Kirkham of Feniton, Westofer of Yardbury, Colyton, and Drake of Yardbury

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VII, (1912-1913),
Exeter: James G. Commin. 1913, illus. pp. 257-267.


A.J.P. Skinner

Prepared by Michael Steer

The Note’s author draws attention to and corrects several errors related to the Kirkham, Westofer and Drake genealogies in Vivian’s Visitations of Devon. 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 84. KlRKHAMOF FENITON, WESTOFER OF YARDBURY, COLYTON, and DRAKE OF YARDBURY. - Vivian in The Visitations of Devon, "Kirkham of Blagdon," page 516, has several errors. He gives the fourth wife of Sir John Kirkham, died 1529, as "Jane, da. and h. of William Mathew, of Milton" this is an error for Jane or Jone, da. and h. of William Malherb, of Feniton, and widow of Richard Ferrers, of Feniton. Then he states that Thomas Kirkham (son of Sir John) married "Margaret, da. and hey. of Richard Ferrers and of Jane, da. and hey. of Sir John Mahearbe," this should be William. He also states that the husband of Margaret, da. of James Kirkham, was William Webster, of Colyton, it should be Westofer.

Pole, page 180, says: - "William Malherb had issue Jone, married unto Richard Ferrers, and after unto Sir John Kirkham; by Richard Ferrers shee had issue Martyn, wch died wthout issue, & Margaret, wief of Thomas Kirkham, sonne of the said John Kirkham."

Westcote, page 523, says: - "Sir John Kirkham (Sheriff of Devon, 14th Henry VIII.) . . . fourthly he married Jane, daughter and co-heir of William Malherb, of Feniton, esq., the relict of Richard Ferrers, of Feniton. Thomas Kirkham married Margaret, d. and heir of Richard Ferrers, of Feniton, esq., and Jane his wife, daughter and heir of William Malherb."

Through the kindness of the Rev. Dr. Hart I have been allowed to search the Feniton Registers and found the following entries, which give further information to the Pedigree: -

1558. Margaret, the daughter of James Kirkham esquire, was baptized the first day of July, Ano Dom 1558.
1590. Mr. Edmonde Argenton & Mistress Margarett Westofer were maryed the first day of January, Ano Dom 1590.


Imprimis Sr John Kirkham Knight, dyed the xi th day of July, Ano Dom 1529.
John Holmes, innocent servant unto Lady Jane Kirkham, dyed the xii th day of Nov., 1552.
Lady Johane Kirkham, the daughter and here of Willm Malherb, dyed the xxvi th day of October, Ano Dom 1554.
Grace Kirkham, the daughter of Mr. James Kirkham, dyed the xviii th day of ffebruary, 1558.
Margaret, the wyfe of George Kirkham esquire, dyed the xvi th day of May, Ano Dom 1572.
Mr. James Kirkham Esquire dyed the first day of December, Ano Dom 1573. George, the sonne of Willm Kirkham esquire, dyed the xxii th day of Maye, Ano Dom 1576.

On the floor of Feniton Church is a stone with an inscription in old English letters to Margaret, wife of George Kirkham esquier, and daughter of Thomas Dennys, 1572.

Oliver, Eccles. Antiq., Vol. I., page 172, in a note says: - "I have seen the will of Lady Jane Kyrkham, widowe, made 2 March, 1552, and proved 20 March, 1554. She desires to be buried in the Church of Feniton: appoints her son George Kyrkham sole executor : leaves to his daughter Elizabeth a standing cup with a cover gilted and to James Kyrkham £20."

James Kyrkham (son of Thomas and grandson of Lady Jane) married probably a daughter of Willoughby, for amongst the shields of arms on the Westofer monument in Colyton Church is one - Kyrkham impaling Willoughby. He was buried at Feniton, having died 1 Dec, 1573. His daughter Grace died 16 Feb., 1558. His other daughter, Margaret ("heire generall of Malberb, Ferrers and Kirkham," Pole), was baptized at Feniton 1 July, 1558. She married first at Paignton 17 July, 1575 (Vivian), William Westofer, of Yardbury, Colyton, as his second wife. His first wife was Alice, da. of John Yonge, of Axminster, by whom he had a daughter Katheryn, baptized at Axminster 22 Nov., I 573. She married John, son of Francis Freeke, of Crewkerne, and was buried at Chardstock 11 Sept., 1630; her husband buried there 20 Jan., 1627.

William Westofer was admitted a member of the Inner Temple 1567, Buried at Colyton 2 April, 1586. Will dated 25 Feb., 1584, proved 19 June, 1587, P.C.C. (33 Spencer.)

The issue of William and Margaret Westofer were: -

1. Dorothy, mentioned in the wills of her father and brother William.
2. William, of whom later.
3. Agnes, bap. Colyton 24 Sept., 1581, married there 29 June, 1602, Mr. John Partryge, of Crewkerne, by whom she had a son, John, mentioned in the will of his uncle James.
4. James Westofer, bap. Colyton, 4 March, 1582, of Brazenose Coll., Oxford, Matric. 7 May, 1602, bur. Colyton 23 Jan., 1610. M.I. grave stone on floor of chancel, Colyton Church. Will proved 1610 Court of D. & C, Exeter.
5. Frances, bapt. Colyton 21 Aug., 1584, married there 22 Oct., 1609, buried Honiton 13 Sept., 1642. She married John Eedes, son of John Eedes of Exeter, goldsmith, of Exeter Coll., Oxon., Matric. 4 April, 1600, aged 17, B.A. 1603, M.A. 1604, B.D. 1614. Vicar of Colyton 1608, of Clyst St. Lawrence 1611, rector of Honiton 1614. His will was proved 29 Aug., 1651, P.C.C. (158 Grey.) See Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, edited by F.C.H.R. Issue:

1. Margaret, bapt. Clyst St. Lawrence 29 Mar., 1612.
2. John Eedes, bapt. Clyst St. Lawrence 18 Nov., 1613, bur. there 21 Jan., 1640, Gloucester Hall, Oxford, Matric. 18 June, 1630, aged 16, B.C.L. 1635. By his wife Agnes he had a son William, bapt. at Honiton 13 Ap., 1632.
3. Frances, bapt. Honiton 23 July, 1615, a widdow 1651. She married Thomas Jones, M.A., D.D., rector of Offwell 13 July, 1632, died before 1651. See Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy.
4. Elizabeth, bapt. Clyst St. Lawrence 23 Mar., 1619, bur. there 2 Feb. 1625.
5. Mary, bapt. Clyst St. Lawrence 10 May, 1621.
6. Mary, bapt. Honiton 31 Dec, 1623, married Humphry Bidgood, of Bodmin.
7. Nycholas Eedes, bapt. Honiton 3 Sept., 1626.

6. Grace, bapt. Colyton 26 Nov., 1586 (posthumous), bur. Colyton 7 Jan., 1586.

There was probably another son who died young, the registers of S. Paul's, Exeter, have an entry - 1576, George, son of Mr. William Westover, bapt. 26 Oct.

Margaret, widow of William Westofer, married secondly at Feniton, 1 Jan., 1590, Edmund Argenton, gent., died between 1610 and 16 15, by whom she had two sons, baptized at Colyton -

William Argenton, 7 Sept., 1591.
Richard Argenton, 25 Feb., 1592, bur. Clyst St. Lawrence 11 Mar., 1629.
Mrs. Margaret Argenton, widow, was buried at Clyst St. Lawrence 31 July, 1639.

William Westofer, named above, was bapt. at Colyton 31 July, 1580, bur. chancel of Colyton Church 13 March, 1614. M.I. gravestone on floor and monument on south wall of sanctuary. Church warden 1613. Will dated 27 Feb., 1614, proved 6 May, 1615, P.C.C. (38 Rudd.) He married Elizabeth, daughter of John Ellacot, of Exeter (Sheriff and Govenor of Merchant Adventurers, 1601. Bur. St. Petrock's 10 Dec, 1609), and his wife Margaret, dau. of Nicholas Martyn (married at St. Petrock's 23 Nov., 1583). Baptized at St. Petrock's 12 Sept., 1584. Probably married at Honiton, secondly, to Lewes Hele. Issue one daughter and heiress -

Margaret Westofer, Marriage Licence, Exeter, 14 Nov., 1620. Buried Colyton 21 Sept., 1635. She married William Drake, second son of John Drake, of Ashe, and his wife Dorothy, dau. of Wm - Button, of Alton, Wilts. He died 18 Nov., 1636, and was buried in the Temple Church, London. M.I. Coliton Church. Will dat. 2 Nov., 1635, prov. ult. Feb., 1639, P.C.C. (Coventry 25). They had issue: -

1. John Drake, bapt. Colyton 24 March, 1621, bur. Colyton 12 Ap., 1648. Of Exeter Hall, Oxford. Matric. 1636, B.A. from Brasenose Coll. 1637, M.A. 1640, of the Inner Temple 1640. Will dat. 26 March, 1648, prov. 1 Dec, 1649, P.C.C. (Fairfax 188.)
2. Dorothy, bap. Colyton 21 March, 1623, bur. there 7 Oct., 1626.
3. Eleanor, bap. Colyton 20 Dec, 1625, bur. Axmouth 15 Dec, 1712. She married John Seward, first son of Thomas Seward, of Downlands, Axmouth. Bap. Axmouth 2 May, 1619, bur. there 27 Dec, 1710, aged 91. M.I. Church. They had a daughter Anne, bap. Axmouth 1647, marr. there 1665, bur. 1701. She married Henry Flory, gent., bur. Axmouth 1689.
4 Joane, bap. Colyton 11 June, 1628. Emigrated with her brother Thomas and sister Elizabeth to Taunton, Mass., U.S.A., 1653-4. She married Thomas Randall, second son of Robert Randall, of Weymouth, Mass.
5 William Drake, second son and heir to his brother John. Bap. Colyton 22 Dec, 1629, bur. there 11 March, 1680. M.L, Colyton Church. He married Lsetitia, dau. of "John Baillie, of Hoddesdon, Herts. For their issue and continuation of Pedigree see Vivian, p. 298.
6 Jane, bap. Colyton 13 Feb., 1630, marr. Axmouth 5 May, 1651, bur. Colyton 26 Nov., 1693. She married Thomas Seward, of Downlands, Axmouth, second son of Thomas Seward of the same. Bapt. Axmouth 24 Aug., 1620, bur. Axmouth 20 Dec, 1693. They had a dau. Marie bap. Axmouth 1665.
7 Elizabeth, bap. Colyton 10 Dec, 1632. She accompanied her brother Thomas and sister Joane to Taunton, Mass., U.S.A. She married 8 June, 1654 (by Richard Bellingham, Governor), Ezekiel Hamlin, of Boston, Mass., and had issue: - Ezekiel, born 1655; Joseph, b. 1657; William, b. 1659 ; Elizabeth, b. 1661 ; Mary, b. 1663; Benjamin, b. 1665; Hannah, b. 1667; Mercy, b. 1669.
8 Endimion, bap. Colyton 25 June, 1634.
9 Thomas Drake, bap. Colyton 14 Sept., 1635. He emigrated, accompanied by his sisters Joane and Elizabeth, to Taunton, Mass., U.S.A., 1653-4. He married first Jane Holbrook, by whom he had issue: - Thomas, b. 1657, died 1728; John, b. 1659; William, b. 1661 ; Joseph, b. 1663; Benjamin, b. 1667; Amy, b. 1666; Elizabeth, b. 1670. He married, secondly, 9 March, 1681, Millicent, widow of John Carver and daughter of William Ford. They had a daughter, Experience, b. 1683. (This information and that relating to his two sisters was obtained from two of his descendants — Mr. L. S. Drake, of Newton, Mass., U.S.A., and Mr. D. D. Bolding, of Denver, Colo., U.S.A.

Memorial Inscriptions. - On the floor of the chancel in Colyton Church is a grave stone with the following inscription, deeply cut in old English letters: —

Hie jacet corpus
Guili Westofer de
Yarbery generosi qui
Obiit 13 die Martiis
Anno Domini 1614
Ex me disce precor
Vivere disce mori
Anno Dom: 1622

Nearby, on the south wall of the chancel, is a handsome Corinthian Monument, with three kneeling effigies, erected to his memory. It has four coats of arms; the shield at the top bears: Argent, 3 lions rampant gules, within a bordure engrailled sable (for Kirkham) impaling sable, fretty or (for Willoughby?). The other shields bear Kirkham alone; Argent a wyvern with wings displayed gules (for Drake of Ash) impaling argent, 3 torteaux gules, a chief gules (for Westofer?) ; and Drake impaling Kirkham.

The following are the inscriptions: -

           In obitum Guili Westofer
Lector quicunq es tumuli circumspice nostru
quo mea nec dolor est ossa sepulta jacent
non procul aspicias triplex ubi ducit imago
una ego, sponsa alia est, tertia nata mea est
pulvis ego, sic uxor eris, sic nata, Valete
Christo vive uxor filia vive Deo. An. 1622.

Here lies yebody of Wm. Drake of Yarbvry son of Wm. Drake of Yarbvry who lies buried in ye Temple Chvrc London and was ye son of John Drake of Ashe Esqr. The mother of the said Wm. Drake ye son was Margaret the sole davghter and heir of Wm. Westofer of Yarbvry gent and Elizabeth his wife. He died March ye 6th 1680 in ye 51 yeare of his age. Here allso lie Richard, Lsedtia and Dorothy three of his children.

Gravestone on chancel floor: -

Here lieth the body of
James Westofer gent
who was buried xxiii Janu 1610.

In south aisle of the chancel of the Church of St. Cuthbert, Wells, Somerset, is a marble tablet bearing a Shield of Arms with eight quarterings: - 1, Drake of Ashe and Yardbury. 2, Billet. 3, Hampton. 4, Orway. 5, Offwell. 6, Forde. 7, Esse. 8, Raleigh. Crest and Motto : Drake of Ashe and Yardbury.

Sacred to the Memory
of Francis Drake, Esquire
A Magistrate of the county of Somerset
and many years recorder of this City.
He was minister of His Majesty George the third
At Munich, and other foreign Courts.
In the administration of Justice he was Distinguished
By strict integrity of conduct
And undeviating firmness of purpose :
As a Diplomatist
By a thorough Knowledge of the interests
and zeal for the welfare of his country.
His High Talents
and uniform practice of the Moral and
Social duties of life
Secured him the esteem and regard
of a large circle of friends.
He married Feb. 19 1795
Eliza Anne, daughter of Sir Herbert Mackworth
Bart, of the Gnolle Castle Glamorganshire.
Died Jan: 10: 1821 aged 57.
And is buried in the vault beneath.

Abstract of Wills P.C.C. - Dated 25 Feby., 1584, William Westoffer of Yardebury in Coliton. Appoint John Yonge of Axminster, Gent., John Yonge of Coliton his son and Giles Kentisbeare to be exors. in trust for William and James my sons. To poor of Chardstock, Coliton, Axminster, Membury, Shute, Fenyton, and Peyhembury. To Katherine my daur. 200 Marks at 22 or at marriage with consent of my exors. To my daurs. Dorothy, Anne and ffrancis each 200 Marks at 22 or at marriage with consent of Margaret now my wife or of my exors. To my ffather the best gowne which I have. To my brothers Nicholas and Richard. To my brother-in-law Giles Kentisbeare. To my sisters Joane & Agnes. My wife Margaret whilst unmarried and provided she bring up my 3 daus. Dorothy, Anne and ffrancis, and my two sons William and James to have the use of my house and farm called Yardebury and my house and lands called Sharpehayne ats Sharpehayes and all my lands in Coliton and Shute until my son William is 22. The lands which I hold by demise of John ffrancis Esqr. : lands called Sherewoode in Fennyton which I have by two leases from John Sherewoode & Peter Sherewoode, the revercon in fee simple of which is conveyed to John Yong of Coliton and Thomas Collins gent. To James my son at 22. My advowson of the Rectory of ffenyton to my exors. for use and behoofe of James my son whereas I have a lease for years by grant of George Skinner clerk in some part of the Parsonage of ffenyton my exors. to receive the profits for behoof of my son James to whom also my estate in the farm of Tale and other lands in Peyhembury. Whereas my father hath enfeoffed William Pole Esqr., Edward Wilsheire now decd - and sd - John Yonge of Axminster in lands called Bakilford and Axe in Chardstock to his use for life and to use of me and my heirs for ever. I leave the same to my son William in tail male, rem r - to my son James in tail male, rem r - to Nicholas Westofer my brother in tail male, remr - to Richard my brother in tail male. My ffather Yonge and my brother John Yonge. Codicil dated 27 March 1586 "being Sonday." Richard Westofer my brother to be joint exor - To Mr. Marwoode phisicon 40s. Forgive to John Macey about £6 owing by him, towards the maintenance of his son at Oxford.(1)

Proved 19 June, 1587 P.C.C. by procurator of John Yonge, Giles Kentisbeare, John Yonge junior and Richard Westofer. (33 Spencer.)

John Eedes of Honyton, clarke, weake in body (undated). To my son Nicholas 10s. and forgive him £20 which he borrowed of me. To my daur: Mary Bidgood wife of Humphy Bidgood of Bodmyn, 5s. To poor of Clist St. Laurence, 10s. ; of Honyton, 20s. ; of St. Mary Arches in Exeter, 10s. Residue to my daur. ffrances Jones widdowe late wife of Thomas Jones clarke whom I make exr - Witnesses. Hauniball Ratcliffe, Charitie Hunt. Proved P.C.C. 29 Aug. 1651 by Frances Jones. (158 Grey.)

William Westofer of Yardebury, county Devon, gent. Will 27 February 1614-5; proved 6 May 1615.

My trustee and loving friends John Drake the younger of Aysh, county Devon, gent, and William Hull of Colyton, Clerke, my executors. To my wife Elizabeth my mansion, Barton, and desmesnes of Yardebury, messuage in Colyton called Luggeshayne ats Luggeshayes and all plate and household goods I die possessed of on condition she gives them at her death or the value thereof to my daughter Margarett. To the poor of Colyton 40s. To my deare and loving mother Margarett Argenton, widowe, a gold ring and to each of my 4 sisters Dorothie Westofer, Katherine Freke, Anne Partridge and Fraunces Eedes a mourning gowne. Servant Peter Fett 40s. Servants Julian Clerke 20s., Alice Row 10s., Annie Abbotts 6s. 8d. Residue to my daughter Margaret. Witnesses: E.Drake, Henry Ellacote, Thomas Baskerville, Henrie Thomas. (Rudd 38.)

For the above Wills I am indebted to the kindness of O. A. R. Murray, Esq., C.B. The following are taken from Dr. Smith's Extracts from Wills Proved, P.C.C.

William Drake of Yardbury in psh. Colliton co. Devon gent: my four daughters : all my land at Lurchain which I hold from Sir Wm Poole & the mills at Coliton for the term of twenty-one years and my estate in Membury: my tenement called Goldacre: my brother Sir John Drake Knt: my friends Sir Henry Rosewell Knt : John Button and Lewes (2) Hole esqrs and John Eedes rector of Honiton. My exors: My son John Drake: witnesses Gideon Walrond : Robert Hewett : John Stokes : Eustace Budgell: Dated 2 Nov. 1635 pr. ult Feb. 1639. (25 Coventry.)

John Drake of Yardbury: Co: Devon Gent: To poor of psh of Cullington: My Niece Ann dau. John Steward of Downelande: My deceased father Willm Drake: My land in fee called Yardbury: My cousins and brother John Drake of Ash and Tho. Drake of Wishcombe: John Seward of Downland and Willm Taylor of Waxway gent: My brother Willm Drake only exor. Dated 27 March 1648, pr. 1 Dec. 1649. (188 Fairfax.)

William Drake of Yardbury: Co: Devon esq.: buried in the chancel of Colyton: John Drake my eldest son: Downhayne in Colyton purchased by me of one John Drake: three other fields in Colyton purchased by me of Peter Seller & another close in Colyton purchased by me of one John Holwel: Tho. Drake my youngest son: My daughter Mrs. Catherine Huysh: My son Tho. and Mrs. Huysh exors: Sam 1 Pulman, E. Veryard, Tho. Cox witnesses. Dated 3 Nov. 1727, pr, 9 Mar. 1727. (78 Brook.)

The following are omitted by Lt.-Col. Vivian from the pedigree of Drake of Yardbury, Colyton, page 298: -

From Colyton Parish Church Registers.

1630. Jane, d. William Drake of Yarberie, esq., bap. 13 Feb.
1659. Betty, d. William Drake of Yarbery, bap. 28 Dec.
1678. Elizabeth, d. William Drake of Yarbery, bap. 11 June
1681. Mrs. Letitia, w. Mr. Peter Callie, bur. 25 Feb. (M.I.)
1681. Samuel, s. Peter Callie, bap. 8 June
1681. Samuel, s. Peter Callie, minister, bur. 25 Feb.
1687. Dorothy Drake, gent., bur. 2 March
1693. John, s. William Drake of Yardbury, esq., bap. 6 Feb.
1711. Mr. John Drake of Chard, bur. 20 Dec. (bom 1667)
1726. Katherine, d. Mr. Thomas Drake, bur. Sept. 14
1727. William Drake, esq., bur. 2 Dec. (born 1663)
1732. Thomas, s. Thomas Drake, bur. 8 Sept. (bapt. 1728)
1733. Thomas, s. Thomas Drake, bap. 27 Apl.
1735. Ann, d. Mr. Thomas Drake, bap. priv. 26 May.
1760. John Jarratt, parish St. John's, Hackney, co. Middlesex, and Ann Drake, marr. by lic, 15 May, by Francis Drake, minister.
1785. Ann Jarratt, bur. 8 Nov., w. of John Jarratt, of London
1730. Francis, s. of Mr. Thomas Drake, bap. 5 March (The Vicar of Seaton and Beer, and Rector of Uplyme, died 5 Ap., bur. Colyton, 9 Ap. 1769. He was found dead on Bossell Hill, Axmouth, between his two parishes. Tradition says he was killed by smugglers. As a Justice of the Peace, he was very strict and active against them, so in revenge they lay in wait for him and killed him. It is also said that on account of his unpopularity for this activity, the smugglers and fishermen of Beer, built and founded the Dissenting Chapel there.)
1746. Catherine, d. Thomas Drake Esq. by Dorothy his w., bap. 26 March.
1790. Eliza, d. Mr. Clement Drake by Betty his w., born 15 Dec, bap. 27 Dec. (She marr. at Taunton St. Mary 10 Aft., 1809, Edward Jefferies Esdaile, of Cothelstone Ho., Somerset)
(3) 1803. Charles Anderson, s. William Drake Esq. and Elizth Charity his w., born 6, bap. 19 May.
(4) 1804. Francis, s. William Drake esq. and Elizabeth Charity his w., born 4 Sep., bap. 27 Oct. ,

From Seaton Parish Church Registers:-

1772. Ann, d. Revd - Francis Drake, Vicar of Seaton and Beer, born 26 Nov. 1762, bap. same day privately, publicly bap. 15 June, 1764.
1764. Francis, s. Revd - Francis Drake, Vicar of Seaton and Beer, born and bap. privately 22 Apr., 1764, publicly bap. 15 June, 1764.
(He became Ambassador at the Courts of Munich, Venice, etc. See portrait and M.I.
1766. Charles, s. Revd - Francis Drake, Vicar of Seaton and Beer, and Elizabeth his wife, born and bap. privately 13 Sept., 1766, publicly bap. 14 Jan., 1767.

The following connected with Drake from Colyton Registers : —

1796. Robert Tudway, esq., bur, 2 Jan.

Vivian states that "Francis Drake, Vicar of Seaton and Beer, married Elizabeth, eldest d. of Charles Tredway, of Wells," it should be Tudway.


1. George Macey, son of John Macey of Lugshayne in Colyton, Christ Church, Oxford, Matric. 2 July, 1585, B.A. 8 Feb., 1588. He married at Colyton, 1591, Mary dau. of Gregorie Sampson, "Lynnen Draper," and had a dau., Marie, bap. 1592, and a son George, 1606. He signs the Colyton Registers as "minister" for some years.

2 Hele? Probably the stepfather of his wife Margaret.

3 & 4 It is doubtful if these two entries belong to the Yardbury family. This William Drake, died in Jamaica, 18 Aug. 1809, aged 58, was son of William Drake of Axminster, died 28 July 1775, aged 48. M.I. Axminster Church. His wife, Elizabeth Charity, was daughter of John Collard, Esq., sometime High Sheriff of Bristol.

                                            A.J.P. SKINNER