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British Industrial History

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Richard March

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Manufacturer of Barnstaple

1780 November 1st. Married at Barnstaple to Mary Colley

1781 December 5th. Baptism of daughter Mary at Barnstaple

1783 July 30th. Baptism of son James Colley March at Barnstaple

1785 March 3rd. Baptism of daughter Susannah at Barnstaple

1786 August 16th. Baptism of son Samuel March at Barnstaple

1788 October 6th. Baptism of daughter Elizabeth at Barnstaple

1791 December 14th. Baptism of son Henry March at Barnstaple

1791 December 14th. Baptism of son Thomas March at Barnstaple

1794 April 30th. Baptism of son Charles March at Barnstaple

1795 August 27th. Baptism of daughter Catherine at Barnstaple

1797 Letter regarding the growing of grapes. The grapery was built in 1790. Richard March of Barnstaple. [1]

1804 Patent. Richard March and Josiah Crane, hosiers of Barnstaple, for improvements double-seaming and uniting the insides of stocking-net work, so as to make the same one compact and elastic body for cutting into any shape.[2]

1879 Catherine Morrace, the last surviving of the 21 children of Richard March of Barnstaple died aged 83. [3]


1896 Letters to the North Devon Journal[4]

AN EARLY HORSELESS CARRIAGE. Sir, — Will you find space for a recollection of the early part of this century brought to mind the introduction of motor-cars?

I cannot remember the year, but before the days of railways, a Mr. March, residing at Barnstaple, and of a mechanical turn of mind, invented a horseless carriage. The said carriage was tried and did very well for a time, but stopped half-way up Sticklepath-hill! Probably very few now living besides myself can recall this incident, but many in Barnstaple may remember Mr. March's son - a clever doctor.

I remain, yours faithfully, CAROLINE BREMRIDGE. Spring Gardens, Sidmouth, November 17th 1896


AN EARLY HORSELESS CARRIAGE. Sir, - I was much interested in the letter under this heading which appeared in your issue of the 19th inst, and I hope that further particulars of March's steam carriage will be forthcoming, together with some of the inventor himself. He does not appear to have taken out a patent for his invention, though the name of March appears amongst Devonian patentees. Thus Richard March, of Barnstaple, who is described as a manufacturer, took out two patents in 1792 (Nos. 1904 and 1911) for improvements in churns.

In 1804, in conjunction with Josiah Crane, hosier, also of Barnstaple, he patented an improvements double-seaming and uniting the insides of stocking-net work, so as to make the same one compact and elastic body for cutting into any shape and converting into articles of hosiery and wearing apparel. The number of this patent is 2,755, and the inventor described as a hosier.

Prior to these dates patents were granted to Richard March, of the parish of St. Clement, Danes, London, who carried on the business of a hosier, in the years 1771 (No. 991), 1778 (No. 1,186). 1779 (No. 1,236), and 1784 (No. 1,445) for various improvements connected with knitting, spinning, &c. I am unable to say positively whether these persons are identical, though it is not unlikely, March may have removed from London to Barnstaple.

In 1841 James Colley March, surgeon, of Barnstaple, obtained patent (No. 8,979) for improvement in boiler furnaces, the fuel being lighted from the top and combustion kept jets of air directed from above. A short description of the invention given in the Mechanic's Magazine, for December 18th, 1841 (vol. 35, p. 492). This is, I suppose, the gentleman alluded to by your correspondent. Perhaps he may be inclined to give some information about the inventions of the March family.

Your obedient servant, HISTORICUS. London, Nov. 20, 1896.



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Repertory of Arts, Manufactures, and Agriculture. Volume 7.
  2. 1804 The Annual Register
  3. North Devon Journal - Thursday 03 April 1879
  4. North Devon Journal - Thursday 26 November 1896