CAPTAIN JOHN MAINE
Captain John Maine of Bideford, mariner and “minister of the gospel” was the owner’s great-great-great grandfather. His portrait hangs in the cottage. In 1802 he married Frances Bowen, the daughter of a Bideford hatter. They had nine children together, all of whom were baptised at the Great Independent Meeting House in Bridgeland Street, Bideford. One of them, also Frances, lived in Bideford until her late nineties, spanning most of the nineteenth century.
In 1803 Captain Maine and nine others set up a Congregational chapel in Castle Street, Torrington. At that time it would have been called an Independent chapel.
As a ship's captain much of his career coincided with the war with France, which may well have hampered his ability to trade, giving him more time to devote to his secondary career as a minister. He died, probably of cholera, on a trip to London in 1832. He death was registered at St Lawrence's, Shoreditch.
The family’s long seafaring tradition continued with his son Robert Maine, who became a “Cape Horner” travelling to South America for copper, with the ships the Serena, the Minstrel Boy and the Emma (built in Appledore in 1839). The Minstrel Boy was seriously damaged in a storm off Valparaiso in Chile in 1842.
The gravestone of Captain Maine's parents, Robert and Frances Maine, both born in the 1730s, sits against the wall of St Mary’s Church, Bideford, at the edge of the car park.
The view from The Beaver pub and the Royal George, one imagines, cannot have changed very much since Captain Maine prepared to cross Bideford bar on his way out to sea.