The following text is taken from Charles Worthy's Devonshire Wills, published in 1896.
WYKES OF NORTHWYKE
There is a popular, but erroneous, tradition in this county that the "Wykes of Northwyke," in the parish of South Tawton, are as old as the Conquest; and a much more absurd one, to the effect that a fine table tomb in the parish church there, evidently Elizabethan, bears the counterfeit presentment of "old warrior Wykes," who is roundly stated to have been master farrier to " Norman William," and a trusted and highly valued retainer of that monarch, whose charger he is said to have supplied with a new set of shoes on the eve of the battle of Senlac.
Although there can be no question as to the great antiquity of the race of Wykes as Devonshire landowners, these tales are as hypothetical as another which very misleadingly describes them as having been originally known as "Wray, but styled Wyke, or Wykes, since the reign of Richard the Second."
In 1086, the manors of South Tawton with Ash, Wray, in Moreton Hampstead, and Cheverstone, in Kenton (I am adopting modern spelling), all of which save Ash, had belonged to the family of Harold, were alike held, in demesne, by King Williain. Wray and Cheverstone were subsequently owned by a family long known as de Cheverstone; whilst North Wyke, in South Tawton, said by Risdon, with an anachronism as to date, "to have been anciently the lande of William de Wigoren, alias Chamberlain," was for several generations, subsequently to 1242, held by the De Wrays of Northwyke, otherwise North Wigorn.
It appears to me as certain that this William de Wigornia, rather than "Wigoren," was not only the common ancestor of the Wrays, Cheverstones, and Wykes, but that he also gave name to the several properties in South Tawton, afterwards corrupted into West-wyke, Week-Town, or " Wiggaton," and Northwyke, neither of which seem to be identical with the Domesday manors known as " Wic," or " Wice," the Saxon equivalent for a hamlet, from the verb, vichian, which signifies to reside or dwell; hence we get Prancras-wick, Germans-wick, Wick Dabernon, Great Wick, and many other parishes, towns, and manors, in this and other parts of the country.
But in Devonshire there are only "Wykes," thus written, in the parishes of South Tawton and Axminster; and North Wyke, in the latter parish, is also not a Domesday manor, but takes name from an adjacent property, long known as Wigost.
There is every reason to assume that "William de Wigornia"1, gave his name to North and West Wyke, and to Wiggaton, in the parish of South Tawton;. He was certainly the ancestor of the Wykes, and was also the owner of Wray, in Moreton Hampstead, and of Cheverstone, in Kenton, and seems to have been one of the younger sons of Robert de Bellomonte, Earl of Mettent, and dejure, Earl of Worcester, by his maariiage with Maud, daughter and co-lieir of Re-itiald, Earl of Cornwall. Hence he was known as "de Wigornia," in English, William of Worcester. The.whole of the South Tawton property I havementioned came into the hands of Henry the First upon the. death of his brother, William Rufus, in the year 1100. King Henry, by Elizabeth, daughter of Robert de Bellomonte, Earl of Leicester, had with other left-handed issue, the aforesaid Reginald, Earl of Cornwall, possibly,2 and. a daughter, Constance, certainly, to whom he gave the whole of the manor of South Tawton, upon her marriage with Rosceline, Viscount de Bellomonte, and it is shown, by the Pipe Rolls, that she received the rents, etc., etc., in 1157.
Therefore, Elizabeth de Bellomonte was, in such case, not only the mother of the lady of the manor of South Tawton, but she was also the aunt of Robert of Worcester, Earl of Mellent, the husband of her granddaughter, Maud of Cornwall, and both the great-grandmother and the great-aunt of "William de Wigornia," who doubtless obtained, primarily, the Royal manors of Wray and Cheverstone, through his frail relative's connection with royalty, and the Wyke estates, subsequently, by arrangement with his cousin, Richard de Bellomonte, who succeeded his mother at South Tawton after 1157. This Richard had no male issue; his daughter and heir, Constance de Bellomonte, married Roger de Toni about the year 1162, and the ultimate heir of de Toni brought the Devonshire property to Guy Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, who died in 1315. The latter was maternally descended from Henry de Bellomonte, alias de Newburgh, brother of the first Earl of Leicester, and therefore uncle of the first Earl of Mellent and Worcester, a s well as of Elizabeth, King Henry's mistress; and it was in consequence of the minority of Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, who was only two years old in 1315, that the manor of South Tawton was sometime in the hands of King Edward II - a fact worth mentioning because the county historians who have referred to the Warwicks, as owners of South Tawton, have never attempted to explain how the manor came into their possession.3
As both Robert and William de Wigornia, who were equally related to the early lords of South Tawton, both before and after the separation of that manor from the Royal demesne, are sometimes called "Camerarius" or Chamberlayn, they probably held office, successively, under King Henry II, their kinsman. I may add that they were likewise the brothers-in-law, through the marriage of their sister Mabel, of William de Vernon, Earl of Devon, who died a very old man, in 1217. Her daughter Mary married Robert Courtenay, and hence it may have been that William de Wigornia's descendant, Sir John Cheverstone, some generations afterward, devised the whole of his property to the Courtenays, failing his issue by Jane, his wife, sister of his kinsman, Sir Philip Courtenay of Powderham ; thus Cheverstone has descended in the Courtenay family since the reign of Richard II.
William de Wray, who, according to Sir William Pole and others, was seised of Northwyke 27th Henry III., was a grand son of William de Wigorn, and son of William de Cheverstone, and the uncle of Sir John Cheverstone, who owned Wray, and married the heir of Bozun, through which match he obtained Ilton Cattle and other property, which was also eventually devised to the Courtenays.4 William de Wray of Northwyke, thus described in 1242, seems to have inherited that property, together with the other estates in South Tawton, now known as West Wyke, Middlewick, Gooseford, and the Manor of Ash, and Ash House was an occasional seat of the younger sons of the family down to the end of the sixteenth century, and was last held, as a residence, by John, fourth son of the real "Warrior Wykes," who was buried at South Tawton in 1597, aged forty-five. Ash Manor was an appanage of the Royal Manor of South Tawton, and was originally held, in partage with Queen Githa, by Alric the Theign, and taxed for a virgate and a half of land. in 1086 the king had six villeins and one serf upon Ash Manor, together with three ploughs. William de Wray was succeeded at South Tawton by Walter de Wray of Wyke, in 1278, whose son William, a younger son of "Walter of Wyke," granted to "William, son of Anthony" of Tavistock, a meadow called "Blakedhic mede," with metes and bounds, reserving a six-foot way to his (the grantors) other meadow, called "Le Ham," by deed dated "morrow of the Circumcision, 14th Edward I" (2nd,January, 1285-86). This property was situated at Wilmington near Tavistock. Both the Wykes, and their connections the Beaumonts, had outlying property at Tavistock, and the former are frequently mentioned in official connection with the Devonshire Stannary. The son and heir of Walter de Wray of Wyke, Roger de Wray of Northwyke, appears to have left Walter de Wray of Northwyke, son and heir, and "John atte Wyke." The latter was the father of John Wykes, a benefactor to Stapeldon Hall, now E xeter College, Oxford, 8th November, 1358, and who was Recorder of Exeter from 1354-1379.
The Recorder's uncle, Walter de Wray of Northwyke, was succeeded by his son Roger de Wray of Northwyke in 1345.
The Wray estate appears to have been settled upon the first Walter's younger son, William of Tavistock, 1285, and his heirs of body, and to have passed with his daughter and heir to a certain Ralph Abbot (see Wray genealogy, post), and by the marriage of Joane, daughter of "Archinalds" Abbott to Norris. During the reign of Richard II. it again reverted to a descendant of its early owners by the marriage of Richard de Wraye, whose branch had settled at "Trussell," with Alice, sister and heir of John Norris, and afterward descended, with successive heiresses, to Ford, Corsett, and Southmeade. That the "Wrays" of "Trussell," now represented by Sir Henry B. T. Wray of Tawstock Court, are collateral kinsfolk of the Wykes, is proved by the similarity of the armorial bearings of the two families. Until they removed to Trebitch in Cornwall, they resided at "Trussell," otherwise Thrushelton, near Maristow, upon some barton land, to which they had given the name of their ancient property at Moreton.
The children of "Roger de Wray" of Northwyke were contemporary with the Abbots of Wray, and it was probably for this reason that they abandoned the surname of Wray, an estate with which they had become disassociated, in favour of Wyke, the property with which for some generations they had been more closely identified. John (Risdon calls him "Joseph") Wyke replaced John Herle, Sheriff of Devon, during the latter portion of the third year of Henry IV, and "William Wyke of Northwyke," alive, in 1421, commences the pedigree entered at the earlier visitations of the Heralds of Arms, which were first held in Devonshire in 1531.
He married Katherine, daughter and heir of John Burnell of South Tawton, a family which had been settled for several generations at Great Cocktree in that parish, and is said to have made his wife's home the principal future residence of himself and his immediate successors. That the King's Royal Manor of Elintone, in South Tawton, which also belonged to the Wykes, should have been subsequently known as " Ilton;" the name of the Castle in the parish of Marlborough, built by the Cheverstones, and subsequently left to the Courtenays, may be another slight, but quite unnecessary, proof of the identity of the latter name with that of Wykes. These two "Iltons" are the only places so called in Devonshire.
William Wykes and Katherine Burnell had four sons, viz., John, the eldest, who married into the Luttrell family - the marriage settlement is dated in 1421 - and died childless; Richard Wykes of Cocktree and Northwyke, second son and. heir to his brother; John, whom I suppose to have been the ancestor.of Weekes of Honeychurch, and who will be referred to later on ; and Roger Wykes of Bindon, in the parish of Axmouth.
This Roger Wykes, by grant of Nicholas Bach, dated 7th Henry IV, 1406, appears to have acquired Bindon, perhaps in marriage with the devisee's daughter; he resided there afterward, and abandoned his paternal for his maternal arms, and bore the coat of Burnell of Cocktree, arg,., three barnacles, sab., differenced with a chevron, erm. By his marriage, as a widower,with Jane Bisset, he obtained a life interest in Radbours, County Dorset. He was buried in Trent St. Andrew's, near Sherborne. By his first wife he left a son, John, who married into the house of Camill of Shapwick, and had issue John, whose wife, Elizabeth Lyte, of Lytes-Cary, County Somerset, brought him two sons, John and Richard. The latter eventually succeeded as heir of entail to his nephew William Wykes, married a Somaster, and left four daughters, who married Giffard, Hays, Barry, and Erle, and amongst them and their descendants the property became divided. Mary Wykes, the youngest daughter, was the wife of Walter Erie, who purchased his brother-in-law Giffard's share, and made Bindon his residence. He was the grandfather of Sir Walter Erie, a distinguished Parliamentary general, whose grandson, General Erie, commanded the centre of the English army at the battle of Almanza, 1707. The latter's daughter, Frances, married Sir Edward Erie, Bart., of Maddington, Wiltshire, and their only child was the wife of Henry Drax, of Ellerton Abbey, Yorkshire, secretary to Frederick, Prince of Wales. Bindon was sold by her son Thomas Erle Drax, who. married Mary, daughter of Lord St. John of Blet shoe. Two of the sisters of the last owner of Bindon were the Ladies Berkeley and Castlehaven, another was the wife of Sir William Hanham, Bart. The Charborough Park estate and other property, inherited from Wykes through Camill, descended to the late Mr. J. S. Sawbridge, M.P., who assumed the name of Drax by Royal licence, and his daughters and their issue still represent the family of Wykes of Bindon.
To return to Northwyke. Richard Wyke, of Northwyke and Cocktree, brother of Roger of Bindon, was dead in 1476, by his wife, to whom he had been married at least thirty-eight years, and who was a daughter of John Avenel, of Blackpool, one of the direct representatives of the ancient Earls of Devon, of the house of Redvers, as I have shown elsewhere,5 he had three sons and a daughter, Margaret, who married one of the Whiddons of Chagford, and was the grandmother of the well known Judge Whiddon, who died in 1575.
It is to be feared that this Richard Wykes alienated much of the family property,. It was about this,time that the Battishills became settled at Westwyke, and it is certain, from an extant conveyance, that he sold. a considerable portion of the manor of East Ayshe to his neighbour, Richard Northmore of Well (see Northmore Pedigree, ante). The deed is dated 4th Edward IV., A.D. 1464. It was also about this period that the Milfords (evidently a place-name, Mill-ford) became settled at Wigginton, alias Wyke-Town; the first of them, described as of Wiccanton in the Heralds' Visitation of 1620, was buried at South Tawton, in 1588.
Richard Wykes' son, William, is described as of Northwyke, in 1476; it -is shown by an Inquisition, 15th Henry VIII., that his son of the same name duly succeeded to Northwyke., the latter, by his wife Jane Prideaux of Thuborough, in the parish of Sutcombe (a baronetcy, recently extinct, was afterwards created in this family) had sons, John, Richard, William, and Thomas, and a daughter, Jane, the wife of John Baron.
The eldest son, John, commences the pedigree of the family entered at the Heralds' Visitation of 1620, and is duly described as "John Wykes, of Northwyke, in com. Devon, Esq." His first wife, and the mother of his family, was Elizabeth, a co-heir of the Pokeswells of Criston, co. Somerset; but he married, secondly, a kinswoman, Jane, daughter of Walter Wray, of Wray, in Thrushelton, and left her a widow, 10th August, 1545.
His son and heir, John Wykes, of Northwyke, was "aged 20 years and,more in 1545." He married Mary, daughter of Sir Roger Gifford, Knight, of Brightleigh, a direct ancestor of the present Lord Chancellor, died at the end of October, 1591, and was buried in South Tawton church on the following first of November. He was evidently the "Warrior Wykes " of the local tradition already mentioned. His fine specimen of an Elizabethan tomb may be seen in the north, or " Wyke's aisle," of the parish church, and supports his full-length effigy clad in the half armour and enormous ruff of the period.
He left a large family - eight sons and three daughters - and of them it is only necessary to mention here the two eldest, Roger and Mark, and to the latter I shall presently refer again. The eldest son, Roger Wykes of Northwyke, whose will was proved at Exeter, in February, 1603-4, was the father of John "Wikes" of "Northwicke" alive in 1620. His wife, Grace, was of the good old county family of Arscott of Tetcott, and by her he had seven children; of these his eldest son, Roger, predeceased him, and is the last entered upon the Visitation Pedigree, in which he is described as "over 15 years of age" in 1620. He married Mary, daughter of Thomas Southcote of Mohuns Ottery, and a member of a well-known county family.
His second son, John Wikes, baptized 2nd May, 1611, married Priscilla Kingwell, and succeeded his nephew, John Wykes of Northwyke, as heir male at law, in 1661, and died in 1680, but was unjustly deprived of his inheritance, under circumstances which may well be regarded as a romance of history. By his wife Priscilla Kingwell, widow of Richard Hole, he had two sons and three daughters; his eldest son died before him unmarried ; the younger, Roger Wikes, was twice married, died at sea in 1694, and left an only daughter and heir, Grace, who was baptized at South Tawton, 23rd April, 1673.
John Wykes, son of Roger, and Mary Southcote, and who had a sister Katherine, the second wife of Edmund Parker of, Boringdon, ancestor of Lord Morley, succeeded to Northwyke upon the death of his grandfather. He was of an exceedingly weak and vacillating disposition, and fell into the hands of designing men, who, after his early death, from phthisis, in 1661, at about the age of twenty-five, literally entered upon Northwyke at the point of the sword, as will be fully explained hereafter. I have now, however, to return to Mark ykes, his great-great-uncle, and his great-grandfather's second brother.
This Mark, the favourite son of his mother, Mary Giffard, was settled at South Tawton upon an estate known as Collibear; he was twice married, and had issue by both alliances. His eldest son, John Wykes of Collibear, by his wife Joan Hole of Blackhall, in South Tawton, was the father of John Wykes of Collibear, whose son, Nathaniel Wykes of Swansea, claimed. the Northwyke estates as heir male at law, upon the death, at sea, of his kinsman Roger Wykes, in 1694. His pedigree is duly set forth in the pleadings connected with this memorable Chancery suit, which extended over forty years, and was never satisfactorily settled. He had several children, and of them his son, Nathaniel, was the father of William Wykes, burried at South Tawton, 9th November, 1800, whose only daughter and heir, Mary Wykes, was married to Charles, grandson of William Finch, who married Agnes Lambert of South Tawton, in 17I9; he was of the Kentish family which claims a common origin with the Herberts, Earls of Pembroke, and which is now represented in the peerage by the Earls of Winchilsea. Mary Wykes had a son, Charles Finch, baptized at South Tawton, 8th February, 1798; who was the father of the Rev. William Finch, M.A., St. John's College, Cambridge, now of Northwyke in the parish of South Tawton, and of Chaddesley Corbett, co. Worcester.
Mr. Finch, of Northwyke, married a daughter and co-heir of Josiah Perrin, of Wharton, co. Chester, and maternally descended from John Dudley of Davenham, co. Chester.
WEEKES OF HONEYCHURCH
The connection between this family, and that of which I have just previously treated, must doubtless be referred to a certain Robert Wyke, whose daughter Joan married John de Honeychurche late in the fifteenth century, who resided at Tavistock, but was the owner of land in Honeychurch, situated seven miles from Oakhampton, from about the reign of Henry III.
This Robert Wyke was contemporary with William Wykes of Northwyke who I consider must have been his first cousin, and the nephew of his father, John Wykes, who was living in 1435. Otherwise the arms of Wyke of Northwyke would not have been admitted to "Weeks of Honeychurch," as they appear to have been at the Heralds' Visitation of 1620.
That the primary settlement of this branch at Honeychurch was due to the marriage of Joan Wykes with John de Honeychurch is tolerably certain, but there is a hiatus in their history for three generations, since the ancestor of Weekes of Honeychurch, as recorded at the Visitation referred to, was " Sir Richard Weekes, Knight, of Honeychurch" (contemporary with John Wykes of Northwyke," aged 20 years and: more, 1545") and who is reputed to have married an unknown daughter of Cary, of Clovelly. Sir Richard was the grandfather Simon Weekes, also of Honeychurch, whose son William married. Arminell, daugthter of John Yeo of Hatherley by his wife Anne, daughter of William Honeychurch of Honeychurch and Tavistock.
Their son Simon seems to have removed to Broadwood Kelly, and his eldest son Francis Weekes, aged thirty in 1620, married Wilmot Coffin of Portledge, and had six sons and a daughter. Of these, Richard Weekes, the third son, resided at Hatherleigh, was a "gentleman pensioner," that is to say, a member of the body now known as " The Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms," and died in the Fleet Prison in February, 1670.
Mr. Richard Weekes seems to have been little better than a common adventurer, and his history has been handed down to us, very clearly, through the medium of original documents filed in the Court of Chancery ; he made the acquaintance of poor young John Wykes of Northwyke, persuaded him that he was a near relative, although the family at that time, or since, have had no clue even to the slight connection, which doubtless subsisted between them, as above explained, and persuaded him, to the prejudice of his immediate relatives, to execute a conveyance of the Northwyke estates in his favour.
John Wykes of Nortliwyke was, as I have already said, a victim to consumption. Shortly before his death, in 1661, his friend, and very remote kinsman, of the Royal bodyguard persuaded him, in opposition to the wishes of his widowed mother and of his only sister Katherine, afterwards Mrs. Parker of Boringdon, to undertake a journey to Plymouth on the pretence of some special medical advice. Ultimately John Wykes was induced to execute a deed of settlement, dated 29th August, 1661, of the whole of his property, inclusive of the ancient seat of the family, to this Richard, under great pressure by the latter, and two medical men, his near relatives, whom he had secured in his interests. But this conveyance was endorsed with a power of verbal revocation, and left in the custody of the young squire of Northwyke, who then insisted on returning forthwith to South Tawton. He died at Northwyke shortly afterward, but in his last moments expressed sorrow to his Mother, sister, and other witnesses, for the action adverse to their interests. which he had been induced to take, and solemnly revoked the deed by word of mouth, but failed to cancel it in writing.
John Wykes was gathered to his ancestors on Saturday, 21st September, 1661, and on the following Sunday evening Mr. Richard Weekes made his appearance at Northwyke, stated that he was "come to perform the devil's part and his own," drew his sword, and held it at the breast of Katherine Wykes and her mother, and threatened to kill them both unless they forthwith left the house and gave him quiet possession.
Ultimately, as sworn in the " pleadings," he knocked down the sister, locked up the mother, then broke into the room where "all the deeds, evidences, and writings of the family" were preserved, and carried them away. He survived for nine years, and died a prisoner for debt in London, as I have already state, in 170. His son Richard, despite the protracted Chancery proceedings, entered into possession by virtue of the deed of settlement, which had been duly signed and sealed by John Wykes before he left Plymouth ; married the daughter of Mr. John Northmore of Well (see Northmore history, -ante), and left at his decease, 1696, three sons and three daughters.
The eldest son, John Weekes, succeeded to Northwyke, married Elizabeth, daughter of William Northmore, of Throwley, and was burried iat Lezant in 1750. He had no family, and in consideration of annuity he sold the Northwyke estates to his sisters during his lifetime.
The manor of Ilton was thus conveyed to Robert Hole of Zeal Monachorum, the husband of Martha Weekes, together with Great Cocktree and other lands. Northwyke became the property of George Hunt of North Bovey, the second husband ,of Elizabeth Weekes, who administered to her brother's effects, unadministered, in 1751.
There are said to have been more than a hundred different suits in respect of the Northwyke lands between the years 1661 and 1700. Of late years the old mansion has been divided into two farmhouses, but is rich in mullioned windows and fine oak panelling of the Elizabethan period. It was not, however, as recently stated in a newspaper," the residence of a Lord Chief Justice Hunt in the sixteenth century," and history, moreover, is silent as to any such individual of the race of Hunt.
It has recently been sold by the executors of a late owner, together with four hundred acres of the surrounding property, and has been promptly purchased for over £4,000 by the Rev. William Finch, who, as I have already shown, is the great grandson, twice removed, of Nathaniel Wykes of Swansea, who became the head of the family of Wykes of Northwyke and South Tawton in 1694.
The Arms of Wykes of Northwyke, allowed also to Weekes of Honeychurch in 1620, are, ermine, three battleaxes, sable.
The Northwyke family quarter Burnell, Avenel, and Powkeswell.
The Honeychurch branch was entitled to quarter Kelly by the marriage of Richard, eldest grandson of Sir Richard Weekes, with Alice, daughter and heir of Henry Kelly, but the right passed with her daughter and heir to, the Haydons of Ottery St. Mary.
South Tawton extends over 10,878 acres of land, five. thousand of which were owned by the-Wykes of Northwyke for many centuries.
CHEVERSTONE OF CHEVERSTONE, WRAY, EAST AYSHE, AND ILTON
William de Wigornia, son of Robert de Bellomonte, Earl of Mellent, son and heir of Walleran, officiary Earl of Worcester, and whose brother, Roger de Wigornia, or "de Wyrescestrin," also styled " Roger de Meuelent," was a churchman, and held the prebendal stall of Bromesbury in St. Paul's Cathedral in 1192 (Reg. Dec. and Cap., Lond., f. 57), obtained a grant of the above manors, with the exception of Ilton, during the reign, of Henry II., as shown by the preceding history of the family of "Wykes of Northwyke."
He appears to have had a son, William, who certainly inherited the South Tawton manor of Ayshe, and is mentioned also as the owner of Wray, in Moreton-Hampstead. He seem to have assumed the name of his Kenton property and to have been known as "Williani de Cheverstone." He was the father of "William de Wray," who was found seised of Northwyke in 1242, and also of another son, "Sir John de Cheverstone," whose son, of the same knightly rank and name, acquired Ilton Castle, in the parish of Marlborough, near Kingsbridge, in marriage with a co-heir of Bozun, whose sister, the other co-heir, married Ferrers of Bere. His son, Ralph Cheverstone of Ilton, temp. Henry III., has been described as the "father," but was actually the grandfather of Sir John Cheverstone, whose wife was, Joan, a daughter of Hugh, Earl of Devon, and sister of Sir Philip Courtenay of Powderham.
The last Sir John's father, John Cheverstone, had license, 9th Edward III., to castellate his residence at "Ydilton" (Ilton) as shown by the Patent Rolls for the year 1335, and the latter ,had also a daughter who married into the Halwell. family, of Harberton, and left a son, Thomas de Halwell.
Sir John Cheverstone the younger, by deed of settlement, gave the reversion of the whole of his property to his brother-in-law, Sir Philip Courtenay, failing his own male issue. His wife, Joan Courtenay is mentioned in her mother's will, dated 28th January, 1390, and, although the Courtenays duly succeeded to the Cheverstone estates by virtue of the conditional reversion, Thomas de Halwell, upon his uncle's death, became heir general at law.
The latter's descendant, Sir John Halwell, appears to have assumed the arms of Cheverstone, and immediately after the accession of Henry VII., 1485, he commenced an action against Sir.William Courtenay of Powderham, for the recovery of the Cheverstone estates. After a tedious litigation, which extended over some years, it was ultimately decreed that the Courtenays should continue in the quiet possession of their land, as they have since done, but only after payment to the plaintif of the sum of. one thousand pounds, upon a day named "within the King's Tower of London."
Sir William Courtenay, who survived until 1512, was exceedingly indignant at this award, after the lapse of so many years of undisputed posession of the lands, and is said to have counted the money out to his antagonist in groats, which he maintained to be an ancient, and still strictly legal, tender.
1 His brother, "Robert de Wigornia," alias "Chamberlain," married Jane, daughter and co-heir of Baldwin de Belston. and seems to have died, s.p.
2 It has been sometimes asserted that the mother of Reginald, Earl of Cornwall, was a daughter of Sir Robert Corbet.
3 The Earls of Mellent were of kin to the
Dukes of Normandy. . Adeline, daughter of Waleran, and sister and heir of Hugh, Earls of
Mellent, married Roger de Bellomonte, and had sons, Robert, Earl of Mellent and Leicester,
and Henry of Newburgh, Earl of Warwick.
4 See Cheverstone genealogy, post.
5 See my Suburbs of Exeter, sub. "Earldom of Devon,"' pp. 81-87, etc.