Combs & Research Earliest Combs &c. of Devonshire

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The Combes-Coombes of Devonshire (then de Comb and de Cumb) were probably in this shire from at least the time of the Domesday Surveys (1085-6), but it is not known whether they were English or Norman (See Earliest Combes of England).

Even identification in the Domesday Surveyes is tentative due to the fact that the use of heredity surnames had not yet developed (see also the Visitations of Devonshire re de CUMBE and de BIDLAKE), but by 1332, there were 65 entries in the Devonshire Lay Subsidy Rolls and the surname has ever since been common in this county.


Although these early Combes have not yet been actively researched by Combs &c. researchers, some records have been collected and, in addition to the above, we have:

Ed. Note (aka confession): I don't have a clue as to what most of the following means, and little more re the two that follow:
Easter term 6-7 John (1205). Devonshire. Curia Regis Rolls. Ricardus de CUMBE, Positus Loco Willemi de BREUS optulit se iiij. die versus Henricum de NONANT de placito capiendi cirographum suum de fine. ( 1205) (Extracted from "Curia Regis Rolls," PRO, HMSO, London, 1922, V. 3 page 295 by Combs Researcher Joe Kendalll)

Easter Term 6-7 John (1205). Devonshire. Johannes de SNAUSHILL optulit se iiij. die verus Ricardum de CUMBE de placito quare permisit eum dissaisiri de ij. ferlingis terre et viij. acris terre cum pertinentiis in Sitelestok'. quas ei dedit per cartam suam, ut dicit ; et ipse non venit vel se essoniavit, et positus fuit per plegios. (1205)

1204(?) Devonshire. Curia Regis Rolls. Assisa venit recognitura si Wido de BRETEVILLE injuste et sine judicio disseisivit Aliciam De CUMBA de librero tenemento [suo] in Sitelstorn' infra assiasam; et Wido venit et dicit quod assisa inde non debit esse, quia ipse; ut dicit, recuperavit in curia comitis Willelmi de VERNUN de PLIMTUN' per duellum vadiatum in eadem curia versus Ricardum de CUMBA; et inde vocat curiam ad warentum. Habeat breve ad summonendum curiam. Curia venit et reocdatur quad Wido tulit breve de crecto in curiam versus Ricardum de CUMBA de feodo dimidii militis is Sidelstorn' et tantum deducta fuit loquela qoud duellm vadiatum fuit inter eos: et tandem convenit inter eos quod Recardus reddidit Widoni terram quam... (1204) (Extracted from "Curia Regis Rolls," PRO, HMSO, London, 1922, Vol. 3, page 291 by Combs Researcher Joe Kendalll who adds: Other people brought to court include John de Snoeshull in a seperate assise)

1241(?) Devonshire. Curia Regis Rolls. Alexander de CALABRE optulit se quarto die versus Bartholomeum archidiaconum Exon' et Willelelmum Officialem ejus de placito quare tenuerunt [placitum] in curia Christianitatis de debitis que non sunt de stestamento [[testamento?]] etc. contra etc., et versus Ricardum SPECIA[RIUM] et Recardum de CREDITON' quare secunti sunt idem placitum conra etc. Et nullus eorum venit etc.; et v[icecomes] mandavit quod archidiaconus et officialis clerici sunt et non havient laicum feodum per quod possunt distrini. [Et] ideo manatum est spiscopo Esxoniensi quod faciat eos venire in crastino sancti martini etc. Et [Ricardus SPE]CIARIOUS fuit attachiatus per Galfidum Troth' de Ultra Exo et Ricardum de CUMBE et Recardus de CR[EDITON]' per Reicasrdum de EILESTON' et Ricardum EDMER DE CUMBE. Et ideo ponantur per miliores pelgios qoud sint ad eundem terminum etc,; et primi etc. (1241) (Extracted from "Curia Regis Rolls," PRO, HMSO, London, 1922, Vol. xv, p. 202, entry 943, by Combs Researcher Joe Kendalll)
Sitelstornm, Sidelstorn and Sitelestock appear to have been the same, but which, what and where? Was Plimtun aka Plympton? Translator needed!

Given the close association of the Combes of Coombes and Applesham manors in Sussex to the de Braose family, it may be significant that Willemi de BREUS of the first record appears to be either William de BRAOSE, 3rd Lord of Bramber, Sussex, who died in 1211, his son William who died in 1208, or perhaps William de BRAOSE of Totnes, Devonshire (son of Reginald), who died 1230 according to The Barons de Braose by Linda Denyer, which gives very little information about either the Devonshire de Braose families, or Judahel, Lord of Barnstaple, and father of Aanor who married Phillip de BRAOSE, 2nd Lord of Bramber, other than to indicate that the de BRAOSE family inherited some Devonshire holdings, including a reference to Reginald's son, William, as "William of Totnes."

Also note: An unconfirmed IGI entry, one Henry de NONANT married 1197, Devonshire, Isabella (Isabel), d/o Hugh de BULBECK (BOLEBEC) and Margaret de MONTIFICHET, and widow of Robert, Earl de VERE. An Ancestral File entry lists an Alice de NONANT, b ca 1100, d/o Roger de NONANT "of Broad Clyst, Devonshire," who married ca 1119, Robert MARTIN of Blagdon, Somersetshire, died bef 1159, Abbey St Dogmael, Kemeys, Pembroke, Wales (added here as a "clue" only - not verified). For more about the de Braose family, see Coombes Manor, Sussex.


From the Index to a History of the Parish of Aveton Giffard, Devonshire, by Rev. C.C.Shaw, M.A., GenUKI (note that these entries are not necessarily residents of Aveton Giffard where no Combes are found in 1332):
1283 Nicholas de CUMB witnessed lease (p. 33)
1293 Sir John de CUMBA witnessed agreement (p. 35)
1305 Michael de COMB witnessed charter (p. 31)
In 1300, we find Thomas and John de CUMBE of West Hagginton, Ilfracombe, Devonshire (where again no de Combes are found in 1332):
1 May 28 Edw I. [1300] Devon. Inq. made at Barnestaple on Friday before the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, 28 Edw.I (C.Edw.I. File 98. (1.)) No. 606. Thomas de CUMBE alias de COMB. Writ of certiorari to the sheriff and coroners of Devon, on the complaint of John, son and heir of the said Thomas, that the sheriff had taken into the king's hand the lands &c. of the said Thomas, who carried away by madness hung himself at Westhagynton, as if he had been convicted of felony,

Westhaginton. The said Thomas on the day of the Adoration of the Cross, hung himself in his oxhouse at 'la Comb' in the tithing of Westhaginton, and for long before was in a lamentable condition, always roaming about by himself. After his death the coroner took his lands into the king's hand and delivered them to the tithing at a price, in the custody of which they still are. After the death of William the parson they will be worth 1 mark yearly, and not before because he will receive 40s. yearly from the same for his life: the[y] are held of Henry de RALEGH by service of 4 horseshoes yearly.

Endorsed. Let the sheriff be ordered to retin in the king's hand the chattels, and not to intermeddle with the lands.
(Great Britain. Calendar of Inquisitions Post-Mortem, published 1906 by His Majesties Stationery Office, London, copied by Combs Researcher Joe Kendalll and transcribed by Combs Researcher Denise Mortorff, Vol. 3, p. 489)
In 1332, we find no less than 65 entries in the Devonshire Lay Subsidy Rolls, with 25 unique given names:
Adam, Agnes, Alexander, Andrew, Dionis, Geoffrey, Guy, Henry, Isabel, Joan, John, Laurence, Nicholas, Ralph, Ranulph, Richard, Robert, Robert Reed,* Roger, Simon, Stephen, Susanna, Thomas, Walter, William, William Luuenet,* and William Tailleur.*
*Robert Reed may have become surname REED and William Luuenet and Willia Tailleur surnames LUUENET and TAILLEUR (or TAYLOR, etc.) respectively (not researched).

In the late 1400s is found a John COMBE aka John de COMBE who was the Vicar-General and later Preceptor of the Cathedral of Exeter who may be the sam who earlier attended Eton, then Cambridge University



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