Are you researching a
family history which has connections to Yarcombe? We can post your
enquiry on this page. 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
details by email to the
are especially encouraged to include photographs.
Kindly inform us of any communication and/or
findings so that we may follow and document
your progress, Thank you.
Here is the record of
pages may also be of interest,
Helpers: Click on
photographs to enlarge in a
To reply, click on enquirer's name.
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interested in? Use these
Ancestral Search 45
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
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
Reply to the
Ancestral Search 44
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,
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:
Ancestral Search 43
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
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
Tony Dymond writes:
Many thanks for your efforts.
Ancestral Search 42
Good day, Hoping someone can help with my
mysterious 2nd g.g.mother, and her mother.
Hannah Foster married Joseph Cooper on 3rd
Mar 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.
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
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 Dec 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
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 Apr 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
• Richard as mentioned above
• Mary Vine Perham Born 1840 and
• Thomas Perham born 1842 and died
• John (Archdeacon) Perham born 1844
and died 1928
• George Perham b 1848 died 1938
• Samuel Edwin Perham b 1850 and
• Emma Jane Perham b 1851 and died
• Frederick Perham b 1853 and died
Any information about the family or Colly
Farm would be appreciated. Kind Regards,
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
Ancestral Search 40
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,
Peter Tarrant replies:
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
CORNHILL (also known as
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.
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‟!
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
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
Denslow/Newbery & children
Steve Horner adds:
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.
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:
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
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
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
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
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.
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,
Ancestral Search 39
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.
Peter Tarrant replies:
many references to
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.
OLD THATCH (also known as Birch
Cottages and Mill Cottages)
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
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 Everitts 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.
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 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.
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
Ancestral Search 38
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:
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
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
20 Rev Stanley Jordan Newhouse
21 Page Rich
22 Mr Pavey A Mason
23 Kitty Boyland
24 Mrs Bishop Baptist Chapel
26 Little Emmie Salter
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
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. 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.
Ancestral Search 37
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
interior of the church. No
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.
Peter Tarrant replies:
Thank you so
much 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
feast of Yarcombe) and others further afield
in Devon and Dorset, so it would be a very
useful item. Thanks.
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
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
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
sisters at Yarcombe
Cottage in May 1971
Ancestral Search 36
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?
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
Archie Needs writes:
Miller was born in 1896 and died in 1988.
He is buried in Yarcombe Cemetery
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.
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:
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
Feb 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.
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
Archie Needs replies:
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.
Ancestral Search 35
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
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:
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.
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:
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
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,
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.
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 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.
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:
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 !!
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:
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
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
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
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
I received one letter
transcription, right) from Phyllis
which in the first sentences
provided me with more information
about the evacuees
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
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
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:
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
Ancestral Search 33
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
delighted that you have found our web site
and I hope by now that you have received a
copy of Ruth Everitts 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Ancestral Search 32
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.
Jane Briant, Toronto Canada
This is very exciting. I firmly
believe that you are on the right track.
Please look closely at
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:
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.
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
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
Best regards, Jane
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
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
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
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 Everitts 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
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.
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
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
Ancestral Search 31
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
Ancestry.co.uk. 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
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 Ancestry.co.uk. 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
Peter Tarrant writes:
Thanks for your enquiry. I have
passed your request for a copy of "From
Monks to the Millennium - A History of
and you should hear from her soon.
Ancestral Search 13
you can click on Clare's name at the foot of
her enquiry to follow up your Huguenots
Ancestral Search 30
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.
a look at the catalogue of the
Estate Sale of 1931, which Barbara
Salter kindly permitted me to
The only mention of Mount Pleasant
is a reference to your water supply,
(see page 2 of the particulars of
Livenhayes farm. right),
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
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
The Plan attached to the
1931 sale particulars does
not exist in the copy I
Survey maps for the late
1880s thru 1909 can be found
(see the example, right, for
Marsh which we needed for
the Affordable Housing
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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:
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
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 Oct 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
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
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
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
Jane Arni replies:
you for the information on the index for the
book on Yarcombe. Miranda’s has
winged a digital version to me and I’ve have
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
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
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.
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:
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.
thanks for your reply, I will leave it to
Jane Arni to reply.
Ancestral Search 27
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
Miranda Gudenian writes:
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
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.
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
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.
you have contacted us. I have
sent a photo of the plaque that you
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
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
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
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
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!
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
I am sorry I cannot help more with your
questions, however perhaps others will have
some clues for you.
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
You are quite right, yours is a difficult
tree to work out. However, I spent
about an hour on the Ancestry.com 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.
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 Jan
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 Feb 1765
Hannah Beer, widow. John Vincent was
described of Dennington, he made a detailed
Will, d.1812. Hannah died 12 Jan 1822.
Benjamin Vincent b.5 Feb 1700 and m. 21 Sept
1725 Rachel Denham at Pitminster. Their
children baptised at Yarcombe. Benjamin died
16 Dec 1764 and Rachel died 13 March 1769.
James Vincent b.22 Jan 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 Feb 1724
Robert Vincent b.1 Oct 1587 and m. 27
November 1625 Jane Way. They had many
children. Robert died 21 Jan 1669. Jane died
4 Jan 1662.
Prudence Dare b. 5 March 1658 married James
Vincent about 1680.
Robert Dare b.24 Jan 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
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
Many thanks for all your interest.
Please let me know if you find any new
Ancestral Search 23
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
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:
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
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
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
(also known as Higher, Middle,
Little and Haines Hay)
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
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
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,
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.
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
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
Ancestral Search 22
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,
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,
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
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
I note that
Ancestral Search 8 refers to a similar
surname (Lenthal) and was wondering if you
have any evidence of a connestion..
Ancestral Search 21
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.
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
scanned map (click
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
1893/John Lee/& Shoemaker/../../Kellys
1902/John Lee/& Shoemaker Asst
Overseer & Parish Clerk/../../Kellys
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
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?
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 Ancestry.uk.com 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:
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Ancestral Search 19
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.
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.
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
Voices page. If you have
specific questions let us know - Steve
Horner, our local expert, is very good at
digging out fine detail.
accident, certainly a coincidence I have
found more information about your uncles
Fred and David Crump - see
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
What relationship does
your friend Elaine have to the Matthews?
I guess we are related somewhere along the
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
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
Ernest and mum
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.
Jeremy Haynes' comment below.)
Back Row left to right:
Laura May Bibbs married Harold
Ernest John Benjamin Bibbs Killed in
action 10th November 1918
John Mathews Hay farm Died 1921
Ada Jessie Bibbs married (George )
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
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
Julia Anne Matthews married Alfred
Berry a Policeman ( from Worcester)
Doris Emma Mary Biddle married
Hettie Lilian Bibbs died 05/01/24
*Constance Annie Bibbs on Aunt
Polly`s lap died 05/01/1977 aged 6
+Lily Bailey last survivor of this
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:
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
Ancestry.co.uk 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!
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
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 (Aug 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.
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
Dave Johnson replies:
reading, I also believe Axviney no longer
exists but any photos of Grovewell and
Pithayne Cottages would be very welcome.
I’m currently unaware of any links to
Chagford, Seaton or Taunton but have found
links so far to Charmouth, Tiverton and
Crediton, more through the descendants of
John Pope and his 2nd wife, Elizabeth
Dolling. I haven’t gone far down
those links so anything is possible.
Overall, I’m looking to firm up some of the
information I have gleaned as I can’t find
multiple firm sources though I do appear to
have DNA links through John Pope.
Any information or photos will be gratefully
Peter Tarrant adds:
There are photographs of Grovewell Cottage
Photograph Page 8,
obtained from Mary Copp's collection.
Pithayne Cottage is also referenced in
Ancestral Search 12.
for the prompt response, Peter Tarrant has
directed you to a photo of Grovewell
Cottage. There are two Pithaynes, Higher – which is quite high
status building and Lower Pithayne.
If you have a copy of the census record
which shows the entry for your ancestor and
his family I might be able to identify the
dwelling more readily. If you
ever find a link back to my “Popes” please
let me know. Charmouth,
Lyme and Seaton are all coastal villages not
Dave Johnson replies:
Here is the 1871
Census record with Joseph Pope (4th
Great Grandfather) at aged 80 living
with his daughter and family in what
I assume is a lower Pithayne
censuses have him living in Axviney
Cottage and 5th great grandfather
John Pope in Grovewell.
Peter, thank you for the link to the
photo. Funnily enough,
the photo was how I found your website in the first place.
I was searching for the various
addresses I’d found on the various
19th century censuses and found the
photo which then brought me to the
1871 Census record
Peter Tarrant writes:
Thank you for your comments.
Steve and I are very pleased that the
website, and the Ancestral Searches page in
particular, is proving so useful.
Page 8 I have posted a few shots of
Lower Pithayne, firstly from a southerly
aspect, then from the east.
Ancestral Search 16
Hello. I am asking if you can
help with a bit of tracing on the maternal
side of my family tree. As you see my name is Angus Passmore.
My maternal grandfather was Alfred Samuel
Lawrence born it appears in Yarcombe around
1883/84, his father was Alfred Richard
Lawrence and his mother Rhoda or Rodha (as
it appears on the 1861 Census).
It would seem that my grandfather may have
been born outside marriage as the birth is
registered in both names? Rodha
was born in Yarcombe around 1850/51.
Her mother (my GGGGM) was Charlotte Spiller
born 1820/21 again in Yarcombe, she is
listed as widow in 1861 Census.
Rodha it appears had two sisters and one
brother. In addition there are
three other males listed on the Census, two
of their job descriptions would indicate
farm workers. Unfortunately the
address is unclear but the last word could
be “farm” but that is only an educated
guess. Any information would be gratefully
Your enquiry on the Yarcombe website is
most interesting and I am certain we can
The entry in the 1861 census can be read as
Charlotte Spiller aged 41 Widow farmer of 20
acres employing I man and 2 boys born
Rhoda daughter aged 10
Thomas son aged 4
Thomas son aged 2
William Locke aged 77 Boarder (in fact Charlotte`s father)
William Pavey aged 18
William Locke aged 20 Cattle man
Please see this extract from Ruth Everitt`s history of Yarcombe
“From Monks to the Millennium“:
LIVENHAYES (also known as
Levenhays or Livehayne)
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Livenhayes farm house is a most wonderful
old building which has recently been sold.
At that time it was owned by Lord Heathfield
and thus Charlotte was a tenant farmer.
Charlotte seems to have been a most
redoubtable lady who lived to a great age
and who married on several occasions. There
are still several Spillers living
She was born on 21st May 1820 in
Churchstanton Devon - a neighbouring parish
to Yarcombe - daughter to William Locke and
I think her first marriage was to ? Sparke
in Honiton in the 1st quarter of
However her first husband must have died
quite soon after this marriage and she then
married Thomas Spiller on the 3rd
June 1851 in the Parish of Wilton Somerset.
We can then deduce from the 1871 census
she was married to Robert
Edwards aged 70:
She was still living at Livenhayes in 1891
with Robert's three children and two of her
own, Naomi and Thomas. I suspect that this
marriage to Robert Edwards took place in
Exeter in the 2nd quarter of
She was still living at Livenhayes in 1891.
She possibly died in 1894.
Now turning to the Lawrence side of the
family, Alfred Richard Lawrence married Rhoda
Spiller in 1871 and in the 1871 census they
were living in Combe St Nicholas.
In the 1881 census they were living in North
Common Cottage Yarcombe (just below my farm)
with three children, Pamela 7, Elizabeth 5, and
In the 1891 census only Alfred is
mentioned (I assume Rhoda had died by this
date) with his children Pamela 17, Ernest 13,
and Samuel aged 7, a perfect fit with your
suggestion. He was born in about
1883 but I would warrant he was not born
outside the marriage! Do you
have a copy of his birth certificate for me
to examine please?
Altogether a fascinating part of our village
I do hope that this is helpful.
Miranda Gudenian adds:
was mentioned in
Pevsner; a most beautiful ancient house.
Angus Passmore responds:
Thank you very much for your detailed
response, you have filled in a lot of blanks
in regards to my ancestors. I
think it may well warrant a visit to
Yarcombe in the near future.
Incidentally a long time ago we lived in
Dunkeswell without being aware of how close
it was to the family history.
Alfred Lawrence my grandfather married a
Seaton girl Alice Stembridge who was the
daughter of Sam (Long Service RN) and Emelia
(Nee Bull, a Crewkerne family). Alfred went
on to fight and survive WW1 as a Royal
Engineer in Mesopotamia, after which he
became a builder in Seaton and constructed
several properties that still exist in
Seaton. He eventually died of
Addison’s disease potentially triggered we
think by Malaria contracted during WW1.
Thanks again for
all you help.
Ancestral Search 15
Hi, very impressed with your
site and your ancestry pages. My great grandparents x 4,
Hugh Pavey and Joan Trenchard were married
at Yarcombe on the 23rd June, 1797.
They had two children William and Frances
Pavey (my great grandmother x 3).
Frances was baptised in Yarcombe on the 3rd
August, 1800. Any information
that you may have about Hugh Pavey or his
family would be greatly appreciated. I have already been
considerably assisted by Michael Haynes with
the Trenchard family following his earlier
post on your ancestry pages. Many thanks,
I will be very pleased to help you in any
way possible with your researches.
Let me begin by explaining that we are very
fortunate in Yarcombe because much of the
land in the parish has been in the hands of
one family since the time of Sir Francis
Drake who started accumulating land
hereabouts since 1582. The
estate records were deposited in the Devon
County Records office in about 1950 and thus
remain as a source of our knowledge, and
from which my dear departed friend Ruth
Everitt was able to compile her book "From
Monks to the Millennium".
I therefore attach a scan
of the relevant pages of this history which
contain references to the Pavey family and
their land holdings. The first mention is of
one Charles Pavey who was occupier of
Broadley in 1600 so your family have been
well embedded in this area for many
Let me know if I can further assist
you, sight of your tree might give me some
David Thomas replies: Thank you so much for the very prompt
response and the useful information
provided. We have a lot to be grateful to
Ruth Everitt for and people like you who are
happy to share the knowledge of past records
Ancestral Search 14
a great site, thank you. I'm
currently researching Pattimore and Dommett.
I have a marriage certificate for James
Pattimore and Caroline Dommett, married in
1892 in Yarcombe church. Any
information regarding either would be
fantastic thank you.
Thank you for visiting the Yarcombe website. Like you, we are keen to
learn more about those who have lived in our
village. I can immediately
provide you with two documents (below) that
will help trace your ancestors.
The first is an extract from the record of
Baptism in Otterford church.
Caroline was baptised 16th July
1871, daughter of Thomas (a cobbler) and
Louisa (? poor writing) Dommett.
The second is a copy of the 1881 census for
Yarcombe. Caroline is shown as
living in Marsh - a hamlet in the parish of
Yarcombe - with her mother, Louisa (now a
widow) and her five siblings.
Her father Thomas must have died within the
previous two years - James her brother is
aged 1. Her mother Louisa is
shown as having been born in Buckland St
Mary, an adjacent Parish in Somerset to Otterford. Yarcombe is also
adjacent to Otterford but across the border
in Devon. At this stage I
cannot find any more about Caroline.
However if you can scan and send her
marriage certificate to me I can carry out
more research for you into her husband James
Pattimore. Incidentally how
are you related to Caroline ?
Mandy Trimby replies: Thank you so much for that.
Caroline was my great grandmother.
I know she died at the young age of 43 in
Taunton and James her husband was a coal
porter in Taunton. Not sure how
they ended up here though. I
believe the witnesses were Fowler.
Can't seem to find a birth certificate for
James although he is in the workhouse in
1871 and 1881. Thank again for
all your help. (Marriage
Yes, you are correct - James was in
the Union workhouse as a child in
Chard in 1881 (Document 5).
The mention of Union confirms that
Caroline who lived in Union no5 in
Marsh, that this was also a
workhouse. In 1871
(Document 4) he was living in Crewkerne
with his mother Sarah Jane Pattimore.
He was aged 4 at the time and was
born in Crewkerne. No
sign of his father Simeon who
perhaps had died?
I thought you may be interested to see the
1911 census (Document 6)
I guess you know the rest of your tree.
If I find any further record of the Dommett
family in Otterford I will let you know.
Ancestral Search 13
name is Clare Evans. I am descended from the
Spiller family in Yarcombe and more recently
in Taunton. My mother’s name was
Heather Jean Spiller. I have
started researching the Spiller family
history and have got as far back as Robert
Spiller, 1579-1617 of Yarcombe.
His wife was Margere Colliar, 1583-1614.
If you have any more information on this
family, I would be very grateful to receive
it. There is a family story that
indicates that the Spillers may have come
from the Low Countries as Huguenots, for
religious reasons. I would like to find
a copy of the local history book, if this is
family are one of the prominent
names in the history of our Parish
and there are still members of the
family living hereabouts.
I had a quick look in the book "From
Monks to the Millennium" for early
references to your family and below
is an extract for your information which
shows Zachary Spiller who left his
properties of North Waterhayne and
Crimshayes to his wife Alice.
This suggest to me that the author
of the book Ruth Everitt must have
found a copy of his will in the
Devon County Records office or in
the National Archives in Kew, I am
not certain if there is a connection
to your branch of the family.
I also looked on Ancestry.com - of
which I am a member - and noted that
your family tree is there on open
access. The father of
your Robert Spiller (1579-1617) was
John Spiller born Yarcombe 1528.
married in 1578 and died in Yarcombe
1582. From this it is obvious to me
that the Spiller family were classed
as Gentry in those far off days and
must have taken a important part in
the development of our community.
You may also be aware that Sir
Francis Drake has a very close
connection to our parish so your
ancestors were alive when Queen
Elizabeth rewarded Sir Frances with
land in the parish in 1582.
be delighted to assist further with
your researches, however it will
need a stroke of luck to go further
back than the birth of John Spiller
in 1528. The book
I refer to "From Monks to the Millennium"
is now out of print but does
occasionally show up on Amazon. I hope
this helps, however if you do find
yet more information about the
Spiller family please post this on
our website. Good
North Waterhayne once belonged
to Zachary Spiller (gent). In
his will he left his wife,
Alice, his tenement at North
Waterhayne and Crimshayes for
life and afterwards to his son,
John. In 1600 North Waterhayne
is shown as two tenements
occupied by Robert Spiller. It
is combined with Farm Ground,
whose occupants were John and
Alice Spiller (widow). North
Waterhayne Farmhouse is a Grade
II listed building, constructed
in the early sixteenth with
later sixteenth and seventeenth
century improvements. The
original early sixteenth century
house was of three-room and
through-passage plan. Originally
the house was open to the roof
from end to end, divided by low
partitions and heated by an open
hearth fire. Around the mid
sixteenth century the small
inner room was floored over and
a chamber added above; this was
probably reached by a ladder.
There is a fine intersected beam
ceiling with richly moulded
beams. The bedroom in the East
wing had a built in toilet (garderobe)
cupboard. The seat remains to
date, although the floor has
been made up underneath.
Originally the waste dropped
down through a cavity (still
inside the wall) to the ground
floor and into a pipe that went
through the garden. This bedroom
could be reached via a stone
circular staircase leading up
from beside the inglenook
fireplace in the room below.
In 1727 Sarah Spiller (daughter
of Zachary) was the occupier of
Crymeshays. This was probably
the site shown on the 1817
Enclosure Map in a field known
as „Grimsey‟ on the left hand
side of the driveway, just
before the turning to the main
farm yard. Thomas Bovett (-the
Bovett family supported
Monmouth-) was the occupier of
the larger Estate, but by 1794
the Drake Estate owned all the
properties at North Waterhayne;
the saleable timber was 88 oak,
62 ash and 54 elm. The Land Tax
of 1798 shows Bowyer‟s
Waterhayne tenant as William
Jennings, who paid a tax of 2s.
½d, Smythe‟s Waterhayne, tenant
William Wale, who paid a tax of
£4. 16s. 9½d. (this was the
present day North Waterhayne)
and Cross Waterhayne (Crymeshays),
tenant John Seward, who paid £2.
14s. 8½d. By 1810 Cross
Waterhayne and Smythe‟s
Waterhayne have been combined
and William Jennings is the sole
tenant. Bowyer‟s Waterhayne is
separately listed, but has the
same tenant, William Jennings.
The North Waterhayne driveway
used to continue towards
Crisland, bearing left half way
along the drive and joining with
what was once a larger road
starting near Four Elms. The
Estate still owns North
Waterhayne and it was
substantially modernised in the
mid twentieth century.
Waterhayne Cottage is on the
left hand side of the entrance
to North Waterhayne and was
formerly a farm worker‟s
cottage; it is now privately
Clare Evans replies:
Thank you so much for
your very informative e-mail. This
has been of great interest to me and
my family. I will try to
pursue this further and intend to
contact the Huguenot Society in
order to try to establish whether
the family came from the Low
Countries originally. If
I find out anything further, I will
let you know. I would
also like to visit Yarcombe and to
see the house that Zachary Spiller
left to his wife Alice.
Delighted that we are able to help
you. I have just looked
up the derivation of the name
English: occupational name for a
tumbler or jester, from an agent
derivative of Middle English
spill(en) ‘to play, jest, or sport’
(Old English spilian). English:
nickname for a destructive or
wasteful person, from an agent
derivative of the homonymous Middle
English spill(en) ‘to spoil, waste,
or squander’ (Old English spillan).
German and Dutch: occupational name
for a spindle maker, a variant of
Spille with the addition of the
agent suffix -er. In some cases a
variant of German Spieler.
North Waterhayne farm, which Zachary
Spiller left to his wife Alice, now
belongs to the Sheafhayne Estate and
the tenancy is due to change at the
end of March which may give you an
opportunity to look over the house
at that time - if I can help please
let me know. I also
strongly recommend that you obtain a
copy of the Will of Zachary Spiller
from the Devon County records
office. I set out below
a copy of the Index of Wills held in
Exeter - if you do obtain a copy I
would be most interested to make a
copy for my own records.
AJP Skinner bequest 1934
Type of Document: 'W' - Will, 'A' -
Administration, 'I' - Inventory, 'O'
Form of Document: 'or' - Original,
'co' - Copy, 'ab' - Abstract or
Extract, 'tr' - Transcript, 'le' -
Please let me know if I can help
Ancestral Search 20
Ancestral Search 12
stumbled upon your excellent site whilst
researching the Mullett family tree.
They were resident at Whitehorns and Beacon
farms. I see there was a Mullett
mentioned in the memorial to those who lost
their lives in WW1 in the Baptist church on
the site. My father is
registered as being born 3rd June 1919 at
Beacon farm Yarcombe. My
grandfather William Mullett (married to
Grace Wakley) is registered as resident
Beacon farm in 1911 census. The
1891 & 1901 census shows the Mullett family
as registered at Pithayne Cottage.
The 1861 shows my great grandfather Charles
Mullett (married to Sarah Miller) registered
at the Mill in Yarcombe.
Evidently the Mulletts were long term
residents of Yarcombe but I cannot figure
out the relationship between the people and
all these different residences.
I have tried to track down a copy of the
book, "From Monks to the Millenium" but it
is out of print. I hope you can
help. Kind regards,
Here is a map
(click to enlarge)
of our Parish identifying
the various house/cottages
where your family lived in
you are correct, there is a
W Mullett mentioned on the
Baptist Chapel memorial,
however this is an
indication he served King
and Country, he is not
recorded as “Our Brave Dead”.
This may be your Grandfather
William Mullett ????
check the spelling of Grace
Wakley please, it is
confusing there are two
families with different
spellings Wakley and Wakely
in our records.
Just out of interest do you
know when your family left
the village ?
Let me start
with some historical
background for you; a large
part of Yarcombe parish was
and still is held by one
family, which started when
Queen Elizabeth 1 presented
to Sir Francis Drake a part
of the Manor.
The estate grew under
careful management by Sir
descendants – Sir Frances
did not have children. Whitehorns was part of the
estate until it was sold
with other properties in
1931 when the sitting tenant
Mr F Mullett purchased the
until about 1880 Whitehorns
was an outlying part of the
adjoining Parish of Membury
which does cause confusion!
In more recent times the
Yarcombe Estate repurchased
Whitehorns which is a
beautiful thatched house
nestling in a quiet valley.
Please see the map (right)
which indicates the
properties where your
I do hope we shall have more
details about your family to
post into our website.
Joan Berry writes:
I think that
Thomas Wakely may have been
a relative of my Godfather
(George Wakely, who was a
Thatcher) but unfortunately
I know nothing of his family
apart from the fact that
they were connected to the
Mullet family of Whitehorns
Below is a scan of
the 1901 census covering Whitehorns
which shows the Yarcombe Wakelys in
residence. Up until
about 1880 Whitehorns was an
outlying area of Membury Parish.
The Walter Wakely I am researching
came into Yarcombe from Otterford
and thus I suspect not connected to
your family –all very confusing but
very interesting none the less.
Miranda Gudenian writes:
Chris Mullett may be
interested to know that one of his
family, Bill Mullett, owned the
house I now live in, The Beacon (as
it became known in the 1970s). I
would have to check our deeds but I
think the house was sold after Mr
Mullett's death in the early or
Miranda Gudenian adds:
memory serves me correctly Bill
Mullett lived in one half of the
house - which was turned into two
cottages when the Estate bought the
place in the late 19th century - and
he let the other half. Again if my
memory is correct Bill Mullett
purchased the house in 1931 in the
Estate sale of properties.
Both Bill (Boy) Doble and Frank
Wale remembered Bill Mullett.
Kirth Gensen writes:
been going through several boxes of
stuff I’ve inherited from my eldest
brother and found this pamphlet and
press cuttings about Yarcombe:
Thanks a million for
all this information about our
Parish. There is a lady
in the village called Barbara Salter
who remembers Mr Mullett from
Whitehorns, and the processional
cross for which he donated the wood
is still in use in the church.
The booklet is also most
tells me that the author was Freddie
Orchard who was the organist in the
church in about 1969/70 and that
Bishop John Armstrong, who had hand
in the research for the booklet, was
Vicar of Yarcombe at that time and
was previously Bishop of Bermuda.
This enabled me to trace Freddie
Orchard through a genealogy website, and I came up with the
Frederick Theodore A Orchard was a
school master who was born on the 1st
January 1904 and died in Honiton in
the second quarter of 1982.
His wife Gwendoline Mary Orchard was
born on 9th December 1903
and is buried in the Yarcombe
churchyard. Bishop John
Armstrong was obviously quite a
character. He was a
chaplain in the Royal Navy for 28
years and rose to be Chaplain of the
Fleet and served in this position
Immediately upon his retirement from
the Royal Navy he was consecrated
Bishop of Bermuda in 1963 where he
served until 1970. It
can be assumed he then retired to
Yarcombe where he was the Parish
Priest for some years.
He died in 1992. Barbara
told me he was very high church but
“we soon put him right about those
I also attach
(right, click to enlarge)
a photo of your family gravestone in Yarcombe churchyard which you may
Please keep in
contact and if you require any
further information I shall be
pleased to help.
Ancestral Search 17.
Ancestral Search 11
What a find – the records of
Yarcombe. I have traced the
ancestors of the Trenchards from Sampford
Moor in Somerset (my great grandparents)
back to one John Trenchard in Yarcombe.
I have approx dates of his birth, namely
1700, and death approx 1788, with records of
his marriage to Mary Satterley m 14/2/1737,
marriage to Sarah Spiller, m 30/10/1753, and
finally, possibly, Elizabeth Board, m 5 Feb
1788. Although I have some dates
of birth and death for these ladies, I would
appreciate it please if you could provide
these accordingly. Also their
parentage. My biggest search however is
for John Trenchards parents etc, as he is
the last one my tree.
I have had a quick look at your
enquiry. Trenchard is not a name
which can readily be associated with the
Parish of Yarcombe in East Devon.
The records show John Trenchard did marry
Mary Spiller - a local name - on 30th
October 1753 - John's third wife.
Have you tried looking at the
Trenchard family of Charminster?
Sorry I cannot help further, however if
you have other clues please let me know.
Thank you for your recent reply expressing
interest in what I have found out about
Yarcombe Trenchards. I have
attached a file (see below), which I hope
you can open giving data on John Tenchard
from 1700 down to the latter Trenchards from
Yarcombe. If this works for you
then I can put together more family
descendants, who are not part of my
ancestral tree, but nevertheless come from Yarcombe. Please let me know if
you would like me to repeat the exercise for
the other Trenchards.
Michael, I am
at present (Oct 2019) researching the
history of my house and in the course of my
work I have come across the name John
Saturley who is mentioned in the Will of
Henry Willie who died in 1792 (PCC PROB
11/1226). Henry Willie possessed
land holdings in the adjoining parishes of
Yarcombe, Otterford and Upottery amongst
which he held Woodhayne (where we now live)
variously called at that time Woodend and
Woodhayes. In his will is“I give
and xxxx to William Willie son of John
Willie our cottage late Saturleys in North
The estate map of 1809 shows John Saturlays
in green on North Common (just below the
right hand punch hole on the map below,
From your own family tree posted on Ancestry
I note that the Saturley family originated
in Bovey Tracey starting with Nathaniel
(born 1605) who married Hannah Price; their
son Simon was born 1672 in Yarcombe and
Simon`s daughter Mary (born 1703 in Yarcombe)
who married John Trenchard. Thus
it would seem to me that the Saturley family
were well established in Yarcombe from 1672
through to Mary (died 1747) and her siblings
It puzzles me that there is no mention of
the Saturleys that I can find other than the
cottage which belonged to John Saturley
mentioned in Henry Willie`s will.
Perhaps you may have more information to
hand that I might study.
Ancestral Search 10
am researching my husband’s family and have
just found the Yarcombe webpage with
all the interesting information it
contains. I was particularly interested in
the Ancestral Searches page and the
reply comments by Steve Horner to Lefayre
Palmer’s enquiries regarding the Spiller
family ( Ancestral Search
My husband is Lyndon Spiller and below I
give details of his family tree as far as we
have been able to ascertain.
Timon (alt Tymon)
Spiller 1743 – 1804 Yarcombe
+ Sarah Moore
Abraham Spiller 1765 – 1834 Yarcombe
Elizabeth Clarke 1772-1842
Naboth Spiller 1802-1878 Yarcombe –
died in Rose Cottage Chard
Eliza Knight 1816-1905
Naboth Spiller 1845-1918 Combe St
Nicholas died in Clyst St George
Mary Warren 1851-1906
John Spiller 1885 – 1975 Wandsworth
Common/Clyst St George/Canada/ New
Zealand/died in Melbourne, Aus
Ruby Baker 1881-1977
William Clarence Spiller 1918- 2010
+Nada Veronica Tasker
Lyndon Stuart Spiller
+Julie Lynette King
note that Timon and Abraham Spiller are
listed in the Index to From Monks to The
Millennium and wonder if it is possible
to gain any further information about any of
our family members.
Any help that you can give will be really
Steve Horner writes:
I am delighted to be able to try to help
you. There are still a good
number of Spillers living hereabouts,
however I strongly suspect their knowledge
of the ancestors does not go back more than
one or two generations! It would
certainly be a coup if we could find a
Yarconian (or is it a Yarcombite?) who is
related to one of the Pilgrim Fathers.
Do you have a copy of ”From Monks to the
Millennium”? If you do not
please look at the index to any particular
Spiller and I will scan the entry for you.
Julie Spiller replies:
Thanks for your
prompt response. No, I do not
have a copy of the book but note that
Abraham Spiller and Timon Spiller are both
listed. Amy Spiller could be Abraham’s
daughter and there is also a Robert – but
then there were so many Roberts in the
church register that it could be any one of
them. I am currently working my way
through the register and finding that there
were so many Spillers listed as well
families who married into the Spiller clan.
If you could scan a copy of relevant
information for Abraham and Timon it may
give me some background information.
Unfortunately we will not be any help with
your dream of finding someone who is related
to the Pilgrim Fathers. Our grandfather
left England later and finally settled in
Australia – which is where we are living –
even though my email may suggest USA.
Steve Horner replies:
See Extracts 1 to 4, below.
One reason that we know so much about our
local history is that most of the land in
the Parish belongs to one family, who are
descended from Sir Francis Drake of Armada
fame, and this family or perhaps their
lawyers presented all the estate records to
the Devon County Record Office.
From a quick glance your family appear to
have Baptist connections. The
Baptist Chapel is still a thriving
congregation. If I can help
further please let me know.
During the nineteenth century
Marsh was a „hive of industry‟.
The Census of 1841 gives the
following trades, all based in
the village of Marsh:-
Richard Wyatt - Baker.
James Glade - Horse Keeper,
John Stone - Wheelwright,
William Spiller - Baker,
Thomas Stone - Blacksmith,
John Spiller - Horse Keeper.
Thomas Hurford - Carpenter.
There would have been no
shortage of employment with a
major coaching inn, "The
Heathfield Arms", close by. The
group of cottages opposite "The
Flintlock" was once used in
conjunction with "The Heathfield
Arms". One of the middle
cottages, known as "Wayside",
had a large archway and,
although this has now been
blocked, remnants of the
composite stones can still be
seen. Originally the carriages
were able to pass through the
arch and make an overnight stop.
Sleeping accommodation was
provided in rooms immediately
above the arch for the Coaching
Company‟s employees. An
Indenture of 1835 shows that
there was a dwelling house,
smith‟s shop and office and a
messuage, dwelling house,
wheelwright‟s shop and office on
a piece of land known as "Lower
Shop Close". The cottage next
door to "Wayside" is known as
"Lower Shop Cottage" and at the
opposite end of the terrace is a
cottage known as "The Old
Forge". Probably these are the
premises referred to in the
Indenture. On the other side of
the Marsh road there are two
other older cottages, Ivy and
Rose Cottages. Latterly one of
these was inhabited by Sparke,
who was a carpenter, so maybe
they were the two cottages
listed separately on the 1841
Census sheet, housing J. Spiller
and T.Hurford, but there can be
no certainty. Lye House was once
the home of the garage owner,
Douglas Leach. The other
properties on the Marsh road are
MARSH CHAPEL (now Old Chapel
It was in 1849 that services
were held in a house lent by
Timon Spiller. After two months
the house became too small for
the congregation and the
spacious club room was taken,
the rent being paid by a Mr.
Crabb and a friend. The building
was legally licensed so that the
services would not be
In 1854 the Meeting House was
erected on behalf of the
Yarcombe Baptist Church for the
sum of £4. The trustees were
mostly local:- Joel Knight -
Yeoman, Richard Coleman -
Yeoman, James Knight - Yeoman,
Charles Crabb - Cooper, Henry
Bayell Lockyer - Yarcombe
(Minister), William Bond -
Yeoman, Chardstock and Richard
Keeping, Chard. Services were
held regularly until the Chapel
was closed in the 1970s. The
property was sold in 1981 and is
now the Old Chapel House.
Broadley was mentioned in the
Court Rolls of Henry VI and the
name is probably a corruption of
Broad Lea (wide clearing and
field). Charles Pavey was the
occupier of the tenement and
cottage at Broadley in 1600. The
tithe he was required to pay was
8d. The owner in 1727 was Robert
Newbery and in 1798 Broadley was
combined with Brimbley. Timon
Spiller was the tenant of Lord
Heathfield. It was noted in the
Estate Timber Survey that
Brimbley house needed repairs
and that there were 46 oak, 54
ash and 16 elm on the
properties. In 1810 Abraham
Spiller was the tenant of
Broadley and Brimbley and it was
in 1827 that Greenwood‟s map
showed an asylum clearly marked
close to Broadley. However, no
documentation has been found to
support the location of such an
establishment there. It could
have been a private secure
house, but there was an asylum
at Broadhayes, Stockland, so
perhaps it was an error by the
mapmakers. Abraham Spiller was
still the tenant in the
Electoral Roll of 1832-3, when
Broadley was shown as a rented
estate of over £100 per annum.
An interesting field name was
listed in the crop book of the
Yarcombe Manor Estate under
Broadley; it was Higher Old
Church of Bushams.
Two external stone plaques on
buildings at Broadley Farm bear
the initials of Thomas Trayton
Fuller Eliott Drake, who
inherited the Estate in 1813 and
who showed great interest in its
administration during the
remaining 57 years of his life.
There is some documentary
reference to a fire at Broadley
and perhaps some features in the
kitchen bear witness to such an
The large fireplace has Hamstone
jambs which support a fine and
massive monolithic bressumer cut
from the same material. Its
girth is no less than 9ft. 6ins.
and its exposed depth, 31ins. An
ogee moulding is finely carved
to soften the angle between the
front planes of jambs and
bressumer and those of the
recess. The actual fireplace
opening measures 8ft. 2ins. by
4ft. 6ins., and now holds a
modern cooker. Carved into the
upper left front of the stone
bressumer is what must have been
a small cuboidal cupboard, any
earlier wooden fittings such as
a door having disappeared long
ago. Perhaps this was a cupboard
for the storage of salt in
pottery vessels? The style of
the fireplace surround indicates
a Tudor or early seventeenth
century date, but it is unusual
to find such a grand one in a
farmhouse. Until relatively
recently it had been covered in
dark-coloured paint. The
features which may bear out the
possibility of replacement due
to fire damage are the doors and
the beams. The timbers in the
kitchen ceiling are sawn rather
than adzed and chiselled, as
would have been the case in the
Tudor period or the seventeenth
century. They are not chamfered.
In other words, they are typical
of what might have been made in
the early nineteenth century.
The doors are mostly of the
traditional farmhouse plank and
batten type of the same period,
with contemporary ironwork
hinges and latches. Proof of
these conjectured dates is the
poker-burnt..... "1827" on the
main door to the kitchen. In
fact that year is indented twice
on the same door, one image
being upside down. Could it be
that this celebrates completion
of the work of restoration of a
fire-damaged part of the farm?
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 chimneyshaft
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
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
In 1600 three properties were
listed; a cottage combined with
Cornhill and two cottages
occupied by Elynor Witcombe
(widow). In those days the road
(or trackway) would have been
HIGHER MOORHAYNE (also known as
Elianor Legett paid a Land Tax
on a property on this site in
1727. It was usually included
with Cornhill and sometimes the
Land Tax was combined. In 1766 a
Jacob Legget was killed by a
horse and slide. (Slides were
used instead of carts on steep
slopes.) Could he have lived at
Legot‟s Moorhayne? In 1798 Widow
Bond was the owner, with John
Spiller as the occupier. It is
probable that the Yarcombe
Estate had a lease or mortgage
at this time, as it is listed in
the Estate Timber Survey with
another cottage at Lower
Moorhayne as having 10 oak, 17
ash and 4 elm ready for sale.
John Spiller was still the
tenant in 1810, but by 1832 Sir
Thomas T.F.E.Drake had a new
tenant, Hugh Crabb. He was a
cooper and a shed near the house
used to contain a large
fireplace - could this have been
where the barrels were made? In
1935 George Phillips, the
installed a cider press at
Higher Moorhayne, which was sold
by the Yarcombe Estate in 1931
together with 12 acres. The
dwelling house was described as
substantially built of stone,
with stuccoed walls and slate
roof and a lean-to tiled cider
cellar. The buildings included a
pound house, a small
hard-bottomed yard and a cow
house with a hay loft over.
THE BAPTIST CHURCH AND
In Calways Cottage
Baptists were meeting as
early as 1787. Four
people were mentioned;
William and Grace Trott,
S.Knight and Maratha
It was Samuel Vincent
Churchstanton who was
responsible for the
erection of the Chapel,
and the builders were
the Trott family. There
were 12 trustees and
local names were William
Wale - Farmer, Yarcombe,
James Trott - Mason,
Spiller - Farmer,
Yarcombe, John Trott -
Samuel Vincent (Junior)
- Farmer, Churchstanton
and Samuel French -
Farmer, Dalwood. Others
were from Chard, Taunton
The Indenture conveying
the site on which the
Chapel and three houses,
(the Manse, Mount
Cottage and Chapel
Cottage) were built was
dated 15th May 1829. It
was between Betty Bishop
of Yarcombe, Widow, and
John Wale of Yarcombe
and the twelve trustees,
and is in the following
terms, “All have
contracted and agreed
together for the
absolute purchase of the
fee and simple
inheritance of the piece
or parcel of land herein
after described, being
part of the said close
called Four Elms at the
price of £12. 10s. and
the said trustees having
erected a Meeting house
to be kept and enjoyed
and used as a common
free and Public meeting
house of Particular
One rule was that no
person should be buried
within the said Chapel.
It was James Trott, one
of the first trustees
who lived at Newcott,
who was buried outside
the chapel front door.
This was the spot where
he used to stand to
shake hands with the
will now accommodate
about 100 people, and
the baptistery is under
the front of the pulpit.
There are two memorials
for those who gave their
lives in the First and
Second World Wars. The
1914-1918 memorial also
contains 80 names of
those from the Parish
who served for a
Julie Spiller replies:
Thanks for the help on
the Spiller family. It has been most
useful. The information on Brimbley,
Broadly and Livenhayes was most interesting.
I am now following down the families of the
wives of the Spillers. Abraham
Spiller married Elizabeth Clarke – daughter
of Naboth Clarke. I am wondering if your
helpful book – or any other source - has
information on Naboth Clarke or any other
members of that family. Naboth
Clarke and Elizabeth Stickland
married in April 1770 at Yarcombe. I
believe that Naboth and Elizabeth had at
least seven children - Elizabeth, James,
Richard, Mary, Grace, James and Sarah
between 1772 and 1781. I believe
that Naboth died around 1784.
Elizabeth Stickland’s parents were John
Stickland and Mary (?Dean).
Abraham’s son Naboth Spiller married
Elizabeth or Eliza Knight daughter of James
and Elizabeth Knight. I note that on page
50 there is reference to James Knight being
one of those who were trustees of the
Yarcombe Baptist Church in 1854.
Any further information you may have on any
of these will be really appreciated.
I am delighted to be able to help you.
Herewith information on Naboth Clarke,
Extract 5, below. The author of the
book, Ruth Everitt spent time in the Devon
Records Office so the letter which provided
her with this information must be on file.
Also information on John Stickland of
Moorpit farm, Extract 6, who is almost
certainly one of your forebears.
Elsewhere another Stickland relating to 1832
can be found. Your reference on page 50
is to James Knight Marsh Chapel - Marsh
being a hamlet in Yarcombe Parish - this
chapel was closed in the 1970s.
I am not certain where the original Charter
can be found, perhaps in the records of
Yarcombe Baptist church. If you
can provide me with further details of
Naboth Spiller marriage to Eliza Knight I
will further research this line for you.
The name Spiller is very common in these
parts. I look forward to hearing
from you again.
Although the Drake family owned
a large Estate at Yarcombe,
there were other quite
substantial land owners, notably
the Newberys, Vincents,
Stephens, Cossins, Bovetts and
Spillers. Some of these families
prospered, others disappeared;
in those turbulent times it was
necessary to be supporting the
right religion, the right
heir-apparent and remain
healthy, in order to retain
one‟s property. Sir Francis must
have taken quite an interest in
his Estate at Yarcombe. Letters
show that in 1709 he was greatly
concerned about the appointed
rector, Gamaliel Chase, who is
described as being a drunkard
and a debtor. As authorised in
the original bill of sale for
the manor, Sir Francis possessed
the right to select the Rector
for the Parish. However, perhaps
he felt it was more politic, in
those religiously volatile
times, to keep quiet, as he didn‟t
pursue the matter, and the
appointment remained with the
Crown. The next Sir Francis, the
4th baronet, made little effort
or impact. His son, Sir Francis
Henry Drake, who inherited the
title in 1739, was made of
„sterner stuff‟. Consolidation
and improvement of all his
estates was his format.
Agriculture in England was
undergoing a revolution:
techniques had improved, there
were better implements, and the
land was beginning to be
enclosed, so making farming a
„fashionable‟ and prosperous
trade in which to engage.
(George III had a model farm at
Windsor). It was at this time
that some of the farmhouses in
the Parish, such as Livenhayes,
Underdown, North Waterhayne,
Clifthayne and Coburns were
improved and made larger.
Letters from Drake‟s bailiff,
John Cooke, who lived at
Longbridge, show that Sir
Francis was kept well informed
about his Yarcombe Estate,
although resident in London a
great deal as Master of the
King‟s Household. The Estate at
Yarcombe seems to have been let
out on very commercial lines,
with the bailiff keen to get the
best rental, but also
considering relevant factors
such as time of year, fences or
lack of fences and keep already
taken by potential bidders.
Great attention was paid to
timber and orchards, both of
which were valuable commodities.
Several farms had land set aside
as nurseries, in which to grow
trees for sale later on. In one
of Mr. Cooke‟s letters there is
a detailed description of an ash
sapling that had been stolen,
the top half being left propped
up in an upright position in the
hedgerow! There must have been
some rogues around Yarcombe at
this time, because in the same
letter he mentioned that Mr.
Williams of Sheafhayne had been
to see him about the prevalence
of the night-hunting of hares.
Sir Francis had already offered
a reward to bring the poachers
to justice; now several Yarcombe
worthies wished to join with
him, Thomas and Robert Newbery,
John Williams and Naboth Clarke
being the most prominent.
Benjamin Bright was the owner of
this property in 1727 and it was
probably the same Benjamin
Bright who was documented in a
marriage settlement of 1716.
Moorhaine, Jonathan‟s Plot and
part of Sellwood (an orchard)
was the settlement that Benjamin
Bright, sergemaker, offered to
Peter Roberts, a clothier in
Exeter, for Mary Robert‟s hand.
In exchange Peter Roberts gave
Benjamin Bright £200 and his
daughter. The Land Tax Survey of
1798 shows a tenement and a
cottage at Lower Moorhayne.
Southcott‟s Moorhayne and
Southcott‟s Town were both named
after the owner, Jane Southcott.
By 1810 Lord Heathfield had
acquired the properties and his
tenant was John Spiller. More
land was added to the property
by 1832 when James Knight was
the tenant. In 1931 Lower
Moorhayne was sold by the
Yarcombe Manor Estate, when it
was described as a dairy farm of
62 acres. The farm buildings
were around a courtyard and
there was a pound house with an
apple loft over, cow stalls for
17, and by the road was a 3-bay
cart and wagon shed with a
thatched roof. There is no real
indication as to where the
cottage was sited, but in a
nineteenth century O.S.map there
were two cottages shown near the
present-day „Hamperlands‟ which
were marked as "Moorhayne
Roger Perham writes:
Julie, I have just revisited the
excellent Yarcombe Ancestry page and
read, with great interest, your
communication with the researchers
there. It is clear that
your husband and I share a common
ancestor in Naboth Clarke (my
paternal ancestor married Elizabeth
Clarke's sister Mary).
If you are still involved in the
research I would be interested in
hearing from you. Thank
Julie Spiller replies:
Roger, I am currently spending more time on
my own family history research – but I do
hope to get back to the Spiller/Clarke
research. Not enough hours in the day!
I would be happy to hear from you and follow
Ancestral Search 9
I am researching my
maternal family side of the family tree.
My grandmother Harriet Carter, according to
census records was born in Yarcombe in 1905.
Her father was called Jabez Carter, her
mother was Bessie, and she had two sisters
Eva Dorothy and May and one brother
Frederick George who are also recorded as
having being born in Yarcombe. I wondered if anyone
knew where the Carter family lived in the
village and any other interesting
information about the Carter family.
Thank you for your assistance,
Peter Tarrant writes:
Dick and Dorothy Carter passed away
some time ago but lived in a small cottage
called Cornhill, on a road to the south off
the A30. If this turns out to be relevant
I can point out some photos of the building
on the Photographs pages. The new owner
has made (and is still making) extensive
changes since, though. I have
alerted our local expert Steve Horner, so
you may hear from him soon.
Ancestral Search 8
Hi, my name is Jennie. I have
been doing research into my family tree and
am looking for any help that anyone may be
able to give me.
currently trying to find any information on
the Lenthal family of Yarcombe in Devon.
I know that Ann Lenthal was born in
1734 and my 6 times Great Grandmother.
She died in 1829 in Yarcombe. I
know that she married John Loosemore of the
same parish born 1730. I am
looking for information on her parents.
I believe that her mother's name may have
been Jane. I have a rare genetic variant called
G-Norfolk and am trying to trace my ancestry
as it means that I am of Mediterranean and
African origin. I am wondering
if the Lenthal family may be the key to
solving the mystery. Thank You,
Steve Horner replies:
cannot help on Lenthal side, however it
would appear that the Loosemore connection I
may have more positive information.
There is a farm in the northern part of our
Parish, called Northam’s which has belonged
to the Yarcombe Estate for many generations
– the estate was founded by Sir Francis
Drake. In 1798 the Tenant was
John Loosemore and between 1810-1832
the tenant was James Loosemore.
If you can send me a link to the
Yarcombe lineage of your family I may be
able to help further, indeed you may wish to
see a map of the parish which I will
willingly send to you.
one other clue with which I may be able to
assist. In 1580 the Zane family
lived in the house I now own and it is
believed this family originated in Venice.
Perhaps this may be where your genetic
G-Norfolk gene came from? Who
knows – it’s a long shot. For
reference, also see
Diane Rees writes:
Jennie, I read with interest your message on the Yarcombe website and your search relating to
your ancestors. I too am
researching my father's family who came from
Yarcombe and I have found the gravestone in
the Yarcombe cemetery belonging to the
Loosmore family. My research
shows that Ann and John married on 22 March
1758 and John died 7 February 1815.
I can go back as far as the 1630 and Anne
Lenthal is on my family tree.
I found a direct link to Ann and John in the
parish records registering the births,
marriages and deaths. One of
their children James Loosmore married
Elizabeth Pratt and one of their sons Robert
Loosmore (my great great great grandfather)
married Elizabeth Hopper in Bridgend, South
Wales and one of their sons, Robert married
Emily Russell whose son Joseph Loosmore (my
grandfather) married Margaret Lloyd (my
History tells that two of the Loosmore
brothers went to Bridgend, South Wales in
the early 1800s and my father's family is
from this link. I was born and
lived in Swansea, but moved to Devon in the
It would be good to get in touch.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Diane Rees (nee Loosmore)
Peter Tarrant writes:
Search 22, received in December 2019,
makes reference to the surname Lentell or
Lental. Let us know if you
believe there is a connection worth investigating.
Ancestral Search 7
I have just come across this site and
wonder if you can help me find out who my
Great Great Grandmother's parents
were. Her name was Sarah Vincent from
Yarcombe - she married William Hodges on
21/2/1821 at Ruishton. I found
the Marriage Certificate but there were only
two names as witnesses - Abraham Grabham and
Harriet Hobby, so a bit of a dead
end. These names are not in the Hodges
family as far as I know. My
maiden name was Hodges. It’s a bit of a long shot but maybe if
there are any Vincents still around there
who possibly did some research I would love
to hear about it. Regards,
Ancestral Search 6
am researching my Spiller family of Yarcombe
Devon and have just come across the
wonderful publication of Yarcombe Voices.
It is wonderful to learn of people who
endeavour to keep alive the history of their
The earliest Spiller I have is one born in
1553 in Yarcombe. He had a son
Robert whose son William married Joane
Warren, daughter of Edmund Warren and Mary
Warren. I am coming across
pedigrees taking Mary back to Richard Warren
a Mayflower Pilgrim. I am
descended from Jane on the attached file
It would be lovely if I could be in contact
with any Spiller or Warren descendants still
in Yarcombe and to discover if any of them
have any knowledge of a supposed descent
from Richard Warren who went to America as a
Having also discovered the website
Yarcombe.net I am impressed with this
great and wonderfully presented source of
information regarding the home of my
In grateful anticipation of any help you are
able to afford me.
Lefayre Palmer nee Heslehurst
ancestry comes to me through my paternal
grandmother Laura Elizabeth Heslehurst nee
Outline Descendant Report for William
1 William Spiller
(1572 - ) B: 1572
+ Elizabeth Gammmon
...... 2 William
Spiller (1614 - ) B: 1614
...... + Joane Warren
............ 3 Simon
Spiller (1655 - ) B: 1655
Elizabeth Newberry ( - 1696) D: 1696
Thomas Spiller (1693 - ) B: 1693
Honor /Robert Weard ( - 1794) D:
........................ 5 Robert
Spiller (1747 - ) B: 1747, M: 1767
........................ + Mary
Clarke (1748 - ) B: 1747/48, M: 1767
Jane Spiller (1798 - 1870) B: 1798,
M: 1815 in Charles Church, Plymouth,
D: 1870 in Ford Park,
the Barbican, Plymouth
William Reburn (1792 - 1872) B: 1792
in Liskeard, Cornwall, M: 1815 in Charles
Church, Plymouth, D:
1872 in Ford Park, the Barbican,
Steve Horner writes:
just read your note posted on our
website and in this message I will
try and give you some initial
information about Yarcombe which has
a rich and interesting history.
There are indeed members of the
Spiller family still living in our
Parish and the Parish records are
littered with reference to them, but
as far as I am aware not one mention
of the Warren family. There is a very good book that
records the history of Yarcombe,
"From Monks to The Millennium"
written by Ruth Everitt which I
helped her compile and below is an
extract of the relevant section of
the index which demonstrates
the multitude of references in the
book to the Spiller family - if
you spot a particular name of
interest I would be pleased to send
you more information:
12, 14, 17, 36, 39,
41, 45, 49, 50, 76, 86, 89,
107, 108, 112, 115
41, 112, 113
14, 17, 32, 36, 45, 47, 98
39, 49, 107,
34, 54, 63,
66, 74, 75, 78, 86, 99, 103,
111, 113, 120
community is a rural parish in East
Devon comprising about 500 persons
in widely scattered farms.
The ownership of much of the Parish
goes back to the time of Sir Francis
Drake whom as a reward for helping
Queen Elizabeth 1 was given tracts
of land hereabouts and the ownership
has remained in the same family, but
not direct descendants, ever since.
I have also spotted the name
Newberry which family also owned
land in the south of the parish in
the 17th century.
You have hit
upon a rich vein of history and if I
can I will assist you further.
I would appreciate some more
background of your own family and of
course the important connection to
The Mayflower Pilgrims.
Ancestral Search 5
I am hoping that someone out there could
give me any information about my
grandmother's family the Paull's of Yarcombe.
Any help would be gratefully received.
I have several photos of the Paull family, particularly of my great great grandfather
(pictured left) on an early 1900s postcard with the
caption printed on the front "Yarcombe's
The Paull's were connected to several other
Yarcombe families such as the Bright, Harris
and Vincent family.
Hawkins (nee Harris) is connected to the
Paull line via the Harris family. My great
grandmother was Mary Jane Harris (married to
Thomas Paull). Not exactly sure
what relation that would make Ellen to me,
but we are connected somewhere along the
||Hawkins family details
Steve Horner writes:
I have had a quick look at the census
records and in 1911 James Paull was living
in Crislands which is a cottage about ½ mile
from the centre of the village.
According to the 1901 census he was living
in Webble Green just across the Yarcombe
Parish border In Membury. The
photos you sent are quite exceptional
especially of the pig cull, all the family
obviously taking part - my guess is that the
photo was taken in about 1900. I
do not recognise the farm, so I suspect it
may be in Membury - I will make enquiries.
I know an Accountant who lives in Chard
called Ed Paull, perhaps he is a relation?
The name Paull with a double ll is perhaps
unusual. Do you have any
knowledge of your family tree?
Bartlett replies: Thank you very
much for the info, Steve. The
Paull family are definitely more connected
to Membury than Yarcombe, but like you said,
the border between the parishes is very
close. I have done a fair bit of
research into the family history.
The family has some connection to a few
Yarcombe families through marriages.
I had a chance to have a look at the
gravestones in Yarcombe churchyard and
noticed several family names that I
regonised (Bright, Harris, Hawkins, Vincent
etc). If you have access, you
may care to have a look at my Spurway family
tree on ancestry.co.uk.
Interesting to hear about someone in Chard
with the name Paull. The double
L not being all that common, so I would
definitely we must be related some where
along the line.
The photo of the
pigs being cut up is a great picture, so
amazingly clear so that you can see
incredible detail. (like the water running
from tap into the tub in the background).
They definitely weren't a family of
vegetarians ... again many thanks.
This photo is a bit of a mystery.
Does anybody know where this was
taken? I assume this is
a farm building. Is it in Yarcombe
or perhaps Membury? Who
are the people in the picture?
Does anybody know who they are or
where it was taken? It
has always intrigued me...even if
nobody recognises it, it is still a
great photo showing life in days
Ancestral Search 4
CAN YOU HELP ME TRACE MY
My name is Gary Brennan; my mother's name
was Millicent Loosemore, born to John
Loosemore who was born in Yarcombe in 1865.
I came here recently to retrace his steps to
moving to the USA and in the hope of getting
in touch with any other Loosemores in our
clan in the area. If you know
any and they would like to find out about
John, please would you ask them to email me
email@example.com or 1(559)351-6165
Thank you for your
Diane Rees writes:
Gary, I sent you an email at the
beginning of June (2019) with regard to your
search for any Loosmores. My maiden name was Loosmore and my father's ancestors are
buried in Yarcombe Cemetery. I
am also writing up the family tree and in my
research found a link to your mother.
Perhaps you did not receive my email?
Gary Brennan replies:
want to thank you for your information, I
did get your email and my own investigation
in my family tree has taken me in a
different direction. I have
found that my grandfather's family in
England is in Yarnscombe, Fremington,
Atherington birth, death and burial records.
My great grandmother (Mary Ann Moore) is
buried in Yarnscombe with my great
grandfather John Loosemore who died in 1865.
I did not know that Yarcombe and Yarnscombe
were not that far from each other and that
they were so close in name. I
want to thank everyone in Yarcombe who were
looking into this matter and trying to help.
This gives me an excuse to visit your
beautiful country again. If you
have any information on my mother, I would
like you to send that information to me!
This Loosemore family has to stick together!
Haha. I enjoyed touring through
England and Scotland, you have a wonderful
Steve Horner adds:
I believe Yarnscombe is in North Devon near
Barnstable, about 100 miles away as the crow
flies! I would also mention
Ancestral Search 8 in which Jennie Brock is
also searching for a Loosemore relative, but
she did not reply! We would
always be pleased to learn more of Diane's
(and Jennie's) relatives from Yarcombe.
Ancestral Search 3
am a Bowyer from Canada, and am
researching my roots to your
beautiful area, does anyone you know
have any suggestions for me?
Sad to hear about the Inn, it looks
Peter Tarrant writes:
FYI: I'm happy to say The Yarcombe
Inn reopened in August 2019 after
concerted efforts by villagers and
the Parish Council! Your
enquiry was made several years ago
but I am unaware of any response you
may have received.
Perhaps you could update us?
We have recently had the ability to
scan the digital version of the
publication "From Monks To The
Millennium" and there are several
references to the Bowyer (or Boyer)
name which I have posted below:
One of the last working
mills in the Parish.
Little remains of the
mill, but older "Yarcombites"
can still remember the
miller Hurford, his old
grey horse, and the way
the bags had to be
carefully arranged on
the cart to maintain a
good balance. Another
feature of the mill was
an abundance of rats!
Birch Mill was always
linked with Shepherds
Panshayne, and until
1884 it was in Membury
Parish. When Lord
Heathfield bought the
Panshayne Estate from
in the early nineteenth
century Birch Mill was
included in the sale.
The sitting tenant was
William Boyer (Bowyer).
A complicated action of
trespass in diverting a
Drake (plaintiff) and
Codrington took place in
1788. This possibly
referred to the water at
Birch Mill. Various
villagers are recorded;
one is from John
occupied the mill. He
states that the water
used to run along the
bottom of the mill
garden, obliquely across
Brick Lane to the south,
under an arched bridge
in the lane, and then
Another version is
reported from Nathaniel
Case, which has a note
rather unkindly in the
margin stating, "Witness
deaf as a haddock"!
Birch Mill is now a
In 1727 Sarah Spiller
(daughter of Zachary)
was the occupier of
Crymeshays. This was
probably the site shown
on the 1817 Enclosure
Map in a field known as
„Grimsey‟ on the left
hand side of the
driveway, just before
the turning to the main
farm yard. Thomas Bovett
(-the Bovett family
supported Monmouth-) was
the occupier of the
larger Estate, but by
1794 the Drake Estate
owned all the properties
at North Waterhayne; the
saleable timber was 88
oak, 62 ash and 54 elm.
The Land Tax of 1798
Waterhayne tenant as
William Jennings, who
paid a tax of 2s. ½d,
tenant William Wale, who
paid a tax of £4. 16s.
9½d. (this was the
present day North
Waterhayne) and Cross
tenant John Seward, who
paid £2. 14s. 8½d. By
1810 Cross Waterhayne
and Smythe‟s Waterhayne
have been combined and
William Jennings is the
Waterhayne is separately
listed, but has the same
Jennings. The North
Waterhayne driveway used
to continue towards
Crisland, bearing left
half way along the drive
and joining with what
was once a larger road
starting near Four Elms.
The Estate still owns
North Waterhayne and it
modernised in the mid
Waterhayne Cottage is on
the left hand side of
the entrance to North
Waterhayne and was
formerly a farm worker‟s
cottage; it is now
(also known as Sheppards,
Shepherd‟s Cottage and
This cottage was closely
associated with Birch
Mill, having had the
same tenant. Originally
it was on the Panshayne
was the leaseholder. In
1808 Lord Heathfield
bought the property, and
Sir Francis Drake paid
for a schoolroom to be
added to the cottage in
1875, so providing
for Marsh children.
Desks and seats for the
new schoolroom cost £3.
5 shillings; the school
was largely funded by
Sir Francis, who gave
£15 yearly, and by the
vicar, who gave £10. Two
of the later
Mrs Pengelly and Mrs
Sparks. The schoolroom
was licensed for divine
services in 1907.
Steve Horner adds:
I would stress the importance of the
fact noted by Ruth Everitt that
Panshayne, Birch, Whitehorns, part
of what is now Yarcombe Parish, was
prior to 1883 an outlying part of
Membury Parish and therefore a
search of Yarcombe Parish may not
reveal details of for example births
deaths and marriages which probably
appear in the Membury records.
Ancestral Search 2
my family history I have an ancestor called
William Michael Laurence (1871-1954), who,
according to his death certificate lived at
The Vicarage, Yarcombe, as a retired fruit
farmer. His wife was called Louisa. He
died 29 March 1954. Please could you tell
me whether there are any local memories of
him or his wife?
Thankyou for your time and patience.
Peter Tarrant writes:
Hi Paul, your appeal was received
before this webpage was created in
2017 and has been copied from your
original email. It has
been on the
website for some time now but I
don't know if anyone contacted you
directly. Going by the
responses I got it seems no one has
any real information, but I'll cut
and paste the emails I've already
received and forwarded to you below
for reference. All
verbal enquiries I made were met
with blank faces I'm afraid.
I'll leave the website entry here
unless you want me to delete it.
Frank Weeks writes:
Only thing I remember about the
Vicarage is that there used to be a
Filbert Nut tree on the front lawn.
A filbert is a large hazel nut if I
remember correctly. In
order for young schoolboys to go
raid the tree the method was to run
to the tree, grab what one could and
then flee before any retribution
from anybody at the house as the
tree was in full view. I
don’t recall anybody being caught.
Though we were probably watched with
amusement by the residents.
One will never know.
Joan Ewins writes:
At the time of the death of William
Laurence the Revd. H.C. Thompson
lived at the Vicarage. I
remember from my childhood that
Revd. and Mrs Thompson used to let
some of the rooms at the Vicarage to
a couple of retired ladies with the
surnames of Freeman and Stanley.
Perhaps Mr. Laurence had rooms prior
to that. Shirley Briant
may know as her mother seems to have
kept in contact with past Vicars.
I hope this is helpful.
Kind Regards, Joan Ewins
Lesley Sutton writes:
The Churchwardens could look in the
chest to see whether he was buried
there are not many of us who lived
in the village and are still alive.
Shirley Briant has lived here all
her life and John Salter of course
may have some knowledge. Neither
have internet access.
Paul Brookes replies:
Thank you for all your hard work on
my behalf. I have not
had any responses from it but I am
very glad for the comments you have
provided. In response to
one of those I do not know whether
he was buried in the local
churchyard and would dearly like to
find out. Please can anyone help me
in that respect? Also, I
would be very grateful to take up
your kind offer of keeping the
request on the site.
Kind Regards, Paul
Geoffrey Berry writes:
Without looking in the chest in
Church I do not think we have the
burial register here.
Many of the older registers are with
the Devon Records Office.
The one in use at the present starts
much later. The plans
for the present area used for
burials started in 1959.
Archie Needs writes:
My grave contact for Yarcombe thinks
he's taken photos of virtually all
the gravestones and he doesn't seem
to have a headstone - so he's
probably not buried in Yarcombe.
He seems to have moved around quite
a bit - I've seen a couple of
Electoral Rolls, one from
Symondsbury (1929) & the other in
In 1939 he was in Barton just
outside of Exeter, having being born
in Liverpool. His death
is registered in Honiton in 1954 but
I'm not sure why he would have been
in Yarcombe Vicarage.
Geoffrey Berry adds:
I went over to the Church and found that we still have
the old burial register in the
Chest. I was able to
find the entry for William Michael
Laurence. His burial
took place on 31st March 1954.
His address was given as The
Vicarage, Yarcombe and was stated to
be 81 years of age. A
note alongside stated that he died
at Marlpits Hospital, Honiton, now
known as the Honiton Hospital.
I hope this is helpful.
Owen Newman writes:
I remember Mr & Mrs William
Laurence. They lived in Yarcombe and
had class and background but little
money. I suppose they
had suffered some form of financial
hardship late in life.
They rented in Yarcombe a bungalow
made from converted railway coaches
called appropriately “The Coaches”.
It was a good looking house with a
smart garden. Mr
Laurence always dressed in a tweed
suit and I, as a young village boy,
was paid six pence a week to talk to
him for an hour or so.
When he died his wife, Louise took
rooms in the vicarage.
Peter Tarrant writes:
The Coaches were adopted and
restored by the Bluebell Railway in
Sussex and were featured in an item
on the Messages/News page some years
ago; it includes a photograph
of the bungalow when sited in
See article here.
Ancestral Search 1
if you can help me? I am the
Great Granddaughter of Mary Hurford who
married James Willie in 1873 and who lived
in Yarcombe at Holly Cottage.
Many times as a little girl my Grandmother
told me stories of her Mother who was a
wonderful lady, she was not only a herbalist
but midwife to the local people who would
walk miles across the fields to ask for her
help and advice. She was also a
wonderful seamstress and gardener growing
all her own herbs for her medicines.
She also kept a pig and chickens so she was
virtually self-sufficient apart from general
supplies which once a month she would walk
across the fields 8 miles there and back to
Honiton to buy.
I grew up
in Yeovil and my Grandmother and Grandad
also moved there from Chard after they were
married, so as a little girl I loved to hear
all their stories.
years ago I tried to find my Holly Cottage
but was not successful, I am enclosing some
old photos for you to see, they are of my
Great-grandmother, my Grandmother and her
sister Sarah Ellen, also the cottage and
garden, maybe, just maybe you will be able
to tell me if the cottage is still standing!
I would love to know. I now live
in Teignmouth and am coming up to 76 years
old (Mar 2017)!! It would be
lovely to have some history to pass on to
my children, Grandchildren and Great
forward to hopefully hearing from you and
thank you in advance.
regards and best wishes,
It is believed the
property referred to as Holly Cottage was
more likely to have been Manning Common
Cottage at Manning Common, close to Black
Allers, a short distance from, and the other
side of the A303 from Knighthaynes Farm and
Cottage. Unfortunately the
building was demolished, it is believed, in
the 1930s, although this has yet to be
verified. During investigations
it was found that a great uncle of Joan's,
Jack Willie, who was believed lost at sea
during WWI actually died of pneumonia whilst
still on active service in 1919 in Malta and
a photograph of his grave there was
obtained. Memorials, including
one to J H Willie, can be seen in the
Baptist Chapel here in Yarcombe (see the
World War I page).
Jennie Brock writes:
Hi Joan, I saw your post from 2017
on Yarcombe Ancestry and wondered if
we may be related. My 6x
great grandfather was John Willie of
Yarcombe b1737. If you
have any information on the family I
would be very interested to hear the
Jennie Brock (refer to
Ancestral Search 4 &
Ancestral Search 8)
Jennie, In the Otterford Parish
hall, which Parish adjoins our Parish, is a
large family tree of the Willie family, and
your branch is shown very clearly
(see section of the Tree right,
click to enlarge).
I live in a farm house in the most northern
part of the Parish which is now called Old
Woodhayne farm, which was called variously
Woodend or Woodhayes in the 18th century.
In the will of Henry Willie (born 1699 died
1792) he left Travellers Rest, which was
both a small holding and Public House, to
his son John with mention of Woodhayes House
where Mary Willie, wife of William Willie,
was living at the time of Henry`s death.
Travellers Rest and Woodhayes House are
adjoining farms. However it is
certain that Lord Heathfield , the owner of
the Yarcombe estate purchased Woodhayes in
the late 1790s, probably from the Executors
of Henry Willie.
However your letter prompted me to
have a look at your Great Grandfather John
Willie born 1737 died 1822. In
his Will he mentions his property of
Travellers Rest, which proves at that time
of his death Travellers Rest was still in
the possession of your family.
This property was eventually purchased by
Sir TTFE Drake in 1842, who was by this time
owner of the ever expanding Yarcombe estate.
You may be interested to read the paragraph
below from Ruth Everitt`s history of
Yarcombe about the Travellers Rest, in which
there is mention of John Willie being the
Inn Keeper in 1801. I am not
certain if this John Willie was your
ancestor - I would be interested to receive
DRAKE'S ARMS FARM (also known as
The Travellers' Rest)
property is shown on all the
early maps, although it is not
situated on the main Taunton
road as it is today. There
was a slip road, (now no longer
in existence) off the more
important Dennington Lane, which
afforded access to what is now
the road to Taunton. The
property belonged to the Willie
(Willey) family, and in 1792 it
is mentioned in the probate of
will of Henry Willie. The
first documentation of the
"Travellers' Rest‟ in the
Quarter Sessions is in 1801,
when the landlord and owner is
listed as John Willie.
seems to have brought a
financial crisis for the Willie
family, and they granted the
property (as a fee) to a Mr.
Faun and Mr. Marchant, (a
surgeon), both living at North
Curry in Somerset. In 1839
the property was mortgaged by
Henry Willie to Mr. John
Claxton, and Sir Thomas Trayton
F.E.Drake bought the property
from Henry Willie in 1842 for
the sum of £1,000. This
included about 14 acres of land.
The property continued to trade
as a Public House and small
holding, the name changing from
"The Travellers' Rest‟ to "The
Drake's Arms‟. One of the
Drake‟s long serving landlords
was Abraham Knight.
fire severely damaged the
property in 1899 and "The
Drake‟s Arms‟ ceased trading as
a public house. With its
acreage increased to 75 acres it
became just a farm. The
Estate sold the holding in 1931.