#52 Ancestors #13 William Keast – Clark in the Naval Hospital

My great-great-great-great grandfather William Keast was baptised on 12 November 1775 in Duloe, Cornwall. However by the time he was 35 he was living in East Stonehouse (now Plymouth).

He married locally in Duloe in 1805 to Mary Rendle and they had 3 children together, Elizabeth (1805 Duloe), Philip (1807, also Duloe) but then must have moved through to East Stonehouse as Ann Grace was born there in c1810.

1820 Plan featuring the Naval Hospital, East Stonehouse

1820 Plan featuring the Naval Hospital, East Stonehouse

His second wife, Rebecca Holt, born in 1789, was from Okehampton in Devon and they married in St George’s Church, East Stonehouse on 14 June 1813.

By the time their daughter Rebecca was born in 1816 William was working as Clark to the Chaplain at the Royal Naval Hospital in East Stonehouse. What I’m not sure about is whether this was in a lay-religious capacity [his children were baptised as Methodists] or a paid capacity as in the 1841 census he was listed as a labourer; I’d like to find out more about the his role at the Hospital.

This website Navy and Army Military Life 1900 – 1914 around Plymouth (mostly!), kindly flagged up for me by Plymouth History Magazine, looks really promising, although focussing on a time period a few decades after William worked there.  It will definitely be useful for later generations!

52ancestorsHe and Rebecca had at least 9 children.  What I’m not sure about is whether they had 11. The 1841 census records two further children but they’re so young – 4 and 2 – that I really hope for William and Rebecca, then approx 65 and 50 respectively, that they were grandchildren and that poor Rebecca wasn’t still having babies in her 40s! But without reliable contraception, one of the most empowering developments ever for women, it was entirely possible. There were Mary, William, Rebecca, Jane, Robert, Maria, Ann [my ancestor], Mary and Leah, plus the two young ones Elizabeth and William.

William died in 1849 and was buried in Ford Cemetery, Plymouth.

© Text copyright Lynne Black 26 March 2014

https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/52ancestors_13_williamkeast/ ‎

9 thoughts on “#52 Ancestors #13 William Keast – Clark in the Naval Hospital

  1. pastsmith

    These ancestors always leave a stone or two unturned in research, don’t they? Good luck in your search for more about William’s role at the hospital, and those two younger children. How many years is there between the two younger ones (William and Elizabeth) and the next one up?

  2. Pingback: #52 Ancestors #14 Royal Marine Samuel Glover of Stonehouse | starryblackness

  3. Pingback: 52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 13 Recap | No Story Too Small

  4. Prue goodman

    I too am descended from William and Rebecca Keast. They had only 8 children – William, Rebecca, Jane, Robert, Maria, Ann, Mary and Leah. In the 1841 census their son WIlliam was living with his parents and had a wife Mary and children ELizabeth and WIlliam. From what I’ve found William seems to have been a clerk/storeman/labourer at the Naval Hospital . William the son was a choir master at the chapel of the Naval Hospital for at least 10 years .

  5. Prue goodman

    No. Over the years I’ve planned trips to Plymouth and Cornwall involving visits to the Record Offices. I’ve been to Ford Park cemetery and found the grave of William and Rebecca Keast and my own ancestors their son William. William and Rebecca unfortunately don’t have a gravestone. I would be interested to know about your ancestor Ann as I have found out about some of their children but it is difficult to pick out the right Ann Keast from parish marriage records.
    William’s son from his first marriage, Philip, had an interesting life. He was married 4 times and had 14 children. He is also buried at Ford Park with 2 of his wives and 3 daughters.
    Rebecca Holt was a widow when she married. I believe her maiden name was Vinnacombe.

    1. starryblackness Post author

      I’ve written about Ann too, it’s linked to in the post above. Ann had a short life before dying leaving a young daughter, Emily, who in turn had life challenges of her own to cope with. Not an easy era to be a woman…
      Thanks for the info about Rebecca. I’d almost run out of leads for my Devon family and wanted to do some work for my Dad on his Yorkshire side of the family so I’d put the Devon work on hold for a while. But I’m really enjoying finding out about my Devon side so it’s always hard to tear myself away from researching/blogging about them!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s