This chapter contains summaries of some of the more interesting legal proceedings invloving Lambert Gorwyns that have survived in the UK National Archives.







1288: CASE BEFORE THE DEVON ASSIZES: Richard de Gorefenne at Gorefenne

(JUST1/1280 Assize Roll).

   Thomas Baylif of Wonford, Robert de Syliadon, John de Levedon, William de Levedon, Richard Whyte, the pious Richard de Cocklesworth, Richard Chaz and Matthew de la Croiz were attached to answer to Julian Peny concerning a plea, wherefore on Tuesday next before the festival of the purification of St Mary in the 16th year of the reign of the now king in the house of Richard de Gorefenne at Gorefenne at the third hour of the afternoon, they suddenly came upon the aforesaid Julian and took the very man there and bound him, and then took him as far as the house of Robert de Tilledene and detained him there through the whole of the following day, and then took him to the parson of Wonford and held him there in the stocks for one week, whereupon they say that he became worse and has damage to the value of 100s. And thereupon he produced suit, etc. And the aforesaid bailiff and the others came. And the aforesaid bailiff for himself and all the others says that he is the bailiff of the earl of Albemarl of the hundred of Wonford, and it was presented by Guth’ de Middelonde that the aforesaid Julian was suspected of the theft of beasts and the same man was delivered to the aforesaid bailiff for the aforesaid suspicion. And that he did no injury to him [and] he seeks that an enquiry be made. And the aforesaid Julian [does] similarly. Therefore the jurors have come. The jurors say upon their oath that the aforesaid Julian was arrested for theft and for such was handed over to the aforesaid bailiff. And he did not treat him maliciously. And therefore it is agreed that the aforesaid bailiff and others go thereupon without a day. And the aforesaid Julian takes nothing by his writ, but he is to be in amercement for false claim.




1386-1486: JOHANE HETHMAN, WIDOW OF EXETER, v. THOMAS GOREFEN OF CO. DEVON: Suite of detenue contrary to an award.


Details of the case: the said Thomas pursued the said Joan by a writ of detenue in the common place for the withholding of certain goods. The said Joan had a plaint of trespass and pursued the said Thomas in the mayor’s court in Excetre. And of these pursuits and discords, the same Thomas and Joan put them in the awards of four men, who afterwards gave sentence and ordained that both Thomas and Joan should withdraw utterly their plaints. Joan withdrew her plaint but Thomas pursued his plea in the common place and has obtained a quest of default against Joan to her perpetual hindering and undoing.

Request for a writ of subpena to be directed against the said Thomas.

Pledges for prosecution: John Lane, clerk, and Thomas Hethman.




1526 (18. HEN VIII): INQUISITION POST-MORTEM: THOMAS GORFEN, DEVON  (E150/165/24 and C142/80/133)

Inquisition taken in Exeter on 28 August before John Kayleway, Escheator of the King in Devon, after the death of Thomas Gorfen gentleman. John Carewe, John Bydwill, Baldwin Merwood, John Carsewill, Thomas Pomfrett, Gilbert Gale, John Snedeale, Lawrence Prous, Richard Northlegh, John Burlegh, Wm. Edwards the younger, John Bodlegh the elder and John Sandford say on their oath that Thomas Gorfen was seized at his death of the Manor of Gorfen with its appurtenances in the parish of Cheriton Bishop and elsewhere, and of four messuages and divers lands and tenements, meadows, woods, pools, pastures and pasture-lands belonging to the said Manor; and also of  two tenements and divers arable lands, meadows, pastures and pasture-lands pertaining to them, in Towe, Gernesland, Byttesbeare and Redisson in the Parish of Winkleigh. He was seized of all these properties in his demesne as of fee, and being thus seized of an estate tail, he died seized thereof, and after his death the properties descended to his son and heir William Gorfen. The Manor of Gorfen and its appurtenances are held of John Fulford Esquire, although the jurors do not know for what rent and services. The Manor is worth 34s. per annum in all its issues beyond reprises. The two tenements in Winkleigh are held of John Crooker Esquire, although the jurors do not know for what services, and are worth 20s per annum beyond reprises. Thomas Gorfen died on 28 October in the 16th year of Henry VIII’s reign, and his heir William Gorfen was aged 33 on the day of the inquisition. Thomas Gorfen held no other manors, lands or tenements in Devon at the time of his death.




1544-1551: PETER GORVEN and ALICE v. JOHN BRADLEY: detention of deeds relating to land in Crediton called Bradley. (C1/1226/26)

Bill of complaint of Peter Gorven and Alice his wife.

   Peter Gorven and Alice his wife are estated by good and lawful conveyance in the law in their demesne as of fee tail as in the right of the said Alice of and in two tenements and 300 acres of land, meadow, pasture, wood, furse and heath and appurtenances called Bradley and Busell lying in Crediton by force of an ancient gift of entail made to the ancestor of the said Alice whose heir she is. The names of the donors thereof the Gorvens do not know, for lack of the deed conveying the said gift of entail. This deed and various others concerning the prmises have come into the possession of John Bradley, who pretends title to the said premises and menaces the Gorvens. The Gorvens request discovery of these deed and a writ of supoena to be issued against John Bradley. (C1/1226/26)

1544-1551: JOHN BRADLEGH v. PETER GORVEN, HIS WIFE ALICE AND JOHN TRUEMAN concerning ownership of Bradley (this seems to be a counter-claim brought by the defendant in the previous one).


Bill of complaint of John Bradlegh


   Thomas Bradley was seized in his demesne as of fee of two tenements, 200 acres of land, 60 acres of pasture, 20 acres of meadow and 300 acres of furze and heath with appurtenances, called Bradlegh, in the parish of Crediton. On about 4 May 13 Hen VII [1498], Thomas enfeoffed William Trueman thereof and divers others unknown to the complainant, to the use of the said Thomas in tail male, by force whereof William and his co-feoffees entered the premises and were seized as of fee to the aforesaid use. Thomas Bradlegh had issue, namely John Bradlegh and William Bradlegh. Thomas died, so the use descended to John as son and heir male of Thomas. John had issue, namely William Bradlegh. When John died, the use descended to William as John’s son and heir. William died without issue male, whereby the lands descended to the orator as cousin and heir to William, son of John, viz. as son of William, second son of Thomas. The deed of entail and various other deeds have come into the possession of the defendants. John therefore requests a writ of  subpoena to be directed against the defendants. (C1/1196/42)

The answer of John Trueman


   He says that the bill is uncertain and insufficient in law and the matter imagined. (C1/1196/43)

The answer of Peter Gorfen (damaged)


   The bill is insufficient in the law. [...] Bradeleighe, uncle to the complainant, was seized of the premises in tail by force of a gift of entail, and the premises descended to William Bradeleygh as son and heir of John. William entered into the premises as of fee tail. After William’s death, the premises descended to Alice, the defendant, as sister and sole heir of William Bradeleighe, being of the body of John, and Alice entered into the premises.




1635: JOHN GORVEN THE ELDER AND YOUNGER v. FRANCIS GORVEN, concerning their respective interests in the Barton of Gorven (C2/ChasI/G38/61).


The joint and several Answer by John Gorven the Elder and John Gorven the Younger, defendants, to the Bill of Complaints of Francis Gorven, husbandman, complainant. [The original complaint made by Francis has not survived.]

John Gorven the Elder, father of the complainant, had held the Barton of Gorven or Gorfen for some 22 years. He also held various other small pieces of land in Cheriton Bishop of small value. He did not know if his interest in Gorven was a freehold one or whether he held the property under an entail, as he was illiterate and the relevant document had been burnt. He had been and was still living at Gorven.

   By a deed dated 5 May 18 James I [1621, possibly a rejigging of his marriage settlement], he had granted to John Hore of Chagford, gent.,  all of the said Barton called Gorven and Dobbalands [a piece of land adjoining Gorven] in trust,  to the use of  himself John Gorven the Elder and his wife Mary for their lives, and after their decease to the use of his right heirs. This deed remained in his custody and could be shown to the court.

   Edmund Cobley, who was also a defendant to the action brought by Francis, about 14 years previously had married Agnes, one of the daughters of John Gorven the Elder, and was to have £40 for a marriage portion from John Gorven the Elder. He had received £5 only. For security and true payment of the other £35,  John Gorven the Elder, by a deed  of 10.8.22 James I [1625], had demised Gorven to Cobley for £35, for a term of 60 years, paying a yearly rent of 1 penny. This was in truth but a mortgage, made on the condition that John Gorven the Elder should pay to Cobley the sum of £5 yearly until the £35 had been repaid, after which the demise and grant to Cobley would cease and become void. Cobley covenanted in the deed that he and would not entermeddle with John Gorven’s possession of the premises or any part of them, or with the rents and profits from the premises, unless and until there had been default of payment.

   John Gorven the Elder, at the time of the mortgage, had a great charge of children and was otherwise much indebted. Shortly after, he was arrested and imprisoned for divers other debts of his own, and was not able to make any of the yearly payments of £5. Cobley therefore entered into and entermeddled in the premises and took [?part of] the rents and profits. However, having regard to the fact that he had married John Gorven’s daughter, Cobley was well content to deal kindly and friendly with the John Gorven and agreed to accept from him of his the principal money of £35 without any interest. John Gorven the Elder shortly afterwards agreed to pay  £15 to Cobley and the other £20 at a day following, after which  Cobley agreed that he would assign the premises to John Gorven the Elder or to any other person he appointed.

   At the time of their agreement and from his youth upwards the complainant had lived with John Gorven the Elder, his father, and employed himself sometime at his own will with husbandry, affairs and services, for which he had of his father his whole maintenance, education and livelihood, which his father verily believed to be of more benefit and advantage than anything his own labour could earn.  John Gorven the Elder utterly denied that any consideration relating to his son’s services had caused him to promise to convey the property of Gorven to Francis for a term determinable on 3 lives, the term to commence after the death of John the Elder and his wife Mary.

   But John Gorven the Elder was very old and of the age of 80 and upwards with many infirmities. Francis and his friend John Showbrooke had taken advantage of this to work upon him, and he had agreed that the complainant should pay £60, of which £20 would be paid to Cobley for discharge of his mortgage and £40 would go towards paying John Gorven’s debts. For the £60, John Gorven the father was persuaded to grant to Francis an interest in the property of Gorven as was set out in the bill of complaint, and he had delivered to his son the deeds concerning the property so as better to instruct his counsel for drawing up the relevant deed.

   Mr Reynolles, a Counsellor at Law, drew up the conveyance whereby John demised all his portion of the capital messuage, Barton, farm and demesne of Gorven to Francis on the terms set out in the bill of complaints And afterwards, in the Easter term of  7 Charles I (1632), John Gorven and his wife Mary levied a fine of the premises which in the defendant’s belief strengthened and confirmed the term granted to Cobley, as it did the term granted to Francis, unless it should  be lawful for John Gorven the Younger, being the eldest son and heir apparent of John Gorven the Elder, to endeavour and seek by all means to frustrate the transaction in view of the detriment he was most likely to sustain in point of  inheritance when the said lands descended upon him thus encumbered and charged, as the estate was of much more worth and  of better value than  any other lands that would come to him from his father. The premises had been granted to the complainant for a consideration of £60, but the complainant had not as yet nor did ever intend, John Gorven verily believed, to pay his father any one penny of the £60. And although Francis had undertaken to pay to Cobley such monies as were due to him from his father, and claimed in the bill of complaint that he was ready to pay Cobley as soon as Cobley told him how much was due, he had not done so despite Cobley often requesting from Francis the £20 due to him.

   Moreover, it was never meant that the mortgage, after being discharged by the complainant, would be assigned to him, but that rather that it should be discharged for the good and benefit of John Gorven the Elder or any other to whom he should dispose of it. Most unnaturally and disobediently, the complainant had given out in speeches that if he could have gotten the assignment of Cobley’s mortgage his father and mother might lie out of doors and under a hedge. All these were unnatural, indirect, false and mischievous courses and practices invented by the complainant to do his natural father and brother out of their estates and livelihoods. Both of the latter considered that they had just cause to seek and endeavour by all lawful ways and means to keep from the complainant such estate as was granted to him by his father, and hoped that it might be lawful for them to affirm that during the continuance of Cobley’s interest in the property, any grant to the complainant was void in law.

   Since the time that the grant of the lease of Gorven had been made to Francis, John Gorven the Elder had repaid Cobley  the £20 then remaining due to him on the mortgage,  and the mortgage had been assigned to Richard Gorven, the son of  John Gorven the Younger, for which assignment John Gorven the Younger had already paid to his father by an agreement between them the sum of £25 and had given him security to pay £40 within 2 years after John Gorven the Elder’s decease to anyone whom John Gorven the Elder should appoint. In the meantime, notwithstanding the interest in the property of Richard Gorven, under the agreement between father and son, John Gorven the Elder and his wife Mary were being permitted to continue living at Gorven for the rest of their lives, as was William Gorven, another son of John and Mary, in exchange for a certain rent.

   John Gorven the Elder denied that, either at the time that this agreement was made or at any time afterwards, he had made over to Francis a certain chamber and field on the estate as most untruly claimed in the bill of complaint. At the time of the agreement, or indeed before, Francis did inhabit and dwell in the chamber called the kitchen chamber and had by his father’s permission pastured some few sheep and cattle on the field in question. But by reason of the complainant’s disobedient and contemptuous carriage in commencing this unnatural and causeless suite against his father, John Gorven the Elder hath forbidden Francis any longer to dwell with him or to take any further profits from the property. As a result, the complainant together with his wife and children had departed from his father’s house carrying away goods and necessaries. If any remained behind they could freely come and fetch them without any hindrance from John Gorven the Elder or anybody else. And if the complainant with his wife and children wanted sustenance or were become destitute and harbourless it was his own fault.

   Neither did either John Gorven the Elder or John Gorven the Younger believe that the reason that Francis had not paid Cobley was because his mother-in-law Katherine Lake had refused to pay him £40 for her daughter Alice’s marriage portion, as was claimed in the bill of complaint. John Gorven the Elder had heard that Katherine Lake had paid £20 to Francis but had refused to give him any more because he had been an unkind husband to Alice.

   Francis had in the presence of John Gorven the Elder thrown onto the fire one of the deeds and writings which John had given him for instructing his Counsel. John believed that the deed was an entail whereby Gorven was entailed on the heirs male of the body of himself and by virtue of which the property would descend to John Gorven the Younger; or else the deed restrained and limited the power of John Gorven the Elder so that he could not dispose of the lands to the complainant as he had done.

   All the defendants said that the above was true, to their knowledge, and prayed the court find in their favour with reasonable costs and charges.   

Signed  by witnesses Jacobus Knapman, John Hore and William Fulford.




1649/50: JOHN GORVEN v. THOMAS CROATE concerning a leasehold of half of Gorven. (C10/4/80)

On 20.5.15.Chas I there was an agreement between John Gorven and Thomas Croate of Chagford. John Gorven was seized in fee in his demesne of  a messuage or tenement called Gorven also Dabbyland. John Gorven demised to Thomas Croate a half of Gorven for 99 years, determinable on the lives of Thomas Croate and his wife, to begin after decease of Mary Gorven, widow, at annual rent of 13s 4d. Thomas Croate was to pay to John Gorven and several other persons to whom John Gorven was indebted  to the sum of £90.  Not all this money had been paid.




1718-1781: MOALLE v. ELIZABETH AND JOHN GORWYN concerning the parties’ interests in Lampford (later Lambert)

(C11/2682/23 and C11/2735/67)


This case was brought by Robert Moalle of Ashcombe in Devon, yeoman, against John and Elizabeth Gorwyn of Cheriton Bishop before the Court of Chancery in London. Moalle’s original complaint, Elizabeth’s answers and the statement of a witness survive.


Bill of Complaint of Robert Moalle of Ashcombe, 19 February 1717/18


   Moalle said that the late George Gorwyn of Cheriton Bishop was the owner (seized in fee simple) of the messuage and tenement of Lampford in Cheriton Bishop, which had a yearly value for rental purposes of £40 or more. George had given a short lease of the premises to Elizabeth Gorwyn, a widow of Cheriton Bishop, at an annual rent of some £40. The lease also contained various covenants about which Moalle had no knowledge. Elizabeth duly took possession of the premises. Within a year thereof George Gorwyn made his last will and testament, on 25 February 1716/17, bequeathing Lampford to Moalle for 21 years, to commence on George’s death. The will contained directions for Moalle to pay £15 annually to three named persons. Moalle was also made executor of the will. Shortly thereafter, George Gorwyn had died and Moalle had duly proved his will.

   Elizabeth had never paid the £40 rent for her lease, either to George Gorwyn or – after the latter’s death – to Moalle. George had left no counterpart [ie copy] of the lease, and Elizabeth had taken advantage of this fact, getting together (“confederating”) with John Gorwyn, George’s father’s brother’s son, and various other people. John Gorwyn was insisting that, as both George Gorwyn and his brother William were both dead without any issue, and William Gorwyn their father was also dead without any male issue now living, he (John Gorwyn) had title to the premises. John Gorwyn was prohibiting Elizabeth to pay Moalle any rent and refusing to produce proof of his title. Sometimes the confederators also claimed that George’s will had not been duly executed, and threatened to controvert the will once the witnesses, who were aged persons, were dead.


Reply by Elizabeth Gorwyn, 1720


This statement is a reply to Moalle’s accusations, including it seems to another later complaint that Moalle made about timber  that has not survived.

   Elizabeth said that Lampford was for many years part of the land and inheritance of John Gorwyn, who was the eldest brother of George Gorwyn. It had been settled on John Gorwyn’s wife Judith for her life as a marriage portion, to take effect after her husband’s death. John Gorwyn had held and enjoyed the said premises or the rents from them to his death. He died without issue and Judith survived him. After her death, however, the reversion of the premises came to William Gorwyn, John’s next brother, since deceased, the husband of Elizabeth, as heir at law of John. William also died without issue while Judith was still alive, and after his death the reversion of the premises came to George Gorwyn, his younger brother.

   Although Elizabeth has no direct knowledge of the fact, she accepted that it could be true that George had left the property to Moalle for 21 years. George died about three months after the date of the lease to Elizabeth. Judith Gorwyn died about November 1716, whereupon George Gorwyn became entitled to the premises. He afterwards gave a lease to Elizabeth, signed in the presence of John Maunder and James Hunt. The terms of the lease, and Elizabeth Gorwyn of Cheriton Bishop, widow were contained in an indenture of 17.12.1716 (3 Geo), by which  George Gorwyn of Cheriton Bishop, gentleman leased Lampford and all its appurtenances, then in the possession to Elizabeth Gorwyn of Cheriton Bishop, to Elizabeth. George however reserved the rights to the timber on the estate, and he also reserved for his own use the little chamber above the (?)drinkhouse and the (?)Nuehouse, with freedom to come and go, and also liberty to bake, brew and wash in the kitchen as often as he wished. The lease was for three years and three months from 25 December of the same year, at an annual rent of £40 payable quarterly. Elizabeth covenanted that she would maintain all the houses belonging to the premises and also all the hedges, ditches, etc. She could take timber as necessary for that purpose. She also agreed to pay all rates and taxes (except land tax). George agreed that if he felled any trees, Elizabeth would have the right to the tops, and she would not top or lop any other trees.

   Elizabeth confirmed that there was no counterpart of the lease, but the sole copy of the indenture was, for mutual comfort of the parties, lodged with William Ponsford [probably a relation of Elizabeth, whose maiden name appears to have been Ponsford; the Ponsfords were one of the leading local families of Drewsteignton]. After the death of George Gorwyn, Moalle applied to Elizabeth Gorwyn for a copy of the indenture. She informed him where it was kept; got Willam Ponsford to send it to her and had a copy made by James Hunt, one of the witnesses, to be delivered to Moalle. Ever since the indenture had been in Elizabeth’s custody and she had always been ready to produce it.

   She took over the premises for the term of the lease and had paid Moalle the rent for the whole term, as George Gorwyn had died before the first quarter when rent became due or at any rate before it was paid.

   Her late husband William Gorwyn had held Lampford for many years by lease at a rack rent from John Gorwyn and after his death from Judith, John’s widow. After Judith’s death, Elizabeth took a similar lease of Lampford from George Gorwyn.  When Elizabeth’s late husband became tenant of the premises, he bought from John Gorwyn all or most of John’s goods on the premises, to the value of £229. Whilst her late husband was a tenant of Judith and had the reversion in fee [ie he was the freeholder] of the premises, he cut down several trees and sawed them into planks, boards and poles. He afterwards made his last will and testament, of which Elizabeth was executrix, and then died.

   While Elizabeth was a tenant of Judith, she laid some or all of the planks, boards and poles in the hayloft belonging to the premises, but in a loose and disordered manner. She believed that such planks as were part of the goods bought by her husband from John Gorwyn were laid there in like manner, to save the trouble of cutting or making flakes to lay under the hay as is usual. Elizabeth as executrix of her husband’s will considered that she was entitled to the planks and boards. Therefore, shortly before expiry of her lease from George Gorwyn, she removed them from the hayloft. She had also removed a few poles from a linhay that she had built on the premises at her own expense for £5-6 and that had been an improvement to the premises. Such poles as she carried off were in her judgement worth no more than 20 shillings, and she denied that she had committed any waste. She did not take any poles that were structural supports, and she did not cut any trees down, except for one used to make a pump for the premises. But she stressed that she was an aged woman, unable to attend every operation on the premises, and she could not say exactly what was used for repairs. But she kept the premises in good repair, so that they were in now such good order that they would yield an extra 30 shillings in rent.

Elizabeth signed with a mark.


Further reply by Elizabeth Gorwyn


She repeated that she had not taken timber except as allowed under the lease and said that the tree taken for the pump was worth no more than 12 shillings.


Statement of John Maunder, 10 February 1721/22.

He stated that he dwelt on the premises as a servant to Elizabeth for five years and left her service about a month or six weeks before the expiry of the lease. He did not know what precise interest George Gorwyn had in the premises, but believed that George gave a lease to Elizabeth of which he (Maunder) was a witness. He did not recall any counterpart being made, but Elizabeth did indeed occupy the premises for three years and three months, and he did not believe that the 21-year lease entitled Moalle to the relief that he was now seeking.

Maunder signs his name, so was literate; he was presumably the hind or bailiff who ran the estate for Elizabeth. It is not clear whether Moalle proceeded with the case; probably it was settled out of court.




1769: STONE v. GORWYN concerning the ownership of Lampford or Lambert

(C12/1319/18 and C12/1529/14)

This case brought by Richard and Mary Stone against John and Mary Lambert Gorwyn is interesting as it contains a list of the now lost deeds to Lambert or Lampford, dating back to the time of Henry VII.



Bill of complaint by Richard and Mary Stone dated 9.1.1769


The complainants Richard Stone of Cheriton Fitzpaine and his wife Mary (maiden name Luxton) claim an interest in the messuage, barton and farm of Lampford and the messuage and tenement of Tincombes in Cheriton Bishop and the messuage and tenement of Busely (aka Beavis Hill or Busehill) in Hittisleigh.

George Gorwyn of Lampford had a freehold interest in these premises. As he had no surviving issue or brother, this interest descended to his three sisters or their children as his heirs at law. The sisters were:


  • Julyan who married William Strong of Cheriton Bishop, yeoman, by whom she had one daughter, Julyan, who married Richard Bragg of Cheriton Bishop, yeoman, by whom she also had one daughter, Elizabeth, who died unmarried. Richard and Julyan are both now dead.
  • Alice who married Amos Bragg of Cheriton Bishop, yeoman, and died without leaving any issue.
  • Wilmot who married Peter Luxton of Upton Hellions, by whom she had a son called Peter Luxton who had a daughter, Mary, his only child and heir at law. She married Richard Stone and is one of the plaintiffs.


The plaintiffs are advised that the two third shares in the properties inherited by Julyan and Alice should have descended to Mary as they have no issue living. They have applied several times to John Gorwyn and his mother Mary for possession of the properties and the deeds, but to no avail. They also want an account of the timber which they believe to be worth upwards of £700. John Gorwyn and Mary claim different things at different times: sometimes they say that George Gorwyn did not have a freehold interest when he died; at other times they say that Mary Stone is not his heir; and sometimes they say that even if she were, she would only have a third share, and that John Gorwyn and Mary are entitled to the other shares by conveyance.


Reply of John Lambert Gorwyn and Mary Gorwyn otherwise Lambert dated 14.11.1769 (C12/1319/18)


They believe that George Gorwyn died seized of the properties in fee in 1716, leaving no issue, and accept the relationships described by the plaintiffs. William Strong died 1709; Julian Strong in 1685; Richard Bragg in 1748; Elizabeth Bragg died 1757; Julian Bragg died 1759; Alice Bragg died 1730; Amos Bragg 1700.

George made a will in February 1716 devising to Robert Moale of Ashcombe a lease of 21 years of the messuage and tenement called Lampford, on condition that he paid out of it annuities of £5 each to Alice Bragg; Peter Luxton; and Mary Bradford of Poughill. George left all the residue of his goods, chattels, rights and credits to Robert Moale. George died shortly thereafter and Moale proved his will. On his death, Alice Bragg, Richard and Julian Bragg and Peter Luxton each became entitled to one-third of the freehold of the properties. In the Michaelmas Term 3 Geo II [1729] Richard and Julian Bragg levied a fine unto Richard Gorwyn of one-third of the properties. In 1729 Richard Gorwyn purchased from Alice Bragg and Richard and Julian Bragg the fee reversion in inheritance of two-thirds of Lampford subject to the 21-year lease, at a price of £501.1s.

Under the marriage settlement of Mary Gorwyn otherwise Lambert, after John Gorwyn’s death, she was to be paid £16 out of the three properties, which then went in tail male, with arrangements for £300 to be raised for marriage portions for any daughters. Mary and John had 4 sons and 5 daughters, all living in 1769.

At the end of the 21-year lease, Richard Gorwyn took possession of two-thirds of Lampford. About the time of the indenture of settlement, John Gorwyn took possession of the premises and stayed there until his death in Feb. 1765. He also held the other one-third with the agreement of Peter Luxton, the father of Mary Stone, at a yearly rent of £13.6s.8d., free of all repairs. She still held it at Ladyday 1769 and in April 1768 Richard Stone gave her a receipt for £19.19 after allowance for repairs, and on 4.5.1788 at Lampford she paid William Stone, son of Richard, two years’ rent.

In March last past, Mary had asked her brothers John and George Cann to talk to Richard Stone about her tenancy of the one-third owned by the Stones. She said that she would take it at the same rent; if that was not acceptable, Stone could take possession of it and stock in common in whatever manner he felt proper. Stone had said that he wanted an annual rent of £20. Mary refused, saying that it was more than the property was worth asking if he would be prepared to pay £40 for the other two-thirds.

Alice Bragg died in 1730 and in her will she devised to Elizabeth Bragg, daughter of her niece Julyan Bragg, her one-third of Tincombes and Beavis Hill with remainder to her niece Julyan and her heirs. Elizabeth died intestate and Julyan then also died leaving a will dated October 1757 bequeathing to John Lambert, the father of John Lambert Gorwyn [and husband of Mary] her rights – described as two-thirds – in the premises, but paying an annuity of 20s to Mary Browning, daughter of Charles Browning of Tedburn St Mary, yeoman.

Richard Bragg and Julian (aka Gillian) his wife in 1743 had let their two-thirds of Busely on a  99-year lease, determinable on three lives, at an annual rent of 6s., reserving the timber. After they died, John Gorwyn became entitled to the lease as well as the fee of their two-thirds. So at the time of his death John Gorwyn held two-thirds of the said messuage and Mary has continued to do so.

John Gorwyn, Mary’s husband, made a will on 15.9.1759, under which John Lambert Gorwyn is now seized in fee tail of two-thirds of Lampford, subject to the £16 annuity to Mary, and two-thirds of Tincombes Tenement and Beavis Hill.

Since the death of her husband, Mary has caused the cutting down of:


  • 1 pollard oak worth 9s. to be turned into a roller for use on the premises, with the limbs used for fuel;
  • 1 decaying elm worth 10s. with 1 branch already broken by the wind, to be used for firewood, but still mostly there;
  • 1 oak worth 15s. for repairs to the well on the premises, the limbs being used partly for firewood and partly for posts;
  • 1 ash tree worth 10s made into hoops and partly for firewood;
  • 1 oak tree worth 20s, the stock kept to make floorboards, and the branches used for repairs and firewood.


Schedule of deeds dated 14.11.1769 attached to the above reply.



  • Hen VII: Latin copy of Court roll of Manor of Lampford in the reign of Hen VII to Thomas Pruston and Joan his wife of the whole part of their tenure with the appurtenances in Lampford which John Flode lately held, to hold for their lives according to the customs of the Manor.
  • Easter Term 38 Eliz I [1596]: a Latin receipt for 5s for a fine for respiting the homage of William Gorwyn for his lands in Lampford for 1 year and for entring thereof and attorney’s fee.
  • Trinity Term 39 Eliz I [1597]:  a Latin receipt for 5s for a fine for respiting the homage of William Gorwyn for his lands in Lampford for 1 year.
  • Michaelmas Term 40 Eliz I [1598]: a Latin receipt for 5s for a fine for respiting the homage of William Gorwyn for his lands in Lampford for 1 year.
  • Hilary Term 42 Eliz I [1600]: a Latin receipt for 5s for a fine for respiting the homage of William Gorwyn for his lands in Lampford for 1 year.
  • 30 January 1 Chas I [1625]: a receipt for 2s.6d. for respite of homage and suit of court for William Gorwyn for lands called Lamberte.
  • 25 october.8 Chas I [1632]: a Latin entry of the court rolls of the fee of Wynckleigh parcell of the Manor of Gloc- [sic] setting forth that John Gorwyn who held of the lord lands and tenements in Lampforde as of his fee of Knight’s service, gave to the lord a fine.
  • Undated: 2 little scrips of paper relating to land that George Gorwyn died seized of, but not giving any particulars.
  • 6.11.  33Eliz I [1590]: indenture of bargain and sale between (1) Thomas Beaumont Esq. and Huntington Beaumont gent. and (2) William Gorwyne, being a conveyance of the Manor of Lampforde and of several messuages and lands with appurtenances in Crockernwell and Cheriton to the said Gorwyne and his heirs and assignees forever.
  • 7 November  33Eliz I [1590]: a deed poll for Thomas and Huntington Beaumont purporting a feoffment or confirmation of the said Manor, lands and premises to William Gorwyne, his heirs and assignees.
  • Michaelmas Term 33 Eliz I [1590]: a fine levied in the Court of Common Pleas between Thomas and Huntington Beaumont plaintiffs and Henry Beaumont deforciant of the Manor of Lampforde and other lands.
  • 5 Apri  34 Eliz I [1591]: indenture between (1) Thomas Fulford and his wife Ursula  and (2) William Gorwyn, yeoman, purporting to be a grant or feoffment of a moiety of messuages, lands etc called Lampford in Cheriton Bishop to the said Gorwyn and his heirs.
  • 5 April 34 Eliz I [1591]: Thomas Fulford’s bond in the sum of £200 to William Gorwyn for performance of the above.
  • Hilary Term 36 Eliz I [1593]: indenture of fine between William Gorwyn, plaintiff and Thomas and Ursula Fulford of a moiety of 1messuage and lands in Lampford and Cheriton.
  • 16 May 43 Eliz I [1601]: a deed poll purporting a release from John Peaze to William Gorwyne of all his estates in Lampforde and Cheriton and within the Manor of Lambert.
  • Easter Term 44 Eliz I [1602]: indenture of a fine between Richard Arnell and John Holcombe, plaintiffs, and William Gorwyn, deforciant of lands in Lampford and Cheriton Bishop.
  • 20.8.  11 Jas I (1613): indenture between (1) William Gorwyn; (2) Thomas Kelland; and (3) John Gorwyn, son and heir apparent of William and his wife Alice, purporting a settlement by way of covenant to stand seized of messuages and lands called Lampford in Cheriton Bishop and Busehill in Hittisley to the uses therein expressed [probably a marriage settlement].
  • Last day of August  11 Chas I [1635]: Inquisition post-mortem of William Gorwyn by which it was found that on his death he stood seized of Bradely and Lampford and John was his son and heir.
  • 1 May 13 Chas I [1637]: indenture between (1) John Gorwyn; and (2) Philip Elston gent. and Thomas Kelland yeoman, being a settlement of messuages and lands called Lampford and Beavys Hill or Busehill and other lands, plus a schedule.
  • 3 August. 16 Chas II: indenture between (1) William Gorwyn, John Gorwyn his son and heir and Alice Gorwyn widow; and (2) Thomas Tincombe of a plot of land and a house taken out of a close called Lambert Moor for 99 years and 3 lives. [This land seems subsequently to have become known as Tincombe’s Tenement.]
  • 31.12.1686 (2 Jas II): indenture between William Gorwyn gent and John, his son and heir; (2) Mark Delve gent and Charles Orchard gent; and (3) Judith Orchard, spinster, daughter of Thomas Orchard and sister of Charles Orchard, gent: settlement of lands in Lampford and Beavis Hill, plus a schedule [this is almost certainly the marriage settlement of Judith, who married John Gorwyn].
  • 12.8. 1695 (7 Will III): lease from John Gorwyn to Roger Eastabrook of the messuage and tenement known as Beavis Hill or Bushill for 99 years.
  • 30.9.1695 (7 Will III): indenture between John Gorwyn, gent and (2) Mark Delve gent and Charles Orchard gent: settlement of messuages and tenements called Lampford and Beavis Hill and others, plus a schedule.
  • 5.2.1716: copy of George Gorwyn’s will.
  • February 1721/2: indenture between (1) Peter Luxton, Richard Bragg and his wife Julian and Alice Bragg widow, which said that Julian and Alice were heirs at law of George Gorwyn, and (2) Robert Moale: confirmation of the tenure of 21 years of Lampford devised to Moale in George Gorwyn’s will.
  • Hilary Term 9 Geo I (1722): indenture of fine between William Oxenham gent, plaintiff, and Alice Bragg, widow, and others, deforciants, of a moiety of Beavis Hill and other lands.
  • 26.3. 1723: a case in writing with the late Sjt. Pengelly’s opinion that George Gorwyn died seized of Lampford in fee.
  • 2.8.1729: a cancelled contract between Alice Bragg, Richard and Julian Bragg and Richard Gorwyn for a sale of 2/3 of the messuage and tenement called Lampford.
  • Michaelmas Term 3 Geo II [1729]: indentures of a fine between (1)Richard Gorwyn plaintiff; and Richard and Julian Bragg deforciants of 1/3 of the messuages and tenements called Lampford, Teingcombe’s Tenement and Beavis Hill, and a receipt for the post fine annexed thereto.
  • 26/27.12.1729 (3 Geo II): indentures of lease and release between (1) Alice Bragg, widow, and Richard Bragg and his wife Julian; and (2) Richard Gorwyn, conveying 2/3 of the messuage and tenement called Lampford to Richard Gorwyn and his heirs.
  • 27.12.1729: indenture between (1) Richard and Julian Bragg and (2) Richard Gorwyn, being a declaration of uses of the last mentioned fine.
  • 27.12.1729: deed poll whereby Richard Gorwyn covenanted to produce deeds to Alice Bragg, Richard and Julian Bragg and Peter Luxton.
  • 27.12.1729: a bond from Alice Bragg widow and Richard Bragg in the sum of £500 penalty [to be paid] to Richard Gorwyn to levy a fine of 1/3 of Lampford and to declare the uses thereof to the said Gorwyn in fee.
  • Easter Term 3 Geo II [1729]:  indenture of fine: Richard Gorwyn plaintiff, Alice Bragg deforciant, in puruance of the said bond, 1/3 Lampford, Teigncombe’s Tenement and Busehill.
  • 9 December 4 Geo II (1730): 2 indentures between Alice Bragg and Richard Gorwyn declaring the uses of the said fine.
  • 29.12.1729: uncancelled will of Alice Bragg.
  • 31.3.1730: Probate of will of Alice Bragg.
  • 22/23 June 6 Geo II (1742): indentures of lease and release between (1) Richard Gorwyn, gent, and Mary his wife, and John Gorwyn, his eldest son and heir apparent; (2) John Cann the Elder, gent., John Cann the Younger, his son and heir, and John Ponsford Gent.; and (3) Mary Cann, daughter of John Cann the Elder: settlement of 2/3 of the messuage and tenement of Lampford and some leasehold tenements to the uses therein [the marriage settlement of Mary Cann].
  • 14.6.1743: indenture of lease between Richard Bragg and his wife Gillian and Elizabeth their daughter; and (2) Richard Stone, of 2/3 of Buseley otherwise Buse Hill for 99 years and 3 lives.
  • 28.10.1757: copy of Julian Bragg’s will.
  • 23.11.1758: deed poll by Julian Bragg, being a confirmation of her right and interest in two parts of Teigncombe’s Tenement and Beavis Hill, devised by her will to John Lambert.
  • 6 Geo II [1742]: Interrogatories taken in a case in Chancery between Peter Luxton and other complainants and Robert Moale, about September.
  • 2 copies of the decretal order in the same cause.
  • Bills of costs of Mr Herman Pitt, solicitor to the plaintiffs in the same cause.



Stone v. Gorwyn: depositions of witnesses


First Interrogation asks whether the witnesses know the messuage, barton and farm called Lampford and the messuage and tenement called Tincombe, and whether they saw John Lambert Gorwyn or his mother Mary pay Richard Stone rent for them, and whether Richard Stone declined to accept the money.

Deposition of 12 Geo III (1772) by Edward Whitefield of Okehampton.  He had known John Lambert Gorwyn for 4 years and Mary Gorwyn for more than 30. He confirmed that he was a witness, along with William Perry and John Discum, of the deeds of 22 and 23.6.1742 signed by Richard and John Gorwyn, John Cann senior and junior; John Ponsford, Mary Gorwyn and Mary Cann now Gorwyn.

John Cummins of Crediton, Innholder, age 72, deposed that he and William Dicker were the witnesses of the deed of 24.6.1743 signed by Richard Stone.

Elizabeth Chudley, wife of Richard Chudley of Cheriton Bishop, yeoman, age 45, deposed that  she was well acquainted with Julian Bragg and was a witness, along with John Avery, of the deed poll signed by Julian Bragg on 23.11.1758.

Richard Chudley, age 47 confirmed that he had witnessed the last will and testament of Julian Bragg of Cheriton Bishop, widow, on 28.10.1757, the other witnesses being Nicholas Gray and John Avery.  He had heard that Julian Bragg intended to give her land to John Lambert, her kinsman, the deceased husband of Mary.

George Cann of Spreyton, gentleman, age 42, deposed that sometime at the beginning of March 1769 Mary Gorwyn, his sister, asked him to ask Richard Stone whether he would let Mary continue at Lampford at the same rent. Stone had replied that he would not rent it out at under £20 a year.

John Cann of Spreyton, gentleman, age 49, deposed that his sister Mary Gorwyn had asked him in 1769 to ask Richard Stone if Mary could continue in Lampford at the same rent she then gave, otherwise Stone should take it in hand. Stone said he would not let it at the same rent, and John Cann had replied that it was not worth more than Mary was giving. Richard Stone said he wanted £20 a year. John Cann said that was too much and asked whether Stone would give £40 for their two-thirds.

Mark Cann of Cheriton Bishop, aged 45, deposed that in 1766 he was at Lampford in the company of Richard Stone and saw Richard Stone and Mary Gorwyn settle accounts for the rents of one third of Lampford and Tincombes.

Richard Lambert Gorwyn of Cheriton Bishop, gentleman, aged 23, [Mary’s second son] deposed that he saw a receipt of £11.18.4 for the rent for Lampford given by his father John Gorwyn and £6 for Tincombes. He also saw Richard Stone sign a receipt for rent in 1768. There was subsequently a row between the two and Mary offered to stock in common. She asked if he might sow the estate, to which he answered “Mistress, if you sow I’ll sow too” and Mary replied that the estate was not large enough for two to sow, and if he sowed she would not.

Henry Randle the Younger of Moretonhampstead, gentleman, deposed that he was in the Star Inn in Exeter on 27.10.1769 and saw Mary try to give Richard Stone £15.16s.8d. for one year’s rent but Richard Stone refused to accept, saying he would leave it till matters were settled.


A second interrogation asked witnesses what they knew about the affairs of George Gorwyn and about the state of the estate and what timber had been taken from it.

Edward Whitefield deposed that he had heard of the ancestor of Mary Stone and believed that he was called George Gorwyn and died many years ago. He heard that he was seized in fee of several estates called Lampford, Tincombe and Beavis Hill. George Gorwyn died without issue, but he believed that  Mary Stone was now his heir-at-law.

   In 1768, he was asked to go with Richard Stone and his servant James Bradford to Lampford and was present when the Stones and their lawyers, Mssrs Shapleigh and Hite, had asked to see the deeds. Mary Gorwyn and her son John had used abusive language, saying the lawyers might kiss their backsides, and they would not give Stone any sight of the documents without a Chancery application and order. They added that Stone ought to be shot with a blunderbuss, and asked whether Stone and his lawyers had come to rob the house. They also refused to give any information on the timber that had been felled over 20 years.

James Bradford of Cheriton Fitzpaine, yeoman, deposed that he knew the 2 properties, worth £70 and upwards and lying next to each other, 8-9 score acres (160-180). Since the beginning of this suite, there had not been such good husbandry as before, and so they had decreased in value. The houses and outhouses of Lampford were in tolerable repair, except for a linhay needing thatching. The dwelling house at Tincombes was in a bad state, almost tumbling down, and this for 6-7 years. But he could not say whether it was for natural decay. He went to Lampford, the dwelling of the defendants, twice with his master Richard Stone. The latter had said he wanted to see the deeds to know what rights he had. Mary acknowledged he had 1/3. He said that if that was the case, he would sue for a division and never let it again for the same rent. Both Mary and John appeared to be in a great passion, and Mary said that Mr Shapleigh (Stone’s barrister) might kiss her backside and John said that Francis Hite (Stone’s attorney) might kiss his backside. Mary added that she did not know if they had come to rob her house.

William Stone of Cheriton Fitzpaine, yeoman, age 38 [son of Richard], deposed that  John Lambert senior had rented one third of Lampford from his father for £16.13s.8d. subject to an allowance for land tax and repairs, and one third of Tincombes for 40s. The house and outhouses at Lampford were in a tolerable state of repair, although some gates and bars were wanting at Lampford and the linhay needed thatching. The house at Tincombes was falling down; the glass and lead of the windows had been taken away; the walls and timbers were wet for want of thatch; and a barn and hogstye had quite fallen down.

   In June 1768 he and Mr Simon Pidsley, a reputable farmer since deceased, went to Lampford estate and Tincombe to view them, his father being ill. They offered terms of a treaty to the defendants to leave the yearly value of the one-third to be ascertained by two indifferent [ie independent] people, and said they would let the defendants have it at that valuation, provided that the Gorwyns produced the title deeds so that the Stones could have them copied out at a public house in the neighbourhood.  The Gorwyns refused this offer.  Simon Pidsley then said that they ought to rebuild the barn at Tincombes. Mary had flown into a passion and said that she would never build it again and she dared any man to come in on the premises to do it.

   Simon Pidsley proposed that he meet John Cann at Lampford on 5 July to settle matters between the two sides and Mary and John agreed. Pidsley duly went with William Stone to Lampford and asked if the Gorwyns would take the one-third at a yearly rent. They agreed if it was for a 42-year lease, but William objected to this term. At last a 21-year lease was agreed. Simon Pidsley said that the rent should be 20 guineas after deductions for rates, taxes and repairs, on condition that the defendants produced an abstract of title. But Mary continued to refuse to produce the deeds without a Chancery order and to say that 20 guineas was too much. Pidsley then said he could find a tenant for the whole estate within a fortnight, at a rent of £70. Mary was not interested in this solution,  but said she would be prepared to pay a little more rent, but mentioned no particular sum. She said that the land amounted to no more than 122 acres.


There were other depositions, mostly about the timber on the estate. It is not clear whether the case was taken forward, but it seems that the Stones finally gave up or sold their one third interest, as when John lambert Gorwyn died in 1823 he was the sole owner of Lampford.




1807/8: RATCLIFFE v GORWYN, concerning Hole in Cheriton Bishop.  (C13/1612/36)

Bill of complaint of Anthony Ratcliffe of Broadclist, yeoman, dated 26.11.1807

Mary Furse widow died seized in fee of  Hole and Holewells in Cheriton Bishop. She had applied to [...] Fursdon (first name unknown) for a £300 loan in about 1740 and secured it by conveying the properties to Fursdon under a mortgage. In 1735 she had made her will, bequeathing to her kinsman Edward Ratcliffe Hole and the 99-year lease of 1 cottage in the possession of John Hore, determinable on the lives of William and Mark Coombe alias Stabback, and 1 other 99-year lease in the same premises determinable on the life of Wm. Coombe alias Stabback; the freehold of the said cottage or dwelling house, orchard and plot of land; and the fee simple of all those lands called Holewills, 18 acre, being part of Hole. She died in 1742 and Edward Ratcliffe took possession, but he could not repay Fursdon, so the latter took over the property for Edward’s life, keeping the rents to pay off the interest and as much as possible of the capital. Fursdon later assigned his rights to John Frost, yeoman of Hittisleigh.

   Edward Ratcliffe died in 1784 intestate, leaving his eldest son Edward as his heir at law,  and also Anthony (the plaintiff) and 3 other children. Edward junior thus became entitled to the fee simple of the premises. He died in 1801 intestate and unmarried, leaving Anthony as his heir at law. John Frost refused to give any accounts. He died in 1807, devising Hole to William Gorwyn of Mounstdon in Cheriton Bishop for ever subject to an annuity, and made William Gorwyn his executor and residuary legatee. William Gorwyn took possession. When John Frost had taken possession, he had also taken the deeds. The premises were worth £50 a year and were probably now worth £80. So Fursdon must have received ample payment. William Gorwyn refuses to give any accounts, saying that there was no indenture of mortgage.

Reply of William Gorwyn dated 25.7.1808

   In the life of Philip Furse late of Cheriton Bishop Esq, deceased husband of Mary, settled the estate on Mary for life and then onto his heirs. Philip died in 1728 intestate and without issue and the fee descended to John Furse late of Dolton, gent., his brother. Mary being seized of the estates only for life, the freehold was derived from John Furse to John Frost. It is now worth about £45.




1816: FOULKES v. GORWYN concerning the sale of Medland Manor. (C13/2494/35)

Bill of complaint of Elizabeth Fortescue Foulkes of Dawlish, widow of John Davy Foulkes

Elizabeth sold to George Lambert Gorwyn, for a deposit of £1,400 and a further £12,600 on completion, Medland Manor house with 207 acres and the manorial rights; Gorwyn, a dwelling house, barn and outhouses and 117 acres in the occupation of William Saffin; Little or Lower Mounston, a farmhouse and offices and 48 acres in the occupation of William Kemble; Tillerton, a farmhouse and outhouse and 52 acres in the occupation of William Melhuish; Down, a dwelling house and outhouses with 79 acres in the occupation of George Murch; Thorn with 147 acres in occupation of William Blackaller; the reversion in fee of a dwelling house and 3 orchards at Frogmills held by Amy Channing for her life at 16/6d conventionary rent; the reversion of East Ford, a farm of 30 acres now in the hands of John Coombe, determinable on the lives of Wm. Ash (46) and Ann Balston (47), rent £1 1s; the reversion of Crediton Lane End, a dwelling, orchard and 3 fields adjoining Gorwyn, occupied by Geo Murch, determinable on the lives of Mary Dicker and Wm. Murch, rent 7s; and Piper’s Cottage, a cattage and garden adjoining Gorwyn occupied by Wm. Saffin, tenant at will, all in Cheriton Bishop. George Lambert Gorwyn also has to pay separately for the timber. Although Elizabeth Foulkes is ready to complete, George Lambert Gorwyn is refusing to do so.

Reply of George Lambert Gorwyn

   He is ready to complete but first needs to have proof that she has perfect title to the properties that belonged to her late husband.




1825: GEORGE GORWYN AND OTHERS v. SAMUEL HOOKE, concerning Hooke in Colebrooke. (C13/2589/15)

   Plaintiffs George Gorwyn and Joseph Gorwyn of Cheriton Bishop; George Lambert Gorwyn of Spreyton; Joan Arden of Exeter, widow; and George Cann of Spreyton complain on 2.11.1824 that Samuel Hooke of Colebrooke in 1817 borrowed £920 from John Gorwyn, late of Bradley Crediton, for the purchase of Hooke in Colebrooke from James Hooke of Plymouth, secured on the property.  By the time of John Gorwyn’s death, Hooke had borrowed a further £260, so his total debts amounted to £1180 with interest. JG died intestate, and the plaintiffs are his next of kin who have obtained letters of administration and are now attempting to recover the money due. Samuel Hooke answers on 20.5.1825 that he had a number of financial dealings with JG and had effectively repaid the money. The property Hooke is described as part of a larger property.




1825/6: LAMBERT v. GORWYN concerning Newtons Tenement in Cheriton Bishop


Bill of complaint of George Lambert Gorwyn


George Lambert Gorwyn, plaintiff, deposed on 15.6.1825 that Mary Lambert Gorwyn (George’s mother), widow, had purchased in about 1869-70 a property called Newton Parks and Perries (of some 10 acres) in Cheriton Bishop. She had 4 sons. John, the eldest, being provided for by estates that descended to him on the death of his father, Mary conveyed Newtons a few years later to her son Richard. However, the property was on a long leasehold and was not freehold.

   Richard died intestate in 1791 leaving his wife Elizabeth and two minor children, Mary and John Richard. Elizabeth had accepted the provision made for her under her marriage settlement in lieu of her share of her husband’s personal estate. Letters of administration were therefore taken out not by her but by George Cann of Falkedon and John Gorwyn of Bradleigh as guardians of the minor children. Richard and Elizabeth’s daughter Mary died intestate and Elizabeth accepted a sum of money in lieu of her half share of her daughter’s estate, so that her son John Richard Lambert Gorwyn acquired the sole interest in his sister’s estate.

   John Richard died in 1809 aged 18, having made a will shortly before his death. After various legacies, he left everything, lands, monies etc that he was entitled to dispose of to his uncle George Lambert Gorwyn of Faccadon [Falkedon in Spreyton], yeoman, and also made him his executor, but leaving his elder uncle John Lambert Gorwyn as his heir at law (as a minor he had no power to bequeath real estate). John accordingly entered into possession of his freehold estate and George of his personal estate. The two guardians George Cann and John Gorwyn paid the balance of the monies into his hands and he also entered into possession of John Richard’s leasehold properties (which were part of his personal estate), including Newtons, which George had occupied ever since.

   John Lambert Gorwyn died in 1823 leaving his nephew William as his heir at law, but he left certain estates mentioned in his will to George Gregory, clerk, of Dunsford and William Ponsford of Puddicombe in Drewsteignton, in trust for another nephew, John Lambert Arden, the son of  George Arden, mercer of Exeter, provided that John Lambert Arden took the name Gorwyn (which he did). Although Mary only became entitled to the remainder of the leasehold of Newtons, John Lambert Arden Gorwyn (as he now was) was alleging that Richard in his lifetime made a settlement that vested Newtons as a freehold in his son John Richard, so that on his death Newtons descended to John Lambert Gorwyn as his heir at law. JLAG, as the devisee of John, therefore claimed that he was entitled to the property and he and his two trustees had brought an action of ejectment against George Lambert Gorwyn.

   On the death of John Lambert Gorwyn, JLAG had somehow got hold of the title deeds, including the relevant conveyances. But if they were produced the truth would emerge. Even if Richard had executed a settlement as suggested, this would not alter the legal situation as regards the freehold. Moreover, John Lambert Gorwyn did not enter into possession of Newtons on the death of John Richard, and George claimed the property with the acquiescence of John. Nor did John make any subsequent claim. Although Newtons was mentioned in John’s will, it was not in the body of the will; was in a different hand; and was obviously added subsequently.

   The plaintiff sought discovery of the deeds, without which he will not be able to make a proper defence to the action against him.


Reply of JLAG, George Gregory and William Ponsford


It is true that Mary Lambert Gorwyn purchased Newtons Parks, aka Fulford Parks and Perries, in 1771 from John Fulford Esq. They believe Mary conveyed the property by lease to her son Richard, and in 1786 a deed of lease and release was concluded between (1) Richard LG; (2) George Cann and Richard Dunning; and (3) Elizabeth Underhill, as part of a marriage settlement, under which the property was conveyed in trust to Cann and Dunning. They further believe that when Mary made the purchase, John Fulford owned the freehold of the Manor of Lampford. When Richard died leaving John LG his heir-at-law, JLG took possession of all Richard’s estates except this one. John LG frequently claimed the tenement and threatened to remove the stock from the land, but was dissuaded from doing so by his solicitor because in would lead to an irreconcilable breach.

Newton’s Tenement became vested in John Richard Lambert Gorwyn when his father Richard died, coming to him as a freehold. GLG was already in possession of Newton’s at the time of John Richard’s death.




1827: GORWYN v. GORWYN concerning Tucker’s Tenement in Crockernwell.


Deposition of George Lambert Gorwyn of Spreyton, gentleman, plaintiff, on 6.2.1827


   John Richard Lambert Gorwyn was entitled, as heir to his father Richard Lambert Gorwyn, to certain freehold estates in the hands of George Cann and John Gorwyn (who were named John Richard’s guardians in his father’s will), both now deceased. John Richard LG, being at his death at 18 a minor, was incompetent to dispose of his real estate, and his heir at law was John Lambert Gorwyn, his eldest uncle.

   During the life of John Richard Lambert Gorwyn, in December 1802, George Cann and John Gorwyn advanced £100 each on behalf of John Richard for the purchase of Tucker’s Tenement, and it was then conveyed to John Richard and his heirs. When John Richard died in 1809, leaving George LG as his residuary heir, and George Cann and John Gorwyn as his trustees settled with George LG over the estate, they claimed credit from George for the £200 plus expenses related to the conveyance of £6.4s.6d.

   When John Richard died, John Lambert Gorwyn, his heir at law, took possession of Tucker’s Tenement and was in receipt of the rents from it until his death in 1823. He bequeathed it to George Gregory and William Ponsford in trust for the use of John Lambert Arden (the son of his sister and her husband George Arden of Exeter, mercer), provided that John Lambert Arden took the name Gorwyn. He did so, and took possession both of the property and the deeds.

   As Tucker’s Tenement was purchased with money from the personal estate of John Richard LG during his minority, John Lambert Gorwyn and John Lambert Arden Gorwyn never in fact had a beneficial interest in the property. George Lambert Gorwyn therefore applied to JLAG for the premises and for an account of the rents that he had received for them. But he refused and confederated with other persons. Sometimes he seemed to accept George’s claim and at other times not, and he pretended that the value of the property and the rents was very small.

   George LG therefore seeks details of the tenants and a list of deeds pertaining to the property.


Answer of John Lambert Arden Gorwyn, 6.8.1827  (C13/1493/6)


   He does not know anything about the £200. He only reached the age of 21 on 6.7.1824, after John Lambert Gorwyn’s death. Tucker’s Tenement is a small piece of land of about ¾ of an acre in the village of Crockernwell in Cheriton Bishop, and a field about a mile away of about 1 ¼ acres, also in Cheriton Bishop. The premises are of very small value and not worth the purchase money.

   Since John Richard’s death 18 years ago, the premises were occupied and enjoyed by John Lambert Gorwyn and JLAG. About 9 years ago, John Lambert Gorwyn began to build on the plot in Crockernwell, and he built 4 houses or tenements. Three were finished in rough slate and were tenanted at the time of his death. The fourth was completed by JLAG at considerable expense, so if the properties passed to George, he would have to repay JLAG for this expense. George had not made any previous approaches about ownership of the properties.

   At the time of John Lambert Gorwyn’s death, three houses were occupied by:

    - James Arthur at an annual rent of £4;

    - Thomas Ching £4

    - Andrew Preston £5.

From Christmas 1825, the fourth was let to James Bolt for £8, and he was still in possession. The ground not built on was added as gardens for the houses. The defendant occupied the field himself, and then let it to George Stoneman at £1 a year.


List of indentures accompanying the deposition


  • Indenture of  13.1.1786 between (1) John Trehawke of Liskeard; (2) George Gale, butcher; (3) John Wrayford of Clannaborough, gent.; and (4) John Hayman of Kenn.


  • Assignment of a mortgage for a 500-year term from Trehawke to Haydon of “Blake’s Cottage” (the old name for Tucker’s Tenement) and the close belonging to it, called the Broom Park.


  • Indentures of 12 and 13.1.1789 between (1) John Wrayford; (2) George Gale; (3) John Hayman; and (4) William Hayman, his son, conveying the property in trust for sale to meet the mortgage debt.


  •  Indentures of 17 and 18.12.1802 between (1) Hanry Hayman, brother and heir of William; (2) John Wrayford; (3) George Gale; and (4) George Cann of Falkedon, gent. (subsequently deceased), John Gorwyn of Bradley, gent., and John Richard Lambert Gorwyn for £200. The premises had formerly been in the possession of Peter Hole and Sarah Aggett; and then of George Gale; and then of James Mortimer and James Arthur.


  • Indenture of 17 and 18.8.1810, whereby John Gorwyn as the remaining trustee conveyed the premises to John Lambert Gorwyn as heir at law of John Richard Lambert Gorwyn.



Title deeds deposited by defendant pursuant to an order dated 1828 (J90/291)

  • Assignment of mortgage 13.1.1786. John Trehawke to John Hayman. Elizabeth Gale of Crockernwell in 1775 bequeathed leasehold of Middle Eggbear to her son George, and Tucker’s Tenement to trustees.
  • Tucker’s Tenement in Crockernwell conveyed to Wm. Hayman 1789 to be sold to pay the debts due to Hayman by George Gale.
  • Indenture 18.12.1802 between Henry Hayman of Kenn, brother and heir at law of William Haydon.; John Wreyford gent, trustee of Elizabeth Gale;  George Gale; George Cann of Falkedon; John Gorwyn of Bradleigh gent and administrator of goods and chattels of Richard Lambert Gorwyn of Drewsteignton deceased upon the nomination of his widow Elizabeth and his two minor children (the latter now deceased, Elizabeth still alive). They purchased Tucker’s Tenement for £200 for the trust funnd for the use of John Richard.




1830: JOHN CANN v. GEORGE LAMBERT GORWYN JUNIOR, concerning the sale of Fuidge in Spreyton. (C13/1489/36)

Bill of complaint of John Cann

   The plaintiff John Cann Esq. of Spreyton says on 27.5.1830 that he contracted with George Lambert Gorwyn junior (defendant) to sell to George on 14.10.1829 for £10,000 the properties of Fuidge, South Beer, Rider’s Beer and Spreyton Mill with the great tithes, and the great tithes of New Mill (all in Spreyton and now all except New Mill in the occupation of John Cann and Jeremiah Niceman or their tenants); and also the reversion (after the death of his mother Rebecca Cann) of Thornbury and Fludd in Hittisleigh and Drewsteignton, together with some other plots of land. GLG paid the agreed deposit of £1,000 and as agreed in the contract entered into immediate possession of South Beer and some fields, but has refused to pay the residue. He claims either that John Cann’s title is defective or that the price must be reduced to £9,000, which John Cann has refused to accept. He also refuses to vacate South Beer, saying “you may get me out if you can” and that he would as soon go to prison as give up his contract. John Cann seeks relief from the court.




1838: GORWYN v. GORWYN concerning the execution of the will of George Lambert Gorwyn of Falkedon.


Complaint of George Lambert Gorwyn the Younger and Richard Lambert Gorwyn

   Plaintiffs George Lambert Gorwyn the younger and Richard Lambert Gorwyn, infants, through the Reverend Ponsford Cann, their uncle and next best friend, rehearse the will of George Lambert Gorwyn of Falcadon who died in 1837; point out that George Lambert Gorwyn the elder [father of the boys and son of the testator] had questioned the validity of the will and ask on what grounds; claim that the two trustees William Brock of Westwood in Crediton, farmer, and Robert Medland of Crediton, gentleman, have failed in their duties under the will to pay the testator’s debts and legacies; and ask the court to get the trustees to produce accounts and deeds and to appoint somebody else to administer the estate. The defendants are George Lambert Gorwyn the elder and his wife Mary Gorwyn; and the two trustees.

Statement of George Lambert Gorwyn the Elder and his wife Mary

   George Lambert Gorwyn the elder (on 17.11.1838) and his wife Mary Gorwyn (on 20.7.1830) make similar depositions. They believe that the trustees sold the testator’s effects for upwards of £4,500 and note that since the testator’s death GLG the elder has been in possession of some of the real estate. They are the parents of the plaintiffs, the main beneficiaries under the will, and do not have the means to maintain them “in a manner suitable to their respective expectations”, so the trustees should pay for their maintenance and education. GLG the elder has been informed that the testator was not of sound and informing mind when he made his will, but does not know it of his own belief.

Reply of the trustees

   William Brock and Robert Medland reply on 17.9.1838 refuting the charges and pointing out that the plaintiffs have never before asked for accounts or deeds. They blame Ponsford Cann for instituting the suit contrary to the wishes of the plaintiffs, who are now 20 and almost 19 and have been consulted and expressed themselves content with everything that the trustees have done. George Lambert Gorwyn the younger at his own wish resides with William Brock, and Richard Lambert Gorwyn with a Mr Pridham. The trustees have contracted to sell part of the estate for £1,200 more than the highest price reached at a public auctiion and £1,000 higher than the testator offered it for before his death, together with another small property of about £80. They have been able to obtain possession of all the testator’s assets except for a rick of wheat and a rick of straw at Coffins of which GLG the elder has retained possession by force. The deeds are all safe, although some title deeds remain in the possession of Robert Medland as security for a debt to him of £1,825, and other title deeds are deposited with Rev Dr. Troyte as security for other debts. They append full accounts and a list of deeds.


Schedule 1: George Lambert Gorwyn’s personal estate


He had some £278 in cash and bonds in his house at the time of his death. There were also a number of debts owing to him, and the total cash and monies due came to £1014. They also sold his furniture and farm stock and equipment at auction for £2610. As stewards of his estate the trustees also collected the rents due after his death and sold produce from the estate after his death, including sides of bacon, lime, furze, cider, wood and wheat (all listed in the schedule). Some 18 months after his death, they had collected £4,487. They were, however, still awaiting payment of £50 from George Lambert Gorwyn the elder for the items that he had purchased at the sale; and he had refused to release two ricks that had been sold for £84 (a wheat rick) and £20 (a hay-rick).

The trustees reported that the testator’s son and grandsons had removed certain objects from the estate.


  • George Lambert Gorwyn the elder had taken an old black horse; a blind pony; oats and timber at Coffins; a quantity of poultry; china and glass which he claimed belonged to him; 5 gold rings; 1 necklace; 1 silver watch; 1 picture; several books; all the testator’s clothes; 1 snuff-box; potatoes growing at Croft; and crops and manure at Coffins, totalling some £160.


  • George Lambert Gorwyn the younger had taken and not paid for 1 horse, saddle and bridle; 1 snuff-box; and the apple engine and cider-press at Falkedon.


  • Richard Lambert Gorwyn had taken 1 gold piece supposed to be a 2 guinea piece; 10 tablespoons; 18 teaspoons; 1 tankard; 7 saltspoons; 9 teaspoons; 2 pairs sugar-tongs; 1 pepper-box; 3 milk jugs; 1 cream jug; 1 tea-pot and stand; 2 salt stands; 2 punch ladles; 5 tablespoons; 1 pair silver buckles; 2 tablespoons; 1 teaspoons; 2 pairs of spectacles; 1 punch ladle; a seal; 4 stands and 4 broken spoons.


As regards outgoings, George Lambert Gorwyn’s funeral expenses came to £81; £90 went to the Rector and £72 to the solicitor. George Lambert Gorwyn also had substantial debts, including a mortgage of £11,742 on Crediton Parks dating back to 1834; a debt to the Rev. Troyte of £4360 (a bond of 1813); £2007 owed to Robert Medland since 1836; and a bond of £1,600 owed to Richard Dunning since 1814.

Schedule 2: List of deeds


1643: John Honeychurch/Robert Hore

1655: Fine: Jane Hore plaintiff; John and Agnes Baron deforciante (COFFINS)

1656: lease and release: Thomas Hore, Andrew Battishill the Elder/Andrew Battishill the Younger

1672: John Kelly Esq/Eliz Cann*

1674: Josias, Shilston and Francis Calmady/William Can

1675: Lease and release: Andrew Puddicombe/Mary Battishill (FALKEDON)

1677: Will of Thomas Battishill, yeoman, of Drewsteignton (FALKEDON)

1678: Mary Battishill/John Battishill (2) (FALKEDON)

1685 (or 8): Alexander Aish/Jane Battishill (FALKEDON)

1688: Lease and release: William Cann/Caleb and Johnanna Tozer

1688: lease and release: Wm Cann yeoman/Thos Hope gent, Caleb Tozer yeoman and Johan Tozer spinster*

1698: Mary Risdon/John Busford

1698: William Battishill/Walter Cann

1699: Andrew Battishill/Thomas Hore the younger and Barbara Hore (FALKEDON)

1707: William Battishill/Andrew Battishill (FALKEDON)

1715: Sir William Carew/John Eastabrooke

1715: Richard Risdon/Andrew Battishill (2) (FALKEDON)

1716: John and Mary Tozer/Mary Battishill

1719: John Cann, John Cann the younger/Protodorus Finney/William Ponsford the Elder, John Snell and William Ponsford the younger/Mary Ponsford/Mark Cann

1726: John and Jane Pyke/Thomas and Jane Pyke/Robert Check and Joseph Greenway (CROFT)

1726: John Pyke/Thomas Pyke (CROFT)

1730: Andrew Battishill/Thomas Battishill/William Battishill, James Battishill and Edward May/Elizabeth, wife of Thomas (FALKEDON)

9 Geo II: Fine: Nathaniel Risdon plaintiff, Thomas Battishill and Elizabeth deforciante

1730: lease and release: Andrew Battishill/Thomas Battishill/William and James Battishill and Edward May/Elizabeth, wife of Thomas.

1730: Francis Fulford/John ?Bourne/Peter Templeman/John Smale

1731: Andrew Battishill/William Bragg

1733 Francis Fulford/Josias Stevens

1734: Barbara Battishill/Thomas Battishill

1735: lease and release: John Battishill/Nathaniel Risdon (FALKEDON)

1736: lease and release: Barbara and Thomas Battishill/Edward Fox/Simon Pincombe (FALKEDON)

Eater term 9 Geo II: Fine: Nathaniel Risdon plaintiff; Thomas and Elizabeth Battishill deforciante [June] FALKEDON

1736: Thomas and Elizabeth Battishill/Nathaniel Risdon (FALKEDON)

1736: lease and release: Thomas and Elizabeth Battishill/Nathaniel Risdon (FALKEDON)

1736: Thomas and Elizabeth Battishill and Edward May/Nathaniel Risdon (FALKEDON)

1737: Thomas and Elizabeth Battishill [and Edward May]/Richard Lymbery/Simon Pincombe (FALKEDON)

Easter term 11 Geo II: exemplification of a recovery: Simon Pincombe, Edward Fox; Thomas Batishill voucher. (FALKEDON)

1737: Thomas Battishill/John Cholwich (FALKEDON)

1738: Nathaniel Risdon/John Cann (2) (FALKEDON)

1739: William Battsishill/John Cann (2) (FALKEDON)

1739: John Cholwich/Thomas Battishill/James White (FALKEDON)

1742: Arthur Kelly/John Cann (FALKEDON)

1743: Nathaniel Risdon/John Cann

1743: Thomas Battishill/James White (FALKEDON)

1743: Arthur Kely/John Cann (2) (FALKEDON)

1743: Arthur Kelly/George Cann (FALKEDON)

1743: Arthur Kelly/Thomas Hore (2) (COFFINS)

1744: lease and release: John and Agnes Trend/Thomas Hore (COFFINS)

1745: John and Agnes Trend/ Henry Hooper and William Ellis (COFFINS)

1747: Nathaniel Risdon/John Gorwyn

1748: James White/Thomas Smyth (FALKEDON)

1749: Jonathan Rashleigh/Zouch Powell (WESTWOOD)

1750: Andrew Battishill/Abraham Franke*

1750: Lease and release: James White/John Sargent/Thomas and Eliz. Battishill/John Cann/John Gorwyn (FALKEDON)

Hilary term 24 Geo II: Fine: John Cann/Thomas and Eliz. Battishill (FALKEDON)

1752: Mary Risdon/John Cann (2) (FALKEDON)

1754: William Foulkes/Emma Murch

1755: lease and release: Arthur Kelly/Agnes Hore (COFFINS)

1757: Richard Hole/William Battishill (FALKEDON)

1758: lease and release: Richard Hole/Geo Cann (2, but only of release) (FALKEDON)

1758: Richard Hole/Thos Cann

1758: lease and release: Wm Battishill/Geo Cann (2) (FALKEDON)

1758: bod: Thomas Cobley/Richard Hole

1760: Richard Hole/John Langmead

1761: Ann Pyke/Christopher Copplestone (CROFT)

1762: Will of John Cann of Spreyton deceased

1764: John Walter/Richard Underhill

1765: Hore Browse Trist/Geo Underhil the younger

1765: John Walter/Richard Underhill

1765: Philip Rashleigh/Wm Cann

1765: John Fulford: Thomas Moon or Mohun

1765: lease and release: Arthur Kelly/Wm Cann yeoman* (CROFT)

1766: lease and release: Wm Duckett/Ann Pyke, John Trattle and Sam King/Geo Cann/John Cann CROFT

1766: lease and release: John Cann junior/George Cann/Wm Pitfield

1766: John Carew/Wm Mackworth Praed

1769: William Cann/Henry Daymont (WESTWOOD)

1770: lease and release: William and Mary Battishill/Robert Medland

Hilary term 10 Geo III: Robert Medland/Wm and Mary Battishill

1771: John Fulford/Richard Lambert Gorwyn

1771: lease and release: Wm Battishill/Geo Cann

1772: lease and release: John Newcombe/Geo Cann

1774: lease and release: Wm Gullett? /Geo Cann

1777: lease and release: Richard Hole/Hore Browse Trist

1779: John Walter/Richard Underhill

1781: lease and release: John Lethbridge/Geo Cann

1782: lease and release: Thomas Medlland/Wm and Mary Battishill/Wm and John Bragg/Geo Cann/John Jones

1784: lease and release: Geo Cann/Wm Cann

1784: lease and release: Reginald Ploe Carew Esq/Geo Cann gent*

1785: Dennys Rolle/Richard Lambert Gorwyn

1786: Peter Davy Foulkes/John Murch

1787: Wm M Praed/Geo Cann (TRAYHILL)

1789: Thomas Moone/Geo Lambert

1791: Geo Cann and John Gorwyn/Geo Lambert Gorwyn (2)

1791: Dennys Rolle/Geo Cann and John Gorwyn

1793: lease and release: Sam Tozer/Geo Cann

1794: release by John Yolland of Woodland estate in the pish of Bridford

1796: Bond: Geo and John Powlesland/Geo Cann for £200 to payment of £100 and interest

1796: lease and release:Hore Browse Trist Esq/Geo Cann gent/Geo Cann gent*

1799: Wm Cann/Richard Newton als Tremlett

1800: John Lambert Gorwyn/Geo Cann (BUDBROOK AND MANORIAL RENTS)

1800: Montagu Edward Parker and Francis Coleman/Baldwin Fulford/Wm Ponsford the younger yeoman/Geo LG yeoman*

1801: probate of will of Wm Cann (WESTWOOD, RUGROAD,TEIGNHOLT, HOWARD)

1802: Edmund Moore/Geo Cann

1802: lease and release: John Cann/Geo Cann (TITHES)

1802: will of Geo Cann LANDS

1803: lease and release: Tryphena Trist/Geo Cann (COFFINS)

1805: lease and release: Geo Cann/Susannah LG/John LG and Geo LG

1808: Wm M Praed/Geo LG (WESTWOOD)

1808: lease and release: John Cann/Geo LG* (COFFINS)

1824: Rev Robert Hole/Geo LG

Title deeds on Fursham with Medland

*Documents listed at the end under “other”.

The deeds that have the name of the property marked against them have survived and are in the Devon Record Office.

This schedule also contains a complete list, running into many hundreds of items, of the farm stock and equipment and household effects sold at auction in 1837, together with a record of the price and purchaser of each item. The livestock includes 210 head of sheep (not including all the lambs); 73 cattle (including 13 oxen and 1 Martin); 22 horses (including 10 carthorses); 18 pigs and 2 donkeys. Also included were 50+ hogsheads of cider (which went for about £2 apiece); and ricks of corn and hay (of which the most expensive was a wheat rick that went for £70). The household effects were mainly furniture, crockery, brassware, linen and cutlery.



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