Historical Notes and Sources for the Manor of Northam (1889)
Notes on Northam Manor, Rectory and Vicarage being extracts from documents held in the Public Record Office and Exeter Cathedral Archives. 1889.
Reference: North Devon Record Office: 2863/16
These handwritten notes were made by person(s) unknown in 1889, but who obviously had access to all the documents referred to, and was skilled in reading and interpreting them in both English and Latin. They form a good overview of the history of the ownership of the Manor of Northam, backed up with valid historical references.
Transcribed by David Carter 2018
N.B. Not all the handwritten notes have been transcribed here.
Regnal years have been converted by the transcriber.
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XII. The land of Saint Stephen of Caen.
The Church of Saint Stephen of Caen holds of the King Northam.
Buckie held it in the time of King Edward and it was assessed for two hides and half a virgate of land. There is land for 20 ploughs.
In demesne there are 3 ploughs and 8 bondmen and 28 villeins and 5 bordars and 14 ploughs. There are two brine pits rendering 10s and a fishery rendering 30 pence and 15 acres of meadow and 24 acres of wood and 30 acres of small wood and 15 acres of pasture.
Formerly and now it [was and] is worth £12.
Carta Antiqua S22.
Charter of Saint Stephen of Caen. [Undated, but in reign of Henry I (1100 to 1135)].
[Note in margin: The original charter is stated to be still extant at Caen by Mr Lechande D'Aniry(?)]
Henry King of England and Duke of the Normans to his Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Earls, Barons, Justices, Sheriffs, Ministers and all his lieges of all England and Normandy Greeting.
Know ye that I have granted and confirmed to God and Saint Stephen of Caen and the Monks there serving God for the safety of my soul and (the souls of) my father and mother, wife, sons, and of my kinsfolk ancestors and successors whatsoever King William my father and Queen Matilda his wife gave and granted to God and Saint Stephen of Caen to wit:
Two Manors in Dorset namely Frantona and Biemcome with their members and appendages Alphillicome Bechescome Omouserige Aruelai Sedelinch Wintreborna Ceiruel Porbich discharged free and quit in wood and plain in meadows and feedings in ways and footpaths in waters and mills in fisheries and in all things liberties dignities and customs to the same Manors pertaining.
And a certain Manor to wit Northam situate in the County of Devonshire with all its appurtenances in lands waters and salt pans free and quit of wreck and of shire and hundred with the Custom of Ships coming there.
And in Berkshire at Hemreth seven hides of land free discharged and quit and the men dwelling in them free and quit of all customs.
And in Essex the small Manor of Penfeld with the wood and lands adjacent to it discharged and quit of all customs which Waleran son of Ralph gave [them] with all the tithe of his other land with a house in London in Wode Street quit of geld and scot and of all other custom and the Merchants buying and selling in it discharged free and quit.
And the church of Northam which William de Escous gave to Saint Stephen discharged and quit with the orchard and land and tithe to the same Church pertaining.
And in Norfolk of the gift of the same William, Welles with its appendages in Gouton with the church and tithe which pertain to it.
I confirm also the gift which I made of the Manor of Brideton in Dorset discharged free and quit and all the other Manors above written discharged free and quit of wreck and of shire and of hundred with soc and sac tol and freedom from toll and themage and of danegelt and of all other customs.
All these things above written I give and confirm to God and Saint Stephen and the monks serving God there for the redemption of my soul and (the souls of) my father and mother wife kinsfolk ancestors and successors and namely for the Crown and other ornaments to the same crown belonging which my father King William when dying gave to Saint Stephen and which the aforesaid monks have given back to me.
The mark of Henry the King.
The mark of Hugh Archbishop of Rouen.
The mark of Richard Bishop of Baieane.
The mark of John Bishop of Luxemburg.
The mark of Roger Bishop of Sarum.
The mark of Robert Earl of Gloucester.
The mark of Geoffrey de Magneville.
The mark of Nigell de Albany.
The mark of S.Robert de Haia.
The mark of Eustace Fitzjohn.
Devon Hundred Roll 3 Edward I, m.20 etc. .
Inquisitions of the County of Devon
Verdict of the Hundred of Schefbeare [i.e. Shebbear].
This is the verdict of the Foreign Hundred of Schefbeare made upon Articles to them delivered by Lord Bartholomew le Gevene in the County of Devon in the 3rd year of the reign of King Edward by the oath of John de Wynscok, Peter de Hallesbirg, Richard de Beaumund, Joel de Denys, Sampson de Sepburgh, Richard Sullard, Thomas de Bulburgh, Joel de Burne, John de Cumbre, Richard de Hele, Richard de Hokeshill and Richard de Coleleigh who say upon their oath that concerning this article how many and what manors etc that the manor of Schefebere is demesne of the Lord the King pertaining to the Crown and is now in the hand of the Lord the King whereof the Excheator has the custody.
Hundred of Schefebere. Also they say that the Manor de Nyweton was formerly pertaining to the aforesaid Manor of Schefebeare which the Prior of Bodmin now holds by the gift of King henry the elder and did suit at the Manor of Schefebere from mouth to mouth be and his men until the Lord the King Henry father of the Lord the King Edward by his Charter thereof discharged him and his men and the same Prior raised gallows and has liberty of assize of bread and beer by the same warrant.
[Manor of Northam] Also what Manors used to be in the hands of the Kings predecessors - nothing.
[Wreck of the Sea] Concerning lands and tenements of the ancient demesne of the Crown etc they say that the manor of Northam was formerly demesne of the Lord the King in the time of the Lord the King William the Conqueror who gave the said manor to the Abbey of Caen and they have wreck of the sea without view of the Coroner by the aforesaid King and they have the gift of the Lord the King Henry father of the Lord the King Edward gallows and warren fairs for two days and assize of bread and beer.
Devon Pleas of the Crown etc, 9 Edward I, membrane 3 .
Pleas of the Crown before Solomon de Roffa and his fellows Justices Itinerant at Exeter in the County of Devon in the Octaves of St Martin in the 9th year of the reign of King Edward and the beginning of the 10th.
The Hundred of Shepherre comes by twelve jurors.
Concerning Manors they say that the Manor of Shefbere was in the hands of the Lord King Henry father of the King that now is and the Abbot of Torre now holds it and it is worth per annum £18. And the same Abbot holds the Church of Shefbere which is worth per annum 40 marks the Advowson whereof was in the hand of the aforesaid King Henry.
And the Manor of Northam was in the hand of the Lord the King Henry the Second together with the advowson of the same church and the Manor is worth per annum £20 and the Church of the same 40 marks.
And the Prior of Frowton now holds the Manor aforesaid with the advowson of the same and Newton is a member of Shefbere and was in the hand of the Lord the King Henry the 1st and the Prior of Boinyne holds it and it is worth per annum 100s.
And the Abbot of Torre comes and says that he claims nothing in the Manor aforesaid except for a term of 10 years and this of the demise of the Lord the King that now is.
And as to the Church aforesaid he says that he holds it to his proper uses by demise of King John and he has a day to show his warrant on Tuesday.
And at that day comes the aforesaid Abbot and produces a Charter of the aforesaid King John which witnesses that the same King John granted to God and the Church of Torre and the Canons there serving God the Church of Shefbere with appurtenances to have to the proper uses in free pure and perpetual alms.
And to their Manor of Shefbere he produces the Letter Patent of the Lord the King that now is which witness that the same King Edward demised to the aforesaid Abbot the aforesaid Manor for the term of 10 years for £22 per annum therefore to be paid at the Exchequer of the Lord the King.
Therefore the aforesaid Abbot as to this without day saving etc.
And the aforesaid Prior of Frowton comes and says that Lord William le Rus formerly King of England gave to God and Saint Stephen of Caen the aforesaid Manor of Northam with the advowson of the Church of the same and in the same Manor he claims to have sok sak [*see appendix] tol them infangenthef [sic] view of frankpledge wreck of the sea and whale and to be quit of suits of shires and hundreds to be quit of amercements of the County and produces a Charter of King Henry the 2nd which witnesses the gift of the aforesaid King William and confirms to them the aforesaid Manor with appurtenances and with the liberties aforesaid by the same Charter.
And the Prior being asked whether he has anything else concerning the advowson of the Church aforesaid says that he has not and that he found his Church seized thereof and that he and all his predecessors have used the aforesaid liberties without making occupation or usurpation upon the Lord the King or his ancestors he demands that it be enquired by the Country. And the Jury witness the same.
Therefore as to the Manor and liberties aforesaid thereof without day saving the right of the Lord the King etc. And because he showed nothing special concerning the advowson of the Church aforesaid therefore the Lord the King may have a writ if he will afterwards the Lord the King sent his writ for the record concerning the Prior of Frowton and the writ and the writ may be sought on the back of this roll and the record thereof is sent to the Lord the King.
Afterwards the Lord the King sent his writ in these words:- Edward by the Grace of God King of England Lord of Ireland and Duke of Aquitaine to his beloved and faithful Richard Delboy greeting. Because certain causes we wish to be certified upon the examination of the liberties which the Prior of Frowton Monk of St Stephen of Caen claims to have within his Manor of Northam in the County of Devon under the name of his Abbot of St Stephen of Caen by Charters of our predecessors Kings of England delivered before you and your fellows in the eyre at Exeter we command you that having searched your records concerning the Crown you send us without delay distinctly and openly under your Seal the record upon the examination of the said liberties and the process of the same and this writ that having seen the record and process aforesaid of our Council we may cause to be done thereupon what of right shall be to be done. Witness myself at Westminster the 18th day of May in the 13th year of our reign.
Patent Roll 4 Henry IV part 1 membrane 3. .
Of an exemplification. Scrope. The Abbey of Caen. The King to all to whom etc Greeting.
We have seen the Letters Patent of the Lord Edward late King of England our Grandfather in these words.
Edward by the Grace of God King of England and France and Lord of Ireland to all to whom these presents letters shall come Greeting. We have seen the Charter of Confirmation which we lately caused to be made under the seal which we then used in these words. Edward by the Grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland Duke of Aquitaine to his Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Earls, Barons, Justices, Sheriffs, Reeves, Ministers and all his bailiffs and lieges Greeting. We have seen the Charter of Lord Richard of famous memory formerly King of England our Progenitor in these words. Richard by the Grace of God King of England Duke of Normandy Aquitaine Earl of Anjou to the Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Barons, Justices, Sheriffs, Bailiffs and all his Ministers and lieges Greeting. Know ye that we have granted and by this our present Charter confirmed to the Church of Saint Stephen of Caen and the Monks serving God there for the safety of our soul (and the souls) of our Father and Mother and Kinsfolk and ancestors whatsoever King William our Great Grandfather and Queen Matilda his wife gave and granted to God and Saint Stephen of Caen to wit two Manors in Dorsetshire Franton to wit and Bieucome with their members and appendages, Alphillicome Bethescome Omonserigge Aruelai Deselinch Wintreborna Ceirial Porbick discharged free and quit in wood and plain in meadows and feedings in ways and footpaths in waters and mills in fisheries and in all things liberties and dignities and customs to the same Manors pertaining.
And a certain Manor to wit Northam situate in the County of Devonshire with all its appurtenances in lands and waters and salt pans free and quit of wreck and shire and hundred with the custom of ships coming there.
And in Berkshire at Kenreith seven hides of land free discharged and quit and the men dwelling on them quit and quit of all customs.
And in Essex the small manors of Penfield with the wood and lands adjacent to it discharged and quit of all customs which Waleron son of Ralph gave (them) with all the tithe of his other land namely of Tidesham and of Esingesham and Folesborna and of Ameleta and of Burys and with a mansion of land within London in Wode Street quit of gelth and of Scot and of all other custom and the Merchants buying and selling in the same discharged free and quit.
And the Church of Morton which W de Escoris gave to Saint Stephen free and quit with the Garden and land and tithes to the same church pertaining.
And in Norfolk of the gift of the same W.Welles with its appendages in Gaiton with the Church and tithe which pertain to it.
We also confirm the Gift which King Henry our Great Grandfather made to Saint Stephen of the Manor of Bridetona in Dorsetshire discharged free and quit and all the other Manors above written discharged free and quit of rent and of shire and hundred with soc and sac and thol and them and infangenethe of and of Danegelt and of all other customs for the redemption of his soul and (those) of his father and mother wife kinsfolk ancestors and successors and namely for the Crown and other ornaments to the same Crown belonging which his father King William when dying demised to Saint Stephen which the aforesaid Monks gave back to him.
And also we grant and confer to the monks of Saint Stephen of Caen the gift which King Henry our Father made to them that they forever shall have granipus and all kind of fish which shall casually come on shore in the land of England.
And the concord of the Abbot and Caen and Richard son of Eddiz made at London.
And the concord made between the Monks of Saint Stephen and the Ministers of the King concerning the land of Brideport and of Bridetona.
And the gift which W. de Abruicis made to the Church of Saint Mary of Morton of two Sheaves of his Lordship with all the tithing of His Lordship to wit of the will and pannage and cheese and calves and foals and lambs and apples and roots(?) in perpetual alms.
And the messuage of John the Chaplain which is next the Cemetery with the flax plat which lies next the aforesaid messuage. Wherefore we will and firmly command that the aforesaid Church of Saint Stephen and the Monks shall have and hold all the aforesaid well and in peace freely and quietly and honorably and fully with all their appurtenances and with all liberties and dignities and customs with which they more fully and freely held them in the times of the aforesaid Kings and in our time.
Witnesses: Walter Archibishop of Rowen, W. Bishop of Ely our Chandellor Henry of Baueaux Ralph of Lisieux W. of Constances, John of Evreiul Bishops W. de Hamet Constable W. son of Ralph, Leneschal of Normandy.
Given by the hand of John de Alenson Archdeacon of Lisieux our Vice Chancellor at Rouen the 20th day of March in the first year of our reign. We also holding firm and established the gifts grants confirmations and concords aforesaid as much as in as is for us our heirs and successors do grant and confirm them to our beloved in Christ the Abbot and Convent of the said place of Caen and their successors as the Charter aforesaid reasonably witnesses and as the same Abbot and Convent and their predecessors now hold the Manors lands tenements churches and tithes aforesaid and they and their predecessors now hold the Manors lands tenements churches and tithes aforesaid and they and their predecessors heretofore held them and have hitherto reasonably used and enjoyed the aforesaid liberties. These being witnesses the venerable fathers J. Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor J. of Ely and W. of Norwich Bishops John de Eltham Earl of Cornwall our very dear brother Richard Earl of Arundel Thomas Wake of Lidel Ralph de Nevill Steward of our household and others.
Given by our hand at Westminster the 8th day of September in the 6th year of our Reign.
We also at the request of our beloved in Christ the present Abbot of the place aforesaid have caused to be exemplified the tenor of our aforesaid Charter under the Seal which we now use.
In witness whereof we have caused these our Letters to be made Patent.
Witness myself at Westminster the 28th day of January in the 16th year of our Reign of England and of our reign of France the third.
We also at the request of Henry Scrope Chevalier and Phillippa his wife now tenants of the aforesaid Manor of Northam by these presents have caused to be exemplified the tenor of the Letters aforesaid.
In witness etc. Witness the King at Westminster the 15th day of February.
Domesday 1 p.104
In Domesday Book the Manor of Northam is returned as a possession of the Abbey of St Stephen of Caen and belonging to it are mentioned two 'salinae' or salt pans for the evaporation of salt water and manufacture of salt valued at 10s yearly, also a fishery rendering 30 pence.
Sir Henry Ellis in his Introduction to Domesday Book vol.1 p.126 says with respect to these 'salinae' "Those mentioned in Counties bordering on the coasts were unquestionably ponds and pans for procuring marine salt by evaporation". They were either on the foreshore or must have had access thro the foreshore to the sea in order to obtain the sufficiency of salt water.
Patent Roll. 4 Henry IV .
The Manor was given to the Abbey of Caen by William the Conqueror in frank almorgu.
King Henry I confirmed the Conqueror's Charter and King Henry II again confirmed it and further granted them 'grampus' [crasperinin] and all kind of fish which casually come ashore on their land in England.
King Richard I by Charter dated 20 March 1 Richard I [1189/0] confirms to the same Church "whatsoever King William the Conqueror and Matilda his wife gave to God and St Stephen of Caen viz: (inter alia) "A certain Manor to wit Northam situate in the County of Devonshire with all its appurtenances in lands and waters and salt pans.
He also confirms Henry II grant of royal fish and his Charter has this concluding clause "wherefore we will and do firmly command that the aforesaid Church and monks of St Stephen shall have and hold all the aforesaid well and in peace freely and quietly and honorably and fully with all their appurtenances and with all the liberties dignities and customs with which they more fully and freely held them in the lives of the aforesaid Kings and in our own time.
In the returns to a Royal Commission issued in 2 Edward I  to enquire throughout the Kingdom concerning Royal liberties privileges etc, usurped by subjects etc, the Jurors for the Hundred of Shebbere Counrt Devon say that the Manor of Northam was formerly the demesne of the Lord the King in the time of King William the Conqueror who gave the said manor to the Abbey of Caen and they (the Monks of Caen as Lords of the Manor) have wreck of the sea without view of the Coroner by (grant of) the aforesaid King and have of the gift of the Lord Henry father of King Edward (Henry III) gallows and warren fairs for two days and assize of bread and beer".
The right of the Abbey of Caen to the Manor and liberties and the advowson of the Church was called in question before the Justices in Eyre in 9 Edward I  when the Abbot by the Prior of Fromton claimed to have wreck of the sea and royal fish under the Charter of King Henry II. His claim was allowed as to the Manor and liberties but as the Prior could shew no evidence as to the advowson it was ruled that the King might have his writ concerning it (the advowson) if he wished.
Close Roll 19 Edward I, m.7 .
Afterwards 18 May 13 Edward I  a writ of certiorari was issued to produce the record of the proceedings before the King. What was further done in the matter is at present not known, but on the 30 April 1291 we find a pardon to the Prior of Framton for £100 at which he was amerced before Solomon de Roffa and his followers Justices in Eyre in the County of Devon for wreck of the sea which he claims in his Manor of Northam.
It is possible that the Priors right was tried in the Kings bench and a verdict obtained for him and that the Crown remitted the fine previously imposed as above.
Patent Roll, 1 Edward III. p.2 m.27. .
In 1359 Guy de Brian bought the Manor of Northam of the Abbey of Caen and on 4th November 1363 the King confirms the Manor with its appurtenances to him and his heirs.
Inquisition Post Mortem. 14 Richard II, N.8. .
He died in 1390/1 and his property descended to his two grand daughters and co-heiresses Philipps and Elizabeth both minors. On the division of the property on 13 February 1398/9 [Close Roll 22 Richard II, p1.m3 (1399)] the Manor of Northam with appurtenances fell to the share of Philippa who was then married to Henry le Scroop.
Patent Roll, Henry IV, p1. m.3.
In 1402/3 Henry le Scroop and Phillippa his wife procured from the Crown an exemplification of the Charter of 28 January 16 Edward III to the Abbey of Caen which confirms a previous charter of the same King dated 8 September 16 Edward III  and which recites the Charter of King Richard I.
[Transcriber’s note: a transcript of this Edward III charter says it was in the 6th year of his reign (Latin: sexto), not the 16th year. If correct, this charter would be dated 1332].
Patent Roll. 37 Henry VIII .
From Scroop the Manor appears to have descended to Thomas Earl of Ormond who on 16 March 1510/1 granted this Manor to Anne Countess of Arundel by the name of Lady Anne Matravers wife of Sir William Arundell Knight Lord Matravers for her life with remainder after her death to Henry Earl of Northumberland and the heirs of his body with remainder in default of heirs of his body to the right heirs of Sir Guy de Brian and his heirs for ever.
Henry Earl of Northumberland died leaving issue his son Henry Earl of Northumberland to whom the reversion of the said Manor etc descended.
By a fine levied in 25 Henry VIII  this reversion passed to Henry Pole Lord Montague Robert Chudley and Anthony Harry whose estate title and interest Henry late Marquis of Exeter had to him and his heirs and on his attainder in 1539 the reversion came to the Crown.
The aforesaid Countess of Arundel was still life tenant of the Manor on 13 December 37 Henry VIII  when the King granted the reversion of the Manor to Katherine Arundel alias Katherine Fitz Alan one of the daughters of the late William Earl of Arundel and with it in the general words of the grand waters fisheries fishings wreck of the sea belonging to the said Manor as fully freely and entirely as the said Earl of Arundel and Anne his wife or the aforesaid Earl of Ormond or any other person or persons heretofore having possessing or being seized of the aforesaid Lordship Manors etc, ever had held or enjoyed in the same by virtue of any gift grant charter of letters patent of any King of England by reason or pretext of any prescription usage or custom heretofore had or used or by any other means whatsoever.
This grant is therefore retrospective as to the liberties mentioned in it we have shown that the Abbey of Caen had rights of wreck and royal fish and this Charter continues to Katherine Arundel the same rights i.e. the Charter clearly passes the right of wreck and royal fish as belonging to the Manor.
Inquisition Post Mortem. 6 Edward VI, p.2, no.102 .
Katharine Arundel died 2 Oct 6 Edward VI 
Henry Earl of Arundel is her brother & heir aged 36.
Patent Roll, 7 Edward VI, p.1, m.7 .
Katherine Arundel died in 6 Edward VI and was succeeded by her father and heir Henry Earl of Arundel who had livery of her lands in 7 Edward VI.
Patent Roll 1 Mary, p.14 .
In 1 May 1553/4 Henry Earl of Arundel appears to have alienated the Manor to Sir John Radcliffe.
Patent Roll 6 Elizabeth, p.11 .
On 2nd November 6 Elizabeth, John Radcliffe Knight alienates to Thomas Bromley esquire and Thomas Kynaston gentleman his Manor of Northam, etc.
Patent Roll 26 Elizabeth, p.16. .
In 1 September 26 Elizabeth, John Popham esquire and Anne his wife sold to Walter Raleigh esquire the same Manor etc with wrecks of the sea etc for £1500.
Close Roll 33 Elizabeth, p.2, m.12. .
By indenture dated 20 January 38 Elizabeth [1595/6] Sir Walter Raleigh and Carewe Raleigh sold to William Burrough esquire and Walter Burrough gentleman his son and heir the Manor of Northam with wrecks of the sea etc, for £1000.
Patent Roll 42 Elizabeth, p.2, m.19. .
On 1 December 42 Elizabeth (1599) Walter Borough and Thomas Rawlyns and Mary his wife have licence to alienate to William Fowke and Edward Reynolds esquire the same Manor etc.
Common Pleas Roll 3 Jac[obus] I, roll 6. Patent Roll 3 Jac[obus] I, p.24, m.5. .
On 10 November 1605 Thomas Rawlyns esquire and Mary his wife have licence to alienate to Sir George Carry Knight the same Manor etc.
Sir George Carey obtained an Exemplification of the Charters of Henry I, Richard I etc in 7 James I .
Inquisition Post Mortem. 15 Jac[obus] I, p.2, no.195. .
Sir George Carey died 15 February 1616/7 seized of the Manor of Northam.
Chancery Decree Roll 1950, p.10.
From the Careys the Manor came to Sir Thomas Berry who on 3rd April 1696 conveyed it for £1000 to Thomas Melhuish as appears from a suit in Chancery instituted in Hilary 1747 by Grace Buck against William Melhuish the then possessor of the manor and others.
From Thomas Melhuish it descended to his son Roger Melhuish who died 6 September 1745 (Wills dated 30 June 1744).
From Roger Melhuish it descended to his son and heir William Melhuish who held it in 1755 and was defendant in the suit above mentioned.
By indenture dated 28 December 1775 William Melhuish leased the Manor to Augustus Saltren Willett for 200 years.
The present Lessee Mr Thomas Burnard Chanter holds by lease from Augustus Saltren Willett dated the 15th September 1837.
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The following notes give more detailed extracts from some of the documents referred to in the above lineage:
Patent Roll 33 Edward III, p.3, m.16 - 15 Sept 1359:
Whereas Guy de Bryan acquired to himself and his heirs of the Abbot of Saint Stephen of Caen the Manor of Northam with appurtenances in County of Devon which is parcel of the lands of the said Abbey and which were taken into the Kings hands by occasion of the war - The King remits £20 for the custody of the said Manor of Northam.
Inquisition Post Mortem 36 Edward III, p.2 (2nd nos) No.40 .
Writ dated 1 June 36 Edward III addressed to Thomas Cheyne the Escheator in Devon. Recites that the King had granted to Guy de Brian licence to acquire lands rents fees or advowson to the value of £200 a year which are held of the King in capite by alien religious or others and that by virtue of this licence the said Guy has acquired the Manor of Northam and therefore directs the Escheator to enquire whether it will be to the damage of the King or others if he grants the said Guy pardon for acquiring the Manor of Northam with appurtenances of the Abbot and Convent of Caen in part satisfaction of the aforesaid licence.
Inquisition taken at Exeter on Monday before Saint Peter Advincild 36 Edward III the Jurors say that it will not be to the damage of the King but rather to his advantage and profit because the said Guy holds other Manors of other Lords in Devon and other Counties and if he dies the King will have the marriage and custody of all his lands etc.
Also they say that the said Manor of Northam is held of the Lord the King in capite by Knight service.
Also they say the aforesaid manor is parcel of the Abbey aforesaid (Caen) which was given by William formerly King of England the progenitor of the present King to the Abbot and Convent of Caen at the time of the Conquest of England in pivie and perpetual alms to them and their successors for ever to hold by knight service the custory of which same manor the progenitors of the present King used to have at the time of the vacancy of the said Abbey.
And they say that the Manor aforesaid is held of the Lord the King in capite by Knight service and is worth yearly in all issues according to the true value £10 and not more.
Patent Roll 37 Edward III part 2, membrane 27 .
For Guy de Briane. The King to all to whom etc greeting.
Know ye that whereas lately of our especial grace we granted to our beloved and faithful Guy de Briane that he might acquire 300 librates of lands rents and fees by the year or advowsons of churches whereof the yearly taxes extend to £200 and which are held of us as well of foreign religious as of others also if the same lands rents fees and advowsons were given to houses of such religious of the foundations of our progenitors formerly Kings of England and being in our patronage by our same progenitors or any of them in perpetual alms or otherwise. To have and to hold to him and his heirs of us and our heirs by the service therefore due and accustomed forever: so nevertheless that by the inquisitions thereof in due form to be made and duly entered into the Chancery of us or our heirs it shall be found that that can be done without damage or prejudice of us or our heirs or of any other whomsoever the statute concerning the not alienating of lands given to houses of religious founded by our progenitors by the same our progenitors or any other statute or ordinance to the contrary made notwithstanding as in our Letters Patent thereof made is more fully contained. And now the aforesaid Guy has besought us that whereas he by virtue of our licence aforesaid has acquired the Manor of Northam with appurtenances in the County of Devon of the Abbot and Convent of Caen and has entered upon that Manor without any process thereof had by our writ of enquiring whether it may be done without damage or prejudice of us or any other as the custom is: that we will pardon the transgression made in this behalf. And because by inquisition thereof by our mandate taken by our beloved Thomas Cheyne our Escheator in the County aforesaid and returned into our Chancery it is found that although the Manor aforesaid with appurtenances is parcel of the temporalities of the Abbey aforesaid and was given to the Abbot and Convent of the aforesaid place by Lord William formerly King of England our progenitor, To have and to hold the same Abbot and Convent and their successors of our said progenitor and his heirs in capite in pure and perpetual alms forever and we and our progenitors formerly Kings of England have been accustomed to have the custody of that Manor which is extended at £10 per annum in the time of the vacancy of the Abbey aforesaid: nevertheless it is not to the damage not prejudice of us nor of any other but to our advantage and profit if we grant to the aforesaid Guy that be may retain the aforesaid Manor with appurtenances to him and his heirs for ever in that the aforesaid Guy did not hold any lands or tenements of us in capite besides the Manor aforesaid and so by pretext of the said Manor if the same Guy shall die his heir being within age we shall have the marriage of the same heir and the custody of all his lands and tenements until the lawful age of the heir aforesaid because the Manor aforesaid is held of us in capite by knight service. We willing to give our aforesaid grant due effect have pardoned the transgression aforesaid and have granted for us and our heirs as much as in us is to the same Guy that he may have and hold the aforesaid Manor with the appurtenances to him and his heirs of us and our heirs by the services therefore due and accustomed to the value of twenty marks per annum in part of the satisfaction of the two hundred librates of lands tenements rents and advowsons aforesaid for ever without occasion of impediment of us or our heirs our Justices Escheators Sheriffs of other our Bailiffs or ministers whomsoever the Statutes or ordinances aforesaid notwithstanding.
In witness whereof etc.
Witness the King at Westminster the fourth day of November.
Inquisition Post Mortem 14 Richard II, no.8. .
Writ of diem clausit extremum after the death of Guy de Brian, dated 23 August 14 Richard II .
Inquisition taken at Honiton on Friday after the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary - 14 Richard II.
The Jurors say that upon their oath that Guy de Brian chivaler in the writ named held of the Lord the King on the day on which he died the Manor of Northam with appurtenances in the County of Devon as ancient demesne of the Lord of the King which is worth in all issues £20. He also held the Isle of Lunday by knight service worth yearly £10, certain rents in Dartmough worth £10, the Manor of Slaton and Torre Brian.
Phillipa wife of John Deveros or Devereux son of John Deveras Knight and Elizabeth wife of Robert son of John Lovell Knight are his next heirs viz daughters of Guy son of the said Guy the father, Philippa is aged 12 and Elizabeth 9.
Coram Rege Roll Easter 5 Henry V. Roll 1. Rex. .
John Godde of Rammysham (Dorset) gentleman and William Davy husbandman John Cleve husbandman Richard Sillesford John Girdyler John Sillesford Walter Whyston John Donet Stephen Cleve John Cole Thomas Cokebery John Colebeare Richard Dale John Lane Walter Colebeare David Yeme John Swayne, all of Northam husbandmen were to be apprehended by the Sheriff to answer to the King concerning divers transgressions and insurrections whereof they were indited before the keepers of the Peace. They did not appear. The Sheriff is commander to have them before the Court on the morrow of All Souls.
Coram Rege Roll Easter 5 Henry V. Roll 19 Rex. .
It is the presented that the persons above mentioned and many other malefactors and disturbers of the Kings peace on the 12th August 4 Henry V  with force and arms to wit swords, bows and arrows broke down at Northam one bank of a certain ditch by which a certain water used to flow from the vill[age] of Abbodesham between the vill[age]s of Northam and Bideford to the mill of John Arundell esquire in the aforesaid vill[age] of Bideford so that they have turned the water and the said John Arundell has wholly lost the profits of his mill. The defendants appear and say that John Fauntleroy Robert Curteys clerk Simon Talbot and John Dodeman at the time when the trespass is supposed to have been committed were seized of the Manor of Northam in their demesne as of fee and within the Manor they were seized of a water mill and because the watercourse from the from the High sea to the said mill was stopped up with sand (per arenam et zabulum) so that the water could not run to the said mill, the defendant by order of the said John Fauntleroy and the others cleansed the said water course as was lawful for them to do. It is referred to a jury at the assizes (Nisi prius).
Feet of Fines. Divers Counties 24 Henry VI, no.39 .
William Beof and Henry Tylongley complainants and James Ormond knight son of James Earl of Ormond and Avicia his wife deforciants of (inter alia) the Manors of Torbrian Slapton Northam Dertemouth Clifton Hardenesse and of the Isle of Lunday with appurtenances and the advowson of the Church of Torbrian and the Chantry of Saint Mary of Slapton in the County of Devon.
Conveys to James and Avice and heirs of their bodies with remainder to heirs of the body of the said Avice with remainder in default of such heirs to the right heirs of the said James.
Inquisition Post Mortem. 35 Henry VI, no.16 .
Avicia who was the wife of James Earl of Wiltes.
Writ of diem clausit extremum dated 6 July 35 Henry VI.
Inquisition taken at Exeter 11 October 36 Henry 6,
The Jurors say that a fine was levied in Michaelmas 24 Henry VI  between William Beof and Henry tylongley complainants and James now Earl of Wiltshire by the name of James Ormond knight son of James Earl of Ormond and Avicia then his wife deforciants. Of the Manors of Torbrian Slapton Northam Dertmuth and the Isle of Lunday and the advowson of the Church of Torbrian and the Chantry of Saint Mary of Slapton. The premises were settled by the same fine on the same James and Avice and heirs of their bodies with remainder to the heirs of the body of Avice with remainder in default of such heirs to right heirs of James. The said Avice died without heirs of her body begotten and the same Earl is still alive.
They say also that the manor of Northam is held of Guy Gammesley by what service they know not and is worth yearly in all issues beyond reprisals 106/8. The same Avice died 3 July last past. Humphrey Stafford esquire is her cousin and heir viz son of John Brother of Richard father of the aforesaid Avice and is 24 years of age and more.
Inquisition Post Mortem. 18 Edward IV. no.46 .
On the forfeiture of George Duke of Clarence.
Inquisition taken at Exeter 20 June 18 Edward IV. George Duke of Clarence was seized (inter alia) of the Manors of Northam, Lunday, Slapton, Torbrian, etc.
[note in margin: I have not traced the descent of the Manor from Humphrey Stafford to the Duke of Clarence].
Inquisition Post Mortem. 20 Edward IV. no.44 .
Writ of diem clausit extremum after the death of John Orchard dated 10 September 20 Edward IV.
Inquisition taken at Exeter 30 October 20 Edward IV. John Orchard died seized of two messuages 12 acres land in Northam and 8 messuages 40 acres land and 12 burgages in Bydeford two messuages 60 acres land 3 acres meadow in Abbottesham - also the manor of Doddyscomb in the parish of Braunton. The premises in Northam are held of Edward Earl of Warwick who is under age and in the custody of Thomas Marquis of Dorset as of his Manor of Northam by fealty suit of Court and a rent of 12d and are worth yearly 40/-. The said John died 30 August last. William Orchard is his son and heir aged 23.
De Bance Roll. Hilleary. 4 Henry 7, rol.346 .
Devon. William Hody knight and John Byconnell knight v. Henry Earl of Northumberland.
Of the Manor of Northam and 1000 acres of pasture and 500 acres of marsh in the Isle of Lunday.
Recovery by Hody and Byconell.
De Banco Roll. Trinity 9 Henry 7, rol.21 .
Devon. Thomas Ormond knight Earl of Ormond gives £21 for licence of concord with John Byconell knight and Elizabeth his wife who was the wife of John Seynt Maier of the Manor of Northam the Isle of Lunday, etc, etc.
6 March. 2 Henry VIII [1510/1].
Thomas Earl of Ormond to Anne Lady Mautravers wife of Sir William Arundel knight.
Grant of the Manor of Northam.
Memorandum Exchequer L.T. Easter. 3 Elizabeth, roll 6 .
John Ratcliffe knight is summoned to show by what Title he holds the Manor of Northam.
He says that Henry Earl of Arundel was seized of the said Manor and had licence by Letters Patent dated 7 June 1 Mary to alienate it to the aforesaid Sir John Ratcliffe knight and the heirs of his body with remainder in default of issue to the said earl. And the said earl by his deed of the same date gave and granted the said Manor to the aforesaid John Ratcliff knight son of his very dear Mary then his wife in form aforesaid.
Patent Roll. 6 Elizabeth p.11. m 22 .
John Ratcliff knight to Thomas Bromley esq & John Kynnaston gent.
Licence to alienate All that his manor of Norham alias Northam with all & singular its rights members and appurtenances in Northam in the County of Devon.
Chancery Proceedings Elizabeth B.b.14 No.17. 7 May, 22 Elizabeth .
Robert Bocombe of Abbottesham husbandman against Edward Otes of the same husbandman.
Bill of discovery to get Title deeds to certain lands in Northam Abbottesham & Bideford.
Defendant answers that one Richard Lake late of Abbottesham died about Christmas two years since and made by his will James Rewe his cousin his executor and the defendant his overseers of his will. And because James Rewe "hath of long tyme bene captive in Turkey and not as yet come from thence" the will is not proved - and one Gabriell Rewe brother of the same James Rewe to whom also the said Richard Lake was grand father has taken out letters of administration of said Lakes goods and left a box with defendant in which he supposes the said deeds are.
Patent Roll. 1 Sept 26 Elizabeth, p.16 .
John Popham esq & Anne his wife to Walter Raleigh esq.
Licence to alienate the manor of Northam alias Northeham with appurtenances and 20 messuages 20 cottages 20 tofts two mills 20 gardens 20 orchards 200 acres of land 20 acres meadow 400 acres pasture 10 acres wood 100 acres heath & furze 500 acres marsh & a rent of £12 in Northam Bideford Asheridge Abbotsham Braunton ~~lowe & Arlington.
Close Roll 26 Elizabeth p.20.
The same to the same. Conveyance of the premises in consideration of £1500. Dated 8 July 26 Elizabeth.
Close Roll 38 Elizabeth p.2, m.12 .
Indenture dated 20 Jan 38 Elizabeth. Sir Walter Raleigh & Carew Raleigh & Dame Dorothy his wife late wife of Sir John Thynne knight, to Walter Borough & Walter Borough his son & heir.
Bargain and sale for £1000 of the manor of Northam with appurtenances which the said Sir Walter purchased of Sir John Popham knight by indenture 8 July 26 Elizabeth.
Patent Roll. 38 Elizabeth p.12 m.3. 2 Dec 39 Elizabeth, Licence of alienation for the above grant.
Chancery proceedings Elizabeth U.w.1.32. January 1597.
William Vallett merchant of Northam versus Thomas Leigh & Richard Frenche and Thomasine his wife.
Concerning a Close of 6 acres called But Parke with a plott of ground adjoining the hedge of the said Close on the South side and on the north side of a way leading from Northam to a place called Botehide which he and those from whom he claims have held for 60 years and upon which the defendants have entered and made a lease of as he believes.
The defendants claim the plott of land as belonging to a tenement called "Lane" which the said Thomasine has for life with remainder to the said Leighe - and alledge certain user.
Patent Roll 42 Elizabeth p.2 m.19 . Walter Borough & Thomas Rawlyns & Mary his wife, to William Fowke & Elizabeth Reynolds esq. Licence to alienate the manor of Northam. 1 December 42 Elizabeth.
Patent Roll 3 James I p.24 m.5 .
Thomas Rawlyns esq & Mary his wife to Sir George Cary Knight. Licence to alienate the manor of Northam, etc. (as set out in Patent 26 Elizabeth) - 10 November 3 James I.
Common Pleas deeds inrolled. Hill 3 James I roll 6. The conveyance above referred to occurs.
Inquisition Post Mortem 15 James I, p.2 No.195 .
Court of Wards 14-15 James I Bk 25 No.151.
Sir George Cary knight died seized of the manor of Northam inter alia.
By charter dated 18 Oct 4 James I he gave an annuity of 1000 marks out of it & other manors to Letitia daughter of Robert Lord Riche afterwards his wife.
He settled the manor in tail special. See Inquisition.
The manor is held of the King in capite by the service of the 40th part of one knights fee.
He died 15 February 1616/17.
Richard Cary esq is his heir.
THE CHURCH RECTORY AND VICARAGE OF NORTHAM
Chancery Decree Roll. 12 December 28 George II , No.1950. Div.5 part 10, No.6.
[A writ to ascertain the right to a tenement called Passage Park & whether it was part of the manor of Northam or not. The Melhuishs owned the manor].
Buck v. Melhuish.
Notes taken of the proceedings in the case and deeds mentioned.
Hill. 1747. Grace Buck exhibited bill against William Melhuish and others concerning lands etc in Passage Park Northam.
20 June 1715. Roger Melhuish and Ann Berry and Narcissus Hatherly - Lease.
Roger Melhuish died 6 September 1745.
His will is dated 30 June 1744. William Melhuish the defendant was his eldest son.
Plaintiff claims deeds and in particular an indenture of 8 August 4 James I  executed by Thomas Cary.
On 2 March 1702 Thomas Melhuish - complainants grandfather - granted Passage Park Polond and Osborns in consideration of a marriage between Roger Melhuish and Francis Vigures complainants father and mother (only daughter of Lady Berry).
Defendant William Melhuish says that the lands are part of Manor of Northam.
He is eldest son and heir of Roger Melhuish and of Thomas Melhuish his grandfather.
Has heard that Sir Thomas Berry was seized of the Manor of Northam and by indenture 3 April 8 William 1696 for £1000 conveyed to Thomas Melhuish the said Manor of Northam with all rights members and appurtenances.
Deed 8 August 4 James I . Sir George Cary to Thomas Leigh by which Passage Park was demised to Thomas Leigh for 2000 years.
Recites that Joan Bennet held of Manor of Northam by copy of Court roll, a close in Irsha called Passage Park etc, reciting that the reversion of the premises was granted by Sir Walter Rawleigh knight Lord of the Manor by copy of Court rill to Agnes Leigh wife of said Thomas Leigh and William and Mary their children for their lives and reciting that Walter Burrough by Deed 27 November 14 Elizabeth  let to said Thomas Leigh all the said Close of Passage Park etc for 70 years coming after death of Joan Bennet Agnes Leigh William Leigh and Mary Leigh. It sets out that Sir George Carey granted the premises to Thomas Leigh for 2000 years.
Deed 2 March 1 Anne  and 5 April 2 Anne . Thomas Melhuish to Roger Melhuish.
The indenture 2 March 1702 Between Thomas Melhuish & Richard Melhuish recites the deed of Carey 8 August 4 James I  and reciting that William Leigh by virtue of will of Thomas Leigh became possessed of the premises (Passage Park etc) and that Sir Thomas Berry by virtue of will of the said William Leigh became possessed thereof that Sir Thomas Berry by his last will made Joan the wife of Thomas Melhuish his sole executrix.
Exemplification of Recovery suffered by Sir Thomas Berry to William Barber and Thomas Melhuish. Michaelmas 7 William III 1737.
Passage Park was not separated from Manor of Northam as alleged by plaintiff. Bill dismissed.
Chancery Proceedings. Elizabeth D.d.3.60.
24 July 1518 10 Henry 8. Thomas Bishop of Salisbury Warden of the Collegiate Church of Saint Mary Otterey and the Convent of the same place, to John Aller clerk Peter Hillin and Wilmota his wife and William their son.
Lease of our church and rectory of Northeham in the County of Devon and also all our lands within the parish of Northam aforesaid to the said Rectory belonging with all and all manner houses yards gardens fruits tithes oblations and other appurtenances whatsoever to the said Church or Rectory in anywise pertaining or belonging, To hold from Michaelmas next after the date of these presents "de septimo in spetemam" for 70 years - Rent £36 - to do all repairs, etc.
Particulars for Grants - Henry VIII.
Hertford, Earls of.
Lands etc of the late disolved College of Saint Mary Ottery, Devon.
Inter alia. The Rectory of Northam in the County aforesaid is worth in:- The farm of the rectory aforesaid with all tithes of sheaves and other small tithes to the same rectory pertaining or in any manner belonging besides £10 for the pension of the vicar there yearly and 10/- for the fee of the Collector of the tithes there yearly. £25.10.
He also had a grant of the Manor and Hundred of Ottery and many others of its possessions at the same time to the clear yearly value of £308.11s.5 3/4d
Patent Roll 16 Elizabeth p.5 . Sir H Middlemore.
Reversionary Lease to Sir H Middlemore reciting that Edward Duke of Somerset by the name of Edward Earl of Hertford by indenture 1 September 32 Henry VIII  demised to John Thynne for 40 years the Rectory of Northam in County Devon etc. To hold for 31 years after Thynne's term rendering yearly £26.8. to the Free Chapel of Saint George at Windsor.
Patent Roll 1 Edward VI p.5 
Grant to the Dean & Cannons of Windsor of the Rectory of Northam inter alia.
Inventories of Church Goods 3 Edward VI, Devon .
Thereafter foloith the number of belles & chalices that remayn in the custody of the parishoners of every parishe in the said Countie and the namys of them that have the custody of the said belles & chalices by indenter accordyng to the kynges majesties commission.
Hundred of Shebbeare - Parochia de Northam. iiii belles in the towne their and one chalice committed to the custody of Christopher Bery John Borrough William Leigh and otheir the parishioners theire by indenture.
Chancery proceedings Elizabeth D.d.3.60.
Henry Darrell of Scotney (Sussex) versus Thomas Leigh and others.
Bill states that the Duke of Somerset then Earl of Hertford in 1 September 30 Henry VIII  was sezied of the Rectory of Northam with appurtenances in the County of Devon and of all and all manner of tythes lands tenements woods underwoods rents reversions services oblations advantages commodities and other hereditaments whatsoever to the saide rectorie belonging or appertaining or for or as parts parcells or members of the same reputed accepted known demised or used with all and singular their appurtenances and by Deed 1 September 38 Henry VIII [1546? - says 38 Henry, but above says 30 Henry] let it to one John Thinne for 40 years from the Michaelmas following at a rent of £26 and by Indenture 20 July 1 Edward VI  the said Duke sold to the King the reversion of the premises and the King by patent 1 Edward VI granted the said reversion to the Dean and Canons of Windsor and they leased it to persons unknown. The indenture made by the Duke to the King was not enrolled of record and so nothing past (sic) to the King nor from him to the Canons by the reversion was in the Duke till his attainder and now is in the Queen (Elizabeth) whereupon Henry Middlemore esquire her Majesty's servant fynding her highness tytle therein did become a suitor for a lease of the premises for 31 years and the matter being referred to the Privy Council it was ordered that Middlemore should have a lease for 31 years and the Dean and Canons a new grant of the reversion after that lease Middlemore had his lease by patent 3 November 16 Elizabeth  and by deed 25 January 19 Elizabeth [1576/7] he sold his interest..... etc.
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The following taken from an 18th century document filed with the Northam Manor notes, explaining the following terms:
Signifies power or liberty to minister justice and execute laws. Also the circuit or territory wherein such power is exercised: whence our Latin word Soca is used for a seigniority or lordship on franchises by the King, with the liberty of holding or keeping a court of his sockmen. And this kind of liberty continues in diverse parts of England to this day and is known by the name of Soke and Soken.
Sac is an ancient privilege which a Lord of a Manor claims to have in his court of holding plea in causes trespass arising among his tenants, and of improving fines and amercements touching the same. But by some writers it [is] the amercement and forfeiture itself.
(North Devon Record Office, ref: 2863/3/6)
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