Wreyland Documents by Cecil Torr

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), pp. 189-190.


Oswald J. Reichel

Prepared by Michael Steer

Wreyland Manor was formerly a part of Bovey Tracey, but was incorporated into the village of Lustleigh in the 19th century. Cecil Torr, antiquarian and author lived in the manor house there, where he wrote Small Talk at Wreyland (3 vols., 1918–1923); the first volume was an unexpected commercial success. Wreyland Manor had originally been a 13th century hall house. The manor has its own cricket pitch, which was actor Peter O’Toole’s favourite oval, and where in 2013 he played his last game of cricket. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

Note 181. WREYLAND DOCUMENTS BY CECIL TORR. - Mr. Cecil Torr, of the Inner Temple, has recently had printed, for private circulation only, a volume entitled Wreyland Documents, 200 pages, containing a transcript and translation of the Court Rolls of Wreyland Manor from 1437 to 1441 and 1477 to 1501 in Latin, the Court Rolls in English from 1696 to 1727, the depositions of the witnesses respecting the right of Bovey Tracey grist-mill taken in 1601-2, various documents respecting the hundred of Teignbridge and the tithing of Wray, and also some 73 After Death Inquests, Fines and Indentures referring to the ownership of Wreyland Manor from 1337 to 1796. To these documents he has prefixed a very interesting introduction of 100 pages, giving the history of the manor from Edward III.'s time, when it appears as parcel of the manor of Kingskerswell, until the present day.

The origin of the manor of Wreyland in Bovey Tracey he does not give. I venture to suggest that it was part of the ancient forest which was first brought into cultivation after the disaffbrestation of the county in 1204, and was given by Henry III., together with Kingskerswell, to Nicholas de Moelis, whose descendant Hugh de Courtenay held both Kingskerswell and Wreyland in 1369. This will account for its being held of the King "as parcel of the manor of Kingskerswell." It must, however, on no account be confounded with the manor of Wray in Moreton Hampstead, which was not held of the King in chief, but of the honour of Gloucester. This Wray appears as Wergi or Wereia in Domesday (Vict. Hist., p. 530), and was then held by Godwin. Together with the rest of Godwin's estates Wray went to the honour of Gloucester, and was included among the 9 fees (5 of them being in Devon) which Gilbert de Umfravil held in 1166 of William, Earl of Gloucester (Black Book, p. 161). Mr. Torr tells us that in 1285 William de Cheverston held Wray of John de Umfravil, and that it had previously been held by Ingram de Bray. I am able to supplement his information by referring to a Devon fine, No. 464, in the Devon and Cornwall Record Society, from which it appears that on 20th June, 1249, Ingelram de Bray and Beatrice his wife gave and granted to Ralf de Cheverton a moiety of 1 hide (? knight's fee) of land in Wray, Leuden and Luttelford.                 Oswald J. Reichel.