Thomas Harris Pitts

Thomas Harris Pitts was the third child and second son of Nicholas Pitts and Elizabeth Prettejohn Pitts (née Harris). He was born at South Allington and his birth was registered at Chivelstone in the fourth quarter of 1837. He was baptised on 10 December 1837 at Chivelstone. He married Mary Andrews, who was the daughter of a naval surgeon, Charles Andrews. They were married on 12 April 1866 at St. Sidwells, Exeter, Devon. Mary was born in Guernsey in the Channel Islands about 1844. Her death was registered at Totnes in Devon during February 1916. They had seven children: Charles Hugh Harris Pitts (1868-1945); Reginald Andrews Pitts (1869 - infant death); Percival N. Pitts (1872-1901) who died aged 28 in a horse-racing accident (He was a keen amateur jockey and broke his neck at a point-to-point race at Wrangton and died a few days later after being examined by a doctor. There is a photograph of him in racing colors on one of his own horses.); Winifred Elizabeth Harris Pitts (1874-1921); Cecil Thomas Harris Pitts (1877 - infant death); Gerald Thomas Hugh Pitts (1879-1880 - infant death); and Elizabeth Andrews Pitts (about 1881). Thomas Harris Pitts died in Kingsbridge on 12 December 1910.

Census and other published data have provided the following information:

The 1841 Census (6 June) - Thomas is living with his parents at South Allington House.

The 1851 Census (30 March) - Thomas was in Plymouth, Devon. The address was: 5 Princess Square, where Thomas was boarding in the school of a Mr William Bennett of Saltash.

The 1861 Census (7 April); - Thomas is "superintending" the South Allington property for his parents. In the Government Appointments Gazette for 1866 in the section entitled Statutes Public General, 27 and 30 Victoriae C58, 59, CAP. LIX, Thomas was appointed (among others) as a Commissioner for executing the Acts for granting a land tax and other rates and taxes (6 August 1866) for the County of Devon.

The 1871 Census (2 April) - Having by now inherited the South Allington properties from his father, Nicholas, he has become a substantial land owner and a member of the local gentry, and was by this time a Captain in the 2nd Devon Regiment of Militia (he had been promoted to Lieutenant on 9 May 1861), he described himself as a farmer of 150 acres of land, employing 5 men and a woman. Apart from the Pitts family there was a housemaid aged 19, a child's maid aged 16, a cook aged 29 and a farm boy aged 11.

The 1881 Census (3 April) - Thomas was by this time 43 years old and had been promoted to the rank of major in the Militia. He was also the local magistrate. He was farming 150 acres of land and employed 6 men and a boy. He also employed five servants in South Allington House; a cook aged 44, a parlourmaid aged 20, two housemaids aged 16 and 18 and a farm servant aged 16. On the occasion of Queen Victoria's Jubilee celebration in 1887 Thomas was referred to in the South Devon Gazette (June 24 Issue).

The 1891 Census (5 April) - Thomas was 53 years of age, described himself as a Magistrate, Farmer, and late Major of the South Devon Militia. Apart from the Pitts family there was a housemaid aged 17, a parlourmaid aged 21 and a cook aged 17.

The 1901 Census (31 March) - Thomas, although described as head of the household, is also described as living on his own means and is no longer managing the South Allington property. His son, Charles Hugh Harris Pitts, is described as the "farmer" of the property. In addition to the Pitts family they employed a domestic servant aged 30, a cook aged 19, a housemaid aged 20 and a groom aged 24.

Extract of the Will of Nicholas Pitts drawn in 1862 and executed in 1870 after his death, describing the property bequeathed to Thomas Harris Pitts:

And I give devise and bequeath unto my second son Thomas Harris Pitts all those my messuages lands and tenements situate at or near South Allington aforesaid and commonly known by the names Cornish's and Garlands tenements and also all my cottages and other lands and hereditaments situate at or near South Allington aforesaid and also the rent charge in lieu of tithes payable out of lands situate at East Prawle in the said parish of Chivelstone which I purchased from the trustees under the will of Richard Tucker and also all those messuages farms and lands called Down and Hollacombe situate in the parish of Stokenham in the said county, and also the several cottages and gardens with the appurtenances situate at Hallsands and Beesands in the said parish of Stokenham which I purchased from the trustees under the will of the late Sir Robert William Newman and also a tenement called Woodpark situate in the parish of East Portlemouth in the said county with all manorial and other rights privileges and appurtenances to the said premises respectively belonging, and all other if any the lands tenements and hereditaments of which I am seized or possessed situate in the said parishes of Chivelstone, Stokenham and East Portlemouth or either of them but not including my moiety of certain leasehold lands and tenements situate in Holset in the said parish of East Portlemouth and held for terms of years determinable on the death of Messieurs Thomas Cornish and Browse Prettejohn which I intend shall pass under the residuary devise hereinafter contained to hold the same with the appurtenances subject nevertheless and charged with the payment of the clear yearly rent charge of seventy five pounds to my said wife during her life in part payment of the jointure of one hundred and fifty pounds which is secured to her by the settlement executed previous to my marriage, and charged on certain of my lands situate at South Allington aforesaid and also subject to and charged with the payment of the sum of seven thousand and two hundred and fifty pounds in part payment of the legacies hereinafter given to my daughters and to be raised and paid at the times and in the manner hereinafter mentioned unto and to the use of my said son Thomas Harris Pitts his heirs executors administrators and assigns according to the nature and quality thereof respectively for ever or for and during all my estate and interest therein respectively. And thereby so far as I am enabled to do so release exonerate and discharge my lands at South Allington from the payment of the sum of seventy five pounds per annum one half of the annuity or yearly rent charge of one hundred and fifty pounds charged thereon and payable by way of jointure to my said wife and her assigns during her life.

And I also hereby expressly charge all and singular the lands and hereditaments hereby given and devised unto and to the use of my said son Thomas Harris Pitts with the payment of the annuity or yearly rent charge of seventy five pounds only to be paid to my said wife and her assigns for her life as hereinafter mentioned.

And I give and bequeath unto my son Thomas Harris Pitts for his absolute use all my household goods and furniture plate linen china pictures and books except such articles are hereby given to my said wife or as may be selected by her under the bequest hereinbefore contained and also all my live and dead farming stock and implements of husbandry, and all other property of every description (except documents of title and money and securities for money) which shall be in and upon my dwelling house farm and lands at South Allington aforesaid at the time of my decease.

And I hereby give devise and bequeath unto my two sons Nicholas William Prettejohn Pitts and Thomas Harris Pitts all the residue and remainder of my messuages lands tenements and hereditaments and all other my real estate, and all my monies and securities for money, and all the residue and remainder of my personal estate of every description whatsoever to hold the same with their respective appurtenances unto and to and for the absolute use and benefit of my said sons Nicholas William Prettejohn Pitts and Thomas Harris Pitts and their respective heirs executors administrators and assigns in equal shares as tenants in common and not as joint tenants. And I hereby nominate and appoint the said Nicholas William Prettejohn Pitts and Thomas Harris Pitts to be the joint executors of this my last will and testament and I hereby revoke all former wills.

Chivelstone
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