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Help and advice for Devon, South Molton - The Tracy Deed

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The Tracy Deed

Transcribed by Debbie Kennett

The Tracy Deed is the oldest document in the collection of family papers held by the CRUWYS family at Cruwys Morchard House. Margaret CRUWYS included a photograph and transcription of the document in her book "The Cruwys Morchard Notebook 1066-1874" (James Townsend and Sons, Exeter and London, 1939, pp9-10). She comments that the document "has been dated by Dr. Oliver as having been written during the reign of Richard I, so not later than 1199. Though modern authorities dispute this date and would hold that it was written twenty years later." The transcription is reproduced in full below.

KNOW ye present and future that I, Henry de Tracy, have given and granted and by this present charter have confirmed to Oliver de Tracy, for his homage and service, all the land of Bremelrigge1 and the service of Aure2 which belongs to the said land, with all its appurtenances, to have and to hold to himself and his heirs or to whomsoever he shall have wished to give or assign it, from me and my heirs, for ever freely, quietly, peacefully, wholly, doing for it to me and my heirs, he and his heirs or assigns royal service as much as pertains to the fee of one knight for all service and demand. And I, the aforesaid Henry, and my heirs are bound to warrant the title of the said land of Bremelrigge with the service of Aure and with all its appurtenances to the said Oliver and his heirs or their assigns against all men for ever. And that this my grant gift and confirmation by charter may remain stable and unbroken for ever I have strengthened the present charter with the impression of my seal. Witnesses: Hugh Peverel; Willm de Widewich; Richard de Cruwes; Philip de Bello Monte; Nicholas de Filelaya; Hugh de Chaggkeford; Willm Coffin; Alexander de Cruwes; Henry de Bello Monte; Ralph de Widewich; Thomas le Brutun; Gregory de Stoke, clerk; and many others.

1 Bremridge was a Domesday manor in the parish of South Molton. It is now in the parish of Filleigh. In the time of the antiquarian Sir Richard Polwhele (c.1799) the barton of Bremridge was in the possession of Earl Fortescue of Castle Hill, Filleigh. W. G. Hoskins ("Devon", Chichester: Phillimore & Co, reprinted 2005) advises that the house was passed to Sir John Dodderidge, the judge, who rebuilt the house in about 1622, though the date 1654 is inscribed on the entrance arch. The left wing of the house was pulled down in about 1830. In the 1839 Tithe Apportionment Bremridge Barton had 301 acres of mixed arable and pasture, the largest field being only 17 acres. The Barton had a value of £30 15s. 3d. and was occupied by Henry Skinner and his son John. Earl Fortescue retained a further 130 acres of woodland for his own use. The farmhouse is now a Grade II* listed building. There is a photograph on English Heritage's Images of England website.
2 Aure or Aller was a Domesday manor in the parish of South Molton.