Waddeton Court Chapel, Stoke Gabriel

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), pp. 147-148.


Edward Windeatt

Prepared by Michael Steer

The Note refers to a private chapel of Waddeton Court on the site of a medieval chapel founded in 1213. Waddeton Court is the seat of the Studdy family. Henry Studdy was the founder of the Royal Dart Yacht Club in 1866 when it had club rooms in the Royal Dart Hotel qv, until its own premises were built in 1881. 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 134. WADDETON COURT CHAPEL, STOKE GABRIEL (VI., par. 96, p. 102). - My attention has been called, owing to note 96, to the fact that on the occasion of the trial in the Chancery Division of the High Court in March, 1906, of an action brought by the Vicar of Stoke Gabriel, Rev. J. H. N. Nevill, against Mr. Henry Studdy, owner of an estate called Waddeton Court, Stoke Gabriel, claiming a declaration that the Vicar of Stoke Gabriel and his successors were entitled to the possession and control of a chapel in the grounds of Waddeton Court and near the mansion, and there to perform divine service and celebrate the Sacraments according to the rites of the Church of England, &c, it was stated in court that there was a tradition that this chapel had been founded or endowed by a former owner to appease divine wrath for his having slain a former Vicar of Stoke Gabriel. At the trial there was produced from the Exeter Registry an ancient docu- ment in Latin, purporting to be the record of an examination in the Parish Church of Totnes of certain witnesses called on behalf of William de Fisacre, then lord of Wadetone, with a view to shew that the owners of the estate had from time immemorial the right of enjoying and obtaining the Sacraments from the Vicars of Stoke Gabriel in the chapel of St. Michael of Wadetone, and that such Vicars were bound to celebrate the divine offices in the chapel in return for certain lands given by the progenitors of William for a chantry to be holden for the celebration of divine services by the Vicars in the chapel.

The Lysons say, "There was formerly a chantry chapel at Watton founded by the Holways and endowed with lands valued in 1547 at £1  9s. 7d. per annum."

Col. Vivian's Visitation of Devon, p. 477, gives the pedigree of Holway of Waton, which commences with Martyn Fisacre, who married Agnes Speke, and whose daughter Jone married John Holway of Wadeton, temp. Edw. III.

It would seem from the evidence in the trial before referred to, which the Vicar lost, that it was not a Holway who founded the chantry, but a Fisacre, and if the tradition is correct that it was in expiation of having slain the Vicar of Stoke Gabriel, it could not have been in Mary's reign. A new Vicar was admitted 15th April, 1555, ad ecclesiam vacantem. Perhaps some more light can be thrown on the matter.                    Edward Windeatt