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Help and advice for Clyst St Mary: Shepherds: All Manor of Mystery

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Shepherds: All Manor of Mystery

A Brief History of Old Kiddicott, Old Mill House and Shepherds (Ashmore Manor),
Clyst St. Mary


Sylvia Warham

The Evidence
The Speculation
Sources of information


For many years our nearest neighbour at Shepherds Farm had talked about the medieval manor house, waving his arm vaguely across a nearby field. When he moved house three years ago he gave me a file of documents telling me to take out of it anything I wanted and pass the rest on to the new owners of the farm. I scanned the papers and a map showed a large house called Shepherds that reputedly burnt down in 1900. I walked into the lane at the back of the house. There was a fragment of a cob wall. Along the lane I could see the field gate which would have been the entrance of the old house. I walked down the lane and leaned on the gate. Before me was a field of maize, well overdue for harvesting. 'So this is my medieval manor house', I thought to myself. It is an endearing human trait to think that the old fiddle up in the loft just has to be a Stradivarius, and in the same way I think I felt that my neighbour's claims of a medieval manor house just outside the gate were possibly something of a dream.

The papers sat in my filing cabinet for a long time, however, at a later date I did come back to them, and this is an account of what happened. The plan my neighbour gave me showed a building called 'Shepherds'. In order to understand the complicated history of Shepherds, it is necessary to understand that it is located just outside Clyst St. Mary, Devon, between Old Mill House, Old Kiddicott, Winslade Park, Kenniford Farm, Greendale and Crealy Barton, all of which have played an important part in its history.

The Evidence

Ruth Whittaker noted in 'Clyst St. Mary the story of our village' in 1954, that Shepherds is believed to have gained its name from Roger Shepherd who lived there in 1333. Similarly she suggests that Kiddicott is an old Saxon word meaning 'goat compound'. In his paper to the Devonshire Association, 'The Clystwicon Charter', Dr. N.W. Alcock tells how the origins of the parish go back to Saxon times when the area was part of the great Royal Manor of Woodbury. The north east corner was divided into four estates and one of those was Clyst St. Mary. Clyst St. Mary was called Clystwick, meaning 'dairy farm by the Clyst'. In her book on Clyst St. Mary Jeanne Axford points out that Clyst St. Mary is not mentioned in the Domesday records, possibly because of disputes over the land ownership!

In her research notes on Shepherds Gwendolen Gevaise Knight noted in 1974 that Shepherds was also known as Peases and Ashmore Manor, but what evidence was there for thinking this? There are no Court Rolls for Ashmore Manor but it is possible that it was one of a group of sub-manors under the manor of Bishops Clyst which dated back to 1474. In the Court Roll for Bishops Clyst I did manage to pick out the latin word for grain mill. Unfortunately my Latin was not good enough to understand any more, and I am uncertain about whether the grain mill referred to the mill in Oil Mill Lane or the older mill in Clyst St. Mary.

The first real evidence for Ashmore Manor lies in the Parish records which tell us that Ashmore Estate was owned by George Gibbs when he died in 1721. Lysons noted that: 'The manor of Ashmore, in this parish, was given by Mr. George Gibbs, who died in 1723, in trust for charitable uses.' We can at least be certain that Ashmore manor was in or near Clyst St. Mary. There is a two year date discrepancy between Lysons and the parish records, but the parish records tell of a charity called: GIBBS GIFT: Left by George Gibbs who died in 1721 payable by the Ashmore estate by the tenant of Kiddecott 4 shillings quarterly to be spent on bread for poor labourers. However, the Charity Commissioners report says that the gift was to be distributed by 'Arnold Bielfield, the tenant of Diederick, owner of the premises'. I do not understand the reference to Diederick, but I do know that it was a D.A. Bielfeld who sold 'sundry messuages and lands' the land to the Pidsleys of Little Greendale in 1817 and the lands adjoining Little Greendale were those which had been Ashmore Estate.

This link between Ashmore manor and Old Kiddicott was the first indication that Shepherds did have another name at some part in its history. A study of the names of the fields on the tithe map showed that fields 85-87 were called Little Ashmore and Great Ashmore. These were the fields adjoining the site of Shepherds and they also pointed to the fact that Shepherds and Ashmore Manor were the same place. Further, in her book 'About Clyst St. Mary', Jeanne Axford includes a section on Old Mill House in Oil Mill lane, formerly known as Ashmore Mills. Ashmore Mills were less than half a mile away from the site of the manor. By this time I was beginning to be more convinced that Ashmore manor and Shepherds were the same place.

It is interesting to look at the tithe map of 1839-1840 because Shepherds (Ashmore manor) on the right with Old Kiddicott just below it and Ashmore Mills are approximately half a mile away to the far left. We can clearly see to the right the field of Great Ashmore. One of the most interesting things about the tithe map is that a cottage in Great Ashmore field, which is shown on maps of 1800, had disappeared completely by 1840. Similarly there are remains of buildings in Jarmans Park and Dry meadow just across the lane from the old manor house. These buildings suggest that the site consisted of a whole settlement which has long since disappeared. The settlement consists of a straight road with the manor house on one side and the supporting farm buildings and cottages on the other side. Field names such as Home Park, Middle and Lower Well Park and Frog meadow are suggestive of what might have been there in times gone by.

It is also clear from Gibbs Gift that the manor did not function as a manor after 1721. In fact, Ashmore may not have been functioning as a manor for some time prior to this date, because we know that the mills had already been sold off and were not in the ownership of the Gibbs family at this time. The Gibbs family was very prominent in Clyst St George between 1519 and 1719. There were no less than twelve George Gibbs, Gibb or Gybbe christened during this period in Clyst St. George and Woodbury. Nevertheless I could find no trace of their history. However hard I searched I could find no records of them or the manor before 1721. I tried searching Historic Manuscripts Archive and the record offices of neighbouring counties to find out whether documents relating to Ashmore manor or the Gibbs family were held elsewhere, but there was nothing, not a mention of them or the property anywhere.

At this point I turned my attention to the Old Mill House, or Ashmore Mills. Perhaps they could throw some light on the history of the manor? Old Mill House is currently owned by the Moore family, and they had paid professional historians to look up the history of the mill. Polly Moore generously allowed me to borrow the documents relating to the mill history. I was elated, now I really could find out who owned the old manor and what happened to it.

When I got the documents home and looked at them, to my surprise the history of the mill did not start until 1722 when it was in the ownership of Sir John Werden. There are no local records of the Werden family and the only trace I could find of them was on a Rootsweb database of royal and noble families, so at least I know that they as a family were wealthy, or noble, or both. Sir John Werden passed Ashnore Mills on to his daughter Charlotte when she married Lord William Beauclerk in 1722. This lack of early history of any of the properties or any of the families who owned them was puzzling.

The next and only other time that Ashmore manor was noted in the records was in 1749 when John Hallet bought 38 acres of pasture, heath and furze in Ashmore Clist Saint Mary from William Pease and Frances his wife. (During the period 1750-1800 Gwendolen Gervaise Knight notes that the Ashmore Estate became known as 'Peases or Pearses'). However, by 1780 John Drummond Esq. and Thomas Goldsworthy owned Ashmore mills. The Drummond Family also owned Kenniford Farm and we can see that at this point, Ashmore Mills were part of the Kenniford estate. This situation did not change until 1790 when Edward Cotsford, MP for Midhurst, Sussex and Sherrif of Exeter, who owned Winslade manor purchased Ashmore Mills and they became part of the Winslade Estate.

But what was happening to Shepherds during this time? The next record we have of it was in 1802 when Shepherd's Tenement was the marriage settlement between Thomas Wright of Clyst St Mary and Maria Hodge of Clyst Honiton. I am not certain this record actually refers to the manor house. I think the tenement was probably the cottage in Great Ashmore field.

By 1812 Josiah Porcher and Roger Nichs owned Ashmore Mills. In 'Old Mill House, Clyst St Mary, History', Colin and O-Lan Style wrote in 1994: 'Although we know for certain that the mills were incorporated in the Land Taxes with Kenniford, the names of known millers kept cropping up in connection with Peases. It made us wonder whether, despite the evidence, the mills went with Peases. For example the Overseer of the Poor Book noted on April 2nd, 1822 'John Channon . . For the mills.' John Channon is named as the occupier of Peases or Pearses on the land taxes.' And also 'We certainly know that Ashmore Mills was not owned by the Gibbs family, who continued to own 'Peases', which was Ashmore until 1789. Peases was in close vicinity to Ashmore Mills. . ' And also: 'We find actually that by 1827 Samuel Barnes was also owning Peases, along with Kenniford and Kiddecott. He thus owned all the land in the vicinity in one large estate.'

In 1816 Josiah Porcher and Daniel Bampfield owned Ashmore Mills, and in 1817 D.A. Bielfeld (owner of Ashmore and Kiddicott) sold sundry messuages and land to R. Pidsley (owner of Greendale). However, this situation did not last for long, because on 3.4.1820 we read in Clyst St Mary Register of Apprentices: 'Jane Start female age 10 Parents William and Frances Start of Clist St. Mary bound to Daniel Bampfield for Kitteycott yeoman resident Clist St George until attains age 21 or be married.' So Kiddicott was owned by Daniel Bampfield at this date.

On 2.8.1821 Shepherds was advertised for letting, and this is not surprising if the Pidsley family owned Shepherds, as it had now become known, because records show that the Pidsley family lived at Greendale and they would have been left with an empty manor house on their hands. By 1823 Samuel Barnes and Daniel Bampfield owned Ashmore Mills and in Clyst St Mary Register of Apprentices we read: 'Harriet Norman female age 9 daughter of Thomas and Sarah Norman of Clist St Mary bound to Daniel Bampfield for the mills yeoman resident Clist St George until 21 years or be married.' So Daniel Bampfield also owned Ashmore Mills as well as Kiddicott at this point. However, this did not last long either, and by 1824 Samuel Barnes and John Shiles owned Ashmore Mills. Again from Clyst St Mary Register of Apprentices we read: 'William Start male age 10 son of William and Frances Start of Clist St. Mary bound to John Shiles for part Kenniford farmer resident in Clist St George until attains age 21'.

So John Shiles owned Kiddicott, Kenniford, Shepherds and Ashmore Mills at this date. In fact it is reasonably certain that John Shiles was living in the manor house of Shepherds because on 14.11.1829 the parish baptism records show the birth of Elizabeth Shiles. on 14.11.1829 at Shepherds Farm. Mother Elizabeth Shiles and Father John Shiles :Yeoman. This suggests that John Shiles not only owned the large mansion of Shepherds (by now called Shepherds Farm) but that he was living there, even though he owned Kiddicott, the large house at Kenniford and Ashmore Mills. This made me wonder why such a rich and powerful man was not living in the big farmhouse at Kenniford. Was it possible that Shepherds Farm was a more desirable residence for a wealthy man than the big house at Kenniford? John Shiles seems to have stayed at Shepherds Farm for some time because in 1837 he advertised grist and flour mills to be let to millers.

The next change of ownership however, did come before 1840 because the tithe map shows that John Barnes owned tithe fields numbered: 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54 and 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71 and 100, (Garden, coppice, arable and orchard) and it was occupied by John Shiles. At the time of the tithe survey Asmore Mills was being described as Oyl Mill. It was no longer a grain mill, but was used for crushing oil from nuts. The tithe map shows that Philip Furse, yeoman, owned fields numbered 97 Cotts and garden, 98 Cowlayes (a cowshed?) and linhayes, 99 Cotts and garden. This was Old Kiddicott and it was now owned by Philip Furse and occupied by Samuel Edward Bagg. The parish records show: Samuel Edward Bagg born 12.5.1796 and married Susannah Pike of Whitestone on 21.5.1817. Later records show the birth of Maria Ann Bagg on 3.12.1849 at Shepherds Farm. Mother was Sophia Bagg and Father was William Bagg, Farmer.

By 1843 Little Greendale was owned by Miss M.A. Pidsley and in 1850 Whites Directory under Clyst St. George noted John Shiles Kenniford. Under Clyst St. Mary it notes William Bagg, Farmer Shepherds. Similarly in 1857 Billings Directory describes: John Shiles as Farmer, Kenniford and Kiddicott. In Clyst St George. John Tavender (Taverder), farmer, Shepherds Farm. In 1857 we also see a sale notice for Shepherds Farm of livestock and cider, and it is not surprising to find later in the year that John Barnes owned Shepherds Farm.

Our attention in this complicated history now focuses on the Pidsley family who lived at Little Greendale, now called simply Greendale. By 25.5.1861 Miss Elizabeth Pidsley owned Greendale. There are parish records of the free school she set up in Woodbury for the poor children of the parish. By 1868 Miss Pidsley had died and the Rev. John Thornycroft of Thornycroft Hall, Chester inherited Greendale from Miss Elizabeth Pidsley. John Thorneycroft had six children and when he died in 1879 they sold some of the land to Robert St. John Fitzwalter Butler (Lord Dunboyne of Farringdon), of the Inner Temple London and John Reginald Yorke of Forthampton Court Gloucester.

The title deeds show that all the surrounding property apart from Shepherds Farm was also owned by Lord Dunboyne of Farringdon. It is therefore no great surprise to see a sale notice for Shepherds Farm on 28.5.1883 of one trap horse, husbandry implements, empty casks, cider butts, hard and faggot wood, horses, poultry and furniture. The farm carried on for a little while but on 13.6.1887 Rev. Charles Wellington Furse and John Henry Monsell Furse sold Shepherds Farm to Robert St. John Fitzwalter Butler, of the Inner Temple London and John Reginald Yorke. The property was described as: 'All that freehold property called Shepherds in the Parish of Clyst St. Mary in the County of Devon containing by esto 84 acres 1 rood and 35 perches or thereabouts of land the same bordered with red. . . together with the mansion house and buildings forming part thereof and all timber and timberlike trees thereon. . ' Baron and Baroness Dunboyne became active members of the church and school in Woodbury. The name Dunboyne means 'Baethan's Fort', and the Dunboynes have both wealthy and noble roots in Ireland.

The Rev. Charles Wellington Furse (1821-1900) was the Archdeacon of Westminster and although I have found no records to prove it, I cannot help wondering whether he was a relation of the Philip Furse who owned Kiddicott in 1840? It seems too much of a coincidence to think that they were not in some way related. So the Furse family not only owned Kiddicott, but also Shepherds Farm at this time and sold Shepherds Farm to the Butlers.

On the 11.12.1888 Ashmore Mills were completely destroyed by fire. Trewman's Exeter Flying Post reported:

'The mill and newly erected machinery, belonging to Mr. John Fry Wilkey, groat manufacturer was discovered to be on fire and notwithstanding prompt assistance and the despatch of engines from Exeter the whole premises with the exception of the dwelling house was burnt to the ground. The accident was attributed to the overheating of a kiln used in the manufacture of pearl barley. A number of pigs kept in the premises were with difficulty got out but a quantity of oats, said to be near 400 bushels were destroyed.'

So at this point the mill was not a nut crushing mill, but a mill for crushing grain and oats and it was owned by John Fry Wilkey. After the fire only the Old Mill house remained. However, the mill was rebuilt and did function as a mill again at a later date.

On 17.8.1899 James Fitzwalter Butler, Baron Dunboyne died. Local people say the Shepherds Farm burnt down in 1890, although again I have found no written records of this. It is certainly true that Shepherds Farm ceased to exist on maps after 1903. The Shepherds Farm that we see today is built on a new site to the south of the old manor. On 10.10.1914 Marion, Lady Dunboyne appointed her only daughter Rosalinda Sophia Catherine Peters and Ann Wilhelmina Fursdon to be her executors and bequeathed her estates to her grandson, Arthur Malcolm Peters.

On 7.5.1915 she bequeathed eight cottages which had been refurbished and some newly built near Shepherds Farm to her only daughter Rosalinda Catherine Sophia Peters. Marion Baroness Dunboyne died on 15.6.1919. Mr. and Mrs Rosalinda Sophia Peters inherited Greendale and lived there until 1939. Rosalinda Sophia Catherine Peters and Sir Arthur Malcolm Peters sold Greendale and Shepherds Farm to Leonard Pitt Robshaw for £9250 on 4.2.1946. Leonard Pitt Robshaw subsequently sold Shepherds Farm (118.697 acres) to Norman Frank Boswell for £20,000 pounds on 29.9.1948. The Boswells later sold the farm to Blanche and Harold Pike who lived there until three years ago (1998). On Harold's retirement the farm house and three acres were sold to Anthony and Syra Smith, whilst the rest of the land was sold to Crealy Adventure Park. In the last week or two the farm house has been sold again to a builder for re-development.

Meanwhile, on 27.3.1912 Thomas Henry Ransom moved into Ashmore Mills, now Oyl Mill but only stayed for one year. It is thought that the mill ceased operations at this point. A brief attempt was made to revive the mill operations in 1921, but all the voting registers show the occupants of Greenslade and the name Oyl Mill ceased. The Mill changed hands several times and became known as Old Mill House. It came into the hands of the Moore family in 1982.

Also on 21.5.1922 we find the sale particulars of Kiddicott Dairy:
'116 and 117 Kiddicott and Little orchard.
119 Shepherds Corner (now Homefield).
77 Meadow
78 Great Meadow
73 Dry meadow and Dry Close Meadow
72 Long Croft Mead
71 Frog Meadow
Cottage sold by G. Williams for £185 is described as: 'Thatched, double fronted cottage with 3 bedrooms, sitting room, Kitchen with furnace, back garden with pump house, tile roofed poultry house, large front garden with tiled roof shed. With possession on completion.' By 1968 Old Kiddicott was owned by Colonel and Mrs Knight, whose sold it to the Warham family in 1983, and this, for the time being is where the story ends, but it is a very puzzling story.

The later history of how Ashmore manor split up and became parts of other estates is very interesting, but what about its earlier history? The evidence, or lack of it, seemed to pose more questions than it answered. For example: How old was the manor? Why did the recorded history of both the manor and the mill only start in 1721 when they had both clearly existed prior to that? Why were all of the cottages and associated buildings deserted and left to fall into ruins? What happened to the people who lived there? Why was there no record of the families who owned the properties when they were clearly wealthy or noble families?

We can of course only speculate, but even speculation may add something to our understanding of this settlement and what happened to it.

The Speculation

Old Kiddicott and the remains of the Old Mill house are in very much the same style, both being cob buildings, and of similar age. The only remains of the old manor house are also cob. All of the buildings seem to have been built of the same materials. Therefore, if we were to assume that Shepherds was built around the same time as the manor farm and its mill, then we might make a guess at how old the manor was. This is a big assumption to make of course, but owing to the lack of any other evidence it is the only indicator we have about the age of the manor.

Much of the fabric of Old Kiddicott has been dated at 1680. However, the internal dimensions of the old house are fifteen feet by thirty two feet. This factor, combined with the discovery of floor to ceiling mullions in the cob wall at one end of the house, raise the possibility that the building could have been a thirteenth century hall house which was remodelled in the seventeenth century. This would give us two dates for Ashmore manor, thirteenth century or seventeenth century. If we take the view that Ashmore manor and Old Kiddicott were built around 1680, how does this help us to understand what happened?

The immediate problem arises that if Ashmore was a new manor built in 1680 then the building would have only been forty years old in 1721. Furthermore, we are reasonably certain that the manor had ceased to function as a manor for some time before 1721 because the mill had already been sold off. There would have needed to be some important historical, economic or political reason for this sudden dramatic collapse of the system in such a short period of time. Although Clyst St. Mary is famous for the battles of 1455 and 1549, these would have happened well before the manor was built in 1680. There are no other records which suggest any real environmental or economic disasters. Much of Clyst St. Mary's recorded history relates to the twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. In the recorded history of Clyst St. Mary 1680 actually seems to have been a fairly quiet time!

The other alternative, that Ashmore manor was a thirteenth century building is less problematic. To begin with, Ian Mortimer tells us on his list of Devon manors website that: 'Users should note that there will almost certainly be no manorial documents for the early manors (those whose courts did not sit after 1500) . . ' So if it was an early manor, then we might expect that there would be little or no recorded early history. Well yes - but why were the surrounding cottages deserted and left to fall into ruin? What happened to the people? What caused the eventual demise of the local manorial system? The history of Clyst St. Mary indicates that were settlements here before the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. For example we know of the Royal manor of Woodbury in Saxon times. it is thought that the first bridge was built between 1185 and 1238. It is recorded that Bishop Bronescombe bought Bishop's Court in 1265. Then there are the more famous aspects such as the battle between Lord William Bonville and Thomas Courtney in 1455 and the battle of the bridge in 1549. We must also not forget of course that Clyst St. Mary like many other villages was affected by the Black Death in 1349 and 1361. Certainly in the history of Clyst St. Mary this was fairly dramatic time and any one or all of these events may have contributed to the demise of the manor. However, it still does not really explain why the surrounding cottages were deserted and left to fall into ruin.

It is only if we take a detailed look at peasant life in medieval times that we get any real insight into what might have happened. Prof. Ken Tompkins on his website describing the excavation of Wharram Percy, a medieval village in Yorkshire, comments: 'It seems that villages -- and villagers -- have always disappeared in the Middle Ages in England.' He asks: 'So, what was it that depopulated the villages?' Far from any battles or plagues, he suggests that the answer was much simpler. It was sheep. He writes:

'By the 15th c. economic conditions had changed to the point where landlords could make more money by turning previously ploughed land into pasture for sheep. Those living on the land were driven from it. It was doubted in the early part of this century that there were any "deserted" villages. Research -- begun at Wharram Percy -- has shown, however, that well over 3000 villages were depopulated!'

Certainly it was the case that only four miles away in Exeter, there was a thriving woollen industry, but whether or not this coincided with the depopulation of the settlement we will never know. It may help to explain why Ashmore Mills changed from a grain mill to an oil mill and then to a 'grist mill'. If it was the case that Shepherds was a medieval manor then perhaps the name 'kiddicott' was after all, a significant medieval word referring to the place where the manor goats were kept? Could the reference to the grain mills in the Court Rolls of Bishops Clyst manor have referred to Ashmore Mills? I would like to think it did, but I do not know.

Taking the view that Shepherds was a medieval manor is certainly less problematic than a seventeenth century manor. On balance I think there are more indicators of a medieval manor than a seventeenth century one. However, we will never know. The only thing we can be reasonably certain about is that this manor house in its history has been called 'Shepherds', 'Ashmore Manor', 'Peases' and more recently 'Shepherds Farm'. We can trace roughly how its ownership changed after 1721, but its earlier history remains inaccessible. Shepherds manor of Clyst St. Mary is truly 'all manor of mystery.'


Date Shepherds
was owned by:
Old Kiddicott was owned by: Ashmore Mills were owned by: Greendale was owned by: Winslade was owned by: Kenniford was owned by:
1721   The Gibbs Family John Werden      
1722 Arnold Bielfeld Arnold Bielfeld Charlotte and William Beauclerk      
1722? William and Frances Pease          
1749 John Hallett          
1780     John Drummond and Thomas Goldsworthy     John Drummond and Thomas Goldsworthy
1789     John Drummond and Charlotte Osborne     John Drummond and Charlotte Osborne
1790     Edward Cotsford   Edward Cotsford  
1802 Shepherds tenement:Thomas Wright and Maria Hodge          
1812   Josiah Porcher and Roger Nichs        
1816   Josiah Porcher and Daniel Bampfield        
? D.A.Bielfeld D.A.Bielfeld        
1817 R.Pidsley     R.Pidsley    
1820   Daniel Bampfield        
1821 To let          
1823     Samuel Barnes and Daniel Bampfield      
1824     Samuel Barnes and John Shiles      
1827           John Shiles
1829 John Shiles John Shiles        
1837     John Shiles      
1838       John Pidsley    
1840   Philip Furse        
1843       Miss M.A. Pidsley    
1850 To let          
1857 John Taverder then later that year John Barnes John Shiles       John Shiles
1868       Miss Elizabeth Pidsley    
1877? Rev. Charles Wellington Furse and John Henry Monsell Furse Rev. Charles Wellington Furse and John Henry Monsell Furse        
1879       Rev. John Thorneycroft    
1881?       Robert St. John Fitwalter Butler (Lord Dunboyne of Farringdon) and J R Yorke    
1888     John Fry Wilkey      
1889 Robert St. John Fitwalter Butler (Lord Dunboyne of Farringdon) and J R Yorke G. Williams        
1900 Burnt down?          
1912     Thomas Henry Ransom      
1915 Eight cottages refurbished and newly built          
1919 New Shepherds Farm Rosalinda Catherine Sophia and Henry Peters     Rosalinda Catherine Sophia and Henry Peters    
1946 Leonard Pitt Robshaw     Leonard Pitt Robshaw    
1948 Norman Boswell          
1954 Harold and Blanche Pike          
1968   Colonel and Mrs Knight        
1982     Polly and Harold Moore      
1983   Roderick and Sylvia Warham        
1998 Anthony and Syra Smith (Farmhouse and barns only) Land sold to Crealy Adventure Park.          
2001 Farmhouse and barns sold for redevelopment.          

Sources of information:

Primary sources:

  1. Shepherds Title Deeds (1881-1889) (Originals in the possession of Sylvia Warham) CD-Rom copy lodged at Devon Record Office
  2. Research notes of Gwendolen Gervaise Knight, 1974 (Now in the possession of Sylvia Warham)
  3. Colin and O-Lan Style, 'Old Mill House, Clyst St Mary, History',1994 (accompanying original documents in the possession of Polly Moore, Old Mill House)
  4. Parish Minutes for Clyst St. Mary. Register of Apprentices.
  5. Tithe map of 1840 in Devon Record Office.
  6. Sale notices in the Devon Record Office.
  7. Article from Trewman's Exeter Flying Post in the Devon Record Office.
  8. Court Rolls for Bishops Clyst manor in the Devon Record Office.
  9. Registers of baptisms, marriages and deaths in the Devon Record Office.
  10. Maps of 1880 and 1906 in the Westcountry Studies Library.
  11. Genuki website surname search: /search/site
  12. Rootsweb database of noble and royal families:
  13. Prof. Ken Tompkins' website on the excavation of Wharram Percy:

Secondary sources:

  1. Jeanne Axford, 'About Clyst St.Mary' published in 2000 with a millenium grant for 'Help the Aged'.
  2. Directory and gazetteer of the county of Devon, Birmingham : M. Billing (1857) vi, 777, 192p.
  3. Ruth Whittaker, 'Clyst St. Mary the story of our village', R. Whittaker, 1954.
  4. Kelly's Directories.
  5. Lysons, Daniel and Lysons, Samuel. 'Magna Britannia, being a concise topographical account of the several counties of Great Britain, volume the sixth, containing Devonshire', London: Thomas Cadell and W. Davies (1822), volume two, pp.120-121.
  6. Polwhele, Richard, 'The History of Devonshire', 1797, reproduced by Kohler and Coombes, Dorking (1977).
  7. White, William. 'History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Devonshire', Sheffield: W. White (1850) 804p.
  8. Ian Mortimer's Devon Manors website:
  9. Genuki devon local studies website:
  10. Family Search Internet Genealogy Service:
  12. Historic Manuscripts Commission - part of the National Archives

My thanks to:
Polly Moore for the loan of the documents concerning 'Old Mill House'.
Brian Randell for his very helpful suggestions to a non-historian.
Ian Mortimer for his support and help in the early stages.
John Draisey, County Archivist, for his patience and prompt replies to all my questions.
Giles at GW Computer Services for his prompt technical support.

Note: If I have made any errors or you have feedback or further information to add, please do not hesitate to contact me: Sylvia Warham swarham[at][dot]uk


Information received 5 Sep 2012 from Malcolm Wake, Regina, Saskatchewan, CANADA:

Diederick Arnold BIELFELD married Susanna SANDERS, 19 March 1796 at St Mary Arches, Exeter. This union produced two daughters Anna Henrietta, christened, 26 Feb. 1799; Caroline, christened 3 Aug 1800 and Henry who was christened 7 Oct 1802. All three of these christenings took place at Bow (now Mint Meeting) or Georges Meeting house-Presbyterian, Exeter.
Henry went on to become an artist, exhibiting at the R.A. and retiring by 1881 to Withycombe Raleigh. The 1881 census lists his birthplace as Heavytree. For further details see: