Notes on the Churches of the Deanery of Kenn

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. IX, (January 1916 to January 1917), p. 13.


W.H Copleston

Prepared by Michael Steer

The Note’s author seeks to clarify certain elements of the ancient Copplestone family’s tree relating to its members residing in Tedburn in the 17th century . The Copleston Cross or Stone gave its name to the historic estate or manor of Copleston (modern: Coplestone) which was the earliest known home of the prominent historic Copleston family, one of the most ancient in Devon according to "that old saw often used among us in discourse", the traditional rhyme related by John Prince (d.1723):
"Crocker, Cruwys, and Coplestone,
When the Conqueror came were at home"
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Note 182. NOTES ON THE CHURCHES OF THE DEANERY OF KENN (VHL, p. 222, par. 177). On page 231 your correspondent suggests that possibly William Copplestone, of Tedburn, was a son of Richard, of Woodland, and Gertrude Sherman, and mentions that neither of the rectors, the Rev. John Copleston and Rev. Edward Copleston, appear in the pedigrees.

For some time I have been seeking information re the Rev. John Copleston, baptized at Bideford 18 Aug., 1683, son of Coriolanus and Mary Copleston, and elder brother of Christopher Copleston, of Bideford. The said Coriolanus Copleston was born at Alverdiscott on the 14th February, 1654, and was son of Lancelot Copleston of that place by his second wife. I should be grateful to any of your readers who could tell me whom this Rev. John Copleston married, where he lived, and when he died. He had a son Coriolanus, born 1718, who was curate in charge at Luton, Beds, 1770-1790.

In the course of my enquiries I have come across the name of another, Rev. John Copleston, the Rector of Tedburn, obit 1731.

In the registers of the parish church at Crediton are the following entries : -

Under date 8 January,  1701. Marriages - "Lardar Copelstan and Mary Parker."

Under date 24 November, 1709. Burials - "Richard Coles, servant with Mr. Copleston, of Tedburn, who died suddenly."

On enquiring further I found that the Rev. John Copleston. of Tedburn, was an ancestor of Dr. Edward Copleston, Bishop of Llandaff.

Now from the slab in the church at Tedburn it would appear that William Copplestone and the Rev. Edward Copplestone were related ; and as the Rev. John Copleston preceded Edward Copleston as rector, may we not assume that he was related to both of them?

Col. Sir John Copleston, Sheriff of Devon, 1656-8, married Grace, d. of Anthony Copleston and his wife Mary, daughter and heiress of Humphrey Larder, of Upton Pyne. His second son was christened Larder.

Both Sir John and Dr. Edward were of the Dorset branch of the family, and I think that the Rev. John, the Rev. Edward and William Copplestone (gent.), of Tedburn, were all of that branch and not of the Woodland branch.

W. H. Copleston.