Church Hill, Chudleigh, at the turn of the twentieth century.
Richard Haydon's father, Thomas, moved from Bradninch on the other side of Exeter, Devon, to Chudleigh, sometime between 1851 and 1861 according to England censuses.
In 1861, Thomas was 26 years old, married to Sarah Haydon (nee Ellis) and was living on Exeter Street with their one year old son, William. Sarah's sister, Jessie, rounded out the household. Thomas had been a shoemaker apprentice in Bradninch in 1851 but by 1861 was employed as a gardener in Chudleigh.
Richard was born two years later in 1863, being joined by younger siblings John, Elenor, Peter, and Ann in subsequent years. After basic schooling along with his brothers and sisters, Richard took up a carpentry apprenticeship.
Chudleigh was a small market town that had relied on the wool trade for its livelihood. When the wool trade declined as the demand for substitute fibres such as cotton increased during the industrial revolution, Chudleigh experienced a loss in trade and the population fell from around 2,400 in 1841 to 2108 in 1861.
With the prospects for improving one's standard of living in traditional trades in Chudleigh looking uncertain, one can speculate that a young, unmarried carpenter's imagination and ambition were receptive to the sales pitch of agents seeking new emigrants for Australasia. Thus, in early August 1883, Richard Haydon embarked upon a long voyage to better his circumstances by settling in New Zealand.
But Richard Haydon was never to forget his home town, years later naming his house in Clarence Road, Christchurch, New Zealand, "Chudleigh".