John was 26 years old at the time of his marriage in the church of St. Mary, Plympton:
23 Aug 1858 John Tapson Full Bachelor Accountant
Parish of Charles, Plymouth (Father: Ebsworthy Tapson, Grocer)
Elizabeth Ann MacFarlane Full Widow
Plympton St. Mary (Father: Richard Hill, Gentleman) by Licence in the presence of Ebsworthy Tapson & Edmund Crese.
The births of two daughters were registered in Plymouth R.D.: Catherine Hill in 1859, Q2, and Annie Hill in 1860, Q3. The births of two more children were registered in the very large registrar’s district of St. Thomas, which covers the area around Exeter: John Richard Hill in 1862, Q2, and Rosa Hill in 1865, Q3. The family were back in the Plymouth area by the time of the 1871 census, when they were included in the return for Stoke Damerel (PRO RG10/2137 Fo. 5): at 4 Earls Acre, Milehouse Rd.
The family’s address is given more fully in THORNE’S THREE TOWNS’ DIRECTORY 1873, the three towns being Plymouth, East Stonehouse and Devonport (page 217); John’s name appears under Stoke and Morice Town:
Tapson John, accountant, Hill Field House, Alma Place, Earl’s Acre, Stoke
John is also listed at the same address in the Court section of Kelly’s 1873 directory for Devonshire.
Rosa Hill died in 1878 and was buried in Ford Park Cemetery:
16 Mar 1878 Rosa Hill Tapson 6 Albert Road, Plymouth (St. Andrew) 12 2 / 3 yrs
And Catherine Hill married John Foot in 1879, Q4 (Plymouth R.D.). Elizabeth and her unmarried daughter, Annie Hill, appear in the 1881 census for Plymouth St. Andrew (PRO RG11/2199 Fo. 116): at 2 Alvington Place.
Annie Hill had a Christmas Day wedding in the Plymouth church of St. Andrew:
25 Dec 1883 Charles Henry Mullard 28 Bachelor Accountant
3 Alvington Place (Father: William Mullard, Commercial Traveller)
Annie Hill Tapson 22 Spinster
26 Cambridge Road, Ford (Father: John Tapson. Mason) by Sup 1 Reg s Certificate in the presence of Ann Mullard & William Peter Henry White
It is strange that John should be described as a Mason in this marriage entry.
The Will of John Tapson dated 17 November 1896
This is the last Will and Testament of me John Tapson of N° 3 Hobart Terrace Plymouth Manager of the Bedford Brewery there. I give unto my Daughter Catherine Hill Foot my household goods and furniture and to my Son John Richard Hill Tapson I give my gold Watch and chain and as respects my freehold house and premises in Young’s Terrace Compton Gifford my monies shares in Public or other Companies bonds and all such real and residuary personal estate as I may die seized or possessed of I give and devise the same unto my Executrix hereinafter named Upon trust to sell and reduce into money such parts as shall not consist of money and to divide the net proceeds and my monies equally between herself the said Catherine Hill Foot my Daughter Annie Hill Mullard and my Son John Richard Hill Tapson in equal shares as tenants in common. I appoint my said Daughter Catherine Hill Foot to be the sole Executrix of this my Will. In witness whereof / have to this my last Will set my hand this seventeenth day of November One thousand eight hundred and ninety six
John died at Plymouth on 21 December 1896; his age was correctly given as 64. He was buried at Ford Park Cemetery:
24 Dec 1896 John Tapson 3 Hobart Terrace Plymouth (Charles) 64
Probate of John’s will was granted on 22 January 1897 to Catherine Hill Foot (Wife of John Foot), his effects being valued at £787 – 9 – 8.
It comes as a surprise that no mention was made of his wife, Elizabeth Ann, in John’s will; her death had not been registered when the will was written, and the only death subsequently registered which could possibly refer to her was in 1904, Q4 (Islington R.D.), when an Elizabeth Ann died at the age of 83, which is reasonably consistent with the age given for John’s wife in the census returns. In view of the fact that she was not with John at the time of the 1881 census (no trace of him or of his son, John Richard Hill, at that date has so far been found), one suspects that there may have been a breakdown in the marriage.
John Richard Hill also seems to have moved to the London area, for the marriage of a John Richard H. Tapson was registered in 1897, Q2 (West Ham R.D.) The death was registered (also West Ham R.D.) in 1904, Q3, of a Lydia Tapson, Aged 40, presumably John Richard Hill’s wife; he would have been 42 years old at the time. Two years later, in 1906, Q4, another marriage was registered (St. George, Hanover Square R.D.) of a John Richard H. Tapson; this would seem to have been John Richard Hill’s second marriage. There do not appear to have been any children of the first marriage; certainly no birth was registered in the West Ham R.D. during the period of that marriage.