William Bryett


William Bryett was the son of Jeremiah Bryett, a surgeon in Witheridge, where he was born in 1773.

He married twice, first to Mary Smale in Crediton in 1761. They had two children, William, born in 1764 and Ann a year later. (Ann was to marry John Yarde; two of their sons became surgeons in Crediton.) Mary Bryett died in 1778. One year later William married again to Grace Read who lived to be 103.

William Bryett died in Crediton aged 71 in 1804 “after a long illness, which he sustained with becoming patience and resignation. He had practised as a surgeon and apothecary 40 years past in that town with great credit and reflection to himself and family: He was a good husband, an affectionate father, and a good neighbour”.

By his will dated 1800 with two subsequent codicils he left most of his property in trust for his grandchildren being the children of his daughter Ann Yarde.

To his son William he bequeathed his gold watch, £100 and the rental income from three of his properties during his lifetime plus the interest and dividends on a sum of £400 invested. This interest would not be paid to him however were he to marry or cohabit with a Grace Nicholls "who sometime since lived as [their] servant." Also William would not be allowed to pass on his inheritance to his children unless they were “lawfully begotten”.

William Junior ignored the threat and had two children by Grace before his father died in 1804. They married three years later. Perhaps because he lost his inheritance she was left destitute when he died (of Typhus) in 1838. She then worked as a farm servant. She died in Sandford aged 76 in 1850.