Buckland Filleigh - A Continuous Thread

By Madeline Jane Taylor
Available from the author at 11, Athol Road, Bramhall, Stockport, SK7 1BR
Price £12-50+£2-50 P&P.(£7-50 abroad)
Any profits will go to the Parish Church.


The book covers the history of this fascinating parish from early times until the present day. From Saxon times until 1952, well within living memory, almost the whole parish was in Buckland Manor, which for almost 400 years was owned by the The Fortescue family. The author has drawn from many original documents including wills, the Parish registers, Poor Law records, Census records, Tax Lists from the 11th, 14th 15th 16th and 17th Centuries and 19th and 20th century newspaper reports. She has also quoted from some medieval deeds, which date from the mid 13th century, and are possibly unique. The cover of the book is taken from a watercolour of the Church and graveyard by a local resident.

The following is from a review in the Parish magazine "Jane Taylor's much anticipated book on Buckland Filleigh history is an extremely good read and is packed with fascinating information about the parish. The book is such a good read in fact, that it should come with a warning: "Caution! This book is hard to put down". Anyone who lives in one of the older houses in the parish will naturally turn straight to the detailed histories of their home and the families who lived there; but there's much more to the book than that. It covers the history of the parish from the very earliest times to the present day, exploring the day to day detail of people's lives, and making connections with the wider history of the country which sets everything into context. It's the little details that really bring this book to life and for those of us who are relatively new to the parish it gives everything a greater depth."

The following is from the review in the Devon Family History Society Journal "The author obviously has a great feel for the parish of her ancestors and has produced a book full of interest and fascinating insights into the lives of various inhabitants and their properties. There are plenty of good photographs and illustrations to support the text and the whole is a very worthwhile addition to the bookshelf of anyone interested in Buckland Filleigh and the immediate area."


Why Buckland Filleigh?
Explanations, Acknowledgements

Chapter 1
Long Long Ago " The People of the Land"
Domesday 1086, The Saxon Farm, The Lay Subsidy 1332, Medieval Deeds

Chapter 2
The 16th & 17th Centuries
The Tudor Period, Subsidy Rolls 1524,1544,1581, Muster Roll 1569, The CivilWar & Commonwealth, Protestation Return 1642, The Hearth Tax 1674

Chapter 3
Lords of the Manor 1243-1952 Santon, Filleigh, Fortescue, 19thC.Changes, Browne Family, Buckland House

Chapter 4
Hartleigh Risdon Family, Smithshill, Way

Chapter 5
18th& 19th Centuries
Society & Class, Yeomanry, Farming, Land Tax, Directory1850, 19th C. Estate Sales, Field Names, Dwellings, Lanes& Paths, Census Analysis

Chapter 6
Parish Officials and Affairs
Illegitimacy 1626-1837, Apprenticeship 1806-1840, Settlement Rights, Crime, A Healthy Place to Live

Chapter 7
Eastern Farms and Dwellings
Bradleigh, Higher Bradleigh, St Clair, Duckpool, The Mill, Modbury

Chapter 8
Filleighmoor Gate
Ashburton House, Filleighmoorgate House, The Blacksmith, The Smithy, Matthew & John Arscott

Chapter 9
West Heanton Celtic Settlement? Saxon Farm, Davy'sWest Heanton, Pipers West Heanton, Balkwill Family, Hembury, Hembury Gate, Higher West Heanton, Lower West Heanton

Chapter 10
Western Farms and Dwellings Chalhanger, Grasscott, Addiport, Harrislow, Galmington, Awsland, Glebe House- Tithes, Woodhead, Vanstone family

Chapter 11
The School Log Books.

Chapter 12
The 20th Century
1901 Census, Newspaper Articles 1896-1912, World War 1, Memories, World War 2, 1952 Estate Sale, Farming in the1940's & 1950's, The Parish Today

1) Directories 1906, 1890, 1923, 1930, 2) Fortescue Plaque 3) Parish Officials 1806-1840, 4) Long-lived Residents, 5) Long-Staying families. 6) Vanstone family tree


Alphabetical List of Surnames recorded in the Book.

Below is an extract from the book;

Why Buckland Filleigh?

"For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place"

"The Parish is celebrated for its beautiful woods, little ivy mantled church above the lake, and its commanding views of Exmoor, Dartmoor, and the Caredon and Warbstow hills in Cornwall."
White's Directory 1890.

Several years ago, I began to research my Family History. My mother was born at Filleighmoor Gate in 1909, but it was some time before I realised just how closely my roots were associated with Buckland Filleigh……
I have always been interested in Social History and gradually I began to collect information about Buckland Filleigh. This book is an attempt to share my findings. I realised that although there had been a steady improvement through the ages, in both living standards, and farming practises, it was during the last 50 years that the most dramatic changes had taken place in the Parish. Buckland Manor had survived into the mid Twentieth Century. This is unusual, but now the way of life associated with the Manor, which had continued generation after generation, has disappeared. The mixed pattern of farming, using small fields surrounded by high banks topped with a hedge, which I knew as a child, was the continuation of an agricultural system going back more than a thousand years. One hundred years ago every one living in the Parish was involved, directly or indirectly in farming and/or the Manor. Even fifty years ago most people living in Buckland Filleigh worked on the land, or serviced those who did. That has all changed. This way of life needed to be recorded before it was irretrievably lost. History is not only a tale of kings and battles, but of ordinary people living out their lives in their particular environment.

This book, by its very nature, is a personal journey. It is also I hope a serious piece of historical research. Wherever possible I have used primary sources, the Parish Registers, Medieval Deeds, Tax Lists, Wills, Census Records and many others. I have been as accurate as possible in recording the information I have provided, and where I have speculated this will be obvious. One of the most difficult tasks has been to decide "what to put where". The history of a community does not divide itself into neat parcels…….

I have been fascinated to " meet" so many of Buckland Filleigh's past dwellers: Johel, the 13th Century smith, and Matthew Arscott, the 19th Century blacksmith; John, William, and John, practising their archery in the reign of the first Queen Elizabeth, to protect the Parish from the Spaniards; William Fortescue in the 18th Century, Lord of the Manor, friend of politicians and poets, Master of the Rolls and Privy Councillor; Joanna Balkwill later in the 18th Century with her silk cloak and her quilt made out of her maiden gown; five year old Bernard Vaughan watching the candles lit at the children's Christmas Party at Buckland House in 1929; and so very many more. I hope that you also enjoy finding out about this ordinary, but also quite extraordinary North Devon Parish……. .

Documents relating to Buckland Filleigh
1) Entry for Buckland Filleigh in Doomsday Book of 1086
2) Medieval Deeds 13th 14th & 15th C. (translated from Latin by Parson Powell)
3) Subsidy tax Lists of 1524, 1544 and 1581
4) Elizabethan Muster Roll of 1569
5) Protestation Return of 1642
6) Hearth Tax of 1674
7) Terrier (legal Document)describing the Parsonage, and the tithes due to the Rector 1727
8) Church Seating Plan 18C (possibly earlier)
9) Land Tax 1780 -1832 (certain yrs complete, notes on other entries,)
10) 19C Census (complete for 1851,1871, and 1901, extensive notes on 1841,1861,1881 &1891)
11) Notes on the Estate Sales 1834, 1854,1862,1880
12) Newspaper reports relating to Parish Events 1890 to 1910
13) Wills relating to the Fortescue Family
14) Other Wills relating to Parish residents (including the Vanstone, Balkwill, Risdon, & Rawleigh Families)
15) Notes on Monumental Inscriptions in the Churchyard
16) Notes taken from Log Books of Buckland Filleigh School 1883 to 1939
17) Various miscellaneous documents relating to Parish Families Microfiches of the Parish Register 1626 to 1837 Transcription of Parish Register 1626 to 1960s (Transcribed by myself)

(Please note that the author is happy to reply to questions that people may have about these documents. Contact details at the top of the page)