TABLE 4: The Georges of Spreyton: Descendants of George Lambert Gorwyn (1763-1837)


The generations are numbered from Richard Lambert Gorwyn, the grandfather of George, who is generation (1). George is generation (3); his son generation (4) etc. As there is an unbroken line of six Georges, I have also numbered them like kings, so the first George is George I etc.


Living members of this branch are descended from George’s two grandsons, George Lambert (III) (he dropped the Gorwyn) and Richard Lambert Gorwyn. George Lambert has no descendants in the male line, but there are many Lambert-Gorwyns today descended from Richard.



(3) George Lambert Gorwyn (I)  (1763-1837) of Falkedon in Spreyton, youngest son of John Lambert alias Gorwyn of Lambert and his wife Mary Cann (for his parents see Table 2).  He was the main heir of his uncle George Cann of Falkedon, from whom he inherited in 1804 substantial property in Spreyton, Hittisleigh, Cheriton Bishop and Drewsteignton. George Lambert Gorwyn was living in Drewsteignton in the 1790s but moved to Falkedon after his uncle’s death in 1804.  He subsequently purchased Crediton Parks in Crediton and Medland Manor and other farms on the Medland estate in Cheriton Bishop, although he later sold them. At one point he probably owned near to 2,000 acres. His will survives.

m. Mary Pridham in 1789 at Crediton. She was a  relation of Admiral Pridham-Whipple who was in the First World War. She died in 1825. They had three children, but only one son survived infancy:


(4) Susanna Lambert (1791). Died as an infant.


(4)George Lambert  Gorwyn (1792-93) 


(4) George Lambert Gorwyn (II) (c.1786-1850). His father purchased Medland Manor in 1814 and appears to have put him into it, as he was there with his family in 1821. Medland was then sold and he moved to Coffins in Spreyton. He was recorded as the father  of George, the base child of Esther Palmer of Cheriton Bishop, but he denied this, claiming that his enemies had wrongly accused him. His father bequeathed him and his wife separate annuities, but left all his property to George’s two sons. By the time of the 1841 census, he was living at Southernhay in Exeter, described as “of independent means”. Death registered in 1850 St Thomas Exeter.

m. Mary Cann (1799-1875) in 1817 in Spreyton; the register says that she is a minor marrying with parental consent.  She was the daughter of Captain John Cann of Fuidge and the second cousin of her husband. The marriage was stormy, and by 1841 the couple appear to be living apart, as the census records Mary as living at Underhill Cottage in Cheriton Bishop with her two sons. George and Richard, described as ‘independent’. She is buried in Exeter Higher Cemetery, where there is a handsome memorial next to the Church of England chapel (a smart place to be buried) to her and her son George and daughter-in-law Grace. Her interment certificate survives. The couple had five children, but two died in infancy and another at age 15.


(5) George Lambert Gorwyn (III) (1818-1885). He inherited from his grandfather the farms of Falkedon, Churchwood, Croft, Rugroad, Coffins and St Cherries in the parish of Spreyton; and Westwood, Tray Hill and Newtake in Drewsteignton. In the tithe apportionment of 1841/2 he is recorded as owning 374 acres in Spreyton alone and by 1873 he owned 729 acres. In the first part of his life he kept moving between his various properties. He was for a time at Coffins – in 1851 the census records him as living there with 5 servants and labourers. He seems also to have lived briefly to Exeter and then in Cullompton (where he owned a property called Court, later sold by his son). By 1861 he had moved to Tray Hill (now in Hittisleigh).  He was burnt out of Tray Hill in about 1880. After a brief stay at Croft in Spreyton, he and his family moved back to Coffins where he lived the rest of his life. He formally dropped the name Gorwyn in 1874. His will survives.

m. Grace Howard (1836-1915) in 1866 in Exeter.  She was the daughter of Thomas Howard of South Tawton, a farm labourer and smallholder.  She joined George’s household probably in the late 1850s, as a young servant, then becoming his housekeeper.  The couple had two children:


 (6) George Lambert (IV) MP (1866-1958), 1st Viscount Lambert born at Ham in South Tawton, the home of his mother. He became a Devon County Councillor for the Liberals at the age of 21, and won a by-election in the previously Conservative seat of South Molton (covering most of mid-Devon) in 1861. Despite being a landowner, he campaigned on the rights of tenant farmers. He remained in the House of Commons, with one short gap, until 1945, becoming Father of the House.  He was Civil Lord of the Admiralty under Winston Churchill 1905-1915. He was highly popular in his constituency, being known as ‘Farmer George’ or ‘our George’, and letters addressed simply to ‘George Lambert, Devon’ invariably reached him. He was made a peer in 1945. Lived at Coffyns. Ashes buried in Spreyton church under the altar.

m. Barbara Stavers (1876-1963) in 1904, daughter of George Stavers, shipowner and ship’s captain from Morpeth in Northumberland.  Her maternal antecedants were Cursons from South Tawton. The couple had four children:


(7) Grace Mary Lambert (1905-1997). Unmarried. She lived with her parents until their deaths, first at Coffins and in London, then (after her father’s death) in a large house in St Germans Road in Exeter.


(7) Margaret Barbara Lambert (1906-1995). Unmarried.  She made a career as a historian and writer on English popular art. Awarded CMG for her work on the Nazi foreign policy papers captured in Germany at the end of the Second World War.


(7) George Lambert (V) MP (1909-1989),  MP for Torrington 1945-1958, and the 2nd Viscount Lambert. He lived at Coffins but then retired to Switzerland. His only son George VI then took over the Coffins estate, but was tragically killed in a car accident in 1970. The estate was then sold and passed out of Lambert hands. No issue in the male line.


(7) Michael John Lambert (1912-1999),  3rd Viscount Lambert. No issue in the male line.


(6) Mary (1880-1972), born at Croft in Spreyton.

m. Walter Pring. They lived first at Spreytonway in St Germans,  Exeter and then in Tiverton.


(7) John Pring d.1995. He married and has issue living.


(5) Richard Lambert Gorwyn (1819-1861).  Married and has many descendants. See Table 5


(5) John Lambert Gorwyn (1819-1820), twin of Richard; died as an infant.


(5) Mary Lambert Gorwyn (1821-1836).


(5) Lucy Lambert Gorwyn (1825). Died as an infant.