Parish Register Inaccuracies

Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 9:2, (1916) pp. 53-54.


W.H. Cottell

Prepared by Michael Steer

Talaton is sometimes spelled Tallaton. The author of this Note seeks to remediate certain uncertainties in his family tree by consulting the Talaton parish registers. He claims that four or five generations of his family resided at Larkbere and supposes that to have been a better class of old farmhouse. As well as seeking to sight a copy of the registers, the author requests information on Drusilla Wescott who witnessed his ancestor's will at Crewkerne in 1784. Google with the Archive Organization has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. The Internet Archive makes available, in its Community Texts Collection (originally known as Open Source Books), books that have been digitised by Google from a number of libraries. These are books on which copyright has expired, and are available free for educational and research use. The copy of this rare book is held in the Library of Arthur William Bryant Messenger, and is available from the Internet Archive.

Note 49. Parish Register Inaccuracies (IX., p. 5. par. 6). -I am interested in the Tallaton Registers. My people were of Larkbere for four or five generations from William Cottell, born at North Tawton, 2nd son of Thomas Cottell of that place (his house still standing there), who was from the old family at Yealmbridge, Justice of the Peace and Subescheator to the King for the County of Devon. This William Cottell died in 1634 and it was his grand-daughter, Mary Cottell, who was married to Philip Westcott in Tallaton Church in 1657.  The Cottells dropped out of residence at Larkbere about 1686. One (Mark) born at North Tawton, but " bred in my childhood" at Tallaton, became Registrar- General to the Archbishop of Canterbury, left;£200 to the rebuilding of St. Paul's Cathedral, £200 to Christ Hospital, who died an aged man at his residence at St. Paul's Close, had a sermon (copies extant) preached at his funeral at St. Paul's Cathedral by Dean Freeman, afterwards Bishop of Peterborough, and lies buried under his pew in St. Bennet's, Paul's Wharf, with his wife. Lady Sackville, with his and her arms on the tomb. He died in 1681 - his will and coat of arms, excellently painted, is in the Register of Wills, year 1682, at Somerset House. Discrepancies in parish registers I found from experience in their examination of no inextensive character was the rule with few exceptions. There were other difficulties, of pecuniary and cler   fifty years ago which happily do not now exist, but to these exceptions I must pay a passing tribute to the late Revd. Robert Hawker who transcribed gratis all of my name in Morwenstow Register and bade me welcome to his home. Of Philip Wescott I have no trace except he be the Philip Wescott in the pedigree of Wescott, year 1620, Harleian Society. A Drusilla Wescott witnessed my ancestor's will (John Cottell) at Crewkerne in 1784, and I shall be thankful to know who she was and also for a sight of the copy of the Tallaton Registers. Larkbere is, I presume, a better class old farmhouse. Before the Cottells went there a family named Hull resided there, of whose descendants some now reside at Brighton. 

W. H. Cottell.