ABOVE: Nymet Rowland woodland.
It looks like the Devon researcher has confirmation of the Cann connection in Nymet Rowland for the mother of Elizabeth Mashford Lewis Atkins.
This takes us no further toward explaining the family story of Elizabeth being a 'Lady' with noble parentage on her father's side but it does take us a step closer in tracing the family tree.
John and Mary Cann, as recorded in the Nymet Rowland records, which is a very tiny parish (pic of church below) it seems, with well kept records, had the following children:
Mary baptised 20 August 1798 who marries John Mashford and who we think is the mother of great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Mashford Lewis Atkins;
Stephen baptised 27 April 1800 -whose signature is on his sister's marriage certificate to John Mashford as witness - and
William baptised 31 March 1802.
We still have no death records for Mary Cann Mashford despite having traced them for most of her children. She seems to have disappeared after landing in South Australia in 1847.
She may well have re-married and changed her name and died in South Australia and if the children did not post death notices for her, there is no way of tracing her. She may also have moved to New Zealand with Jane but that is an avenue I have not yet pursued.
But clearly, my thought that the illegitimacy and 'noble links' may have belonged to Mary Cann Mashford have been disproved. Which leaves us pretty much nowhere in terms of putting that family story/myth to rest but it does leave us more advanced in terms of tracing the family lineage.
In terms of where the 'May' name fits, as with George May Mashford, we have no clue other than a suggestion by the researcher that it may have been the surname of a god-parent, a May family being resident in the area at the time.