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Tawstock, a parish and village in the northern division, hundred of Fremington, the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, and the Diocese of Exeter, less than a miles southwest of Bishops Tawton, 2-1/2 miles southwest of Barnstaple, 2-3/4 miles southwest of Landkey, 4-1/3 miles west of Swimbridge, 6.83 miles east of Northam and 6.15 miles northwest of Braunton... in the archdeaconry of Barnstaple, and diocese of Exeter... and in the patronage of Sir B. WREY, Bart. (Maps and Lewis...)

Tawstock also includes "the hamlets of of East Combe, West Combe, Hiscott, Prustacott, Chapeltown, and St. John's Chapel... The manor was successively held by the BREWER, TRACEY, MARTYN, AUDLEY, FITZWARREN, HANKFORD, and BOURCHIER families... It now belongs to Sir Bourchier Palk WREY, Bart., of Tawstock House... Charles STURT, Esq., is lord of the manor of Templeton. The Church (St. Peter,) ... contains several monuments of the BOURCHIERS and WREYS..." (White's Devonshire Directory (1850))

Devonshire Gen-UKI's Index to Stewart's Handbook states that William BOURCHIER, Earl of Bath, was Lord of the Manor at Combmartin in 1593, and also refers to the BOURCHIER family (Earls of Bath) as Lords of Barnstaple.

Combes are found in Tawstock as early as 1564 (and probably much earlier), but whether they were related to later Combes connected to Tawstock is not yet known. By 1634 (apparently), Anne LOVETT of Liscombe, Soulbury, Bucks, daughter of Sir Robert LOVETT of Liscombe, and sister-in-law of John COMBE (s/o John and Margaret ARCHDALE Combe), had married Edmund or Edward BOURCHIER, Earl of Bath (Visitations of Bucks). Devonshire Gen-UKI's Index to Stewart's Handbook states that William BOURCHIER, Earl of Bath (Anne's father-in-law?), was "Lord of the Manor at Combmartin" in 1593, and also refers to the BOURCHIER family (Earls of Bath) as Lords of Barnstaple.

According to the Lovett Ecclesiastical Memorials..., "The church of St. Peter [in Tawstock], built during the latter part of the 13th century, with its chancel, and transepts, crowded with monuments -- among the most important of which are those to past members of the ancient and illustrious families of BOURCHIER (1) Earls of Bath, LOVETT of Liscombe, Bucks, and Northcote, Earls of Iddesleigh, all connected to each other by marriage -- presents to the antiquarian and genealogist a delightful study, and well deserves its appelation of "Westminster Abbey of the west."


16 Sep 1564 - 27 Jul 1565 (#1565) Laurence TOSSELL of Tawstke (Tawstock [Tostock]), 16 Sept., 1564. He desires to be buried in Holy Grave. "To my four daughters twenty marks in money to be divided equally amongst them, that is, to every one of them L3 6s. 8d.," and "to each two dishes performed & a hiefer a-pice." To Son William, "six sylver spoones, after the death of my wife." To John POWE /4d, and "to ye pore mens box /12d. To Philip CRADOCKE a yeo. Residue to wief Christian, who is Sole Executrix." Witnesses-John COMBE, "Curat", Lewis CRADOCKE, John COMER, Richard BOND, with others. Proved 27th July, 1565. (Devonshire Wills, A Collection of Annotated Testamentary Abstracts by Worthy, 1896, pg 53, 54, & 182) SW: CRADDOCK

Note: See also the given name Christian or Chrian in respect to Chrian COMBE Langworth of Devonshire (1630 Oxford University will of William COMBE). Is it coincidence that Laurence TOSSELL'S wife was named Christian and his will witnessed by a John COMBE? Particularly given that William COMBE'S nephew-in-law, Edward LOVETT, later lived in Tawstock? (See below) Also, is the above yet another indication that COMBS & COMER could be one and the same early on? Were the above John COMBE and John COMER kin to the COMBE-COMER Family of nearby Barnstaple?


19 Mar 1637 Tawstock Church. "The Right Worshippful Richard DOWN, doctor of divinity, and Miss Mary LOVETT, dau of the Right Worshippful Sir Robert LOVETT Knt with a license." (Lovett Ecclesiastical Memorials...)

Richard DOWNE matriculated from Exeter College 13 Dec 1615, age 18 (born ca 1597), having received degrees from both Cambridge and Oxford Universities, and his doctor of divinity in 1633. He was Rector of Tawstock and Marwood, Devonshire in 1636, and was perhaps the son of John DOWNE of Pilton (Visitation of Devon, and Alumni Oxonienses).

Mary LOVETT was the d/o Sir Robert and Ann SAUNDERS Lovett, and sister of (1) Elizabeth LOVETT, who married in 1630 in Soulbury, Buckinghamshire, John COMBE, later of Sparsholt, Berkshire (s/o John & Margaret ARCHDALE Combs), and brother of William, both of whom were also at Oxford University (1622-1629).

Also of Tawstock, Devonshire was their sibling, Edward LOVETT. According to R. J. Arden Lovett, author of the Lovett Ecclesiastical Memoirs, Sir Robert LOVETT of Soulbury, Buckinghamshire, was on his way home from visiting his son, Edward of Tawstock, Devonshire, when he died in Sparsholt, Berkshire (home to both Sir Robert's eldest son and daughter of his second marriage, although Lovett appears to have been unaware of that fact).

The Lovett Memorials… also state that "Edward LOVETT, born in 1626 -- son of Sir Robert LOVETT, of Liscombe, Bucks, obtained lands in the parish of Tawstock, on his marriage with Joan, daughter, and heir of James HEARLE, of Tawstock, Esq. --- His monument in Tawstock church is surmounted by the LOVETT arms Ar. three wolves pass. in pale sa. and beneath

"Edwardi LOVETT Armigeri Dm. Robert LOVETT militis de Liscomb in agno Buckinghamiensi Filii, qui amos plus minus quinquagesima habitabat ubiduas duxit uxores quarum una fuit Elizabetha filia Gulielmi PAGE Gen. Altera Joanna Filia Jacoba HEARLE Geu. hoc ipse vivus et praesens sibi affixit monumentm. A.D. 1702 aetates suae 74."

The above refers to Edward's first wife as Elizabeth, daughter of William PAGE. An IGI entry (parish extract?) shows his first marriage, to Elizth. PAGETT [sic] took place on 26 Oct 1654 in Braunton Parish, Devonshire. (IGI, Ba: E050411, So: 916821, Pr: 1037002) See also Burke's which refers to Mary's husband as John (not Robert) DOWN. No Combs are found in Tawstock in the IGI, but it is also unclear as to whether Tawstock records have been transcribed and indexed. See also reference in Lovett Memorials… to a book, "Tawstock Churches," by Florence Wrey. See also photograph of the exterior of Tawstock Church, courtesy Phil Mustoe and GenUKI.

In respect to children of Edward and Joan HEARLE Lovett, and her ancestry:

Extracted by Combs Researchers Denise Mortorff and Thom Mont from "DEVONSHIRE WILLS: A collection of Annotated Testamentary Abstracts together with the Family History and Genealogy of Many of the Most Ancient Gentle Houses of the West England," by Charles Worthy, Esq. London: Bemrose & Sons, LTD. 1896, pp. 327/8:

"....she is described as "Pascoe" RISDON, of "Winscott," in the parish of St. Giles, and county of Devon, widow. She gives her son, William RISDON, "her heir and sole Executor," "the Manor of Winscott and the Barton farm & demesne thereof and all other lands in Devon for ever." This bequest upsets the assertion of the authors of the additions to RISDON (p.422, edit 1811), who state that Giles RISDON ( her eledest sone, who had then been dead about two years) "inherited the estate after his father, and was succeeded by his brother William."

"She gives her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Margery RISDON, two stocks of bees and her still. To "my daughter, Mrs. Joane HEARLE, all my best woolen and lynnen apparel and my wedding-ring." To my grandchild, Margaret Rattenbury, L5 at sixteen years of age. Her daughter, Margaret, had died 26th of August, 1636, and her memorial inscription is given by Prince in the Worthies of Devon. She likewise leaves to her grandchild Joane HEARLE, "a bearing blanket and all my child bed linnen." There are also bequests to several of her god-children, and to John MADDCOTE,"godson of my husband, Mr. Tristram RISDON, deceased." The overseers are her nephew, Thomas CHAFE, already mentioned, and her son-in-law, Mr. James HEARLE.

William RISDON, of Winscot, the second son of the antiquary, proved his mother's will, and succeeded to the property at her death. He died in 1701, and was buried in St. Giles' Church with his family. He had one daughter, Mary, who by her first husband, John PRUST, had one child,a daughter, who died in infancy. She was subsequently married three times -- viz, to Amos ROLLE, to John HOLLAND, and to John STAFFORD -- but had no issue by either of them, therefore Winscot ultimately descended to Joan, daughter of James HEARLE and Joan his wife, the daughter of Tristram RISDON. This Joane, who by her grandmother's will is to receive "two bearing blankets," and other equally useful articles, became the wife of Edward LOVATT, of Corfe, in the parish of Tawstock, who was the sixth son of Sir Robert LOVATT, of Liscombe, in Buckinghamshire. Her husband gave a large silver flagon to the church of Tawstock. They had three children -- Robert, who died without issue; Joan, who married HATCH; and Penelope, who was the wife of Sir Henry NORTHCOTE, M.D., the fourth baronet, and the present Lord Iddesleigh is now the representative of Tristram RISDON. Winscote, which descended in the NORTHCOTE family, has of late years become the property of the Hon. Mark ROLLE....... [DKM: This portion of the text continued with a descriptive detailing of ancestry, none of which are posted here, but can be referred to by borrowing the text or contacting me.]


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