Wreyland Documents

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), pp. 190-191.


Cecil Torr

Prepared by Michael Steer

This Note was submitted to refute several of the claims made in Note 181 of this volume by J. Oswald Reichel. The author of best-selling “Small Talk at Wreyland”, Cecil Torr, a lifelong bachelor and amateur scholar, was an expert in Roman and Greek history and author of books on Hannibal and ancient ships. Torr, his father, and his grandfather had all been university-educated, well-travelled, and omnivorous in their appetites for knowledge of all types. 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 182. WREYLAND DOCUMENTS (par. 181, p. 189). - Lines 18-25. - It seems highly improbable that Wreyland "was part of the ancient forest which was first brought into cultivation after the disafforestation of the county in 1204," since the surrounding places are mentioned in Domesday, e.g., Pullabrook, Woolley, Hawkmoor and Elsford. Also it seems highly improbable that it "was given by Henry III., together with Kingskerswell, to Nicholas de Moelis." In that case it would presumably have formed part (together with Kingskerswell) of the dower of Margaret de Moelis. It was not till after her death, when Kingskerswell came to the owners of Wreyland, that one hears of Wreyland being treated as a parcel of Kingskerswell.

Line 27. — It is here stated as a fact that Wrey in Moreton was held of the honour of Gloucester. This is merely a conjecture, and should not be stated as a fact.

Line 28. - It is here stated as a fact that "this Wray appears as Wergi or Wereia in Domesday." This transposition of wra and wer seems to be impossible as a matter of philology. It is followed by a reference to Vict. Hist., p. 530, which gives a reference to Geldroll, fol. 69, A. 9. This suggests that this identification is based on the exploded theory of equating the demesnes in Domesday with the holdings of the same owner in the Geldroll. Even if this theory were tenable, and all the other requisite identifications were correct, so that Wergi or Wereia had to be somewhere in Teignbridge hundred, it would pre- sumably be Wear near Newton.

Lines 29-33. - The Black Book, p. 161, enters these 9 fees as being in Gloucestershire, and does not give the names of any of them. It therefore is not an authority for the statement that five of these nine fees were in Devon, or that one of the five was Wrey. There does not appear to be any authority whatever for these statements.

Lines 36-42. - The account of this Fine does not appear to be correct. I will look up the original at the Public Record Office.                         C. T.