SO HOW COME THERE ARE AT LEAST FOUR DIFFERENT WHEATON LINES IN DEVON?
Well here is a plausible answer and it does not depend on Non Paternal Events. I looked back at the earliest records we have for Wheatons (& Hancock) in Devon. I have added all possible spellings although some may be totally unrelated. Surprisingly there are no Whiddons which later show up as a prominent family in Chagford. (so far there is no DNA relationship between any Wheaton groups and Whiddons or Wootons). you can see that there are clusters by spelling and locale which may account very the different DNA signatures.
List of Earliest Records
1332 Richard Hanecock Esse Abbatus (Ashford)
1332 Thomas de Whitton, South Molton
1288, 1298, 1302-20 Roger Le Whetene aka Roger Bevyn le Wheten, Mayor of Exeter
1332 Gilbert le Wetene Exeter
1332 William Wetedene, Abbotskerwell
1332 William Whetene, Halberton
1376 Alexander Leygh aka Alexander Wheton, Tiverton
1367 John Whetene, Mayor of Dartmouth
1332 Roger atte Wettene, Newton St. Petrock
1332 William Whetena, Woolfardisworthy
1332 Simeon Wadeyn, Bradworthy
1332 Richard Waddon, Colyton
1332 Roger de Wadetun, Berre Ferrers
1332 Roger de Weydon, Meshaw
1332 Robert Wytoun South Taunton, (near Widdon Down)1332 Robert de Wottone, Exeter
1332 Henry de Wooton, Sidbury
1332 William de Wooton, Woodbury
1332 Gilbert De Wottone, Torbryan with Denbury
1332 Roger de Wottone & Walter de Wotton, Shebbear
Just so you understand my thinking I have included any name:
That begins with "W" or "Wh", any vowel next, followed by a "t," "tt," "d" or "dd," another vowel, and an "n"
This excludes Robert de Wibbeton of Kenn, Adam & Robert Withyete (White) of North Molton, Gilbert Whetepayne (Whetpaine) of Teignmouth, Alan de Wabeden (prob. related to William de Wabeden of Abbey de Fecamp in Norman France) of Holsworthy and William Witweye (Whiteway) of Colyton.
But even with these exclusions you can see how many possible progenitors we might have and also how very different names and families could have sorted themselves into the names we see today: Wheaton, Wheadon, Whitton, Wooton. There does not seem to be any consistency with regard to spelling and general location.
The map below is interactive. You may zoom in and out and clicking on a marker will yield more info. I am entering all records as follows:
Points with a dot are the earliest (1300's) with colors based on spelling and geography.
Points without a dot are records from 1400-1800's
Thumb tack icons are DNA test proven.
Colors may change with more DNA results or other information, they are somewhat arbitrary.
The following rough outline of Devon's history is also helpful in showing how many different cultures have added to the gene pool from which our various Wheatons descend.
A Very Rough History of Southwest England