Welcome to

In 1879 William married Anne Foss the daughter of John Foss, farmer of Eastway Farm, Witheridge. The marriage was solemnised at The Independent Chapel, Witheridge. William was 27 years old and Anne was 28. They were engaged for seven years. William had to establish himself in his trade and provide a home for his bride before her father would allow the marriage to take place. The home to which William took Anne was Rosemont Cottage in West Street, Witheridge from where he also carried on his business.

A year later their first son, Herbert John Foss Partridge was born and the following year Anne gave birth to twins, William and Annie. Shortly after their birth Anne died. She was 31. Her baby daughter Annie Foss died three months later. William was left a widower at the age of 30 with two small sons to bring up. His spinster sister, Mary, came from Cadeleigh to help him look after the boys. A wet nurse was found for baby William. By all accounts Aunt Mary was a strict disciplinarian and not over fond of children, even her little nephews. They were more affectionately treated by their Aunt Ellen Cruwys and Uncle George whom they visited frequently.

A journal kept by the mother of William Partridge when she was a young woman living at Little Silver, Cadleigh before her marriage to William's father, say's her parents, i.e. William's grandparents, attended the Established Church of Cadleigh and that her mother, William's grandmother, kept a Dame School, where she, Harriet Squire, was taught to read the Word of God at an early age. She records in here journal the coming to Little Silver when she was 15 (in 1838) of a group of Bible Christian, by whom she was greatly influenced. Later she records that in 1839, a number of Cadleigh men and women built a Chapel at Little Silver which opened on 24th May 1839. There are two Chapel buildings at Little Silver today, one is a Bible Christian Chapel and the other, which bears a plaque to the effect, is an Independent Chapel, and this is the building opened for worship in 1839, the same year as the Independent Chapel in Witheridge was opened. This probably means that William Partridge was brought up as a Congregationalist. His sons, Herbert and William, attended the first Chapel School which was built at Witheridge in 1845 (the present Church Room building in Tracey Green). William Partridge was a staunch member of the independent Chapel at Witheridge and for many years was the Sunday School Superintendent.

Herbert Partridge would have liked to have become a School Teacher. He was interested in Shorthand and in 1905 obtained a Senior Commercial Education Certificate of the London Chamber of Commerce and qualified as a Teacher of Pitman's Shorthand.

His brother, William, went to London and in time became a successful and reasonably prosperous Grocer in Ealing with a reputation for quality provisions, some of which he "imported" direct from Devonshire. This left Herbert (possessed of a strong sense of filial duty) with little option but to work with his father in the Boot and Shoe Trade, so that his dream of a career in teaching was never realised. He taught a number of students by Correspondence Course over the years and developed life-long friendships as a result. He subscribed to various Shorthand publications and kept his interest alive for the greater part of his life.

In 1906, Elsie Boyd came to Witheridge from Gloucestershire travelling by Horse Bus from Tiverton. She came in answer to an advertisement for a Post Office Clerk to run the Telegraph Office for Mr George Pullen who was the Post Master and Mr and Mrs Pullen lived at Rosemont and Elsie, who was a long way from home, lived with them. They were kind and considerate employers and Elsie was happy working in the Post Office. Very early on she made friends with Maudie Boundy, who with her mother, the Post Mistress, ran the Post Office at Worlington from their home, Stone Cross. Herbert Partridge lived with his father at Rosemont Cottage, so he and Elsie would certainly have noticed each other, both young adults of similar background, because Elsie Boyd was also a Congregationalist and attended the Independent Chapel from the first Sunday that she had arrived in Witheridge. Elsie was a bright-eyed, pretty, energetic and efficient young woman with a good brain. Their personalities complimented each other and they admired each other's qualities. They shared an interest in 19th Century Poetry and Liberal Party politics, and they had their religious views in common. They were married in 1911. Sadly, Elsie's greatly beloved father had been killed in a tragic accident on the Avonmouth Docks only a few weeks before the wedding date and their marriage at The Napier Road Congregational Church, Avonmouth was in consequence a very quite family affair which took place at 8.00am on the morning of 4th June. Herbert and Elsie returned to Witheridge to live at Rosemont Cottage and from that time William Partridge had a devoted and loving daughter-in-law to care for him and to run his home. Mary Partridge moved to live in Tracey Green, where she also benefited in later years from the care and support of Elsie and Herbert.

In 1912, Elsinore (Nora) Boyd Partridge was born at Rosemont Cottage. With three adults, a business and a baby it was time to move to larger premises, and, a nearby house becoming available. When Nora was two and a half years old the family moved across the lane to "Avonore" where, having made some interior alterations to the house, they established a shop - "The Boot Stores" and a workshop and a new home.

The Great War took Herbert Partridge to Plymouth where he enlisted as a Royal Marine! During this period, until his release at the end of the war in April 1919, he made boots for the Royal Marines, and at home in Witheridge, Elsie learnt from her father-in-law how to sew and repair boots. She was also working hard at building up the retail business. She was possessed by far more business acumen than either her husband or father-in-law. As time went by they became the only Boot and Shoe Dealers in the village. There were no other Shoemakers following the trade from the 1920's onwards and consequently a large proportion of the farming community and the local people were their customers. They continued for the rest of their lives to be active members of the Congregational Chapel. For many years Herbert held the position of Church Secretary and when he retired, Elsie continued the commitment until her own retirement in 1964. They both took an interest in village affairs. Herbert Partridge was a Parish Councillor and from 1923 until 1930, Elsie Partridge was President of the Witheridge Liberal Association. She was also a member of the Witheridge Woman's Institute which she attended regularly with her great friend, Mrs Lily Maire.

Holidays were rare. Visits were made to Bristol to visit Elsie's family and the yin turn visited Elsie and Herbert in Witheridge. Visits were also made to Ealing to see William Partridge and his family and this was an opportunity to explore London. Elsie and her sister-in-law became good friends and enjoyed each others company. There were holidays in Dawlish and at Teignmouth and later at Minehead and there were days out on Chapel Outings, and picnics with friends, recorded in photographs, but by and large their business responsibilities kept them at home, and there were Aunt Mary and Granddad to be cared for in their declining years.

Top of Page

Nora spent her early school days at the British School and then at Tiverton Girl's School where she was a boarder, the ten miles distance between Witheridge and Tiverton making this necessary in those days. From Tiverton Nora went on to Teacher Training College at Stockwell in South London where she qualified and became a Primary (Infant) School Teacher, greatly to her father's satisfaction.

Mr William Partridge handed over his business to his son, Herbert and his daughter-in-law, Elsie, and had time to indulge his interest in gardening. He had a greenhouse in the garden at Avonmore and grew prize Begonia which he exhibited at The Witheridge Flower Show. He was a founder member of the Witheridge Horticultural Society and a diligent worker for the Liberal Party. His little granddaughter, Nora adored him and they were great companions, the more so because a great deal of her mothers time was taken up by running the "shop" and caring for Aunt Mary who had become an invalid. There were three other grandchildren living in Ealing and they came with their parents to visit him every summer. He lived to see Nora happily married, but died a few months before the birth of his first great-grandchild in 1935.

William Partridge was buried in the Congregational Church yard with his wife and baby daughter. His gravestone is inscribed "Well done, good and faithful servant".

Previous      Go to Top      Home       Text Version      Next Page

Last Edited 03/07/2006    Copyright © 2000-2006 Witheridge

Unless otherwise indicated on the page in question, the photographic images reproduced on this site belong to the Witheridge Archives, and, as such may not be reproduced for commercial purposes without written permission. However, you are welcome to use any of the photographs belonging to the archive for personal and/or non-commercial use. Any material shown as not being owned by the archive may not be reproduced in any form without first receiving written permission from the owner of the material in question.