Honour and Barony of Okehampton

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries, vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), pp. 131-2.


John Northmore

Prepared by Michael Steer

The feudal barony of Okehampton was the largest mediaeval fiefdom in the county of Devon, England, whose caput was Okehampton Castle and manor. It was one of eight feudal baronies in Devonshire that existed during the mediaeval era.  The first holder of the feudal barony of Okehampton was Baldwin FitzGilbert (died 1090) called in the Latin Domesday Book of 1086 Baldvinus Vicecomes, "Baldwin the Vice-Count" (of the County of Devon), which office equated to the earlier Saxon office of Sheriff of Devon. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

Note 126. HONOUR AND BARONY OF OKEHAMPTON. - Can any reader of D.&C.N.&Q. kindly let me know what the Honour and Barony of Okehampton consisted of - I mean particularly what privileges, if any, were thereby conferred on the holder ; also what, if any, were the emoluments received ; and what, if any, services had to be performed ? My lineal ancestor, John Northmore, of Well, in South Tawton, who died in 1671, was possessed of an undivided eighth of the Honour and Barony of Okehampton, and the same was held by his heirs and successors, but was alienated in the eighteenth century. It was evidently a highly valued possession, for it occupies a prominent place in the enumeration of property referred to in their wills. I do not know it for a fact, but I presume, with much probability, that this undivided share was the half of one of the shares which originally devolved on the four co-heiresses of Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, who died in 1556.
                       John Northmore.