South Ham District

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), pp. 130-131.


William Davies

Prepared by Michael Steer

This Note relates to an earlier query in D&CN&Q by Rev Oswald J. Reichel concerning the identity of one or two South Hams District properties; particularly Stancombe and Washbourne. 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 125. SOUTH HAM DISTRICT (VI., par. 112, p. no). - In reply to the queries of Revd. O. J. Reichel re "Stancombe" and "Washbourne," there is no doubt whatever but that "Stancombe Dawney" is in the parish of Sherford. In deeds now before me, dated nearly 400 years ago, it is expressly called "Stancombe Dawney in the parish of Sherford." The manor came into the possession of the Pollexfen family in 1624, and passed by inter-marriage of the Drake and Pollexfen families to Sir Francis Drake, of Buckland, about 1730. Sir Francis Drake sold it in 1758 to John Furlong, and ultimately, in 1778, it became the property of the Cornish family and is now held by them.

I cannot help as to Washbourne more than to throw out a suggestion. Revd. O. J. Reichel is aware that the Champernownes held property in Dodbrook parish (now incorporated in Kingsbridge) and, so far as I understand his query, they held an estate called Washbourne. Now, there is no Washbourne in Dodbrook, but a Washbrook, and, granting that the suffix in each case means the same, there is a plausible identification. Further, in 1349, in an old deed of that date still existing, and being a conveyance of property in Kingsbridge, the witnesses' names are Walter de Waseburne, William atte Slade, Robert de Malston, and William de Wolstone. Now there is no doubt whatever about the last three, for they take their names from places close by Kingsbridge. I suggest that Walter de Waseburne lived close by also, as it is not probable that a person living far away would be a witness. If he lived at Washbrook, then perhaps called Washbourne, the difficulty is solved. The evidence resolves itself into five points: - First, the Champernownes held a Washbourne ; second, the Champernownes held considerable property in Dodbrooke ; third, the suffixes to Washbourne and Washbrook have identical meanings ; fourth, Washbrook is in Dodbrooke, and one Washbourne cannot be traced by Revd. O. J. Reichel ; fifth, a Roger de Waseburne in 1349 witnessed a deed, and this suggests that he lived very near. The evidence, I must admit, is very slender and somewhat unscientific, but I put it forward as the suggestions may furnish a new clue.
                    William Davies