A note on some Passmore Farms in North Molton, Bishop's Nympton and Twitchen

By Desmond Painter

Bournemouth, February 2008

(Revised version February and June 2009, incorporating new information)


Historically, the Passmores1 have been heavily concentrated in the south-west of England, and particularly in North Devon,2 where they have farmed for more than four hundred years. My maternal grandfather was Joseph Passmore (1865-1936), and his was the generation which first moved off the land into other occupations. Joe's elder brother Will carried on the family farming tradition: but Joe himself became a Methodist minister and an energetic missionary in Ceylon and India; his younger brothers Jack and Fred were respectively a draper and an ironmonger. Before them, the Passmore line stretches back unbroken to before 1540, and they were all farmers. This note brings together surviving information from a number of sources, mostly from The National Archives and the Devon and North Devon Record Offices, about the land they farmed: mainly, but not exclusively, in the parishes of North Molton, Bishop's Nympton and Twitchen. The information is often, especially in the early years, fragmentary and inconclusive, depending upon the chance survival of sometimes fragile documents; and although it is possible to see a fuller picture in the later period, this note inevitably makes some assumptions and leaves many questions unanswered and sources unexplored: I have tried to indicate some of these uncertainties in my presentation in the hope that others may correct and improve what I have here put together. My note deals only with that branch of the Passmore family connected to my own line; there were of course many other Passmores in the area who are not noticed here. I have included as Appendix 1 a partial tree diagram to show those members of the family whose names appear in the sources, and who are referred to in this note. The numbers shown in blue against the names in the diagram are cross referenced in the text. I am most grateful to Tim Wormleighton, Principal Archivist at the North Devon Record Office in Barnstaple, and Jo Wong, Archivist (Local Collections) at the Shakespeare Centre Library and Archive in Stratford upon Avon, for help in preparing this note.

The Early Years

Michael Passmore d.1607 (1)

Until the eighteenth century, the information about Passmore land is taken mainly from the surviving wills; but there is an early reference to the Passmores in the manorial survey of North Molton taken in 1569 on the death of the Lord of the Manor, George, Lord Zouche. This reveals that John Passmore assumed the tenancy of half of 'North Hesill' (modern Heasley)3 on 8 April 1540 at a rent of 5s 3d, and on payment of a fine (we would now say a fee) of 26s 8d (more than £500 at today's prices);4 and that his son Michael was included in the tenancy on 9 March 1555/6.5 This suggests that John and Michael were of the same family as the later Passmores, one of whose wills describes him as 'of Heasill in the parish of North Molton', and that Heasley was the main family farm. The first will to survive from this branch of the Passmore family is that of Michael Passmore (1), who died in early 1607, and who may be the same as the Michael already mentioned. His will was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury on 20th June in that year in London.6 The Heasley tenancy does not figure in the will: the first land mentioned is a 'portion of Hol(d)ridge', which is about half a mile south of North Molton.7 Michael leaves this land to his (second) wife Joan for life, with remainder to his sons (from his first wife, name unknown) John (2) and Philip jointly. He also leaves Joan a life interest in his half share 'of three parcels of ground in Chittlehampton8 called by the name & names of Barn Close and the closes on the East and South adjoining'; 'one piece of ground called Rowe Park'; and one meadow, both also in Chittlehampton. The will does not say who should get this land after Joan's death, but there appear only to have been his two sons John and Philip to inherit, and part of the land reappears in John's will: there were two daughters from Michael's second marriage, but they were both married at the time of his death. Michael was a modestly prosperous sheep and cattle farmer. In his will he leaves the significant sum of £10 each to two of his grandchildren, and £10 6s 8d to their elder sister (admittedly all in the form of IOUs for a debt owed him by their father); he also leaves specific legacies of seventeen sheep and six head of cattle (not to mention 'a nagg called Crowder' and seven other horses) to his wife, children and grandchildren; to his boy; and to others whose relationship is not clear. Other animals and any crops and farm implements would have fallen into residue, but the inventory which accompanied the grant of probate has not survived, and the size of the holding is not known.

John Passmore 1572-1629 (2)

John Passmore's will, proved in London on 14th November 1629,9 is more detailed and extensive than that of his father, describing the Holdridge land more fully as a half share of 'one iustment [rented pasture] called by the name of South Downe Cowlam Marsh the two Sowthther meadowes the great Copps woods and the little copps wood sometyme part of the tenement of Holridge lyinge wthin the parish of Northmolton and is the lande of John Bampfeild Esqr and now in the occupacon of me the said John Pasmoore.' The Bampfields (later spelled Bampfylde) were one of the great landowning families of the area and builders of a local stately home, Poltimore House. John Passmore's landlord, John Bampfylde, was created a baronet by Charles I in 1641; a descendant was raised to the barony of Poltimore in 1831.

John's will leaves the Holdridge land to his son (also John (4)), subject to the right of his widow Joan to continue living there for four years or to receive £20 in lieu. Joan lived on until 1650, presumably staying at Holdridge when it passed to her son and grandsons. Barn Close in Chittlehampton and the two adjoining fields mentioned in Michael Passmore's will do not appear in his son's: but Rowe Park and its meadow are still part of John's estate, and the unexpired term in them is bequeathed to John's daughter Elizabeth Passmore (5) when she attains the age of twenty-one: she was eighteen at the time of her father's death, and married Thomas Moreman five years later: the will provides for her maintenance until she comes of age. Elizabeth also gets the best chest, a pewter dish and a brass pot, and six ewes, which she is to be allowed to pasture at Chittlehampton until she comes into the property in her own right.

The will also mentions a tenement in North Molton called Beriam. This name does not appear on modern maps, but it appears to be what is now Barham Farm, between Fyldon and North Radworthy in the north of the parish:10 the spelling in the medieval subsidy rolls is 'Beriham'. At the time of John Passmore's death Beriam was occupied by John Burgess or Burgis, whose son (also John Burgess) was married to John Passmore's other daughter Joan (3). The will leaves £110, promised on the occasion of the marriage, for the purpose of purchasing a life interest for Joan in Beriam (or an alternative property worth £30 a year). If Joan's husband dies before such a property is acquired, she is to receive the money directly. If, on the other hand, she dies before her husband, half the money is to go to her children, the other half to her mother and brother jointly. We have no information as to the outcome. Joan Burgess also gets a pewter dish and 'one little brasse pott which came from Molland'.

Apart from the six ewes bequeathed to Elizabeth, John Passmore's will leaves two steers, two cows and a pregnant mare to his son, two ewes to his granddaughter Anne Burgess (6), and one ewe and one lamb to his grandson Michael Passmore (8). Once again, we do not know how many other animals might have been included in the residuary estate, which goes to John's widow Joan.

John Passmore c.1603-1636 (4)

Sadly, John outlived his father by only seven years. His will was proved in London on 7th July 1636,11 and shows him to have been quite prosperous. He leaves £50 each to his two older sons, Michael (8) and John (7), and £60 to the youngest, Nicholas (9), specifying that £20 of each legacy shall be paid within four years of his death, to be used by the rulers of the will12 for the benefit of the boys, with the balance to follow when they become twenty-one; in fact, Nicholas died aged two, a year after his father.

The Chittlehampton land has gone; but the Holdridge tenement still forms a substantial part of the Passmore estate, although John is described in the will as 'of Heasill' (modern Heasley), which sounds as if he was still on the farm inherited by his predecessors John and and his son Michael (1) in the middle of the previous century. The Heasley land is not further mentioned, but John leaves the Holdridge land, together with all his 'implements of houshold and houshold stufe' to his wife Anne until her death or earlier remarriage, when it passes to the two older sons, Michael and John; but a memorandum at the foot of the will says that the boys should in any case inherit the land when they become twenty-one.

For the first time we find information in this will showing that the Passmore farm was a mixed holding. John's daughter Joan was only three at the time of her father's death; but he provides for her by bequeathing her an acre each of wheat and corn in the ground, two acres of oats, a grey mare and ten ewes: however, these legacies are only to take effect if she sets up house independently of her mother. John's cousin Ann Burgess (6) gets a ewe, as does each of John's servants: as before, we do not know what else went into residue.

The Gap Years

The sequence of three Passmore wills from the early seventeenth century gives an insight into the family's way of life and land holdings at that time, although many questions remain unanswered. After the early death of John Passmore in 1636, the only pieces of evidence so far found for the family history for the next one hundred and sixteen years are the bare announcements of christenings, marriages and burials in the North Molton parish registers; and even those are often ambiguous, difficult to interpret, or missing. We know that at some point the Passmores left Heasley. A tombstone in the floor of North Molton church dating from 1752 names William Passmore (12) as 'of Millbrook in this parish', and there is evidence of Passmores at Millbrook until well into the nineteenth century (see below). The entry in the Bishop's Nympton burial register for the interment of Edmund Saunders on 11th May 1767 is another record which yields information about a Passmore interest in land at this time, because we know from later documents13 that Edmund died intestate, and that his title to the farm at Aller in Bishop's Nympton therefore passed not to his descendants, but by way of his sisters to William Greenslade and William Passmore, the son of the William named on the tombstone. From this point on, the sources become richer, and enable us to build a more complete picture of where the family farmed, and when; although there are still many gaps in the surviving information. The following sections of this note deal with individual farms.

Aller, Bishop's Nympton

Farming in North Devon, as elsewhere in England, has been mainly done by tenant farmers; Aller (referred to in the deeds as Aller and Pollington; but nobody seems to know where Pollington is or was) is relatively unusual in being a freehold property, and we are able to trace its history through a substantial set of title deeds from the offices of South Molton solicitors Crosse and Wyatt, now in the North Devon Record Office in Barnstaple.14 The tithe apportionment of 1840 shows Aller as a mixed farm of just under 140 acres, of which a little more than half is arable, and rather less than half meadow and pasture, and which includes about twelve acres of woodland and orchard. The census returns of the mid-nineteenth century give figures for the farm of Samuel Passmore (34), the then occupant, up to 350 acres; but these must include further rented land elsewhere about which we have no information. In the nineteenth century cattle were a particular interest, and Davey's Devon Herd Book of 1851 accords first place to Acteon, a bull bred by Samuel's brother John (35) at Aller.

Aller is about a mile north of Bishop's Nympton,15 and was bought on 6 November 1570 by Edmund Saunders from John and Lewis Stucley for £70,16 passing down by entail through the Saunders family until 1696, when it formed part of the settlement agreed between the families on the marriage of Edmund Saunders (10) and Dorothy Cotty.17 From them, Aller passed in turn to the eldest son of their marriage, another Edmund Saunders (15)18 who married, but died intestate in 1767: his only brother William had died before him, a minor and intestate, and his sisters Ann, Elizabeth and Margaret (13) all also predeceased him. Ann and Elizabeth had never married, and Edmund was survived only by a fourth sister, Joan (14), and by Margaret's only son William Passmore (17): Joan Saunders (now Greenslade) and William Passmore thus became the heirs at law entitled to Aller in equal shares. When Joan herself died intestate, her half of Aller passed to her only son, William Greenslade (18).

By the second half of the eighteenth century we thus find Aller divided between William Passmore and William Greenslade, and both seem to have been in need of money. In 1776 William Passmore borrowed £300 from George Stawell on the security of his share of Aller;19 William Greenslade also borrowed at the same time from his cousin, Abraham Phelps, tanner of Porlock, on the security of his half, but the only evidence of this is the Final Concord acknowledging Phelps's interest, which registers £100 paid by Phelps to Greenslade for executing the deed of acknowledgment, but does not mention the amount of money involved in the mortgage.20 William Passmore soon borrowed another £247 12s. 6d, (again from George Stawell, but in fact most of the money came from John Sharland) and in 1778 William Greenslade paid off the whole of William Passmore's two mortgages (then amounting to £555 3s 0d) and for £860 bought the Passmore half of the property, which was transferred to Abraham Phelps as trustee for Greenslade:21 thus when the Bishops Nympton land tax assessments begin in 1781, William Greenslade is the owner of the whole property, although since he was living in Porlock, he was not the occupier. In light of the later devolution of the property it seems likely that Greenslade's purchase of William Passmore's share was on the understanding that, Greenslade having no children of his own, Aller would revert to the Passmores after the deaths of Greenslade and his wife Ann. The recitals to the 1776 mortgage describe William Passmore as 'late of Bishops Nympton but now of Southmolton', which suggests that he may previously have been the occupant of Aller; but the 1778 conveyance provides for a new lease to Francis Greenslade, a first cousin of both William Greenslade and Abraham Phelps. If Francis was ever in residence at Aller he had by 1781 been replaced by John Ayre, who occupied the property from that year until 1797. Ayre was replaced in his turn in 1799 (or possibly 1798, for which year the assessment has not survived) by John Passmore (22).22 William Greenslade died in 1799, leaving Aller to his wife Ann for life, with remainder jointly to John Passmore and his older brothers William (20) and Edmund (21);23 however in 1792 Greenslade had borrowed £400 from Andrew Snow of Luckham24 and in 1797 £280 from Naboth Priscott of Porlock,25 and at the time of his death half of these debts was still outstanding. There were also other expenses relating to the administration of the estate, and since the value of William Greenslade's assets amounted to only £143 (three shillings short of the cost of the funeral),26 William's widow Ann Greenslade was compelled to mortgage the property again (to Naboth Priscott for £685 5s),27 and when she in turn died in 1820 the mortgage debt, by this time reduced to £456 16s 8d, devolved to the Passmore brothers who, together with the mortgagee Naboth Priscott, agreed to transfer the mortgage to John Crute (29), currier of South Molton, whose mother was the Passmores' sister. The finance for William Passmore's part in this transaction was provided by his cousin the Rev. Hugh Maire Passmore, rector of Porlock (19).28 During the period from William Greenslade's death in 1799 to the death of his widow in 1820, the land tax returns at first describe Ann Greenslade as the owner of Aller; but from 1802 John Passmore is listed as owner and occupier, and from 1818 he and his brothers appear jointly in that capacity, although they did not in fact own the property until later.

Edmund Passmore died at the end of 1822, his share of Aller passing to his eldest son Thomas (25), although under Edmund's will29 his widow was to receive the income from it. Edmund's name continued to appear in the land tax returns for another two years, but Thomas took his place alongside William and John from 1826 until the tax was abolished in 1832. A year earlier in 1831 William Passmore had mounted a collusive court action known as 'making a tenant to the Precipe' in respect of his one-third share in Aller.30 This involved creating a fictitious tenant of the property who could then be ejected in an action for recovery, leaving the freeholder in possession: the effect of this was to bar the entail, making the property freely alienable.

At about this time, Thomas Passmore was getting into debt. By 1836 he owed his uncle John (22) £428 8s 4d, and to repay the debt (and have something left over), in April of that year he sold his one-third share in Aller to John for £566 16s 2d, and thereafter worked as a labourer. The mortgage of the property to John Crute had passed on Crute's death to his widow Jane, who then married another currier, Samuel Brown of Crediton, who with Jane was party to the assignment of Thomas's interest.31 Two years after the transfer from Thomas to John, Edmund Passmore's other children all formally renounced any further claim to their father's estate,32 leaving Aller in the undisputed possession of William Passmore (20) (as to one third): John Passmore (22) had died in 1835, and his title to the other two-thirds passed to his eldest son Samuel (34). The tithe apportionment of 1840 shows Samuel as owner, and Samuel and his brother John (35) in joint occupation: their sister Mary was also living there, as the census of the following year confirms,33 and the three of them continued in occupation for the rest of their lives; none married, and they are all buried side by side in Bishop's Nympton churchyard with their brother William, who was by 1841 established independently at Mornacott (see below).

Old William Passmore's (20) one-third share of Aller had a more chequered history.34 His will of 1831, proved in the Archidiaconal Court of Barnstaple on 5th January 1833, does not survive, but it is recited in some of the deeds.35 He left his share of Aller to his surviving sons, John (30) and Hugh (24). John in turn left his share in his will36 to his sons, also John (37) and Hugh (38), and they sold it in 1863 immediately after his death to their cousin Samuel (34), who thus now owned five-sixths of the property. Samuel himself died in 1864, and his will37 leaves his (then five-sixths) share to his brother John (35) for life, with remainder as to two-thirds to his nephew, another John (41), and as to one-sixth to nephew John's brother Samuel (43). If nephew John dies without issue, his share passes to Samuel. Meanwhile, the remaining one-sixth of the Aller jigsaw had fallen into place. Hugh Passmore (24), who had inherited it from his father, left it to his widow Mary (31) when he died in 1841. She remarried, but there were no children from either marriage, and after her death in 1872 her second husband George Westcott (32) inherited a life interest in her share, charged with an annuity of £5 to her niece Mary Baker (40). The freehold interest was to go after George's death to her nephew John Williams (39), a Bristol victualler. George Westcott died in 1874, at which point John Williams and Mary Baker agreed to sell their interests in Aller to John Passmore (35) for £600.38 At the same time John paid off the remaining mortgage debt, and now held the whole farm unencumbered, united in one Passmore owner for the first time.

This unity of ownership lasted only three years. Mary Passmore died on 8th February 1877 and John, left on his own, moved out to live with nephew John (41) at nearby Whitcott, leaving Aller uninhabited, as the census enumerator later found on 4th April 1881.39 John Passmore the elder himself died only a few weeks after his sister, on 1st June 1877, the last of the three bachelor siblings who had run the farm at Aller for more than forty years. John owned his recently acquired one-sixth share in his own right; in the rest he had only a life interest. In his will40 he left the one-sixth to his nephew John, who followed his uncle to the grave in the following year. Nephew John had no children, so all his property went to his widow Eliza, except his agricultural prize plate, in which she only got a life interest. Since his brother Samuel had already died in 1875, leaving everything in his will41 to his widow Mary (44), she became with John's death the owner of the five-sixths of the property left by Samuel, and a few years later the 1891 census finds her ensconced at Aller.42 Samuel and Mary's two oldest sons, John (46) and George, were both doctors (John was still a medical student in London in 1891, but George was already qualified and in practice in Luton: the youngest brother, Joe, was yet another medical student, also in London). It was thus Mary's third son, Albert Passmore (47), who is listed on the census return as head of household at Aller. Another member of the household is William Arthur Dee Passmore (48), shown as Albert's son. This is patently absurd, since Albert was 29, Arthur 27; the latter was in fact the fifth brother, who took over after Albert married in 1895 and went to farm in his wife Annie's village of Ashby St Ledgers in Northamptonshire. Arthur also married (another Annie) in the same year, and his mother moved out of Aller to a house in South Molton, where she died four years later.

Although no longer there, Albert was named with eldest brother John as an owner of Aller when it was valued in 1900 after Mary's death,43 but the valuation is not a document of title, and in fact Mary had in her will44 left her five-sixths share of Aller (subject to various annuities and other charges) to four of her five sons in the proportions of one-quarter each to John and Albert and one-sixth each to George and Joe. The final one-sixth came back to the Passmores in 1901 under the will of Eliza Boyns, who had inherited it on the death of her first husband John Passmore (41) and who left it to Albert, charged with payment of three legacies of £50 each to selected relatives, and with the wish expressed that the farm should not be sold during Albert's lifetime. Arthur, although running the farm at Aller and appearing there as head of household on the 1901 census,45 got no share in the property under his mother's will: instead she left him another farm altogether, Greencap at Mariansleigh. Albert had moved away and John, now a doctor in general practice in Gainsborough, acted for the brothers in disposing of Aller. It had been valued in 1900 (presumably for probate) at £2,716.9s.2d, and it was let on Michaelmas Day 1901 to Henry Ayre of Webbery Moor on a yearly tenancy for a rent of £112.46 Thus as a new century began Aller passed out of the occupation of the Passmores. Henry Ayre died in 1915, and his youngest son Robert took over the tenancy; but in 1919 he moved to a new farm in Sussex, agreeing to relinquish Aller so that the freehold of the farm could be sold to his sister Elizabeth and her husband Sydney Burge Rudd, whose grandson Terry Rudd now (2009) farms there. Part of the Aller land has recently been bought by the new owners of Mornacott, and the old farmhouse retains only thirty acres.

Mornacott, Bishop's Nympton



Mornacott House

Mornacott is immediately north of Aller47 and contiguous with it, but somewhat larger, comprising at the time of the tithe apportionment in 1840 almost 200 acres. Like Aller, Mornacott was divided roughly equally between arable on the one hand and meadow and pasture on the other: there was also a limestone quarry for which a 21 year lease of 1780 survives, giving the lessee, George Spencer, the right to mine rock and to erect lime kilns.48 The farm was acquired in 1824 by John Passmore (22), probably in anticipation of the marriage of his second son William (28) to Elizabeth Davies (known as Betsy) in the following year, when William took over the lease of the farm; the owner was George Courtenay,49 who was succeeded at some time between 1832 and 1840 by William Warren.50 There were Passmores at Mornacott for more than fifty years: William and Betsy brought up their family there and, although staunch Methodists, did their duty as parishioners (as did other members of the family) by taking on pauper boys like Thomas German, who was apprenticed by the North Molton overseers of the poor to William Passmore on 18th December 1837,51 and recorded with his master's family (and another, younger apprentice, two labourers, and two female servants) at Mornacott in the 1841 census.52 By the time of the 1851 census William and Betsy's eldest son John (41) was established not far away at Whitcott, over the hill in the neighbouring parish of Twitchen,53 where he brought his new bride, Sarah Pincombe of Lower Webbery farm, a few weeks later. Betsy died at Mornacott in 1852. Samuel (43) married in 1858, moving out to William's other farm at North Radworthy, and two years later in 1860 William Henry (42) married Esther Jutsum from Litchaton, two and a half miles west of North Molton.54 It was probably at this point that old William retired, handing over Mornacott to young William and his brother Edmund (45). The 1861 census shows William Henry as head of household, Edmund as 'employed on the farm', and old William as a 'retired farmer'.55 The Passmores must have been seeing quite a lot of the Jutsums, because in 1862 Edmund married Lydia Jutsum, sister of William Henry's wife Esther. William Henry now moved out with his father, Esther, and their infant daughter Bessie to Bradbury (now Bradbury Barton) at Chittlehampton,56 where their next four children were born, and where old William died in 1866.



William Passmore 1795-1866

Mornacott now passed into the hands of the youngest brother, Edmund, and he and Lydia raised eleven children there over the next twenty-odd years, starting with Mary Jane, born on 6th February 1863. The youngest was Percival: at least, that is what the census enumerator was told when he called on 4th April 1881 when the baby was a month old;57 but Edmund and Lydia changed their mind before they got to the registrar's office, and he became Leonard Joseph.58 By the time of the next census in 1891, Edmund and Lydia had left Mornacott, and moved to Grilstone, over towards South Molton.59 Mornacott was now occupied by Thomas and Elizabeth Harris and their daughter Pollie: Thomas is described as a farm servant, and was presumably a caretaker, agent for either the landowner or a new lessee:60 perhaps John Elworthy, who is recorded there with his family in 1901, described this time as a farmer.61 Edmund Passmore moved on to Ruggs Farm above Wimbleball Lake in west Somerset, where he and Lydia were living at the time of the marriage of their second daughter (also Lydia) to a promising academic at Owens College, Manchester, Alfred Taylor, who went on to become Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University.62 Soon after this Edmund retired: he and Lydia went to their unmarried daughters Mary Jane (a school principal) and her sister Lottie (who did the housekeeping) at Queens Terrace in nearby Wiveliscombe.63 This was probably a temporary move while Edmund and Lydia made arrangements to go back to Devon: they settled in South Molton, where Lydia died three years later, in 1904. After Lydia's death Edmund moved to Holloway in North London, where he was living at the time of the 1911 census, and a few years later when he made his will early in 1920;64 but later that year he moved to Harrogate, possibly to be with or near his younger daughter Clara, who was a teacher there;65 he died there towards the end of 1920.66

William Henry and Esther had gone from Chittlehampton to Broadwoodkelly; then after the death of John Passmore (41) in 1878 to Whitcott.67 From Whitcott they went to Heanton Court; but got into financial difficulty when William Henry unwisely stood as guarantor for three young farmers who were setting up, but whose farms then failed.68 At this point William Henry retired, and moved to a private house in Braunton, where he and his family were when the census was taken in 1891.69 Among the members of the household were William Henry's and Esther's son Joe, who was about to set out for Ceylon as a Methodist missionary, and his fiancée Marion Carder. Marion joined him in Ceylon and they were married at the Methodist church in Kollupitiya, Colombo, at the end of September 1894.

According to his descendant Christopher Passmore, a distinguished Sussex farmer, the family finally left Devon because Christopher's grandfather and William Henry's eldest son, William Jutsum Passmore, who had taken over the farm at Heanton Court, refused at a time of agricultural depression to pay an increased rent. The landlord threatened him with eviction; William Jutsum called his bluff, and left with his family to farm at Wawensmere near Stratford upon Avon. The landlord was unable to relet the farm, and was forced to reduce the rent again, causing other landowners in the area to follow suit. William Jutsum Passmore thus became something of a hero to the tenant farmers of North Devon. His father William Henry Passmore also moved away, and by 1901 was with Esther at Field Farm in Wootton, close to Boars Hill near Oxford, with their youngest daughter Harriet Anne, known as Tannie. Tannie was still a spinster, but the census return for the Passmore household70 includes her suitor, Basil Mathews, whom she married four years later. William Henry finished his days next door to his son William Jutsum near Lancing in Sussex: he died at the beginning of 1905, and is buried in the little churchyard at Coombes. Esther outlived him by fourteen years: she later went to live with Tannie and Basil in Reigate, and then with her eldest daughter, Bessie Braithwaite, in Newport, Isle of Wight, where she died in 1919.

Whitcott, Twitchen

Whitcott in turn is just north of Mornacott, over the parish boundary in Twitchen;71 a farm of just under 145 acres, of which in 1840 about sixty percent was arable and the rest meadow and pasture, with one small coppice, and an orchard of less than an acre.72 It formed part of the extensive Bampfylde estates, and first appears in the record under the Passmore name in 1817, when Samuel Passmore (34) is listed as the occupier liable for land tax, in which capacity he continued until the abolition of the tax in 1832, by which time the owner, Sir George Warwick Bampfylde, had been created first Baron Poltimore.73 By 1840 Samuel, together with his brother and sister, had moved into the farm at Aller, and the occupier of Whitcott is shown as John Passmore (33).74 The census of the following year shows Robert Greenslade and his family at Whitcott;75 this is because John is visiting his brother William (26) nearby at North Radworthy.76 Ten years later John has moved to Fyldon, but Joan Greenslade, now a widow, and her shoemaker son John Greenslade are still at Whitcott, which is now being run by another John Passmore (41), Samuel's nephew, who had presumably been set up there by the family in anticipation of his marriage later in 1851 to Sarah Pincombe.77 John remained at Whitcott until his death in 1878, and was clearly a man of standing in the farming community: in his will78 he left to his 'dear [second] wife during her life the six pieces of plate which [he had] gained as Agricultural Prizes'. John and his first wife Sarah appear at Whitcott in the 1861 census: visitors recorded there on that day include Sarah's sister Mary and her infant son William, and the widowed Mary Ann Ridd.79 Sadly, Sarah died at the end of 1865, and two years later John married Mary Ann's daughter Eliza Ridd, then a governess in London (they married in the Wesleyan chapel in Dalston). After John's death in 1878, Eliza remarried and moved away with her new husband, mining engineer Henry Boyns, to his native Cornwall; John had no children from either of his marriages, and Whitcott was taken over for a time by the peripatetic William Henry Passmore and his family.80 By 1891 they too had moved on, and Whitcott was occupied by a young farmer, twenty-five year old William Rogers: not, so far as is known, connected to the Passmores.81

North Radworthy, North Molton

Many small tenements in North Devon consisted of separated fields. In the eighteenth century the Passmores had interests in three such holdings at North Radworthy in the north-eastern corner of North Molton parish,82 known as Glass's, Kingdon's and Passmore's tenements: in the tithe apportionment of 1840 they comprised respectively about 19, 19? and 44 acres. Glass's was about one-third arable, Kingdon's about two-thirds, and Passmore's about three-quarters. Later records do not usually differentiate between them by name, and it is thus often difficult to determine who was in occupation of which holding; a task made no easier by the fact that the Passmores, in the usage of the time, tended to repeat the same small number of forenames when christening their children. The notes which follow are hence tentative, and subject to revision.

Glass's Tenement

The first indication of a Passmore interest in North Radworthy comes from Joyce James née Craddock (1924-2004), great granddaughter-in-law of William Henry Passmore (42). Joyce researched the Passmore family history in the 1960s and early 1970s, communicating the results to Christopher Passmore of Applesham, Coombes, Sussex, descended from the same William Henry. Christopher in turn incorporated her findings into an extensive annotated tree diagram of the Passmore family. One note relates to Edmund Saunders (15), and says that after his death his close at North Radworthy was sold in 1768 by his widow Ann to William Passmore (17) for £213: it is described as 'a rough extensive farm on the S.W. edge of Exmoor'. Unfortunately, the source of this information is not now known, and has so far not been traced, but the date is consistent with the death of Edmund Passmore in 1767, and the note is quite precise; there seems no reason to doubt its authenticity. It seems most likely that the close referred to was Glass's Tenement, part of the Bampfylde estate (although it could possibly have been Passmore's Tenement): certainly William Passmore was the occupier of Glass's when the land tax returns start in 1781, and remained so at least until 1790.83 After a two-year gap in the records, the returns from 1793 to 1830 show John Passmore as the occupier. This is John (22), third son of William, who married in 1793. In his will (made in 1823, but unchanged at the time of its probate in 1837)84 John leaves the unexpired term in Glass's to his wife Mary. We do not know what the terms of the lease were, but it was probably similar to that of the neighbouring Kingdon's tenement, for which the original Passmore lease survives (see below). John and Mary had already moved to Aller when the will was made, and William Passmore was recorded as the occupier in the final land tax return of 1832 (no record survives for 1831). William Passmore is also named as the occupier at the time of the tithe apportionment in 1840, when the holding consists of just over 19 acres, of which rather less than half is arable, the rest meadow and pasture, with a house and two small gardens. John's son William was already established at Mornacott by 1825 (see above), and the William referred to in the land tax return and later tithe apportionment is likely to be William Passmore (26), third son of John's brother Edmund, since it is he who is recorded at North Radworthy in the 1841 census with his wife and children, and with younger brother John (33). The tithe apportionment notes him as the leaseholder (from the owner, Lord Poltimore), as well as occupier. By 1851 he has moved with his family to Lower Ley (Leigh), now Waterbrooks Farm,85 brother John is at Fyldon,86 and the occupation of Glass's is no longer clear: there are no Passmores in the North Radworthy 1851 census returns, which do not distinguish the tenements by name, but the Thorne family are occupying Kingdon's (see below), so when the Passmores return in the person of Samuel and his family on the 1861 census, they must be at either Glass's or Passmore's, or possibly both: Samuel is listed as a farmer of 170 acres, and a Wesleyan preacher. The farm had expanded to 500 acres in 1871, which is much more than even the two old tenements together, but we have no information about the other holdings which make up these totals. There was a tendency in North Devon for small tenements to become consolidated into larger holdings, and this may have happened here. When Samuel died in 1875, the grant of probate gives his address simply as 'North Radworthy Farm'.87 In 1881 Samuel's widow Mary (44) is recorded there as head of household and a farmer, now of 700 acres. Her eldest son John (46) is with her, also described as a farmer: although he would, like his younger brother George (also with them on the census), soon leave the land to become a medical student and later qualify as a doctor. By 1881 Samuel's brother John had also died, and the family freehold property at Aller came to Mary, so that by 1891 she had left to farm there (see above), and in the censuses of 1891 and 1901 there are once again no Passmores recorded at North Radworthy; although there is a William Passmore and his family (not directly connected to the Passmores considered in this note) on the next farm across the valley to the north at Buttery.88 The two following properties on the census return are both named 'North Radworthy Farm'.89

Kingdon's Tenement

This tenement was bought by William Passmore (17) from Sir Richard Bampfylde for £340 on Lady Day 1773: it comprised 'the Moiety or Halfendeal of one Messuage and Tenement Situate lying and being in North Radworthy within the Parish of Northmolton . . that is to say: The Hall and the Shippen thereunto next adjoining the higher Barn and the higher and lower Linneys the lower End of the Backside and the Garden belonging to the same the three Rigby Parks the three broad Parks and the North Parks the two broad Meadows the two Closes above the House, together with their Moiety of the Woods and Common of Pasture belonging to the said Messuage and Tenement containing in the whole by Estimation fifteen Acres of Land, be the same more or less, All which said Premises were late in the Possession of Richard Kingdon deceased'.90 It remained in William's occupation until 1790.91 The tenancy is in the form of a full repairing lease for lives (virtually a freehold) in standard form, with an annual rent of two guineas payable in four instalments on the traditional quarter days of Midsummer Day, Michaelmas Day, Christmas Day and Lady Day, and the usual feudal incidents (still current in 1773) of heriot (death tax) of the best beast or £3 in lieu payable to the lord on the last death of the three 'lives' (those of William's children Elizabeth, Edmund and John), attendance at the manorial court when summoned, and the taking of all corn from the land to be ground at the lord's mill.

No Land Tax returns survive for North Molton in 1791 or 1792, but when the record resumes in 1793 William's second son Edmund Passmore (21) has taken over, and he remains in occupation until his death at the end of 1822. Edmund's will directs that the income from Kingdon's should go for the maintenance of his three youngest children.92 After his death his widow Grace appears in the Land Tax returns from 1823 until her own death three years later: she is followed by William Passmore (presumably Edmund and Grace's third son (26)) until 1832. What happened next is obscure. After an eight year gap the next documented occupant is John Thorne, who appears in the tithe apportionment: he and his wife Mary, and their successors in the family, appear there on all the censuses until 1891. Mary is William's sister, who married John Thorne after the death of his first wife. She appears as party with him to the deed of 1838 by which Edmund's children all renounced further claims on their father's estate;93 they were married in North Molton in 1831,94 and Mary thereby acquired a number of stepchildren.95.

Passmore's Tenement

It is not clear when this tenement came into the hands of the Passmores, and the land tax returns are often vague and ambiguous. When the record starts in 1780, John Passmore is listed as the owner of Passmore's tenement, although the occupant is William Blake. It seems likely that this 'Passmore's tenement' is in fact Millbrook (see below), and this member of the family seems likely to be John Passmore (16), only surviving son of the second marriage of William Passmore (12), the only John in this branch of the family of an age to own property. He is listed in the following year (1781) as owner and occupier of Brinsworthy, and owner of Millbrook.96 There is no further mention of 'Passmore's tenement' until 1793, when William Passmore (20) is assessed for tax in respect of 'his tenement in North Radworthy', alongside his brothers Edmund (21) (at Kingdon's) and John (22) (at Glass's). This tripartite division continues until 1806, when Michael Locke appears as occupier of Passmore's, with William Passmore assessed for a tenement in South Radworthy. In the following year, the status quo is restored, but only briefly: in 1808 William disappears from the record, which lists only John and Edmund for Glass's and Kingdon's until 1822, when Edmund is assessed for both Kingdon's and Passmore's. After Edmund's death at the end of that year, his widow Grace is listed as occupier of both tenements; she in turn is succeeded in 1827 until 1830 by her son William (26), with John (33) continuing alongside him at Glass's. No assessment survives for 1831, but in the final land tax year of 1832, William is listed as occupier of all three properties, and the tithe apportionment of 1840 still lists William Passmore as the occupier of Passmore's. As noted above, William is recorded at North Radworthy in the 1841 census, and although the tenements are not distinguished it seems quite likely that he was then occupying both Passmore's and Glass's; but by 1851 he had moved on and there were no Passmores in North Radworthy although, as already noted, they later returned.

Praunsley, Twitchen

Praunsley (variously also Pransley or Prancely) is about a mile and a half east of North Molton, on the road to Twitchen,97 in which parish it lies. The Shapland family (several of whom married Passmores over the years) farmed there at least from 1687, when Hugh Shapland took a 99-year lease from the Pyncombe sisters of Welsbear, heirs of the last of the line of a family of local gentry (arms: per pale gules and azure, three helmets argent);98 and Shaplands are found at Praunsley for the next two hundred years. In the mid eighteenth century North Praunsley was farmed by two Shaplands, Hugh and Michael. The latter was the father of Agnes Shapland, who married William Passmore (17) in Twitchen on Christmas Eve 1753. They became the proud parents of a son, another William, rather less than nine months later; but sadly, William junior died before his second birthday, and the Passmores had to wait another six years, during which Agnes gave birth to two daughters, before another son, also named William (20), was born. He was christened in North Molton on 10th February 1762. A month later, on 12th March 1762, Michael Shapland renewed his lease of half of Praunsley,99 but he died not long after: an entry in the burial register for North Molton on 8 April 1768 is almost certainly his. The lease was expressed to be for the lives of Michael himself, his daughter Agnes Passmore, and his granddaughter Margaret Passmore, and it looks as if William Passmore (17) moved into the property soon after Michael's death, because when he later took formal possession he was said to be already in occupation. He took the farm on a 99-year lease from Anna Maria Throckmorton on Michaelmas Day 1778 for a £50 premium, an annual rent of 14s 6d, and a heriot of £1 9s 6d. The property consisted of 'All those Houses being parcel of two Tenements in North Praunsley lying and being in the parish of Twitchen in the said County of Devon and called by the several Name and Names of the New House the Chamber over the same the old Chamber the Spence or Buttery in the New House the new Shippen the New Malt House the Stable the new Wayne House the pig House to the West of the Bakes the Moiety or Halfendeal of the Barn (that is to say) all on the South of the middle of the middle of the Barnes Doors and of the Moiety or Halfendeal of the Bake's and of the Moiety or Halfendeal of the Courts and courtlages belonging and appertaining to the said Tenements of North Praunsley aforesaid And also all those parcels of Land Meadow Leasues Pastures Common ffurze and Heath with the Appurtenances lying on the West side of the said Tenement and parcel of the same containing by Estimation ffourteen acres or thereabout (be it more or less) And also two closes or parcels of Land Pasture and Common ffurze and Heath parcel of the said Tenement the one is called or known by the name of the Wester Midland and the other by the name of the Close to the Landhill containing by Estimation ffifteen Acres or thereabout (be it more or less) And also all those Rooms Houses Closes and parcels of Land in North Praunsley aforesaid (to wit) the moiety of the Barn (that is to say) all that part on the North part of the ffloor of the said Barn And also that under Room called the Old Chamber together with two parcels of Land with the little Meadow comonly called the Rix or Butt Meadow containing half an acre or thereabout and also four acres and half of Land sometime since separated parted and taken out of one Close called the Easter Midland parcel of the Tenement aforesaid with the appurtenances together with all convenient and usual Ways Paths Waters Watercourses appertaining or belonging to the same all which said premises were late in the Tenure or Occupation of Michael Shapland deceased his Undertenant or Undertenants and since and now of the said William Passmore his Undertenant or Undertenants Except out of this present Demise and Grant unto the said Anna Maria Throckmorton and the person or persons who for the time being shall be seised of the Revertion in ffee of the said demised premises all other parts and parcels of the said hereinbefore mentioned two Tenements not herein and hereby Demised and Granted and which was heretofore granted to Hugh Shapland deceased.'100

Anna Maria Throckmorton was the daughter of William Paston and Mary Courtenay, and heiress to the substantial Courtenay estate centred on Molland, which she brought with her when she married George Throckmorton. He was also gentry, scion of an old recusant family taking its name from the Worcestershire village of Throckmorton: possibly the only Catholic family to survive the Civil War and Interregnum with its estates substantially intact. Their seat was at Coughton Court near Alcester in Warwickshire. George's father, Sir Robert Throckmorton, was the fourth baronet of that name. George died in 1762 before his father, and it was George's son John, already a prominent figure in the English Catholic revival, who succeeded to the title as fifth baronet when Sir Robert died in 1791: coincidentally, the year in which Parliament passed the second Catholic Relief Act. Thus when William Passmore took possession of Praunsley in 1778 it was from the widowed Anna Maria, then living on another Throckmorton estate at Weston Underwood, Buckinghamshire. When the land tax assessments begin two years later, Praunsley is shown as being shared between William Passmore and (a later) Hugh Shapland, assessed equally at £1 15s 5?d each, a division which continues for the entire fifty-two years of the land tax until 1832.101 During this time, of course, the individuals named in the assessments changed with the generations: the Passmores were all called William, which sometimes makes the record difficult to interpret, and the Throckmortons changed their name to Courtenay when they inherited the Molland estate. Hugh Shapland gave way to William Shapland in 1796. William Passmore (17) continued to live there: his will describes him as 'of Twitchen'.102Following his death in January 1807, a new lease was granted on 1 May 1810 to his son of the same name (20): rent and heriot were unchanged, but the premium doubled to £100.103 William (20) died in 1832, the last land tax year, his son (a third William (23)) having predeceased him. This meant that the Praunsley farm reverted to the landlord, and a new short (14 year) lease with no premium, but at a significantly increased annual rent of £31 10s, was granted in 1834 by Robert Courtenay to John (30), younger brother of William (23).104 John had a year earlier married his brother's widow, Mary Avery Passmore née Westcott, and is named as the occupier of the Passmore half of Praunsley in the 1840 tithe apportionment, but he was not living there: the 1834 lease refers to him as 'of Millbrook', next door to Praunsley, and in the 1841 census, Millbrook is where John and Mary are recorded, with a fourth William (36).105 This was Mary's son (now aged almost 14) by her first marriage to John's deceased brother. John left him his share of Aller if his (John's) own children should all die without issue; but in the event John's sons John and Hugh sold it to their cousin Samuel Passmore (34) immediately after their father's death (see above). John also left his nephew and stepson 'a pair of Chest and Drawers (sic) that was his Fathers'.106 Because young William was not in 1841 yet old enough to manage Praunsley on his own, it was occupied by Richard Smith, an agricultural labourer, and his family:107 presumably an arrangement made by John until his nephew and stepson was able to take it over. Interestingly, the same page of the census return shows that Thomas Passmore (25), who had sold his one-third share in Aller to his uncle, another John Passmore (22) (see above), was working as a labourer for John Tapp at nearby Burch, and Thomas's youngest child, seven-year old Grace, was with William Shapland and his family at the farm on the other half of Praunsley. John Tapp was probably a cousin of Thomas, whose mother was a Tapp.

The Passmore part of Praunsley, stated in the 1834 lease to comprise 43 acres, is listed in the tithe apportionment as 41 acres, of which three-quarters was arable; William Shapland had a slightly smaller holding of 38 acres more evenly divided, with a little over half listed as arable. By the time of the 1851 census, William Shapland had died and his widow Elizabeth and her sons were running the farm at Lower Praunsley: William Passmore, now 23 and recently married to Susan Snell, had taken over the other Praunsley farm, but whereas the Shapland holding remained at 38 acres, the Passmore farm is now said to be 53 acres in extent.108 It is not clear where the extra land was, but by the time of the next census in 1861 William and Susan, now with three children, are shown as farming 90 acres and employing three labourers;109 John Tapp is still next door at Burch, and the Shaplands have also expanded, to 84 acres; they also employ three labourers, and the farm is being run by Elizabeth with sons William and Robert.110 In 1871 Elizabeth Shapland, now working with only Robert, has increased her holding further to 110 acres, while the Passmores next door are doing even better with 190 acres;111 but in the 1881 census there are no Passmores: Susan Passmore had died in 1874, and her husband and children emigrated to Australia in 1881.112 The census of that year shows that John Tapp, now 76, is still at Burch, and the Shaplands, in the person of Robert, are farming 132 acres.113 By 1891 the Shaplands are also gone, as is John Tapp, although his family continues at Burch.

Apart from his lease of Praunsley, William Passmore (17) is also recorded in the land tax assessments as the occupier of the Bampfylde farm at Easter(n) Ball, an isolated holding north of Twitchen on the edge of Exmoor.114 His name appears every year from 1780 to 1788, after which there is no entry for the property until 1793, when William Slader is named as the occupier.115 There is no information from the land tax assessments as to the size or nature of the farm. Much later, in the 1851 census, two farmers are recorded at Eastern Ball: James Friendship farming 20 acres and James Buckingham farming 80 acres, both noted as 'on the moor'.116

Millbrook, North Molton

Millbrook, between Praunsley and North Molton,117 is another hamlet forming part of the Bampfylde estate and comprising a handful of farms. After the land named in the three wills from the early seventeenth century noted above, it is the first Passmore property to which we can put a name in more recent times; but the records relating to it are patchy and sometimes difficult to interpret.

A tombstone in the floor of North Molton church, immediately in front of the pulpit, tells the sad story of the two Margarets who married William Passmore (12) 'of Millbrook in this parish'. The inscription, somewhat crudely cut and now worn and damaged, records the burial of Margaret Saunders, daughter of Edmund Saunders 'of Bishnympton' who married William in 1727. The following year she bore him a son, William (17), but she died in childbirth early in 1740 at the age of 37: 'and in her arms her twinn born sons do lie, sleeping in darkness till the judgment day.' Margaret was co-heir with her sister Joan to the Saunders property at Aller, Bishop's Nympton, and she is the route by which it came to the Passmores (see above). William married again five years after her death: his second wife was also called Margaret (daughter of Hugh Maire of South Molton); also bore William a son in the year after their marriage (John (16)); also gave birth to twins (in her case, girls) who died; and also herself died at the age of 37 shortly after childbirth, her infant son Hugh following her to the grave a few weeks afterwards. The inscription records the burials of all of them. The final interment, of Hugh Passmore, aged four months, took place in October 1752.118

There is no indication which part of Millbrook was the Passmore farm, but the 1775 marriage settlement of Margaret Maire's surviving son John (16)119 mentions the property, describing it as 'the moiety or halfendeal of all that tenement situate lying and being in Millbrooke within the manor and parish of Northmolton in the said county, heretofore in the possession of Lewis Gould afterwards of William Passmore late deceased father of the said John Passmore and now in occupation of John Tick(?) as tenant to the said John Passmore'. The deed goes on to say that John is 'now possessed of and well intitled to' the property by virtue of a lease dated 21 October 1757 from the owner, Sir Richard Warwick Bampfylde, Bart., to John's father William, who had died in 1765. In the 1780 land tax return Millbrook is not named: John Passmore appears as owner of Passmore's tenement (occupier William Blake) and as occupier of Rumbelows. In 1781 he is listed as owner of Millbrook: the occupant is again William Blake, so presumably the 'Passmore's tenement' of the previous year is Millbrook (much later it is sometimes called 'Passmore's Millbrook', and confusingly there is another 'Passmore's tenement' at North Radworthy (see above)). John himself is occupying nearby Brinsworthy: although he is described in his marriage settlement as a cordwainer of South Molton, so presumably he was not farming it himself.120 In the following year he reappears as owner-occupier of part Brinsworthy (on the 1809 Ordnance Survey map of North Devon there are two farms called Brinsworthy), but there is no mention of Millbrook. After this there is a blank: Millbrook appears intermittently in the land tax record, but there is no Passmore listed there until 1800, when William Passmore replaces Edward Wedlake, and is recorded from then through to 1830 as the occupier of a property variously named as East Millbrook, Middle Millbrook or Passmore's Millbrook; in the final entry for 1832, Mary Passmore is the occupier. The earlier owner of Millbrook, John Passmore (16), had one son, Hugh Maire Passmore (19), but he got religion, went off in 1798 to Exeter College, Oxford, and later became curate and then rector of Porlock on the Somerset coast. John having no other heir, and his half-brother William Passmore (17), son of Margaret Saunders, being in 1800 aged 72 and living at Praunsley, it seems likely that the occupier of Millbrook in that year was William's son, also William (20). It also seems likely that at some point this William passed Millbrook on to his son, a third William (23), who married Mary Avery Westcott, and that after his premature death in 1828 she was the occupier whose name appears (after a not unusual time lag) in the land tax assessment for 1832. As was noted above in relation to Praunsley Mary, after a decent interval (and in contravention of the Table of Kindred and Affinity in the Book of Common Prayer; but the Passmores were Methodists), married her deceased husband's brother John (30), and it is he who is the occupier of Middle Millbrook when the tithe apportionment is made in 1840. His younger brother Hugh (24) appears next door at Lower Millbrook as occupier of two holdings, assessed separately but constituting a single farm: one part held as sub-tenant of Robert Loosemore, comprising just under 44 acres of almost entirely arable land; the other held as sub-tenant of the reverend Henry Passmore (whose identity is uncertain), consisting of a further 47 acres, about two-thirds arable. It is not clear how far these holdings in 1840 correspond to the earlier entries in the land tax returns, which show different names at different times: there is, for example, another 27-acre, mainly arable, farm in the tithe apportionment which is named as 'Passmore's': the leaseholder from Lord Poltimore is Charlotte Passmore, and the occupier is William Avery (Charlotte also has not been identified, but neither she nor the reverend Henry is closely related to the Passmores discussed in this note). John Passmore's farm at Middle Millbrook was 94 acres in extent, and again mainly arable.121

In the 1841 census John (30) is at Middle Millbrook with his family, including his stepson and nephew William (36); Hugh (24) is next door with his wife Mary.122 Hugh died before the year was out, and Mary married another local farmer, George Westcott, in 1848. He moved in with her at Lower Millbrook, where they are listed on the 1851 census with Mary's nephew and niece, John Williams and Mary Bucknell, who would together deliver the final one-sixth share of Aller to the Passmores more than twenty years later (see above). John and his family are still at Middle Millbrook. John's holding is recorded as 96 acres, the Westcotts' as 47, which is clearly the second of Hugh's two holdings listed in the 1840 tithe apportionment. Between the Passmores and the Westcotts in 1851, also at Lower Millbrook, is the family of Robert Abbott: he is recorded, unusually, as a farmer of 2 acres and landowner of 80; which presumably includes Hugh's other Millbrook holding and more besides.123 In 1861 John Passmore, now a widower, is still at Millbrook with his children: the farm is said to be 100 acres, but is probably the same as before.124 The Abbotts and the Westcotts are still next door: the figure for the Westcott holding has also been rounded up, to 50 acres. William Abbott has succeeded Robert, who died in 1859: he is presumably Robert's eldest son, and in 1871 his holding has grown to 120 acres, he having acquired the Westcotts' farm. He is joined next door by his brother Richard, farming 140 acres, who has clearly taken over the farm of John Passmore, who had died in 1862; although Richard Westcott must have had further land nearby in addition.125 Thus the Passmore tenure of Millbrook came to an end: by 1881, there are only two properties named Millbrook on the census return: William Webber is on 75 acres, his farm now called West Millbrook; John Harding has 193 acres at plain Millbrook.126


This note is of course incomplete: there are gaps and uncertainties in the record, and other Passmores whose farms have not been investigated: the characteristically unfinished business of the family (or any) historian. Those members of the family whose lives are chronicled here had other properties: for example, Samuel Passmore (34) left his nephew William Henry (42) two cottages in Newtown, Bishops Nympton,127 presumably on that separate single field (plot 1669) at Newtown attributed to Samuel in 1840.128 A William Passmore took a lease of 'Gould's tenement' in 1784 from the Courtenays;129 William Passmore got a licence in 1833 to dispose of a cottage called Gould's Tenement which he had on a lease from Lord Poltimore;130 but this could be a different William altogether, who acquired some property in North Molton from his father Philip in 1797.131 John Passmore (22) paid £220 in 1814 for another farm at Luckworthy, Molland.132 There is always more to be done.




The following abbreviations have been used in the references:

DFHSDevon Family History Society
DRODevon Record Office, Exeter
GROGeneral Register Office
HO107Home Office census returns, 1841 and 1851
LTALand tax assessments
NDRONorth Devon Record Office, Barnstaple
RGGeneral Register Office census returns, 1861-1901
SCLAShakespeare Centre Library and Archive
TATithe apportionment
TNAThe National Archives, Kew


1 The modern spelling of the name is adopted throughout this note
2 see the Great Britain Family Names Profiling website. (No longer available.)
3 grid reference SS733333
4 see http://www.measuringworth.com/calculators/ppoweruk/index.php
5 TNA SP15/14, f.211r
6 TNA PROB 10/249: this office copy differs slightly from the official transcript in PROB 11/110 f.76
7 grid reference SS738290
8 grid reference SS636255
9 TNA PROB 11/156 f.272; no original survives in PROB 10
10 grid reference SS746338
11 TNA PROB 10/551
12 It was usual in the seventeenth century for a testator to appoint rulers or overseers to administer the provisions of a will, in
addition to the legal executor or executrix who was granted formal title to the estate
13 a useful summary of the legal facts is contained in the recitals to a conveyance of 1874, NDRO 2309B/T9/23
14 NDRO 2309B/T9
15 grid reference SS763255
16 NDRO 2309B/T9/1
17 NDRO 2309B/T9/2-3
18 NDRO 2309B/T9/4-5
19 NDRO 2309B/T9/6
20 NDRO 2309B/T9/8
21 NDRO 2309B/T9/9-10. Phelps was the father-in-law of Joan, whose second husband was Hugh Maire Passmore (19)
22 NDRO Bishops Nympton LTA
23 TNA PROB 10/3460
24 NDRO 2309B/24/4
25 NDRO 2309B/24/5
26 NDRO 2309B/W116
27 NDRO 2309B/T11
28 NDRO 2309B/T9/12
29 DRO 1078/IRW/P/312, proved 10 June 1823 in the Barnstaple Archidiaconal Court
30 NDRO 2309B/T9/13
31 NDRO 2309B/T9/14-15
32 NDRO 2309-3/15/6
33 HO107/260/1/12/16
34 see note 11 above for a source for much of the information in this paragraph
35 e.g. the 1874 conveyance, NDRO 2309B/T9/23
36 proved 12 April 1862 in the Exeter District Probate Registry
37 NDRO 2309B/W180, proved 20 May 1864 in the Exeter District Probate Registry
38 NDRO 2309B/T9/23
39 RG11/2239/49/9/30
40 proved 15 August 1877 in the Exeter District Probate Registry
41 NDRO 2309B/W179, proved 19 May 1875 in the Exeter District Probate Registry
42 RG12/1769/39/2/9
43 NDRO 2309B/T9/24
44 NDRO 2309B/W178, proved 9 June 1899 in the Exeter District Probate Registry
45 RG13/2139/42/3/17
46 NDRO 2309B/T9/25
47 grid reference SS765271
48 SCLA DR5/43
49 NDRO Bishop's Nympton LTA: the Courtenay family intermittently held the title of Earl of Devon (not to be confused with
the Duke of Devonshire, a title held by the Cavendish family)
50 NDRO Bishop's Nympton TA
51 NDRO 1786-1/PO7/184
52 HO107/260/1/7/6
53 HO107/1891/593/3/8
54 grid reference SS698302
55 RG9/1483/51/11/45
56 grid reference SS669265
57 RG11/2239/47/5/14
58 GRO birth index Apr-Jun 1881 S.Molton 5b 453
59 grid reference SS731247
60 RG12/1769/41/6/37
61 RG13/2139/43/5/31
62 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: entry on Alfred Edward Taylor
63 RG13/2267/31/19/137
64 proved 10 February 1921 in the Principal Probate Registry
65 RG13/4052/46/24/165
66 GRO death index Oct-Dec 1920 Knaresbro' 9a 111
67 RG11/2241/104/10/37
68 private communication from Christopher Passmore
69 RG12/1777/18/18/120
70 RG13/1130/88/13/89
71 grid reference SS771288
72 NDRO Twitchen TA
73 NDRO Twitchen LTA
74 NDRO Twitchen TA
75 HO107/236/7/8
76 HO107/235/5/8/10
77 HO107/1891/593/3/8
78 proved 7 December 1878 in the Exeter District Probate Registry
79 RG9/1486/108/2/4
80 RG11/2241/104/10/37; and see note on Mornacott above
81 RG12/1769/156/5/23
82 grid reference SS753342
83 NDRO North Molton LTA
84 TNA PROB 11/1883 f.147
85 grid reference SS763285
86 HO107/1891/663/14/45
87 NDRO 2309B/W179
88 grid reference SS759351
89 RG13/2140/16/6/30-32
90 NDRO 2309-3/15/4
91 NDRO North Molton LTA
92 DRO 1078/IRW/P/312
93 NDRO 2309-3/15/6
94 DFHS Passmore marriage list 1813-1837
95 HO107/1891/664/17/56
96 grid reference SS752307, 758304
97 grid reference SS764302
98 SCLA DR5/755. For the Pyncombe sisters, see 'General history: Families removed since 1620', Magna Britannia: volume 6:
Devonshire (1822), pp. CLXXIII-CCXXV at British History Online
98 SCLA DR5/762
99 SCLA DR5/765
100 NDRO Twitchen LTA
101 TNA IR26/333, proved 15 August 1807
102 SCLA DR5/767
103 SCLA DR5/768
104 HO107/235/4/11/16
105 Will of John Passmore of Millbrook, proved in the Exeter District Probate Registry 28 May 1862
106 HO107/236/7/4/2
107 HO107/1891/598/13/39
108 RG9/1486/108/1/3
109 RG9/1486/112/10/45
110 RG10/2181/4/1
111 private communication from John Passmore of Stanthorpe, Queensland, Australia
112 RG11/2241/100/1/3
113 grid reference SS792319
114 NDRO Twitchen LTA
115 HO107/1891/597/11/33-34
116 grid reference SS758304
117 A full transcription from the stone can be found at http://www.genuki.org.uk/DEV/NorthMolton/MargaretPasmore1739
117 Indenture of 27th March 1775: the original is in the possession of John Passmore of Stanthorpe, Queensland, Australia
118 grid reference SS752307
119 NDRO North Molton TA
120 HO107/235/4/9/10
121 HO107/1891/630/6-7/22-24
122 RG9/1487/10/13/75
123 RG10/2181/34/14
124 RG11/2242/9/11/58-59
125 Will of Samuel Passmore, proved 23 Jun 1864 in the Exeter District Probate Registry
126 NDRO Bishop's Nympton TA
127 DRO 2499A/PZ1
128 NDRO 2309B/T48/4
129 NDRO 2309B/T48/2(b)
130 SCLA DR5/572