Both these names are important in the history of Moretonhampstead but there were three different Silvester Treleavens!

John Treleaven (1756-1835) was in business principally as a hairdresser, bookseller and ‘sub-distributer of stamps’ The last did not mean that he sold postage stamps (there weren’t any then), but that he sold the official stamps that were a form of duty on legal documents etc.  He was also our first postmaster – in 1799 group of gentlemen arranged for a bag of post from Exeter to be dropped at Crockernwell on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays and carried from there to John Treleaven, who was responsible for receiving the bag of mail and distributing it, and also handled letters going out from Moreton by the same route.  When more modern postal services developed, the office of postmaster remained with his sons, grandson and greatgranddaughters, the last being Miss Susan Treleaven who died in 1923 (though she retired before that).

John Treleaven had a brother, Silvester Treleaven I (1759-1824), who is described on his grave simply as ‘hairdresser’.  This Silvester is buried in St Andrew’s churchyard, but the rest of the family are buried in the Unitarian graveyard in Cross Street.  John also had a son Silvester Treleaven II (1787-1865) who later succeeded to his father John’s business, including the post office, bookseller etc and hairdressing, and also clockmaking

The importance of  Silvester Treleaven is that between 1799 and 1816 he kept a diary,  Chronological Occurrences in Moretonhampstead.  Internal evidence in the diary  suggests that the writer was the son, rather than the brother, of the first John. 

The family business continued under Silvester III  and his daughters in the Square (near the corner with Ford Street) throughout the 19th century, and the census shows the occupations of various members of the family as hairdresser, watch and clockmaker, druggist, stationer, baker, and general shopkeeper.  Elizabeth Ann, Susan’s elder sister, was also an organist and teacher of music.

Treleaven family connections

(we are grateful to Paul Orme, who has collected information on the Treleaven family roots in Devon and Cornwall, for the early information here)

The first Treleaven we hear of in Moretonhampstead is Samuel Treleaven who was buried in the Unitarian Chapel here in 1772 (with his wife Jane), but married in Bow.  The family probably originated in Cornwall and Northwest Devon, were nonconformists, and may have moved here because of our flourishing Presbyterian chapel.  Samuel and Jane had several children, including Jane who married Samuel Shears (also buried in the chapel here), John and Silvester I (see above).  John married Grace Hutchings in 1781 and their descendents who were in Moreton are shown below; they were clearly a literate family.

Samuel Treleaven (-1772) m Jane Bawden

——-   Jane (1753-1828) m. Samuel Shears

——-   John (1756 ?1825) m. Grace Hutchings 1781

——- John (1782-1842) – became a freeman of Plymouth

——- Samuel (1783-1850) – distinguished reporter for the Exeter Flying Post

            ——- Richard (1785-1833) – a scrivener in Plymouth

            ——- Silvester II (1787-1865) m Elizabeth Pain 1811

                        ——  Silvester III (1813-1898) m. Ann Parker 1838

                                    ——- Elizabeth Ann (1839-1883)

                                    ——- Susan (1851-1923)

                        ——- Grace (1815-1883)

——- William (1789-1835) – postmaster in Moreton after his father died

            ——-  Susanna (1791- ) m. Job Marwood (1814 –  in Exeter?)

——-  Silvester I (1759-1824) m. Grace Ponsford 1800 (no children)