Ancestral Searches

Looking towards The Old Vicarage from the A30

Are you researching a family history which has connections to Yarcombe?  We can post your enquiry on this page (no fee).   Many local residents have an interest in the history of our village and may be able to help.  All enquiries are welcome, as is any historical information about our village and its past residents.  Please send details, including any photographs by email to the Administrator.  Kindly inform us of any communication and/or findings so that we may follow and document your progress.   Thank you.   Helpers:   Click on photographs to enlarge in a separate window.   To reply, click on (the first occurrence of) an enquirer's name.

Useful reading: Burials at Yarcombe Church, our History and World Wars pages and The Value of Manor Court Rolls in Family Research.   The History page also shows how to obtain a copy of Ruth Everitt's publication From Monks To The Millennium - A History Of Yarcombe.   For those with plenty of spare time, several historical items can be found on back-issues of our village magazine on our Yarcombe Voices page.

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Ancestral Search 98



June 2024

I am so excited to have discovered the Yarcombe website.   I will have questions to post but in the meantime I would love a copy of the book ‘From Monks to the Millennium’.    Here is one question you may be able to answer – is Sheafhayne Manor the same place as Clifthayne Manor? Alyson Cowlishaw

Miranda Gudenian replies:   I am delighted you have discovered the village website and the fascinating Ancestral Searches section.   To answer your query: Sheafhayne Manor is not the same place as Clifthayne. Sheafhayne is the Manor House near the river Yarty, owned by the Meyrick family, descendants of the Drake family who have owned the Yarcombe Estate since the 16th century.   Clifthayne is a property which is several hundred years old and in the 18th century was acquired by the Yarcombe Estate which today still owns much of the land in the Parish.   (I trust this is correct but I am copying in the village historian, Steve Horner, just in case!).

Regarding the book ‘From Monks to the Millennium’, its author, Ruth Everitt, was a close friend of mine and when she died her family gave me the copyright of the book to raise funds to support the non-profit-making village magazine, Yarcombe Voices, which I produce.   For a donation to the magazine I can send you the PDF of the book.

Steve Horner adds:   I am looking forward to receiving you questions about Clifthayne, the land of my farm Woodhayne at one time abutted the land of Clifthayne and we are close neighbours, both farms  were acquired by the Sheafhayne estate at about the same time circa 1800.   Thus your questions may reveal more about the history of our parish.

Alyson Cowlishaw writes:   I decided not to bombard you with questions all at once so here is the first instalment!   My family research has brought me to Yarcombe, to the marriage in 1765 of John Vincent (yeoman) and Hannah Beer (widow, nee Hayman).  Hannah signed herself Anna and the witnesses were Edward & Josiah Hayman.   Hannah had previously married Henry Beer in 1755 and again signed herself Anna, and one of the witnesses was Edward Hayman.  They had 3 sons between 1756 & 1760 and in each case the mother’s name was recorded as Hanna. Henry died in 1761.  With John, Hannah had 5 or 6 children, the last possibly in 1774. (More of this next time.)  The only birth record for a Hannah/Anna Hayman of the right age that I have found was in 1733 in Clyst Honiton, to a John & Mary, who also had a son Edward in 1738. I can find no record for Josiah.   So, can I assume this is the correct Hannah and who and where is Josiah?

Miranda Gudenian responds:   Steve is of course the one to answer this query.  However, may I ask whether the birth record for Anna/Hannah Hayman is listed as Hannah or Anna?  It’s only that she signed her name, twice, as Anna.  It was not uncommon for an ‘h’ to be added to such names as Anna by those who were taking it down for a register or whatever; the good folk of days gone by often got their ‘haitches’ in a muddle!

Alyson Cowlishaw writes:   Sorry for the confusion.  It was Hannah.  Unfortunately I have just discovered that Edward, Hannah and their mother Mary were all buried in early 1741, so that’s literally a dead end!

Steve Horner replies:   
Not necessarily!   Have you used the Yarcombe Burial Records?   For some reason my file is corrupt, however from another source I know Henry Beer was buried in Yarcombe 26th July 1761.   Vincent is certainly a well known local name although it’s the first time Hayman has come up.   Where were Edward Hannah and her Mother Mary buried?   Its your connection with Yarcombe that I am anxious to follow up, particularly Clifthayne.

Alyson Cowlishaw writes:   I am accessing a Yarcombe register via FindMyPast which covers: Marriages 1539-1754, Burials 1539-1593 & 1598-1810 and Baptisms 1545-1812. However, there is a gap in the Marriages between July 1657 and Dec 1661, which is important later or rather earlier in the Vincent story.   Edward Hayman was buried 22 Aug 1741, Mary 31 Jan 1742 & Hannah 5 Feb 1742 all in Clyst Honiton.   To put you out of your misery, the only information I have about Clifthayne is in the attached document, which I also found online, but was prepared, as you’ll see, with information held at the Devon Records Office.   Hope that helps. More on the Vincents later.

Steve Horner replies:    From a local history point of view the information you have provided about Clifthayne is most helpful, I assume this document was compiled for your by a researcher in the Devon Records Office.   It does confirm at the end of the 18th Century Clifthayne was in the hands of John Willie who at about that time also “owned” Woodhayne where I now live.   The Willie family were in fact base in the parish of the adjacent parish of Otterford.   I look forward to receiving more information about the Vincent family who are clearly embedded in the history of our Parish.

Alyson Cowlishaw adds:   Back on the Vincent trail.  John and Hannah Vincent, married 12 Feb 1765, had Benjamin (1765), John (1766), Hannah (1768), William (1772 – my direct ancestor), Samuel (1774). All of these children are mentioned in John’s will, written in 1807 (attached). However, he also mentions a son James, who I cannot find, and a daughter Martha.   Places mentioned in John’s will are: a leasehold estate called Simpson’s Court, Thurlbear, Somerset, a leasehold cottage garden orchard called Little Donnington (Dinnington?) and Broach? Tenements in Yarcombe.

I am fairly certain that John was married before, to an Elizabeth Clark on 23 Feb 1748. They were both recorded as being ‘of Yarcombe’ but married in Combe Raleigh, possibly because she was 6 months pregnant with daughter, Martha, baptised 22 May 1748 in Yarcombe. Elizabeth died in 1763.   From here on, I am in best guess territory, so if anyone can shed any light I’d be most grateful.  I will list things as if they are correct.  Everything takes place in Yarcombe unless stated otherwise.

In view of John’s earlier marriage and the fact that John & Hannah named their first son Benjamin, I am assuming that this is the John Vincent baptised on 1 Oct 1727 to Benjamin Vincent and Rachel Denman.   Benjamin Vincent and Rachel Denman were married in Pitminster on 21 Sep 1725 (he listed as from Yarcombe). Their children were: John (1727), Benjamin (1729), Sarah (1732), Martha (1735) and Henry (1739). Most likely candidates for Benjamin’s parents are James Vincent & Prudence Dare.   Have not found a marriage record for James & Prudence but they had the following children; James (1680), Prudence (1682), Sara (1685), Joan (1687), Elizabeth (1689), Ann (1691), John (1694), Martha (1697) and Benjamin 5 Feb 1701.   James could be the son of Robert Vincent & Jane Way who were married on 27 Nov 1625 and had 6 or 7 children between 1626 & 1646, James being the 5th in 1637. However, this would make him 64 years old when Benjamin was born.   There was a Robert baptised in 1587, but back that far, the record does not include parent’s names!   So, that’s about it for the Vincents, next episode – the Dares.

Peter Tarrant comments:   There are over 60 previous occurrences of the Vincent name, in Ancestral Searches: 5, 7, 10, 22, 24, 47, 50, 54, 58, 67 & 94 (which may possibly help you avoid too much duplication here!)






Ancestral Search 97



April 2024

I have been researching through and although this line of the family has been relatively easy, there are a few gaps!   I have primarily been researching my maternal grandmother’s lineage through previous grandparents; see spreadsheet if interested.   I am relatively confident regarding dates and names but would like to know a little bit more about their lives and Yarcombe appears to have been the centre of the family’s universe.   We have spent a few hours visiting graveyards and trying to locate graves but with limited success, realising that folk aren’t always buried where they died and many have not had headstones at all!       Best wishes,    Jasek Szymanski

Steve Horner replies:   Very many thanks for your enquiry and of course your spread sheet.   I had a quick Look at our burial records Burials at Yarcombe Church.   Certainly your Glade family feature EG Wial Glade Buried 29th November 1863.   These records are we believe accurate and provide additional information for you.   Sadly the local stone from which grace stones are carved is soft and over the years has eroded.   Also it is well worth looking at other ancestral searches on this site where there are obvious connections to your family eg Knight.   There are obvious read cross references to other families in the area, eg the Willie family of Otterford that adjacent parish in Somerset once owned the farm where i now live.   Try working our burial records and i feel certain you will find many more local connections.   It is also worthwhile purchasing an electronic copy of a local book From Monks to the Millennium written by Ruth Everitt which contains four detailed records of the Glade family.   Good hunting, please keep us updated on any further connections of your family to Yarcombe.

Jasek  Szymanski responds:   Thanks, that's really helpful.   Are there any living Glades left in the area?

Steve Horner replies:   I am pleased that I could assist you, as far as I am aware there are no Glades dwelling hereabouts.   Your tree does include some very important relationships between our local families and in due course I would appreciate any further information that comes to hand.





Ancestral Search 96



March 2024

The Knight family of Yarcombe:   My gx3-grandmother was Ann Stone, née Knight, who was born in 1790 in Yarcombe to Joel & Elizabeth, née Spiller.   John Stone and Ann Knight eloped and were married in Heavitree, Exeter.

The Knight family goes back to at least the 16th century in Yarcombe.   I have read Jane Chislett’s excellent dissertation but I would be grateful for any more info about the family.  I did some research several years ago at the DRO but one thing I wasn’t able to find at the time was the 1826 conveyance of Globe Farm to Ann Stone and John Knight mentioned in Ruth Everitt’s Monks to Millennium.   Mike Morris






Ancestral Search 95



March 2024

My gx3-grandfather was John Stone, sometime landlord of the Globe (now Flintlock) at Marsh.   He was also a contractor who built the bridge at Burrowbridge (1826) and widened Dulverton bridge (1819), both of which bear inscriptions to John Stone of Yarcombe.   He also built Crawley bridge (A30, about 1819) and Marsh bridge north of Dulverton.   He had other projects for turnpikes and railways.   One of his bridges was Longlie Common bridge which was, according to a relative, now deceased, swept away by floods sometime before 1991.   I am guessing it was under the now A303 at Marsh but I cannot find any evidence of its location, nor the date of its destruction – can anyone help me find the details, please?   Regards,    Mike Morris   Oxfordshire

Steve Horner replies:   I was delighted to read your enquiry about the great flood of 1968 which provides us with some detail of the construction work carried out in this area by your great Grandfather x 3.   In fact the bridge you mention was washed out on 10th July 1968 when a huge storm wreaked havoc in East Devon, the cut hay was lying in the meadows and washed down stream and blocked the bridge, creating a dam which then broke.   The exact spot, on the A303  is at the eastern end of the short stretch of dual carriageway that now by-passes the village of Marsh where a new bridge has been constructed over the river Yarty close to the Devon Somerset border.

In Ruth Everitt’ s history of Yarcombe, ”From Monks to the Millennium” I read:
This Inn,  now the Flintlock formerly the Globe started as an Ale House ie a farm house with one room set aside for serving and drinking Ale.   It was first mentioned by name “The Globe Inn” in 1808 when John Stone was the landlord and surety was provided by James Sparke.  The farm was part of the Marsh Farm estate and was shown in a conveyance of 1826 as being in fee (absolute legal possession) of John Knight and Ann, wife of John Stone, for 2000 years.

A Highways Surveyors report of 1839 lists John Stone (junior) at the Glebe(sic) farm and Marsh hill and John Stone snr at Marsh House and shop.

The Main source of Ruth`s information was the Devon County Records office in Exeter where the above source documents may be found.   I hope this is helpful to you, I would very much like to write a short article about John Stone and his construction activities and if you have any further information particularly about Crawley Bridge which is now only wide enough for one car on a trunk road I would be most grateful to receive this.

Mike Morris responds:   Thank you for your quick response and for the info I was seeking.   I did most of my FH research relevant to the Yarcombe area some years ago and found most of the sources at the DRO.   The one thing I wasn’t able to find at the time was the conveyance mentioned in Ruth Everitt’s book naming Ann Stone, née Knight.   John Stone and Ann Knight had eloped and were married in Heavitree, Exeter.   I spent a lot of time subsequently trying to trace John Stone’s origins but I would love to hear from anyone who knows more about Ann Knight’s family. (Father Joel Knight 1751-1837, grandfather Benjamine Knight 1715-1789. Spillers and Sparkes among other names.)

I have recently made contact with a second cousin and we are currently trying to merge our various bits of John Stone’s story.

Steve Horner adds:   We may be able to help you in your research into the Knight family.   At the top of this page there is a link to The Value of Manor Court Rolls in Family Research.   Therein you will find a Knight family pedigree in the 16th and 17th century.   I suspect it will be possible to link this to your Ann Stone nee Knight.   This work was carried out by Jane Chislett who is most helpful and supportive.   I have copied Jane who may be able to help further.   Please keep us in copy with your fascinating insight into our local history.

Mike Morris replies:   Thank you so much for the link to Jane Chislett’s Diploma dissertation.   I’ve read it through and think I can match my ancestors up with 3 generations on her Knight family tree, though I am then descended from a branch that she mentions but didn’t pursue.   She has gone back a further 2 generations which are new to me so I am well pleased!   I need to go through it again and crosscheck my notes as I go and enter the new details.   I understand that the Knights were not her family but a friend’s.   Perhaps I should post another request specifically for information on the Knight family?

Steve Horner adds:   Always pleased to help!    Yes please lets set up a slot for the Knight family, if you can send through any relevant information our web master Peter Tarrant will make the necessary entries.

Peter Tarrant comments:   See Ancestral Search 96, Ancestral Search 77 and Ancestral Search 91 for further information from Mike.

Mike Morris asks:   Does anyone have a photograph of the old Longlie Common bridge that they would be willing to scan and send me, please?   Any lead to any picture of it would be much appreciated.





Ancestral Search 94



February 2024

I am currently researching my Vincent family tree, which has led me back to Yarcombe.   Finding your website tremendously interesting, I’m keen to read Ruth Everitt’s book From Monks to the Millennium.   Best Wishes,    Peter Vincent

Miranda Gudenian replies:   Thank you for your message and I’m so glad you are enjoying the village website.  ‘From Monks to the Millennium’ was written by my beloved friend and neighbour Ruth and on her death her family gave the copyright to me, to raise money to support the non-profit-making village magazine, Yarcombe Voices, which I produce.  For a donation to the magazine I can send you the PDF of the book.

Peter Vincent responds:   Book received, and it's looking very interesting - so detailed!   I don't expect it to solve the mysteries which have cropped up during my Vincent family tree research, but it ought to help me to get a better feel for the area, its people, and the way things were done way back.   My family line seems to lead back to Samuel Vincent farming at Graddage (which I assume to be Graddage Farm in Clayhidon), married in Church Stanton (part of Upottery?), and his eldest son Henry born in Blagdon near Pitminster. Samuel's father seems to also have been a farmer called Samuel, potentially born in Yarcombe and married / resident in Upottery. I can't help wondering if this father and son duo may perhaps be the Church Stanton pair of Samuel Vincents associated with the building of Yarcombe baptist church - there does seem to be an element of religious non-conformity in subsequence generations.   It's all tenuous and circumstantial of course, but I'm enjoying the thrill of the chase!  :) 

Thanks very much for you help - I look forward to reading the book.




Ancestral Search 93



February 2024

Hi there, Samuel Pyke (of Upottery born 1686) is my 6th great grandfather.   His great grandson was James Brook Lee Pike who was adopted by the Honorable Sophia Fortescue, spinster, of Castle Hill, Devon.   I’d love to find out more about this branch of the family and go back further than Samuel Pyke, whose father I cannot find.     Gillian Hornzee

Peter Tarrant comments:   There are references to Pyke/Pykes on this web page In Ancestral Search 68.

Steve Horner replies:   Many thanks for this enquiry, we are always pleased to help wherever possible.   In return we do hope you can provide our site with more information about your own tree that will help others in future.   It is always difficult to pick up a distant ancestor with so few details that you have provided to us.   Can you give me the names of all your direct ancestors that can give me clues to follow please.   May i also enquire the reason that there may be some link to Yarcombe?   I suspect Samuel Pike was baptised on 5th April 1686 and was married to Joanne Ashford on 1st January 1714.   His father may have been John Pike.   Please confirm I am on the right rack.

Gillian Hornzee responds:   The reason that I thought there was some link to Yarcombe was that Yarcombe has many Pikes/Pykes and is the next parish to Upottery where Samuel Pyke was born.   However I have no other information to go on.   Samuel Pyke’s son, I think, was Thomas Pyke, born in Ottery st Mary in 1725 and I also had Joanne (nee Ashford) 1687-1744, as Samuel Pyke’s wife, so I think it is the same person.   Let me know if you find anything else.   Thanks so much for your help.

Gillian Hornzee adds:   Looking at the parish records listed on your website (some details missing) I wonder if Rich Pike (b 1690) and Julian Pike (b 1696) were Samuel Pyke’s brothers?   There’s also.John Pike listed with a date of 1568 (not sure if that is his birth date)? 

Steve Horner replies:   All the information on our website is gleaned from others, why not look at Burials at Yarcombe Church, you may find more clues there.   Also why not contact the correspondent for Ancestral Search 68?   We really would be grateful if you would come back to us with any other information you may uncover.   I still think you should follow up the lead that Samuel Pike`s father was John.   Good hunting.

Steve Horner adds:   Here is your link to Yarcombe which I extracted from Yarcombe Burials although the date of death does not match your previous suggestion for Joanne (nee Ashford) 1687-1744.   Your thoughts would be appreciated:     Joane   Pyke   8 JUL 1722   F   1722







Ancestral Search 92



January 2024

I’m at the early stages of researching my family and have just come across your amazing website.

As far as census records can help I’ve established that my great grandfather (on my mother’s side) - Mark Wiscombe - had a carpenters shop either in Marsh or Yarcombe in the 1860s and was also a wheelwright and coach & wagon builder.   I believe his own father (William Wiscombe) may have started this business.   There also seems to be a link somewhere with Sherborne where he may have lived previously.

Mark appears to have married a Jane Turner from Stockland in the 1860s with whom he had several children including Alben (my grandfather) - born in 1869 who went on to establish A & F Wiscombe (Builders) in Lyme Regis where he was also mayor for several years in the early 1900s.

Mark was born around 1805.

Specifically, I would appreciate any help you can offer with the following:


Exactly where was the carpenters shop?
Any old maps of Marsh or Yarcombe?
What the link with Sherborne was.
How did he come to move to Lyme Regis?
Any link with Wiscombe Park at Southleigh?
Anything else you consider relevant!

Many thanks,    Nick Raison

Peter Tarrant replies:   There are references to Wiscombe in Ancestral Search 23 and 37.

Steve Horner replies:   Nick, I hope the following information will set you on the trail of your ancestors. Mark Wiscombe was born 22nd June 1842 in Yarcombe.   His parents were William, 1808-1892 and Mary Ann Knight, 1813-1882. He married Jane Turner in Stockland in 1860.   In 1861 the family were living in Chapel Yard Yarcombe.   From the way the Census was composed it is almost certain this was part of the group of buildings adjacent to the Baptist Church which is situated on the A30 just above Crawley Bridge. 

At that time the family are recorded as: William Wiscombe aged 57, Farm Labourer;  Mary Wiscombe, 47; Mark, 19, Carpenter;  Rose, 16;  Joseph, 10; & James, 7. 

In the 1871 census Mark and his family had moved to Greenhill Stockland:  Mark, 28, Wheelwright;  Jane, 30;  Lucy, 9, born Stockland;  Walther, 5, born Stockland;  Alben, 2,  born Sherborne;  Frank, 3 mths, born Sherborne.   From this we can deduce Mark was a skilled craftsman who moved around to find work. 

Mark died 5th February 1890 and is buried in Lyme Regis.   My guess would be he moved with his family to Lyme Regis again in search of work, Lyme being a port of some importance at that time.   I can be almost categoric in stating there is no connection with Wiscombe Park. I hope this helps, there is certainly information on the web to help you go back further in time.

Nick Raison responds:   Thank you so much for taking the time to enlighten me.   It has helped enormously to have confirmation of my research so far, as a result of which I think I’m on much firmer ground.   I’m guessing that although Mark was a craftsman, most towns & villages at that time would have had their own forges/blacksmiths & wheelwrights, so he probably had little option but to look further afield. I’m also guessing that Sherborne was one of the larger towns where his skills may have been in demand.   Any particular reason for your certainty about a Wiscombe Park link??

Steve Horner replies:   It's a pleasure to be able to help you, please keep us informed of any further links you may find to Yarcombe.   I am never convinced there is a direct link between a surname and a place name unless it's back in the mists of time pre-1500.   From memory Wiscombe Park is a grand Victorian mansion that was built with Iron Founders' money. 

Nick Raison responds:   In your initial reply to my post you mentioned that the 1871 census showed that Mark (presumably with his family) had moved to Greenhill. Do you know or do your records show where this is and if it is - or was - a property or just a general area?   Any clarification appreciated. 

Steve Horner replies:   My apologies.   The 1871 census shows Mark and his family living in Greenhill Sherborne Dorset about 15 miles east of Yarcombe with his wife Jane, Lucy 9 born Stockland, Walter 5 born Stockland, Alban 2 born Stockland, and Frank aged 3 months born Sherborne.

The 1881 census shows he had moved back to Yarcombe and was living in the hamlet of Marsh with Alban 12 born Sherborne, Frank 10 born Sherborne, Lilly 7 born Sherborne, 5 born Yarcombe, Jessie 2 born Yarombe and Fred aged 5 months born Yarcombe.

From the above you can work out Mark and his family moved around this area.   I hope this helps.

Nick Raison comments:   Belated thanks for the clarification.   Mark seems to be more of a traveller than I thought … particularly lugging the whole family around with him.   I’m left wondering how he managed to be a wheelwright given such a nomadic lifestyle … or perhaps he was just a ‘jack of all trades’ as seems to have been the case with many people at the time trying to supplement meagre farm labour wages.   I’ve come across other articles suggesting that Nether Compton on the outskirts of Sherborne  seems to have been a bit of a training ground for wheelwrights & blacksmiths in the 1860s.




Ancestral Search 91



December 2023

I came across your fantastic website whilst researching my Spiller ancestors.   I was particularly taken by Ancestral Search 13, wherein Steve Horner describes the occupation of North Waterhayne Farm in the 17th century by Zachary Spiller and his family and also by Robert Spiller.   These are direct ancestors of mine on the maternal side of the family.   My grandmother was Elizabeth Spiller, born in South Shields on 16 October 1902.   She was the daughter of Oliver Jennings Spiller Jnr b 1858 at South Shields, and granddaughter of Oliver Jennings Spiller Snr b 1825 at Axmouth, Devon.   Oliver Jennings Spiller Snr was in the merchant navy and came to the north east in his twenties.   He obviously settled here and married Eleanor (Ellen) Mallaburn on 14 March 1854 at Christchurch, Tynemouth, Northumberland.   I have traced their ancestral line back to Robert Spiller, born May 1578 at Colyton, Devon who married one Margere Collier in 1604 at Yarcombe, and to his father John Spiller, born 1528 at Yarcombe – died 1582 at Yarcombe.

I was visiting near Exeter last week, with members of my family, and took the opportunity of visiting North Waterhayne Farm on the afternoon of 7th December with my son.   It was a very narrow window of opportunity to make the visit, and we had only a short time to spend as we had a flight to catch later that afternoon.   The weather was atrocious, with torrential rain and flooded roads, but undeterred, we found the farm and met the present tenant Jim.   What a splendid man he is!   He told us how the old house had accommodated evacuee children during the second world war and how the present tiled roof of the house had been erected directly on top of the thatched roof.

We then drove to Yarcombe and visited the wonderful church of St John the Baptist – again in torrential rain.   In the churchyard, just close to the side entrance of the church, my son Stephen spotted three headstones side by side of: Thomas Spiller, Robert Spiller and Robert Spiller.   We took photographs of the headstones and on returning home I did further research and found that the two Roberts were in fact father and son – both tenants of ‘Peterhayes Farm’ during the 19th century – they are both listed on various census returns.   The headstone of Thomas Spiller was difficult to read but I have since found a better and clearer image along with a transcription which someone fortuitously made some time ago.   Thomas was born in 1693 and died in 1783.   His wife was called Honor.   Thomas Spiller was the Great Grandfather and 2x Grt Grandfather of the two Roberts.   Although not direct ancestors of mine, they can be traced back to William Spiller (1614 -1663) and Joanne Warren (1617 -1658), both of Yarcombe, who are my direct ancestors and therefore there is a close family connection.

How truly wonderful to have been able to visit both a farm, where an ancestor once lived and worked, and a place (Yarcombe) where many of our Spiller ancestors also lived and worked.   All thanks to your superb website!   More power to your elbow!   Many thanks and very best regards,   Doug Oliver

Mike Morris
comments:   Hi Doug, I am just finding my way around the site but noticed your post mentioning William & Joanne Spiller who I believe are also my direct ancestors, although I only had a tentative date for Joanne’s burial.   The Spillers married into the Knights (in at least two generations) and Ann Knight then married John Stone, my maternal gx3 grandfather.   Mike Morris (see Ancestral Search 95)

Mike Morris




Ancestral Search 90



November 2023

Hello.   My name is Kevin Ford and I had ancestors in Yarcombe - I was wondering if you may have any information, I would find interesting?   My great, great, great grandfather, William Wright (b. 1801) was married to Mary (Raddon) Dommett in Offwell in 1839.   Their son, Thomas Wright (b. 1840 Offwell) married to Mary Hutchins was Farmer & Inn Keeper at the Yarcombe Inn.   The 1871 census shows his occupation as Bailiff.   The 1891 census shows address as: 6 Fore Street, Yarcombe.   1871 census shows William Gill living with them - we don't know who he was.

Thomas and Mary had 2 children: Harry (Henry) Wright b. 1870 and Cora Polly Wright b. 1877.   Harry moved away at some point in time and became Inn Keeper at the Railway Hotel, Stoke st. Gregory, Somerset.   He had 3 children including my grandmother, Lilian May Wright b. 1905 at Stoke St. Gregory.   Cora married Robert William Wyatt in 1903 in Yarcombe and the 1911 census shows them living at Hillhouse, Yarcombe (at that time my grandmother, Lilian May was also living with them - she was 6 years old - we don't know why, and my mother was never told this).    Hope you can help!   Kind regards, Kevin Ford

1871 Census William Wright Harry Wright
1891 Census Thomas Wright Robert Wyatt & Cora Polly Marriage
1911 Census Harry & Mary Anne Wright Robert Wyatt & Cora Polly
1911 Census Robert Wyatt & Cora Polly Thomas Wright Birth
Cora Polly Wright William Wright & Mary Raddon Marriage


Steve Horner replies:   Very many thanks for these fascinating additions to the history of our parish.   It would seem to me that your family history has been very well researched from William Wright born 1801, either by yourself or a close relative.   Clearly it is Thomas Wright who has a very close connection to Yarcombe.   In the 1881 census he was living with his wife Mary (nee Hutchins ) in the Yarcombe Inn with his children Harry and Cora Polly and his brother-in-law William Hutchins (widower) and niece Vida.   In the 1891 census he is recorded as living in Fore Street which as you will note from the Village Centre plan is a cottage just opposite the Yarcombe Inn.   In the 1901 and 1911 census he is back living in the Yarcombe Inn.   I feel certain you will have seen photos of this wonderful ancient building on our website.

You also mention Thomas' daughter Cora Polly b 1877 who married Robert Wyatt in 1903 and in the 1911 census you state they were living in Hill House Farm, although the census document does not state the name of the farm it is more than probably correct as the form does show the building had 10 rooms.   How do you know this name?   Probably family tradition perhaps?

Below are some historical details of Hill House Farm which you may find of interest.   This is taken from a most wonderful history of Yarcombe “From Monks to the Millennium“ written by Ruth Everitt an electronic copy of which may be purchased from Miranda Gudenian who is copied on this e-mail.

I hope these few details are helpful to you and I do hope you will continue to provide us with more details of your ancestors who lived in Yarcombe.



The first documented reference to this property was probably in the will of John Symes, dated 1620. In it he leaves his wife, Elline, Battenshowse (could this be Bartons house?) alias Hell (Hill) House. The household goods which would have presumably been at Battens house were:- “Household goods in chamber over hall, in hall, in the drinkehouse, in the shoppe tools of husbandry in loft, over entry, in bakehouse and farm stock”. There is no listing for either Battenshouse or Hill House in the 1727 Land Tax Survey, so the supposition may not be correct. Hill House was noted in the 1782 Land Tax Survey, when the occupier paid a tax of £2. 2s. 1d. and the Yarcombe Manor Estate obtained a long leasehold on the property from the Lord Bishop of Exeter. The tenant from 1798 -1810 was James Sparke. Hill House was subject to the Second Schedule of Tithes, which meant that the Corn, Grain and Pulse Tithes went to the Impropriator (i.e. The Yarcombe Manor Estate), the amount payable being deducted from the rent charged by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. By 1832 a considerable amount of land was added to Hill House as the Land Tax that the tenant Robert Spiller had to pay was £5. 1s. 6d. It was described in the Electoral Roll of 1832-3 as being a rented estate worth £50 per annum. The Census of 1851 shows Hill House as a holding of 104 acres, employing 3 labourers. The family (Hutchings) of eight also had two servants. In 1892 a well was dug by Evans at Hill House for which he was paid £3. Part of the land was sold by the Yarcombe Manor Estate in 1931 and the house and a small amount of land were sold by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in the middle of the twentieth century.


Kevin Ford writes:   Thanks so much for your quick response.   It was great to see everything you sent.   It all seems to match with my research so far - I have done a lot of research over the years - on that side of the family I haven't gotten back further than 1800 yet.   As Thomas and family had such a close and long connection to Yarcombe and the Yarcombe Inn I wonder if anyone in Yarcombe has more information or photos - that would be exciting!   Regarding Hill House Farm I have looked at my records again and frustratingly, I cannot find the mention of Hill House Farm which I'm sure I have seen written somewhere!   My mother says that Cora told her once that she lived on a farm, but not where it was located.

I have had a good look at and was really interested to see all the postings.   I will certainly keep you up to date if I find any more information.

December 2023

Kevin Ford adds:   Hi again, I found this 1903 wedding announcement.

Steve Horner replies:   This all falls neatly into place.   The wedding notice dated May 1903 from the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette mentions Robert Wyatt of Pilhayne farm, in fact a misspelling of Pithayne Farm another farm about ½ mile outside the centre of the village also owned by the Yarcombe manor estate where Robert had a tenancy.   Thus by 1911 Robert and Polly must have taken the tenancy of Hill House farm which I believe was on a long leasehold from the Diocese of Exeter.

On our Yarcombe Inn page there are some old photos - one shows the estate tenants in 1900 outside the Yarcombe Inn and lists Sam Wyatt of Pithayne.

On our Village Hall page there is mention of a Tom Wyatt a local farmer and driving force to build the hall.

I hope this helps - a few more connections for you to follow up.   Keep in contact.

Kevin Ford replies:   Thanks for that. Very interesting to see both Robert and Sam in the photo.  Samuel Bertie Wyatt was Robert's brother.  The 1901 Census records Sam as 20 years old and assistant on the farm at Little Pithayne.





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October 2023

I’m trying to get hold of a copy of From monks to the millennium.   Wondering if you can help me?   I have a particular interest in the Beer family circa 1800 to 1900.   Many thanks,   Phil Read

Peter Tarrant writes:   See the History page on how to order a copy of Ruth Everitt's book.   If you would like us to carry out any research for you please let us know.




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October 2023

I am investigating my family history and have found the Yarcombe village website very helpful in my search for the Loosemore, Byrne and Lenthall families who are my direct ancestors on my maternal Grandmother’s side.    My partner and I visited Yarcombe last year.   I am interested in how you may be able to help me obtain a copy of the Monks to the Millenium ebook?   I’m sure it will be an interesting read and will provide some great background for my family research!   Best wishes and kind regards,   Nancy Wright

Peter Tarrant writes:   See the History page on how to order a copy of Ruth Everitt's book.   If you would like us to carry out any research for you please let us know.





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October 2023

Dear Admin, I wonder if someone can help.   About 20 years ago I visited Yarcombe with my late mother in law.   Her Grandfather, Arthur Trott (born about 1862), was born in Yarcombe, the son of Thomas Trott and Sarah (nee Pike).   We signed the visitors book in the church and explored the churchyard.   I wonder if the visitors book from the early 2000s still exists?   If so is it possible that someone could kindly photograph our entries?   My mother in law would have signed herself Mrs G Edgar with an address in Burnham on Sea.   I can`t recall if we found any Trott headstones in the churchyard.   Is there a list of them available?

Following our visit we were contacted by a distant cousin who had seen the entries and since then a great deal has come to light about Arthur's later life;  Policeman, Publican, Sales Rep and more.   Thanks for any help.   Regards,  Les Herbert - Romsey , Hampshire

Steve Horner replies:   Thank you so much for visiting website and our Ancestral Searches page.   From the small amount of information that you have provided to us I am having difficulty in connecting your Trott/Pike ancestors to our records especially the census records, certainly Trott and Pike are local names.  We would certainly like to record more about Arthur and his family whom it would appear were born in our parish, and thus if you can supply as many details as possible we would be grateful.   As for graves, I looked at the burial records (there is a link at the top of this page) and found two possible :   Sarah Trott 1828 - 24 May 1888,   Thomas Trott 1829 -18 January 1907.   I look forward to hearing from you.

Les Herbert writes:   Thanks for your very prompt response.   On reflection I realise I should have put more detail in my query so apologies.   The detailed work has been done by my sister-in-law and in outline she has the following.   She starts with William and his wife Grace (married 1772) and then their son James (b Dec 1782).   These were the Baptist Trotts.   James and his wife Ann had son Thomas (b 1829) and in 1871 Thomas and Sarah were at Brick Cottage, Beacon (now named Linton).   Their two eldest children were born at Chardstock, 5 more born at Upottery and Sydney at Yarcombe.   Also a granddaughter Laura born Yarcombe. In 1881 the family were at Tilery Cottage, Yarcombe.   Arthur was now a policeman in London and married Annie Stevens later in 1881. Things then get complicated!

Steve Horner adds:   I now have a real rock solid connection to Yarcombe.   Thomas Trott born 1829 was the estate builder whose trade was a mason.   In the book From Monks to the Millennium Ruth Everitt mentions Thomas built The Belfry, our village school, in 1870 and he also built for himself Tilery cottage now called Hillside and interestingly in 189x and 1896 he repaired the lime kilns here at Woodhayne where I now live.

His life immediately springs into focus.   In the 1841 census Thomas was a boy aged 10 living with his parents Thomas (b c 1782) and Ann at Newcott just across the parish boundary in Upottery, his father Thomas was also a mason.   In 1851 Thomas jnr. was living in Chardstock with his wife Sarah (nee Pike) with their first born son William, his place of birth being recorded as Yarcombe, and Sarah was born in the adjoining parish of Whitestaunton.   In 1861 the family was now back living at Newcott in Upottery , this time as the head of the family, and Arthur was a boy aged 5 having been born in Upottery parish.   In 1871 as you mention Thomas and his extensive family including Arthur who is shown as a scholar from which I conclude he did not leave school at the age of 14.   In 1881 the family were living in Tillery cottage Yarcombe which I believe he built himself.   In 1891 Thomas was still living at Tillery cottage although by this time he is married to Mary aged 47 so sadly Sarah his first wife must have passed away in the intervening period.

I have also fund that in 1861 Thomas Trott senior and his wife Ann were living at Lower Newcott so perhaps a new house was built close by as a home for the elderly parents.   I am almost certain Thomas passed away on 18th January 1907 and is buried in the churchyard of St John The Baptist church Yarcombe.   James Trott senior b 1783 died 16 October 1863 and his wife Ann Knight Trott b 1786 and died 5th July 1870 are buried at the Baptist Church Yarcombe where their headstone can still be viewed (right).


I hope this helps to fill in some more detail about your family and their connections to this parish, I do hope you can provide more details to this site for others who may have family connections to read in future years.




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August 2023

Hello, I am newly researching the Bellet/Billet family in Yarcombe and in particular Joseph Ballet, born 1684 in Exeter who married Susannah Omsley/Owsley in Yarcombe in 1716 and then had children with her in Yarcombe.   The children’s names were: Joseph b.1725 (who went on to marry Elizabeth Stevens in Tiverton), Katherine b.26th May 1717, Anne b.1719 both born in Yarcombe and lastly Jane who was b.1720 in Upottery.

A Joseph Billet is listed on the Land Tax Registry as paying tax on land owned by Mr Heath and Mr Tuckfield Esq in 1798 and they may be related?   I note that Billet and Ballet feature in the graveyard in Yarcombe including two Josephs.   Can you tell me anything about this family?   Joseph senior is my 6th Great Grandfather through my paternal line.   I have recently moved to Devon so this is an exciting find for me.   Many thanks for your attention,     Anna Gregory     Lockhart Farm

Steve Horner replies:   A most interesting enquiry, perhaps I can add a few more details to your quest for your ancestors.   We are fortunate in that there is a very detailed case inn The Chancery division of the High Court dated 1600 Drake vs Major.   This case details each person, and the name of the property, who are liable to pay tithes in the entire Parish.   This document does not list the name Billet or Bellet.

The church rate of 30th October 1707 mentions Joseph Billet due to pay 3 pence, one of the smallest amounts shown on the list so we can assume Joseph Billet was a man of very modest means.  Incidentally how do you connect Bellet with Billet in your lineage?   You mention you have noted Joseph Billett paid a Land Tax in 1798 to Mr Heath and Mr Tuckfield.   If you have a copy of this document i would very much like to add it to my collection please.

Just to recap, you mention your Joseph Billet b Exeter 1684 married Susannah Owsley in Yarcombe in 1716, I note a burial of a Susannah Billet Widow on 18 November 1770 in our burial records so this seems to fit.   There is also a burial of Joseph Billet snr on 12th June 1709, perhaps the father of your Joseph Billet b Exeter B 1684?

I have looked up both names in our standard parish history “From Monks to the Millennium“, sadly there is no record of these names contained therein.   I hope this helps you, please keep in contact and fill in more details for our own knowledge as you find them.




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August 2023

My goodness what an amazing site this is.   I have just spent the afternoon reading through the enquiries and the comprehensive help afforded them.   My own enquiry comes after a somewhat surprise.   My paternal grandfather’s family were an enigma to our family until I began research a few years ago.   Having now retired I have taken up the reins again in an effort to find the parentage of my two times great grandfather Jacob Lock.   I know all of his movements around Churchstanton, Monkton etc.   (He was a dairyman.)   I have copies of his marriage to Ann Quick at Upottery and then I requested a copy death certificate.   I found that he had died at Yarcombe (Beacons?) in 1890 and that the informant was a brother Samuel Lock who lived at Sparks cottage Yarcombe.   This is the first I had heard of a brother who it was said was born at Yarcombe.   (My 2 xs Great G lists his birthplace as Churchstanton.)   Indeed he was buried at Churchstanton.   I write in the hope that there is someone who is also researching the Lock family from the area and would be grateful for any information which might help.   Sue Williams

Steve Horner replies:   I have spent a little time looking at the records, I picked up the fact that Jacob Lock was buried in Churchstanton on 31st October 1890 aged 73, giving his year of birth as 1817.   From his marriage to Ann Quick in Upottery I was able to find his father`s name as William and given you mention Jacob's brother's name was Samuel I was able to find the family living in Yarcombe Stopgate Yarcombe in the 1841 census.   (Stopgate is on the junction of the B3170 and A303.)   In the 1851 census William is still living at Stopgate aged 66 so he was born in 1785 at Symondsbury Dorset near Bridport.   The records also indicate William married Elizabeth Trott on 31st March 1812 in Yarcombe.   I would be interested to see the death certificate of Jacob and the Connection to the Beacon Yarcombe.   I hope this helps.

Sue Williams writes:   Thank you Steve.   A very prompt and thorough reply.   Yes these are the conclusions I drew from his marriage cert and his death cert, which gave me Samuel as a brother  (informant).   I saw Samuel’s father was also a William and started to make tentative links.   I have Jacob on the 1841 census as living in Upottery on Langbridge Farm owned by the Cooks.   He was older than Samuel so obviously moved out of the family home by 1841 sadly or I would have found my link on the 1841 Yarcombe entry.   I think I need to try to trace William and Elizabeth marriage and search baptisms from where the first settled.   I just need that definitive link although things are looming far less bleak than before I obtained his death certificate (below).    Thank you very much for your help massively appreciated.

Steve Horner replies:   He was living at Stopgate Cottage in 1871 census, The Beacon covers a wide area.   The info I've provided all fits into a pattern and makes sense.   I subsequently traced the baptism of William Lock, 12th August 1787 in Symondsbury, his parents were John and Ann.   The 1841 Yarcombe census is difficult to interpret, however I am certain my reading is correct.   There is no record of a Lock burial in Yarcombe which seems odd, William does not have a wife recorded at his home so I can only assume his wife Elizabeth died between the date of their marriage and 1841.   I am certain this will be a breakthrough you need.   Good hunting!

Sue Williams writes:   Yes, the 1841 census is indeed difficult but at least I can now see a sister Charlotte etc even if Jacob isn't there.   So lots of new leads.   Thank you so very much for all your patience and effort Steve.   Your very generous help enables people to make sense of their past and in some cases I’m sure, inform their future.

Steve Horner replies:   Thanks, please keep us posted if you are able to uncover more of your family history.   It is very gratifying to learn we have been of some help, in certain instances we try our best and never receive a response or a note of thanks.   Asi es la vida.

Sue Williams writes:   You are a star!   By convincing me to keep researching in the area I was all but writing off, I have found the link I heeded to ascertain the next generation on my paternal Grandfather Jacob Lock’s line.   It was a process of long elimination as always, but with finding the family links to Beacon and Sparks Cottage 1871/1881 I am happy that that was why my 2x’s GG died there in 1890.    Don’t you just love those eureka moments?   It has,as always, raised many more questions which my nosey disposition needs the answers to but hey … that’s the draw of ancestral research of course.   Sorry Yarcombe, a dizzy old blond woman will be yomping quietly around your lovely village soon.   Initially to see the places I now feel I have a link to and also in homage to a dear friend whom I have recently lost.   Her father was head of Yarcombe Primary school for many years.   Thank you once again.

Steve Horner replies:   Delighted to have been of assistance.   Please let us know when you are coming to see the land of your Fathers, perhaps we can add some more to your family history.   I have some information about Spark`s Cottage now called Heavens Mouth if you so require.   Oh and by the way please let us have some more information about the man who was head of Yarcombe school for many years.




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August 2023

Hello,  I have been searching for the burial place of my grandfather William Garland Hicks.  He was born 1877 in Southill, near Liskeard in Cornwall.   He moved to a farm in Brixham in about 1937 after his wife died.   His final address is Queen Street in Honiton (according to the death certificate) and he died in Honiton hospital 24th November in 1960.   We know he is not buried in Honiton or Yarcombe C of E church but a family member can remember going to a funeral in Marsh.   Someone has suggested that there was a Baptist church in Marsh in 1960 although it may have since been converted to a private house?

The mystery deepens and I’m lost as to why he has any connection to Marsh; possibly he lived there before moving in to Honiton?   Or perhaps there were other Hicks in the area (he was a farmer by background).   I can’t seem to find any reason for him to be in Honiton or Marsh.   So any clues as to why he might have had a funeral in Marsh would be great and also, if the funeral service was in Marsh but perhaps no graveyard; where would he have been buried?   Thank you for any information.   Dawn Ogilvie

Steve Horner replies:   Unfortunately I am not certain we can help much.   There is no record of a burial of William Garland Hicks in either the Yarcombe church or chapel burial grounds.   There was a chapel in Marsh which closed in the 1970s, I asked Thelma about this and she referred the matter to the trustees as she seems to have been “de-platformed” from the Baptist chapel.





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August 2023

I am researching my great great grandmother who was born Elizabeth Sparke/Sparkes born in Yarcombe about 1838.   I am trying to find out who her parents were.   In 1851 she was working as a servant at Crawley Farm Membury for the Bond family.   Many thanks if anyone can help,   Julie Perry

Peter Tarrant reports:   Julie, I hope you will connect here to see this message as we are unable to reply to you via the email address you used.   The problem seems to be linked to a known error which corrupts the email address we see for you, perhaps owing to an error in your email settings (see here).   If you can't fix it you can continue to send emails to us in the same way but will have to come back to this page to see our replies.   Alternatively use a different email address, or include your email address somewhere in the text (without the @ sign) and we may be able to get around the problem manually.

Steve Horner replies:   Can you give me some more information please?   I think i have picked up your Elizabeth Sparks in the 1861 census living in Sidbury as a servant.   I cannot find her in the 1851 census, can you give me any more details was she a servant?

Crawley farm is very close to the border of Yarcombe it lies in the parish of Membury Devon.   Have you looked at the burial records of Yarcombe?   There is a link on this page (above).   There are a whole host of the Sparks family buried in our churchyard.

One clue perhaps, there is a Susan Sparke died 6th January 1839 aged 25, perhaps Elizabeth`s mother who died when Elizabeth was aged one and she was shipped out to live at Crawley farm??   Just an idea !




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May 2023

Looking for information from 1841 Census on The COOKE family.   ELIZABETH COOKE, head of household, widow, age 45, farmer of 60 acres, Yarcombe, Devon.  Questions: Would anyone know who her deceased husband was?   Was sixty acres considered a large farm?   Her maiden name?   I would appreciate any help.   Actually anything on any of this family.        Marcia Ladd

Steve Horner replies:   Marcia, I have had a quick look at your enquiry and so far I have drawn a blank.   I cannot find Elizabeth Cooke in 1841 census records for Yarcombe.   Can you send me a screen print or a copy of the entry please or perhaps more details of those living at the same address?   I looked at The Tithe Schedule of 1832 and there is no record of a Cooke on that, and finally a look at our burials and again there is no mention of Elizabeth Cooke.   Thus to progress this I need some more details please.   I guess you must be related to one of her children in which case I may be able to help if you provide me with full details of that person.





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April 2023

Hello - Happened on your website whilst searching for some answers which I am hoping you may be able to help me with?   Trying to establish a marriage between Brigitt Dabinott & Peter Sopper/Soper/Soaper.   Brigitt was baptised 31st March 1560 Yarcombe, daughter of Thomas Dabinott and Rawlin Mansfield.   Copy of Baptism below.

I have found a record which I believe is a second marriage for Brigitt with William Tucker Yarcombe 25th Jan 1590.   I also have entry for apparently birth of a daughter Joane Sopper 1585 Widworthy to a Peter Sopper & Bridgett?   Also a marriage of said Joane to Robert Moore 1609.   Daughter that union Ann More marriage Branscombe 1624 to Richard Bartlet.   Richard Bartlet baptism Yarcombe 1596.

Below is bit of a hop potch of names, dates and places.   Would appreciate any help in finding the marriage of Brigitt to Peter.   Other researchers have shown Brigitt as dying as a child (no dates), I have looked and cannot establish a death date.

Regards,    John George,    Bethlehem, Tauranga, New Zealand

Steve Horner writes:   John, you certainly have been working hard on your ancestor Brigitt Dabinot who was baptised in our Church way back in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.   Have you looked at our burial records - see link at the start of this page - for some of the names you mention.   These records are we believe complete and accurate.   If you do have success please let us know so we can record this for others on our site.   Good luck.



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March 2023

Good day, I would like to enquire if the Newberry family from Yarcombe were connected to the Newberry's in Stockland?   My 6th great grandfather was Joel Newberry 1684-1741, from Stockland married to Elizabeth Knowles.   I have his father as John Newberry 1644-1717 married to Elionor Troke, but I am not sure if this is correct, unfortunately I am struggling to find the father of John, that is why I am wondering if there was some connection to Yarcombe.    Any assistance will be appreciated.   Kind regards,    Sharleen Nell      South Africa

Steve Horner writes:   I have read your enquiry with great interest and can confirm with certainty that the Newbery family from Yarcombe were undoubtedly connected to the Newbery family you mention from Stockland, in fact i would venture to say the Yarcombe Newberys were the more established.

The Newbery family all lived and owned property in the southern end of our parish which is adjacent to the parish of Stockland.   Elsewhere on the website you will find much information about the Newbery family, use your browser function (ctl+f) to search.   I would also recommend you obtain a copy of Ruth Everitt`s local history “From Monks to the Millennium” an electronic version of which may be purchased from Miranda Gudenian.

Please let me know if I can assist further and in any event please tell us if you do establish a connection with our parish which we can then record for others to find.

Sharleen Nell replies:   Thank you for your reply to my query, it is great to hear that the two families are connected.   I have read the information on the website regarding the Newbery family and found all the comments very informative.   I have just two more questions please, if you can advise:


I found a Will (below) for my 6th great grandfather Joel Newberry, the second paragraph, first line "The Condition of this Obligation......... " is it saying his father is John Newberry, all I can read is son born ..... John Newberry ?




Joel Newberry's one son Thomas (my 5th ggf), on all three of his marriage records it says Thomas Gough or Newberry (2 of them below left).   Surely if his father is Newberry why would they say Gough, I am rather confused about this Gough/Newberry, I can't see where the surname Gough comes in, his mothers maiden name was Knowles ?   Below right are 2 images showing that he was baptised Newbery, so why the Gough ?   If you are able to help me understand this dual surname I will be most grateful.




Steve Horner adds:   Sharleen, I have copied Bryan Drew who is the local historian who covers Stockland who may be able to help you.   First lets try and work on the “Will “ again.   In fact this document is a form of Bond or Obligation, dated 6th March 1741, which requires the three named parties, John Newbury of Combe Raleigh, Gideon Blake of Honiton and James and Samuel Roach of Honiton for the sum of £200.00 to someone called Carew Reynold???   Where did you find this document? Is there a Will attached?   In the bottom left of the document it mentions the Will of Joel Newbery annexed grants administration of the will of Joel Newbury to john Newbury for the use of James Newbury, (son of said Joel) during his minority.   Thus to answer your query James Newbury is the son of Joel.   The obligation also confirms Joel is “late of Stockland” but this runs contrary to your statement that “Joe; Newbery's one son.   Do you mean Joel only had one son?   I am not certain how John Newbery is related to Joel and James.

Turning to your second point for which you have provided copies of the marriage records of Stockland, I do not know the reason for the use of an alias Gough, we have a similar example in the records of Yarcombe.

I hope this is helpful , please keep the discourse going - it all adds to our local knowledge.

Peter Tarrant comments:   The following entry from David Wilton was posted to Ancestral Search 59 which also contains information on the Newberry family:

David Wilton adds:   Pic from ‘Ancestors of American Presidents’ showing Thomas is the ancestor of Presidents Hayes and Ford.   Although the Bushes are related to Hayes, Ford, Bess Truman and Nancy Regan it is through multiple other descents, not the Newberrys.

David Wilton says:   Steve, I found this on line.   No idea how accurate all the claimed descendants are:

Ancestor Biographies: The Would-Be Merchant — Thomas Newberry (

Bryan Drew writes:   Steve, I cannot find the email of the latest one regarding the Newbery family and the link to the U.S.   I have Joel Newbery from Stockland that you sent 5th April 23 but can’t find a later email.   Perhaps you would send it again.   I have given a Gwyn Summerhayes your email who is looking for his early ancestors from Yarcombe in 1500s.   Thanks, Bryan

Steve Horner replies:   When I visited your excellent exhibition in Stockland church in March 2024 I noticed that you had Newberry Wills on display in a large binder.   One listed was:- Richard 1627 The Elder.   I am not quite certain how he fits into the tree.   In the Court pleadings Drake vs Major of 1600 there are two  mentions of Richard Newberie, one occupied Powdhill (near Lower Pithayne ) and the other Haye farm.   Hopefully someone sometime may be able to draw all this information together.





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March 2023

I feel very fortunate that I have found your website for family connections in Yarcombe.   In early June, 2023 I am planning to travel to England from the U.S. for a 4 night stay in Yarcombe to explore your beautiful town where my family originated.   I am wondering if anyone has information on my Yarcombe family listed below?   If you possibly know if any of the family homes still exist, I am interested in learning their location in Yarcombe so I could possibly view them from the street. (I promise I will not disturb the current residents).   Thank you for any information you can provide. Family names are:

Lydia Loosmore – Born December 21, 1770 in Yarcombe. Died in 1865.
Ann Lenthal – Born 1736 in Yarcombe. Died January 5, 1815 in Yarcombe.
John Loosemore – Born May 31,1730 in Yarcombe.
Susannah Bradbeer – Born about August, 1732 in Yarcombe.
Beatrix Trott – Born about May, 1709 in Yarcombe.
Joseph Loosemore – Born May 21, 1686 in Yarcombe.

I am not sure if you also have information for ancestors in Honiton but I am also interested in my following Honiton family:

Willym Powell – Born about 1600 in Honiton. Died in Honiton August 13, 1637
Dorothy Searle – Born July 31, 1603 in Honiton. Died January 7, 1689 in Honiton.
Robert Searle – Born 1573 in Honiton.
Robert John Davis Searle – Born 1519 in Honiton.
Christopher Searle – Died in 1599 in Honiton.
Gerald Woods – Born about 1500 in Honiton. Died about 1535 in Honiton.
Maxine Stone – Born about 1500 in Honiton. Died in 1535 in Honiton.
Dorothy Cookes – Born in 1550 in Honiton. Died May 2, 1605 in Honiton.

Again, thank you so much for any information you can provide,   James Lauman    Fort Myers, Florida USA

Steve Horner writes:   This is going to be a tough assignment, I may be able to assist with your ancestors who lived in Yarcombe, I had a quick look at two documents I have here in my office a list of Tithes paid in 1600 and 1707 and none of the names you mention are listed; that is not to say they didn’t live in the Parish, it just indicates that they were not wealthy enough to have a holding of land on which to pay tithes.   I would certainly recommend you obtain a copy of Ruth Everitt`s history of the parish “ From Monks to the Millennium” an electronic version may be purchased from Miranda Gudenian.  The names Loosemore and Trott are mentioned therein.

Whilst you are in this part of Devon I recommend you visit the West Country Studies library which is situated in Exeter about 30 minutes drive from Yarcombe, it will be worthwhile contacting this library which has a huge store of local documents in advance and explain what you are looking for and perhaps make an appointment to visit this library.

I regret i cannot help with your ancestors who are connected with Honiton.   In the meanwhile if you can give me more details of your relatives, their spouse offspring or siblings and the dates of birth etc this may produce a further connection for me.

James Lauman replies:   Thank you so much for your insight into my ancient family in Yarcombe.   Since my original communiqué with you, I have discovered that my Trott family goes back even further in Yarcombe.   I have taken note that the names Loosemore and Trott are mentioned in Ruth Everitt’s book. It would appear that Beatrix Trott, born about May, 1709, was raised possibly by her parents Robert Trott b:13 April, 1675 and d: 1737 in Yarcombe.   Her mother, Susanna “Tratt” b: about 1675 and d: 5 June, 1712 both in Yarcombe.   It would appear from later generations of Trott family that they moved to the Axminster area in the middle of the 1700’s, possibly when the carpet industry blossomed in Axminster?   I don’t know…. Question: was it common for families to live in Yarcombe for long periods of time in the 1600’s and 1700’s without being property owners?   Very intriguing.

As for additional information, the only other connections I have to Yarcombe is Joseph Loosemore 1686 to 1734, father of John Loosemore 1730-1815 in Yarcombe.   John Loosemore married Ann Lenthall 1736 to 1815.   In years thereafter, it appears that the offspring of these families moved to Axminster and then one of them moved to America around 1874 as a child and that would be my Great Grandfather Rueben Higerty.   Unfortunately, I don’t have any additional information on their siblings, etc.

Thank you again for your work on this. I am extremely excited to come to Yarcombe in June and at least visit your beautiful area.   All the best, James Lauman – Fort Myers, Florida, USA.

Steve Horner adds:   You seem to have made excellent progress with tracing your ancestors from Yarcombe.   I believe it is fair to say that before the railways and motor cars, country folk did not move far from their birthplace, perhaps to an adjoining parish usually for reasons of marriage.

There is still a Tratt family hereabouts , I believe around Chard which is a small town about 5 miles distant from Yarcombe.   You correctly surmise about the carpet industry in Axminster which started in the mid seventeen hundreds and may have attracted local people to work in the factory in that town.

Please keep in contact - we are delighted that you have provided our web site with feedback, so often we get an enquiry to which we reply and then the trail goes dead!

James Lauman adds:   I just wanted to send you a quick update.   We arrived in Yarcombe yesterday and I can truly see why my ancestors stayed here for centuries.   What a beautiful village!   Thank you so very much for sharing the information previously.   It will be fun exploring the area.   All the best.

Steve Horner replies:  
Thanks for the kind words.   I have been away this week - sorry to have missed you.   If you do find any more information about your Yarcombe ancestors please let me know.





Ancestral Search 78



March 2023

Hello from the USA.   I am hoping if anyone could add to my family history.   William H (F?) Symes was born July 10 1856 (my paternal great great grandfather) married Anna White born in Winston Summersetshire June 28, 1858.   William married Anna 1878?.   Found a document in Missouri USA BIRTH REGISTRY STATING WILLIAM WAS FROM YOUCUNBS ENGLAND - assuming it was a typo and they meant Yarcombe - oral family history stated we came from WALES.   William and Anna immigrated in either 1882 or 1885 and settled in Mulberry Kansas USA close to Missouri USA.   Wondering if anyone could help with Williams parents/siblings?       Thanks,   Susan Timko

Peter Tarrant responds:   Hello Susan, Symes is a well-know surname in Yarcombe and is referenced a dozen times in Ruth Everitt's book, "From Monks to the Millennium".   I believe it was Joy Symes who participated in village skittles matches at The Yarcombe Inn and was in my team some 25 years ago when I first moved here.   There is a strong connection to the furniture industry with Joy's son Martin working since 1973 as a Wheelwright (see his website Wheelwright & Woodturner) I am sure more knowledgeable residents will be able to add more for you.

Susan Timko replies:   Such a quick reply.   Sometimes during genealogical research one finds disturbing news - hopefully any additions to the tree are pleasant.   Thank you!   Yes the Symes surname is quite common over the pond as they say.   Most of my ancestors worked in the coal mines in the states of Missouri, Kansas and Pennsylvania.   My great, great Grandmother's memorial  record states Anna (White) Symes was born June 28, 1858 in Winston Summersetshire.   I cannot find such a location with my internet searches.    Any help?

Peter Tarrant responds:   There is a Wincanton in Somerset.   Otherwise Winston, Wiston etc may yield Google results.

Steve Horner writes:   I will try to help you, however I have a question.   You seem to be very certain of the dates your ancestors were born.   My own data base which is very comprehensive finds no trace of the dates matching the names, can you tell me the source of your information please and give me any other clues that you may have.   Usually family verbal tradition is usually correct and it may be your family are from Wales although the use of England is confusing.   There are many villages in Wales whose name commences with Y.   I look forward to hearing from you.

August 2023

Susan Timko replies:   Hello again.   The dates of birth are on gravestone in Missouri USA and within the US census.   My great great grandmother that married William Sykes was born June 28, 1858 and through further sleuthing have found out she was born in Winsham.   Anna's date of birth: June 28, 1858.

Steve Horner writes:   Susan, I was delighted to read you had solved your query:  Winsham Somerset.   Persistence pays off.

October 2023

Susan Timko adds:   Update - Ancestor-William Symes (age 2) 1861 census - Mother Maria Symes (age 38) Residence Note: Marsh Birth Year 1823 Occupation Cottager Widowed had three other children Anna Symes Birth year 1851, James Birth Year 1852 and Sarah Ann Symes Birth Year 1853.   I am still looking for ancestors in Yarcombe or burial records. Help appreciated.

Steve Horner writes:   I have picked up Maria Symes (b 1823) in the 1851 census when she was living in Marsh, a hamlet in the parish of Yarcombe, with her three children Anna 1851, James 1852, Sarah Ann 1853 she was born in the nearby parish of Combe St Nicolas.   In the 1851 census she is living in the centre of the village of Yarcombe with her husband John aged 28 who was born in Chardstock just across the county boundary.   From our burial records I find John died on 6th January 1861, NB the 1861 census was taken on 6th April 1861.   I find her son James Symes in the 1871 census working at Foxenholes Farm Yarcombe and then in the 1881 census he is living in Winsham with his wife Ellen aged 33.   Given the connection to Winsham I hope this helps, however please come back to us with any further information you may uncover.

Susan Timko adds:   Thanks Steve.   The burial records you have for John, could you please specify where he is buried?   Any cause of death?   Any surrounding burials of Symes at his gravesite?   It appears at this time John may have been born out of wedlock from Chardstock Dorset parish records.   William Symes my g g grandfather was in the 1861 census.

Steve Horner writes:   I found the burial of John died 6th January 1861 in Find a Grave which record I know is based on the Burial records of St John the Baptist church Yarcombe.   I helped compile these.   I have a glitch in my database which will not give me access to our burial records at present.

The stone in this part of Devon is very soft and not many grave stones from that era have survived.   I started my research with Maria Symes in the 1861 census living with her family in Marsh whom you mention.   But in the 1851 census Maria Symes was married to John living in Yarcombe.   I have found a William Frederick Symes in the Kansas census of 1900 and 1910 married to Annie (nee White ).   They seem to have been married in about 1880 in Hackney London possibly Q1 1880.  I strongly suspect there is a connection to a baptism record I found of Ethel Elizabeth Symes born 11th April 1881 baptised May 15th 1881 in Hackney London.   This name Ethel Elizabeth Symes appears in the 1881 with her mother Annie as guest in Crow Foot Lane Chard which is about 5 miles from Yarcombe.

I hope this helps I would be pleased to follow up for you once you have analysed the above information.

Steve Horner adds:   Apologies- I may have confused you, I was tracking James son of Maria.   Yes in the 1861 census Maria was living in Marsh with her 4 children, Anne10, James 9, Sarah Ann 8, William 2.   William is certainly your William Frederick Symes.   I am now certain William Frederick Syme married Annie White in Q1 of 1880 Stepney London to gain physical proof of this you will need to apply for the marriage certificate which will show parents’ names.   In the 1881 census Willaim Frederick Symes was living at 50 College Street Stepney aged 25 married, born Yarcombe.

On the date of the 1881 census his wife Annie (born Winsham) was living in Crow Foot Street Chard as a lodger with Sarah Hilditch aged 72 a widow with her daughter Ethel Elizabeth Symes aged I month (right).  


Ethel Elizabeth Symes was born in the Chard registration district on 11th April 1881 and baptised on May 15th 1881 in Hackney London daughter of Annie and William Frederick Symes (baptismal certificate right).   I have no idea why Annie was visiting this area at the time of the birth of her daughter.


Thus reverting to your previous message we know Maria Symes lived in Yarcombe although she was born in Combe St Nicholas.   She was married to John Symes died 6th January 1861 born 1824 in Chardstock.   Her son William Frederick Symes was born in Yarcombe.

That seems to me to be the end of any other direct connections to your tree although as mentioned earlier there are still members of the Symes family here in Yarcombe; however we still have the mystery as to why Ethel Elizabeth was born in nearby Chard.   Please keep in contact.

Susan Timko writes:   So kind of you to be diligent.   Genealogy slowly unfolds.   Annie Symes was living in Crow Foot with her aunt Sarah Hiditch whose maiden name was Larcombe - found this out by joining Winston Somertshire Facebook group since Annie White Symes funeral memorial service program stated she was born there-not Winsham.   I will be planning on visiting the area of Yarcombe in the future!

Steve Horner replies:   It's been a pleasure working with you and helping you record for posterity part of the history of our parish.   Yours is a fascinating family history, times must have been hard for Annie and William Frederick Symes, they must have decided to head west and set sail for the new world to find employment in the coal fields of Kansas, again very hard work ,they seem to have succeeded!

Let us know when you plan a trip perhaps we can show you parts of our wonderful countryside.   I have copied Miranda Gudenian the Editor of our parish magazine which is called Yarcombe Voices.   Keep working at your family tree and please keep us informed of any new discoveries.





Ancestral Search 77



February 2023

I was thrilled to come across your website in my family history research.   What a wonderful resource.   I am a descendant of William Spiller (details unknown) and Mary Knight (c. 1792) (m. 1814) and their son John (b. 1816) of Yarcombe.   I would love any information on the families (particularly going further back), what records are available, and any relatives still living locally.   Anything at all really!   I hope to visit from Australia in May/June.   Thanks,     Sheila Egan (nee Spiller)

Peter Tarrant responds:   Hello Sheila, There are very many Spiller & Knight references throughout the Ancestral Searches on this page and in Ruth Everitt's book, "From Monks to the Millennium".   I suggest you use your browser's find function (ctl+f) to locate these entries to see if enough existing information can be found for you.   Steve Horner may be able to add more.

Sheila Egan adds:   Further to my previous post I have now received a copy of Ruth Everitt’s book (thank you Miranda) and have been able to read through the many posts about Spillers on these pages.   I am particularly interested in the mention of a tree on the wall of the Bishopswood village hall (Ancestral Search 21) and wonder is this still exists (or photos) and if it is possible to view it?   I will be in the UK, and more specifically Yarcombe, in early June.    I have so far come to a dead end in my Spiller family research at William Spiller (m. Mary Knight 11 May 1814) but have had more luck with the Knight family - although I feel it possible to consider all from the Yarcombe area as family such were the connections between families.     Thank you     Sheila Egan (nee Spiller)

Steve Horner comments:   Sheila, The family tree to which you refer almost covers one wall of the Otterford Parish hall, it is a masterpiece.   I have used this wall chart as a source for the Willie family tree, because the Willie family owned the house, where I now live, in the late 1700s.   Please see photos below which make mention of the Spiller family and the compiler Graham Davis.

Keys to the village hall may be obtained form Mike Canham who has been passed details.   If you can give me some more expanded detail of the Spiller family I can have a quick look if and when I next pass the hall.

Incidentally you may have more luck with the Knight family - a lady called Jane Chislett has carried out a huge amount of work on the Knight family of Yarcombe.   Her researches go right back to the Manor Court Rolls at the time of Queen Elizabeth, a search of this AS web site will probably prove worthwhile.   I hope this is helpful.

Sheila Egan reports:   I have only just resumed my family history research after an absence of many years in conjunction with planning a somewhat unexpected trip to the UK.   The availability of resources online has increased enormously and my knowledge of what is available and where to look is limited.

I have worked backwards and am confident that my GGG Grandfather John Spiller was from Yarcombe but eventually settled on Guernsey and his son, William, came to Australia.   William has left somewhat confusing information mostly referring to coming from Somersetshire but on his death certificate Guernsey is mentioned enabling the Yarcombe connection to be made.   I’ve sent a direct lineage chart and a family sheet for John Spiller, see below.

I (and others who have supplied information) have made the assumption that John’s parents were William Spiller and Mary Knight who were married in Yarcombe on 11 May 1814 (interestingly one of the witnesses was Robert Willie).   This is as far as I have got with that branch of the Spiller family.   I suspect a process of elimination and educated guessing is required to go further.

I’ve been provided with extensive research on the Spiller family in Yarcombe which was compiled by Bruce Allen and refers to research by David Rogers but I have not been able to find where William may fit here.

From information supplied by others on the Knight family it seems there was another marriage between the families some generations further back (see document below).

I appreciate any further information or suggestions you may have and will look further into Jane Chislett’s Knight family research.   Thanks for your time.

Steve Horner comments:   Very many thanks for this carefully constructed research, at present all I can do is to encourage you to keep trying to find a way through your present impasse.   I do recommend however you look at Jane Chislett's work on the Knight family, I am certain you may find a link going further back into the 1600s.   Good luck and please keep in contact.

Sheila Egan adds:   Thank you for your response Steve.   I will look at Jane Chislett’s work with great interest.   I’m certainly not giving up on my Spiller research and hope to find the answers somewhere.   I’ll pass on the information when I do.   Thanks for your interest.

Mike Morris comments:   My gx4-grandfather was Joel Knight, so my gx3-grandmother, Ann Stone, and your Mary Spiller were sisters.   Although John Stone & Ann Knight are said to have eloped in 1808, a Mary Knight was one of the witnesses to their marriage in Exeter.   I did wonder if this Mary could be Ann’s younger sister, but she would have been only 16 at the time – would witnesses have to be 21?   If not her, who was this Mary Knight, I wonder.   I agree with your tree back from Joel.   Mike Morris




Ancestral Search 76



December 2022

Hello, I am coming over to the UK from Australia and am aware that the Wale family originates from Yarcombe.   I am just wondering if there are any of the Wale family still living in Yarcombe?   Hope you can help.  Warm regards,   Kristian Wale

Peter Tarrant replies:  
Hello Kristian.   There are a dozen or more references to the Wale surname in Ruth Everitt's book, also in Ancestral Searches  3121329  on this page.   I am aware of a Frank Wale who died only a few years ago and who lived to the north of the village just off the minor road connecting the A30 and A303.   Perhaps someone can add further information other than that already on the web page?

Miranda Gudenian replies:   Hello Kristian, Frank Wale was my neighbour and friend. who lived at Emmetts Farm almost all his life, having moved there at the age of three with his mother and father.   His mother died tragically young, of cancer.   Frank occasionally spoke about his cousins, one of whom was called Mary if I recall correctly, and when he died they inherited the farm and duly sold it a auction.   I may possibly be able to find the telephone number or address of one of them for you.   Meanwhile, here is a photograph of Emmetts Farm.     Warmest good wishes,   Miranda Gudenian






Ancestral Search 75



September 2022

Hello, I have forebears who lived in Yarcombe – Willey & Sparkes are two of the surnames.   Regards,   Tony Bartlett

Peter Tarrant comments:   There are references to Sparks/Sparkes in Ancestral Searches 45 & 68, and to Willey/Willie in 1 11, 23 24 34  &  55.



Ancestral Search 74



April 2022

Hello, I was told our ancestor, William Zane lived at a place called Woodhayne, Yarcombe, Devonshire.   Do you have any info on this?   Any pictures?   Thanks,   Jerry Cohen

Peter Tarrant comments:   There are references to the surname Zane in Ancestral Searches 8 and 51.

Steve Horner writes:   In answer to your question about Woodhayne farm and the Zane family here is a short article I wrote some years ago about this connection.   However in return may I enquire how you may have established the connection between your family and the Zane family of Yarcombe?

The Zane Family from Woodhayne Farm:

Last summer two persons from the United States who were researching their own antecedents, the Zane family, who originated in the parish of Yarcombe, contacted Ruth Everitt.   This connection had been made because the name Zane occurs in Ruth’s book, `From Monks to the Millennium`.   Ruth passed the enquiry to me because the family were known to be resident at Woodhayne in the period from 1580 to 1600.

I was able to send photographs of Woodhayne to Diane Nichols in America and as a consequence, I entered into a most interesting correspondence with her.   It is very apparent that she has spent an enormous amount of energy in carrying out her research and it is symptomatic that her e-mail address is “thatzanelady!”

We are fortunate in Yarcombe that because Thomas Drake, the brother of Sir Francis was locked in a court case with the vicar of Yarcombe, Thomas Major we know the names of all the householders in the Parish in the year 1600 from Court records.   It is from these records that we know that Alice Zane, widow, was living at Woodhayne, then called Woodend, and that Robert Zane was living at Stowte and Crokham.

From an abstract of the will of William Zane, who died in 1592, we have discovered that Alice Zane was his wife and to whom he left all his household goods and stock.   It is also interesting to learn from this abstract that William must have been a man of some substance possessing at the time of his death a calyver (a type of harquebut or early musket with a smoothbore and flared barrel), a musket perfourmed, an Allmayne Ryvetts (Light flexible riveted armour), a Byll (a kind of spear with a wooden shaft) and a bowe and sheafe of arrows.

There is also an abstract of a will of John Zane of Yarcombe who died in April 1583 and an inventory of his wife Johane (Joan) who died in August 1595.   It is fortunate that these abstracts or summaries, made by some local academic, are still available in the Devon County Records Office; bombs dropped on Exeter by the German Luftwaffe in the last war destroyed the original Wills of the Ecclesiastical Courts of Devonshire.

From the very extensive, and copyrighted, documents sent to me by Diane Nichols (thatzanelady) I know that she has traced her family back to one Simon Zane who was baptised in Yarcombe in 1584.   The grandson of Symon Zane was Robert Zane who was baptised in Yarcombe in 1642.   Joan Nichols states categorically “He and his family were among the very early Quakers and fled to Ireland during the Quaker persecutions in England in 1656 when Robert was 14 years of age”.

In 1673, Robert and his son Nathaniel set sail for America.   It appears that Robert was sent ahead as an advance guard to locate a suitable settlement site in West Jersey for John Fenwick’s colony that was to arrive in 1675.   Robert Zane died in 1695 in Newton Gloucester County, New Jersey.   The Quaker records in Dublin record Robert Zane as being a serge weaver and there is strong evidence to suggest that he crossed the Atlantic three times in helping to establish early settlements in America.

Diane Nichols speculates that the Zane’s immigrated from Venice, Italy to England sometime in the early 1500s.The Zane or Zani as it was known in Italy, were well known in Venice, being among the Doges there.

John Webb enquires:   Hi Jerry, just saw your entry on the website.   I have recently come across a Zane connection in my tree, and was wondering if you have any information that could help my research.   Elizabeth Zane and Josias Lockyer, married 29th April 1700 in Honiton, they are my 9th great grand parents.   Regards, John Webb





Ancestral Search 73



February 2022

Hello, I'm doing some family history research and have found a link to Yarcombe via the Northam family.   My (great times 4) uncle was James Harris (1810 - 1891), who married Hannah / Anna Northam (1816 - 1888) in 1852 in the Chard district.   Hannah was born in Otterford, just up the road from Yarcombe.   This was her 2nd marriage; her first was to William Gillett (unknown birth location, circa 1818 - 1846), whom she married in 1839 in the Chard district.   Hannah's parents were Thomas Northam (born 1795, Yarcombe) and Mary Walters (born 1798, Sherborne).

James and Hannah had 5 children and moved to Sydling St Nicholas in Dorset around 1853.   Their 3rd child was Thomas Northam Harris (born 1856 in Sydling).   Thomas' middle name was, presumably, a nod to his mother's maiden name.   Thomas married Caroline Northam (born 1856 in Yarcombe) in Sherborne in 1889.   Caroline's parents were William Northam (born 1817, Yarcombe) and Hannah (born 1816, Curry Mallet, surname to be identified).   This was Caroline's second marriage - her first was to George Pike (born 1859, Yarcombe).   George and Caroline had a daughter, Ann, (born 1878, Bristol) who died in her mid-20s in Wales.   It seems like George was alive up until 1923, so I'm not sure what the story was there.

I haven't identified a familial link between Hannah and Caroline Northam but I'm guessing there must be somewhere.   I also like to think that Thomas and Caroline married in Sherborne as a nod to Thomas' grandmother, Mary (nee Walters), who was born there.   Thomas and Caroline moved to Wales around the turn of the century. In the 1911 census, they're living in Llanwonno,   Pontypridd with Caroline's grand-daughter Dorothy May Pike (late daughter Ann's illegitimate child, born in Ynysybwl, Pontypridd in 1898).   I've yet to find when Thomas died but Caroline lived to age 78 and died in Neath.

So: quite an interesting story, with lots found but several loose ends still to investigate.   Best wishes,   Mark Harris

Steve Horner writes:  
I have had an initial look at your family tree and its connection to Yarcombe.   I can find Thomas Northam, baptised Yarcombe 27th December 1795, buried Yarcombe 28th July 1851, married Mary Walters 15th June 1815.   In the 1841 census, which is very indistinct, I find the following living at Mutters:  Thomas Northam 45, Mary 43, James 16, Rachel 11, Abraham 9, Samuel 6, Eli 4 and Martha 76.    There is a wood now called Mutters Wood in the north east of Yarcombe.

In the 1851 Census (right) living at North Common (very much the same area as Mutters with scattered Cottages some now demolished):  Thomas Northam 60, Mary 63, Abraham 16. William Gillett 7, Grandson Born 1844, Martha 90.


See below a note about Northam`s cottage from Ruth Everitt`s book, From Monks to the Millennium: 


The site of this cottage was shown on the Tithe map of 1817; the apportionment lists it as Cottage and Garden Plot. The occupier was Thomas Northam. At the Court Leet in 1866 it was noted that an encroachment had taken place at Northam‟s Cottage and to prevent further trouble a flint wall was to be erected at the full extent of Sir Thomas T.F.E.Drake‟s right. An enclosed sketch shows the wall 34 yards in length and 5 foot high. The cottage, although surrounded by Yarcombe Estate land, is still privately owned.

Northam`s still exists; its name is now Bramble Cottage, its adjacent to Mutters Wood.   I am thus fairly confident we have the correct family group.   However it is Hannah who I cannot identify as belonging to this group, although in the 1851 census in an adjacent cottage on North Common there is one Hannah Northam aged 33 married to William Northam.

In the 1841 census in the adjacent cottage to Thomas and Mary (Mutters) I find the following individuals:  Simon Northam born 1793. Mary born 1794, William born 1818, Ann born 1828, Henry born 1831.   It may be that Thomas and William are brothers?   And Martha, born 1765, is possibly a Grandmother.   I hope this helps ,please come back to me if you need further local information.

Mark Harris responds:   Many thanks to Steve for this.   My thoughts for him:   It looks like Martha was Thomas Northam's mother; there is no father listed on Thomas' baptism.   The family were obviously having a tough time of it in the 1851 census because they were listed as receiving parish relief.   I've found a baptism for William Northam that suggests his parents were Simon Northam (1793, Yarcombe - 1883, Chard) and Mary (nee Hutchings, 1792, Combe St Nicholas - 1875, Chard).   So it's possible that William and Thomas were not brothers.

In the 1841 census, wife Hannah/Anna (nee Northam) and husband William Gillett can be possibly seen living separately, both in Combe St Nicholas.   William was an agricultural labourer, Hannah was a servant.   In 1851, Hannah is a servant and widow at Chard Farm in Chard; her birthplace given as Otterford.   Son William Gillett junior, seen living with his grandparents in 1851, moved to London, married, and became a stevedore at the docks.   He became paralysed at aged 50 and can be seen in 1911 in the workhouse in Sherborne, Dorset (another Sherborne connection!).



Ancestral Search 72



January 2022

This entry is local information which may be of interest or assistance to residents and enquirers:

Hello, I would like you to put all these photos etc ion the Yarcombe website.   Henry Derryman was my great grandfather, he died when I was about 11 years old.   Irene jessie Rich was his daughter and she was my Gran.   Frank Rich was my father.   Robert Rich was my great grandfather.     Regards,    Willy Rich

Peter Tarrant comments:   I notice the group photo also appears in Ancestral Search 34 !   Also see more from Willy on the WWII page.



Group photograph      New Barn     1951     Robert Drake Rich & Sarah Rich's Diamond Wedding

1 Leonard Denning 15 Dulcie Rich 29 Clive Denning 43 Pam Hutchins (Spiller)
2 Will Hutchins 16 Phylis Denning 30 Dorothy Denning 44 Alan Denning
3 Frank Denning 17 Robert Rich 31 Bill Hutchins, son 45 Christopher Rich
4 Rubin Turner 18 Morris Denning 32 Bill Hutchins 46 Wendy Rich (Clark)
5 Mr Vernon (taxi driver) 19 Page Rich 33 Vivien Early 47 Ian Rich
6 Edna Hutchins 20 Millie Denning (Rich) 34 Roy Denning 48 Marion Rich
7 Berth Rich 21 Curlie Rich 35 Ruby Early (Turner) 49 Kay Denning
8 Constance Rich 22 Alan Hutchins 36 Robbie Denning 50 Anthony Rich
9 Unice Rich 23 Mabel Turner (Rich) 37 Daphne White 51 Mary Denning
10 Nellie Rich 24 Robert Drake Rich 38 George Early 52 Ellen Phillips (Turner)
11 Bob Baisley 25 Reg Hutchins 39 Vera Rich (Moor) 53 Robert Denning
12 Frank Rich 26 Fred Rich 40 Jean Turner 54 Alan Hutchins
13 Sylvia Baisley (Rich) 27 Mary Mere (Rich) 41 Terence Early 55 Dennis Turner
14 Miss Laura Bromfield 28 Sarah Rich (Long) 42 Renie Rich (Dick's wife) 56 Philip Denning

Click here to see original handwritten guest list


The Rich family 1922/23 Broadley Farm Yarcombe

Phyllis Denning, whose mother is Millie in the photograph below and whose family lived at Woodhayne between 1932 and 1970, reports that the original photographs were taken by Pulmans Weekly , as a result of her mother's sister Dorothy winning a prize for a writing competition set by the newspaper.   The journalist who came to interview her was impressed by the milking scene and commissioned a photographer to visit the farm and take pictures.

Milking the Cows

left to right:   Lydia Mary Rich (later married Charlie Mear, lived at Green Dragon pub Combe St Nicholas),

Mabel Rich (later married Reuben Turner, lived at New Barn),

Fred Long Rich (head behind cow) (later married Vera Ethel Moore and accepted tenancy of farm from his parents Robert Drake Rich and Sarah Rich, bought farm in 1952(?) ),

Millicent Rich (known as Millie Rich, later married Frank Denning and lived at Woodhayne Farm)

Looking East to Livenhayes Gate

     left to right:     Richard Rich known as Dick.  Son of Robert Drake Rich

Earnest Cleal from Winnowing Knap Yarcombe, friend of Jim Doble

Robert Drake Rich, farmer. owner of Broadway, husband of Sarah Rich

Fred Long Rich, father of Marion, Wendy, Anthony, Christopher and Ian following his marriage to Vera Ethel Moore in 1939

Old Roadman Jim Doble. Once lived at Rower. At this time 1922/23 living in Lees Cottage. One of his sons Sid Doble was a great friend of Fred Long Rich.




Ancestral Search 71



January 2022

Hi, I have just come across your excellent website.   My family tree contains many connections with Yarcombe and I am going through the Ancestral Searches to see if any of the families mentioned are ones in my tree.   I have also looked at the World War One page with some interest.   It includes mention of Harry Doble, who was married to my mother's cousin.   In March 2015 I visited the Somme, including Harry's grave at Combles.   If you are interested, I have photos and other information that you might like to add to the website.    Kind regards,     Chris Salter

Peter Tarrant comments:   Thanks for contacting us and for your kind offer.   We are very interested in any information and photos you may have that are relevant to our village and previous occupants and would be delighted if we can publish them here.

Chris Salter responds:   Hi Peter,  Although Harry Doble was married to my mother’s cousin, I only learnt of him in 2006 when I was contacted by his great-granddaughter Tracy Carroll (née Doble) and at that time I did some research to help Tracy find out more about her ancestor Harry.   Years later, in March 2015, during a family visit to the battlefields of Flanders and The Somme, I visited the cemetery at Combles to see Harry’s grave.   Having previously researched his story for Tracy it seemed especially appropriate that I should pay my respects to him on her behalf.

I have included a summary of what I know of Harry, along with some photos and other records relating to him, some of which might be suitable for inclusion in your website’s World War One page.   My family tree, like others, includes many that died in that terrible war.   They were not just names; they all had a story to tell.   Perhaps there are others in Yarcombe or elsewhere who can add more to Harry’s story.

Peter Tarrant adds:   Read Harry Doble's story here on the WWI page.   Thanks again Chris.

The entry in the marriage register at Musbury for Harry’s marriage to Minnie Rockett in 1909
The 1911 census record for Harry and Minnie at Peterhayes Cottage in Yarcombe



A poignant photo of Harry’s wife Minnie with their three children; Phyllis (bn. Oct 1909), Stanley (Dec 1911) and Leonard (20 June 1916) taken in 1916.

Note re this photo: Harry embarked from Southampton to join the BEF in France on 16 July 1916, when his son Leonard was not quite one month old. From Leonard’s apparent age in the photo, it appears likely it was taken at about that time, quite possibly so that Harry could have it with him in the trenches as a reminder of his family and home. With the news that was by then coming back from the Front following the disastrous start to the ‘Somme Offensive’ it is hard to imagine what thoughts must have been in the minds of Harry and Minnie as he left for France. Less than six months later, on 3 January 1917, Harry lost his life near Combles in France. Hopefully Harry saw his youngest son before he went to France, as sadly he was not to see him after that, except in this photo.






Ancestral Search 70



January 2022

Hi,  I am relatively new to the world of ancestry hunting and have hit a dead end in Yarcombe.  My family tree is as follows:

Harry A Lee - 1914-2003, Essex, Australia Carpenter, WW2 signalman and keen fisherman.
William H Lee - 1887-1942, Keward, Wells, cabinet maker then flew in sopworth camels
Harry Edward Denning Lee - 1864-1915 Upworthy, farm labour and stone haulier?
Abel Lee - 1831-1903 Yarcombe, farmed at Morrishs farm west Buckland - now a trendy smokehouse it seems.
... wife Priscilla Mary Rowland - 1826-1883 Upottery.

Around here it gets a little tricky, with Richard Lee 1795 and Joan Bowditch 1790 of Yarcombe being suggested, followed by Samuel Lee and Sarah Royffe, Kent?   However these are unclear and I wondered if a little local knowledge might help shine a light on things.   Family lore is that we were related to a famous horse thief, however this may have been simply due to a shared surname.   Anyway help would be appreciated along with pointers to local old photos to support a visit one day!      Thanks,       Peter Lee-Thompson

Steve Horner writes:   This is a most fascinating enquiry and I would very much like to help you, although there seem to be some inconsistencies in the data you have provided to us,   I started my search with Henry Edward Denning Lee 1864-1915.   Henry was baptised in Buckland St Mary Church, just across the border in Somerset from Yarcombe which is in Devon on 4th September 1864 son of Abel and Mary Lee.   This family according to the 1871 census were living in Bishopswood, a small village just across the valley from Buckland St Mary in the Parish of Otterford,   Abel`s age is recorded as 40, his place of birth being Yarcombe and Mary is aged 41, Harry aged 10 so this is the same family.   It is the third Christian name of Denning that springs out at me, the Denning family are a well known local family who once lived in my farm here, so another possible clue.   I can also find the baptism record for Abel Lee, Yarcombe 14th August 1833 Father Richard Lee Mother Joan so this again ties into your records.

Now another possible clue:  At the Devon Assize on 31st December 1844 one Richard lee aged 49 was sentenced to 3 months in jail for Larceny - is this the horse thief lurking in the background?   In order to help you further I would be grateful of more precise information about the ancestors you briefly mention in your first message, give me as much as you have, dates births deaths etc.

I assume you now live in Australia so details of when your family headed south would also be helpful.   I am certain we can also help with photos of where your family lived in the 19th Century.

Peter Lee-Thompson writes:   That’s fantastic, I am very grateful to Steve for looking into this for me.   My Grandfather, Henry A Lee emigrated to Australia with his young family as £10 poms in late 50s / early 60s.   My mother grew up there with memories of aboriginal ceremonies on the lawn and a drunk living in a bath tub, they built a farm and house near Bendigo, however the heat did not suit my grandmother and the family moved back about 10 years later.   My uncle having come of age and married, stayed and ran a publishing house which went bust during the dock strikes.   Being infertile from the mumps as a child they adopted a Cambodian refugee who married an aboriginal man.   My Uncle has remarried 6 times since.

They returned via family (Reginald J Morfett) who was a poacher, ivory and diamond smuggler in Rhodesia.   Here she acquired a pet monkey. Harry got a cyst on his head healed by a local medicine man who got him drunk and whacked it with a burning plank.   Her exciting childhood continued here in Norwich with reports of other uncles tipping over an ice cream van which impinged on local cafe trade in Gunthorp, and meetings with a young crown prince of Bahrain.   Gold bars were seen on occasion.   My grandfather had been travelling for some time to Belgium for work where he was secretly also living with Yvonne, a lady he had fallen in love with during the French liberation of WW2, leaving them when my mother was about 14. He returned to near us in the late 90s.   I am still trying to piece some of this together from other family members but the stories seem to fit if a little hazy.   As a teen she was very much part of the swinging 60s attending festivals and meeting famous musicians.   She eventually met my father and they eloped to Wales, living the good life as house sitters on a remote hill farm where I was born in 1985.

Back to the earlier family…

Harry A Lee - 1914-2003, B 18/01/1914, Coxley/Wells.        I can only find the birth index not full details.
D October 2003, Carmarthen
His mum died when he was 6 and father remarried. His step mother (Heron) would lock them him in the attic with no food or bed.
He lived in Sudbury 1939 where he was a builder/joiner.
Wife: Mava Violet Morfett. B Sudbury 1922 - 1996 Colchester

War time photos (below) by pyramids and wailing wall in Jerusalem . I don’t know his regiment or war record:


William H Lee -  B Hemyock 18/11/1887   D Bridgwater July 1942     1891 recorded at Pitminster
William Govier head
Sarah A wife
Harry Lee son in law
William H Lee grandson.
In 1911 he lived in Illogan with Mother Nellie Lee and father Harry Edward Lee
Married Emily Lucy Brickham 12/2/1912 in Norwich
Can’t find info on Keward, Wells, cabinet maker census and only family history of him flying in sopworth camels for recon and dropping bombs by hand. No idea of regiment.
Harry Edward Denning Lee
B Jan 1864-1915 Upworthy/Chard
D June 1915 Redruth
Baptism Buckland st Mary’s 4th September 1864
Mum - Mary Lee
Father - Abel Lee

1881 census ag lab with parents Abel and Mary at whisk/whites farm Pitminster
1901 census dairyman with wife at millers farm west Buckland
1911 census recorded as Farmer at Hasbury hill farm Chard?
Abel Lee -  B 1831 Yarcombe,   D 28/6/1903 Witts farm, Blagdon hill
1851 aged 19 farm tenant and farm servant at Northhams for the Billings?
1861 living with wife Mary or Priscilla from upottery at Fryers? Pears? Next door to Dennings it seems. Dennings may be a nickname if he worked closely with the family?
1901 farming at Morrishs with wife Edith? Not Mary?
... wife Priscilla Mary Rowland - 1826-1883 Upottery.
Census searches    


That is about all I have. I haven’t managed to get much on Abels parents, seem to be getting into a generational mix up.   I hope that helps, and thanks for the possible horse thief story, that may shine a light.   The other possibility was right do’or Lee which seemed a bit far fetched, and only reached by loose internet suggestions, although given some other family history may be unsurprising!   Feel free to pass on my details if this is more convenient.    Thanks.

Steve Horner responds:   Firstly many thanks for all the information about your family, some of which is quite colourful.   Secondly may I assume from your reply that you live in East Anglia?   I can now provide you with some further details of your family and photos of where they lived in this area.

Abel Lee Born 1831 Yarcombe

Census of 1841 Living with his parents Richard Lee 41 and Jane 56 in Smokey House Yarcombe (see photo below of present house and view down the valley)
Census of 1851 Living at Northams farm Yarcombe farm servant. (Northams is a bit tricky to photograph as it is down a long drive.   I hope I can get a photo for you in due course)
Census of 1861 Living at Frys Moor Otterford with his wife May both aged 31 (see scan below) NB Frys Moor is a stones throw from the border with Yarcombe

The census records show that their adjacent neighbours were the Denning family who lived at Martins farm.   This perhaps explains the reason Denning was a first name of Harry Edward Denning Abel born 1864.

Census of 1871

Living in Bishopswood with his wife May, children May 12, Richard 10,Harru 7,Emily 3.  See scan below, it is not possible to identify the exact house, however from the manner in which the census is recorded, my guess would be they lived on the “street” in Bishopswood see scan 002.

You then go on to correctly trace Abel and his family who lived in various farms in the locality, mainly near Pitminster Somerset.


I hope these photos of interest to you.   Now I will pick up the life history of Harry Edward Denning Abel.   He was baptised in Buckland St Mary church on 4th September.   Please note Buckland St Mary church is the nearest church to Bishopswood about ½ mile as the crow flies, thus it would be natural he be baptised in that church.   However you state he was born in Offwell.   This seems odd, because his parents were living in Otterford 1861 Frys Moor and Bishopswood in 1871 - can you confirm this?   I hope this information about Yarcombe is of interest to you.   Perhaps one day yo will be able to visit our village.



Ancestral Search 69



December 2021

I am interested in the Stickland family of Yarcombe and was wondering if "From Monks To The Millennium - A History Of Yarcombe" had any information of interest.   It would be great to have a digital copy of the book.     Thank you,     Theo Carr-Brion

Peter Tarrant comments:   There are references to the Stickland/Strickland name in Ruth's book and on this web page In Ancestral Search 10.

Theo Carr-Brion writes on his website Who was Harry Carr-Brion (   Who was Harry Carr-Brion?   I have often wondered where my surname came from.   I always assumed it was from two people marrying and joining their names together.   In 2002, when the 1901 census became available, I decided to try and find out.   My grandfather died when I was a young child and I do not remember him.   The only information I had is what my father and his sister could remember.   My grandfather went by the name of Harry Carr-Brion and said he was born on 8th July 1888 in Boston, Massachusetts and was educated at Hele's School in Exeter, Devon.   He said his father's name was William Francis Carr-Brion and his mother's Minnie Strickland.   He also mentioned the names of his brothers and sisters.   My father produced the following list: Francis, Eric Winston, Kenneth Garfield, Hugh Page, Dorothy, Gladys and Ethel.   The other clue we had came to light when my grandfather retired.   He had no birth certificate and had to swear before someone to give his date of birth.   One of the letters that came back from the social services of the time had a mysterious middle name that my father remembered as Dulai or Dulay.

The first thing I found was a complete absence of anyone with the surname Carr-Brion.   I also searched the GRO indexes for a marriage of Minnie Strickland and found nothing that looked plausible.   There was also no record of any Carr-Brions ever living in the United States.   The earliest record of my grandfather that we could find was his marriage to his first wife in 1914.   As the were no Carr-Brions anywhere I decided to look for the family under a different surname.   Searching the 1901 census index without a surname was difficult.   A search was only allowed with the first two characters of the surname followed by a wildcard.   Luckily, there were some unusual first names to look for.   I picked Kenneth and Hugh as the least common.   They are also the names of my father and his brother.   I limited my search to the Exeter area of Devon.   I search for every possible two letter combination at the beginning of the surname until I found a family with a Kenneth and a Hugh.   This led me to the following family:

William F Kingwell head 54
Mary E Kingwell wife 46
Kenneth F Kingwell son 20
Gladys B Kingwell daughter 18
Eric G Kingwell son 17
Dorothy A Kingwell daughter 15
Cedric D Kingwell son 12
Hugh P Kingwell son 10

This looked very close to my father's list of names and had to be right.   Later investigations showed there was also an Ethel who had left home.   Eric's middle name was Garfield, the same as my father's.   Cedric's middle name was Duley and presumably he was my grandfather.   The mother's maiden name was Stickland which is why I could not find Strickland.   I later got additional confirmation from members of the Kingwell family.   They said Cedric disappeared during the first world war and no one knew what had happened to him despite attempts to find him.   He never did have a birth certificate.   His birth was not registered to avoid vaccination.   I also received a photo of the painting of Cedric as a child showing his red hair.   DNA testing has also shown that the Kingwell family was correct.   I still do not know what made him change his name and abandon his family.   It appears to have happened about the time he got married so the two events may well be connected.

Steve Horner writes:   I notice that you have found the Yarcombe website and the section that concerns Ancestral Researches, I hope by now that an electronic copy of Ruth Everitt`s book From Monks to the Millennium is on its way to you.   We have also noticed that the Stickland ( Strickland ) branch of your family have connections to East Devon in which the parish of Yarcombe lies.   If you do find a connection between the Sticklands of this parish, there are several of that name who lie in our graveyard and your own family.   We would be very pleased to receive the results of your research.   If we can help further with local place names or photos of the area please let us know.   Good luck with your researches and we wish you a prosperous new year.




Ancestral Search 68



December 2021

I came across your excellent web site while looking for more information on my ancestor Robert Pike.   Robert was baptised in Upottery in 1768 to Richard Pike and Sarah Salter.   In 1782 he was apprenticed to James Spark by the Overseers of the Poor.    In 1791 Robert married Ann Livermore at Ottery St Mary but his place of residence was given as Yarcombe.   He seems to have been buried there in 1808.   In 1793 Robert & Ann baptised a son Robert in Ottery St Mary but said they were resident in Yarcombe.   When this Robert married Elizabeth Bending in 1812 in Ottery St Mary he also gave his residence as Yarcombe.   Ann Pike nee Livemore appears to have had an interesting life: she was baptised in Ottery St Mary in 1765 and as well as the child she had with Robert Pike she also had Sarah Livermore baptised Ottery St Mary 1790 - in 1891 she was sentenced to a year in Bridewell for refusing to name the father.   She then had William baptised in Ottery St Mary but born in Yarcombe in 1800, possibly another William baptised in Yarcombe in 1803 "when separated from her husband Robert" and James Pykes born in Yarcombe but baptised in Ottery St Mary in 1803, in each case no father was named at the baptism.   I have access to the parish registers but would be delighted to have any other information on the Pike and Livermore families in Yarcombe and in particular Robert and the wayward Ann!       Many thanks,   Siân Plant

Steve Horner replies:   This is a tough one but none the less fascinating for a family historian!   Your research has clearly been very detailed and has been complicated by different spellings of surnames, Pike and Pyke, Livermore and Livermoore.   As you state Ann Pike nee Livermore had clearly been over the guns a few times, to use a local expression.   And as such she must have been a problem to the Parish overseers of the poor, both in Ottery St Mary and Yarcombe.   As regards Yarcombe although the parish lies in Devon the parish seems to have been part of the Chard Union which lies in Somerset.   However from what I can glean from records available to me I note that Ann Livermore`s first born child was Sarah born 1790 and was baptised in Ottery St Mary on 5th November 1790, the Mother being shown as Sarah or Ann Livermore.   The next event is Ann married Robert Pike in Ottery St Mary on 17th January 1791.   I note Robert Pike`s Mother was called Sarah and was married to Richard Pike, perhaps the dual claim to be mother of Sarah was the family covering up the birth out of wedlock?   The next event is the birth of Robert who was born 4th February 1793 and was baptised in Ottery St Mary 22nd May 1793 so this date line seems to fit well with a happy marriage and production of offspring.   Incidentally this Robert whom you note married Elizabeth Bending went on to produce 10 children during their marriage.   The next two children you show for Sarah Livermore in 1800 and 1803 are both named William, the first born in Yarcombe and baptised in Ottery St Mary in 1800 and the second baptised in Yarcombe in 1803, perhaps the first William died in infancy although I can find no record of his burial in Yarcombe.   The last recorded birth is James Pykes born 1803 when separated from her husband Robert.  The Yarcombe burial records ( Burials at Yarcombe Church ) are we believe complete and show two burials for a Robert Pike at about this time 7th February 1807 and 26th January 1809.   I am sorry I cannot be more helpful however I really would be grateful if you can add to this record as time goes by.




Ancestral Search 67



October 2021

I am researching my family tree and have come upon a Daniel Civil (sometimes spelt Siffel of Sivil) who I believe was married at Yarcombe on 1 April 1717 to Mary Pavey.   I believe Mary's parents were Medad and Jane (nee Pine).   Medad died on 6 March 1726.   All this so far is not proven but if you can confirm or correct I would be grateful.   I would really like to know if you have any records of Daniel Civil's parents as I have drawn a blank so far.   I have a date of 1650 for Daniel's birth.                  Regards    Trevor Civil

Peter Tarrant comments:   There are references to the Pavey name on this web page In Ancestral Searches 10,  15,  16.  23,  30,  38 & 49.

Steve Horner replies:   Thank you for your enquiry,   As has been pointed by our web master out there are very many references to the Pavey family.   If you look at Burials at Yarcombe Church there are 164 members of the Pavey family laid to rest in the churchyard.   Civil is not a name I have come across before although there are only 5 Civils recorded in the burial records, all shortly after the recorded marriage of Daniel Civil and Mary Pavey in 1717:

Ann 1720
John, Sarah 1724
William 1725
Elizabeth 1730

Perhaps these are children of Daniel and Mary ?

I have however noted on Ancestry the following tree for your Pavey family, all from Yarcombe.   I have not completed this in detail, showing all the children of each marriage, that would be a massive task, however I do suspect there is a direct link right back to Symon Pavey:

Symon Pavey bc 1524 = Rawlen Dabney
Chas Pavey 1550-1616 = Eliz Bennett 1555-
John Pavey 1581-1645 = Mary Knight 1585-1677
John Pavey 1611-1696 = Cicelye Vincent
Medad Pavey 1650-1725 = Jane Pine
Daughter Mary Pavey bapt 06/06/1693 = Daniel Civil

I have however noted that you record Daniel Civil as having been born c 1650 - although his marriage to Jane Pavey in 1717 is possible, he would have been aged 67 at the time.   I would be most grateful if you would kindly provide me with your tree providing some additional information about Daniel Civil, where he came from and perhaps which of his children lived to create your own line.   I do encourage you to continue your research as the Pavey family name shows up many times in our records.

Trevor Civil writes:   Unfortunately most of my information comes from other people's trees which I am not able to corroborate.   Hence the link to my known family tree is a bit tenuous.   I will continue to work on it - I note that you have had correspondence with Martin Webb who I came across some time ago - I will contact him again to check if he has any more recent updates.   In the event that I can confirm the link to Yarcombe, can you tell me if there is a parish register of marriages in 1715 for Yarcombe - that might tell me which village Daniel came from.   The Civils appear to have deserted Yarcombe in the 1730s and headed for the Isle of Wight which is where most of today's Civil's come from.   Many thanks for getting back to me and I will update you if I find anything new.

Steve Horner replies:   My assumption is that the marriage records for Yarcombe are in existence and stored at West Country Records Office in Exeter.   The marriage to which you refer Daniel Civil:Mary Pavey Yarcombe 1717 appears to have been found by the church of the latter day saints and has been microfilmed by that organisation.   I wish you every good luck in your search, keep at it!   Let us know if you make the connection.

Trevor Civil writes:   My earlier information about Daniel's birth date was probably wide of the mark.   I think that information came from another's family tree.   However going through the Yarcombe burials the best I can come up with is: Daniel Civil b 1678 d 1748 (listed as Sevill but misspellings are common even today).   Marriage to Mary Pavey was 1 April 1717.   Mary (listed as Cevill) died 1855.   My direct relative Samuel Civil (4 x great grandfather) was baptised in Yarncombe in February 1717.   I am left to wonder if there was any stigma attached to that.   Unfortunately to date I have not been able to get any further back than Daniel.

Steve Horner responds:   Many thanks for the update, from our own records I am afraid I cannot provide you with any more information.   As you have discovered reliance on family trees complied by others is notoriously inaccurate, wild guesses seem to be the order of the day rather than careful analytical research.   I have been working on my Horner tree for well nigh 60 years and have gently and carefully worked my way back to the early 1500s, some links being made by professional genealogists.   I can only suggest that you ask the West Country Records office in Exeter for a copy of the entry in the marriage register of Daniel Civil and Mary Pavey in 1717, that may provide you with further information.   Good luck in your hunt and keep in contact.

Trevor Civil writes:   As we are now on a trip to Cornwall to try to get more information on my wife's family we decided to stop off in Yarcombe next Saturday night.   It is not with any real intent that we are stopping there, although we will have a look around the graveyard, but more to get a feel of the place.

Steve Horner responds:   I am delighted to learn that you will be visiting the village where your ancestors once lived.   If you are passing Exeter you really should make an effort to drop into the West Country studies unit which is just off a motorway exit.   Please keep in contact.

Trevor Civil writes:   Good to meet you last week.   As you warned, the church yard did not give up any secrets.   The trip was mainly to find more information on Sue's ancestors which was fairly successful.   This did not allow any time to visit the West Country studies unit.

Trevor Civil writes:   As you suggested I followed up by contacting Devon Archives etc but with limited success.   The link between my 3rd great grandfather William Civil and the Samuel Civil who was baptised in Yarcombe in 1717 is a bit tenuous.   So even though your records house the earliest mention of the name of Civil (that exact spelling) I do not think they are direct descendants of mine.   The researcher did however point me towards another possible line of enquiry.   It was good to meet up with you and many thanks for your efforts in helping to trace my ancestors.   I attach some records (below) that the researcher sent to me that are relevant to Yarcombe.   Regards Trevor Civil

Steve Horner replies:   As with most Government entities it keeps changing its name.   At one time it was also called Devon County Record Office.   The Devon Heritage Centre in Exeter is the main archive.   It has a branch office, the North Devon Record Office in Barnstaple, which is the repository for records broadly relating to North Devon.   Wikipedia Address:  Great Moor House/Bittern Rd, Exeter EX2 7NL,  Phone: 01392 888700.   Good luck with your researches and please let us know the outcome.




Ancestral Search 66



September 2021

Being interested in military history and having connections with Buckinghamshire I purchased a British War Medal and Victory Medal to Thomas Batten Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry (OBLI).   He had two service numbers, namely 4689 and then 266836.   Sadly Thomas was killed in the war and my researches showed me he came from Yarcombe and led me to your website.   I found it very informative , thank-you.   In particular I noticed the photo of his Death Plaque ("Dead Man's Penny") which looks wall mounted. Is this on display in the village?

I thought you would be interested to know that his medals are still out there.   Two of his brothers married girls with the surname Doble and from the occurrence of this name amongst those from Yarcombe who served in WWI I would guess this was/is another local surname.   Martin Keys

Peter Tarrant comments:   See the World War 1 page for more about Thomas and the Batten family.

Steve Horner replies:   I was delighted to receive your e-mail about Thomas Batten, there are a number of us in the Parish of Yarcombe who have been trying over the past few years to assemble information about those men who gave their lives in the Great War, it is a struggle as little was recorded at the time and in fact the war memorial in the Church has less detail than a more comprehensive list in the Baptist Church.   We are thus most appreciative that you have contacted us.   The Dead Man's penny was presented to the parish by the Carillon War Memorial Museum in January 2017 and now hangs in the Baptist Church where Thomas and his family worshipped.   The service numbers you quote are correct and I understand the shorter indicates he would have signed up quite early in the war.   You are also correct about the surname Doble, the family still live in the village.  Thomas and his family lived at No 1 The Beacon which sits on the hill above the village, he enlisted in Dorchester into 21st Bucks battalion Ox and Bucks Light Infantry.   He was killed on the 1st April 1918 aged 28 years and is listed as “Missing presumed dead”.   He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial.

See a photo of Thomas (right) which might be of interest to you.   If possible we would appreciate a photograph of Thomas' medals, indeed we would be very interested in purchasing these to add to the Dead Man`s Penny in the Baptist Church.   With very kind regards.

Martin Keys responds:   As you say the original 4 figure service number Thomas was allocated indicates a pre-war regular or most likely territorial service pre-war.   When the whole British Army was renumbered in 1917 he was then allocated his six figure service number.   I had seen a head shot photograph of Thomas on-line but that had obviously just been 'cropped' from the larger image, that you sent me.   When I got your e-mail (and having read your website) my immediate thought was to agree to your request and sell you the medals for exactly what I paid for them.   However on only slightly more reflection I decided that wasn't the best solution so I have decided to give them to the Baptist Chapel to reunite them with his Death Plaque.   My wife and I are planning on coming down to Devon next year to visit various friends who live there (dates not yet confirmed) I am proposing that we bring the medals with us and make a trip to Yarcombe to hand them over to you.(at a mutually convenient day/time, to be agreed).   This will avoid any chance of damage or loss in transit which would be a tragedy at this stage; given the medals and plaque have probably been separated for many years.   I wonder who donated his plaque to the Carillon Museum in 2002, was it a family member?   This will mean they won't be with you quite as quickly but I hope the fact that they are coming your way and will be there in due course will make up for any slight disappointment at the delay.   Does that all seem acceptable to you?

Steve Horner replies:   Martin, what a wonderful gesture, I have already spread the word in the village and the Chairman of the Parish Council, Clive Stone has already indicated that your gift will be a wonderful addition to our heritage.   I might also add that Miranda Gudenian who is Editor of Yarcombe Voices who lives in the same house where Thomas Batten and his family lived has also asked me to pass on her personal thanks to you.   As yet the committee of the Baptist church have not formally replied but I feel certain they will want the medals to join the plaque once again.   Your proposed visit to our community is indeed an excellent idea and one which we can plan as time and COVID permits.   As for the original source of the plaque we have no idea, we only know it was surplus to the requirements of the museum.   We look forward to meeting you and your wife next year and once again many thanks for your generous gift.

July 2022

Clive Stone adds:   I have an interest in the Boer War and the 1906 Natal Rebellion and having learnt about Thomas Batten’s WW1 medals being kindly gifted to Yarcombe, l asked Steve Horner if had been anyone from the parish who served on the Boer War.   Following his response that Thomas' brother John had indeed served, l decided to post the following on the Anglo Boer War website, hoping for more details of John Batten’s service in Prince Albert’s Somerset Light Infantry, but as of today nothing more has come to light.

With help from daughter Anna searching census records and Jonathan Spiller descended from another Yarcombe family, l pieced together the article below, which you are most welcome to include on your ancestry website.

Miranda confirmed that the Batten family did live in her house but only in the south part of the property until sometime in the 1930s and the roses grown by Mrs Batten, who according to Bill Doble, she sold at market, were to be found growing in all gardens in Beacon.


The Batten brothers from Yarcombe, 2nd Bn Prince Alberts Somerset Light Infantry ….

What started out as part of First World War research, then involved the same family in the Boer War, sadly with one fatality from the same family in each war.

During the preparations for the commemoration of the Great War, the village of Yarcombe in East Devon, received out of the blue, a large bronze Death Plaque or Widows Penny, one of 1,355,000 issued.   This had originally been sent to the family of Thomas Batten and had then found it’s way to the Carillon War Memorial Museum, who in 2019 kindly donated it to our village.

Out of the population of a small Devon parish, ninety three enlisted and eleven did not return. All the names are recorded on a collection of mounted brass plaques in the Baptist Chapel.   There are also six members of the Spiller family recorded, one of whom did not return.

Thomas Batten had enlisted at Dorchester into the 21st Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.   He appears to have enlisted early in the war as his original service number of 4689 was replaced by 266836 in 1917.   He was killed age 28 on April 1st 1918 and is remembered on the Pozieres Memorial as having no known grave.   He is also commemorated on a headstone just outside the entrance to the Baptist Chapel.   This headstone also commemorates father Eli, wife and mother Mary Jane and their sons John and Thomas Batten.

We had also been offered Thomas Batten’s medals, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, both generously gifted by Martin Keys who had previously purchased them.   Along with a photo of Thomas Batten, there is now a comprehensive collection to the memory of John and Thomas.

The village website has, as of July 2022, a detailed record of seventy four ancestral searches, but does not appear to feature any Boer War connections, unlike nearby Honiton, which has a memorial dedicated to nine former pupils from nearby All Hallows School, Rousdon.

On enquiring if there was anyone from the village who served in the Boer War, l learnt that there was one person, John Batten, who was an elder brother of Thomas.   From the 1891 census it appeared that Thomas did not have an elder brother and the family were living at Beacon Farm, now occupied by a prominent local historian.

On further investigation of the 1891 census, Thomas did have an elder brother John, who was living at a different address in the village, earning his keep as a ten year old servant at Waterhayne Farm.   It was not unusual in those days to send children out to other families if their parents could not afford to feed them or possibly helping to support their parents.

In the 1911 census, Thomas Batten was living at The Beacon in Yarcombe, recorded as a farm labourer, working elsewhere, while his sister Louisa was recorded as Housekeeper working at home.  
On her death in 1963, she is noted as Louisa Batten Spiller, hence the link between the Batten and Spiller families and the previous mention of the Spiller names also recorded on the Baptist Chapel memorial.

John Batten’s life would appear to have been one of being born into a working agricultural family, with very little chance of improving his life.   His maternal grandfather had been a shoemaker, a trade not taken up by his son Eli.   The occupations given by the ‘heads of houses’ of the six dwellings in Beacon in the 1891 census, were five agricultural labourers and one woodsman.

Whether it was as a result of the agricultural depression of the 1870s, which tragically impacted on my own paternal family, or the prospect of regular pay, improved conditions, potential promotion or the chance to see some more of the world with the comradeship of fellow soldiers, we will never know his motive for leaving his family, village and agriculture behind.

The next major chapter in John Battens life is that he had joined the 2nd Battalion Prince Albert’s Somerset Light Infantry nr 5065.

His QSA medal is in the possession of a descendant of his sister Louisa and l have been able to locate a picture of John Batten’s medal, which also has clasps for Relief of Ladysmith, Tugela Heights, Cape Colony, Orange Free State and Transvaal.

During his relatively short life, John must have seen plenty of action, most probably all of it during his relatively short military service, for which his very rural upbringing had not been a particularly helpful preparation.   It may however have given him some countryside skills he found useful in contributing to him surviving well known actions as demonstrated by his clasps, then only to die from disease.

John Batten died on 30 December 1900 and is buried at Springfontain Military Cemetery, although his headstone is misspelt as Batton.

I do not know if his medal has always been in the family or if it was subsequently purchased by them, either way it is where it deserves to be.

After their losses in the two wars, Eli and Mary Jane Batten still had two girls and three boys, several of whom are thought to have married into local families, with their descendants still living in the locality, although shortly after 2015 there were no Batten family names thought to be still living in the parish of Yarcombe.

Quite a story from a Manor owned by Sir Francis Drake and with family descendants there to this day.   Perhaps this will bring another family to search their family history and discover a Boer War connection.

The pictures and confirmation of the marriage connection between the two families, was courtesy of Jonathan Spiller and his cousin, via Ancestry.

I look forward to hearing of any further information about John Batten, which will be forwarded to his family and our enthusiastic local family historians.

Clive Stone







Ancestral Search 65



July 2021

Hi, I am hoping a local person might be able to help with some not so ancient Yarcombe history..   My deceased grandfather’s birth certificate states he was born at Little Crawley, Membury in 1916, however I understand at that time his father owned Lower Crawley cottage and a small holding next to the river Yarty (now Bridge Meadow).   There is currently a Little Crawley further to the East, close-by where Crawley Cottage once stood.   Might anyone local be able to tell me when this Little Crawley was built as it does not appear on maps of 1916 for the Chardstock Estate sale when my grandfather bought Lower Crawley but is on a 1936 map.   Was there yet another place with the same name?   Might Lower Crawley and Little Crawley actually be one and the same place in about 1916 and might the current Little Crawley have been built a while later?    Many thanks,   Joe Bin

Edwina Wakley comments:   I am not sure that I can shed much light on Little Crawley but this was passed to me by Steve Horner who lives in the parish of Yarcombe as he knew that I lived there very many years ago.   My parents bought Little Crawley in about 1959 - the house was clearly not that old but was in an 'old style'.   It always seemed to have had a sad history.  The people that they purchased from had had 'something' in their lives and they had to leave there but were heartbroken so to do.   They told my parents that there had been some sadness with the house and that a former (not sure when) person would not sleep in the house but would only sleep under the loggia.   They inferred that this person had fallen from an upstairs window and broken her back - now whether that was when she left there I don't know and certainly don't have any dates to put with it.   There was a small 'shed' in the grounds but that may well have been a tiny cottage at some time.   Little Crawley's address is Yarcombe but I was married from there and we had to have our banns called both in Yarcombe and Membury as the property seems to have straddled both parishes.   My parents left Little Crawley in about 1967 - again it was a situation that they would not have chosen - in tidying up to move, tucked away in a lean-to loft I found a piece of paper and on it was written - 'I have escaped by the window'.   Make of this what you may - it certainly was a bit puzzling.   The people who then moved there after my parents, had a similar 'unhappy' time, I think one of them dying within a comparatively short space of time.   I do hope that this 'curse' ended and that others have enjoyed it.   Sorry I cannot be more helpful.       Edwina Wakley

"Jen" replies:   Thank you for getting back to me and so quickly!   I only sent my question the other day.   I am coming to the conclusion that the house may only date to sometime just before the second world war and so not where my grandfather was born.   I found the news article (right, click to enlarge) about a Mr Neild who apparently shot himself there in what is described as a bungalow in 1928, that may have been a forerunner of the current house.   It does lend itself to the place having a few sad stories attached, I think many places do, but we can move on and still enjoy them in our own time and place.   There could be maybe a book to be written about the place though if you are into mysteries...   Thanks again for getting in touch, your insight has helped and added some colour to the house for me.

Steve Horner writes:   Just as a closure to this interesting enquiry, I have carried out some research into the death of Henry Archer Neild of Little Crawley Membury who according to the article committed suicide on 9th July 1928.   Henry Neild lies in the churchyard of St John Baptist Yarcombe, according to the probate records he died a wealthy man, his estate amounting £3,830 17s 7d which equates to about £400,000 in today's money, his executor was the Public Trustee.   There is also mention in the article that his bank manager surmised he was speculating in the shares of Rubber companies and my research shows that as a result of the Rubber Export Restriction Scheme dated March 1928 that small investors in such companies had lost considerable sums of money.

Edwina Wakley adds:   We rather thought that - as I have said before, that house did seem to attract some sad and interesting stories - yet to be discovered is, who was the person who left the note in the loft saying - ' I have escaped by the window'.   It wasn't exactly where one would be looking for a note and we were told of the person who had fallen from a window and broken their back (one and the same?) and the other person who would not sleep in the house.   Personally, we didn't ever feel a 'presence' !




Ancestral Search 64



June 2021

I am researching my maternal grandparents Edward and Martha Scarisbrick, who were teachers in Yarcombe during World War 1.   Edward trained at Chester and Martha in Liverpool in the closing years of the 19th century.   They married in 1906 and their son Edward was born in 1907 and died aged 3 in 1910.   Their daughter Marjorie Scarisbrick, my mother, was born in 1911 and they moved to Yarcombe where Edward taught at the school, the family living at the school house.   The Exeter and Plymouth Gazette reports, on 4th February, 1916, that Edward, together with the elderly vicar of Yarcombe, Rev. E J Meredith, went to the assistance of a motorcyclist, Mrs Hunter, who had an accident and died a few hours later.   Subsequently, Edward was conscripted into the Army Supply Corps, was taught to drive and saw action and sadly that seemed to be final.   Meanwhile, his wife, Martha Scarisbrick taught at Yarcombe school until she was appointed head at Willand in 1926/27.   Their daughter Marjorie was, as a teenager, a keen contributor of messages of cheer and good humour to the young people’s column of the Crediton Courier, despite the tragic family events.   From Yarcombe, she went on to Kenilworth College in Exeter to learn shorthand and typing, keeping a friendly contact with the Principal, Mr J E Webster and his family, even after they moved to Crosby in Lancashire due to Mr Webster’s failing health.   I hope this narrative will stir memories for readers of your fascinating Ancestral Searches, who may be able to give more detail of the Scarisbrick contribution to Yarcombe education.   I'm optimistic this will provide some interesting additional data from the good folk of Yarcombe!       Keith Andrews

Peter Tarrant comments:   Thanks for your enquiry and the fascinating information.   If you haven't already done so, have a look at the website’s Photograph pages where there are several picture of the old school, teachers and pupils from the last century.  If you manage to identify anyone, please let us know!

Keith Andrews writes:   Thank you for your response.   I have looked at your website photo pages.   My mother was born in 1911 and all the girls in the Yarcombe school group photos can, I think, be ruled out as older.  Your photo taken around the time of WW1 has a male teacher top right.   We have two photos of my grandfather Edward Scarisbrick dated 1899 and none later.   It is hard to tell but I cannot say the he is definitely the teacher.   I presume there were two teachers at the school at that time, with infants (Miss Bagg) and juniors (the head teacher).

Keith Andrews adds:   I have shared your school photograph pages with my son in Newmarket, who holds our family photo archive.   We now think that the teacher in the school group photo on Photograph Page 6 is my grandfather Edward Scarisbrick and that his daughter, Marjorie Scarisbrick, my mother (below, right) is the girl two away from him, second row down.   The hair bows and open mouth are quite distinctive.   Edward Scarisbrick is in the centre of the 1899 Chester Teacher Training College group photo extract (below left).


Edward Scarisbrick (centre)   Marjorie Scarisbrick




Ancestral Search 63



June 2021

Posted as an item of interest:

Steve Horner writes:   I recently purchased on eBay two envelopes from the 19th century (above), one of which was written by Bishop George Pelham to the then Vicar of Yarcombe dated 1823.   The second by Bishop John Kaye to Lincoln College dated 1834.   Several points of interest attracted my attention:   Each sender signed the front of the corresponding letter;  both men were at the time of writing appointed as Bishop of Lincoln hence each signed J Lincoln and G Lincoln which practice I was unaware having never corresponded with a Bishop myself!   My query concerns my interpretation of the name of the vicar of Yarcombe at that time about whom I would like to learn more.   I interpret the name as being Rev.Dr.Palmer not Paland as shown on the sales ticket on eBay.   Is there any record in the church of past vicars of the parish?    Perhaps the transcript book may reveal this man`s initials which would give me further clues for my researches.   Ruth Everitt in her book mentions a Rev W Palmer on several occasions, one of which states that Rev W Palmer paid a hair powder duty of £1.3s.6d in 1818!   I suspect he lived on the parish for a long period of time and may have been succeeded by Michael Ford`s Grandfather.

Geoffrey Berry replies:   Very interesting, your enquiry about Revd William Palmer D.D.  Vicar of Yarcombe from 1800 until he was succeeded by Percy Gilpin in 1854.   I have a copy of Whites Directory of Devonshire dated 1850 and it states that he was also Vicar of Ilton, Somerset where he resides.   He may have been buried there or somewhere in a family vault.   I also have a copy of The History of Devonshire by the Revd Richard Polwhele dated 1793.   He says the Vicar is William Palmer junior.   Mortimer Ford came after Percy Gilpin in 1866.   It was during his incumbency that the Vicarage burnt down.   He was succeeded by George Watson in 1900.

Steve Horner writes:   Very many thanks for your helpful insights, I had no idea that Bishops signed in this manner.   Also thanks to Peter Tarrant who directed me to the Church section of the Yarcombe website where there is a photo of the board which displays the names of all past vicars of our parish.   This permitted me to find the following information:

1737 William Palmer
1783 William Palmer
1800 William Palmer
1854 Percy Gilpin
1866 Mortimer William Ford

With the Christian name and date of death I was able to track down the wills of the three William Palmers which had been proved by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury which is fortunate because this Court had to prove all wills where the value of goods was over five pounds and property held in more than one diocese.   Devon wills of less wealthy individuals were held in Exeter which records were destroyed in a bombing raid carried out by the Luftwaffe in World War 2.   These wills contained information that proved these three William Palmers were respectively Grandfather Father and Son, all very wealthy individuals, and from Ancestry I was able to construct the following family tree, and add great Grandfather William Palmer 1:

Rev William Palmer 1 born abt 1669 Broadclyst died Clyst Hydon 22 June 1726
Rev William Palmer 2 born 16 August 1701 died Combe Raleigh 25 November 1784
Rev William Palmer 3 born 13 April 1732 Combe Raleigh died Cricket Mallerbie 1801
Rev William Palmer 4 born Chardstock 1770 died 1853

None of these individuals appear on the burial records of Yarcombe and I can only assume they were interred in a family vault perhaps in Combe Raleigh.   I am intrigued by this information, I know little about how vicars of Yarcombe were and still are appointed save Ruth Everitt states in her book that the advowson (right to appoint a vicar) of Yarcombe is vested in the Crown.   Given that the vicar of a parish had the right to collect tithes I can only assume that an individual wishing to be appointed as vicar would curry favour or indeed perhaps pay the owner of the right of advowson to gain this office.



Ancestral Search 62



June 2021

I have been delving into my Family History for about 35 years and never got back further than mid 1800s on the Bright Family.   Recently have managed to get back earlier having had my DNA searched out with the Ancestry site with several links coming back that we are related with the Bright Family that lived in Yarcombe.   The relatives are, working back, as follows:

  Frederick Bright born 1760 Yarcombe died 1813 Chard
his Father: Benjamin Bright born 1735 Yarcombe died 1813 Yarcombe
his Father: Benjamin Bright born 1686 Yarcombe died 1746 Yarcombe
his Father: William Bright born 1645 Devon? died 1707 Yarcombe

If you could share this information locally to see if anyone knows anything about this family would be much appreciated.   Kind Regards, Dennis Bright

Steve Horner replies:   Very many thanks for your enquiry.   I can confirm your family have long connections with this Parish, in fact Ruth Everitt in the index to her book “From Monks to the Millennium” shows 8 references to your family and it will be a hard slog to connect each reference back to your family tree, but like any jig saw puzzle I feel it is soluble and that you may be able to go back at least one generation further.   An electronic copy of the book is available if you would wish to make a donation to Yarcombe Voices.   I have copied Miranda Gudenian who is editor of this publication and who owns the copyright.   Incidentally the land tax records of Yarcombe for 1727 show Benjamin Bright being the occupier of Cornhill.   He was a substantial land owner or at least had an interest in three properties, Moorhayne, Underdown and Sellwood which indicates Benjamin Bright was a wealthy man and therefore there is a good chance you will find his will either in the Devon Record office or more probably in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury list of wills.   Good hunting.

Dennis Bright writes:   Thanks for your information on the Bright Family.   I have emailed Miranda requesting access to an electrical copy of From Monks to the Millennium.   My wife and I booked a 3 day break in Yarcombe a little while ago so we can explore the area and I was hoping that I might be able to get information from the church on the layout of the cemetery and whether the Bright Family had maybe a family grave.   I did notice the church is open Wednesday afternoons, we are staying Monday to Thursday morning, so we will be able to visit church on the Wednesday.   Would you know the best person to contact regarding the Church and Cemetery Layout?   Thanks again.

Steve Horner responds:   I am pleased to learn of your interest in our Parish where your ancestors lived so many years ago.   The Book “From Monks to the Millennium” contains not only some historical references to your family and the places they owned but also maps showing their location so you will be able to enjoy walking around the countryside to inspect these old buildings.   I have copied Geoffrey Berry our Churchwarden who knows much about the history of our church and may be able to help you, however we do not have a plan of the grave yard.   Have you tried looking up Burials at Yarcombe Church ?   Also Find A Grave website has a complete record of all grave markers together with a photo which are at present in the grave yard, the local stone is quite soft and many of the old tomb stones have disappeared over time.   If you do have time to post a detailed record of your family tree that would enable us to record this, hopefully for posterity, here on our web site.




Ancestral Search 61



June 2021

Hello, I am in Canada and it was a fluke that I found your informative site.   One of my family lines (Abraham Phillips Bricknell who just disappears) is a link to Sir Francis Drake’s sister so that item was interesting reading.   I would be interested if you can offer any insights on the following:

I am looking at the 1841 Census (below) and I am not sure if Robert Lee is married to Elizabeth or perhaps her spouse is John who is maybe out of order at the bottom.   Or is she a widow back living with her father & John is her sibling (close in age)?   Perhaps Robert was the parent of the two-month old child (b. Apr based on the date of the census.), but there is no birth reg at GRO to discern the mother’s surname.

Also, I suspect the Ruth Lee on the 1851 Census (born “Dommett”) may be connected to #14 regarding this family name.   In 1851 Ann ,the niece, is noted as being born in Yarcombe so don’t know if they will link up.  But who was Ruth’s spouse (based on Ann’s birth, possibly a “Lee” from Yarcombe) and is there a connection to the 1841 family shown below?         C.M.Hanson  

1841 Census (6 Jun): Yarcombe Devon SD: Combe St Nicholas RD: Axminster EP: St John the Baptist
HO107 Book: 22 Piece: 201 Folio: 3 P. 1 Sch: Res: Mareyhayes

Robert Lee 75 b. 1766 Tailor b. Devon
Elizabeth (____)? 35 b. 1806 s, m, W ? b. Devon
Ruth 14 b. 1827 b. Devon
Eliza 10 b. 1831 b. Devon
Mary 4 b. 1837 b. Devon
Anne 2 mo. b. 1841 (b. Apr) b. Devon
John 3 b. 1807 b. Devon
1851 Census: Farway Dorset SD: Lyme RD: Axminster EP:
HO107 Piece: 1862 Folio: 378 P. 15 Sch: 61 Res:
Note: Transcribed as “Domett”, but later in use by family as “Dommett” & “Dummett"

Ann Dommett 54 b. 1797 s, Shopkeeper b. Chardstock Dorset
John Dommett 27 b. 1824 s, Cordwainer b. Chardstock Dorset
Ruth (Dommett) Lee 40 b. 1811 w, Washer Woman b. Chardstock Dorset
Ann Lee 9 b. 1842 Niece, Scholar b. Yarcombe? Devon
Samuel D(ummett) Lee 7 b. 1844 Nephew, Scholar b. Chardstock Dorset
Note: Thomas Dommett (Bro, b. 1823)

Steve Horner replies:   Thank you for your enquiry about your ancestors who have a connection to Yarcombe.   The reason for the slight delay in replying to you was because I wanted to check with an expert on the life of Admiral Sir Francis Drake concerning your mention that Sir Francis had a sister.   The answer was he only had 11 brothers, so you may have a fact in your possession that needs to be carefully researched.   This is important because Elizabeth 1 Queen of England rewarded Sir Francis with a moiety of the Manor of Yarcombe in 1582, and we value his connection to our Parish.   It would help me to understand if you can explain in detail your family lines - Abraham Phillips Bricknell who “just disappears” and the link to Sir Francis Drake sister.   Regarding your more detailed enquiry about Robert Lee b 1766 and his family and a possible connection to Ruth Lee nee Dommett shown on the Farway census of 1851 as set out below.   My comments in red:

Ann Dommett unmarried 54 b. 1797 s, Shopkeeper b. Chardstock Dorset
John Dommett
unmarried 27 b. 1824 s, Cordwainer b. Chardstock Dorset
Ruth (Dommett) Lee
widow 40 b. 1811 w, Washer Woman b. Chardstock Dorset
Ann Lee 9 b. 1842 Niece, Scholar b. Yarcombe? (
why ? in my definitely Yarcombe) Devon
Samuel D(ummett) Lee 7 b. 1844 Nephew, Scholar b. Chardstock Dorset
Note: Thomas Dommett (Bro, b. 1823)
not on census how does he fit in?

On the next page of the Farway census I find John Dommett age 47 a sailor born Chardstock living with his wife Jane.   This leads me to the firm conclusion that Ann Lee nee Dommett who was a widow in 1851 and her children Ann and Samuel went to live in Farway with her unmarried sister Ann who had a son John.   I have also inspected the Yarcombe census for 1841

Robert Lee 75 b. 1766 Tailor b. Devon
Elizabeth (_
Ditto___)? 35 b. 1806 s, m, W ? Not stated b. Devon
Ruth 14 b. 1827 b. Devon
Eliza 10 b. 1831 b. Devon
Mary 4 b. 1837 b. Devon
Anne 2 mo. b. 1841 (b. Apr) b. Devon
John 3 b. 1807 b. Devon

This is the first page of the census enumeration the preface of which states from Holywater on the left hand side of the road past Sheafhayne to Yarcombe Village (Sheafhayne being the manor house) the census states the family were living in a house called Mareyhayne ???    According to Ruth Everitt’s excellent book “From Monks to the Millennium” (available as a soft copy for a small donation) the tithe apportionment act of 1832 mentions Robt Lee senior owns/occupies Woodeys Cottage Elscombe, so there is a possibility Ruth Dommett was married to a son/grandson of Robert Lee which would support the fact that Ann Lee b 1842 was born in Yarcombe.   Elscombe lies just down the valley from my farm and is in the parish of Yarcombe.   However I feel that you should concentrate on the nearby parish of Chardstock which appears to be the centre of gravity for the Dommett family and I can put you in touch with the local historian who covers that parish if you so require.   I hope this helps, however in any event please let me know more about Sir Francis Drake`s sister.      Steve



Ancestral Search 60



May 2021

Hello Yarcombe, I am a direct descendant of Jonas Woodrough (Woodrow) born Yarcombe 1683 died/buried Yarcombe March 1732.   Our family line has been traced back to Jonas but to my knowledge no-one has been able to go any further back.   I think this is because the online parish records only go back as far as Jonas.   But I can see from the Yarcombe burial records that there are Woodrough burials recorded at Yarcombe which are older than Jonas.   This seems to indicate that some of those earlier burials may be of Jonas's parents and so we may be able to go back at least one more generation.    Is anyone in Yarcombe able to help with establishing the relationship between Jonas b1683 d1732 and the earlier burials?   Frank Woodrow born Ottery St Mary, Devon 1857 died Brisbane 1948 was my great, grandfather.   He emigrated to Queensland, Australia in 1883.   There are many descendants of my great, grand-father, but unfortunately only a small number of the living descendants carry the Woodrow surname.   An interesting issue is when the surname changed from Woodrough to Woodrow. It appears to be after 1703 but before 1732.   On our next visit to England, we will visit Yarcombe.   It looks delightful and worthy of a stay of 3 or 4 days.   We have been to Devon a couple of times but that was before delving into the family history.   On our first visit, the Elm trees were still standing at Exeter Cathedral.   Now only the stumps remain and the character is quite different.   Any help with the earlier Woodrough's will be much appreciated.      Regards,     Peter Woodrow

Steve Horner replies:   Thank you for your enquiry.   As you rightly state there seems to have been a flush of Woodrough/Woodrow burials in Yarcombe Church yard between 1681 thru 1805 which suggests that the family were present in the Parish at that time.   However I had a look at the Yarcombe Church Rate made 30th October 1707 which lists the head of each household and his/hers contribution.   I am not an expert however there is no mention of Woodrough/Woodrow in this list nor is there mention of the family in Ruth Everitt’s excellent history of the Parish in her book ,”From Monks to the Millennium”.  This set me thinking because at that time there was an enclave of the Parish of Membury within the Parish of Yarcombe centred on Birch Oak Farm.   My guess would be that it would be natural from persons dwelling in the enclave to be buried in the nearest local church but perhaps marriages would have been conducted in their home church of Membury.   It’s a long shot, perhaps an enquiry of Jenny Beaman who is secretary of the Membury Local History Society, might produce some more information.   Personally I feel that there must be a connection between Jonas Woodrow baptised 1683 back to earlier Woodrows who now lie in our Churchyard.   In any event please keep in contact and when this terrible Corona Virus is more under control perhaps we can welcome you to the wonderful valley in which we live.

Peter Woodrow responds:   Thanks for your quick reply.   Appreciate your looking into this and your suggestions.   Another trip to England is high on our priority list, as soon as we are allowed to travel out of Australia.   That looks like being around this time next year!   Frustrating as that is, it is the closed borders that have kept Australia largely free of Covid so most people accept it.   We certainly intend to visit Yarcombe on our next trip.

August 2023

Peter Woodrow adds:   In 2 days time we are heading to England for our first trip there since the emails above in May 2021.   We have organised our itinerary so we will have 3 nights in Yarcombe so I can see where my Woodrow/Woodrough ancestors lived.   It would be great if while we are there we could meet some of the locals, who could perhaps suggest key points of interest.   We are in Yarcombe from 10-13 Sept.

Steve Horner replies:   Great to hear from you once again.   Did you follow through with my suggestion that you contact the Membury Local History Society?

Peter Woodrow writes:   Thanks for your quick reply.   I did email Jenny Beaman (in May 21) as you suggested but didn't get a response so didn't go any further with that.   I will try again now.

Steve Horner replies:   Peter, I feel certain the answer lies in Membury.   I believe there is also a Membury history society.   Please remind them the area of Yarcombe where I think your ancestors may have lived was until about 1850 an outlying part of the parish of Membury.   Good hunting.




Ancestral Search 59



May 2021

I am wondering if you have any information on Thomas Major who was vicar of Yarcombe from 1580?   He appears to be my 11th great-grandfather through the Turner family.   His grand-daughter Eleanor married John Turner alias Harner in Yarcombe in 1640.   Best regards,    David Wilton

Steve Horner replies:   This is a most interesting enquiry and I can state without doubt we do have information about Thomas Major.   To explain as you may know Sir Francis Drake acquired the manor of Yarcombe as a result of a complex transaction, possibly an early form of money laundering as a reward for pillaging the Spanish Main, which in turn considerably increased the treasury of Elizbeth 1.

Sir Francis died in 1596 at sea and is buried in Nombre Dios bay off Panama.   He did not have any children and left the manor of Yarcombe to his brother Thomas, and with it a series of complex legal cases as others in the family squabbled over the wealth, and debts, left by the Old Sea Dog.   Thomas Drake was himself litigious and brought a law suit to obtain an injunction in the Court of Chancery against the reverend Thomas Major, vicar of Yarcombe.   This case concerned the tithes payable in kind to the vicar which was a difficult process to administer given locals might well try and hide new born animals and amounts of grain and hay grown from the said vicar.   So Thomas Major devised a scheme whereby such tithes might be monetised (to use a modern financial expression).   The case is interesting and very helpful to local historians because it lists in great detail each and every holding in the Parish, the names of each occupant and tithe paid, I have a transcript and a typed copy, the original Bill is marked as having been filed on 23rd November 1600, there does not appear to be an answer from the court to the original pleadings.

Somewhere in my papers I have a note that the widow of Thomas Major lived at Rosshayne farm, and it is therefore not surprising that his granddaughter Eleanor stayed in the locality and married Thomas Harner in 1640.   Thus if you can send me more details from the family tree this would be a most useful document to have available in our archives.   In turn I will try to carry out some more detailed research for you.

David Wilton responds:   Thank you for the very quick reply.   I have attached a couple of shots from my family tree on (below).   I will put a caveat on this that while I try to be careful to validate links with original sources, it is all too easy to make mistakes.   If you want to look at the tree on Ancestry it is public: 888dew


Steve Horner replies:   I have been able to spend some time looking at your tree on Ancestry.   In particular I focussed on the marriage Eleanor Major (1622-1659) to John Turner als Harner.  I had a brief look see at John's PCC, Will obviously a wealthy man, I am now certain he lived at Higher Pithayne, which is a grade 2 listed building now occupied by David Meyrick, Lord of the manor.   I need your guidance please as I have not come across Als in a name which seems to have been in use for several generations of the family, I had interpreted this to be Alias. meaning an assumed name, often used by one person for one generation.   Clearly your family have deep roots in Yarcombe and the surrounding parishes, I would be pleased to send you information that I have on Rev Thomas Maior.   Incidentally have you gathered other information on said Reverand, I assume he was a graduate of either Oxford or Cambridge and took Holy Orders so there should be further information on this man.

David Wilton replies:   If you have a photo of Higher Pithayne I would be interested to see the house.   The family appear to have used either Harner alias Turner or Turner alias Harner for several generations, but use is also erratic.   For example:

• Johns' mother Mary uses Harner alias Turner in her will in 1654.
• John's uncle Roger uses Harner alias Turner at his marriage in 1613
• John's sister Purnell is baptised as Harner alias Turner but buried as Turner alias Harner
• John's sister Rawlyne is baptized as Harner in 1611 and buried as Turner in 1653
• John's son Thomas is Harner alias Turner at his marriage to Charity Stevens
• John's grandson William is Turner alias Harner in his will in 1735.
• John's great-grandson John (son of William above) is Turner alias Harner in his will of 1762

This is the only alias name I have come across so I have no idea what is normal or even how this sort of name comes about.   The only similar thing I have found is a case in the mid 1700's of illegitimacy where the couple never married but had a son who was given both surnames, which later generations hyphenated.   The only thing I have found on the Rev Thomas Major is his entry in the directory of Oxford alumni, which does not give anything on his background.

David Wilton adds:   I just found the attached case from 1610 in the Court of Chancery.   I think the defendant is most likely Thomas Turner alias Harner (1580-1625), the father of John.

Steve Horner replies:   I took the opportunity of visiting Andy Podbery who lives at Rosshayne Farm, who has kindly lent me an aerial photo of his farm (right).   I suspect it was taken in about 1970 when his parents lived there.   As yet I have not been to see David Meyrick who lives at Higher Pithayne.   Just out of interest I would refer you to Ruth Everitt`s book “From Monks to the Millennium” which has much information about each building in the Parish.   I am not certain if you have a copy of this excellent book, however an electronic copy can be obtained from Miranda Gudenian, this may provide you with more information about your ancestors who lived in Yarcombe.   Finally below is a scan of the page from Lady Drake`s history of the Drake family which provides more detail of the Court Case between Thomas Drake and Rev Thomas Major in a dispute over tithes:                    

As yet I do not have any further information about the 1610 Court of Chancery proceedings; however if I do receive any further information I will pass this on to you.   I am most grateful to you for the wealth of information you have provide about your ancestors who lived in Yarcombe in the late 16th early 17th century, and I would ask for your approval that our web master Peter Tarrant posts these onto the Ancestry section of our web site.   If you find out any more or require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.

David Wilton adds:   Thank you very much for this and please thank Mr Podbery for me.   You are welcome to use anything I have sent you on your website.   You piqued my curiosity about 'alias' names and after digging around on the web found that as you thought, they were mostly only used in one or two generations.   There was a case cited from Cornwall however of a family with used an alias name over a span of 200 years, from the mid 1500s to the mid 1700s, much like the Turner alias Harner's.       Best regards,      David

Steve Horner replies:   I have just returned Andy Podbery`s photos, he is pleased to have been of assistance.   Here is the reply I have received from Bryan Drew the local historian who covers Stockland.   Not much additional information I am afraid but every little helps:

Steve, I have had a quick look at the extensive Turner family of Stockland but not found the John Turner mentioned in the letter.   From the Muster Roll of 1539 there is a John Turner of Rydewaye (Rodway) Stockland, Walter Turner and Philip Turner.   In 1640 there was a Roger Turner of Millhayes, Stockland.   Burials at Stockland include Roger in 1643, John son of John, 1644, Agnes, widow 1645, Benjamin 1646, John 1647 and so on.   The Turner als. Harner were buried in Yarcombe as you know including Aug. 21 1659 John, son of John Turner al. Harner and June 16 1659 Elinor wife of John Turner al. Turner.   Six years earlier Dec. 16 1653 Thomas, son of John Turner al. Harner and Elinor his wife.   From the Stockland Burial Register is Elizabeth Harner al. Turner Nov. 1726.

Keep in contact - yours is a fascinating family history.

Steve Horner adds:   Overnight I had another thought about John Turner alias Harner 1607-1685 and this concerns his PCC Will.   Have you transcribed this document?   I know from experience that this is a long and painstaking business!   It would perhaps help me understand his land holdings and therefore I would appreciate a copy of any transcription you may have.

David Wilton replies:   I do not have a transcript of the will, sorry.   I read the wills for the names to check relationships and the names are usually legible enough that I can get by without transcripts.   Ruth Everitt's book mentions that the Rev. Thomas Major left a Tremelins bible in his will and speculates he may have been preaching in the fields.   This would make Yarcombe fertile ground for recruiting early emigrants to America.   Do you know where I might get a copy of Rev. Major's will?

Steve Horner replies:   I have had a quick search for Rev Thomas Maior`s will but with no luck so far, and sadly Ruth Everitt is no longer with us to lead me to the source of her knowledge about the Tremelins bible.   I do recall an ancient bible was stolen from the church some 15 years ago however the thief clearly did not consider this to be of much value and dumped it in a hedge, perhaps this Holy Book is indeed the Tremelins (correct name Tremellius) bible and may contain some inscription or notes.   I will ask the church warden Geoff Berry if he has any knowledge of this matter.   Turning to your other thought process, indeed Yarcombe was an early recruiting ground for emigrants to your country.   If you look at Ancestral Search 51 there is a wealth of information contained therein and there it states Thomas Newbury b 10th November 1594 set sail in 1634 from Weymouth on board The Recovery bound for the new world.   I hope that this may help your researches.

Steve Horner adds:   I was greatly impressed with your Latin motto, which roughly translates to “He who wants gets”.   Many years ago when I sat the exams to gain entry to Oxford  (which I failed !) a paper in Latin was compulsory, fortunately I had  taken Latin as a subject to the age of 16 so I had to dust off my old text books and greatly enjoyed the subject.
I have now located the will of Thomas Maior, it's in the Devon Archives:

Will of Thomas Maior 1627 of Yarcombe from the Devon Wills Index 1163-1999

Source MOGA;         Ref       Vol 13   p.4416-8 

There is a two month back log to obtain copies although if I have a moment  I will try and arrange a personal visit and make a copy which I will send to you in due course. 

Steve Horner adds:   I have consulted the web and found the following reference to this scholar whose work may have been one source for the scholars who produced the King James Bible:

John Immanuel Tremellius

1510-1580. Italian Reformer and Semitic scholar. Born in Ferrara of Jewish parentage, he was educated at Padua and won to Christianity through Cardinal Pole in 1540.    The following year, while Tremellius was teaching at Lucca, Peter Martyr Vermigli's influence led him to adopt Protestantism.   He fled the Inquisition* (1542), journeying to Strasbourg, where he taught Hebrew in Johannes Sturm's school.   In 1547, during the Smalcaldic War, he fled to England, and in 1549 became reader in Hebrew at Cambridge.   At the accession of Mary Tudor he left England for the Continent, serving as tutor to the children of the duke of Zweibrücken (1555-59), as headmaster of the Hornbach gymnasium (1559-60), and professor of OT studies at Heidelberg (1561-77).   He ended his career teaching Hebrew at Sedan, where he died.   Tremellius is best known for his Latin translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (5 vols., 1575-79), long used as the most accurate Latin Bible.   He also translated Calvin's Catechism into Hebrew and Greek (1551) and published Bucer's Ephesians Commentary from lectures he heard at Cambridge (1562), and an Aramaic and Syriac Grammar (1569).


Steve Horner reports:   I have now been able to obtain a synopsis of the will of Thomas Major (right).   My apologies that this took some little time, the delay has arisen due to COVID restrictions in the County Archives department.   I mention that this is a synopsis or summary, I understand that the original was destroyed by the Luftwaffe (Baedecker raid in the blitz April May 1942) which destroyed a large part of the Diocesan archive.   Fortunately we still have summary documents.   The document contains a wealth of information about Thomas Major and his family which I hope you will find of interest, and if per chance it adds any further detail to your tree as shown on ancestry I would be grateful of an update.   Please keep in contact, your query has produced some very valuable details about past residents of our parish.



David Wilton writes:   I like your rapacious translation of the motto and will use it 🙂 The gentler official version is "Those who have the will have the ability", basically Where there's a will there's a way.   Thank you very much for locating Thomas Major's will.   I will happily cover any costs you incur in obtaining a copy.   I have found wills to be very useful in making the correct connections between people, which are often not clear from the parish records.  

 who was close to who and people's concerns, like an ancestor from London, a member of the Clockmarker's Company, the main point of whose long will was to ensure that his property went to his son and was not diverted by his wife to her sons by her first marriage.   The oddest I have come across is one of Sir William Pole of Shute, Master of the Household to Queen Anne who had married the daughter of a local yeoman and somehow kept it quiet for over 20 years despite having a family.  

David Wilton adds:   I have attached the family of the Rev Thomas Major as revised using the information in the Will.   Are any of these names - Markes, Clement, Slade, Davie, Coles, Asshe - local names?

Steve Horner writes:   In a previous email you asked why Dorothy Maior wife of Rev Thomas Maior was living at Rosshayne and not in the vicarage.   On page 6 From Monks to the Millennium (of which you have a copy) Ruth Everitt mentions “From Henry VIII reign to that of James 1 the rectory and small acreages is shown in the records as being let to various lay people probably to further the Protestant cause”.   You have set out a list of names, I assume because they are shown in your family tree.   Apart from Davy these names do not appear in the records I have to hand for Yarcombe.   However Rosshayne at that time is recorded as being owned by Bartholomew Frye, I assume Thomas Maior and his wife being tenants of part thereof.   One clue you might follow up is on Page 83 of Ruth`s book, at this time the daughters of Giles Martin who was a land owner in Yarcombe married into a Davy family of Exeter.   Perhaps this family provided another son who married Thomas Maior`s daughter Dorothy b 1583?   I apologise I cannot be of much assistance, however please keep in contact it is quite amazing how new leads produce results.

David Wilton replies:   Thanks Steve.   I will look at the references.   The names are those of the husbands of Thomas Majors daughters and in one case a grand daughter.  From what you say they did not marry locally.

Steve Horner writes:   The names you gave me are not in the records of land ownership in Yarcombe at that time.   I have just had a quick look at the burial records and there is nothing that fits to your names which suggests they married away from the parish, although both Thomas and his wife Dorothie are recorded therin.

David Wilton adds:   Post-covid I am back to traveling frequently and with no social life in the evenings I amuse myself with   I discovered that Mary Newbery who married John Turner alias Harner in 1730 is the 4th great grand daughter of John Newbery who died in 1588, who is the common ancestor of the Newberys who emigrated to the USA.   This piqued my interest in the emigrants, and I have been tracing their descendants in the USA.   I have only scratched the surface, but as they arrived early and were successful their descendants are an interesting lot!   They include: 

. Rev Samuel Russell, one of the founders of Yale University
. Maj Gen Oliver Wolcott, one of the signors of the Declaration of Independence
. Brig Gen Rutherford B Hayes, 19th President of the United States of America
       and on a more colorful note:
. John Humphry Noyes who founded the Oneida community and coined the term 'complex marriage'. 

You can trace this on my tree on  888dew. 

Steve Horner responds:   I was most fascinated to read your two latest e-mails to me demonstrating the links between Yarcombe and several of the prominent characters in the history of your great nation. 

We have recorded your ancestors under Ancestral Search 59, however the link between your Mary Newbery who married John Turner in 1730 now overlaps a huge amount of information on the Newberry family to be found at Ancestral Search 51 from which I quote: 

To me as an inhabitant of Yarcombe the important fact we can now demonstrate is that Thomas Newberry, who was baptised in the parish church of St John Baptist on 10 November 1594 and who set sail in 1634 from Weymouth to the New World as a passenger on board the Recovery, was prominent among the settlers and his genes are deeply embedded in the present population of the United States of America.

I speculate Thomas' first wife Joane Dabinett, who was baptised in Yarcombe in 1600 and died in 1629, was probably the source of his wealth, in fact an inheritance from her father Charles Dabinett that gave Thomas the opportunity to improve himself from a yeoman farmer to the merchant who set out in1634 on his voyage to the New World.   I have noted that Thomas Newberry`s second wife Jane went with him to Dorchester Massachusetts in 1634. 

Just to recapitulate may I enquire if all the American Newberrys who seem to have been a very prolific and substantial family can all trace back their ancestry to this Thomas Newberry ? 

David Wilton writes:   Americans seem to have had a binge on ancestry in the late 1800s and early 1900s and there are a lot of publications from those periods which have reasonably well researched trees which I want to reference.   As a starting point I have ordered a book by the New England Historical Genealogical Society on the ancestry of the Presidents of the US and will look at this when I get home at the end of March.   From what I have seen on their website I think the two President's Bush are also Newberry descendants.   I do not think all US Newberry's are descended from Thomas and Richard Newberry.   There will have been many others of the name emigrate over the decades.

Thomas seems to have emigrated about 10 years before his 2nd cousin Richard, and from what I can see so far was much more prominent.   I have hardly made a start on tracking Richard's descendants as the data is comparatively sparce.   Thomas's line on the other hand has a lot of information as his children married into some of the top families of movers and shakers of the time - Russells, Walcotts, Allyns, Clarks, Griswolds - and this pattern is repeated to some extent in each succeeding generation as Griswold's marry Gardeners of Gardiner's Island who marry Tylers (son of President John Tyler) and Russells marry Sturges's who marry Codmans and Cabots.

Thomas' case is an unusual one of having been near the top of the tree at the inception of a great enterprise.

David Wilton adds:   The Newbery connection in the US has become crazy - I have found that two of my friends in Philadelphia are 12th cousins!   I have come across another Newbery connection in Stockland, which from memory Jacob Newbery thinks is 'Newbery Ground Zero'. I am descended from the Tytherleigh's who married one of the Frye's of Yarty, so I went looking at them and found the attached entry from the 1620 Visitation of Devon. It shows the Fryes married an heiress of Robert Newberie of Stockland and quartered the Newbery arms: a black shield with a silver bar with wavy edges across the center, between three silver stars (I am translating out of armorial-speak).  The visitation does not provide dates, but another source suggests that Robert Newbery might have been born in the early-to-mid 1500s.

David Wilton adds:   Pic from ‘Ancestors of American Presidents’ showing Thomas is the ancestor of Presidents Hayes and Ford.   Although the Bushes are related to Hayes, Ford, Bess Truman and Nancy Regan it is through multiple other descents, not the Newberrys.




Ancestral Search 58



May 2021

Hi, I’m researching my CIVIL family and have traced one family back to Yarcombe c 1700.   Daniel Civil married Mary Pavey in 1717.   I’d like to take some photos of their gravestones and wondered if you would know whereabouts they are in the churchyard.   Also, do you have any records showing where the CIVILs came from before their Yarcombe ‘period’?      Kind Regards,    Martin Webb

Peter Tarrant comments:   There are references to the Pavey name on this web page In Ancestral Searches 10,  15,  16.  23,  30,  38, 49 & 67.

Steve Horner replies:   Martin, you have given me very little information about your family.   If you look in Burials at Yarcombe Church you will find that there are very many members of the Pavey family in our graveyard.   As to the Civil family there are 5 in 1720-1730 all the children I suspect of Daniel and Mary.   I cannot find an entry for Daniel although I suspect Mary was buried in 1756.   There are no existing gravestones for either Daniel or Mary in the churchyard.

The Pavey family have a long association with Yarcombe:

Mary was born about 1693
Parents Medad Pavey and Jane Pine
Grand parents John Pavey and Cicilye Vincent
GGP John Pavey and Mary
GGGP Charles Pavey and Elizabeth
GGGGP Symon Pavey b 1524

If you explain to me how you are related to Daniel Civil I may be able to help further.   I hope this helps.

Martin Webb reports:   Hi, I visited the church only to find your email later about the lack of headstones!   Never mind, I got some nice photos of the church and graveyard.   I wondered if there were any church records showing who was buried where?   My later question related to settlement records.   I just know that movements between Parishes had to get an OK from the receiving Parish.   I don’t know for what period of time these settlements records were requisite.   I hoped to find some record of the CIVILs arrival in Yarcombe.   I would add that my Mum was a Civil.   I think Daniel was 8xGrandfather.   Martin Webb



Ancestral Search 57



April 2021

Hello from Australia.   My brother, Ralph Anthony Rosewell, was born at Yarcombe on 9 August 1938 to Kenneth John and Ida Eva Rosewell (nee Coles).   Ralph died recently and my sister Jean Mary Brown (nee Rosewell) would like to know his date of baptism presumably at St John’s Church.   I was born in Wellington and baptised there within a few months of my birth.   The Devon Record Office has baptism records only up until 1915 so I am unable to seek assistance from them.   I would be pleased if you could ask someone with access to the Church Register to search for the baptism of Ralph Anthony Rosewell up to 6 months after 9 August 1938 and let me know the date.   Best wishes   Colin John Rosewell   Gunnedah NSW Australia

Steve Horner replies:   Colin, So far we have drawn a blank, although perhaps with some more information about your family we can continue the search.   Our Churchwarden Geoff Berry has kindly searched the Baptismal records of St John the Baptist church here in Yarcombe and has sent me the following response:

This morning on my way to Chard I stopped off at Yarcombe Church.   I took out the Baptism Register and had a look for the baptism of Ralph Anthony Rosewell.   No record of him being baptised in Yarcombe.   I think a bit more information may be required.   He could have been baptised in the Church where his parents were married or where one of them was baptised.   There have been people by the name of Rosewell living in Luppitt.   That parish comes under Dunkeswell.   The administrater there is Sara and can be contacted by email   So sorry to be of not much help this time.   I would be interested to know if you find the answer.

However I had a quick look at the Ancestry web site and have found the following information which may give you some clues as to where to look next.   Your father Kenneth John Rosewell was born on 20th March 1917 at Awliscombe, and your mother Ida Eva Coles was interestingly born at Luppitt on 15th April 1915 and they were married in Honiton on 2nd June 1937, theirs was a fruitful marriage I believe they had 16 children.   At the start of World War 2 the Government prepared the 1939 Register to provide information to prepare identity cards ration books etc and your parents were recorded as living on 29th September 1939 at Ardwin estate, Swans Lane, Wellington and your father gives his profession as a dairy farmer.   Certainly your family have close connection to this part of East Devon and across the border into Somerset, if you can you give me any idea where they may have been living in Yarcombe at the time your brother was born, this may lead me to another local church perhaps in Stockland or Otterford.   I look forward to hearing more of your family.

Colin Rosewell responds:   Thank you for your prompt and comprehensive reply.   It is disappointing that Ralph was not baptised at Yarcombe but thank you for your suggestions for further searches.   I am pleased to provide more information but first would you please thank Geoff Berry for searching the Baptismal records.   Is or was Geoff from Churchstanton? I have a record of a Geoff Berry of Churchstanton corresponding with my good friend Marlene Hoskin (nee Wyatt) of QLD Australia.   Marlene told me about it as I have Wyatt / Berry families in my Rosewell ancestors and Wyatt in my Coles ancestry.   Anyway, back to my family that I have been researching since 1980 – yes, I am old!  I have received much assistance from Grahame Smith of the Luppitt LHG and Margaret Lewis OPC for Honiton.   I have met them both a couple of times.   My ROSEWELL and COLES Family Trees are on under Information | Family Trees (after Grahame Smith’s data).   My mother, Ida Coles, is the young baby under Resources | Photos | Image 3.  My father, Kenneth Rosewell, is the youngest boy in Image 35.   All the Rosewell children are in Image 35.   You will find some of my posts in the Forum.

The ROSEWELL family came from Bradford-on-Tone, Somerset via Churchstanton and COLES came from Churchstanton via Washfield, Devon.   Here are some notes about Kenneth John Rosewell (1917-1994):

Born at Aller Farm, Awliscombe, Devon, 1917
Family moved to Woodhayes, Luppitt, 1921
Farmer's son at Woodhayes, Luppitt, Devon, 1930-1937
Farm Labourer at Chaffhayes Farm, Yarcombe, Devon, 1937-1939
Dairy Farmer at Priory Farm, Wellington, Somerset, 1939-1941 (There on 29 September 1939) (ST143209)
'War-Ag' Foreman at Sutton Road Farm, Somerton, Somerset, 1941-1948 (ST483282)
Dairy Farmer at Sutton Road Farm, Somerton, Somerset, 1948-1952.
Dairy Farmer at Hillside Farm, Mudford, Somerset, 1952-1986 (ST564180)
Retired to Tresco, Primrose Lane, Yeovil (ST566180)

Notes about Ida Eva Coles (1915-2001):

Born at Huggins Farm, Wick, Luppitt.1915 AKA Hugginswick, Luppitt (ST171038)
Dairymaid at Chaffhayes, Yarcombe, Devon, c. 1930-1937 (ST251068)
Farmer's wife at Wellington, Somerton and Mudford, Somerset

Ken and Ida were married 2 Jun 1937 at the Honiton Registry Office.   The first child Mervyn Rex was born 1 Jul 1937 and died 11 Aug 1937.   Ralph Anthony was born 9 Aug 1938.   Ken lived at Chaffhayes, Yarcombe and worked for his father at Woodhayes, Luppitt until his father, William Rosewell (1882-1962) sold Woodhayes on 2 Oct 1937 with vacant possession on 28 March 1938.   I assume that it was March 1938 when Ken and Ida had to find a living elsewhere and moved to Wellington.   IF Ralph was baptised I had bet on it being in the 6 months living at Chaffhay where they had family and friends whereas there would have been none at Wellington.   Now my search will move to Wellington but I am of the opinion that, at that time, baptism of a child would have been a low priority! I will let you know what I find.

Ida’s father was Samuel Disney Coles (1876-1962).   Farmer at Chaffhayes, Yarcombe 1922-1939.   Clearing Sale by Greenslade & Co on Wednesday 22 February 1939.   I have a copy of the Sale Notice.

Ken’s father, William Rosewell (1882-1962):   Born at Highly Farm, Upottery, 1882.   Scholar at Croakham Farm, Yarcombe 1891.   Some of his siblings married, lived, or died at Yarcombe.

A branch of the COLES of Churchstanton moved to Uppottery and a Henry (1788-1858) and Martha Coles (nee Pym) lived at Hares Farm, Chardstock (but close to Yarcombe).  Their youngest children were baptised at Yarcombe 1829-1831.   Descendants live in New Zealand and I am helping them to record their Devon history.

I made the mistake once of sending a distant relation a Gedcom file on the Rosewell family. He uploaded it to Ancestry. I take no responsibility for the accuracy of the information on Ancestry.

Steve, I have tried to cover all the points made by you and Geoff Berry.   Thank you again and if there is anything that I can send you for your records or for the Yarcombe web site please let me know.   I have written books on the ROSEWELL and COLES families.   Best wishes,   Colin

Steve Horner comments:   A tremendous response, a wealth of information here about Yarcombe and its connections to other parishes in the area.   This is a real nugget of Australian gold that will take me some time to absorb.

Steve Horner adds:   Very many thanks for all this detail.   You seem to have been very assiduous with your researches and well informed about this part of Devon and Somerset, it`s great to receive feedback from enquiries which we always try to answer.   As you probably know Chaffhay lies at the southern edge of the Parish of Yarcombe and it's just possible that Stockland church may have been a more convenient place of worship to conduct the Baptism, although this is a long shot.   Between Chaffhay and Yarcombe Church lies a Baptist Church, is it just possible your family may have considered such would be suitable - I can ask the lady in charge, Thelma Clarke, if she can search her records.   I am not certain if you have a copy of Ruth Everitt`s book “From Monks to the Millennium” which is the best source of information on local history.   There is little in the book about Chaffhay, see extract below:

An interesting small seventeenth century farmhouse with a late nineteenth century extension, originally it was probably a two-roomed house.   It was first mentioned in a rental in 1445 as "Chelfehay‟, which has been interpreted to mean "calves enclosure‟.   The farm was named in an Indenture between Agyys, Abbess of Syon Abbey in Middlesex and John Gardener of Yarcombe, yeoman.   John Gardener was given the lease of Court Place and certain parcels of barton land called "Chaffeys‟ and "Weychechm‟, with their appurtenances, for 80 years.   The Indenture is dated January 28th 1525.   In the Land Tax Survey of 1727 Samuel Cozens was the occupier, who paid tax of £1. 9s. 5½d. for Cheafy and 4s. 2½d. for Wickham.   By the late eighteenth century it belonged to Lord Heathfield, and William Locock was a long-time tenant.   The grandson, Rev. R.P.D.Hurford, of another occupier, Samuel Hurford, went to Canada as a missionary and obtained a Doctor of Divinity degree at Wycliffe College, Toronto.

The reference to Lord Heathfield`s ownership in the late 18th century means that it was part of the Yarcombe estate who at one time owned almost all of the land in the Parish.   We do not know when this farm was sold away and therefore a copy of the Greenslade clearing sale particulars of 1939 would be much appreciated.   I would be pleased to continue to assist you with this enquiry.   Incidentally did you manage to find copies of War Ag records?   The records seem few and far between.



Ancestral Search 56



April 2021

I just discovered your Ancestral Search page and would like to ask for your assistance.   I am the great grandson of John Northam who emigrated to Australia in 1870.   He was born in 1847 and appears as a 4 year old on the 1851 census living at Shorthayne Farm.   I visited Yarcombe in 2014 and the owners kindly showed me through the farmhouse and I stayed at the old school, now a b&b.   John is no longer at Shorthayne in 1861 but I believe is at Corfe as a 14 year old Ag. Lab.   John's father (also John) born 1819 died 1893 (appears in every census till 1891) outlived his son who died in New South Wales Australia in 1892.   My research has his father as Simon born 1793 and his father also Simon born 1757 died 1826 and his father Robert born 1735.   I am Donald Robert Northam so carry on the name.   If it's not too difficult can you verify this research.   I would love to have a copy of "From Monks to the Millennium" by Ruth Everitt and am happy to make a donation.   Yours Sincerely.   Bob Northam

Steve Horner replies:   I was delighted to read your note about the Northam family, they certainly have long associations with our Parish.   If you look at our burial records, there is a Link on this webpage, you will note that over the centuries 63 Northams have been laid to rest in the churchyard.   The earliest Northam in our records is Alice, a widow who occupied Stoute Farm in 1600; this is probably the same Alice who died in 1616.

I hope by now you will have received an electronic copy of Ruth Everitt`s book from which you will note that there is a farm in the parish which bears the name Northams farm.   I was also fascinated to learn that John Northam 1819-1893 was living at Shorthayne farm as shown in the 1851 and 1861 census records.   Shorthayne is situated just down the valley from where I live at Old Woodhayne farm, (aka Woodend farm) and in the 1861 census Woodend and Shorthayne appear on the same page of the records.

I have located your John b 1847 in Ancestry who died Mudgee New South Wales on 28th April 1892, and I suspect I can fill in a few more details for your own family tree, but check my work, it's early days, although I hope this helps:

• Robert Northam b 1735 married Elizabeth Culverwell 1735-1814
• Simon Northam b 1757 married Ann Jewell

Please let us know if you find further connections to our Parish and if we can help further, perhaps a photo of the wonderful countryside in which we live, please do not hesitate to ask.

Bob Northam writes:   Thanks for your quick reply.   I have found all the Northams in your Burial Records and discovered quite a few from the 1500s that have somehow been sorted after the Northcotes so the Northam name does go back quite a few centuries.   I have a will for a Simon Northam from 1743 in which his wife Mary inherits but have not found a family link to this Simon.   My family tree is "donald northam" in if you would like to have a look at where i'm up to.   I am looking forward to Ruth's book arriving in my emails soon.   I visited Northam's farm in 2014 and have a photo of the sign.

Bob Northam adds:   Ruth's book arrived and I must say it is a great read and a wonderful resource for those of us who can trace our forebears back to Yarcombe.   It is interesting that we have a "Northams Farm" but no mention of which Northam it may have been named after.   We have plenty of Northams in the Census from 1841 through to 1891 but other than John at Shorthayne farm they tend to be Ag. labourers.   Cheers,   Bob N




Ancestral Search 55



February 2021

I think I'm descended from the Willie (Willey) family of Yarcombe - I definitely descend from Ruth Willey, daughter of Richard and Joan/Jane Willey of Upottery.   Her father Richard was born about 1762 and there is no Baptism for him that I could find.   He uses the surname Willey/Willie during his life and for his children.   I did find a baptism of Richard Newton the base child of Mary Newton baptised at Yarcombe at just the right time.   I had already found a marriage of Mary Newton and William Willie in Upottery on the 15th Feb 1767.   Their son Henry was baptised on May 31st the same year.   They went on to have at least 2 more children, John 1775 and Ruth 1777 in Yarcombe.   I think Richard’s use of the name Ruth proves a connection to the earlier use of the name.   In 1841 Richard is living in Chardstock then in Dorset now in Devon saying he was not born in Dorset,   I found the will of Henry Willie of Yarcombe and he leaves a bequest to Richard Willie otherwise Newton.   This Richard inherited property in Upottery   I think there is evidence stacking up that Richard Willie (father of my Ruth Willey) was the illegitimate child of William Willie and Mary Newton and therefore a grandchild of the Henry Willie who died in 1792 in Yarcombe.   I would be interested to know if anyone else has made similar connections or if there is any other evidence to confirm my ideas.    Best wishes,    Joan Smith     Exeter

Steve Horner replies:   My apologies for not answering your query at an earlier date, I was reminded by your friend Jane Chislett who is also researching ancestors with a connection to Yarcombe.   Firstly let me explain that the Willie family have very strong connections with the neighbouring parish of Otterford and there is a very comprehensive Willie family tree on the wall of the parish hall in Bishopswood.   However in your email you refer to the Will of Henry Willie born 25 October 1699 in Otterford died 4th December 1792, buried in Otterford.   I attach some notes (right) concerning the Willie family which includes the will of Henry Willie.   I have a particular personal interest in Henry because as his will established he owned the farm where I now live, which is called Old Woodhayne, which is in Yarcombe.   In the will the farm is named as Woodhays Estate ,however the identity is certain because other properties mentioned in the will are identified and many have the same name today as set out in the will.

The following persons are mentioned in Henry`s will:

Mary his wife (nee Billings) 1700-1757 whom he married in Taunton St Mary 5th July 1730

His children
William 1730- who married Mary Newton on 15h February 1767
And their sons John and Henry
Grace 1735-1762 who married Joel Spiller in 1755
And their son Henry
John 1737-1822 who married Amy Clarke in 1762 and secondly Mary Everard in 1800
And their sons William and Henry

Also mentioned is Richard Willie otherwise Newton to whom he bequeathed “all that estate called Purses and Norses in the parish of Upottery”

I conclude this Richard Willie (born 1762 Upottery) must be the base child of Mary Newton who had been taken into the Willie family when his mother Mary married William.   You are probably correct William was his father!   However I now need your help to provide more details of Ruth Willie baptised 1777 in Yarcombe and buried possibly Otterford 2nd May 1790.     With kind regards,    Steve

Joan Smith writes:   I have 2 Ruth Willie/Willey’s in my family tree.   My direct ancestor is Ruth Willey who was baptised on the 24th May 1795 at Upottery (found on Family Search).   She sometimes gives her birthplace as Stockland or Upottery.   She was my 3x great grandmother.   Her parents I believe were the aforementioned Richard Willie (otherwise Newton) and his wife Joan or Jane Hawkins who married at Yarcombe on the 31/10/1785 found on Findmypast witnessed by William Saterley and David Trott?   I cannot prove Richard’s identity except for the mention in the will and the fact that William and Mary did not seem to be able to live together in harmony, Ruth Willey married John Lugg at Axmouth, when Ruth is described as of the parish of Lyme.   They had 8 children all baptised in Wootton Fitzpaine or Whitchurch Canonicorum Dorset.   John’s death was registered in the Bridport area in 1854.   Ruth lived until 16th Jan 1891 aged 96 also registered in the Bridport area.   The other Ruth Willie was baptised 19/1/ 1777 at Yarcombe, daughter of William and Mary and buried on 2/5/1790 at Otterford found on Ancestry so I think she was Richard Willie/Newton’s sister.   I hope that helps!   I would like to see the Family tree on the Village Hall wall.

Steve Horner replies:   Many thanks for your prompt reply, which fills in some gaps in my understanding of your family tree.   I am also grateful to you for making me re-examine the will of Henry Willey which contains many useful facts not only about the Willie family but also land holdings in this immediate area.   On the right is a segment of the huge wall chart of the Willie tree as displayed in the Bishopswood village hall (click to enlarge).   If you plan to be in the area I will try to obtain the key to the hall to give you access to this magnificent piece of research.





Ancestral Search 54



February 2021

I am looking for any information about the Flood family of Yarcombe:

8th GGF George Flood 1661 - 1716 m Margaret (Vincent) Goodman, possibly a widow of John Vincent.
John Flood 1632 - 1682 m Joanna Hooper 1632 Upottery - 1670 Yarcombe

George Flood might have been born Plymouth - 1672 Yarcombe  m Florence?   On Genuki Yarcombe History there is a John Flood at Knights Mill 1785

Many thanks,     Pam Williams

Steve Horner replies:   Pam, have you checked the Yarcombe Burials record?    There is a link above.   Both George Flood obit 1716 and John Flood Obit 1682 are shown there.   In fact there are 27 Floods buried in our churchyard so they were a well-established family hereabouts.   You do not explain how George Flood and John Flood are related - possibly father and son?   Keep in contact, we will do all we can to help you.





Ancestral Search 53



January 2021

Hi, I live in New Zealand and my 10th great grandparents are buried at St John the Baptist Church, Yarcombe.   I was told by a man named Archie from this area who you may know that you might be able to help me locate plot info for my ancestors and hopefully pictures of their graves if any have been taken.   I have downloaded the list of names and dates buried in Yarcombe from the Yarcombe Parish Church website.   I was also wondering if there is a graveyard Map of the Cemetery online at all?

Their names are: 2 of their children:
Thomas Summerhayes . d.1657
Thomasine Summerhayes. d.1668
Richard Summerhayes d. 1664
Thomas Summerhayes. d.1684

Any help really appreciated.   Linda Summerhays

Steve Horner replies:   Linda, many thanks for your enquiry, in the first instance try - this site is we believe up to date.   There are over 5,500 persons who are recorded as having been buried in our churchyard over the past 500 years, there are very few ancient grave stones still to be seen, certainly there is no plan of the graveyard.   Also on this webpage's introduction you can access our burial records which again we believe are up to date.   Obviously your family have very strong connections with our Parish and we would be most grateful if you could share your family tree with us so we can record this on our web site.   It may be that we can tie an ancestor to a particular house or farm and send you a photo of where the family lived.   We would also appreciate any anecdotes as to when your family left these shores to travel to the opposite side of the world.   If we can help further please let me know.

Linda Summerhays writes:   My 2 x great grandparents came to NZ in 1875 from the UK for a new start.

John Gollop writes:   Hi, this is a message for Linda Summerhays.   I saw your post on the Yarcombe website.   Thomas Summerhayes was my 9th great grandfather and his line goes back into English history.   I won’t go into detail in case this email is not read but please contact me if you would like to know more.            John Gollop       Cornwall UK

Linda Summerhays replies:   Really great to hear from you.   Yes, I would love to know more about the family.   I have been researching the family for years but didn't really go beyond my 3rd Great Grandfather until contact from a relative from Australia who solved a stumbling block between two Summerhays men with the same first name and the same birth year.   Note the e was never in our name while in NZ and not in baptism records 200 years ago in Stockland, Devon where many of my ancestors lived.




Ancestral Search 52



January 2021

Roger Pring, a friend of my dear neighbours David and Penny Reynolds at Linton Cottage, has contacted me with regard to North Waterhayne Farm.   Roger's father, who is about to celebrate his 100th birthday on 8th February 2021, was born at Waterhayne and the family are gathering together all kinds of strands of family history to present to Roger's father on his momentous day.   I have given Roger your details so that he can contact you as I suggested to him that you would be fascinated to hear more about the Pring family and that you might be able to assist him with more details about North Waterhayne.     Miranda Gudenian

Steve Horner replies:   Thank you so much for this exchange of information, every scrap adds to our knowledge of Yarcombe.   If you look at Ancestral search 51 we are now working in conjunction with two members of the Newberie family and we are looking at information disclosed in the Court of the Star Chamber in 1580 and the Yarcombe Manor Court rolls, the script is scarcely decipherable and its written in Latin!   I am just hoping the Pring family records are more easy to read an of course photos would be even better.

Roger Pring replies:   Miranda, Steve and Lorna (and Penny & David who unleashed all this goodwill):   Thank you all for kindly helping me in the quest for more information about North Waterhayne Farm.   The story as it concerns my father is that his grandfather John Pring was the farm tenant in the latter part of the 19th century.   His son Dick, b.1897, took over the tenancy and married Dorothy Mary Madge of Forton, Chard, in 1920.   My father Richard John Pring was born there on February 8th 1921.   The family left North Waterhayne in 1929, moving to Lower Severalls Farm, Haselbury Plucknett, Somerset, where subsequent Prings are still farming, and installing swathes of solar panels.

Ninety years on and my father now lives in Brundall, Norfolk, mobile and in good health, and has just been vaccinated while waiting patiently for his telegram.   He attributes his longevity to washing in a tin bath in front of the range at North Waterhayne.   Miranda, I just relayed to him your details about the interesting interior toilet arrangements, and he maintains that he never knew of such luxury, obliged to process up the garden to the privy.   However, he does remember going to Sheafhayne Manor, in his father’s air-cooled Rover.

Lorna, thank you for helping. I’d very much value a photo of the front of the house, in fact I’m bold enough to wonder whether I could get a shot of a bedroom where Dr Robert Fawcus* of Chard delivered my father. Maybe a view of the Yarty.   I imagine the privy has been deleted by now.

*Dr Fawcus appeared on This is Your Life on Feb 6th 1961, almost exactly 40 years after delivering my father. The programme had been pre-recorded as a reserve in case the usual celebrity balked at being surprised by Eamonn Andrews. Dr Fawcus’ moment came when Danny Blanchflower (footballer) refused to co-operate.

This is my father, specially tricked out for the occasion:

With many thanks and best wishes from Chiswick      Roger Pring

Miranda Gudenian adds:   Many thanks for your fascinating message and lovely to see a photograph of your father.   There is a photograph somewhere - probably on the village website run by Peter Tarrant - of The Yarcombe Inn on Lady Day in the early part of the 20th century with the Estate tenants lined up to pay their rent (it may have been in the Thirties in which case no use as your family left the village in 1929).   Peter and Steve will correct this information if I'm mistaken.   But if I am right then there is a high possibility that your grandfather is in that photograph.   It would be wonderful if your father could write down his memories of his childhood in Yarcombe and memories of the farm. It all adds to the rich history of the village which, if not recorded, will be lost forever to future generations.   On a personal note, I would so love to publish your father's memories in Yarcombe Voices!

Peter Tarrant responds:   The photograph Miranda refers to is this one on Photograph Page 6.

Miranda Gudenian adds:   It occurred to me that that your grandfather might have spoken to your dear father about life in Yarcombe during World War One.   Steve has been painstakingly researching the lives of those from the village who served in the war and any information about those years would be most valuable to add to our knowledge.   I do hope you received the bank details for Yarcombe Voices so that I can send you Ruth Everitt's book From Monks to the Millennium.

Steve Horner writes:   Roger, here is a copy of the Yarcombe 1901 census, which clearly shows your family in residence at North Waterhayne farm at that time.   I thought this might be of interest to you and your father.   I notice John Pring and his wife Bessie were both born in Yarcombe and if you were interested I would be pleased to try and find more information about your family, however this is sometimes sensitive, and you may consider this to be intrusive so until I receive word from you we will not go public.   I noted in a previous exchange mention of Sheafhayne Manor which also appears in those days called Sheafhayne House, occupied Lionel Patton who had served in the Somerset military and was a JP, he lived by himself in the huge House save for a young Lady`s Maid.   I hope this helps.

Helen Matthews writes:   Roger, I grew up at North Waterhayne Farm during the late sixties, seventies and up to mid eighties.   My parents, John and Barbara Salter moved there in 1960 and farmed it until they left in the early nineties.   My dad sadly passed in 2018 but my mum still lives in Yarcombe and has many photos and memories.   If you want me to ask her to forward anything , please let me know.   Helen Matthews

Roger Pring replies:   Helen, Thanks for your message.   You have probably gathered that I’m looking for photographs and information of North Waterhayne Farm to present on my father’s 100th birthday on February 8th this year.   His family (Pring) were the tenants in the latter part of the 19th century and finally left in 1929, buying a farm on the outskirts of Crewkerne.   Miranda has asked me to provide Yarcombe Voices with any anecdotes that pop up when I gently quiz my father after his birthday.  He was only 8 when he left Yarcombe but has a keen memory.   Maybe there’s a fuller history of North Waterhayne to be created with the help of you and your mother.   Meanwhile, if you have pictures of the house as it was during your family’s tenure, I’d be very grateful to see them.




Ancestral Search 51



December 2020

While reading the History page, I noticed a statement that there was a history of the town, From Monks To The Millennium, and that a digital copy can be obtained from you.   What is necessary to receive a copy?   Some of my ancestors -- the Newberrys, Matthews and Dabinots -- lived in Yarcombe in 16th Century, and I am curious about what I might learn of them in the town's history.   I appreciate your help.   Mark E. Dixon, Wayne, Pa., U.S.A.

Peter Tarrant comments:   Ancestral Search 59 contains references to the Newberry name.

Steve Horner responds:   Mark, you may have noticed that having an interest in both local and family history I try to make helpful comments to all the enquiries we receive, thus I was delighted to read yours especially as it comes from the USA.   I was aware members of the Newberry family that emigrated to your country, and was perhaps expecting a visit or certainly an enquiry during 2020 which is the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from the nearby City of Plymouth.   Sadly this celebration was cancelled due to Covid although there are plans to revive this festival next year.

There are still members of the Mathews family living hereabouts although the name Dabinot is new to me.   If you look at our recently completed record of burials (see link above) one Mary Dabinet was buried in the churchyard in 1744.   I would be delighted if you can share your connections with our village with me, especially any references to those from the parish who set off to the New World as early settlers.

If you need further help or perhaps photos of buildings with which your family have associations I would be pleased to provide these for you, in these troubled times my wife and I take long walks into our glorious countryside where your ancestors once lived and worked.   See below recent photos.


Mark Dixon replies:   Hello, Steve, and thank you for responding so quickly.   The Newberry has been the subject of a lot of "chatter" among medieval genealogists because an early 20th Century genealogist claimed that the immigrant, Thomas Newberry (ca. 1594-1636) had royal ancestors.   That claim was passed along for decades, but has now been debunked -- for lots of sensible reasons with which I won't bore you.   So, I think my Newberrys were likely ordinary farmers.   I've attached the most-relevant page from my family tree.   The line currently ends with the parents of Richard Newberry (#8), who were William (d. 1596) and his wife, Ellen (d. 1609).   Both, I suppose, lie somewhere in the churchyard of St. John Baptist.   I've also attached a short biography of immigrant Thomas Newberry, which includes some background on the Dabinotts.   I hope this helps.

(Images to follow)

Steve Horner replies:   I am delighted that finally we have proof positive that the Newberry family from Yarcombe were very early settlers in your great country.   My initial reading of the information you have provided to me would suggest they may have been on passengers on the Mary and John which sailed from these shores in 1630.   I am certain we will be exchanging more e-mails over the coming months.   To whet your appetite I include an excerpt from the book “From Monks to the Millennium” (below) which covers an entry for Livenhayes farm, one of the oldest buildings in the parish which was owned by the Newberry family in the 17th century.   I will also try and locate a photo of the farmhouse for you.   In fact you are correct the Newberrys were certainly farmers although would probably have described themselves as Yeomen.

LIVENHAYES (also known as Levenhays or Livehayne)

This is one of the oldest surviving properties in the Parish, dating from the early sixteenth century and constructed of local stone and flint rubble with Beerstone ashlar chimney shafts. It began as an open hall house, (see foreword), heated by an open hearth. The hall was probably floored over in the late sixteenth - early seventeenth centuries and the partition in the original jettied chamber includes the ladder access doorway, which is a two-centred arch with moulded surround. The high standard of modernisation in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was probably ordered by the owner/occupier Samuel Newbery. A plaque dated 1662 with his initials carved on it can be seen in the chimney shaft at the service end of the house. Was this the same Samuel Newbery who had been seen in Monmouth's Camp in 1686? He was eventually pardoned, but at what cost?

In 1600 there were two Livenhayes. Alice Helliar, (widow), lived in one and John Pullen and Maude Browinge were the occupants of the other. Both properties paid a tithe of 8d. The 1727 Land Tax Survey shows Robert and Susanna Newbery as the two owner/occupiers. By 1794-5 the Yarcombe Estate owned Higher and Lower Livenhayes. The will of Robert Newbery made in 1748 doesn't show either of the Livenhayes - but perhaps the Newbery support for Monmouth led to impoundment of property or large fines. The Livenhayes were valuable property, the saleable timber being worth a total of £362. 16s. 9d. and comprised of 146 oak, 186 ash and 23 elm.

Lord Heathfield is shown as the owner of the ‟Two Livings‟ in 1810, and John Burrow is the tenant. There was a change of tenant by 1832, when Abraham Spiller was farming the two Livenhayes and Broadley. In the 1850 White's Directory Charlotte Edwards, (widow), was the tenant. She took in a lodger, one of the under-steward/gamekeeper‟s sons, who was handicapped with a ‟gammy‟ leg. The Estate paid Mrs. Edwards 3/- per week for his keep. In 1896 Thomas Spiller was the tenant and it was during his tenure that 5 acres of land slid away. The Estate gave him an allowance of 5s. per acre on his rent.

The Yarcombe Estate sold the property in 1931, when it was described as ‟a Choice Dairy and Stock-Rearing Farm of 84 acres 3 rods 1 perch.‟ The Farmhouse had an entrance lobby, living room with open hearth, sitting room with a fine oak mantel, together with a beamed and quartered ceiling and a cool dairy. Upstairs there were 4 Bedrooms and a Cheese Room. The sitting tenant was Mr. P.R.Rich. It remains with the Rich family and provides one of the best examples of a medieval house in the area.


Mark Dixon replies:   Our earlier correspondence caused me to dig a bit deeper, and with better, more complete sources, than previously.   The line now looks like that outlined on the two attached pages -- with a photo (thanks again.)   According to the New England Historic Genealogical Society's "Great Migration" project however, Thomas Newberry came on the ship Recovery.   However, it may be a distinction without a difference since the Recovery's passengers were part of the same movement that included the Mary & John.   I have an eight-page profile of Thomas Newberry.   Would you like me to send it?   FYI, my sources seem to agree that, while Thomas was baptised at Yarcombe, he lived at Marshwood, Co. Dorset.   His youngest child was baptised at Whitchurch-Canonicorum.

(pages mentioned above to follow)

Steve Horner adds:   This is really very exciting, I have a busy day ahead however I will try to reply in more detail this evening.   I really would appreciate a copy of the eight page profile of Thomas Newberry.   Herewith a recent photo of Livenhayes (right), which is probably in the same sort of condition as it was when the Newberry family owned the it in the 17th century.   The photo was not taken specifically to feature Livenhayes but as part of a recent footpath survey.  The thatched building nestles into the hillside looking down the Yarty valley.


Mark Dixon replies:   I should probably make clear up front that I am no genealogical scholar.   What I do (that many seemingly don't) is read the literature.   In this case, that means I found Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists by Frederick Lewis Weis.   Weis died in 1966, and the pages #243 and #244 below are from the 8th edition, published in 2004.   In any case, Weis had apparently accepted the work of an early 20th Century researcher named Bartlett who had concluded that immigrant Thomas Newberry was of royal descent.   In the course of reading around, I found that Bartlett work is now dismissed as "fraudulent" by modern genealogists.   Apparently, he just plugged the immigrant's father, Richard, into an armigerous family with a similar name.   I've also attached a copy of a 2011 post to the Google group soc.genealogy.medieval by Douglas Richardson that lays out Bartlett's genealogical crimes.   Thank you for the photo and the book page describing Livenhayes farm, though I don't yet see a connection between the farm's Newberry owner and immigrant Tom.

Bartlett Title Page Page 235 Page 236 Page 237 Page 238 Page 239 Page 240 Page 241 Page 242 Page 243 Page 244

Steve Horner adds:   Very many thanks for all the information that you sent me which has taken me some time to read and understand.   Indeed the Douglas Richardson post of 30th October 2011 lays bare the slipshod work of one Mr Bartlett who was I believe a functionary of the College of Arms in London.   I am not an expert genealogist, however my instinct and local knowledge of place names suggests that your ancestors more than probably owned or lived at Livenhayes, and given time we may probably forge a connection between your Thomas Newberry (the immigrant) and Samuel Newberry whose name is shown on a plaque in Livenhayes farm dated 1662.

To me as an inhabitant of Yarcombe the important fact we can now demonstrate is that Thomas Newberry, who was baptised in the parish church of St John Baptist on 10 November 1594 and who set sail in 1634 from Weymouth to the New World as a passenger on board the Recovery, was prominent among the settlers and his genes are deeply embedded in the present population of the United States of America.

I speculate Thomas` first wife Joane Dabinett, who was baptised in Yarcombe in 1600 and died in 1629, was probably the source of his wealth, in fact an inheritance from her father Charles Dabinett that gave Thomas the opportunity to improve himself from a yeoman farmer to the merchant who set out in1634 on his voyage to the New World.   I have noted that Thomas Newberry`s second wife Jane went with him to Dorchester Massachusetts in 1634.

I note from your tree Thomas` parents Richard and Grace (nee Mathew) also had connections to Yarcombe.   Richard died in Yarcombe and Grace was baptised in Yarcombe in November 1558 and died in Yarcombe in June 1609.   Richard was the son and heir of William Newberry who was I suspect baptised in the adjoining parish of Membury in 1544 and married Ellyne Smith in about 1564.

I apologise for repeating much of the information that is already known to you, however it is the strong connections of the Newberry family to our parish of Yarcombe that I wanted to put into print.   There is obviously much more research required to establish a complete ancestral tree of the Newberry family when they lived hereabouts in the 16th and 17th century, however I will certainly be working on this over the coming months.   Please let me know if I have made any errors and I should be grateful of further information you may have.

Mark Dixon replies:   Steve, I don't "know" that you've made any errors.   However, you've made a couple of statements for which I've seen no evidence.   Of course, being a complete amateur, I would probably have missed it.   First is that William Newberry's wife was Ellyn Smith.   Several sources note her given name - most importantly, her husband William's will.   But Smith is new,   Where did you get that?   Second, why do you think William Newbury was baptised in Membury?   Richardson seems to dismiss a Membury connection.   The Newberrys of Livenhayes who are mentioned in that page scan above lived a couple of centuries after those we are discussing.   Are you guessing that I'm descended from a younger brother who did not inherit, and therefore left to find his fortune elsewhere?   What makes this family of interest to you?   Are there still Newberrys in Yarcombe?

Steve Horner adds:   Mea Culpa, you are right, I should have marked my finds "possibles".   However we know Samuel Newberry lived in Livenhayes in 1662 - there is a plaque to prove it.   It is possible Samuel was about 50 years of age when he worked on the building.   That gives a date of birth of 1610 or thereabouts.   Your Thomas was born 1594 died 1636 so with luck and patience we may be able to bridge the gap and find a connection between your Thomas and our Samuel!

Mark Dixon replies:   I'm still studying this paper (right), but thought I would send it along for your perusal.   In brief, the author is trying to make a case that Yarcombe immigrant Thomas Newberry was a cousin of another Newberry immigrant, Richard, who left England about 10 years later.   In this theory, both are descendants of John and Agnes Newberry of Membury.   As I said, I'm still absorbing this, but I'd welcome your opinion.

Steve Horner responds:   Very many thanks for sending me this most interesting document, although my initial analysis suggests the connection between your Thomas Newbery and Richard Newbery is somewhat tenuous.   It is however like the Curate`s egg, good in parts!   I comment as follows:

1. Fig 1 page 5 is I believe correct except I can find no evidence for John being the father of William.
2. The paragraphs about the marriages of John Newbery/ Christian Turner ( 1561) and George Battin/ Elizabeth 1562 seem to me to be a red herring -although this information may prove valuable in due course.
3. The burial records for Yarcombe which can be accessed from Ancestral Searches indicate the only John Newbery to have been buried at about this time was John in 1644 which might suggest if he married at the age of 20 he was born in 1541 and died at the great age 0f 103!
4. On page 7 there is mention of the will of William Newbery of Yarcombe dated 1596- I must obtain a copy of this , probably in summary form as Herr Hitler`s Luftwaffe destroyed the originals whilst bombing the city of Exeter.
5. The legal documents of the Star Chamber have excellent provenance and must therefore be accurate. The Farm house of Osmore still exists although I am not certain it is a Manor as mentioned on page 9.
6. Then on page 13 we have a great leap into the unknown although there is some logic in the hypothesis; I intend to ask Bryan Drew who has written an excellent history of Stockland if he has any knowledge of this family, the earliest mention of the Newbery family is the book is Robert Newbery, a serge weaver of Townsend farm who made his Will in 1688.

I believe that I have mentioned to you in previous correspondence there exists a document relating to the case Drake versus Major dated 23 November 1600 in which the then Vicar of Yarcombe Thomas Major sets out his case against Thomas Drake (Brother and inheritor of the estate of Sir Francis Drake) claiming the tithes of the Parish of Yarcombe.   The pleadings list every farm tenement or field in the parish and the names of the corresponding tenants or occupiers.  It is very helpful because many of the place names remain the same today and the places are listed in a logical order as might be undertaken today in a perambulation around the Parish.

On page 11 attention is drawn to a case in the Court of Exchequer dated 1586 in which William Newberie and his son Richard were granted a tenement called Powedhill in Yarcombe on 3rd March 1580.

The case of Drake vs Major reveals Richard Newberie was the tenant or was in occupation of two holdings in the parish.

• For the tyth of all the haye growen and cut upon one tenemement linge in Haye nowe in the tenure or occupation of Richard Newberie.   Haye seems to be located adjacent to Moorpit farm which lies in the southern half of the parish.

• For the tyth of all the hay growen and cut upon one tenement nowe in the tenure or occupation of Richard Newberie called Powdhill.   I am not familiar with the name Powdhill ( Powedhill) it seems to lie to the east of the centre of the village of Yarcombe.

Incidentally I drew your attention in an earlier note to an ancient farmhouse called Livenhayes, in the Drake vs Major case this farm is called Leven.

I hope the above observations are helpful to your research into the Newberie family, I have certainly enjoyed writing this note to you whilst we are “locked down “ at home due to the wretched virus COVID which draws ever closer.

Steve Horner adds:   Here is a transcription (right) of the Will of William Newbery which may be of use to you.   In previous correspondence you queried how I found the maiden name of his wife Ellyne - it may be that the significant bequest to Thristryam Smithe and William Smithe, John Smithe and their children is a clue to a relationship with this family through his wife?

Bryan Drew writes:   I have read the information with interest on the Newbery family.   I do have several wills and inventories on the family and will show names on the earlier ones

Roger Newbery of Stockland.   Yeoman. 30th Oct. 1606.   Proved 1606/7 by son John.
Daughters - Thomazine Turner and son, Joanne - wife of Rafe Beare.
Son-in-law - Roger Newbery and his wife my daughter, Bridget.
Agnes - wife of Richard Davy.   Son - Richard Newbery. So 4 dau. and 1 son.
Overseers - Nicholas and Barnard Fry.

John Newbery of Dalwood.  Proved 8th June 1619 by relict Joanne.
Wife - Johane.   Sons - Richard and William. Daughters - Florence, Mary, Johane and Elizabeth.   Father-in-law - Richard Gill.   Brothers - Thomas, Henry, Richard Newbery and Richard Gill overseers.

Richard Newbery the Elder of Stockland will 1627.
Sons - Richard Newbery, John Newbery and Robert Newberie.
Apprentice - John Newberie.   Preach at funeral - Mr Skinner.
Wife - Johane.   Brothers- Thomas Newberie and Henry Newberie.
Brother-in-law - Will. Beaker.

Walter Newbery Oct. 15th 1657.   Proved Dec. 4th 1657.
Sons - John, Elias and William.
Daughter - Joan, Wife - Mary.   A stock of bees to each exit.

William Newbery of Lake, Stockland 1662.
Wife - Agnes. Daughters - Elizabeth Newbery and Joanne Mann.
Grandchild - William Dare.   Son - Robert Newbery. Sons-in-law - John Mann and William Dare.   Friend - John Newbery of Northeale, ( Northill) Stockland.

Richard Newbery of Esthill (Easthill) 1663.
Wife - Johane, Daughters - Marie, Charity, Mary and Rawling.
Sons - Richard and William.   Owing to me - Robert Newbery of Esthill in the parish of Stockland £1 - 14s.

John Newbery of Lane End, Stockland 1667.
Sons - Thomas Newbery and John Newbery.   Wife - Anstice. Friends - John Davy of Rose Farm, Stockland and Thomas Denning of Yarcombe.

Elizabeth Newbery of Stockland 1667.
Father - Richard Newbery.   Brothers - John and Richard Newbery.    Mother - no name.
Cousins - Marie Grinfull and William Newbery.

Richard Newbery of Hill, Stockland 1671.
Brother - William Newbery.   Sister - Thomasin White.
William’s children - William, Thomas and Jane.
Sons - John and Richard.

John Newbery of Northeale (Northill) Stockland 1670.
Daughters - Agnes and Elizabeth.   Son - John Newbery.
Daughter - Mary Trott wife of John Trott.   Their sons, Henry Trott and John Trott.   A daughter, Hannah Trott.
Daughter - Joan Newbery wife of William Newbery of Monkton, Honiton.   Two sons of William and Joan Newbery, William and John Newbery.
Grandson - John Deeme, son of my daughter, Susanna Deeme (lately deceased) and Hannah Deeme, daughter of Susannah.

John Newbery 1687.
Sisters - Mary Trott, Joan, wife of Will.   Newbery, Elizabeth, wife of Edmund Cloade.
Brother - William Newbery.

Robert Newbery of Yarcombe 1677 ( burial at Yarcombe).
Daughter - Elizabeth (Trim) Granddaughter - Mary. “ all that my estate lying in and being in the tithing of Burch ( Birch) in the parish of Membury (before boundary change).   Wife - Anstice. Sons - Samuell Newbery - my tenement of Moore Pitt and Henry Newbery.

Robert Newbery of Townsend, Stockland, Sergeweaver. 1688.
Brothers - John, Richard and William Newbery.
Wife - Mary.   Sons - Robert, John and Richard Newbery.

Robert Newbery of Ford, Stockland 1688. Mentions house at Towne.

All the other wills are from the 1700s and 1800s so not relevant.   There does seem to be members of the Newbery family everywhere locally.   The Stockland Muster Roll of 1534 names Xpo’fer Newbery able bylman, Willym. Newbery a bowe, 1 sheff of arrowes, John Newbery a bowe and sheff arrowes.

Monmouth Rebellion 1685.

John Newbery “suspected” of Stockland.
John Newbery of Membury named.   Sam Newbery and another John Newbery named.
Joseph Newbery of Yarcombe “wanting“ to be transported but not shipped or sold.
Reprieved. John Newbery of Yarcombe “wanting“ at large, pardoned and dismissed.
Samuel Newbery of Yarcombe “wanting” seen in Monmouth’s camp.  Pardoned.

Stockland Napoleonic Home Guard 1803

Wm. Newbery Labourer, age 40, Thos. Newbery, labourer, 50. Sam. Newbery, lab. 28,
Thomas Newbery, lab. 19. John Newbery lab. 19. James Newbery, lab. 22, Will. Newbery lab. 23.

Court Rolls of Stockland 1547.

6th Sept. 1547. And William Newby (3d) to answer with John Newby to be sworn to the assize of the Lord King. Again from the northern tithing Robert Newby (3d), another Robert Newby (3d). Southern Tithing. Two jurors of the twelve were John Newby and missing first name Newby. ‘ and that John Newby and John Deyman hold between them the execution of the office of reeve at the nomination of the Steward and the said Steward appoints John Newby who is sworn etc.

Northern Tithing 1548.

William Newby who owed suit of court on this day and did not come and therefore is in mercy.   Another court in 1548 states And that William Newby sold one (a tree) against the assize of the Lord King and therefore is in mercy.   William and John Newby were two of the jurors sworn.

I have the baptisms from 1638 for Membury where Susanna daughter of John Newbury bap. 1st July 1638 is the first of 17 Newbery’s named. 
Marriages from 1651 in my possession start with John Nubery who married Mary Harper of Stockland 8th July 1651.    Bryan & Rowena Drew

Steve Horner responds:   This is fantastic information.   If you keep an eye on this Ancestral Search (51) a lot more information has come in over the last few days from the USA Newberie family.   Are you in fact connected to the Newberie family or have you collected this whilst researching the history of Stockland?

Mark Dixon writes:   I'm adding Jacob Newbury - the author of the paper I shared earlier - to the conversation.   I'm sure that he'll respond after he has time to look over your comments (below).   I'll also forward to Jacob the will of William Newberry, in case he hasn't seen it.

Jacob Newbury writes:   Hi Mark and Steve, Thank you for the notes.   First I feel like I should point out that to the outsider/people who do not know of how vast the amount of Newberys/Newberrys/Newburys that lived in Stockland, Membury, Yarcombe, Shute, Dalwood, Upottery, and the surrounding parishes - there were a lot of them.   As far as I can tell I might be the only person to be thoroughly studying all of them, which I have been doing for at least two years now, with the ultimate hope of connecting as many as I can;  however there will still be quite a few left standing.   Between the early 1500s and the 1760s, there were upwards of 552 individual Newbery/Newbury/Newberrys lived in this area.   Not to mention the many more moving further away, let alone a couple of parishes away.   In addition, there are 39 surviving wills of people in these families until 1800, many more which are now lost however were abstracted before they were lost, not to mention more than 25 more wills from relatives/friends/etc of the Newberys/Newburys/Newberrys.   Before I logistically gathered everything it was a complete mess with no immediate remedy in sight.   There have actually been a handful of attempts to research all of these people in the past 120 years or so, however they all fall short, which prompts me more to do this more comprehensively while citing and noting evidence.

I have been fortunate enough to connect quite a fair number, however still persist to connect more with evidence.   I have been looking thoroughly at this 'contingent' (as I call them) via context (geographically, background, etc), their smaller familial wealths, statistically and in various other ways. 
There are two very important points I have found to be very consistent, and I always have to consider when studying these people are;

• Although the "Newbery" lot are spread around the Devon area and small branches going into Somerset due to the close county border, Stockland is, without a second of doubt, the main hub of the Devon Contingent.

• Although families may live in, or be "of" a town that has its own church or one close by, families have been found may, (at many times incessantly), travel up to 10 miles to a specific church for baptisms, marriages or burials.

Reply Notes;
1. The evidence found that the said William's father was named "John Newberye of Membury", was found by the College of Arms after extensive research back in the early 1920s.   Others, as well as myself have attempted to obtain evidence or notes from the College of Arms, however, there are two problems: a) looks like they didn't keep any citing notes from where they found this, however it is assured and was checked by various heralds, and b) despite the college of arms having a library and archive of material, they aren't open to the public and don't freely give out information - however I have been assured by heralds of point (a) - that this finding was certain.   (Will have to take their utmost professional work).
2. I decided to make note of these marriages as it would be foolish to note that 'William was first of the Newberry family to move to Yarcombe' (or some such note) as this is not technically true.   It was more of a future proofing paragraph so that peers don't pull me up on it.
3. Please refer to the two above noted bullet points, as well as understanding one very major reason why it is difficult to connect these families is that not all the local registers dated back as far as one would like them to.   The register for Stockland, for example, (being the epicentre of these families), only survives from 1640 onward, and 1649 for burials.
4. The will for William Newbery of Yarcombe dated 1596 was not destroyed in the archives at Exeter but rather is recorded within the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and can be found easily via the National Archives or Ancestry.
5. I am unsure of where you have interpreted that I refer to Osmore as a manor?   If you are regarding the note "...was an official copy of the reversionary grant of the manor", this is true.   Osmore was owned by the manor of Membury and thus held the official reversionary grant - which the family who were tenants of Osmore would have had a copy of as by right.
6. I'm unsure what you are noting in this point.   The earliest mention of the Newbery family in Stockland is in 1387.   The earliest Newbery will was written in 1580, with 27 wills by Newberys written before the will you mention by Robert Newbery in 1688 was written.

I hope that can help you out.

Additionally, I can also provide some help with looking into Samuel Newbery of Levenhayes as I have been able to connect him and his family to my larger network of families.   This Samuel was a son of Robert Newbery of Yarcombe and Ann Davy.   Robert was born in 1600 in Yarcombe, he was the brother of Thomas Newbery - one of the two early settlers.   Kind regards and happy new year,   Jacob

Mark Dixon writes:   Thank you, Steve, for your comments, and Jacob, for your responses.   As someone who doesn't have Steve's understanding of the local scene, or Jacob's experience of immersion in Newberry names and records, I feel at a disadvantage.   However, I've always found listening to more-informed people to be a useful path to wisdom, genealogical and otherwise.   So, please keep talking, and I'll listen.   As for the identification of William Newberry's father as "John Newberye of Membury," what form does that evidence take?   A letter?   A footnote in a book?

Steve Horner responds:   Mark and Jacob, I am absolutely delighted that all this information has come flooding in, it will take me some time to assimilate the additional information and Jacob`s answers to the points I raised.   Overnight Brian Drew a local historian who has written a book on the history of Stockland has also provided a long list of members of the Newberie family (above) which he has fond during his own researches.   I am certain that there will be some information that Brian has sent to me that will be unknown to Jacob.   For my part I am working on the location of Pouwdhill which holding now seems to have disappeared which is mentioned in the will of William Newbery 1596.   This certainly provides me with plenty to do during the period when our country has been shut down.

Jacob Newbury writes:   I would definitely appreciate any more information about the Newbery families! It all helps!   In the long run, I'm looking to connect up as many families as I can and comprehensively put all the info together into a piece of writing/book with a family tree.   However, if you would like information about specific Newbery individuals please let me know and I'll send what I can.

Steve Horner replies:   Jacob, I am delighted to be able to offer what little help I can to your worthwhile project.   I believe I forwarded to you the information that Brian Drew, a local historian who lives in Stockland, sent to me recently, may I enquire if his note contained any information on the Newberie family not previously known to you?   I am sure that you are also aware that we have also updated the burial records for Yarcombe which can be accessed through a link on the Yarcombe web site (above).   You will be aware that in the records of Yarcombe there are several mentions of Pouwdhill, one of which is shown in the will dated 1596 of by William Newberie; sadly no building exists in this area although the local land owner tells me that there ancient foundations on the other side of the hill.   I am almost certain that this tract of land lies to the east of Yarcombe village, we now call this hill the `ump, the h having been dropped in the local vernacular.   There is a pond unusually situated about half way down which was I suspect a marl pit which would have been dug out in ancient times so that the red soil (marl) could be extracted and spread on the more acid soils in the parish.

Here is a photo of the area; the top of the hill lies at about 2 o`clock to the farmhouse in the foreground on which a light coloured crop called miscanthus is growing.   The pond is identified by a small clump of trees lying in a depression further down the slope.

I am most interested in your mention of the case entered into the Court of the Exchequer dated 1586 (page 11 of your document), which relates to a grant by John Haydon of the tenement of Powedehill to William and his son Richard on 3rd March 1580 at Yarcombe Court, which court records may perhaps be contained in the Yarcombe Manor Court rolls.   A copy preferably transcribed of the relevant records of the Court of Exchequer and the Manorial Court would be much appreciated.

Jacob Newbury writes:   I'll definitely send along the transcribed pages from the 1586 case, I just looked over the files to send them and realised that I haven't translated the obligatory Latin page accompanying the case which basically describes it concisely.  I'll do that in the next few days and will send it all along.   Thank you for the photo!

Steve Horner replies:   How on earth do you manage firstly to transcribe the written word from a Tudor document and then translate from Latin into English?   I look forward to receiving the document in due course.   Have you ever researched the Yarcombe Manor Court Rolls ?

Jacob Newbury writes:   For the most part, I am already familiar with most of the info however there are four wills mentioned that I would definitely be interested in seeing or knowing where I can find them:

Richard Newbery the Elder of Stockland - 1627
Richard Newbery of Hill, Stockland - 1671
John Newbery of Northill, Stockland - 1670
Robert Newbery of Yarcombe - 1677

I have similarly abstracted details about people mentioned in those wills however the wills themselves or at least more info from them including tenements or land noted would be helpful.   As for the transcribing and translating documents written in medieval Latin, for a long time medieval Latin looked like not only another language but completely undecipherable but during the last Great Lockdown around March last year I finally started learning how to read, transcribe and translate it.   Although I have a very fair number of documents translated, I'm definitely not as good as I want to be.   I have attached three transcription word documents from the 1586 case.   I'll keep working on the Latin doc but it's proving harder than I had initially thought.   By the way some of the transcriptions are limited due to the documents having unfoldable folds to them and a small group of words being too faded.  I was planning to go back to the National Archives to look at more documents and speak with someone about somehow seeing the rest of the documents (unfolding carefully) however covid hit and well... that's it.   I've looked at a few Stockland, Dalwood and Membury Court Rolls but not any Yarcombe yet.   Do you have any translated Yarcombe Rolls or pictures of them?   I could always have a go at translating them  - If you would like I could send along a handful or so of Common Plea Cases relating to Yarcombe?

Steve Horner adds:   Bryan, Jacob Newbury obviously has a huge amount of information about the Newberie family which he is very happy to share with me , as yet I have only glanced at his transcription of the case of the Court of Exchequer dated 1586.   To me it is quite incredible that anyone can read the script from Elizabethan times let alone translate Latin into English.   You will seeabove that he would appreciate more information about the four wills he sets out below, I am not quite certain what form they take, however every little will help him.

Bryan Drew writes:   Steve,  Not much more on the transcripts of the four wills regarding residence etc. but I will have another look.

Richard Newbery the Elder. Will of 1627:

Does not mention any residence but gives 10 shillings to the poor of Stockland.

Richard Newbery of Hill 1671:

All I have is to William Newbery my brother £20, To Thomasin White my sister £5,
To William’s 3 children, William, Thomas and Jane £5 each.
To son John 1 score of ewes and lambs.
To son Richard 2 cowes, 1 called by name of Hillcox, the other called the stared heifer.
There was a farm called Hill Cross now a private dwelling with the fields now sold off.

John Newbery of Northill 1670:

Other than the names already given no other residences noted.
Northill is still a working farm with the dairy only sold in the last year or so.

Robert Newbery of Yarcombe 1677:

I give and bequeath unto the poor people of the said parish of Yarcombe, the sum of £10, the   profits thereof to remain to them for ever, to be distributed to them yearly by the present  church wardens and overseers of the poor of the same parish, for the time being. As I have previously written, Birch and Moorpit are mentioned. Also perhaps not previously mentioned ‘I give unto William Bovey, my grandchild, all my tenement in Marshwood Vale, in the county of Dorset, now in the tenure, life or occupation of Thomas Beavissney and immediately after my decease.

Steve Horner writes:   Jacob, Bryan Drew has kindly supplied more detail which may be of assistance to you which can be found in the string below.  
Please remind me, do you have a copy of the book “From Monks to the Millennium” written by Ruth Everitt which is in effect the best available history of Yarcombe?   From the index the following entries may be of interest:

Name                               Property                                                      Date                 Page

Newbery, Ann




Newbery, John

Middle Moorhayne


11, 108

Newbery, Robert

Blackhayes, Broadley,

1700, 1798

13, 95, 96


Rosehayne, South Waterhayne




Underdown, Livenhayes


119, 106

Newbury, Samuel

Grovewell, Livenhayes, Moorpit

1662, 1727


Newbery, Susanna




Newbery, Thomas


18th C

13, 63

Newman, Mary




I am still trying to absorb the detailed records of the Court of Exchequer dated 1586, however at first reading it would appear that there was a dispute over the occupation of a tenement called Powdhill, the defendant William Newberry`s right thereto stems from the award by the manor court of Yarcombe, the complainants Richard Drake Esquire and John Wood claim this is in dispute and the occupation of the tenement is by right John Patison of William Patye and his wife Isabell Patye.   I am assuming Richard Drake and John Wood were powerful men in the area and took up this suit on behalf of John Patison on the basis he had been wronged.   I suspect that this Richard Drake of Ashe near Colyton purchased the Manor of Yarcombe Robert Earl of Leicester in 1581, then in July of the same year the estate was sold to Sir Francis Drake for the enormous sum of £5,000.   Sir Francis describes Richard as his cousin, which is a I believe indicates a term of familiarity rather than kinship.   There is some confusion perhaps mystery about this transaction, I suspect some Tudor skulduggery or early form of money Laundering!

I was delighted to read that one of the deponents, I assume all elders of the area, was one William Zane aged 78.   From William Zane`s will of 1592 we learn that he left his household goods and stock to his wife Alice, and we know for certain that said Alice was occupier of Woodend in 1600.  Woodend, now Woodhayne, is the house where we have lived for the past 30 odd years.

Peter Tarrant comments:   There are references to the surname Zane in Ancestral Searches 8 and 74.

Steve Horner adds:   Jacob, I have spent some short time reading through the papers of the Court of Exchequer 1586 that you sent to me , and I have been somewhat distracted or perhaps better said diverted into researching the names mentioned therein.   In particular I have focused on the questions to be asked of John Haydon esquire who it would appear was the Lord of the Manor in 1580 - or is it 1581?

• Elizabeth ascended the throne in November 1558 so her 23rd year of her reign would be 1581 ?
• The Feast of Purification is nowadays 2nd February and line 43 states third day of March

I am slowly learning perhaps your greater knowledge can help me out on these two queries.   Earlier you asked me if I have any knowledge of the Yarcombe Court Rolls and the answer is in the affirmative.   Jane Chislett who also found our website sent me documents in which there is mention of Samuel Newbery who is recorded as having died in 1697 which accords with the Yarcombe burial records.   (See Ancestral Searches 47)

Ruth Everitt records in her book that Samuel Newbery was the tenant of Livenhayes aka Leven which is one of the oldest properties in the parish wherein there is a wall plaque dated 1662 which carries Samuel's initials.   Do you have in your records any further details of this Samuel Newbery and any proof he may be a descendent of William Newbery obit 20 May 1596?   I have taken the liberty of copying Mark Nixon with whom I have previously corresponded with regard to the Newberie family.

Jacob Newbury writes:   Calculating the actual year from how people used to write it is sometimes too confusing which is why I use this proven online calculator site.   Plugging in the date, the number of the year and selecting the monarch it notes it to be 1580/1.   This reflects Old Style dating and only occurs between January 1 and March 24 in every year until 1752.   The Christian year and the Legal year are two different things, which results in the double-year noting. I choose to simply put the legal date.   In regards to line 43, that question (question 8 beginning on line 40), notes that a court was held at Yarcombe manor on the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and at said court surrendered the estate of Alice Papis unto John Haydon.   Following that, another court held at the manor on the third of March, John Haydon granted the said estate to William Newbery, his son Richard Newbery and to John Smith (John Smith was William Newbery's step-son).

As for Samuel, he is first noted as being baptised in Yarcombe as the son of Robert Newbery and his wife Ann(e) nee.Davy (Ann is not noted in the parish register entry), on the 11th December 1631.   Robert Newbery being a son of Richard Newbery who died in 1639, Richard being the son of William Newbery who died c. 1596.   He is later mentioned within his father's will dated 1677 as Robert's younger son.   Samuel's older brother, named Henry Newbery who died in 1695, in his will dated 1692 he notes of how his "now wife" (second wife) was called Grace.   Well, in Samuel's will dated 1697 one of the witnesses was a Grace Newbery which gives rise to the thought that this person was one and the same as Henry's wife, being Samuel's sister-in-law.   It also aligns with the fact that she, Henry's wife Grace, died and was buried in 1699.   It's at this point that I should point out that the rest of my conclusion that this Samuel is the same as the one mentioned in Robert's will of 1677 is through accounting for Samuels at this time in Yarcombe.   You see I have tabulated all the parish records of the area of recordings of Newberys.   Through this, I have an easy-to-view way of accounting for all the Newberys and not mismatching them, also (in this instance) seeing a collection of children born to a man named Samuel logically at the time when Robert's son Samuel would have come of age - leading me to connect the two definitely.  Samuel's family was pretty well off in Yarcombe but as he wasn't going to inherit the lands of his father he, of course, had to make his own way - having his own land to build his family on.   By the way I have few Common Plea cases dating from the 1400s and into the 1500s regarding Yarcombe if you would like them?   Some mention John Haydon.

Steve Horner adds:   Very many thanks, you are a good tutor and I am slowly beginning to understand these old documents and customs of the Court which are revealed therein.   For example I opened the regnal year link and input the 35th year of the reign of Henry VIII (mentioned in the questions on behalf of the Complainant) and up comes 1543/4, this is thus a most useful tool.   My next question is who exactly is John Haydon?   In the document he is described “then Lorde or former of the said mannnor ….”.   Perhaps he was the Reeve or Steward to the Lord of the manor who I believe was at that time either Richard Drake of Ashe one of the complainants, or possible Sir Francis Drake who purchased the estate in July 1581.   I really would appreciate sight of the Common Plea cases which mention John Haydon, firstly this would provide me with more exposure to the functioning of these medieval courts, secondly would provide me with more information about John Haydon.

Jacob Newbury writes:   The way John Haydon is described in the document is a bit confusing especially like you say the fact that Francis Drake purchased the estate beforehand.   Maybe John Haydon was made a sub-tenant of the manor, otherwise called a Mesne Lord.   Or maybe like you say he was the steward or held at least a high role in the manor.   Below are 7 cases regarding Yarcombe entered into the Court of Common Pleas.  I realised that only one includes John Haydon however does give a better idea of his person - it notes that he is a Gentleman (so descended from a noble/higher ranking family), also his attorney in the case is also called John Haydon.   These two people are certainly two different people otherwise the case would have been written differently.   The interesting thing is, is that John Haydon in the Powdhill case could be either one.   'John Haydon, Gentleman' may have also studied law and thus also an Esquire, however, the second John Haydon is specifically noted as his attorney meaning he definitely studied law - making him an Esquire.   So either one could be the John noted in the Powdhill case.   Nevertheless, the two Johns would have definitely been related in some way, meaning no matter which one is which they both descend some way from a noble/higher ranking family.   Let me know if there is anything else!

Steve Horner adds:   Jane, at present as part of our Ancestral Searches there is a lot of information coming in about the Newburie family who were a well-established family hereabouts in the time of Elizabeth 1 and were in fact some of the early settlers in the New World.   I attach pleadings from a case in the Court of Common Pleas dated 1586, which throw some light on the proceedings in the Manorial Court of Yarcombe, and your insight and knowledge of these courts might help me understand more of the history of our Parish.   It would appear from the questions on behalf of the defendant that one John Haydon Esq who in the document is described “then Lorde or former of the said mannnor ….”   Line 43 … in the Manor Court of Yarcombe held on third March 1580/81 awarded to Richard Newberie a demise and grant of the tenement known as Powdhill.   It is also noteworthy that the complainants were Richard Drake Esq and John Wood.   It’s the role of John Haydon which I find curious, I attach proceedings from the Manor Court of Yarcombe dated 1571 in which John Haydon also features.   On pages 6 and 7 of “From Monks to the Millennium” it would appear Sir Francis Drake purchased the manor of Yarcombe in July 1581 from his cousin Richard Drake (see above Complainant) for the sum of £5,000.   The Manor had been given previously by Elizabeth to the Earl of Leicester in the same year.   I surmise that John Haydon may have been Lord of the Manor in 1571 when he “managed” the Court on behalf of the Queen.

From another source I have a note that Sir Francis arrived back in Plymouth 26th September 1580 after his circumnavigation of the World, and in the next two years he was a very busy man!   It does appear maybe I have become confused by the year date 1580/81, and I also suspect the year in which Sir Francis acquired the Manor was 1582.

One final question, it seems to me that Sir Francis paid his cousin Richard a huge amount of money (£5,000) for the Lordship of the manor, is this perhaps a case of medieval money laundering?   Your thoughts and wisdom would be much appreciated.

Jane Chislett writes:   From the depositions it appears that Alice PAPYS surrendered the tenancy she had acquired when her husband died.   She probably wanted a more favourable agreement.   Sometimes tenants ‘surrendered’ land back to the lord, to be re-granted on more favourable terms.   This would often include a named series of successors within the family, or a surrender to the use of a will so that the tenant could pass the land freely to his nominated successor.   The terms of the will would be recorded in the roll for reference, particularly useful if a will no longer exists, as is the case for Devon.   Why the tenancy was then given to William NEWBERY I cannot comment.   Perhaps the actual court rolls from this time would provide more details.   You say the 1571 proceedings were from the Manor Court, they are in fact another case from Common Pleas.   John HAYDON was at one time steward of OSM manor, and I would think he became steward of Yarcombe, and as you say "managed the manor".   By the time of the 1586 case I would guess that John WOOD was steward, hence him being named as a complainant.   As you also say £5000 does seem a great deal of money, but Sir Francis had paid £3400 for Buckland in 1581.   When Francis bought Yarcombe, in the summer of 1582, Richard DRAKE was having financial difficulties.   I imagine part of the money was for the Manor, the remainder as a sort of loan, particularly when Francis' will required Richard and his son Francis to pay £2000 to inherit Yarcombe manor.   See below. (Surrey Archaeological Society, Surrey archaeological collections Guildford, 1858 accessed 02 Feb 2021).   Hope this may help a little.

Steve Horner writea:   Jane, I am most appreciative of your comments especially the confirmation of the John Haydon was at one time Steward of the manor of Ottery St Mary.   Your explanations also help me to understand how the system worked in Elizabethan times.   I have found the following notes about John Haydon of Ottery St Mary -see below – and I surmise it is entirely probable that he was involved with the managing and trading of the Manor of Yarcombe in the decade between 1570 and 1580.   The Manor of Yarcombe together with a small holding of land was no match for Buckland Abbey which cost £3,200 and therefore I subscribe to the theory the sum of £5,000 was a way of moving money around various influential persons at that time.

Constituency   Dates
DUNHEVED     1558

Family and Education
b. by 1514, 2nd s. of Richard Haydon of Woodbury, Devon by 1st w. Joan, da. of Maurice Trent of Ottery St. Mary; bro. of George. educ. L. Inn, adm. 10 July 1529, called 1539. m. settlement 1526-7, Jane, da. and h. of Robert Grenville of Cadhay, s.p.1

Offices Held
Pensioner, L. Inn 1564, ass. bencher 1567.
Escheator, Devon and Cornw. Nov. 1539-Jan. 1541; attorney, city of Exeter from 1544; under steward, escheated lands of Marquess of Exeter in Cornw. Devon and Som. from 1545, former lands of St. Anthony in Roseland abbey from 1545, manors of Abbotsham, Cornwood and Hatherleigh, Devon from 1545, Ottery St. Mary by 1546, Bradninch, Devon till c.1558.2

John Haydon owed his single return to Parliament to his employment by the duchy of Cornwall which owned the borough of Dunheved, and to his marriage into a branch of the Grenville family influential in its locality. His fellow-Member Robert Monson was, like him, a Lincoln’s Inn man. Haydon was a man of some wealth whose professional services were retained by several magnates in Devon and by the corporation of Exeter, and who ‘enlarged his demesnes’ by the acquisition of lands in the neighbourhood of his home; on 27 Nov. 1539 he bought some of the buildings of Dunkeswell abbey from Sir John Russell, Baron Russell, and some of the Marquess of Exeter’s forfeited estates from the crown, and seven years later he purchased a property called Huntebere in Ottery St. Mary from Thomas Goodwin, of whose will he was later named an overseer. His wealth seems to have been derived not only from professional fees and the perquisites of his various offices but also from his business as a property agent. In the closing years of Henry VIII’s life he and Thomas Gibbs were engaged in buying and selling monastic lands; in April 1545 they paid nearly £900 for property in Exeter, which less than a year later they sold at the same price to Sir John Williams. In July 1547 Haydon, Thomas Horner† and others purchased an Oxfordshire manor only to sell it again in the following April to Oliver Hyde.3
Under Elizabeth, Haydon spent much time in London, where he was active in the affairs of his inn, in particular in its reconstruction. He also undertook the building of ‘a fair new house’ at Cadhay, using materials from the former college at Ottery. It was perhaps to atone for this spoliation that he helped to negotiate the foundation of a grammar school at Ottery and became one of its first four governors. He died on 9 Mar. 1588 and was buried at Ottery St. Mary, where a monument was erected to his memory: the heir to his lands was his great-nephew Robert Haydon, who had married the eldest daughter of Sir Amias Paulet†.4
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: J. J. Goring

Jane Chislett replies:   I like what you have found about John HAYDON - great, thank you.   I agree Yarcombe is somewhat smaller than Buckland Abbey, but remember Buckland was bought for Francis on the QT.   If Richard GRENVILLE had known Francis was really buying the manor I suspect the price would have been considerably higher.   Sir Francis already owned half of Yarcombe, a moiety from Elizabeth 1, so gaining the other half was worth more to him than anyone else.   Richard had become equerry to the queen and was in want of money to meet the expenses of this appointment, hence why he sold to Francis, probably regretting this a few years later.   Whether you call it a loan, money laundering, or anything else it was certainly a means of moving money around.

John Webb enquires:   Hi, I found an article on your website under Ancestral Search 51 (above) “Two early Settlers” written by Jacob Newbury in 2019.   I would very much like to contact him do you have contact details for him, and are you able to relay this message to him.   My interest is the Roger Newberys of Stockland Circa 1600.   Regards, John Webb




Ancestral Search 50



December 2020

I have just come across a family connection to your village.   The people I am interested are John & James Vincent, Sarah French and John Burge. . I attach a marriage certificate dated 26th November 1861 (below) between John Vincent and Sarah French both on their second marriage.  Any assistance would be gratefully received.      Nigel Vincent

Steve Horner responds:   Nigel, I am utterly and completely stumped by this enquiry.   I have tried every which way to find another reference to each and every one of the people mentioned on the marriage certificate.   Can you give me any other dates or places where these people might have lived?   I assume as your surname is Vincent you are related and a family tree back to these people would help me.   The marriage took place on 26th November 1861 when both John and Sarah state they were living in Yarcombe.   However I can find no record of either of them on the 1861 census for Yarcombe which was taken on 7th April of that year.   I do not want to give up as Vincent is certainly a local name.   I look forward to receiving your response.

Nigel Vincent replies:   Thank you for your reply.   Census 1851 list John as independent Minister of Pill Chapel, Portbury.   Census 1861 shows him as deceased but I cannot find a date of death.

Steve Horner replies:   Thanks for this snippet, however I do not believe John Vincent (1861) married in Yarcombe in November 1861 is connected to the John Vincent (1851) who appears in the Portbury 1851 census.   The reasons I have for making this statement are: (1) John Vincent 1861 is shown as a widower, profession Yeoman, whose father James was a farmer;  (2) John Vincent 1851 lists his profession as a Minister in an Independent church, such a person would I believe not set foot in a Church of England building to be married;  (3) John Vincent 1851 was married to Sarah and they had 3 children, William, John and Mary.   In the 1861 census Sarah and her three children is shown as a widow living in the parish of St Michaels Bristol.   I am sorry to be the bearer of this news, however if you can give me more information about your family this would help me.   Otherwise, keep in contact, we may one day find a link.

Archie Needs writes:   I was intrigued by the Marriage Certificate.   John Vincent and Sarah French were both married before which made it complicated.   However, I think I might have cracked it.   Check out this link on FaG.   I also spotted that various vicars forgot to change years in the burial books when they got to Jan/Feb.   I have decided to go through and check each burial and enter the full burial date on FaG, rather than just the year which it shows currently.   When I've completed this task, I will send an amended spreadsheet for the website.

July 2022

Archie Needs adds:   I am sending you an updated Yarcombe burial spreadsheet for your website.   I've added full burial dates, annotated the spreadsheet to include memo notes inscribed in the original burial registers, added some family links and amended a few spelling/transcription errors.   I'm sure I'll find a few more in the future.




Ancestral Search 49



November 2020

I have been working in for 10 years or so and with the Devon Parish record images available on FindMyPast.   My Pavey ancestors lived in Yarcombe between at least 1540-1720 and their descendants much longer.   I have built on a lot of research by cousins.   I have recently started contributing to the WikiTree project to build a single family that will stay around 'forever", free and public to everyone.   Here is the page for my earliest Yarcombe ancestor:   Feel free to ask for any specifics.   I am hoping that the book "From Monks to the Millennium" you are sending might include details on what farms the Pavey's were at.   All the best,    Rob Pavey

Peter Tarrant responds:   Thank you for sharing the links, particularly that related to your Yarcombe ancestors.   I hope Ruth's book will provide some interesting connections.   Also please take a look at Yarcombe Church's Burials (link above) where many Paveys are listed.

Steve Horner writes:   Clearly you have carried out a huge amount of very detailed research into the Pavey family and I believe there is little I can add, I am certain that there are references in “From Monks to the Millennium” written by Ruth Everitt which you will find helpful to your researches.   Clearly the Pavey family were owners or occupiers of Broadley in the early 17th century and if we can help in anyway, perhaps photos of the buildings as they exist today, please do not hesitate to ask.   Another important recent addition to our site is the transcription of Yarcombe Manor Court Rolls (see Ancestral Search 47) and the Court Roll dated 8th May 1696 mentions Jonathan Pavey to be sworn as a Tythingman.   It is clear that Sir Francis Drake, the famous admiral, acquired an interest in the manor of Yarcombe in 1582, however mystery seems to surround the transaction and mention of a quit claim to Charles Pavie by Sir Francis of a substantial acreage of land connects your ancestor to Sir Francis and if you are able to throw some light on this land deal or any connected transactions would be most helpful.

I might mention that when reading this section of Ruth`s book she suggests Yarcombe and Elscombe are synonymous, this is not correct, Elscombe is a farm in the valley which lies just below my own property whose lands run alongside the river Yarty.   I was also interested to learn of a possible family connection to London, namely Simon Pavey and his wife Rawlen who were buried in St Margaret’s church Westminster in 1561; the only other inhabitants of Yarcombe I have found were the Martin family.   In the 1600 court document featuring Drake vs Major there Is mention that “Shevehayne” (now Sheafhayne Manor) was in the tenure of George Martyn and John Martyn, gentlemen In the will of Giles Martin Mercer of London dated 1st August 1630 he gave to the Mercers Company £200 which he heartily prayed them to accept of and in lieu thereof to the poor of the parish of Yarcombe.if you ever spot reference to this Martyn family of Yarcombe whilst carrying out your researches I would much appreciate a link to the document.   I wish you every good fortune with your research and hope you will keep in contact.

Steve Horner adds:   Rob, a gentleman came by my office this morning and showed me the family tree of one branch of the Pavey family who clearly have their origins in Yarcombe (see below, click to enlarge).   This is a detailed and clearly well researched document, I was not quite certain how it came into his possession, I am however posting this within your ancestral query in the hope it may be of interest to you.   I apologise that it is not complete, I do not have an A3 photocopier.




Ancestral Search 48



October 2020

I've just discovered your interesting entry on your World War 1 page as I've been searching for information about my great uncle Harry Collins who died in WW1.   Over the years I've discovered that he died in September 1916 and was buried at Thiepval.   As far as I knew he'd lived in Buckland St Mary and later in Combe St Nicholas in Somerset with his wife Florence Mabel but have not found his name on any memorial or in a church there.   However, more recently I found a postcard sent from his wife to my grandmother (she kept loads of them) on 6th July 1916 indicating that they had moved to Yarcombe.

I was thinking about visiting Yarcombe to search in the church but decided first to Google "Yarcombe War Memorial" and found your article.   This lists Henry Collins which would be a match as Henry is often changed to Harry.   However in every record, even official ones, he is always referred to as Harry.   However two things suggest this is a match.   Firstly he's shown as being in the Somerset LI which is correct.   It would be expected that a Yarcombe resident would be in the Devon Regiment which two are but the rest aren't, so maybe anything is possible here!   Secondly his wife's maiden name was Wakeley and I notice from your data that a Walter Wakley also fought.   That may be a coincidence (and a typo) but Florence was actually from South Wales so he could have temporarily lived in Yarcombe.   I wonder if you have the date when H Collins died?   That would help.   I look forward to hearing if you have anything.    Regards,    Geoff Bryant

Steve Horner replies:   I was delighted that you have found our web site.   It will be a pleasure to help you with your research into Harry Collins.   Any information that you can pass back to us, for example a copy of the post card to which you refer, would add to our own store of knowledge.   I set out below all the information that we have about Corporal Harry Collins, Corporal Somerset Light Infantry 6th Battalion, who was killed in action on 16th September 1916 aged 30.   His service number was 10217.

There is a poignant note in the minutes of the Yarcombe Parochial Church Council of December 1916:

Our sincerest and deepest sympathy goes out to Mrs Collins and her three small children, her husband’s death at the front is the first that this parish has been called upon to mourn.

The fact that Harry Collins is recorded at the Thiepval Memorial means that he has no known grave.   We do have from the Grave Registration Reports the following information:

  • Collins,  Cpl Harry 10217 6th Bn Somerset Light Inf.  16th September 1916.  Age 30.
  • Son of Mr and Mrs Collins of Meanwood Buckland St Mary Chard Somerset.
  • Husband of Florence Mabel Pidgeon (formerly Collins) of Old Machine Gun cottage, Tramway, Hirwain,
  • , Glam.

I have been able to locate Harry Collins, his wife Florence Mabel and a lodger Thomas William Wakeley living at Stoute Cottage Yarcombe on the 1911 census, it is signed By Harry Collins (below, left).   Also (below, right) is a copy of the marriage certificate of Harry and Mabel who were married in Churchinford on 28th March 1910.

I am almost certain Florence Mabel Wakeley was born in Hemyock and her three children were called Arthur, Percy and Florence May.   I strongly suspect that Harry's wife Florence Mabel remarried a Pidgeon (a local name) and went to live in South Wales.   I am certain we have the right man, however I await your comments and confirmation of the above information that I have managed to find in my files.

Harry (Henry) Collins' name is engraved on the war memorial in both the church and chapel and if you would be interested in can send you photos.   Please do let me have any further information that you may have.

Geoff Bryant responds:   Thanks for all that info, it agrees with what I have as well as adding to it.   I attach a copy of the postcard (below, left) from Florence Collins to my grandmother Mabel.   I also have a newspaper report and another postcard (below, centre) from Harry when he was injured and back in England also attached (with other Collins items).   Harry and Mabel were from a family of 11 children.   Another brother John also fought in WW1 and was in the RE I believe.   I live near Tewkesbury but was born in Wadeford near Chard.   I'll send more info soon when I can piece it together logically.



1916 Postcard

Newspaper Cuttings

1915 Postcard

Geoff Bryant adds:   I have dug deep and found quite a lot of info and many questions.   It's amazing how much arises from one person (I'm leaving clear notes for my family should anyone be the least bit interested!!).   Apologies for the following being long winded:

Harry's Children:   It's interesting that you found that the 3rd child of Harry is Arthur.  

Steve Horner comments:   I found it on a pension record I hope to get the original in due course.   The marriage was in 1910 so 1911 fits as birth year of Arthur.   Please don’t forget Yarcombe is in Devon and registration district is Honiton.   The 1911 census places them in Stout Yarcombe and later the postcard states a move from Marsh to Beacon, both in Yarcombe.   The 1939 register shows Arthur born 15h April 1911 living with his mother Florence Pidgeon born 2 October 1886 in Aberdare.   I expect you may find a Percy born in 1912 and Florence May in say 1914, both in Yarcombe.   The huge mystery that I cannot at present resolve is to find the marriage Certificate of Florence Collins to …. Pidgeon, obviously she must have remarried, but why did she head off to South Wales with her three small children?   Do you have any idea?   You state "then when Harry dies, she marries another Harry".   Could this be Harry Pidgeon?   How do you know about the twins Florence E and Harry E?

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave.   Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.   The memorial also serves as an Anglo-French Battle Memorial in recognition of the joint nature of the 1916 offensive and a small cemetery containing equal numbers of Commonwealth and French graves lies at the foot of the memorial.

The memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was built between 1928 and 1932 and unveiled by the Prince of Wales, in the presence of the President of France, on 1 August 1932 (originally scheduled for 16 May but due to the death of French President Doumer the ceremony was postponed until August).

Geoff Bryant continues:   As for Henry in the Parish church, just the result of “proper” English, he was always known as Harry.   Indeed Thiepval memorial is to record the names of the dead for whom no known grave exists.

There are several Arthur Collins born in Somerset between 1900 and 1917 but none are in the right region (Chard for Combe St Nicholas or Buckland St Mary) and the ones from 1911 onwards do not have the mother's maiden name of Wakeley (the other 2 children do show up with Wakeley and daughter Florence M was registered in Honiton).   However searching FreeBMD for Devon reveals an Arthur also registered in Honiton in 1911, perhaps that's him.   So they moved around a bit.   Shame it's just before the mother's maiden name gets listed.

  Surname First name(s) District Vol Page
Births Jun 1902 (>99%) Collins Arthur Hedley R Okehampton 5b 357
Births Dec 1902 (>99%) Collins Arthur Edward R Okehampton 5b 346
Births Sep 1905 (>99%) Collins Arthur John St. Germans 5c 31
Births Mar 1910 (>99%) Collins Arthur Devonport 5b 270
Births Jun 1911 (>99%) Collins Arthur Honiton 5b 14 ***
  Surname First name(s)   /   Mother District Vol Page
Births Sep 1911 (>99%) Collins Arthur   /   S Payne Plymouth 5b 371

This ties up with them being married in Churchinford on 28th March 1910.   How did you obtain the names of the 3 children, in particular Arthur's?

Harry's Wife:   The 1911 census shows 3 people living in a house with only 3 rooms.   That must have been cosy.   FreeBMD had given me their marriage in Taunton district so it was good that you had the certificate to narrow it down to Churchinford.   Actually the certificate says Churchstanton so would Churchinford be in the parish of Churchstanton?   It's interesting to see that my grandmother Mabel was one of the witnesses.

I'm eagerly waiting for the 1921 censuses, to confirm all children.   My mother spoke of a woman who married a family member, and I thought it was Harry, and she was from Wales.   When he died she returned to Wales and was never heard from again.   Her info may have been wrong as could my memory!!   Hemyock is in Devon but her birthplace in FreeBMD is Wellington which is in Somerset.   It's odd that a recording district should span 2 counties.

  Surname First name(s) District Vol Page
Births Dec 1886 (>99%) Wakeley Florence Mabel Wellington 5c 316

Steve Horner comments:   I am certain Florence Mabel Wakeley was born in Hemyock 3 October 1886 from census it all hangs together.   I have previously carried out research into this family and written an article recently about Walter Wakeley.  This family seem to move around the area, right on the Devon Somerset border, so further research into your family may come up with some answers.

Geoff Bryant continues:  

War Grave:   You said he has no grave yet the newspaper article says he was "buried with some more of his brave comrades".   That could be glossing over the fact that they left a load of them in the mud somewhere.   However the commonwealth war graves commission (,-harry/) has this entry:

COLLINS    Corporal    10217    HARRY    16 September 1916    Age 30    THIEPVAL MEMORIAL    Pier and Face 2 A.

So does this confirm what you said, he has no grave?   I often wonder if anyone from the family visited Theipval.   I suspect not, they didn't have a lot of wealth but a brother Arthur was a tailor who moved to Aberystwyth, perhaps he did.   I planned to go this year but that couldn't happen of course.

I attach 2 more service records I found online, CollinsHarryMedalCard.jpg and CollinsHarryWW1SignOn.jpg. They are not very clear.

Photos:   I have a few photos of men in service uniforms but haven't a clue who they are.   They could be Harry or brother John but none look like the vague photo in the newspaper article.   In fact their sister May also married a Harry (and he WAS born Henry) who was gassed in WW1.   They could even be of my grandfather's family but I wasn't told that any of them fought.

One of the most intriguing photos I have is of my grandmother seated holding a booklet and her sister May.   The booklet has a photo of a serviceman and I'm tempted to think it's a staged photo of the grieving sisters holding a momento, perhaps a funeral service for Harry.   However May has a wedding ring and both were married in 1920 so long after the war.   However the photo is of someone with what looks like air force wings and hat, and the RAF didn't exist during WW1.   I attach DSCN0026r2.JPG.

We joined a WW1 war graves tour 2 years ago and it was shocking to see the numbers for who there was no grave.

Harry vs Henry:   Going back to the Henry/Harry difference, as I said he was always Harry in the records I have, 3 censuses, his FreeBMD entries, postcards, and the newspaper articles which were kept. The marriage certificate also says Harry.   This is the marriage record:

  Surname First name(s) District Vol Page
Marriages Mar 1910 (>99%) Collins Harry Taunton 5c 561 ***
  Cross Harry Taunton 5c 561
  Lee Beatrice Elizabeth J Taunton 5c 561
  Wakeley Florence Mabel Taunton 5c 561 ***

So I still wonder if Henry on the Yarcombe memorial is a typo.or an assumption.   I have a photo of a memorial in N France, Notre Dame de Lorette, and this lists 4 Harry Collins and one Henry.   There are several others with second names.

Other Names:   What is a little comical is how names associated with Harry are repeated.   He married Florence Mabel and he had sisters Mabel (my grandmother) and Florence (who died at the age of 1).   Then when Harry dies, she marries another Harry and has twins Florence E and Harry E (who died at about 6 months old).

History Notes:   As a little aside, as I said, Harry was one of 11 children and my grandmother married Ernest Jeffery who was one of 14!!!   How did they cope?   Anyway, my mother knew of all of them except one sibling in each family so I spent ages trying to narrow it down, assuming that one had died young, and was born and died between censuses.   I eventually found an Elizabeth Jeffery who died aged 7 years, and a George Collins who died aged 9 months. I found this record in FreeReg:

George COLLINS Baptism 21 Jan 1882 Somerset Combe St Nicholas : St Nicholas : Parish Register Row 3   Parents William and Elizabeth
George COLLINS Burial 20 Oct 1882 Somerset Combe St Nicholas : St Nicholas : Parish Register Row 4    Age 9 months

There was more tragedy in the family as their father William died on 16 Aug 1912, sister Edith died on 7 Oct 1912 a few weeks after surgery, and their mother Elizabeth on 27 Dec 1913 (my grandmother's 26th birthday). None had a headstone, my mother said they couldn't afford one.

Geoff Bryant continues:   I think I can answer some of your points.   Regarding Harry's enlistment, there is a Gillingham near Wincanton which I assumed to be in Somerset but I see now is in Dorset.   I see the Gillingham in Kent but also one in Norfolk.   Perhaps it's not the right Enlistment, it's a shame the corner with his address is torn off.   I also see that the signature on the enlistment is not the same as on the 1911 census.   He dates it 6th April 1915 and states his age as 32yrs 10months which would make him born about June 1882 whereas FreeBMD records him for Apr-Jun 1883.   Close but not close enough.   Also for his trade it looks like he's written Painter but in the censuses he's a farm labourer or carter.   I'd better scrap that reference then.

I see now that the record of Thiepval has the location of his name on the monument, not a grave location.   That confused me because in Google maps you can see a large number of CWGC headstones beside the memorial.

Thanks for the son Arthur's reference from 1939.   I have 2 FreeBMD records of their other 2 children with the mother being a Wakeley:

  Surname First name(s)   /   Mother District Vol Page
Births Sep 1912 (>99%) Collins Percy  /  Wakeley Chard 5c 598
Births Sep 1914 (>99%) Collins Florence  /  M Wakeley Honiton  5b 26

The marriage of Florence to Harry Pidgeon is also in FreeBMD:

  Surname First name(s)   /   Spouse District Vol Page
Marriages Sep 1920 (>99%) Collins Florence Pidgeon Taunton 5c 746
  Pidgeon Harry  /  Collins Taunton 5c 746

The certificate can be obtained from this reference.   As for the next 3 children, I found this:

  Surname First name(s)   /   Mother District Vol Page
Births Sep 1921 (>99%) Pidgeon Ivy  /  K Wakeley Merthyr T. 11a 1785
Births Sep 1923 (>99%) Pidgeon Florence  /  E Wakeley Merthyr T. 11a 1577
  Pidgeon Harry  /  E Wakeley Merthyr T. 11a 1576

So they must have been twins.   Then:

  Surname First name(s)   /   Age District Vol Page
Deaths Mar 1924 (>99%) Pidgeon IHarry E  /  0 Merthyr T. 11a 1045

How sad when one of a twin dies.   I accept that Florence Mabel Wakeley was born in Hemyock, it makes sense.   Now the origin of Harry Pidgeon is a tricky one, again the 1921 census will help but for now I have these records and I made the rash assumption that he was from South Wales which is why they returned there.   But as you say it's a local name and there's one registered in Honiton:

  Surname First name(s) District Vol Page
Births Mar 1880 (>99%) Pidgeon Harry Honiton 5b 29
Births Sep 1880 (>99%) Pidgeon Harry Macclesfield 8a 151
Births Mar 1882 (>99%) Pidgeon Harry George Islington 1b 383
Births Mar 1883 (>99%) Pidgeon Harry Pontypridd 11a 373

I'm no longer a member of so all I can do is search but not view.   Doing that I can find him in Aberdare in 1939.   Actually that doesn't help as the 1939 records don't include place of birth.   So if he was local then I suspect he went to South Wales for a job in mining.   Arthur works as a colliery hauler (sounds awful) so maybe Harry worked there too.   A complete copy of the 1939 record would confirm that if you could retrieve it please.

I cannot help with any Wakely, or however it gets spelt, info but if you'd like any more Collins info I can supply it.   I still have a lot of gaps but that's the nature of family history.   I recently joined the Tewkesbury U3A Family History group which was interesting until Covid 19 struck!!   One of the missing records is Harry Collins' baptism in FreeReg, even as Henry.

Incorrect name spelling can really throw you off the scent.   I had a Strawbridge mis-transcribed as Drawbridge once which I didn't sort out for ages.   My own first name used to get all manner of spellings when I was young.   In fact my name Geoff(rey) was derived from my mother's maiden name of Jeffery.

Steve Horner replies:   Let’s start with the attachments.   Medal Card:   Undoubtedly Harry Collins;   Enlistment:   I don’t believe this is your Harry, Gillingham is in Kent;   Photo of soldier:   No stripes for either Lance Corporal or Corporal and the cap badge is not Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert's);   The Two Ladies:   No clue I am afraid.

Geoff Bryant continues:   Excellent Steve, where did you find that?   Only thing I notice is that the DOB of Florence is 2-10-84 whereas I thought we had 2-10-86 from somewhere,   I cannot see where right now. FreeBMD gave me this:

  Surname First name(s) District Vol Page
Births Dec 1886 (>99%) WAKELEY Florence Mabel Wellington 5c 316

For the marriage certificate of Harry Pidgeon and Florence, this FreeBMD data:

  Surname First name(s)   /   Spouse District Vol Page
Marriages Sep 1920 (>99%) Collins Florence  /  Pidgeon Taunton 5c 746
  Pidgeon Harry  /  Collins Taunton 5c 746

As for a previous marriage of Mr Pidgeon, I've found these 2 for S Wales, one matches your finding:

  Surname First name(s) District Vol Page
Marriages Sep 1895 (>99%) Isaac John Merthyr T. 11a 1061
  Pidgeon Harry Merthyr T. 11a 1061
  Rees Edith Maude Merthyr T. 11a 1061
  Thomaas Maude Merthyr T. 11a 1061
Marriages Jun 1903 (>99%) Mann Mary Elizabeth Pontypridd 11a 827
  Pidgeon Harry Pontypridd 11a 827
  Wade Catherine Sarah Pontypridd 11a 827
  Wilding Thomas Pontypridd 11a 827

2nd marriage:

  Surname First name(s)   /   Mother/Spouse District Vol Page
Marriages Sep 1920 (>99%) Collins Florence  /  Pidgeon Taunton 5c 746
  Pidgeon Harry  /  Collins Taunton 5c 746
  Thomas Adelaide  /  L White Taunton 5c 746
  White George  /  Thomas Taunton 5c 746

I cannot find a death of Catherine Sarah Pidgeon but the Harry marriage in 1895 is a problem as there is a choice of brides.   Trying each in turn again shows no death in the 1880-1922 range.  If he did come from S Wales it does beg the question as to what he was doing in or near Yarcombe.   Here's a remote possibility, Harry's brother Arthur moved to Aberdare, I don't know when.   Perhaps she visited him and met Harry Pidgeon.   Clutching at straws really.   Though perhaps not, those newspaper articles I sent you include the death of Arthur (1955) and it says he died aged 66 and had lived in Aberdare for over 50 years.   So he would have been there in 1916 onwards.   Having said that I wouldn't imagine he and Florence would have known each other well.

There are plenty of records with errors to throw you off the scent.   For a while I've had FreeReg records which show useful Collins history.   Here's our Percy Collins I think but the parents are wrong, there's no other Percy:

Percy COLLINS Baptism 22 Sep 1912 Somerset Combe St Nicholas : St Nicholas : Parish Register Row 13 ****?? Parents Harry and Amelia

A little later the son of William Collins (the brother of Harry Collins) dies in infancy:

William Harold COLLINS Baptism 08 Feb 1914 Somerset Combe St Nicholas : St Nicholas : Parish Register Row 15 Parents William & Amelia
William Harold COLLINS Burial 15 Apr 1914 Somerset Combe St Nicholas : St Nicholas : Parish Register Row 16 Age 4 months

William and Amelia were married in Buckland a few years earlier:

Amelia JONES, William COLLINS Marriage 23 Nov 1905 Somerset Buckland St Mary : St Mary : Parish Register Row 22 **5/11th sibling
Amelia Florence May COLLINS Baptism 23 Nov 1906 Somerset Buckland St Mary : St Mary : Parish Register Row 23 Parents William & Amelia

So it looks like the transcriber for Combe might have got records mixed up.

Steve Horner replies:   I am a member of the Western Front Association and as such I have access to Service Records on their site.   Well spotted re date of birth.   We found Florence Pidgeon's date of birth on the 1939 Register which shows 2nd October 1886.   What do you think of my theory that Harry Pidgeon originated in South Wales?   I am not going to hunt for his service record.

Geoff Bryant continues:   Well, I had a Harry Pidgeon in my files as originating from Pontypridd but followed by "???????" as I wasn't sure.   1921 data will confirm it.   There's a fine story there somewhere.   My grandmother would have known.   I wasn't interested back in my late teens, as is usually the case though I did write out all of my great aunts and uncles that she knew about.   I drew it on the back of a long computer printout that I'd produced.   I didn't know how my career would go at the time of course but I've spent most of my career in software development.   I'm still doing a little even though I'm retired, just to stop the brain from rotting!

Our emails crossed, there are several Harry Pidgeons born around the country between 1870 and 1900 so it's difficult to tell.   You'd think Pidgeon would be a more unique name.   My mother-in-law's maiden name was Flunder making research much easier.

Steve Horner replies:   Well if Harry Pidgeon born Pontypridd in about 1883 is our man we have a real story.   He married Catherine Sarah Wade on 7th may 1903 in the parish church of Llantwit Viadre.   I have found the High Court record of his divorce proceedings, lots of legal stuff about 25 pages however herewith a copy of his statement.   We learn from this that there were two children of the marriage, Arthur Haydn Pidgeon born 29th June 1906, Harry Pidgeon born 29th June 1908.   The outbound passenger lists confirm Harry left for Sydney on SS Oruba departed London 15th November 1907.   At which time one Bennett Cohen started a dalliance with Catherine Sarah.   To me I find it amazing that a humble family from south Wales should get involved in a High Court action involving considerable sums of money.   Then shortly after the decree nisi Harry is on a boat back to Australia 10th October 1913, where he must have remained until he volunteered for the AIF – I have sent you the details.   The 1911 census confirms Arthur and Harry were living with their grandparents (in Pontypridd).  
BUT do we have the right Harry Pidgeon who marries Florence Mabel Collins (nee Wakeley) in 1920 (September Q) in Taunton.   It’s a fascinating story and I am minded to purchase the marriage certificate.

Geoff Bryant continues:   It's frustrating that I cannot find the marriage in FreeReg, I think it's too late so hasn't been transcribed.   Even if I vaguely select Somerset it doesn't make a hit.   The other thing is that FreeReg doesn't give me Churchinford, Churchstanton or Hemyock.   It has Otterford but I don't know if that includes the other 3.   This (click here) also shows that the date is too late.

The Collins family created some confusion for me in the early days of my research.   Harry's father William was from Donyatt near Ilminster and in 1878 married Elizabeth Atkins (nee Fowler) from Combe St Nicholas.   They married in Donyatt which was unusual (I have the cert).   What threw me was that there were other Collins from Combe and in Chard who I suspect were not closely related.   And in FreeBMD, my main research tool at the time, all the villages come under Chard.   It pays not to have common surnames.   In 1875 Elizabeth Fowler above married Abraham Atkins (in Taunton, again unusual), had a daughter Elizabeth Susan and at the end of the year Abraham died.   There was so much tragedy in those days, TB was a frequent cause.

Steve Horner replies:   Below left is the marriage certificate of Florence Collins widow to Harry Pidgeon whose parents Frederick and Elizabeth Pidgeon come from Chard!   (Although from census records we do know Elizabeth was born in Buckland St Mary.)   There is no doubt Harry and Florence Pidgeon then headed off to South Wales where they made their home, this is proved from the 1939 register where Florence is shown living with her son Arthur born 15 April 1911.   This also records Florence's date of birth as 2nd October 1886 in Hemyock.   As you have stated to obtain further information on this family and the reason they went to South Wales - perhaps the coal mines?   Then we must wait for the 1921 census records to be opened.   I am still going to pursue one individual out of local interest, the reason being I think I can spot the signature of a witness to the marriage as being W Wakeley.   This might be the Walter Wakeley who has eluded me for so long, he is recorded on the Yarcombe War memorial as having lost his life in the Great War and yet turns up on the !939 register as living in a shed in Churchinford!   Please keep n contact if you find any more about this couple.


Harry Pidgeon & Florence Collins' Marriage Certificate    

Peter Tarrant writes:   This search is the largest and most complicated one we have received so far and unfortunately communications, photographs and documents did not arrive for posting in the proper sequence.   Consequently photographs and documents may not be shown physically adjacent to the comments that relate to them.   In particular, any "homeless" items will be shown below in the hope that it will be possible to move them to their correct positions later.






Ancestral Search 47



October 2020

I have recently found your website and am most impressed.   As a genealogist I particularly like your Ancestral Searches page.   As part of a course of study I have been investigating a couple of the manorial court rolls and would be grateful if you could possible provide any further information on the following people (I can find most of their births and burials):

In 1697 it was reported that the following customary tenants had died and the names of the new tenants admitted to the manor:

John DARE new tenants James VINCENT and William HUCKAMS.
Samuel NEWBERRY new tenant Thomas NEWBERRY
Elizabeth JEFFERY whose property was in the Lords hands - presumably she had no known heirs.

In addition there are the names of officers sworn in:

Thomas NEWBERRY and William STECKLAND to be constables
Richard STEEVENS to be tithingman
George KNIGHT to be hayward.

I would be happy to send you a transcript of the document which also lists the jurors at this time.   If nothing else it places these people in the manor at this date.   I look forward to hearing from you.     Regards,   Jane Chislett

Steve Horner replies:   Jane, this will be a very valuable addition to our village history, we are most grateful.   Please give me a few days to reply in detail to you so that I can link this new information to that we may already have on these individuals mentioned in the Manorial Court Rolls.

Jane Chislett adds:   Please find below transcripts of two manorial documents as promised.   I also enclose a list of jurors between 1694 and 1703.   If you require any further information about manorial records please let me know.

Yarcombe Manor Court Roll 1696 Yarcombe Manor Court Roll 1697 Jurors 1694-1703

Steve Horner replies:   I must thank you most sincerely for carrying out these transcriptions of the Yarcombe Manorial Rolls.   I am absolutely delighted although this will mean I will have to carry out more research into the names contained therein and learn about the structure and workings of the Manorial Courts!   We are fortunate that we have just been given an enormous boost to our knowledge of the Parish in that we now have detailed burial records shown on a spreadsheet which is sorted by surname, making research much easier; this can be found here at the head of this Ancestral Searches section of our web site.   I did take a quick look at the list of customary tenants mentioned in the Roll of 8th October 1697 and noted that the burial records show John Dare died in 1697.

Steve Horner adds:   Below is a splendid and in fact valuable document prepared by Jane Chislett who has been in contact researching the Knight family of Yarcombe.   She has also provided us with information about the Yarcombe Manorial Rolls.

The Value of Manor Court Rolls in Family Research

Mike Morris comments:   Thank you for making your excellent dissertation available on this website.   I have been able to add two further generations to my Knight family tree.    Mike Morris



Ancestral Search 46



September 2020

I am researching my family tree in the name of BAYLEY.   By area, I have managed to trace back from Southampton, to Exeter, to Merton.   The links become thinner and more tenuous in the Bideford area and include Weare Giffard and Buckland Brewer.   The trail seems to go cold around 1750.   I notice there appear around eleven or so graves in St John the Baptist, Yarcombe, none later than around 1720.   So, I was wondering if there may have been a migration of some sort!   What I do know for sure is that Charles Bayley was born in Buckland Brewer in 1802 and lived most of his life in Merton.   I would very much like to know more about the Yarcombe Bayleys.   Thank you in anticipation of any information.      Gary Bayley

Steve Horner replies:   Gary, there is not much that I can add to your careful research, however in the book about our Parish “From Monks to the Millennium”, Ruth Everitt records that in the Land Tax Survey of 1727 Sarah Bailey is mentioned as the occupier of Churchtown which house we now know as Calways.   This house was mentioned in a marriage settlement between Sarah Bailey of Northleigh, which is a village about 10 miles south south west of Yarcombe and John Wolfron of Torbryan which is a village in south Devon near Teignmouth.   Ruth also records that the Bailey (Baylie) family were land owners of some substance in the area, as is substantiated in Baylie wills Robert Baylie “to sons John Baylie and Thomas Baylie and to daughters Joane Baylie and Elizabeth Baylie my hay ricke equally to be divided between them“.   Thomas Baylie adds a touch of culture leaving an old harpe!   Perhaps these names can be linked to the Burial records that you mention.   These Burial records are a new addition to our web site and we are pleased you have already consulted them.   Good luck in your search and I hope there may be some clues for you to follow up.   Please let us know if your family does have a link to Yarcombe.

Gary Bayley writes:   Thank you for your detailed and very prompt reply.   It was indeed your burial records that led me to Yarcombe.   It is early days but I shall keep at the detective work, and most certainly I shall be in touch if I find links that I can substantiate.    Thanks again.

Gary Bayley adds:   I thought I would update you.   I cannot establish a meaningful link from me to Yarcombe despite the number of Bayleys that I can identify in the Yarcombe area.   I have established a line from Buckland Brewer in the early 1700s through Merton to Exeter.   Another line comes from Axminster to Kenton to Exeter.   It seems likely that the Axminster Bayley/Bailey line drifts across the area over the ages; following each person would be onerous as each marriage seems to result in 8 to 12 children.   If there are any developments I will let you know.   Thank you again.




Ancestral Search 45



September 2020


This modification to the brickwork above one of the ground floor windows at The Old Vicarage in Yarcombe becomes clearer when enlarged (click on photo).   It was presumably sculpted by the author, LESLIE SPARR or SPARK in JANUARY 1945.

Can anyone identify him?   Was/is he a relative, friend or neighbour?   A wartime evacuee?   A builder perhaps?   It would be interesting to find out.   (The owners are not seeking compensation!)

June 2022

Owen Newman writes:   I was in Yarcombe from about the age of 3 and went to the village school where I passed the scholarship exam and was sent as a boarder to QES Crediton at the age of 11.   I am now in my eighties!   Les Sparkes (spelling?) lived in the village but if he is still living would be about 100 years old.   He was a vibrant village boy and would now be described as a tearaway.   He lived in the little alley called “Fire Street”.    Owen Newman

Steve Horner adds:   The only mention of a Sparkes on the web site is a member of the Home Guard, William Sparkes (see Home Guard photo) who might fit the bill.   If the age estimate of about 100 is correct he would have been born in 1920-ish.   I wonder if anyone might give us another clue?   I can find no mention of him on Ancestry.





Ancestral Search 44



August 2020

Hello,  I've been researching my family tree for several years now, but have never managed to get past the block on one branch of my 2GG - OTTO PIKE.   As it's such an unusual name I had hoped this wouldn't be the case, but I can find no birth record from him.   The 1841 census indicates a birth year of 1821.   I know his father was WILLIAM PIKE from Otto's marriage certificate to Ann Bazley in 1846.   As far as I can tell Otto spent his whole life from 1841 census onwards in Lyme Regis, passing away there in 1888.   The reference to Yarcombe is in all of his census entries from 1841 to 1881 - they clearly state 'Yarcombe, Devon'.   I would appreciate any assistance that you could give as this has been a 'blocked' branch for so long!   Thanks,    Judi Tomlinson

Steve Horner replies:   We are in course of preparing a list of all burials in Yarcombe through the ages.   The work is not yet complete but here are some entries that may help:

Ann Pike 1747 1814 67
Eliz Pike 1808 1834 26
Elizabeth Pike 1772 1842 70
Henry Pike 1767 1855 88
John Pike   1568  
Julian Pike   1696  
Rich Pike   1690  
Robert Pike   1807  
Robert Pike   1808  
Sarah Pike   1791  


David Pike asks:   I am a great-grandson of Otto Pike who was born in Yarcombe.   I have recently received requests for information about Otto from two separate women who are DNA cousins of mine, but I have only the data from the online Pike Surname DNA Project which suggests (presumably based on Otto’s marriage certificate) that his father was a labourer called William.   Do you have any information about a William Pike who might have been born in c.1790 and died in c. 1850?       David Pike   March 2023

Peter Tarrant replies:   There is a brief reference to a John Pike in Ruth Everitt's book "From Monks to the Millennium"  relating to the ownership of Beacon House during the dates you believe William Pike lived, reproduced here in Ancestral Search 23.   Please check this entry in case further information is unearthed later.

Steve Horner adds:   I carried out some research on Otto Pike and my notes indicate he was married to Ann Bazley in Lyme Regis on 14th June 1846.

David Pike requests:   My wife and I shall be motoring down from Pembrokeshire to Dorset for a long weekend.   Is there a chance that I might meet Steve Horner briefly?   I attach my notes for the trip:  




Ancestral Search 43



August 2020

Having just viewed your superb website, I wonder if you could help me with my research into the Dimond family; in particular William Dimond who married Jane (Jenny) Clark in 1770, both from Yarcombe.   Also, their offspring John b1773, Robert b1771 (married Rachel Hurford 1798), and any others?!     Many thanks,    Tony Dymond

Steve Horner replies:   This is the first time I have heard the name Dimond in Yarcombe - there is no mention of this name in Ruth Everitt's book "From Monks to the Millennium" which is the definitive history of this parish and its people.   Might there be another spelling of this surname ?   Hurford is a name that has been associated with the parish over many years.

We are in course of preparing a list of all burials in Yarcombe through the ages.   The work is not yet complete but here are some entries that may help you

Eleanor Dimond 1795  F
Levy Dimond 1782 M
Richard Dimond 1710 M
William Dimond 1794 M

Tony Dymond writes:   Many thanks for your efforts.   Much appreciated.




Ancestral Search 42



July 2020

Good day, Hoping someone can help with my mysterious 2nd g.g.mother, and her mother.   Hannah Foster married Joseph Cooper on 3rd March 1850 at Preston Plucknett, she is a minor and gives her father's name as Thomas Jennings, a Yeoman.   Census 1851/81 she gives Yarcombe as her birth place.   I don't know if she's the illegitimate daughter of Miss Foster or her mother remarried, as burials for Thomas Jennings are at Yarcombe during the 1830s, yet, a Thomas and family are living at Odcombe who comes from Membuy/Yarcombe, I think this is her father.   No baptism can be found for Hannah with either surname at Yarcombe.   She gives Chard as her last residence on her Goal Admission of 1849, I'm sure she's the 10 year old Ann Foster at Chard Union Workhouse on the 1841 census.    Regards,    Janice Dennis

Steve Horner replies:   This is a really fascinating enquiry and I would appreciate some more information.   You have obviously spent many hours researching your long lost great great grand parents.   As you correctly state there was clearly a Thomas Jennings resident in Yarcombe who might well have been Hannah`s father: Thomas Jennings born Yarcombe 1803 died Yarcombe 1873.   I would be interested to find the census record for the Chard Union Workhouse for 1841, which I cannot find on Ancestry.   I mention this because there was an offshoot of the Chard Workhouse here in Yarcombe at that time.   It was a building in what is now known as Plague Lane Marsh, and despite the fact that Yarcombe is in Devon, the records for the Chard workhouse, which is in Somerset, are kept in Taunton.   I know very little about this institution and I am anxious to learn more.   One final point please, can you clarify the reference to Odcombe and the Jennings family.

Janice Dennis responds:   I found the 1841 census on Ancestry, enumeration district is Chard Union Workhouse.   If you try entering the info "Ann Foster, born 1830", it might bring it up.   I tried many searches for Hannah and Anna using both surnames, Ann was my only find.   As for Thomas Jennings, he's the man who married Sarah Chaffey at Stoke Sub Hamdon in 1830, living there in 1841, not from Somerset and a dealer.   Living at Odcombe in 1851, a cattle dealer and farmer (occupational upgrade could be why Hannah's father is a Yeoman on her MC).   Membury is his birth place.   Still at Odcombe in 1861, a farmer, from Membury.   He's a farmer on the 1871 census living at Odcombe, but gives his birth place as Yarcombe - not far from Membury.   Seems his children have a problem with their hearing.   8 have died young and all of them childless, the 9th has disappeared from the radar.   He was buried in Odcombe in December 1872 aged 67.   Sarah is a widow in 1881.   Odcombe isn't far from Yeovil, it's where Hannah and Joseph Cooper live.   Joseph's grandmother is Joan Chaffey - possibly a relation to Sarah.




Ancestral Search 41



July 2020

HI,  I have been reading the website about your book on the history of Yarcombe.   I would be interested in a copy of your book if that is possible.   I am researching our ancestors whose surname is Perham.   John Perham b 1812 and died 24 June 1891 aged 79.   According to the 1861 census they lived on Colly Farm, Yarcombe, Devon.   John married Mary Vine on 5 April 1836.   She was born in 1812 and died 29 November 1905 aged 93.   She is buried at Buckland, St Mary, near Yarcombe.   The farm was 248 acres and John Perham employed 3 men.   They had 9 children.   One of their children is Richard Perham who was born in 1839.   We think he emigrated to New Zealand on the ship “Egmont” when he was 23.   He died in 1879 in New Zealand.   The other children were:

• Susan Perham Born 1838 and died 1929
• Richard as mentioned above
• Mary Vine Perham Born 1840 and died 1906
• Thomas Perham born 1842 and died 1931
• John (Archdeacon) Perham born 1844 and died 1928
• George Perham b 1848 died 1938
• Samuel Edwin Perham b 1850 and died 1903
• Emma Jane Perham b 1851 and died 1929
• Frederick Perham b 1853 and died 1924

Any information about the family or Colly Farm would be appreciated.     Kind Regards,   Leonie

Steve Horner replies:   I had a quick think about your enquiry, there is no mention of the Perham family in Ruth Everitt's book, however I do know there is a Colley farm in Buckland St Mary which just touches Yarcombe Parish at one point.   In the 1861 census John Perham, his wife Mary and son Richard are resident there.   However as you correctly state John and Mary both record their birthplace as Yarcombe.   I have copied Rosanna Barton who has a very good knowledge of Buckland St Mary and she may be able to help you with this contact.   I have also copied Miranda Gudenian who is the Editor of Yarcombe Voices, she owns the copyright to From Monks to the Millennium, which is the book to which you refer and contains many details of the history of our Parish.   I hope this is a useful start for you, however please keep in contact.

Roger Perham comments:   Leonie, I have just picked up your correspondence with the Yarcombe History Group and I note a list of Perhams which include my direct ancestors.   Would be interested in corresponding if that was your wish.   Best regards,   Roger Perham

Timothy Edwards writes:   Hi Roger and Leonie.   Are you still looking for Perham group?   I am in New Zealand and just bought this photo today (see below) in an antique shop.   The names seem to match yours - has framers notes on rear which mention: Susan's son Samuel, Emma Jane, George, Mother, Susan, Martha, Susan's Grandson.    Regards,    Timothy Edwards


Leonie Freeman responds:   Hi Tim.   Wow – that is amazing.   Yes this is a photo we have but only a scanned copy and it is the same one.   Hope your travels are going well.    Kind Regards   Leonie






Ancestral Search 40



July 2020

Hello, I have been researching my 3x great grandfather, Luke Denslow (born 1842 and passed 1919) for some time now.   From what I have managed to find from multiple censuses, he lived in Yarcombe from around 1871 to around 1911 (most likely for longer as well).   The address was Cornhill/Cornhill Cottage, Yarcombe.   He married Elizabeth Hooper and they had around 8 children together.   He worked as a mason and played the fiddle.   A piece of information I found on the internet stated that he was mentioned in the Times newspaper, played the fiddle throughout pubs in Devon and was known to some as "the Fiddler of the South".   However, I haven't found the sources to these statements and hope to confirm these are really true.   I would love to learn more about him and his fiddle playing!   Below is a photo I found of him and his fiddle uploaded on Ancestry.   With best regards,    Alia Buafra



Luke Denslow   (1842-1919)


1901 Census

Peter Tarrant replies:   There are several references to Cornhill in Ruth Everitt's book, including this detailed description.   Steve Horner has unearthed evidence of the gentleman's fiddling exploits and photographs and news clippings follow the extract on Cornhill.   There is a picture of the cottage at the very bottom of Photograph Page 1 - since this was taken (around 2010) the building has changed hands and together with the surrounding land has been extensively renovated.   There are two points to possibly follow up – firstly, one of Ole Luke’s obituary notices mentions he died in Bishopswood, perhaps you might have an answer to this anomaly?   Secondly his son Harry Denslow continued the family tradition of playing the fiddle and we are trying to find out more about the tune The Stockland Breast Knot mentioned in the cuttings!

CORNHILL (also known as Cornehyll)

Originally a much larger property, probably a hall house (see foreword) dating from the sixteenth century, the chimney stack and upper floors being added in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. On the plank-and-muntin screen which divides the two major rooms is a carving of a large fish (25 inches), possibly caught (or poached) in the Yarty, with an inscribed date 1773 and initials not quite decipherable. In 1600 Cornhill is shown as a tenement and cottage. The tithe is 8d, with William Marricke as the occupier, and the cottage is named "Morehan‟. Later, in the 1727 Land Tax Survey, the occupier is Benjamin Bright, who also owns or rents Moorhayne, Underdown and Sellwood. By 1794 the Drake Estate owns the property, as there is £26. 19s. 9d of saleable timber growing on the land; again a cottage at Cornhill is listed. The Land Tax Survey of 1798 gives Henry Spiller the ownership, but this cannot be, as it is on the earlier Estate Survey, so it was probably mortgaged or let on lives or years. The tenant is Thomas Hockey. Early on in this century Cornhill was occupied by the Sweetland family, father, mother and several children. Father William was a stone mason by trade and was employed by the Drake Estate. They occupied Cornhill as a tied cottage. The story is told that Lady Eliott Drake was out in her horse-drawn carriage one day when the horse bolted. William Sweetland was working nearby and managed to stop the runaway carriage. As a reward for his quick action Lady Drake allowed him to live in Cornhill for the rest of his life, and his wife after him should he die first.

In 1958 the Estate sold the cottage, which had deteriorated badly, to Mr. and Mrs. Selmes for £735. 0s. 0d. They completely renovated the cottage. Mrs. Selmes, who was for a time a teacher at the village school, lived on in the village after her husband died in 1973, eventually selling it in 1980 for £35,000. A further oddity is the existence of an air raid shelter in the garden. It was built by the Sweetland family at the time of the bombing of Exeter during World War II. It measures about 5ft x 5ft by 6ft high, is let into the hillside and is built of local stone, with walls about 8 inches thick. The roof is of asbestos and lined with roofing felt. There were planks to sit on around three sides, with a flimsy wooden door taking up most of the fourth side. A drain pipe up through the back wall supplied fresh air in the unlikely event of the door being blocked by bomb damage. The shelter now provides good storage space for rusty mowers and other rubbish that "might come in useful one day‟!


Luke Denslow

Various Bews Items

Alia Buafra responds:   Thank you for taking the time to write and share this information to me!   I read through the update you posted and was pleased to be able to learn so much!   Unfortunately, I know nothing of Luke’s death in Bishopswood nor where he could be buried.   The death certificate I found with his mention broadly states Honiton.   I went back to the censuses and it seems the last place I have known him to live was with his son, Samuel Denslow.   The address is written as (possibly) Hamperland, Yarcombe, Chard.   This was found on the 1911 census (below).  

A book I found titled “English Fiddle”, written by Christ Bartram, seems to briefly mention Luke Denslow and how he taught his kids, Harry and Bessie, how to play the fiddle.   Up until this point I was unsure whether this was referring to the Luke I am related to, but now I believe it is.   I went through the censuses I could find and have always seen the names Henry and Bessie Denslow.   I hope it’s safe to assume Harry was a nickname for Henry?   Bessie did indeed marry an Alfred Newbery, which explains why she is referred to as Mrs Newbery in one of the articles.   Below is a photo of her with some of her children that was uploaded on Ancestry.   Harry/Henry is actually my 2x great grandfather.   He married Bessie Long and had around 11 kids with her.   I believe he moved to Stockland as the 1911 census states he lived at Longbridge, Stockland, Honiton with his family.   Do let me know if I could help with anything else. I appreciate the time and effort that has been put into this so far!     Best regards,    Alia



Bessie Denslow/Newbery & children

1911 Census

Steve Horner adds:   We have now been able to track down and rescue a recording of some local fiddle music played by Fred Pidgeon that was recorded in Stockland in 1954, which parish adjoins Yarcombe.   These tunes include The Ladies Breast Knot and we feel certain some if not all of these would have been known to Luke Denslow.   Please enjoy the music and the local Devon accent.   Thank you for bringing this to our attention, it has proved to be a well worthwhile exercise in researching and finding this music.
Ladies Breast Knot (Fiddle) Ladies Breast Knot (Chat)


Alia Buafra replies:   What a great find!   I had heard of Fred Pidgeon but was unaware there were recordings of his music from 1954.   Thank you for putting time into this.   It’s nice to hear that such a merry part of local history won’t be forgotten.   Many thanks,    Alia

Archie Needs writes:   Steve, I've identified 23 Denslow graves to date.   Crucially I've identified Great Grandfather Ernest George Denslow who is buried in Stockland (his parents Henry & Bessie are in Yarcombe).   The sticking point is Luke (1842-1919).   As far as I can tell he's not in Stockland, Dalwood or Membury, so that suggests he's in Yarcombe Churchyard without a gravestone?   If you could confirm that, by looking at the Church Burial Register, we'd be really flying as I've identified Luke's parents and grandparents in Membury.   Luke really is the missing link in more ways than one!   Let me know how you get on and hopefully I can pull all the strands together.

Alia Buafra writes:   This sounds quite interesting and I would love to give you information on my ancestors.   I'm from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.   I have been raised here and have lived here my whole life.   My father, who is Emirati, met my English mother, Clarissa Jane Buafra (nee Denslow) in England while pursuing his studies and eventually she settled down in Dubai in 1989.   I believe our family connections to Yarcombe actually began with Luke Denslow, my 3x great grandfather.   I cannot confirm much that goes back further than Luke Denslow, but census evidence suggests that Luke's father is a John Denslow who was born in Membury around the year 1808.   Luke's mother is Jane Down/Downe who was born around the year 1812.   They had around 5 children together:   Elizabeth Denslow (b 1830),   Selina Denslow (b 1837),   Job Denslow (b 1841),   Luke and Sarah Ann Denslow (b 1846).   It seems that John Denslow died quite young in 1855.   He must have been in his late 40s or early 50s.   Jane then remarried to a Samuel Trim (b 1811).   The 1861 census shows them living together in Membury with an 18 year old Luke and his brother.   Jane has a brother, Samuel Down (b 1805) who had 5 children with an Elizabeth Moor (1809).   I found that 3 of Luke's siblings married their cousins from this uncle of theirs:   Selina married Simeon Down,   Job married Marina Down,   Sarah Ann married William Down.

Luke himself was born in Membury around 1849 and passed in 1919 (I am unaware of where he is buried).   In 1861 he married Elizabeth Hooper (b 1841).   The 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911 census show them living in Yarcombe.   I imagine they moved to Yarcombe together after their marriage.   Together they had around 8 children:   Emma Matilda Denslow (b 1861),   Sarah Ann Denslow (b 1864),   Samuel Denslow (b 1865),   Mary Denslow (b 1868),   Jane Denslow (b 1871),   John Denslow (b 1875),   Henry Denslow (b 1879),   Bessie Denslow (b 1888).

Henry Denslow, also known as Harry, is my 2x great grandfather.   He was born in Yarcombe in 1879 and passed in 1961 (there is a very blurry photo of his grave uploaded on Ancestry but with no location attached).   He lived in Yarcombe until his marriage with Bessie Long in 1902 that was registered in Axminster, after which I believe they moved to Stockland and had 11 children together:   Gladys May (b 1903),   Ernest George (b 1904),   Agnes Maude (b 1905),   Charles Luke (b 1906),   Elsie Olive (b 1908),   Lillie Bessie (b 1909),   Beatrice Lucy (b 1911),   Walter Henry (b 1913),   Winifred Irene (b 1917),   Major Sidney (b 1921),   Kenneth Peter (b 1925).

Out of these children, my great grandfather is Ernest George Denslow who was born in Yarcombe in 1904 and passed in 1990.   My mother tells me he is buried at the cemetery in Stockland.   He married Ethel Laura Huggins (b 1914 in Surrey) in 1936.   Their marriage is registered at Honiton.   The 1939 census shows he lived in Axminster, but he later moved to Stockland as my mother recalls.   Together with Ethel they had 8 children (most of whom are still alive and have their own children and grandchildren):   Donald Ernest Denslow (b 1937),   Marian J Denslow,   Brian A Denslow,   David P Denslow,   Geoffrey L Denslow,   Irene M Denslow,   Norman J Denslow,   Richard C Denslow.

This brings me to my grandfather, Donald Ernest Denslow, who was born in 1937 (registered at Honiton).   He married a Maltese woman, Mary Doris Portelli, in 1969 and they moved to Bournemouth, Dorset.   This is where they lived until his passing in 2009 and her passing in 2014.   They had 3 children together, one of whom is my mother.Clarissa Jane whose married name is Buafra.

Steve Horner adds:   We are in process of listing all the burials in the churchyard and have found Luke lying here peacefully at rest.   See details.

Alia Buafra writes:   Wonderful news!   I’m so happy that you were able to find him and am very thankful for your efforts regarding this search.   Best wishes,   Alia




Ancestral Search 39



July 2020

Hello,   My great grandparents, George Chick and Lucy Frances (nee Summers) lived in Membury most of their lives where George had worked as a farm carter until the spring of 1922 when they lived at Birch Cottages, parish of Yarcombe, but so far I cannot find where Birch Cottage or Cottages are.   I assume perhaps they are gone or named something different by now.   I was hoping someone could help please.   Kind regards,   Mervyn Tims

Peter Tarrant replies:   There are many references to Birch in Ruth Everitt's "From Monks To The Millennium - A History Of Yarcombe", and the most relevant is shown below.   There is mention of an Old Thatch in Marsh and a map in the publication places it just south of the A303.   I have alerted Steve Horner who has access to further information and may be able to provide an answer for you.

THE OLD THATCH (also known as Birch Cottages and Mill Cottages)

This house was formerly two cottages and was probably built in the early nineteenth century, with a major renovation in 1970 merging the two. There are some narrowly chamfered cross beams in the main rooms and the fireplaces have chamfered oak lintels with run out stops. The property was in Membury Parish until 1884, and was probably originally built to house workers for either the agricultural or milling industries that were operating close by. In the 1891 Census the tenants at 'Mill Cottages' were George Spiller and George Farrant, both agricultural workers.

Steve Horner replies:   This is a most interesting enquiry because it involves changes in parish boundaries.   Below (left) is a copy of the 1891 census which shows George Spiller and his wife Jane living in Mill Cottage and George Farrant and his wife Rhoda living in the adjacent building also called Mill cottage which seems to confirm Ruth Everitt's suggestion that these buildings were semi-detached to use a modern expression.   You will note the comment at the bottom of the census form “End of the Ecclesiastical parish of Membury" although the Civil parish is Yarcombe.   This small group of buildings lies just south of the hamlet of Marsh on the A303 and the enumerator started at the bottom of the hill, Birch Mill lying on the right and Mill Cottages on the left hand side.   Farther up the hill we have the school house now private residence and at the top lies Birch Oak farm.   Mill Cottages are now called the Old Thatch which name was applied to the building after a major refurbishment in the 1970s.   This building has recently been re-thatched.   I would be pleased to send you a photograph.   Please see the screen print below (right) of Birch which lies at the centre.


Mervyn Tims responds:   Many thanks for your help on my query re: Birch Cottages.   Of all the places my great grandparents had lived during their lifetime this one was a new one for me thanks to the Electoral Registers.   As this was 1921-22 it must have changed a lot since that time. I appreciate your help very much.   Thank you.

Steve Horner replies:   Thank you for your prompt reply.   You are obviously quite an expert researcher, would it be possible to let me have a copy of the electoral register for that date please, this is a new one on me.   In return I would be pleased to send you a photo of the building.

Mervyn Tims responds:   Here is the 1922 polling record, with my great grandparents George and Lucy Frances Chick at Birch Cottages, Yarcombe.   Many thanks for the photos.   My great grandfather always kept a good garden of vegetables and always kept chickens.   They left Birch cottage and lived at Beer until he was aged 94.   He had an allotment there with fruit and veg, plus his chickens.   One of his sons Bert Chick spent much of his married life at Yarcombe, and is now buried there.   The photos will now be part of the family history story.   Again, many thanks.   Kind regards,   Mervyn




Ancestral Search 38



July 2020

Not strictly an Ancestral Search, but this is a photograph of Yarcombe residents gathering outside the Baptist Chapel around the mid-1950s, followed by a key showing known names, and may be of interest to future researchers.   We would love to hear from anyone who may be able to supply any missing names: Yarcombe.Website


  1 Mrs Edwin Spiller
2 Mrs Baker
3 Rev Baker preacher
4 Connie Rich
5 Arthur Bailey
6 Dulcie Rich
7 Marjorie Warren
8 Mr Wide
9 Charlie McCarthy
10 Mrs Wide
11 friend of Charlie!
12 Mrs Rosie Clarke
13 Luta Newberry
14 Mrs James Doble
15 Rose Bond
16 Janet Arscott
17 Clifford Arscott
18 Mr Warren
19 Robert Rich
20 Rev Stanley Jordan Newhouse
21 Page Rich
22 Mr Pavey A Mason
23 Kitty Boyland
24 Mrs Bishop Baptist Chapel
25 ?
26 Little Emmie Salter
27 Lilly Bailey
28 Cousin of Lilly Bailey
29 Emmy Salter
30 ? Lived at the Foundry
31 Rev Bishop The Chapel
32 Arscott child
33 Mrs Warren
34 Arscott child
35 Miss Bibbs
36 Arscott child
37 Connie Bibbs
38 ? Lived at the Foundry
39 Nellie Rich
40 Dorothy Bond nee Spiller
41 Mr Carol Clarke
42 Raymond Warren

Thelma Clarke adds:   We do have that one displayed in our Sunday School Room.   I think the Reverend gentleman is Frank Cripps and his wife Maisie who are both laid to rest in the churchyard (see next comment).   Also, in the photo are the late Dulcie and Nellie Rich and Robert Rich.   I am also guessing that Samuel Warren is present along with his son Raymond.   Members of the Baker family are also there, you will remember George Long and his wife Emily?   Emily was a chapel member as were all her family who in those days lived at Moor Pit Farm.   Emily worked at our house when it was the village shop.   Thelma Clarke

August 2023

Dawn Ogilvie writes:   Hi, just to let you know that although my grandfather Frank Cripps was indeed the pastor at this church with his wife Maisie this is not them in this photo.   They didn’t move there until the 1975/6.   They lived in one of the cottages behind the church on the main road where he also died.
Dawn Ogilvie




Ancestral Search 37



July 2020

Hello,   My great grandmother was Mary Wiscombe, born in Yarcombe on 21st February 1855.   This is how I came to possess some old photos of Yarcombe dating from before WW2.   Some of these are already posted on your website but in a couple of cases I can add some information:  (1) On  Photograph Page 6, Postcard of Harding shop supplied by Steve Horner, the postcard in my possession has overleaf some notes written by Mary Wiscombe, as follows: "This photo of the shop & Post Office was taken more than 20 years ago [annotated by my mother "Approx. 1918"].   The Mr Harding you knew is standing in front of the shop, & the present Mrs Harding is by the gate."   (2) On Photograph Page 9, the postcard with legend "A good quality postcard picture from the early 1940s".   The card in my possession has overleaf some notes written by Mary Wiscombe, as follows: "This is the village as it is today [annotated by my mother "1938"], with the present Mr & Mrs Harding standing outside the shop."   (3) I also have the next postcard showing the school.   Postcards 2 & 3 are from the same publication series, as overleaf both are printed identically saying "Published by F.L. Harding, Yarcombe, Devon".   By implication both should be dated to approx. 1938.   I have two more old postcards for you:  (4) Postcard showing the shop with lady and dog in the street.   My great grandmother has written overleaf: "This is the village as it used to be, before the shop & Inn were altered."   (5) Postcard showing the interior of the church.    No writing overleaf.   Postcards 1, 4 & 5 are from the same publication series, as they are printed identically overleaf.   It's reasonable to assume that all three date from approx. 1918.   This would fit with the style of dress in postcard 4.   I hope you find these of interest.   If there are any Wiscombes still living in Yarcombe, please let them know that I have some information on the family tree and would be very willing to share what I know.   Andrew Duff

Peter Tarrant replies:   There are references to Wiscombe in Ancestral Search 23 and 92.   Thank you for visiting the website and for all the information and photographs which have now been incorporated into Photograph Pages 6 & 9.   We are always keen to publish any historical snippet about our village here, not just for our own benefit but also to help others who may be researching their personal family history.   I am sure your family tree would be of interest and we would appreciate a copy to post here if you agree.   I know there are some Wiscombes in Chard (6 miles east of Yarcombe) and others further afield in Devon and Dorset, so it would be a very useful item.   Thanks.

Andrew Duff responds:   Thank you for your speedy response and for posting my photos and comments.   The key person in my family tree is my great grandmother Mary Wiscombe, born at Pithayne Cottages in Yarcombe in 1855 (second photo).   She married a man called William Weston Downs, a general labourer from Farnham, Surrey, and they moved to West London where I was born.   Mary's father was William Wiscombe, a farm labourer, also born in Yarcombe, in 1828.   William married Elizabeth Dimond who was from Membury but they settled in Yarcombe and had seven children between 1855 (Mary was the eldest) and 1867.   I have a photo of him as well (third photo), looking quite the gentleman in his later years.   William's father Thomas was born abt. 1797 in Wambrook, Somerset and seems to have settled in Yarcombe on his marriage to Elizabeth Cottrell on 27th March 1828.   He was also an agricultural labourer and they had five children of whom my great great grandfather William was the eldest.   My grandmother and her sister visited Pithayne Cottages in 1938, where their mother was born.   My mother also had a good look round the village in May 1971, again visiting her grandmother's birthplace (Pithayne Cottages, fourth photo).

Mary Wiscombe's pedigree is here (left) in PDF format.   I'm still researching her ancestry, but as some of these surnames were common at the time it may be impossible to work out who was related to whom.


 I hope you find this of interest, and please feel free to pass on this information to anyone locally who may be researching their family tree.   Best wishes,    Andrew.



Downs sisters at Yarcombe

Mary Wiscombe

William Wiscombe

Pithayne Cottage in May 1971



Ancestral Search 36



July 2020

Hi, My daughter's mother-in-law is adamant that her grandfather William Miller from Croakham Farm served in Alexandria during WW1.   Are you able to shed any light on this?    Many thanks,     Archie Needs

Steve Horner replies:   Thank you for your enquiry, most fascinating.   I have had a quick look at the records.   There is no mention of a William Miller from Yarcombe having served in the armed forces in World War I, at least his name is not on the plaque in the Baptist chapel.   I have done a search in the 1911 census and no William Miller is shown as living in Yarcombe.   Also I believe the tenant of Croakham farm at that time was James Loosemoor.   However oral family tradition is usually right, therefore can you give me details of William Miller, his approximate age would help.   Also details of your daughter's mother-in-law, her name and date of birth and her parents name and dates of birth would enable me to track this William Miller.

Archie Needs writes:   William Miller was born in 1896 and died in 1988.   He is buried in Yarcombe Cemetery (details here).   I don't think he purchased Croakham Farm until just after the war.   His son Arthur James "Jim" Miller (1922-1998) was living there with his parents (William & Charlotte) in the 1939 Register.   Jim is also in your WW2 Home Guard photo and is buried in Yarcombe Churchyard as well.   William Miller's daughter Brenda May Miller was born in 1955 and grew up at Croakham Farm.   Let me know if you need any more info.

Steve Horner responds:   In 2011 I met with Dorothy Miller who at that time was living in Marsh and she permitted me to copy all her photos of the Home Guard, one of which hangs in the village hall.   Dorothy Miller (nee Hatcher) married Jim Miller and she told me that her husband`s family came from Croakham and it was her daughter Brenda who you mentioned in your last e-mail to me.   May I therefore assume that Brenda is your daughter's mother in Law ?   Dorothy`s father lived at Foundry farm James lane in Membury, just a stone`s throw from the Yarcombe Parish boundary.   I have now found some more information about Croakham farm which was sold by the Yarcombe Estate in 1931 (see below, click to enlarge).   The tenant at that time was Mr W Miller under a lease dated March 18th 1920, so that fixes the date of his arrival in Yarcombe.   Thus it is entirely possible that his service history is not mentioned on the memorial in the Baptist Chapel because he did not arrive in the Parish until well after the war was over.   I would very much like to find out if indeed William Miller was in the armed forces in World War 1, but I cannot track him down as yet.   Do you know where he was born or indeed where his family came from?   I hope this is helpful.

Archie Needs replies:   It was indeed Brenda (my daughter's mother in law) who asked me to find out about William Miller's war record.   As far as I know William was born in Upottery on 10th February 1896.   He married Charlotte May Mitcham in 1920 which was around the time he bought or leased Croakham Farm.   In 1911 William was at Luxton Farm Upottery with his step father Charles Tucker.   In 1901 William was at Keenslease, Upottery with his parents Edward and Georgina.   Brenda is convinced William Miller served in Alexandria during WW1.   I have asked her son to try and get any more details from his mother and I'm awaiting a response.   Do you have a better scan of the Yarcombe Home Guard photo? I'm amazed so many people were in the Yarcombe Home Guard.   I'll let you know if I get any more information.

Steve Horner responds:   In fact I have six different photos of various sections of the Yarcombe Home Guard.   I had the originals professionally scanned, I am not certain what I did with the CD but I do have some good photos which were printed off.   You would be very welcome to borrow these to make your own copies.   "4" above has Dorothy and Jim Miller on the RHS of the front row.   I did get a lead on Charlotte May Mitcham who in the 1901 census was living with her parents at Barefield farm Upottery.   Do you have access to Ancestry and the WW1 Medals cards ?   I suspect William may have served with Devons as he was from that county.

Archie Needs replies:   Sorry, it's a bit remiss of me not to introduce myself properly.   I'm retired and live in Taunton.   I've helped out a few local groups & churches with identifying people on their war memorials etc.   A couple of years ago I was approached by the Imperial War Museum and asked if I would help them on their Lives of the First World War Project.   There were about 20 of us and we created 7.7 million life stories of people who served.   It was an immensely rewarding project which ended abruptly when the funding ran out.   The database is still available to use but is frozen in time as such.   I was allowed to concentrate on Somerset Soldiers which was ideal and I've kind of carried on trying to trace the soldiers on my spreadsheets and upload their details onto the Find a Grave website.   I have 2 main spreadsheets.   The first one contains the details of approx 12,000 Somerset soldiers who died in WW1 and I've tracked down 99% of those.   The second spreadsheet currently has nearly 20,000 Somerset soldiers who survived WW1 and is growing daily!   I've created this by referencing the 1918 Absent Voters list but I've only done the western half of the County so far.   I've also been doing some user-testing for my local Council who are trialling an on-line grave enquiry system for their Municipal Graveyards - that has been very helpful to me.   I thought trying to trace William Miller would be a pleasant distraction!   I can find no signing-on papers for William Miller (I assume they were destroyed by German incendiary bombs in WW2 as a lot of the WW1 were ironically).   I've also been through the medal cards for all the William Millers in the Devons Regiment and the Somerset Light Infantry - none of them served in Alexandria as far as I can tell.   Coming from a farming background he may well have served in the Army Service Corps or Labour Corps.   I was hoping you might have been able to give me a clue as there are 1935 William Millers on our IWM database for WW1.   According to Brenda, William's medals are with a distant cousin who now has cancer and they're reluctant to bother him.   Many thanks for the photos. I'm open to suggestions as to where to go next.

Colin Rosewell comments:   I was browsing through your Ancestral Searches and came across #36 concerning the Miller family of Yarcombe.   My Great Aunt, Georgina Lucy Rosewell (1870-1954) married James Edward Miller (1870-1901) on 11 Apr 1893 at Yarcombe.  After the death of James, Georgina married Charles Henry Tucker (1878-1966) in 1907.   James Miller is the great grandfather of Julie Shire (nee Miller) who I met at Chaffhay in 2000.   Julie put me in touch with her brother Terry Miller then of Long Load, Somerset.   Terry and I exchanged family histories.   I have the MILLER family back to John Miller = Louisa Hodder from Dorset married about 1829.   The ROSEWELL family go back to Bradford-on-Tone in 1436. I am happy to share information with any of your correspondents.       Cheers,         Colin John Rosewell   (See Ancestral Search 57)





Ancestral Search 35



June 2020

Hello, I wonder if you can help me.   My 8th great-grandfather Robert Rowland was born in Upottery Devon (as were all his children).   It is thought that his wife was named Susannah Mather, but I have no confirmation of this.   He was baptised at St Marys Church Upottery 28th July 1633.   I have a copy of the parish record for his baptism.   He MAY have been married a number of times as it is understood his children were born between 1666-1688, all in Upottery Devon.   His Father was named as Edward Rowland.   To date I have been unable to trace a birth for Edward Rowland circa 1600 – 1605 in the St Marys Church Upottery baptism records.   I have been communicating with other researches and there is a thought that Edward Rowland MAY have been in the Yarcombe area 1600 – 1605 but we have not been able to locate any documentation to confirm this.   Do you have any information on this or if not can you maybe point me in the right direction?   Thanking you in advance,   Regards,   Mr Les Fitzgerald

Steve Horner replies:   I have a great interest in the history of our parish and I do try to help solve questions such as you have posed - as you know this is a really tough one.   The standard work on the history of our parish is From Monks to the Millennium written by Ruth Everitt and there is no reference to Edward Rowland mentioned therein.   I do have in my office a hard copy of a document to which Ruth did not have access when she wrote her book and this document is the pleadings of a court case, Drake vs Major, filed 23 November 1600 – it’s a transcription made by a historian I suspect was working for the Drake family.   The case is a claim by the then vicar of Yarcombe against the Drake family in respect of a dispute over Tithes.   This is a fascinating document listing all land holdings, the names of the owners / occupiers / tenants and the name of the holding.   Almost all the names of fields / farmsteads / meadows remain the same today.   I have looked for the name Rowland in the document but it does not feature.   It is entirely possible that your ancestor moved between Upottery and Yarcombe which are adjoining parishes in the county of Devon.   I did have a quick look on Ancestry where there is mention of Edward Rowland born in 1603, but the tree on which he is displayed does seem to be rather uncertain.   Please do not hesitate to come back to us if you have any further questions, and good luck with your researches.

Les Fitzgerald writes:   Thank you for the information.   The Ruth Everitt books sounds fascinating.   The name Drake is also in my Family ancestry.   A John Drake 1784 to 1839 was born in Topsham.   His father was Robert Drake of Sandford, near Crediton.   He married a Mary Clash.   Edward Rowland was her 2 x Great Grandparent!   As you say it is quite possible that he moved between Upottery and Yarcombe which as the crow flies is about 2 ½ miles.   I am aware that there are a few trees on Ancestry.   One of them links him to William Rowland both in London 1570 !!!   Not sure that I will ever resolve this but will keep plugging away.   Once again thank you for your time.

Steve Horner adds:   It is always gratifying to receive a prompt reply which demonstrates your appreciation of our work.   Ruth Everitt's book is indeed a wonderful record of our parish, Miranda Gudenian was a good friend of Ruth who sadly passed away about five years ago, however Miranda has an electronic version of her book and I know she is pleased to let anyone who applies to her to send out a copy in exchange for a donation to our local magazine which Miranda edits.   However your reply indicates your family are related to Drake family and illustrates the value of our ancestral search web site.   If you look at Ancestral Search 34 you will see a photo of the diamond wedding celebrations of Robert Drake Rich which was held in Upottery in 1951.   Robert Drake Rich farmed here in Yarcombe until he retired to Upottery.   Robert Drake Rich (1865-1952) was the son of Charles Rich (1824-1893) and Lydia Drake (1838-1921).   I am not certain if there is a connection between the Drake family who have long associations with Upottery and your family who seem to have come from Topsham.   This parish has a proud association with Sir Francis Drake who died without issue, although Sir Francis was born near Tavistock so there may be a connection way back to his family and yours.   Please keep in contact and may I wish you every good luck in tracing your family tree.

Les Fitzgerald writes:   Thanks for the information.   There used to be a family myth that there were people related to Sir Francis.   So much so that my 1st cousin 1x removed has the name Drake as a Middle name.   He in turn gave one of his sons Drake as a middle name as well!   As you say we may be some connection somewhere within his family.   56 people at the diamond wedding celebrations was a very good gathering indeed!   What is also great is that everybody has been identified.   Unfortunately I have several old family pictures, with no indication of name on them.   Some people I have managed to identify and other I cannot.   Regrettably the people who may well be able to identify them are no longer with us!   I have a further lead on Edward Rowland.   I have a baptism for what MAY be our Edward Rowland baptised in 1603 in Runnington Somerset.   This is only about 12 miles as the crow flies from Yarcombe and about 10 miles from Upottery.   The search continues.



Ancestral Search 34



June 2020

I have found your excellent site and wanted to say how good it is.   I am currently researching my son-in-law's family, who seem to have come from Yarcombe and surrounding area for many many generations.   Amongst the family names are Spiller, Drake, Rich, Satterley, Gollop and Knight (to name a few).   I wish to purchase a digital copy of Monks To Millennium.   Could you please let me know what I need to do.   Thanks in advance,
Helen East

Peter Tarrant comments:   See Ancestral Search 72 which also references the group wedding anniversary photograph below.

Miranda Gudenian replies:   Thank you for your message.   Your family names have deep roots in Yarcombe.   I would be most willing to send you a copy of Ruth Everitt's book "From Monks to the Millennium".   I always ask for a donation, however; Ruth was a dear friend of mine and on her death a few years ago her family gave me the the rights to the book.   All donations go to Yarcombe Voices, the village magazine which I started nearly twenty years ago and produce each month.   I look forward to hearing from you.

Steve Horner writes:   I was pleased to read that you have found our Yarcombe web site of use to you in your researches into your son in laws family tree.   I hope by now that you have received a copy of from Monks to the Millennium and in that book I feel certain you will find many references to your family, certainly the surnames you mention are very familiar here in Yarcombe.   The web site essentially carries on the researches carried out by Ruth and which are recorded in her book, and thus any information about your family that you can feed back to us will be recorded for posterity and available to others who are also researching their roots.   If we can help in any way please let us know.

Helen East replies:   As soon as I receive the copy of the book, I’ll be back to you with more enquiries.   In the meantime I’ve wandered off into Otterford and Churchstanton in search of Willies and Loosemores.

Steve Horner responds:   The surname Willie is also of interest to me because Henry Willie (died 1792) owned the farm where I now live.   In those days it was called Woodend (see doc, right).   In the Otterford village hall there is a massive chart on the wall which provides a huge amount of detail of the Willie family.   Keep working at your tree, and please keep us informed of your researches.


Helen East adds:   Thank you so much for the will, I think you may have given me a clue in the next line of my research.   Also have read through the ancestral searches on the site.   With the Willies, I am at John Willie (son in laws 6 x GG) 1737-1822, his Daughter Elizabeth who marries Peter Loosemore then Francis Drake is the direct line down.   I am having trouble finding a baptism record for John Willie.   But having read his will and the one you sent me today , and reading one of the queries on the website I see that John Willie is the son of Henry.   Would love to see the rest of that family tree in Otterford village hall, I will have to send the son in law over there when lockdown is lifted.   I am loving researching this family as they all seem to have stayed nearby, only wish my own was as good.   Poor old William Willie, I wonder if he gave up drinking !!

Steve Horner replies:   Undoubtedly we are both on the same track, you for the Willie family tree, whilst I am searching for the history of my house, which certainly has its origins in the 15th century but over the years has been repaired and altered by its various owners.   In my researches I have photographed various parts of the Willie tree which is displayed in the Otterford village hall and I am sending a selection of the best of my working papers that may give you some further leads.   The scanned copies are not good but will indicate to you the sort of information that I have on the Willie family.    In return if you do notice any reference to Woodend please send this to me.   You are lucky because the Willie family seem to have based themselves in Somerset and the Somerset Wills have been preserved whereas Devon Wills were destroyed by the Luftwaffe when the County Records office was bombed.

Helen East writes:   I will most definitely let you know if I come across any other references to Woodend.   I am constantly amazed at how many members of this family come from Yarcombe, and I will definitely visit Yarcombe when we are down, our daughter and son in law are in Melksham.

Just got the book from Miranda and think that Nellie Rich & Dulcie Rich (in the acknowledgements) are the daughters of Page Robert Rich, (my son in laws 2 x Gt Uncle).   If they are I have a family group photo of their parents Robert Drake Rich & Sarah Longs (from Upottery) wedding anniversary in 1952 (see below, click to enlarge).   Have included the list of names as well -all identified.   My son in law is a Hutchings, his Father & Grandmother still live in the area.   Son in law most Happy.

Steve Horner replies:   What a most wonderful photo which records a very happy event in the lives of all these people; indeed what care someone has taken to preserve the names for posterity.   Interestingly the Denning family and the Rich family are all related and the Dennings were the last tenants of this farm before it was sold by the estate in 1970 to meet a death duties.   Phyllis Denning (#16) has often visited us here at Woodhayne and sent us photos and written letters to us describing the family`s happy memories when they lived here.

I received one letter (a transcription, right) from Phyllis which in the first sentences provided me with more information about the evacuees who

were billeted here in the war, however it goes on to describe her maternal grandfather Robert Drake Rich whose Diamond wedding she attended and is shown the photo. The letter puts into context how the family moved from Yarcombe to New Barn which is Upottery and I hope you will find this useful in your researches.

Some years ago when I was researching the Home Guard in the parish a lady produced some formal group photos of the unit which I copied and one of these now hangs in the village hall with all the members identified by name (also on the World Wars page here).   Perhaps the Rich Diamond Wedding may similarly be featured, its such an important event in the history of our parish and its people.

Incidentally it is notable that not one person in the photo is overweight, probably as a result of war time austerity and hard work on the farms.

Helen East adds:   The photo and an email of memories of various relatives was what I started with in February this year, 2020.   My son in law is a Hutchings and his dad and grandmother came up with the photo a collection of as many relatives that they could remember.   I have been working on it since, lockdown has been very handy.   If you're on Ancestry you might want to take a look, they are certainly a family that is interwoven into Yarcombes past.   Let me know I’ll send a link if you like.   The reference in Phyllis’s letter to Drake is interesting, of course everyone wants to be related to someone famous, strangely the family legend of being related to Francis Drake, had turned itself into Sir Walter Raleigh in this branch!!, but hey ho you never know.   I have no doubt that the family would be proud for the photo to be featured, social history is so important, didn’t you just hate as a kid being lined up for those family photos!!, only now we wish we had more.   Thanks for the letter, it's putting a lot of this into prospective.

Jayne Daley writes:   Hi, I am a direct descendant of Robert Knight, died 1765, from Yarcombe and was able to find, via Ancestry, a copy of his will as a yeoman.   The line of descent is through his son Benjamin Knight, with my great grandmother (Justina) Nellie Knight marrying into the Goss family in Cardiff (who came from Georgeham, Devon).  This is also directly connected with the Spiller family and the Dares.   Such fascinating information on here and would love to know more.   I believe from others' family trees that we go directly back to Margery Collier(?).   Would like to know if anyone has photos or pictures of people or any the places our family inhabited and want to buy a digital copy of the Monk to Millennium book please.  Thanks, Jayne Daley

Steve Horner responds:   Jayne, I was delighted that you have found our section of the Yarcombe web site, from the information you have provided it is difficult to link you into any previous enquiries that we have, the surname Knight is common in Yarcombe`s history.   However may I draw your attention to Ancestral Search 47 which explains we have recently received information about Yarcombe Manor Court Roll of 8 October 1697 where it mentions George Knight to be sworn Hayward of this Court, perhaps he may be an antecedent of your Robert Knight?   It would be a valuable addition to our records if you could provide me with more details of the Knight family who lived in Yarcombe, in particular some details or reference to the will of Robert Knight would be helpful.




Ancestral Search 33



June 2020

I have been researching my ancestry during lockdown and discovered numerous links to Yarcombe through Broom and Newbury families.   I am very interested to obtain the book written by Ruth Everitt ' From Monks to the Millenium' which I have noted from your website.   I grew up in Axminster but had no idea of my roots in these local villages.       Kind Regards,    Lesley Crook

Steve Horner writes:   I was delighted that you have found our web site and I hope by now that you have received a copy of Ruth Everitt's excellent history of our Parish.   The name Newbery Is very familiar to me, one John Newbery sided with the Duke of Monmouth being part of his rebellion in 1685.   The family were substantial land owners in the south of the Parish and I believe one branch of the family headed off to the fledgling colonies in North America.   I did not recognise the name Broom so I found reference to Henry Broom who lived at Blackhall in 1832.  I traced Henry in the 1841 census when he was still living at Blackhall with his wife Grace and their three children Thomas, William and Elizabeth.   Henry and Grace are recorded as being aged 40 in that census ,which may give you some leads for your tree.   In any event it would be very helpful if you could feedback to us any further information you unearth about the history of our parish so we can record it for posterity.   Please let me know if we can be of further assistance.

Lesley Crook
replies:   The day after I discovered the website, I discovered your excellent section of ancestral posts and recognised one or two names.   Thanks to the lockdown I have been able to access the Ancestry library edition via my local library link, and also to obtain free PDF copies of wills for the Broom and Newbery families which have been very enlightening from the National Archive website at Kew.   The furthest ancestor I have discovered is Thomas Broome who died in Yarcombe in 1645. His will left property to Moses Broom, his grandson.   He was married to Thomasin Richard who he married at Upottery 1590.   Their children were Josiah, Thomas,Grace, Richard and John.   Thomasin is also listed as dying in Yarcombe in February 1645.   Their son Thomas was born in 1593 and married Anne Beade at Yarcombe 7/11 /1616.   Their children were all born in Yarcombe :- Elleyn 1617, Edward 1619, Moses 1620, Swithin 1621, Marie 1623, Adrian 1625, Thomas 1630.   His wife Ann died in Yarcombe in 1645.
  Edward married Elizabeth Hussey 11/05/1641 at Stockland and their children were Moses 1642, Mary1643, William 1647 and James 1656 all born at Yarcombe.   Edward died in 1670 and Elizabeth in 1670 at Yarcombe.   Their son Moses married Joan Quick at Stockland in 1675 and they appear to have had only one son Moses born at Broadhembury in 1682.   Moses died 1708 in Yarcombe and Joan in 1712, also in Yarcombe.   Their son Moses married Susanna (Broom) and their son Amos was born in 1714 at Upottery.   I believe they had other sons called Moses and Aaron and a daughter called Margaret but I have not confirmed this.   Moses (father) died in Upottery in 1723.

Amos has proved to be a very interesting character as he had 2 children, Mary 1738 and Moses 1739, born prior to his marriage to Mary Newbery in Honiton in 1739.   I have been unable to establish which branch of the Newbery family she belonged to but the most likely contender seems Mary born in Cotleigh in 1712, father Richard.   Amos and Mary had 4 children born in Yarcombe -John 1742, Amos 1744, Robert 1746 and Mary 1747.   Their daughter Jenny was born at Dunkeswell in 1752 and their son William born at Sheldon in 1779.   They obviously moved to Dunkeswell between 1747 and 1752.

I then have a gap but Amos left his will in 1779 showing he was a wealthy yeoman, although not owning any property.   He left his wife £1 but most was left to 4 children of a Joanna Richards who moved on to change their names to Broom and become prominent gentlemen in Uffculme and surroundings thanks to their links with other members of the Richards family.   In the 1841 census the family are farmers at Sheldon Grange and Abbey Farm Dunkeswell.   William -the Dunkeswell farmer was then farming and living also at Sheldon Grange with his family in the 1851 census, and the 1840 Tithe apportionment lists William Broom as Occupier of Sheldon Grange.   I believe the infamous Amos was my 6x Grandfather and William as my 4xGrandfather.

I purchased all the available Parish registers for Yarcombe from Devon FHS but found virtually no entries for the Broom family.   Obviously most of mine were before these published records and I cannot get to the Archives at present so the search continues.   I have however also enjoyed reading the numerous wills of the prominent Newbery family which must be linked to Mary somehow.   It clearly illustrates how the estates were divided up until none seem to remain in the 1840's tithe apportionments.   I even came across a bankruptcy sale in the 1800's for a Newbery sheep and cattle dealer so I guess they had all moved on - some to Stockland, Membury and surrounding villages.

My grandparents moved to Axminster in 1925 in an apparently random move from an estate in Rockbeare (my grandmother was from South Devon and had been a servant on the estate prior to marrying the Yeoman's son).   It has since come to light that the Brooms and the Chapples (my grandfather Broom's mother) are all deeply rooted in East Devon and I myself was born in Honiton, although we lived in Axminster.   My grandparents had 9 living children most of whom settled in the same area and were very prominent in the town and especially the football team.   Many still live in Axminster.

I would be very glad to hear if you can tell me where any more of the older records are to be found.   By the way I believe the Henry you mentioned is from Amos's Richards connection as I found a will from a Henry in Yarcombe which suggested that.   I look forward to receiving the digital book very soon to flesh out the bones of life in the village during these times.

Steve Horner writes:   Wow!   You have been working hard, how long has it taken you to accumulate all this information?   I do have in my office a hard copy of the pleadings of a court case Drake vs Major filed 23 November 1600 – it’s a transcription made a historian I suspect working for the Drake family, the case is a claim by the then vicar of Yarcombe against the Drake family in respect of a dispute over Tithes.   This is a fascinating document listing all land holdings, the names of the owners/occupiers/tenants and the name of the holding.   Almost all the names of fields / farmsteads / meadows remain the same today.   I have looked for the name Broome in the document but it does not feature, perhaps from the Wills you can give me a farm name occupied or owned by the Broome family.   Keep up the good work and I hope you keep fit and well during the lockdown.





Ancestral Search 32



May 2020

Hi, I just came upon the website and have been delighted with the history and ancestral searches!   I have established, through a combination of hard digging through parish registers and DNA connections that I descend from Samuel Matthews (b. 1751/2 & baptized in Yarcombe) and Mary Flood (b. 1753 & baptized in Yarcombe).   I first found Samuel & Mary in Liskeard Cornwall, and it was their granddaughter Mary Chapple who emigrated to Canada where I live.   There were no Matthews in Liskeard before the birth of Mary's mother Susanna Matthews so I set out to find where the Matthews family came from originally.   I tracked Matthews families all over Cornwall, but eventually came to the conclusion that perhaps they originally came from Devon.   Susanna's older son ended up working in Devon and she died in Devon in Ullfcumbe so it seemed likely there were family ties.   I traced all the couples with the name of Samuel & Mary Matthews who baptized children between 1770 and 1800 and came up with the couple from Yarcombe.   They appear to have been an adventurous couple as they married in 1776, had several children baptized in Membury, then moved to Ashcombe for 10 years before moving north and having several more children in the Holsworthy area before they landed in Liskeard.   My 3x great grandmother Susanna was the last child born in Liskeard in 1796.   Samuel settled in Liskeard and the tax records of 1798 show that he ran an Inn called the White Horse and leased a number of fields and farm buildings.   Although all the dates and names lined up I was not sure that I really had the right family or if it was all wishful thinking.   However the Ancestry DNA test now appears to confirm the paper trail as I have had matches with descendants of Mary Flood's sisters and from descendants of the older children of Samuel & Mary Matthews.   This was exciting as it confirmed many long hours of work.   Last year my husband & I stopped in Yarcombe, visited the church, and had a quick look around at the beautiful area on our way to Cornwall.   We were very impressed, but unfortunately the Inn wasn't open that day or we would have stayed longer.   I have no idea exactly what status the Matthews, Bonds and Flood families had - although it seems they were of the yeoman class. I have been reviewing wills and Charles Flood (d. 1751) Mary's grandfather left a wonderful will (Prerogative of Canterbury) that confirmed all the members of that family.   Unfortunately most of the Matthews wills were Devon wills and I don't think they exist anymore.   The Bond family (Samuel's mother was Susanna Bond) seems to have farmed in the Crawley area, and if I have the right family Susanna's father was John Bond Esquire on the burial record in Combe St. Nicholas in 1728.   I have been through the National Archives Discovery Catalogue to see if there are any references to the Matthews, Bonds and Floods and have seen some transactions which might relate to my ancestors.   I have read every Bond, Flood & Matthews will I can get hold of but I would be interested to know if anyone has any other suggestions for research into my families.   I am currently working with Miranda to obtain a copy of the History.       Best regards,     Jane Briant, Toronto Canada

Steve Horner writes:   Jane,  This is very exciting.   I firmly believe that you are on the right track.   Please look closely at Ancestral search 18 which includes many references and photos of the Matthews family who lived at South Waterhayne farm which is close to Crawley.   There are members of the Matthews family still living in the parish and there is a known connection between the Bond family and the Matthews family.   Please come back to me with your observations once you have had time to digest this information.

Jane Briant replies:   Thank you so much for getting back to me.  I have spent some time looking at the various Matthews families including the family from the South Waterhayes Farm.   I don’t think my Matthews family is directly related to that family.   My 4x great grandfather Samuel Matthews (b. 1751) seemed to have ties to the Matthews of Membury.   He and his new wife, Mary Flood (m.1776), moved to Membury for 5 years after their marriage, as that is where their first 2 children were born.   Samuel’s brother William married Bridget Warry Wyat in Membury (m.1773).  I have combed the parish records back as far as they go and built up a family tree for the Membury Matthews.   I have made one major assumption, which if it is not right means the entire tree is wrong.   I have assumed that Samuel’s father William Matthews was married twice.   I have a William Matthews from Membury who married Sarah Newbury in 1725 at Yarcombe.   I do not see any children for a couple named William & Sarah, but I see a Sarah Matthews buried at Yarcombe in 1743.   Then I have a William Matthews who married Susanna Bond in 1750, and both of their sons had ties to Membury.   So I am making the assumption that this William is the same person and Susanna was a second wife.   Alternatively, there could be a missing generation.

In the National Archives there is a record of William Matthews of Membury taking on an apprentice for his property in Upottery in 1711.   It seems likely this William was Samuel’s grandfather.   William Snr. was married to a lady named Grace and they had 5 children baptized in Membury.   They farmed at Luggs Estate.   It looks like son Henry stayed and took over the family farm at Luggs Estate in Membury and lived with his mother Grace (d. 1760), while his brother William may have moved to the Upottery property.   Henry of Membury was found hiring apprentices and prosecuting a court case over property (National archives) in 1750.   Samuel’s brother William stayed in the Yarcombe area.   He and his wife Bridget Warry Wyat moved to Stockland to farm.   At least 2 of his sons, Richard & John also farmed in Stockland.   John & his wife Mary Hellier had 10 children, and Richard & his wife Mary Hounsel had 8 children.   I looked at the 1841 census and found Mary Hellier Matthews as a widow in Stockland with 4 of her children: Samuel, Elizabeth, Gladwise & Henry.   By 1851 none of them were there.   I did not find any of Richard’s family on the 1841 census or after.   I did find Gladwise Matthews in Canada, where she married in 1846 in Kingston Ontario, having come to Canada in 1829.   A number of the family may have come to Canada as well.

I am attaching my draft of the family tree of the Matthews of Membury (right).   If you are interesteed I also built trees for the Matthews of Upottery, and started on the Matthews of Watchford Yarcombe.       Best regards,    Jane

Steve Horner responds:   I am delighted to work with you on this search for your ancestors, it is very rewarding when we are able to help someone who has contacted us and receive back well researched replies.   It all helps piece together the history of our parish and neighbouring parishes here in East Devon.   Although I am not an expert I feel certain that William Matthews (b 1706 d 1755) married 1st Sarah Newbery (b 1705 d 1743) in 1725 without issue.   William married 2nd Susanna Bond (b 1727 d ? ) in 1750 and produced Samuel in 1750.   The facts and places fit perfectly.

I had an almost exactly similar situation in my own family tree.   Charles Wallington, an Inn Keeper near Berkeley in Gloucestershire, married twice - Mary Fryer in 1724 and Ann Fowler in 1767, Ann being much younger than Charles when they married.   Certainly the Newbery family were prominent in the southern part of Yarcombe at this time.   You also mention Luggs farm which lies just over the southern border of Yarcombe in Membury Parish.   This property came on the market about five years ago, here is a link which will enable you to view the house where your ancestors lived and the beautiful Yarty valley where we now live:   5 bedroom detached house for sale in Membury, Axminster   I hope this is helpful.   PLease keep in contact.

Peter Tarrant adds:   Your family trees would certainly be of interest - we would gladly make them available on the website if you would send copies.

Jane Briant replies:   Thank you for your note.   What a gorgeous house!   If my ancestors lived in that house they were doing pretty well for themselves.   I would really love to learn to read the Manner Rolls as it must be really interesting to see how the property moves from 1 family to another.   Thanks for your thoughts on the 2nd marriage for William Matthews.   I have had that scenario before as well, and in that case we were able to prove it with a will.   Poor Devon without its wills.   So frustrating.

As I said in my first note my husband & I stopped at the Yarcombe Church last October and had a look around.  It is such a beautiful area, and one day I hope we can come back.   However the world has changed and we may have to stay home a lot more now.   Maybe the world will be open for business again in the not too distant future.    We can only hope.

I would be delighted to pass over my family trees, which I am still working on .   At the moment I am tracing from older records forward and also now looking at the 1841 & 1851 censuses and working back.   I haven't yet met in the middle but getting much closer.   I'm afraid I get a bit obsessive when I am searching and I build large data bases of BMDs.   When I started looking for my Matthews family of Liskeard I checked as many surrounding Cornish parishes (and input all that info to an excel spreadsheet), but after getting nowhere I decided to try Devon and finally found my Samuel Matthews & Mary Flood in Yarcombe.   DNA has now confirmed my work!   All to say that my data base is huge as I am currently collecting BMDs for the parishes surrounding Yarcombe.   There are several wonderful village websites - including yours - which have been very helpful with parish records.   Yesterday, with the help of the 1851 census I traced the Waterhayes Matthews family back to Otterford and a couple of generations back.   The Matthews Family in Membury in 1841 go back to Upottery for about 4 generations I think.   Once I have done a bit more work I will gladly send you my family trees.

Steve Horner responds:   I am certain we would very much like to receive the other completed trees when completed, Peter and I very much work together on this project.   I take your point about the lack of Wills in Devon, we have to blame Herr Hitler and his Luftwaffe for the terrible destruction that they wreaked on Exeter during the blitz.   However we are lucky in Yarcombe, as you may know Sir Francis Drake first acquired land here in the parish in 1582, and his family (not direct descendants) steadily increased their land holdings over the centuries.   The records of the land holdings were carefully deposited in the Exeter County Records office by the land agents and lawyers so we have some very detailed records available for inspection.   Some 30 years ago I was sorting through a deed box and came across the Great Seal of Elizabeth 1 attached to a deed!   I suspect these have now been more carefully catalogued.   Have you read – or obtained a copy of - Ruth Everitt's history of our parish “ From Monks to the Millennium”?   The source of much of her work was found in the Records Office.

Jane Briant adds:   I am attaching an Excel file I put together which includes several tabs (r).

On the first tabs I have identified the individual Matthew families in Yarcombe, Membury, and Stockland on the 1841 - 1911 censuses, and followed as each individual appears and disappears.  My notes on the families are down below the date.

On the second tab I put together family trees of those appearing on the censuses, with a bit of added information from the civil registration info on Find MY Past & Family Search.

The 3rd tab contains much more comprehensive Family Trees for the various Mathews families in the area.  This information is taken from a much larger Excel file where I have gathered BMDs for as many Matthews as I could find in the area. I use the sort function to find the family groups by date and place.  That was how I found my Matthews Family that appeared in Liskeard Cornwall and tracked them back to Yarcombe & Membury.  My paper trail has been confirmed by DNA so I am very pleased to know I was on the right path.

Anyway - this might be of interest to other people who have Matthews Ancestors from the Yarcombe area.  On my larger spreadsheet I also track the extended families - in particular the family of my ancestor Susanna Bond who married William Matthews of Membury & Upottery in 1750.  There are lots of Bonds in the area too.  The other family names include Cook, Flood, & Pinney.  This data is not as complete as the Matthews data.  This worksheet is always a work in progress, which is why I have just sent a copy of my Matthews Family Trees as opposed to sending you the whole file.




Ancestral Search 31



May 2020

Hi,  I am based in Scotland, and picking up the threads of family history research that I started 40 years ago - lots of spare time on my hands for the last few weeks!   Technology is making such a difference and I have discovered so much using sites like   I have also come across the Yarcombe website's Ancestral Search page and was particularly pleased to read some correspondence concerning the Spiller family, particularly with Clare Evans in Ancestral Search 13.   We share the same ancestor in Robert Spiller and Margere Colliar.   I’ve located Robert’s father John Spiller 1528 - 1582 married to Elizabeth Ricarde.   And John’s father John Spiller b 1495 - all this from   The Spiller family moved to Netherbury by 1830s, and then to Boxworth in Dorset from mid 1800s.   If you could kindly indicate how I may purchase a digital copy of any local history books that you have referred to and let me know how I can transfer the payment.   Secondly, I noted that Clare Evans was making enquiries of Huguenots in France, and wonder how I can link up with her regarding this?   Any help you can offer would be appreciated.             Kind regards,   Fiona Gillespie

Peter Tarrant writes:   Thanks for your enquiry.   I have passed your request for a copy of "From Monks to the Millennium - A History of Yarcombe" to Miranda Gudenian and you should hear from her soon.   In Ancestral Search 13 you can click on Clare's name at the foot of her enquiry to follow up your Huguenots lead.





Ancestral Search 30



April 2020

I'm currently researching the history of our house, Mount Pleasant Cottage (at the top of Yarcombe Hill), and I'm wondering whether any of the local residents could help me?   I'd like to find out more about who lived here and what the house looked like over time. I've been able to find out snippets of information such when the house was built, and think it was sold by the Yarcombe Estate in 1931 but could have been later.   I have found records of a Simon Pavey who lived here in 1881 and was recorded as a Woodsman on Manor.   In 1913 there was a sale at the house after the death of a Mr Pavey, which included various poultry.   The Monks from the Millennium book has been very helpful researching the area (as has the Yarcombe website), but there is little information relating to the cottage in the book.   I know it's a long shot, but any old estate maps or tithe maps that might show the cottage and grounds and any photographs would be great!   I would love to find out more and would be most grateful if anyone can help me.   I'm wondering if it would be possible to post my message on the Ancestral Search part of your website or send around in the e-version of the Yarcombe Voices bulletin?      Thanks in advance.    Mrs Taylor

Steve Horner writes:   I've had a look at the catalogue of the Estate Sale of 1931, which Barbara Salter kindly permitted me to photocopy.   The only mention of Mount Pleasant is a reference to your water supply, (see page 2 of the particulars of Livenhayes farm. below), so I doubt it was included in the sale of 1931.   The Pavey family appear to have been long-time residents in Yarcombe, Simon Pavey was born in June 1839 in Yarcombe, his father, Simon, was 43 and his mother, Elizabeth, was 21.   He married Mary Ackland on 22 December 1859 in the church of St John the Baptist, Yarcombe.   They had eight children in 16 years.   He died on 19 October 1913 in Yarcombe at the age of 74.   In the 1861 census Simon was living in one of the Cottages up on the Beacon, by 1871 he was living at Mount Pleasant with his family where he remained until his death in 1913.  Interestingly he was able to read and write as his signature appears on both his marriage certificate and the 1911 Census records.   His estate valued at £46.18.10p in 1913 would be worth about £6,000 in today's money.   We would be grateful if you would keep this web site updated with any further information that you discover about your home.

Sienna Taylor replies:   The document mentions reference to OS map numbers and a number 2 plan.   Would it be possible to see these as well (if they exist?)   A really interesting document, thanks to Steve.

Steve Horner writes:   The Plan attached to the 1931 sale particulars does not exist in the copy I have.   Ordnance Survey maps for the late1880s thru 1909 can be found on line (see the example, right, for Marsh which we needed for the Affordable Housing Project).   In this example fields each have a three digit number followed by field size in acres.   There is much useful information on these OS maps.   Your next step will be to visit the Devon County library where you can view the 1840s Tithe maps.   I hope this helps.





Ancestral Search 29



April 2020

Hi, I’m researching my family history and have traced some of my ancestors to Yarcombe. In 1756, Betty Wale married Samuel Bond (my 5th great grandfather) in Yarcombe by Banns. Whilst I have been able to trace Samuel lineage further back, there are three possible Betty Wales in Yarcombe as follows:

  Betty Wale born to William and Sarah in 1731
Betty Wale born to Robert and Ann in 1733
Betty Wale born to John and Ally in 1740.

I have discounted the 1740 birth as this would put Betty at 16 when she married and so she would have required parental consent under the Marriage Act of 1753 and this is not recorded marriage Banns of 1756.   I haven’t found any burial records for Betty Wale between 1731 and 1756 so cannot rule out either the 1731 or the 1733 Betty.   In addition to the Betty Wale/Samuel Bond marriage of 1756, there is a marriage between a Betty Wale and John Bastable in 1761 in Yarcombe, which could therefore be any of the three Betty Wales. I haven’t been able to find a burial for Betty Bastable.   The only possible burial record I have found is for Elizabeth Bond in 1809 (no age given).

I wondered if there are any monumental inscriptions in the church yard which might help me determine which Betty Wale married Samuel Bond (or John Bastable).   Any assistance you could give would be very much appreciated.     Kind regards,
  Chris Sane

Steve Horner writes:   Chris. you have clearly spent much time puzzling over this part of your family history and I suspect there is little I can add. Both Bond and Wale are familiar local names, and so far as I am aware, local gravestones and monumental inscriptions in the early 18th century no longer exist in our church or churchyard.   It may be worth your while in extending your search into the neighbouring parishes of Churchstanton, which was transferred from Devon in 1896 and Otterford, both in Somerset, and Stockland in East Devon.   I did spot one burial in Churchstanton that may fit, Betty Bond buried December 11 1785.   I am sorry I cannot help further, however if you do find an answer please let us know we are always keen to record local history on our web site.




Ancestral Search 28



March 2020

I would like to access your digital version of the book, FROM MONKS TO THE MILLENNIUM- A History of Yarcombe.   Angela Lane, a volunteer at SDFHS, suggested that I find this book, as she had found references to Spillers in it.   I'm Jane Arni, & my Mother was a Spiller.   Her family immigrated to the US in the early 1800s.   I have now traced them back to Somerset/Devon area.   I'm hoping to find a tidbit or two that would make my ancestors come to life.   While factual, only dates are soo boring!     Thank you for your help,  Jane Arni

Miranda Gudenian replies:   The Spiller family have very deep roots in Yarcombe and the surrounding area.   Steve Horner, our village historian would be able to tell you much more than I can, and you will find references to the family in Ruth Everitt's book on the history of the Parish.   I should be delighted to wing you a copy of the book; Ruth, who was one of my dearest friends, died a few years ago and her family have given me the rights to the book.   Ruth wanted any donations from sales to go to the non-profit making village magazine, Yarcombe Voices, which I produce.   If you would be willing to donate a small sum I should be very grateful.

Steve Horner writes:   We are always pleased to receive queries from descendants of those who once lived in our Parish, it adds to our store of knowledge about our history.   May I assume you live in the USA?   Can you give me the full details of the acronym SDFHS which may give me a further clue as to your location.   If you provide me with the full names and any dates of your family members who emigrated to the USA in the early 1800s I may be able to provide a more detailed answer, indeed in some instances in reply to queries I have been able to send photos of where ancestors lived in the village.

Jane Arni replies:   Thank you for your quick reply.   Yes, I live in the USA.   I contacted the Somerset & Dorset Family History Society (SDFHS) when I had researched enough to believe that my ancestors were from Wellington, Somerset.   A society volunteer, Angela Lane, has been doing her own research to verify my conclusions.   She came to the same conclusions without me revealing who I believed to be my ancestor.   I wanted confirmation before I continued researching.

My immigrant ancestor was Joel M Spiller (the M was believed to stand for Morris).   He & John Spiller (whom I believe is his brother) came to New York City ca 1824.   He married Mary Adaline Savoie in the 2nd Presbyterian Church in NYC.   She was listed in the census as being born in Dominica.   They had four sons, Charles Henry, Robert Joel, John A & George Washington Spiller.   His naturalization papers dated 30 October 1840 stated he was born in England.   The NY City Directories from 1828-1842 state that Joel & John worked in several occupations including hairdresser, clockmaker, & bell hanger. In early 1840s they had moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, & were working as clockmakers.   They also started the first Masonic Lodge in Ohio in 1842 according to a newspaper article commemorating it’s 50th anniversary in 1892.   Joel moved to a small town in southern Illinois between 1850 & 1859.   He died in 1860 of typhoid fever at the age of 59 so he was probably born about 1801-2.   His occupation was listed as Masonic Lecturer at that time.   His possessions at death did not exhibit opulence, but were certainly more than most would have in a small fruit growing community including 78 books.   Yes, he, his wife & sons all could read and write.

Would you like for me to suggest who his parents might be, and from where? Or would you like to take this information and come to your own conclusions?   Please feel free to ask questions as needed as I may have omitted information that I have inadvertently.   Thank you for your willingness to search & share any information you may have about my Spiller ancestors.

Steve Horner responds:   I am delighted at your prompt response, as you will have seen from our website we always try to answer Ancestral Queries however on occasions we do not get a response which is disappointing.   I had a quick look at Ancestry and noted a Joel Spiller christened 21st March 1802 Yarcombe died 4th April 1802.   Parents were Henry Spiller and Mary Hall who had many children including a John.   If you look at the Index extract of the book on Yarcombe in Ancestral Search 6, you will note that there are very many Spillers recorded in Yarcombe, if there is a connection to our Parish you should buy an electronic copy from Miranda.   I am also interested to learn Joel was a very active Mason.   Are your family still connected to a local Lodge?   Many of the founding fathers of your nation were masons and masonic symbolism is much in evidence in your country, and has links back to the British Isles.   Have you approached the Grand Lodge in Ohio who will in all probability have detailed records of your ancestor?   My own family have long connections with the Craft going back generations.

Finally I have spent much time on business in the USA and on one visit to Houston I travelled down to Galveston where I spent a few happy hours looking over a tall ship, a barque involved in the cotton trade if I recall correctly.   In any event I look forward to helping you find your family roots which I strongly suspect lie here in Yarcombe, just give me a few more leads please.


Jane Arni replies:   Thank you for the information on the index for the book on Yarcombe.   Miranda has winged a digital version to me and I’ve scanned it finding many Spiller possibilities.   I’m trying to be methodical and take my research one generation at a time.   Angela has purposed Joel’s parents as being Robert Spiller & Hannah Morrish.   They are the same as what I had thought without suggesting them to her, so it is nice to now have them verified.   I know nothing of Joel’s siblings, S(L)illian 1799, Mary 1801, Joel 1804, John 1806, Henry 1814.   These are found in the Nonconformist Records.

Thank you, also, for the suggestion of contacting the Grand Lodge in Ohio.   I have called, left a message and hope to hear back from them soon.   Many of my grandfather’s 14 siblings were involved as well as my Mother’s brother.   I’ll have to ask the question at our next Spiller Reunion to see if my generation is involved.

You certainly pegged my location quickly.   I was born in Galveston & raised in the area.   After university, I took a teaching job in Denver, Colorado where I’ve lived for over 50 years.   We now summer in Colorado, and winter in Texas.   The tall ship you mentioned is the Elissa.   Galveston is proud to museum a tall ship from that era.

Steve Horner writes:   I believe you and your friend Angela have already dug deep into the records and have gleaned as much information as is possible.   I was interested to discover that Robert Spiller and Jane Morrish were married in July 1798 in the Church of St John the Baptist in Wellington, which would have been a Church of England ceremony, perhaps because Jane`s family were members of the Church of England.   However their four children Lilliana born 12th January 1799 (!) Mary born 25th May 1801 Joel born 11th January 1804 and John born 30th July 1806 were all christened on 15th February 1809 in the Independent Lower Meeting House in Wellington, which was undoubtedly a Non-Conformist place of worship although I have a feeling a Meeting House describes the place where Quakers worship.   I recall you told me that Joel was later married in a Presbyterian ceremony in New York so he followed the pattern of religious practice later in his life (click to see scan).   Our local Baptist Minister Thelma Clarke is quite an expert on such matters and I could ask her more about the Meeting House in Wellington if you so wished.   One point fascinates me, how did you make a connection to Yarcombe (County of Devon) which lies about ten miles to the South West of Wellington ( County of Somerset)?   I hope this exchange of information has proved useful to you, in any event please keep in contact and let us know any further local connections to your family.

Jonathan Spiller writes:   Thelma Clarke included me into some correspondence you have been involved in with Jane Arni regarding a Joel Spiller.   I do have a couple of Joels in my tree….one died in infancy the next was born about 1738.   I have been having some difficulty identifying some of the people being referred to eg Robert Spiller as there are several people with the same name.   Perhaps if their dates (b. d.) were added it may be possible for me to see if they are indeed the same people in my tree.   Perhaps Robert that is referred to is one of those.   Nellie Rich did a good job of researching ancestors including some Spiller tree and I have managed to get this into an ancestry Tree that I am willing to share if you wish.    Regards,    Jonathan Spiller

Steve Horner writes:   Very many thanks for your reply, I will leave it to Jane Arni to reply.




Ancestral Search 27



February 2020

I have been researching my family history and have found I am directly descended from an Abraham Knight b.1764 Yarcombe and May Loosemoore b. 1769 in Yarcombe.  Also with direct links to the Spiller family, which I believe has had a connection with the parish for many centuries.  I came across the Yarcombe website and reference to the book 'From Monks to the Millenium - A History of Yarcombe'.  I would be very interested in receiving an electronic copy of the book if available and would be willing to make a donation.  I look forward to hearing from you.   Many thanks,  Paul Gebbett

Miranda Gudenian writes:   Thank you for your most interesting message. I am copying in to my reply our village historian, Steve Horner, who may be able to assist your further with your quest regarding your family history.  Yes, the Spiller family have very deep roots in Yarcombe.  I would be most willing to send you a copy of Ruth Everitt's book "From Monks to the Millennium".  It is very kind of you to offer a donation - I now hold the rights to the book and all donation go to Yarcombe Voices, the village magazine which I started nearly twenty years ago and produce each month.




Ancestral Search 26



March 2020

Hi, I would be very interested in acquiring a digital copy of the book From Monks to the Millennium – A History of Yarcombe.   On researching my family history recently I’ve discovered my Welsh ancestors actually originated from Yarcombe.  My Gt Grandfather Thomas Northam who died in WW1 was born in Cotleigh, Honiton in 1886 before moving to Wales as a young boy.  His father, Thomas was born in Yarcombe around 1861 (though died in 1909 in Wales from injuries sustained in a pit accident).  Records show that Thomas’ father Eli was born (around 1838) and lived in Yarcombe as did his father Thomas Northam (born around 1791).  It would be interesting to see if there’s any mention of the Northams in the book but if not, I would enjoy reading some more background history on Yarcombe.  Many thanks.  Alison Redfern

Miranda Gudenian writes:   Thank you for your most interesting message.  I am copying in to my reply our village historian, Steve Horner, who may be able to assist your further with your quest regarding your family history.  Yes, there is most certainly mention of Northams in the book - indeed, a farmstead called Northams Farm.  I would be most willing to send you a copy of Ruth Everitt's book "From Monks to the Millennium".  I always ask for a donation, however - Ruth was one of my dearest friends and her family have given me the rights to the book; all donation go to Yarcombe Voices, the village magazine which I started nearly twenty years ago and produce each month.  I look forward to hearing from you.



Ancestral Search 25



January 2020

Hi, I was in Yarcombe yesterday and was looking for the plaque put up from the evacuees of Lambeth Walk. Just wanted to know where it is, as my Dad was the one who paid for this.   Peter Sullivan

Steve Horner writes:   Peter, delighted you have contacted us.  I have sent a photo of the plaque that you enquired about (right, click to enlarge) which is to be found in the Yarcombe Village Hall .  If you visit our World Wars pages, within are photos of the evacuees, amongst whom are mentioned Patrick, Nellie, Michael and Peter Sullivan.  I would be interested to learn which one was your father.  Many of these children went to St Anne's Roman Catholic Primary school in Lambeth.  I have written to the school to see if they have an interest, but I have never received a reply.  I look forward to hearing from you.




Ancestral Search 24



January 2020

I have a copy of Ruth Everitt's book, but also want to praise you for all your ongoing local history research and the support you offer others.  The web pages are something of which Yarcombe should be proud.  I have family roots in Yarcombe but they are some way back.  The first thing I discovered was the 5th January 1789 marriage at Yarcombe of Anna VINCENT and Elias CARTER (from Harpford).  Question 1 - How might they have come to meet?  I think Elias CARTER may have been living in Yarcombe a few months but after marriage the couple settled in Harpford where they had 10 children, all of whom survived infancy.  Elias became a yeoman farmer, churchwarden, overseer etc.  Interestingly Anna had an illegitimate daughter, Rachel VINCENT who was baptised at Yarcombe in 1787.  I have never found any mention of the child's father but when Anna left Yarcombe with her new husband, it would appear Rachel VINCENT remained in the care of her maternal grandparents, John VINCENT b1727 and Hannah.  Question 2 - Have you any idea who might have been Rachel's father?

I know a lot about John VINCENT b1727 of Dennington and have a copy of his will.  He died in 1812 and left money to both his married daughter Anna CARTER of Harpford and to his grand daughter Rachel who had married Francis WYATT at Yarcombe in 1810.  She had a big family and died a grand old lady (formally a cow keeper!) in 1875 at Smeatharp, Upottery (aged 88yrs).  I don't think it a coincidence that one of her sons Thomas WYATT b1826, married Sarah Hare CARTER, a grand daughter of her mother (Anna CARTER nee VINCENT.)   With a fair degree of reliability I can go back several generations with the VINCENT family to the marriage of James VINCENT and Prudence DARE c 1680.  However I have never been able to validate this marriage in any parish register.  The DARE family that Ruth Everitt wrote about at Clifthayne, Yarcombe are my ancestors and I believe came from Kilmington/ Axminster in the late 16th century/ early 17th century.

Question 3 - My BIG QUESTION - There are two babies named John VINCENT baptised at Yarcombe in 1727.  I believe they were cousins!  I have always gone with John, son of Benjamin VINCENT and Rachel, only because Anna VINCENT called her illegitimate daughter Rachel.  I would love to have some collaborating document of this.  The other John VINCENT was son of James VINCENT and Elizabeth nee TURNER.   Question 4 - How come in John VINCENT's 1812 will did he have property (Simpson's Court) in Thurlbear? I know his wife came from Pitminster but I've never worked out the Thurlbear connection.   Sorry this is so long but when I get on to talking about family history, I find it difficult to stop.  I am happy if you wish to add my comments on the Yarcombe webpage or to share anywhere else that you fancy.  If you know others, I would love to make contact with people researching the same names.   With kind regards, Anne Speight, Loughborough, England

Peter Tarrant writes:   Thank you for your enquiry and kind comments about the Yarcombe website.  I added the Ancestral Searches page nearly 2 years ago thinking it may perhaps encourage a couple of enquiries, but have been pleased to see them arriving at a steady pace ever since!   We are very fortunate to have someone in Yarcombe as dedicated as Steve Horner and much of this would have been impossible without him.   Having said that I suspect some of your questions are a little deeper than the average.   I await Steve's response with interest!

Steve Horner writes:   I was of course delighted to receive your kind wishes and the information about various local families with whom you have a connection.  As you know this information will now be out there on the world wide web and be collected by powerful search engines such as Google so your names may well be picked up by others researching the same names.  I am afraid I cannot answer any of your detailed questions, however one question for you please.  Over the years starting in 1582, the Drake family gradually acquired much of the land in the parish of Yarcombe.  My house now called Old Woodhayne Farm adjoins Clifthayne Farm where the Dare family lived.  Old Woodhayne Farm was sold by the estate in 1970, and I am writing a history of the house which has its origins in the 15th Century.  As Ruth suggests in her book, Clifthayne was probably purchased by the Drake estate between 1786, when it was owned by John Willie, and 1794, when it is mentioned in the Estate timber survey.

Now here comes the tricky part - my farm, then called Woodend, was owned by Henry Willie who died in 1792, and I suspect John Willie and he were related.  I am almost certain that the Drake family acquired Woodend upon the death of Henry Willie.  The dates of late 1790s might well indicate a sale of both properties to the Drake family (Lord Heathfield).  Do you have any record, perhaps in a will, as to when the ownership of Clifthayne passed from the Dare family to John Willie?

I am sorry I cannot help more with your questions, however perhaps others will have some clues for you.

Anne Speight writes:   Thank you for your reply. I realised my questions were difficult ones.  By several centuries this is the furthest back I have got on any of my family history branches.  I have attached the Dare wills that I have but this there may be others.

Joan Dare Will 1626 John Dare Will 1636 Robert Dare Will 1590 Robert Dare Will 1667

Steve Horner writes:   You are quite right, yours is a difficult tree to work out.  However, I spent about an hour on the web site and there are several trees there for the Dare family of Yarcombe, although I am not certain these are complete and correct in all detail as there are inconsistencies for the information as shown.

It is the Will of John Dare, died 1637, whose wife was called Prudence in his Will, that is of interest to me as in it he bequeathes "all my estate of lease of my tenure of Clifthayne" to his son his eldest son Robert, born 1621.  There is no doubt that John Dare was of some stature in the parish describing himself as a Yeoman.

I have one further clue for you which relates to a Court Case filed 23rd November 1600 called Drake vs Major.  Thomas Drake was the brother of Sir Francis Drake who inherited the estates of his late brother and Major was the Vicar of Yarcombe 1579-1627.  The Vicar claimed his entitlement of tithes from Drake and in his pleadings show all the holdings in the Manor of Yarcombe farm by farm and the name of the person who held the land.  A Robert Dare is shown as holding both Clifthayes and land in Dennington.  This leads me to the conclusion that this Robert Dare was the son of Robert Dare* whose will was dated 23rd July 1590.  BUT by 1637 the holding of Clifthayne was in the ownership of John Dare so your hypothesis that Robert Dare* died and thus the estate went to his brother John may be correct.

Anne Speight writes:   Thank you.   I received the photo of Cliffhayne.  Looks a place full of history!  Many thanks.  You also asked for my family tree as it pertains to Yarcombe.  There are 2 interconnected parts - the DARE tree and the VINCENT tree:


Hannah VINCENT was the person who left Yarcombe and moved with her new husband to Harpford in the Lower Otter valley.  All dates given are from registers at Yarcombe (unless described differently).

Hannah Vincent b. 13 March 1768 and m. 5 January 1789 to Elias Carter (before this marriage Hannah had an illegitimate child Rachel b.1787 but when Hannah married, Rachel remained with her Vincent grandparents. I know a lot about Rachel. One of her son's married a grandchild of Hannah Carter. The families must have kept in touch). Hannah Carter d 1852 Harpford.

John Vincent b.1727 and m. 12 February 1765 Hannah Beer, widow. John Vincent was described of Dennington, he made a detailed Will, d.1812. Hannah died 12 January 1822.

Benjamin Vincent b.5 February 1700 and m. 21 September 1725 Rachel Denham at Pitminster. Their children baptised at Yarcombe. Benjamin died 16 December 1764 and Rachel died 13 March 1769.

James Vincent b.22 January 1636 and m Prudence Dare (no record found of this marriage) but they had a large family baptised Yarcombe. James died 1721. Prudence died 3 Februari 1724

Robert Vincent b.1 October 1587 and m. 27 November 1625 Jane Way. They had many children. Robert died 21 January 1669. Jane died 4 January 1662.


Prudence Dare b. 5 March 1658 married James Vincent about 1680.

Robert Dare b.24 January 1618 (son of John & Prudence). Married Ann? (Ann is noted in baptism registers as mother of his children but no marriage found, probably c1657. Maybe her surname was Titus???). Possibly Ann died c1668 and Robert had a 2nd wife. In his Will, Robert describes his wife as Agnes. Robert died 1667.

John Dare - no idea when or where born, but his father was Robert Dare and John was only the 2nd son. (The elder son was Robert Dare who as a bachelor died sometime after 1600, but with no heirs). John married Prudence Mathew, possibly at Yarcombe. Their children born 1616-1630. John Dare died 1636. His wife outlived him but I don't know when she died.

Robert Dare of Clifthayne. No idea when or where born or who was mother of his children - Agnes, Joane, Robert, John. Robert Dare snr died at Yarcombe in 1590. Will.

I hope you can put together a tree from all this.  It does get confusing when the same names are used over and over again.  As you will notice there are several places where I lose track of people but the records are patchy and difficult to read this far back.  The Vincents are known to move around local parishes and just possibly the Dare family originally came from Kilmington / Axminster.

Many thanks for all your interest.  Please let me know if you find any new 'leads'.




Ancestral Search 23



December 2019

Hi, Have just been browsing your excellent site; I am looking into my wife’s ancestor, a John Wiscombe (or Wescombe) who was born in Yarcombe around 1775.   I think he married Anna Mutter in 1805 and had 3 or 4 children, then married Mary Brewer in 1815 with whom he had a further 10 children!   I can only find a single birth record so it looks like he married twice, although I am not sure what the circumstances were.   I believe his parents were Robert and Jemima, who I assume also lived in Yarcombe.   He was in the 1841 census in Yarcombe but I cannot decipher the address given as the image quality is very poor. Any help would be gratefully received.   Thank you.   Allan Bicknell.

Peter Tarrant writes:   Thanks for visiting the Yarcombe website.   I have scanned the publication 'From Monks To The Millennium'  and Wiscombe/Wescombe drew a blank, but there are references to Mutter and Brewer reproduced below.   Much may be irrelevant, for example the second extract for Mutter refers to a property rather than a surname, but I have included each paragraph in full for completeness:


This is probably the mill at Dennington that is mentioned in early documents. In 1600 there is a mill listed as Dynyngton Mill, occupied by John Mutter, paying tithes of 12d. to the vicarage.  In 1782 there is dual ownership or a mortgage arrangement between the Drake Estate and widow Spiller.  Occupiers of the mill include John Spiller, Robert Willie, John Wilce and William Manley.  The ¾ acre mill pond was fed by a stream rising on Brown Down.  The machinery consisted of an overshot wheel 12` in diameter and 3` wide that drove a shaft which not only powered the mill, but also passed into the house to assist with the mixing of dough for bread making.  The electoral roll of 1832-3 shows that it was a rented Estate above £50.  The Estate kept the mill and bakehouse in good repair, T.Trott repairing the oven and replacing bricks, and Hockey & Co. providing new mill stones for £12 in 1897 as well as repairing arms and bearings in 1899.  A flour machine was supplied in 1901 and more repairs were undertaken on the water wheel and machinery costing £81. 10s.  In 1931 the mill was sold and the sitting tenant, Mr.F.Quick, became the new owner. By 1953 the water wheel required extensive repairs and the mill closed.


The first documentation of this property that could be found was dated 1784, when a Peter Toller bought a freehold estate of 23 acres from William Hill.  Prior to this date the property had been known as May‟s tenement at Marsh. Peter Toller left Toller‟s Marsh to Stephen Gollop, subject to payment by Gollop of £100 to his sister, Mary, wife of Ben Hurford, at the age of 21 years.  The property was actually inherited by George Gollop, (Stephen‟s brother), Stephen having died before he could claim his inheritance.  Peter Toller had another property known as Toller's Mutters. This was sold to the Yarcombe Estate sometime before 1810 and it was added to New Barn. George Gollop retained Toller‟s Marsh, using it to raise money by leasing and releasing and mortgaging. A Samuel Wyatt of Buckland St. Mary paid George Gollop £300 for a release in 1844. This was the era of coaches and coaching routes, and land at Marsh, being on the London to Exeter coaching route, would have been much in demand. Part of the estate near Clifthayne, a small field of just over an acre called Marshment Down, was sold to Mr. John Kerly, a gamekeeper on the Yarcombe Manor Estate.  A poultry enterprise was operated for a while at Toller‟s Marsh during this century and it is now a privately owned small-holding.

HAY (also known as Higher, Middle, Little and Haines Hay)

It is difficult to decipher with any accuracy the exact history of the remaining Hays from the available documents. It is probable that Higher Hays either incorporated Haines Hay or was once known as "Haines Hay‟.  Little Hays is shown on the Enclosure Map of 1817 as Middle Hays.  In 1600 it was an important area as there are four Hays listed:- Haye - occupier Richard Newberie, tithe 6d, Haye and Adam‟s Meade - occupier Elizabeth Mathew (widow), tithe 8d, Hayes and Rodlands Meade - occupiers Brigett Turner and John Soper, tithe 8d, and Hay and Hynxwell - occupier Charles Pavey, tithe 10d. Hynxwell is described as barton land. In the 1727 Land Tax Survey there are three properties listed as Hay.  They are as follows:- For Hay, John Strickland, tax £1. 19s. 11¾d, For part of Hay, David Pay (perhaps Pavey), tax 12s. 7½d, For Hay, Susanna Trott, tax 8s. 5d.  Also shown are Hinkswell, John Strickland, tax 14s. 8¾d. Adams and Willmore, William Matthews, tax 17s. 10½d.  The Estate Timber Survey of 1794-5 shows a small property called Middle Hay and two larger holdings, Higher Hay and Haines Hay.  The Land Tax of 1798 shows John Strickland as owner and tenant of Hay (leased for lives from Estate); he is also the tenant of Haines Hay, for which he paid a tax of £1. 15s. 9½d.  This is almost exactly the total of tax paid for the properties of Pay, Trott and Strickland (Hinkswell) in the 1727 Land Tax Survey.  By 1810 Higher Hay is no longer listed, but there is a Mrs. Strickland shown as a tenant of Lord Heathfield‟s at Haines Hay as well as Haykins and Wellsmead.  The Enclosure Map of 1817 reintroduces Higher Hays, with John Matthews junior as the occupier, and Middle Hay (Little) is shown with no land, and the occupier as Richard Mutter. Hearsay from reliable sources tell of a fire at Higher Hays and the existence of another fine older building between the two existing Hays, which was pulled down.

The references to Brewer follow:

BEACON HOUSE (formerly site of Yarcot)

Beacon House has recently been built on the site of Yarcot. The skilful use of local stone in its construction has helped the house to blend into the surroundings.  There were probably three cottages on this site, although none of them remains today.  The first documentation is a schedule of deeds relating to a cottage and two pieces of garden.  In 1827 Robert Brewer gifted it to his grandson John Pike, who in 1831 transferred the cottage and land to Robert Spiller (Panshayne) for 2,000 years.  He received £20 plus interest and moved to Stockland.  The two pieces of garden referred to are probably the site of Beacon House (Yarcot) and Emmet‟s Farm.  In 1877 R.Pavey sold the property to the Yarcombe Estate.  In 1931 the Yarcombe Estate sold Yarcot, a stone-built thatched cottage, and not even the walls remain of what had once been known as "Brewer's Cottage‟ to the north-east of Yarcot.

PETERHAYS (also known as Petershegh or Great Peterhays)

Peterhays, recognized as one of the best farms in the Parish, was for many years the property of Exeter Cathedral.  In 1326 Bishop Walter Stapledon‟s tenant had the following stock on the farm:- 2 sumpter beasts (draught horses) valued at 10s., 16 oxen at 6/8d. per head (£5. 0s. 8d.), 1 bull 6/8d., 1 yearling 1/6d., 180 sheep at 12d. per head (£9. 0s. 0d.).  In the grange the corn was worth £9. 6s.  The dead stock of timber, lime, laths and cut stone for the new buildings was valued at £10. 1s. 0d.  There was also timber worth 10s. at Madeford.  Bishop Stapledon was murdered in London and his successor was James de Berkeley, whose very brief episcopate was of 14 weeks!  “Death overtook him on June 24th., 1327 while on a visit to Peterhays, an episcopal manor in the Parish of Yarcombe, on the north-east border of his diocese”.  His death was registered at Newenham Abbey at nearby Axminster.  In 1600 the three occupiers of Peterhays, William Bennett, Jasper Brewer and John Symes were required to pay a tithe of 4s. 9d., the highest in the Parish.  There was a valuation of the property in 1647.  Rents and profits per annum were £10. 0s. 0d., improvements above per annum, £108. 10s. 0d., timber and wood valued at £66. 13s. 4d.  Reprizes were to be paid to Sir Francis Drake (impropriator) out of Peterhays at a rate of 10s. 10d. per annum.  During the eighteenth century Peterhays was leased to Stephen Weston of London and for a time the farm became known as Weston Lands.  Weston sub-leased it in 1728 to Jonathan Newman, a merchant from Salisbury, Wiltshire.  By 1798 Lord Heathfield had obtained a long lease on the property and John Seward was his tenant.  The Land Tax Surveys of 1810 and 1832 show Robert Smith was followed by John Smith as tenant of Peterhays.  The Electoral roll of 1832-3 states that it was an Estate worth more than £100 per year.  There was probably a fire that destroyed part of the farmhouse, as it was rebuilt in the 1860s. One of the buildings was unusually named 'Spillers Hall'.  (Robert Spiller was a tenant in the nineteenth century).  The present owner was unable to shed much light on the subject, but did confirm that there was a large building which some time ago had been used occasionally as a dance venue.  The Yarcombe Manor Estate intermixed its freehold estates with the leased Peterhays holding and in 1931 sold a small dairy farm known as Part Peterhayes, which comprised 35 acres and a thatched cottage.  Great Peterhays was sold in 1961 by the Church Commissioners.

Steve Horner adds:   Many thanks for your enquiry and we are always pleased to try and help with such enquiries, it all adds to our pool of knowledge about the history and people of our village.   I looked at the 1841 census and as you know it is possible to decipher that John Wiscombe was living with his son Walter aged 12 and his daughter Charlotte aged 21 - his occupation is shown as a Cobbler.   The location is perhaps Mannings Common and this fits with other properties in the area which would have been covered  by the enumerator walking or perhaps riding from door to door in the area.   If you look at Ancestral Search 1, you will find more information about the cottage(s) at Mannings Common which no longer exist.   You will probably have noted at this time there were other families in the parish with the name Wiscombe, doubtless progeny of your prolific ancestor!   Good luck with your continued research, we always appreciate feedback.




Ancestral Search 22



December 2019

Hi. My great, great grandfather, William Lentell (b.1829) came from Yarcombe and he and his father before (Matthew Lentell) lived at Williambeer Farm on the parish border of Yarcombe and Upottery.   I wondered if you might have any information on the farm in the village book ‘From Monks to the Millennium’.   Many thanks,   Clare Foss

Peter Tarrant writes:   Thanks for your enquiry.   A scan of 'From Monks To The Millennium' reveals 15 references to Williambeer Farm over 7 pages.   There is no mention of the Lentell surname but a John (or J) Lental is mentioned twice, in connection with Knapp Farm and Williambeer Farm (see below).   If you would like a digital copy of the book I believe a modest donation to our village magazine, Yarcombe Voices, would suffice - please contact the editor, Miranda Gudenian.

Knapp is listed with Crokam in 1600. Christian Vincent (widow) is shown as dwelling at Crokam and having the tenure and occupation of Knapp. She died in 1606, leaving her estate to her son, Symon Vincent. The tithe payable was 7d. In the Land Tax of 1727 Mary Paris paid a tax of £1. 7s. 4d. for Knapp. By 1794-5 there was a large amount of saleable timber, worth £58. 12s. 8d, comprising 52 oak and 10 ash; the house is noted as needing repairs. There was a boundary stone marking the extent of Yarcombe Parish with Upottery placed in the River Otter in 1864. Tenants of the Estate included John Lental and Edward Webber. Knapp, with Knight‟s Mill and Rackley, making a total of 76 acres, were sold in 1931.

WILLIAMBEER (also known as Williambeare)
In 1600 this farm is listed with Pipenhays. Williambeare has Thomasine Vincent as the occupier and Pipenhays has Joane Vincent (widow) as the occupier. The combined tithe is 12d., so it is one of the more important properties. The 1727 Land Tax shows a Mr. Gifford as the owner of Williambeer and Richard Stevens occupying Pipenhays. The Timber Survey of the Drake Estate in 1794-5 states that there were 20 oak, 20 ash, 7 beech/sycamore, 7 elm and 1 fir of saleable timber at Williambeer, worth in toto £46. 17s., and 10d, and 18 oak and 36 ash at Pipenhays. The 1798 Land tax shows Lord Heathfield owning Williambeer, with J. Lental as a tenant, and Widow Westlake (with mortgage or lease on years or lives to Lord Heathfield) as the owner of Pipenhays, with J.Loosemoore as the tenant. Williambeer must have had water meadows as the Estate renewed the hatches in 1870. Pipenhays no longer exists as a separate holding. Williambeer with Farthings included was sold in 1931. The sale catalogue shows that Williambeer then consisted of 84 acres and one of the buildings was a pound house with a granary above..

I note that Ancestral Search 8 refers to a similar surname (Lenthal) and was wondering if you have any evidence of a connection..



Ancestral Search 21



October 2019

My name is Heather and I live in Appleton Cheshire, my Gt Gt Grandfather was John Lee who I believe lived according to the 1881 census at Axiviney cottage and then later at the Rising Sun Inn as both the landlord and also a bootmaker.   Do either of these premises exist, and are there any Lee family still in Yarcombe?   I also have Childs, Sartin and Spiller in my family tree, wondered if you could help at all.   Heather Coulson

Steve Horner writes:   Many thanks for your enquiry.   You are correct, I have located your great great grandfather John Lee (aged 29) on the 1881 census living at Axviney cottage with his wife Emily aged 25 and his daughters Blanche aged 6 and Mabel aged four.   This cottage no longer exists, although we have reason to believe was located just below Whitehorns on the scanned map (click here).   As for mention of the Rising Sun public house this set us scratching our heads as there are/were several pubs of that name in the area.   However I have located John Lee as landlord of the Rising Sun in Stapley which is in the neighbouring parish of Churchstanton:

1889/John Lee/& Shoemaker/../../Kellys Directory **

1893/John Lee/& Shoemaker/../../Kellys Directory **

1902/John Lee/& Shoemaker Asst Overseer & Parish Clerk/../../Kellys Directory *

I am not certain if this pub still exists as a licensed premises, but I feel certain the building will still be there.   In the 1901 census he is shown as living in the Rising Sun with his family, Emily his wife and their children, Lucy Mary (12), William George (9), Herbert Jack (9) and Margaret Gillian (3).   In the late 1890s there were several families with the surname Lee in this area but to my knowledge the name has died out.   The family name Spiller crops up very often in the records and a branch of the family still live in Yarcombe.   I hope this is of help to you.   If you give me a few more clues perhaps I can answer more specific questions.

Heather Coulson writes:   Thanks for that information.   My Spillar connection is Mary Bromfield Spillar who married Joseph Board.   They were the parents of Emily, John Lee's wife.   I am sure they were from Churchstanton but could they have relatives in Yarcombe?

Steve Horner replies:   The Spiller family are very much part of Yarcombe history and there are still members of the family in the parish.   I carried out a quick check on and you are correct, your branch of the Spiller family (note spelling) were residents of Churchstanton and Mary married Joseph Board on 23rd August 1852 in the parish church in Churchstanton.   Mary and Joseph (a blacksmith) later in their lives lived in Marsh which is a hamlet of Yarcombe Parish.   I hope this is helpful.

Heather Coulson writes:   Thank you Steve for that, it's amazing there are still members of the family still in the parish.   Would be interesting to find out what branch they are from.

Steve Horner replies:   That is a very difficult question to answer without constructing the whole Spiller tree!   In the Bishopswood village hall there is a very large tree almost covering one wall which amongst others shows a large number of Spillers.   If you are ever in the area it's worth obtaining the key and having a look.   Great to work with you.



Ancestral Search 20



September 2019

I have been tracing our ancestors, the Spiller family back to Yarcombe.   They were living there in the 16th century, if not before.   I understand that there may be some information about them and about the village in the book ‘From Monks to the Millenium’.   I understand that you may be able to put your hands on a copy of the book.   If you can I would love to purchase one or borrow one.   Perhaps I could make a donation to a local charity.   Please let me know if this would be possible.   Kind Regards,   Andre Evans

Miranda Gudenian replies:   Yes, your family has deep roots in Yarcombe, and there is a lot of historical information (here) on the village website.   Local historian Steve Horner may be able to answer a number of your questions about the Spiller family.   Hard copies of the book 'From Monks to the Millennium' are no longer available, though occasionally a second-hand copy does come up for sale.   However, a pdf is available for a donation to Yarcombe Voices, the village magazine.   Do let me know if you would like it.

Andre & Clare Evans respond:   Thanks so much for your help.   This is of great interest to us.   We did find a number of Spillers in the churchyard.   We would like to have a copy of the pdf.   We will make a donation to Yarcombe Voices.

Miranda Gudenian replies:   Thank you so very much.   From Monks to the Millennium was written by a dear friend and neighbour of mine, Ruth Everitt.   Her research continued after its publication in 2000.   Ruth died in 2014 but her historical research is continued by Steve Horner who I have copied in to this email.   I have also copied in Yarcombe Voices' Treasurer, Maggie Tomkinson, who will send you bank details.   I will send the pdf in a separate email today.

Steve Horner adds:   As Miranda has explained I would be delighted to assist further, I assume that you are the same Clare Evans whose initial queries are covered in Ancestral Search 13 here in our Yarcombe website.   Please let me know if you do uncover more of your families connection to our village so that we may add to our pool of knowledge.   Good luck.

Andre & Clare Evans reply:   Thank you Steve, yes this is one and the same Clare Evans.   Clare’s mother was Heather Spiller whose father RG Spiller ran a building business in Chard.   I believe that you can still see the RG Spiller vans running around the area.   We have got as far back as Robert Spiller who lived in Yarcombe between 1579 and 1617.   His father was John Spiller.   We understand that the Spillers were originally Huegenots who came over from the continent for religious reasons.   So far we have no more information than that, but we will keep trying.   I will send a copy of the family tree over.   If my IT skills are up to it, I will do a screenshot.   We are now happily settled in Cornwall having moved around quite a lot. Will be in touch.

Steve Horner writes:   Many thanks for your reply, it is a pleasure to work with you to find out more about our Parish and its history.   Indeed I can remember when RG Spiller had a builders yard and building business in the centre of Chard, although that land now has been built over, the business is now based on servicing and selling kitchen ranges such as Aga and Rayburn they have a very good reputation in the area.   I believe Eagle Plant was also part of the RG Spiller Group but is now a separate business – coincidentally I am about to visit their premises in Chard to hire an excavator for use here next week!    Good luck with your researches into the early origins of the Spiller family.   I might just add that it is a pleasure to work with you, we have responded to several queries in our Ancestral Searches section of the website, never to receive any further response!



Ancestral Search 19



September 2019

Hi, I have recently been doing some research into my family's history and have come to find that my mother and two uncles were evacuated from London to Yarcombe.   In fact, I found a picture that has the three of them in, Jean, Fred and David Crump, on your brilliant website.   I have really enjoyed finding this website and reading about Yarcombe and how it treated its evacuees.   It has left me yearning for more information - would you be able to recommend any other websites or museums, or anywhere I could find more information from, please?   Somerset must have left an impression on my mother as she returned when I was a child and it is where I live now, and only an hour away from Yarcombe.   Lorraine Clements

Steve Horner replies:   I was delighted that you have located our website.   It certainly has attracted a lot of attention and interest over the past year or so.   First may I assume that you have identified your Mother Jean and Uncles Fred and David from the photo of the evacuee class of school children – on our World War II page:   Fred Crump second row first on LHS and your Mother Jean second row last on RHS  - Is this correct please ?   Can you spot them in any other of the photos we have on the website?   I understand David and Fred were twins and were billeted with the Venicott family here in Yarcombe - I need to find out the exact address.   Your Mother was billeted with the Moore family at Four Elms.   The entire class came down from London from St Anne`s Roman Catholic School Lambeth London, with their teachers, Miss Stringer and Miss Marsh.   I have written twice to the school secretary asking for more information but have not had a reply – perhaps this might be another source of information for you.   I may be able to dig up some more information if you can give me more background, for example dates of birth and possible street address where your family lived in London.   Do you have any reminiscences or stories that they told you about their time in our village?   I look forward to hearing from you.

Peter Tarrant adds:   I have posted a random collection of links, primarily intended for local residents, on the Internet Links page, although they often become out of date when the website owners make modifications which are out of my control.   Simply doing a Google search for Yarcombe produces good results, too.   You can also find back issues of our local magazine on the Yarcombe Voices page.   If you have specific questions let us know - Steve Horner, our local expert, is very good at digging out fine detail.

Steve Horner adds:   Almost by accident, certainly a coincidence I have found more information about your uncles Fred and David Crump - see 1939 Register of households.   This register was compiled at the start of the Second World War, 29th September 1939 to be precise, to form the basis of a national identity register.   Fred and David Crump were billeted with Blanche Vellacott at Broadley which is at the top of Yarcombe Hill on the A30 on the way to Honiton.   You will note Fred`s date of birth is shown as 23rd December 1930 and Dave`s as 15th August 1932, so I was wrong - they were not twins!   I have a suspicion that they may have settled down in this area after the war was over.   I hope this is helpful.



Ancestral Search 18



August 2019

Hi, I came across your website about the Yarcombe World Wars which I found very interesting.   My family has very close links to the village.   My father's, my uncle's and my aunt's ashes (respectively Gordon Hayne, David Hayne and Sheila Hayne) are interred in the Baptist churchyard as well as those of my grandmother's cousin and her mother (respectively Lily Salter and Hattie Bailey).   I'm writing because, with my cousin, I shall be visiting my great Uncle's tomb in Ponte Sur Sambre in France (Ernest Bibbs), who was my grandmother's elder brother (Ada Jesse Bibbs).   I notice you have some details of his campaigns in France on the website, do you have any more details of these?   And I was wondering too if the photo you mention of all the family at Waterhayne farm is visible anywhere, or whether you can get hold of a copy?   Nice to think he was remembered by the village last year with a bonfire!   Thanks for any help or details.   Dr Jeremy Hayne

Reminiscences of Hays Farm, written by Jeremy's father Gordon in December 1995 (above)

Steve Horner explains:   Dr Jeremy Hayne contacted me from Milan, he is a relative of Ernest Bibbs, Sergeant in the Machine Gun Corps who was killed on the last day of the war and whose family are descended from John Matthews ( 1798-1879 ) who farmed South Waterhayne.   John Matthews' children were John, Harriet (Hettie) Henry and Mary (Polly) and lived at Hay farm.   Polly married Robert Henry Bibbs and moved to Birmingham where they had one son, Ernest and 6 daughters, Alice, Laura, Ada, (Jesse) Doris, Hettie and Constance.   Ada married George Hayne and their children were Gordon, Peter David and Joyce.   Gordon is the father of Dr Jeremy Hayne.   Although John Mathews senior farmed at South Waterhayne, this family were farming Hay farm, but I await comment from Elaine Munt on this point.

Steve Horner replies:   I was delighted to receive your e-mail explaining your close connection to Yarcombe.   I had a quick look at the website as I am not certain how much information is to be found there.   I have much more information on Ernest Bibbs in my filing system and I am almost certain that the photo of South Waterhayne came from Elaine Munt whom I see regularly, as she is related to the Mathews family.   I shall give you every assistance possible and I wish you well on your trip to Belgium.   I look forward to hearing from you!

Jeremy Hayne responds:   In your first email you said you had more information on Uncle Ernie Bibbs.   When you have a moment perhaps you could send something on, I'd be very grateful.


Referring to above photos, here is a list of all the people.   Matthews, of course, was my Great grandmother's maiden name and I always like the photo of her two brothers looking very dapper (John and Henry - who died young).   John, as you can just see, had a missing left forearm and was, according to my grandmother (Ada Jessie) a bit of a scamp, teasing his nieces.   In the second photo:  Adults from the left: Lily, her mother Hattie, Auntie Dolly (Doris), Auntie Connie, behind Connie there is Auntie Laura though we can't see her very well, Auntie Olive is next to her.   At the back is Uncle Billy Cox (Doris's husband), Grandma Jessie and Cousin Ernie (Laura's eldest), Joyce (my father's eldest sister) is on the end and next to her Joan (Laura's second) - I think she has Gordon (my father) in a head-lock, Connie is holding on to Laurie (Olive's youngest), then Peter and David (my father's elder brothers).

What relationship does your friend Elaine have to the Matthews?   I guess we are related somewhere along the line.

Going back to Ernest and Evelyn it's interesting that my grandmother named my father Gordon Ernest and his elder sister Joyce Evelyn.

Ernest's fiancé Evelyn Ernest Bibb's mother & sisters

Lily & Arthur Salter. Lily took over the running of Hay Farm with her mother Hattie, they are both buried in the Baptist churchyard there. My father and his family spent all their summers there with their mother. I think my aunt Sheila was evacuated there during the war.



Aunty Polly with sister and brother -.John Matthews, Hettie Matthews and Great Grandma Polly


Uncle Ernie


Ernest and mum Polly

 Steve Horner adds:   Some years ago, when I was researching those men from Yarcombe who gave their lives in the great war Elaine Munt kindly permitted me to copy the attached photo (below, left) of the Matthews family who lived at Hay farm.   The photo includes Ernest Bibbs who was killed in action on 10th November 1918.   The key person in this photo is John Mathews (3rd from left in back row) who was the tenant of Hay farm at this time; he was born in 1840 and died in 1921 aged 61.    I have been able to date the photo as being 1910 or thereabouts from the baby, Constance Annie Bibbs who was born in 1908 and I guess she is about 2 years old.   Previously Jeremy Hayne sent us his father’s reminiscences of Yarcombe and in that he explained that John Matthews daughter Mary Jane (Polly) married Robert Henry Bibbs and they moved away to Birmingham, however at every opportunity the family headed back on the train to Yarcombe.   The children of Robert Bibbs and Polly were Ernest*, Alice, Laura*, Ada*, Doris*, Hettie*, Constance*.   Those marked with * are all present in the photo.   (See Jeremy Haynes' comment below.)


Back Row left to right:

Laura May Bibbs married Harold James
Ernest John Benjamin Bibbs Killed in action 10th November 1918
John Mathews Hay farm Died 1921
Ada Jessie Bibbs married (George ) Hayne
George Salter married Emma Helena Hurford Birch Mills
Lily Salter married (AG ) Bailey +
Frank Salter married Emma Summers
Lily Berry married Jones
Olive Kathleen Bibbs married Evan Thomas

Front Row:

Mary Jane Matthews married Robert Henry Bibbs (Polly) holding Connie *
Harriet Darby Matthews married George Salter of Hemyock (Hattie)
Jane Joan Clarke Brought up by Frank Spiller
Julia Anne Matthews married Alfred Berry a Policeman ( from Worcester)


Doris Emma Mary Biddle married Cox
Hettie Lilian Bibbs died 05/01/24 aged 24


*Constance Annie Bibbs on Aunt Polly`s lap died 05/01/1977 aged 6
+Lily Bailey last survivor of this group



In this smaller photo are an elderly couple who I have been able to identify as John and Elizabeth Matthews (nee Newton) at Mount Cottage Yarcombe on 25th March 1845.   This identification is again thanks to Elaine who enlarged the inscription for me.   This is a very early example of a photographer's work and it is certainly the oldest photo we have which was taken in Yarcombe.


The above information came to us from two people Elaine Munt and Jeremy Hayne who are obviously related through the Matthews line and it has taken me some time to work out the relationship.   The key ancestor is John Mathews who married Elizabeth Newton born in Otterford in 1796 and died in 1879, during which time he and his family farmed at South Waterhayne, they had three daughters Mary, Hannah and Elizabeth and two sons John Junior (born 1828) and Henry (born 1835).   John junior was a tenant at Hay farm and he married Mary Jane Darby whose photo was sent to us by Jeremy Hayne, and is already up on the website; it is John Junior's son, again called John, who is shown in the photo and who died in 1921.

Elaine is descended from the second son Henry born 1838, whose photograph Elaine has kindly provided to me (right), as well as manuscript extracts for her family Bible which permitted me to put together the tree (below), which is in my own hand writing.


Finally the piece de resistance:

A portrait of John Matthews which I believe is still hanging in a house in Combe St Nicolas:

It is really quite amazing what can be found on the web !



Jeremy Hayne responds:   Thanks for this.   As you know I visited Ernie Bibbs grave at Ponte Sur Sambre with my cousin and it was a moving experience.   This information is very interesting and it's great to be able to fill in details of the family.   There are just a couple of errors. Ernest Bibbs was killed on the 10 November not the 11. Ernest's next youngest sister was called Olive (Olive Kathleen Bibbs).   I think the Alice you have written (children of Robert Bibbs and Polly) must be a misreading, so all the Bibbs children are in the photo.   It's nice to be able to pick up on another branch of the family, namely that of Elaine (hello!) and I've added all the info onto my family tree.   I attach a couple of photos (below) from my recent trip to France.   One shows me and my cousin Catherine Eddy (second daughter of Joyce Hayne).   Thanks for all you work and interest!


Steve Horner replies:   Many thanks for your prompt reply, it really is a pleasure working with you.   I am also pleased and deeply moved that you paid your respects at the grave of Ernest Bibbs and that his memory lives on.   If we find out any more information about the Bibbs/Matthews family I will pass this on to you.



Ancestral Search 17



August 2019

Hi, I’m wondering if you can give me more information on the Popes who lived in Yarcombe in the 1700s and 1800s and appear to be my ancestors.   My 5th Great Grandparents appear to have been John Pope (born c1767) and Ann Thomas (born c1766, died c1797).   My 4th Great Grandparents Joseph Pope (born c1792) and Ann Cooke (born c1795) married in Yarcombe (August 1816).   My 3rd Great Grandmother Anne Pope (born c1822).   The 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses have various family members living in Axviney, Pithayne & Grovewell Cottages.   I’ve been reading Ruth Everitt’s Book which mentions the arrival (or rearrival??) of the Popes to Yarcombe on page 14, presumably after the death of Ann Thomas, but I’m wondering if there’s any more information on them or their parents.   Any help you can give would be very much appreciated.   Regards,  Dave Johnson

Steve Horner replies:   Many thanks for this information about the Pope family who lived in Yarcombe in the 18th and 19th Centuries, it certainly adds to our store of information.   Apart from the mention in Ruth Everitt's book I have little information to add to that which you have already accumulated.   If you so wish I can take photos of the cottages where your family lived, although from memory Axviney no longer exists.   However perhaps we have a family connection although it’s a long shot.   My great aunt Maria Horner born Lyme Regis in August 1850 and died in Chagford on 22nd February 1923 married Henry JJ Pope who was born in Seaton on 30th December 1839.   Maria owned a haberdashery shop in East Street Taunton and had two children Maria Beatrice Pope and James John Horner Pope who was a photographer in Taunton. 

Dave Johnson replies: