Harris of Wortham and Pickwell

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VII, (1912-1913), Exeter: James G. Commin. 1913. pp. 211-212.

[See vol.7, p.120, par.95. p. 178, par 131; Also 7, p.256, par.182.]


J.F. Chanter

Prepared by Michael Steer

The Note supplements records of the Harris family submitted by J.F. Chanter earlier in this volume.  Pickwell manor was owned by John Harris who was the member of parliament for Barnstaple in the mid-19th century. During the Victorian era it was owned by the Hole family who paid for much of the Victorian restoration of St George's church in Georgeham. The church contains a "Pickwell chapel" dating from 1762. The manor lies between the village of Georgeham and the coast above Woolacombe and Putsborough beach. 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 149. HARRIS OF WORTHAM AND PICKWELL (VII., par. 95, p. 120; and par. 131, p. 178.) - The family of Harris of Wortham, in Lifton, and afterwards also of Pickwell, in Georgeham, was a cadet branch of Harris of Hayne descended from the family of Harris of Radford, see Vivian's Visitations of Devon, p. 451; deriving from Thomas Harris of The Mount, St. Hilary, co. Cornwall, third son of Arthur Harris of Hayne, ib. y p. 449.

Wortham was acquired through the marriage of John Harris, son of the above named Thomas Harris of the Mount, with Mary, daughter and co-heiress of John Hext of Alterton and co-heiress to her uncles, John and Arthur Dynham, of Wortham.

Pickwell originally belonged to the Newcourt family. Mary Harris, daughter of Arthur Harris of Hayne, and sister of Thomas Harris, of The Mount, married Tobie Newcourt, of Pickwell, to whom she bore one son John, and three daughters Elizabeth, Jane, and Margaret. John Newcourt married Mary, daughter of William Fry of Yarty, by whom he had four sons John, Tobie, William, and John. Jane Newcourt, above named, daughter of the first mentioned Tobie, survived her two sisters, her only brother John, and all his four sons. She married Gregory, son of Henry Chichester, of Bittadon, and dying, without issue, was buried at Georgeham, 30th July, 1685.

The childless Gregory and Jane Chichester adopted Dorothy, daughter of John Hancock, of Combmartin, which Dorothy married in 1678 at Georgeham, Jane Chichester's first cousin once removed, John Harris of Wortham, son and heir of the before mentioned John Harris and Mary his wife, daughter and co-heiress of John Hext, of Alterton.

John Harris, of Wortham, who died in 1727, and Dorothy, had issue, besides a son john and a daughter Mary, who died in infancy, a daughter, Jane, who married at Swimbridge in 1693 Arthur Chichester, then of Stowford in that parish, and afterwards of Hall, from whom descended the Chichesters of Hall, and a son.

William Harris, born 1674, who died in vita patris, and was buried at Georgeham in 1720. To this William Harris, Jane Chichester devised Pickwell. He married Honor, daughter of Arscott Bickford, of Dunsland, and they had issue two sons, John and Samuel, and three daughters, Dorothy (wife of Francies Gregor, of Trewarthenick, Cornwall), Elizabeth (who married --- Colchester) and Jane (who married --- Kenney.)

John Harris, the eldest son, succeeded to Wortham and Pickwell. He was Member of Parliament for Barnstaple, and died 1768, aged 64. He married Dorothy Herbert, sister of Henry Arthur Earl Powis, and she died 1759, aged 50. They had issue, besides three sons who died in infancy, a daughter Honour, who inherited Wortham and Pickwell, and of whom hereafter.

Samuel Harris, younger brother of the last named John, was of Smallacomb, in Lifton, Attorney-at-law. He married Florence, daughter of Henry Incledon, of Buckland, and they had issue three daughters, none of whom married, and of whom Dorothy was the ultimate survivor.

Miss Honour Harris, of Wortham and Pickwell, died unmarried 7th August, 1790. She left all her property to a stranger in blood, Maria, daughter of John Harrup, who married first John Middleditch, who died 1799, and secondly in 1800, Colonel, afterwards General Mackenzie, thus passing over her first cousin and heiress at law, Dorothy, daughter of her uncle, Samuel Harris of Smallacombe.

In 1806, Wortham was sold to Captain Cox, and Pickwell to one Newcombe a farmer, reserving a life interest to Mrs. Mackenzie. Mrs. Mackenzie died in 1827 at Pickwell. Eventually Pickwell was bought by Lord Fortescue, in whose family it remained until recent years. Wortham is, or until lately was, the property of the representatives of the late William Carew Rayer, of Holcombe Court, near Tiverton.

The descendants of Mrs. Gregor, Mrs. Colchester, or Mrs. Kenney, if any, now represent the family of Harris of Wortham and Pickwell. Failing them, the representation would appear to be in Major Charles Hamlyn Chichester, of Hall.                                    A.B.C.