Since last post on this thread, I've followed your suggestions. Tracked down the Mare family.
However, I'm now wondering if Richard was the son of Dr William May (b 1764 in East Looe to Samuel and Joan May - only son - died in Dittisham Feb 1827).
William was apprenticed to Dr John Rice and studied in Leiden (Netherlands). He practised in Plymouth in 1792 and published "Essay on Pulmonary Consumption".
I'm trying to find out if he stayed as a Doctor in Plymouth.
A record at the Royal College of Physicians covers that part of the picture.
If he stayed in Devon, it's unlikely he is Richard's father, but he may have gone to London. Were rate books kept back then? Would they show whether he had premises in Plymouth?
There is one record of a marriage of a William May to an Elizabeth Husk in 1792. She doesn't seem to be a local although she is described as "being of this parish". He might have met her when working briefly in London before coming to Plymouth.
Were there any newspapers covering that period that might mention him?
William's father, Samuel, only left him a shilling in his will and left everything to his daughter's children (one was a Henry John Rice Elworthy) This may be because Samuel thought he had enough money of his own, or they had become estranged.
Suggestions of where to look would be welcome. I gather there is no headstone for Dr William May in Dittisham.
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