1.10 The ancestry of Hugh Harris of Aveton Gifford

The Chichester family held the Manor of Aveton and part of Stadbury, having inherited it through a daughter of William Prouz. Alice married Sir Roger de Mules circa 1300 and when her father died she inherited Aveton Giffard. Alice daughter of Sir Roger de Mules and Alice Prouz married John Damarel and inherited not only the manor of Aveton Gifford but half the Manor of Stadbury.


Alice died childless and Sir John Damarel remarried to Isabella, the widow of Thomas Tremaine. Sir John Dameral had no children of his second marriage and in his will of 1392 he made the children of Isabella’s first marriage to Thomas Tremaine his heirs.  With the marriage of John Harris of Lanrest to Katherine Tremaine in the early 1500’s  it is possible that the Harris family inherited parts of Aveton Gifford manor and Stadbury.

 In addition the Harris of Lanrest family obtained other lands at Aveton Gifford at this time from the Beket family – Anne Becket having married John Harris of Lanrest  at the end of the 15th century. Anne’s mother was a Totwell and land held by that family from as early as the 13th century passed to the Bekets and then to Harris.

 According to Ancient deeds and Pipe rolls, in 1519 Gilbert Bekytt of Cartuther, Esquire, father of Anne, authorised  his legal representatives deliver seisin  for a number of his estates in Cornwall and Devon to a variety of relatives and acquaintances, including the  land he held at Plymouth and Totwell to John Harris, his son in law.

 Other parts of  the land at Aveton Gifford came to the Harris family from the Giffard family – when Emma Giffard who had married Robert de Dynham (Also known as Cardinan) died childless in 1391 the estate passed to descendants of her Aunt Cecily Giffard, daughter of Walter, who had married Walter Le Abbe  - and one of those descendants, Alice Radford, married  into the Harris family early in the 15th century in the Plymouth area, the lands going to the family including estates at Whitchurch, Radford in Plymstock, and Aveton Gifford..

 Despite the manor of Aveton Gifford passing out of Chichester hands, John Chichester (1386-1437) inherited and retained the advowson of the Damarel half of the church of Aveton Giffard from Dame Alice Damarel in 1428 and the Chichesters held it until the great sale in 1563. John Chichester (1390-1437) was the son of John Chichester and Thomasine, daughter of John Ralegh of Alvington and Ralegh, and he inherited Ralegh and the Chichesters became on of the most important families in North Devon.


                   The original Rectory at Aveton Gifford Totally destroyed by a direct hit on 26 January 1943

John Chichester, of 1386, married Alice Wotton, daughter of Lord of Widworthy John Wotton and Engaret Dymoke, before 1424 in the parish of Pilton.

Ralegh, in the parish of Pilton, now a suburb of Barnstaple, gave name to, and was the original seat of the ancient family of Ralegh. The manor of Pilton belonged to a priory of Benedictines at this place, which was a cell to Malmesbury Abbey. It is enumerated among the possessions of that monastery in Pope Innocent's confirmation, A.D. 1248.


The site of the priory and the manor were granted to the Chichester family, who continued to possess it for several generations. In later years, in the 1620s, it was in the Incledon family as a result of the Chichester family maintaining their strong catholic faith and their lands being seized. One such record of many reads:

14 March, 1628 3 Charles I Letters Patent, leasing to Lewis Incledon, of Devon, gent., lands, seized from John Chechester, of Arlington, gent., for recusancy Rent £3 6s 8dTwo thirds of the manor of Arlington, and two thirds of a yearly rent issuing out of the capital messuage of Wollacombe, in Mortheo, and two thirds of a messuage and 30 acres of land in Bratton Flemming

 The Incledon family were established in Braunton by the second quarter of the 13 th century and  over the years came to hold estates elsewhere in Devon and also in Cornwall and Somerset and intermarried with another family, the Daville family, that had dealings in both the north and south of Devon, and a marriage with the Harris family as is referred to later in this document.

One of the sons of Sir John Chichester (1386) was Richard (1424-1498) - he inherited Aveton and Stadbury when he was a boy. Possibly Stadbury became the home of the heir because Ralegh was the family seat. He was marred to Margaret Kaynes or Keynes (dau of Nicholas Kaynes of Winkley or Keynes of Winkleigh)

In April 1440 an inquisition was held by order of the Bishop to determine the right of the advowson of Aveton. The jury found that Thomas Courtenay, Earl of Devon had the right by reason of the minority of Richard, son and heir of John Chichester, deceased, which Richard on coming of age would be the lord of the manor of Aveton Gifford to which the right of advowson of the church was annexed.

 Richard and Margaret Kaynes had as one of their four sons Hugh Chichester who died in 1517. This Hugh was married to Elizabeth Trenchard and as is shown by official entries in the UK on line archives there was an Elizabeth Harry(Harris) involved in land deals with the family at that time.:

  •  1520 Lease Elizabeth Harry, widow, to Hugh Chichester, his wife and son Uppecote in parish of Bittadon (BITTADON is a small parish, 6 miles N. by W. of Barnstaple)
  •  1532-1538 Lewis Moryng and Joan, his wife, great-grand-daughter and heir of Isabel Herry. v. Elizabeth, late the wife of Hugh Chechester.: Detention of deeds relating to a messuage and land in Bittadon.: Devon.

 Chichester lands at places in Cornwall also passed to other branches of the Harris family, for example John Harris of Lanrest and his wife Marryan Chamberlain received lands at Tremabyn in Bokedek in 1519. That branch of the family is to be separately documented.

 It is evident that there was a family dispute over the inheritance of the lands at Aveton Gifford as is revealed by the UK archives entry of 1544-51:

  •  Margaret BERY, late the wife of Philip Chechester, v. Edmund PENFOUN(D), Elizabeth his wife late the wife of Hugh Chechester, son of complainant, and John CHECHESTER, son of the said Hugh.: Rent-charge on manor of Aveton Gifford.:

 The reference to Hugh being son of Philip is erroneous as whilst Phillip was a relation of Hugh he was not his father.

 Sir John Chichester, a uncle several generations removed of Richard Chichester (1521-1569) was MP for Devon in 1547, 1554, and 1563 and it was in this latter year and the two years before it when he sold off the Aveton properties. In 1563 he sold half of Stadbury to Hugh Harris of Aveton Gifford. Sir John was married to Gertrude Courtenay (died 1566), daughter of Sir William Courtenay of Powderham Castle.

  •  2nd July 5 Eliz 1563 Aveton Gifford . Bargain and sale of Sir John Chichester of Ralegh Kt. To Hugh Harris of Aveton alias Awton Gyfforde. Yeoman, of his moiety and halfendeale of the capytall mersuage ,barton and farm of Stodbury and a parcel of ground called Stodburywood with all mesuages , land,etc thereto belonging in Aveton Gyfforde in tenure of Hugh for life; and also his moiety of the fisshings and hawkying and drawing of fisshe and picking of stakes for fisshe in and upon the freshe and salt water and upon the soyle where the same doth ebbe ,flete and flow between Aveton bridge and Stodcombe Ose inn the south part of the said barton, belonging to Sir John as one of the Lords of the Manor; and also his part and purparty of the soyle and grounds lying without the clyffe, where the salte water douth ebbe and flow as farre as Stodebury grouds douth extend from Stodcombe unto the lands of Oliver Hill esq. saving to Sir John the advowson of the Church of Aveton Gyffrode and the letters and vewes of fraunckflege, goods and catalley of felons and fygetyvas, weave and strayers and wrakers of the sea and fletesssss. (cal. Of Devon Deeds. J.C.Tingey. Exeter Castle )

 The Hugh Harris involved in these transactions was a respected member of the community and was active in the adjoining township of Malborough and its village of Salcombe, which are two miles apart.

  •  1541    Reference: 215M/ZT301 Malborough  Lease for Lives Creation dates: [1541] Scope and Content 1 March [1541] 1. Robert Fayrewether, Hugh Ewen, Nicholas Henxton, Richard Fayrewether, Roger Davels, Hugh Harry and James Harry, with the agreement of James Courtenay, senior, esq., John Hillersdon, gent., John Bonfessor, William Davels, William Martyn, Roger Fayrewether, Robert Weymont and John Henxton, 8 men of the parish of Malborough, elected by the parishioners. 2. John Redewode and Joan his wife Tenement in Saltecomb' with half a garden between the tenement of John Mychelmore on the south and the tenement of Richard [?] Chepe on the north, which was held by William Bynckeham. Consideration: 40 shillings. Rent: 10 shillings to be paid quarterly Lives: John and Joan and the survivor of them, and John Ball, son of Joan. Warranty.1 March 32 Henry VIII

 The Daville family as referred to in this entry was another closely related family of Harris and Chichester. This family held lands in the north of Devon, adjoining the seats of Harris of Hayne and Chichester of Ralegh, as well as the manor of Batson, or Badestone, in Malborough near Aveton Gifford and Plymstock which they had in inherited from a family of that name, in the south of Devon.  The Daville and Incledon families, who had gained the Chichester lands in north Devon, intermarried.

 John Daville  in his will of 1503 left  instructions relating to Badestone - ” The manor of Badstone to be held to the use of his son Lewis with successive remainders to his other sons”. The descendants of this Lewis are the family members that took over a number of the lands of the Chichester family in the Barnstaple area  in 1626 due to the recusancy of Sir John Chichester.



                                                     Batston – the Doomsday manor

 It seems from the following entries that Katherine, wife of William Davilles, may have secondly married Hugh Harris of Malborough/Aveton Gifford.

  •  Roger DAVELLYS v. Katherine, late the wife of William DAVELLES.: Detention of deeds relating to freehold messuages and land in East Prawle and Salcombe and a messuage and land in Malborough of the demise of Thomas Yarde, esquire.: DEVON. 1544-1551. 
  • William DAVELLES v. Hugh HERRY and Katherine DAVELLES.: Messuages and land in Chilston and Malborough, late of Roger Davelles, deceased, father of complainant.: DEVON. 1551-1553

 About 1580 Arthur Harris of Hayne married Margaret Davilles and the Batson manor came into Harris hands. The Harris of Hayne family was involved in land transactions in the Malborough area over the years and held a number of properties.

 A further parcel of land at Aveton Gifford, namely the manor of Heathfield and Lixton also came to the Harris family. The latter settlement was named after the Lyverger family, with the name changing over the years from Lyvergerston, through a number of variations to Lixton.  In 1293 the Abbot for the monastery holding the lands  allowed William, son of Walter Lyvegherston to take over land as tenant  and in 1520 at the time of dissolution of the monasteries it was purchased by that family who on sold it to Hugh Harris of Aveton Gifford in 1530.

 Again the Lyverger (Leveger) family had a much earlier association with the Harris family and the Batson family (from whom the Daville family obtained Batson before it was inherited by Harris) albeit in a different part of Devon, as is evident by the UK archives entry of 1450:

  •  BROADHEMPSTON 30 October, 1450 Letter of Attorney Elizabeth de Bayston' alias Elizota de Bayston', late wife of Walter Leveger ToThomas Hexte and William Harry To deliver seisin of all her messuages and lands in Hempston' Cantilov to John Bernehous the elder according to the form and effect of a charter made to him.Date: Hempston' Cantulou, Friday next before the feast of All Saints, in the 29th year of King Henry VI.

 Lands at Salcombe (Manor of Batson) owned by the family of Elizabeth Bayston, and land at Aveton Gifford, the manor of Heathfield, owned by the family of Walter Leveger, husband of Elizabeth, both came into the hands of the Harris family.

 In summary therefore the Harris family acquired land at Aveton Gifford, and in adjoining Malborough, from the 1400s up to the 1500s from a variety of sources with an ongoing relationship particularly with the Chichester family in both North and south Devon, with that relationship continuing for many years.

 ·       In the late 1500s, John Trevelyan, son of John Trevelyan and Wilmot Harris (daughter of John Harris and Elizabeth Kelly) married Ursula Chichester, daughter of Sir John Chichester of Raleigh and Mary Courtenay

·       In 1641 John Harris of Radford (1596-1649) married Lady Mary Chichester (1608-1657)

·       In 1669 there was an Indenture of assignment by Mary Harris of Chichester, widow, to Elizabeth Harris of Chichester, daughter of the said Mary Harris for £300 - of the messuage, barn, lands, tenements etc. known as Great Juries in the parish of Donnington

·       On the 23rd of May 1693, Jane Harris son of John Harris of Wortham, a descendant of Harris of Hayne, at Swimbridge married Arthur Chichester of Stowford

 This close association of the families  in the north of Devon is not surprising as the family home of the Chichester family at Arlington, and the home of the Harris of Stone family at Stone in Chumleigh  and Stowford, the Harris of Hayne family at Lifton and the Harris family at Ashreigney are in close proximity to each other. This close association is also reflected in terms of the property holdings in Aveton Gifford. The descent of the Harris family from the north of Devon to Aveton Gifford, and from JohnHarris of Stone, can be deduced from UK archives on line entries:

  •  Reference: EN/5 Creation dates: 3 Nov. 1469 Scope and Content

Walter Trethewy and w. Isabella, Jas. Thomas and w. Joan, Alex Heyme and w. Joan, the 3 wives being daus. of Elenor dau. of Jn. R.; and Jn. Harry and w. Joan, dau. of Isabella, dau. of Jn. R. Deed of partition of the lands of Jn. Resewyk in the vills of Kenegy near Pentreyth (Pentreath in Breage), Trerebo near Eglosbuthekbyan (in Constantine) and Reseweyk (in St. Keverne), lands near Melyckarnepurcy on N. side of Melyckorn near Trenython (in St. Keverne), and a close called Parkepencoys near Gwerther (in St. Gluvias and Penryn).Endsd. No. 19. At Resewyk

  •  Reference: 3704M/ET3/3/2 Arbitration Creation dates: 1478

Copies Information Photocopy available Scope and Content John Garland; John Gyen; John Harry and William Vyell, adjudicators in dispute between Raff Bery and John Incleden junior and Alice his wife Annual Rent charge of 26s 8d from tenement called Tretherapp in Downerybyry, Cornwall granted by Nicholas Bery (father of Ralph Bery) to John Ulf (Wulf) and Agnes his wife (daughter of Nicholas Bery and mother of Alice Incleden)The parties bound in £40 on 26 January last to submit to rbitration20s rent awarded to John Incleden in right of Alice his wife and to their heirs of AliceRaff Bery and John Incleden to give each other 1 quart of wine as discharge of all claims and quarrelsDated: 27 January 17 Edward IV (1478)

  • Nicholas Harry and Isabel, his wife, and John Ryse and Margery, his wife. v. John Carmynowe, Thomas Seyntabyn, esquires, Margaret Godolphan, widow, and Thomas Gilbert, esquire, and Isabel, his wife, feoffees to uses.: Messuages, mills, land, and rent in Penhalywy, Heygoys, Bolothowe, Trevethen, Tregeer, Trevelwyght, Penpoll, Drannock [in Gwinear], Trehaveran, Moresk, Ewelblak, Nuhom, Gwelendre, Lensu, Carlyghan, Treyewe, Tregy, Trelysytyk, Tregoys, Devern Woles, and the boroughs of Tregony and Truro, late of Laurence Trewonwall and Eleanor, his wife, grandparents of the said Isabel and Margery.: Cornwall. Covering dates 1518-1529
  •  C 1/523/41 Elizabeth Harry, widow, granddaughter of the said Laurence Trewonwall. v. Robert and Jane Poyle.: Detention of deeds relating to messuages, land, and rent in the same places (except Gwelendre and Lensu), and in Newham Street and Newham Lansu.: Cornwall. 1518-1529
  •  1532-1538 Lewis Moryng and Joan, his wife, great-grand-daughter and heir of Isabel Herry. v. Elizabeth, late the wife of Hugh Chechester.: Detention of deeds relating to a messuage and land in Bittadon.: Devon.
  •  Reference: 372/1/9/8 Creation dates: 1556Scope and ContentRelease1 Lewis Mowryng, gent, John Rediclyffe and William Harry2 John Tinerick Lands in Radforde (Peter Tavy)

 Research into the family of Harris, and associated families of Trevilla, Reswyk, Penfound, Bodrugan, Penkervill, Trewonwall and Mooringe gives the following ancestry  for Hugh Harris of Aveton Gifford, and other family members.


From the above detail it is evident that the Harris family at Aveton Gifford was of the Harris of Stone/Stowford branch, a brother branch to that of William Harris of Hayne and this is further supported by both the Aveton Gifford and Stowford/Hayne families having the same coat of arms – a cadet version of Harris of Radford.

History of the Parish of Aveton Giffard. Reverend CC Shaw
UK Archives on line records http://www.a2a.org.uk/default.asp
Devon Library on line services http://www.devon.gov.uk/etched?url=etched/ixbin/hixclient.exe&_IXP_=1&_IXR=100170
The Plymouth Connection Ivy M Langdon published by Westcountry Books, Tiverton, Devon
Salcombe Harbour remembered M & D Murch PDS Printers, Plymouth 1982
South Devon, Combe Tor and Seascape, A Born, Gollancz, London, 1983.