Robert Yeo & Ann Syms


John Yeo (b. 1867) and Catherine Lee

John Yeo b 1867 at Moretonhampstead

John Yeo , son of John Yeo and Elizabeth Crout , was born in 1867 in Moretonhampstead, Devon and died in 1948 in Drumbridges, Newton Abbot, Devon at age 81. John married Catherine Lee , daughter of Anthony Lee and Mary Nichols , on 19 Sep 1891 in Christow . Catherine was born in 1870 in Christow, Devon and died in 1953 in Drumbridges, Newton Abbot, Devon at age 83.

In 1901 John & Carrie were living at Dene Cottage in Stokeingteignhead. John was an agricultural labourer. Living with them were children, Daisy aged 8 born in Christow, William aged 7, born in Christow, Alice aged 5 born in Christow, John aged 5 born in Mortonhampstead, Bessie aged 2 born in Mortonhampstead, and Dorothy just 4 months old born in Stokeingteignhead. They then moved to Stretchford, near Buckfastleigh and later John became a gardener at the Stover estate and they lived in the cottage at Drumbridges which has now been demolished to make way for the A38 roundabout.


Their daughter, Beatrice's children, Joe and Mary Spiers lived with them during the war years, having been evacuated from Kent, so their memories are very important. Joe remembers Carrie as being a lovely old lady with lovely long silver hair which she used to plait and then do up as a bun at the back of her head. She spent most of her day cleaning and cooking on the old black stove in the kitchen. She made all her own cakes and bottled fruit and vegetables for winter use. The house had no electricity or gas and the only lighting was kerosene gas lamps. The only toilet was the elson which had to be emptied by hand into a cess pit every week.

The family lived mainly in the kitchen, using the warmth from the stove. Although on Sundays they would use the parlour, keeping the fire going with wood that had been collected from the copse. Milk was delivered daily by an old boy who would arrive with the tank and this was then scooped out into a jug. During the summer months, the milk would have been boiled to keep it from going sour, and the cream at the top was scrapped off and was of course original Devonshire clotted cream. Joe would go down to the woods and gather wild strawberries and enjoy the treat of strawberries and cloated cream. They would also gather mushrooms from the Drumbridges roundabout which apparent had a good crop of them. Rabbits were a good source of meat and these would be caught using traps and wires. John kept a gun in the kitchen just in case the odd pidgeon flew by the window, as pidgeon pie was extremely tasty.


In later years, Carrie slept downstairs and would occasionally have her own fire to heat the bedroom and John and Joe slep upstairs. The feather mattresses and quilts were heavenly and probably home made from the feathers of the many chickens from the farm that they would kill and before sending to market, pluck all the feathers from the meat. Bedtime would have been early in the winter months with so very little light.

They had a wireless which was powered by an accumulator (battery), which was collected by a man in Newton Abbot once a fortnight to be recharged. John only turned it on for the 9 o'clock news in the evening.

John & Carrie in later years

The chicken farm was a good investment, especially during the war years. The eggs would be gathered from the hen house or garden, sorted and then sent to the packing station to be distributed. John & Carrie also kept ducks and feral cats and Arthur had his gun dog. Carrie seems to have had a good relationship with her sisters and cousins and there were plenty of visitors to Drumbridges, most would go home with eggs and vegetables, much welcome during the war years when there was such a scarcity of such commodities.

John died in 1948 and then Arthur & Carrie carried on with the family business. Catherine left a will when she died in 1953 and by this time had adopted the name Carrie Yeo. The will was proved on the 26th June, 1953 and her estate was worth £536. 6. 0 gross so her chicken farm had done well during and after the war years. Interesting as with many wills several of her children were left out.


“ I Carrie Yeo Of Drumbridges , Heathfield Near Newton Abbot In The County Of Devon Widow Hereby Revoke All Former Wills And. Declare This To Be My Last Will.

I appoint Edgar Swarbrick of the number 2 Vaughan Parade Torquay in the said County of Devon solicitor and. my son Arthur James Yeo of Drumbridges aforesaid. To be executors and. trustees of this my will and. they or the survivor of them or other the trustees hereof are hereinafter called my trustees.

I desire that my body be cremated and. my ashes scattered. in the garden of rest.

I bequeath free of duty to my son the said. Arthur James Yeo the whole of the contents of the cottage, Drumbridges Heathfield. aforesaid. (other than money and. valuable securities) and also the stock-in-trade (Including outbuildings) of my business of a chicken farm at the date of my death -.

I give devise and bequeath all my real and. personal estate whatsoever and. wheresoever of or to which I shall be possessed. or entitled at the time of my death knot hereby or by any codicil hereto otherwise disposed. of unto my trustees upon trust for sale and conversion with full power. to postpone the sale calling in and conversion thereof without being liable for loss and I direct my trustees to stand possessed. of the net proceeds of sale thereof and. my ready money after payment thereout of my just debts funeral and testamentary expenses upon trust to divide the same unto and. equally between the following of my children, Edward George Yeo , Daisy Mary Holley, Alice Prowse, William Yeo and the said Arthur James Yeo in equal shares absolutely provided that if any of my said children shall have died in my lifetime leaving issue living at my death who attain the age of twenty one years then such issue shall take by substitution and if more than one in equal shares absolutely the share of the trust fund which such deceased child of mine would have taken had. he or she survived. me and attained. a vested interest. I declare that any executor. or trustee being a solicitor or other person engaged in any profession or business shall be entitled to charge and be paid all usual professional or other charges for businesses done by him or his firm in connection with the proving of this will and the administration of my estate including acts which an executor or trustee could have done personally. in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this twenty sixth day of June, 1952.

Signed Carrie Yeo . Witnessed by J Slinge and J Swarbark, Solicitor”

Children from this marriage were :

  • Daisy May Yeo was born in 1892 in Christowe, Devon. Lived at 155 Warbro Road, Babbacombe and married Maurice Holley in 1916 in Newton Abbot Area, Devon. The child from this marriage was Billy Holley who lives in Chelston, Torquay, Devon

  • William Yeo was born in 1894 in Christowe.and married Edith Hammacott

  • Alice M Yeo was born in 1896 in Christowe, Devon She married Joe Prowse in 1918 in Christow, Devon. Children from this marriage were Arthur Prowse who died in 1942 in World War 2 and was buried at sea and Lewis Prowse who had the Harwood Guest House in Kingskerswell for many years and now lives at 7, Caroline Close, Kingskerswell

  • John Yeo was born on 5 Sep 1897 in Mortonhampstead, Devon and died in 1976 in Okehampton area, Devon at age 79. John married Nellie and was in the Navy and moved to London, however he must have returned to Devon as he died in the Okehampton area of Devon.

  • Bessie Yeo was born in 1899 in Moretonhampstead, Devon. Bessie married Charles Nottingham in 1920 in Totnes area, Devon. Children from this marriage were Peggy Nottingham who married Joe Cox , the child from this marriage was Simon Cox , and Reggie Nottingham

  • Dorothy Yeo was born on 1 Jun 1901 in Stokeinteignhead, Devon. Dorothy married Harry Endacott . Children from this marriage were Raymond Endacott who was in the RAF, Maurice Endacott who was a Squadron Leader in the RAF and Dennis Endacott a talented pianist

  • Beatrice Yeo was born on 14 Sep 1902 in Stokenteignhead, Devon. married Joseph Spiers on 1 Jan 1927 in Ashford, Kent. Joseph was born in Ashford, Kent.

  • Frank Edward Yeo was born on 22 Oct 1903 in Stokeinteignhead, Devon and died in 1983 in Newton Abbot Area, Devon at age 80. Frank married Edith Brailey in 1921 in Newton Abbot Area, Devon. Edith was born on 21 Aug 1901 and died in 1983 in Newton Abbot Area, Devon at age 82. Children from this marriage were Alice M Yeo was born in 1924 in Newton Abbot Area, Devon. Alice married Mr Waring . Children from this marriage were Jeffery Waring and Gwen Waring , Philip M Yeo was born in Newton Abbot Area, Devon. Philip married Ms Palmer , Daisy L Yeo was born in 1922 in Newton Abbot Area, Devon. Daisy married Bill Harris and the child from this marriage was June Harris , John E Yeo was born in 1928 in Newton Abbot Area, Devon and married Ms Kent . Children from this marriage were Margaret A Yeo who married Mr Snell , Suzanna E Yeo , Richard John Yeo and Patricia Marion Yeo

  • Arthur J Yeo was born in 1906 in Stokeinteignhead, Devon

  • Edward George Yeo was born on 30 Apr 1910 in Stokeinteignhead married Emily Annie Stoyle and died in 1999 in Torquay, Devon at age 89

Beatrice Yeo (b. 1902) and Joseph Spiers


Beatrice Yeo , daughter of John Yeo and Catherine Lee , was born on 14 Sep 1902 in Stokenteignhead, Devon. Beatrice married Frank Pethyjohn in 1921 in Newton Abbot Area, Devon. Beatrice married J oseph Spiers on 1 Jan 1927 in Ashford, Kent. Joseph was born in Ashford, Kent. Beatrice moved to Kent and met Joe Spiers who she married in 1927. During the war years she spent alot of time in Devon as her two children Mary & Joe were evacuated from Kent to live with their grandparents.


Children from this marriage are:

  • Mary Spiers. who married Gordon Richard Purchase and their children are Richard , who married Alison Tadman and have two children, Sam and Kattie and Nicholas who married Ms Holyer and have two children , Freyja and Zachary . Zachary is a world champion rower. Mary can remember meeting many of the relatives during the war years when she stayed at Drumbridges .

  • Joe Spiers was born in 1940 in Ashford, Kent but spent most of his early childhood in Devon. He attended Blackpool School in Ilsington, Devon before returning to Kent at the end of the war. Joe wanted to join the RAF and applied to serve as a Boy Entrant but meanwhile he was offered an engineering apprenticeship with J & E Hall, Ltd, and was well established there by the time the acceptance came through for the RAF

Joe was a keen cyclist and gained 1st class Amatuer/Independent status and would have continued this success by becoming a professional in Europe, but he met Susie. Joe and married Susie and their children are John Spiers , born in 1967 and Linda Spiers , born in 1970. Joe moved back to Devon when he retired and he and Susie live in Bovey Tracey. He also lived at Drumbridges during the war years and has kindly copied all these old photographs of the family which he had in his possession. Joe is a model plane flyer so he and Stan have much in common.

Beatrice & Joe
Joe & Rosemary
Beatrice, Ruby, Joe & Rosemary

Ruby was the daughter of Alfred and Susan nee Yeo, so a first cousin of Beatrice. Her daughter Rosemary used to play with Joe during the war years. Ruby was obviously friendly with her cousin Beatrice Yeo . Beatrice's father John Yeo was Ruby's mother's sister and Ruby would visit Drumbridges. They lived in Teignmouth and ran a café there.

Joseph, Beatrice with children Joe and Mary

Arthur J Yeo b. 1906


Arthur J Yeo was born in 1906 in Stokeinteignhead, Devon. Arthur worked initially as a minor with Watts, Blake & Bearne and then during the war years as a driver for the ministry. Joe Spiers told me Arthur was quite a character and lived with his parents at Drumbridges until Carrie died.

He brought Drumbridges when it was up for sale and he used to frequent The Star Inn in Liverton at the time one of the Wurzels Folk Group , ran it. One day on entering the pub he saw a large ham hung up in the entrance. He took the ham and hid it under his coat, and when he was about to be served, produced the ham and asked the landlord if he would like to have it in return for free beer for the night. The landlord was delighted and duly served Arthur and his friend with free beer on the house. The next time Arthur went into the pub, the landlord was waiting for him and now knew he had been tricked. They had a good laugh and Arthur then had to pay for his beer.

Arthur didn't marry until 1948 when he took a Ms Selley to be his wife. Carrie left Arthur the whole of the contents of the cottage, at Drumbridges Heathfield, (other than money and. valuable securities) and also the stock-in-trade (Including outbuildings) of her business of a chicken farm. Drumbridges was sold in the 1970's when it was demolished as part of the A38 road building project, however the roundabout has taken its name and is called the Drumbridges Roundabout.

Edward George Yeo and Emily Annie Stoyle

Edward & Emily

Edward George Yeo , son of John Yeo and Catherine Lee , was born on 30 Apr 1910 in Stokeinteignhead and died in 1999 in Torquay, Devon at age 89. Edward George was baptised at Stokeinteignhead Parish church on the 19th June 1910 , parents John and Catherine. He was a prisoner in the second world war in Stalag XV 11B and suffered injuries to his ankles which stayed with him until he died.

Ed on the building site

Edward married Emily Annie Stoyle in 1931 in Torquay, Devon. Emily was born on 26 Oct 1910 and died in 1991 in Torquay, Devon at age 81. Emily had the most amazing thick black curly hair which her granddaughter Barbara has inherited

Children from this marriage were:

  • John Frederick Yeo was born in Torquay and baptised at St Marychurch Parish Church. . Edward George Yeo and Emily Annie were then living at 28, Second Avenue and Edward was a lorry driver. John joined the RAF like his second cousin, Stanley. John married Pamela Whitlock who sadly died on the 3rd October, 1999 aged 65 years
  • Stuart E Yeo who married Penelope Mary Redrup and have children Deborah Louise and Christopher Stuart


John & Pamela's wedding in 1955

Children from this marriage were John-Paul Whitlock Yeo who married Caroline Brackley and had children, Richard John Yeo and Katherine Jane Yeo , Barbara Elaine Yeo who married Mr O'Neill and had children Sarah-Jane Yeo and Richard David Yeo . She then married Neil Kernick and they have a son, Jonathan , and Michael Stoyle Yeo who married Valerie Hudson and have two children Robert James Yeo and Mercedes Yeo .

Many thanks to Barbara for letting me share this photograph of her parent's wedding

Also thanks to Joe for all his information and photographs of the family, without these we would have known very little about Stan's great grandparents.

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  © 2003-6 Sheila Yeo | For more information on the Yeo family and the research contained in this site email sheila@yeosociety.com or call me on +44 (0)1626 360978