The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Visit to Bovisand and Plymstock 3 May 2001

Saunders/Neville Family

In reviewing the website's Photo Album in the Summer of 2020, I felt that I wanted to add details of our visit to Bovisand and Plymstock in May 2001.

In 1852, Henry Saunderes was transfered from the Coastguard Station at Atherton on the Isle of Wight to Bovisand Station, where he was Chief Officer.

On our visit, I obtained the booklet "Bovisand: Once a Fort now an Underwater Centre" by Arthur Clamp. The booklet has an aerial view of the headland showing Staddon Height Battery and the larger Fort Bovisand . The Coastguard Cottages are shown in the top right corner:

Fort Bovisand

Guns were needed to protect Plymouth Dockyard from the French Navy (they were never needed!). Fort Bovisand's guns were to cover the Eastern End Entrance to Plymouth Sound.

Coastguard Cottages, Bovisand

The booklet has a photo of the Coastguard Cottages on the left:

I also obtained a separate photo taken across Bovisand Bay from the car park we used:


In 1861, the Census shows Henry & Ann Saunders and their 2 children Francis and Charles living in Plymstock. A map shows Plymstock (in yellow) in relation to Bovisand. Plymouth Sound is in the top left corner:

Tragedy befalls Family

I had not realised the extent of the tragedy that befell the family. I knew that Henry Saunders died in Turnchapel, Plymstock in 1867 (age 56) and his son Francis died there in 1869 (age 28).

I had never been able to trace either Ann or Charles in the 1871 Census.

Using an Ancestry search, I found an entry for a death in Jan-March 1868 of an Ann Saunders (age 57) in Plympton. Disease must have been rife.

After 3 deaths in 1867, 1868 and 1869, of the family it just left Charles my great grandfather.

He was apprenticed in London in 1863-1866 and married in Plaistow in 1876 but his whereabouts in 1871 are still unknown. Perhaps he was at sea.

Colin Bower
21 August 2020

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