Richard Underdowne was baptized on the 5th November 1640 in Ottery St Mary to parents Thomas and Sellinger Underdowne (nee Adam). He was their third son and third child. His older siblings were Thomas and Edmond.
During the Civil War, the cities of Devon largely favoured the Parliamentarian cause, and by and large the rural areas favoured the Royalists. Richard Underdowne (b 1640) was a child during this time and it is unknown who his family supported. There was a great desire for peace in the region and, in 1643 a treaty for the cessation of hostilities in Devon and Cornwall was agreed. Only small-scale skirmishes continued until the capture of Dartmouth and Exeter in 1646 by Sir Thomas Fairfax. He then captured Tiverton and defeated Lord Hopeton’s army at Torrington.
Oliver Cromwell held his army in Ottery St Mary for about a month at the end of 1645. Richard was 5 years old at this time and may have been witness to this event.
During the Civil War and its aftermath, parish records were poorly kept and many are now missing after being destroyed or hidden by the clergy. During 1653–1660 the registering of births, marriages and deaths was taken over by civil officers (called Parish Registers), but the registers were returned to the churches following the Restoration in 1660. As a result, records for this time period are mostly missing or non-existent. It is very difficult to determine births, deaths and marriages during this period.
As a result, it is currently unknown who (and if) Richard Underdowne married and had children. The location and timing of his death is also unknown.