decended from Nicholas Gibbings born in Frogbury Farm Coldridge in about 1753. She also knew that there were connections with Springle Moor as in 1777 Nicholas Gibbings married a Susan Evans. There was then a John Gibbings at Nymch Rowland who married a Jane Leach in Morchard Bishop and he died in Broadstairs Kent in 1876. They had a son William Gibbings born in Morchard Bishop 28th June 1829 and it was he who went to Australia.

Now it gets more complicated: - We both knew we had to be related somewhere - the uncommon name and photos that just looked so alike so I had to go to Coldridge. There were Gibbings in the graveyard but much more important a John Gibbings was the Vicar of Coldridge from 1571 to 1602 and his name was on the wall by the church door. He had 12 children so it was not going to be easy. However the third child Walter Gibbings born 1582 (d 1633) had six children and their fourth child John born 26th February 1610 married a Jane Head in Coldridge and they had six children the fourth of which was a Thomas born 1642 and it was his decendants who I have traced as a direct link with the Australians. So I had now taken the Australian side back to 1571.

If we now go back to the original John (the Vicar) and his third child Walter, I traced our side of the family to his sixth child Thomas Jnr (remember the Austrailian came from his fourth child John and his son Thomas, so our lines split in 1610 - 1615).

Thomas Jnr was born 2nd August 1615 and there, for us, the story ends in Coldridge. He went to Oakford, (about halfway between Bampton and Coldridge) as a miller (there were two mills in Oakford and one is still there) and other members of the family bought a Mill in Bampton which still exhists and I have met their relations. Thomas Jnr was very difficult to trace but a Thomas and an Elizabeth from Oakford (the son of Thomas Jnr?) arrived in Bampton and had a son John born 1688 and they had a son William born1712 and there were still connections with Oakford but the wives appear to come from Bampton. Our family tree is in Bampton from then on. I still need to try and nail the links in Oakford but there is no doubt that is how the line goes. Thanks for all the help I received in Coldridge with typed copies of the parish register and I followed that up in the records office at Souton Exeter. To stand where a relation had stood some 450 years ago in your church was quite something and to see his signature on the actual Parish Record was something else.


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