Roope of Warfleet in Dartmouth

Nicholas Roope was  member of an ancient family from Dartmouth Nonconformist, he  married Jane Pomeroy daughter of Valentine Pomeroy by his 1st wife Jane Reynell in 1643

 A Rental of Warfleet, 1600-1615: Four Mills and a Ropewalk.

A rental from the time of Sir George Southcote for 1600-1615 has survived, showing that there was by this time a sizeable community living in Warfleet. The  leading family were now the Roopes, a family with several branches who though not yet freeholders were wealthy farmers, merchants and shipowners.
They held farms at Week, and Little Dartmouth farm which included the whole of Gallants Bower.

In 1612 Nicholas Roope of Warfleet chartered a London vessel the Edward Bonavenure for the principal purpose of fishing in Newfoundland.

Nicholas Roope the Younger held "A very fair new built house and quay at Walflete". As a merchant trading extensively to Europe and Newfoundland, he could use his own quay and so avoided paying dues to Dartmouth Corporation.

The Roopes were buried in St. Petrox church, where there are fine brasses of John Roope who died in 1608, and his married daughters Barbara Plumleigh and Dorothy Rous.


The English Civil War 1642 to 1651
 Battle of Edgehill in October 1642 marked the beginning of the devastating conflict.

The following account was first published March/April 2012 By the Dart
" In the early days the Royalists seemed to be doing well – and especially in the West Country. The Cornish strongly supported the King and helped the Royalists take town after town. 
A large group of men, some led by Nicholas Roope, marched away to fight for Parliament and were involved in skirmishes and full-on battles before falling back to help defend Plymouth.
In July 1643 Exeter fell. The Royalist commander in the South West, Charles’ nephew Maurice, turned his attention south.
The people of the town heard he had decided to take Dartmouth to secure the harbour as a base for operations.
Totnes fell not soon after.
It was clear he meant to ‘take’ Dartmouth and then move swiftly on to Plymouth.
    It is difficult to imagine how it must have felt to have a Royalist army marching towards your little town. Although there was obviously fighting within some families, the majority supported Parliament and a course of action was soon decided upon.

The town was fortified - at the time there were few ways in to the town, only tracks and narrow lanes, which were quickly blockaded.
Guns were placed in every available high place, including both St Clements and St Saviours bell towers and Mount Boone was heavily fortified as the northernmost entry into the town at the time. Crowthers Hill was also barred and armed with large guns, as was the northern end of the Foss - now at the junction of Foss Street and Broadstone.

The old chain across the river mouth was even repaired in case of a sea attack, the last record of it ever being used.
Meanwhile Thomas Newcomen, grandfather of the famous steam engineer, went to London to plead for funds to support the defence effort, to no avail. After all had been done to make the town safe, the defenders settled down to wait.

In late August Maurice and his troops arrived. Maurice offered generous terms if the town were to surrender, but they stoutly refused.
Then the rain began.
Maurice, in a delay which was to prove crucial, camped for a month before attempting a serious assault.  The Royalists attacked on October 4 1643 from the Warfleet valley. They quickly took Paradise Fort giving them the ability to fire artillery at the town and the Castle.
Dartmouth quickly surrendered rather than be bombarded and decimated.  The defence and short sharp battle had cost the lives of 17 Dartmouth men.
An occupation began which was to last three years.

Dartmouth was recaptured by Sir Thomas Fairfax in early 1646 after a decisive assault. They quickly took all the enemy positions including the decisive Paradise Fort.  The Royalists retreated to Gallants Bower and Kingswear Fort too. But the fight was lost, and they soon fled or surrendered.
Dartmouth’s resistance played a huge part in the war – ironically if Maurice had marched straight from Exeter to Plymouth he almost certainly would have captured it, and then could have subdued the rest of the county at his leisure, having secured a line of supply from the continent."

The Civil War in Warfleet, 1642-9.

At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642 Ambrose Roope, son of John, owned Little Dartmouth while his cousin Nicholas Roope owned Warfleet Quay, the new house on it and the two farms at Week. Ambrose took no part in the war and may have been a Royalist, but Nicholas strongly supported Parliament as did Dartmouth Corporation. Having helped with building defences in Dartmouth, Nicholas then raised and armed a troop of 200 soldiers which he took to help defend Plymouth.

While he was away, his property was attacked and plundered. When Dartmouth prepared for the expected attack by the Royalist forces under Prince Maurice the area round Warfleet and the Castle was of vital importance. A road block was built above Warfleet mills. The old fort at Paradise was strengthened with ironwork and guns mounted there. The castle was manned, and guns supplied with powder, while the chain was stretched across the river to Godmerock on the Kingswear side.

 Prince Maurice besieged the town for a month before attacking it along the Warfleet valley in October 1643. Clearing the roadblock by the mills he next seized Paradise Fort, from where his guns could fire on the castle. The town was forced to surrender, and for three years was occupied by the Royalists.

Nicholas Roope was never a member of the Corporation after the Restoration of Charles II in 1660. The Cavalier Parliament made a law that only Anglicans could serve on town councils, and Roope died in 1681.

After Charles II died without a legitimate male heir his James brother took the throne. However he was a Catholic and the Enlish objected to having an absolute ruler again, having shed their blood in the Civil War to be rid of one.
William of Orange and his wife Mary daughter of James were invited to take the throne and in 1688 James II fled from England.
Prince William landed at Brixham and it was Nicholas Roope the younger who claimed to have been the first gentlemen to pledge his allegiance to the new King from Germany.
 In January 1689 Nicholas Roope was rewarded by William III as soon as he was accepted as king, who  appointed  Roope as Governor of Dartmouth Castle.

'William and Mary, 1688: An Act for a Grant to Their Majestyes of an Ayd of Two shillings in the Pound for One Yeare. Statutes of the Realm: volume 6: 1685-94

NOTES & Finds

Kew holds  the Will of Nicholas Roope of Dartmouth, Devon 1660
there is a memorial in the church to Mary wife of Nicholas Roope the younger, died July 25th 1637.

Nicholas Roope was  member of an ancient family from Dartmouth Nonconformist, in 1643 married Jane Pomeroy daughter of Valentine Pomeroy by his 1st wife Jane Reynell .
Nicholas Roope of Warfleet chartered a London vessel the Edward Bonaventure in 1612 for the principal purpose of fishing off Newfoundland


The Register book of Dartmouth from the year of our Lord God 1586, wrytenby Walter Roche, Clerke, who in the yeere aforesaid was Presented, Instituted & Inducted in to the Vycaredge of Townstall and Dartmouth aforesaid. Per me Walterum Roche, Clicum.

7/2/1619/0: John ROOPE married  Marie NORBER.
27/11/1641: Phillipp ROOPE married Barbara DAVYE.
5/2/1641/2: Elias BROWNE married  Marie ROOPE
11/8/1646: Richard PARKER married Susanna ROOPE.
6/11/1649: William RAWLINS married Susanna ROOPE
13/12/1670: Michael CRUTE married Mary ROOPE
26/8/1753: Moses TRUGARD married Mary ROOPE

3/3/1671: Stephen POMEROY married Susanah COLESWORTHY.
24/3/1696: Elizabeth POMEROY married  Zachary KELLY
3/9/1728: Rebecca POMEROY married William HOOPER