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History of the parish of Sheviock, Cornwall

by Lt. Col. Gerard Ainslie Kempthorne

Glasgow. Begg, Kennedy & Elder, 1934

cup of java

This material is very interesting for Courtenay and Dauney family history, and posting here seems to be a good way to share it as the copy at the NY Public Library is in such poor shape that only a limited amount of single-page copying is allowed. I searched the net for info on the publisher, the author and the title with no luck.

I suggest before starting that you open another browser window and load a map of the registration district of St Germans showing Sheviock, for reference.

map placing Sheviock


The parish of Sheviock occupies the neck of the peninsula which, comprising also the parishes of Antony, S. John, Maker, Rame, and Millbrook, forms the western protection of Plymouth Harbour. It is bounded northwards by the tidal waters of the Lynher, east and west by Antony and S. Germans, and south by Whitsand Bay. The origin of the name has been variously given. Borlase connected it with S. Feock, a contemporary of S. Patrick; another suggestion is chy-ok, "the dwelling by the river," which would certainly be appropriate. In a charter of 1319 it is spelt Chevyoke; in 1314, Shiviok; in Feudal Aids (1303), Saviek; in 1288, Shevyoke; in Doomsday, Savioch. The local pronunciation is Shivok.

The houses centre round the post-office at Crafthole, round the church, and Port Wrinkle, but farms dispersed on the hillsides also form small nuclei, each with its group of cottages. The population is 529 and the acreage 2433. Two considerable river creeks extend into the parish, and their tributary brooks carve out some deep and charming valleys. Pasture is good, and the manor was once reckoned the third richest in the Duchy. Crafthole stands 300 feet above the sea; on the shore below is Port Wrinkle, which has a small modern hotel, a coastguard station, and the remains of a pilchard cellar. A tiny harbour, formed by heaped-up boulders and a jetty, affords shelter for such fishing boats as are capable of being dragged up high and dry during the winter storms. In the seventeenth century the population of Crafthole was described as living mainly by fishing, but, since the decline of the pilchard industry, all this is changed. The parish, however, still finds recruits for the Royal Navy, as it has done from the earliest times, and provides a home for some of them in retirement.

One of the early inhabitants was dug up at Trethill about fifty years ago. The skeleton lay on its side, the legs doubled up, and the arms hugging the knees. By its side was a small earthenware vessel. The body had been inclosed in a tomb consisting of four thick slabs of slate and a broad stone cover. Similar interments at Harlyn Bay are ascribed to the later Iron Age. [ R.I.C. Journal, 1881. The kist was 3' 3" long, 3' broad, and 2' 9" deep. This is described in the Victoria History of Cornwall as a genuine example of "contracted burial." ]

About 300 yards from the river crossing to Earth, on Pendyne (The Fortress Headland), and at a height of 200 feet, is the segment of a small circular earthwork. An apparently similar one, south of Perdredda Wood, about 2.5 miles westward, has a diameter of about 250 feet.

Between the fifth century, when S. Germanus sailed up the Lynher creek, and the day when, with the best intentions, but under an erroneous impression, a small man-of-war belonging to our Oldest Ally, planted a shell in the parish, the neighbourhood saw something of English History. Maker was traditionally a seat of the Cornish chieftains before the Conquest; S. Germans in the tenth century was both the site of an important priory and the ecclesiastical capital of Cornwall. In the year 997, the Danes entered the Hamoaze and, after plundering the land of the Abbot of Tavistock, sailed up the Tamar and sacked the abbey. The peninsula was indeed constantly exposed to the incursions of pirates, for whom the river inlets formed a convenient refuge. There is reason also to believe that at one time the local inhabitants were not averse to taking a hand themselves. The Algerine corsairs were a menace even up to the middle of the seventeenth century when, for some days, there was a squadron off Looe. There are stories of persons kidnapped by them and carried off to Morocco. The French are credited with the destruction of the ancient township of West Stonehouse under Mount Edgcombe, and in 1338 they burned the village of Plymouth. In the reign of Edward the Second, the lord of the manor of Sheviock, levied troops in the West for the Scottish wars, and it is not unlikely that some of his tenants fought at Bannockburn, or sailed under his successor in some of the ships manned at Looe and Millbrook for the siege of Calais. In 1485, Henry of Richmond made his first landing at Kingsand. The Civil War came very near our doors. In the early days of the Great War our people watched the long line of ships which brought the Canadian contingent to England from the same cliffs where their ancestors had followed, though with very different feelings, the course of the Great Armada through Whitsand Bay.

Besides the church and the fourteenth century tithe barn, there are interesting relics of antiquity in the two wellpreserved Latin crosses, one standing in Crafthole village, the other at the junction of Horse Pool with the Crafthole - S. Germans road. The first, which stands on a stone pedestal, is the most worn by time. The suggestion may perhaps be ventured that it was set up in the eighth year of Edward II, when the lord of the manor was granted a market and an annual fair in the village. It is about three feet high. The other, which used to be known as "Stump Cross," stands 5 feet 6 inches. It has chamfered edges, and may be of more recent date. Both are illustrated in Blight's "Ancient Crosses of Cornwall." Crowdstone, the designation of a field west of Crafthole, near the S. Germans' border, suggests the possible existence of a third cross in the parish. Another relic of pre-reformation times is Lady Well, a spring situated above the quarry, just off the main Liskeard road. That it was regarded once as a holy well is rendered probable both by the name and by a tradition in the Rev. H. C. Glanville's time that the water for baptisms used to be brought thence to the church. On the cliffs above Port Wrinkle there is a venerable dove-cot of plain circular form, which has the appearance of belonging to the fourteenth century.

The three main sub-divisions of the lower Devonian strata are found within the boundaries of the parish. The Flora, if not including any rare or remarkable species, is profuse, and generally representative of Cornwall. The terrain varies, and, in an afternoon, the botanist can range from the shore and the sea cliffs to the meadow land round Crafthole, and down to the damp woods and the salt marshes of the Sheviock creek, finding characteristic specimens in each.

CHAPTER I. Endowments of Tavistock Abbey. Doomsday Survey. The Dawneys.

When Ordgar Earl of Devon founded Tavistock Abbey in the year 981, part of the endowment consisted of land lying between the Lynher river and the sea. This included one hide in Sheviock, one in Rame, and half a hide in Antony. In the time of Edward the Confessor, this land, comprising apparently what was afterwards the parishes of Sheviock, Rame, with part of Antony and S. Johns, was held under the Abbey by one Ermenhald. William the Conqueror gave Maker and part of Antony and S. Johns, together with other large tracts of land west of the Tamar, to his half-brother, Robert, Comte de Mortain. Maker was held under him by Lord Valletort, the guardian of Trematon Castle. The possessions of the Church in these parts remained undisturbed. The Abbot of Tavistock continued to hold his land, and the Bishop of Exeter's manor of Cuddenbeke in S. Germans remained independent of the Duchy of Cornwall.

The reference to Sheviock in Doomsday may be translated as follows : -- "The Church of Tavestock holds Savioch. Ermenhald held it of the Church in King Edward's time. It was taxed for one hide. The arable land is nine carucates; in demesne there are two carucates, and four serfs, six villeins, and seventeen borderers, with three ploughs. Therein are thirty acres of pasture, and sixty of woods. Former value 6o/-, and so now."

The hide, supposed to have been originally the amount of land necessary to support a family, has been put down at 120 acres. A carucate was the land that could be ploughed by a team of eight oxen in a season.

The parish church is mentioned in a papal bull of 1193 quoted in Oliver's Monasticon when Pope Celestine confirmed the possession of Savyocke and the church of the Blessed Mary there founded, as well as Anton and its churches [i.e., those of West Antony and S. Johns], to Tavistock Abbey. According to the Testa de Nevile, the Abbot in 1228 held 6.5 fees in Rame and Sevioc.

With the chief lord of the fee the inhabitants generally had little concern. The under-lord was the real power in the parish and presented to the living. But in 1292 the Abbot appeared in person, having in his train William de Falgham, Nicholas de la Hole, Waren de Ince and others. Elizabeth, widow of William Dawney, was then lady of the manor. There had probably been some dispute over dues owing to the chief lord on William's death, or possibly over the guardianship of her son. At anyrate it ended in the Abbot carrying away the goods out of the lady's house, whereof she made complaint to the King. The result we do not know, but the trouble between the family and the Abbey had been apparently amicably settled in the next generation, when, the Abbot of that date was caught with two other Abbots, Sir John Dawney, and John Dawney, "le uncle," poaching on Dartmoor! [ Calendars of Patent Rolls. Edward I and III. ]

The Dawneys, a family of Norman descent, are of interest to us as they seem to have been the last, if not the only lords of the manor to reside in Sheviock. Richard de Alneto (the Latin form of the name) held four knights' fees under the Abbot of Tavistock in the reign of Henry I. In 1270 William Dawney had land in Sheviock and S. Johns, and presented to both rectories. Henry de Alneto is mentioned in connection with holdings in Sheviock circa 1284. In the course of four generations they considerably increased their possessions. Sir John Dawney, who died in Edward the Third's reign, held, besides Schevyok with Croftilberwe (Crafthole), the manors of Anton (West(?) Antony), Tregantel (in Antony), Landilp (Landulph), and Porthloo, rents in Trelowya (Trelay in Antony), East Antony, Rame, S. Erney, and the advowsons of Schevyok, Landilp, and S. Johns. [ For his other Cornish lands and his Devon and Somerset estates vide Calendars of Inquisitions 20 Edward III. ]

Nicholas Dawney. Son of William Dawney and grandson of William Dawney the elder, in a list of Feudal Aids dated 1303 is shown as liable for the provision of a man-at-arms on account of his holding in Saviek, another for Tregantel, as well as one for the three manors of Trecara, Trelurnal and Cherlenton. John of Rame also held a knight's fee in Rame under Sheviock. In 1308 the rector of S. Johns was named William Dawney.

Soon after coming into his inheritance, Nicholas went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where it is possible he may have done some fighting against the infidels. [ As pointed out by Dr. Round, Burke's description of Nicholas as a Crusader must be inaccurate. His pilgrimage is referred to, however, in the Calendars of Patent Rolls, August 13, 1309. There is a curious reference in Leland to the craze for pilgrimage in Cornwall about this date. "1322. Hoc anno pastores ovium de Cornubia et premaxima multitudo mulierum et infantum transierunt in diversis locis Angliae versus Terrain Sanctam credentes certive dictam terrain subiugasse et inimicos Christi destruxisse. Sed in diversis locis in partibus transmarinis propter transgressiones in patibulo sunt suspensi, aliqui incarcerati alii ut stulti furtive ad sua recesserunt." (Collectanea I, 274) ] In his absence his mother presented William de Trelouny to S. Johns rectory. In 1313 he was a pilgrim at Santiago. In 1312 he had been granted right of free warren over his lands, and in 1314 (8 Edward II) permission for himself and his heirs to hold two weekly markets in their manor of Shiviok in Croftilberwe, one on Friday and the other on Wednesday; also a yearly fair on the vigil, the feast, and the morrow of S. James, with the amends of the assize of bread and ale from the men and tenants of the manor.

The right of market and fair was one much esteemed owing to the revenue derived from tolls, fees for standings, etc. In the matter of bread and ale, the manor court performed, very successfully apparently, the duties now carried out under the Ministry of Health in checking the adulteration of food. The same year he was commissioned to raise troops in the West for the King's Scottish campaign. In 1317 the coast was troubled by one, John Dun, and the men of his society, Scottish mariners, who committed divers piracies on merchants coming to our shores, and he was ordered to requisition a ship and crew from either Exeter, Sutton, Plymouth, Looe, Fowey, or Bridgwater, and join Geoffrey de Modesworth, who had a galley, in apprehending him.

Most of Nicholas Dawney's commissions were connected with Devon. It is probable therefore that he resided in that county, where he held the manors of Godryngton, Norton, Cornwode, and other estates. Amid the revolutions and counter-revolutions which distracted the country during the reign of Edward II, when it must have been difficult for any man to discern where his duty lay, he seems to have been consistent in his loyalty to the personal service of his undeserving sovereign. In the year 1321, following the temporary eclipse of the Despensers, the King's favourites, he shared the exile of the elder Despenser overseas. (Calendars of Close Rolls, May 1330) When the King was again for a time his own master, Nicholas came home, and in 1324 was again on the Commission of Array for Devon. In 1327, when Edward II had been dethroned, and Queen Isabella and Mortimer were in power, he adhered to the Duke of Kent, the late King's brother, and when in 1330 the latter fell a victim to the Queen's intrigues, he was for a short time under arrest. He died in the sixth year of Edward III, being survived by his widow Joan, daughter of Walter Langdon, and his son John. (I.P.M. 26 Sep, 6 Edw III)


CHAPTER II. The Fifteenth Century. The Courtenays. Inhabitants 1521. The Attainder.

Our knowledge of events in Sheviock during this period is confined to a few scattered references. A computus roll of the rectory made in the 12th year of Henry IV gives the names of the principal farms and their tenants. John Sturr was at Trewrickle; John Bake of S. Germans held Sconner, Tredis, and Trewin; Roger Whiteforde was at Poole; Robert Blerok at Blarrick and Carslake; Simon Odiorne at Tredrossel; Peter Pyrok at Sheviock Down; Roger Campell at Blaser; Robert Burnard and Roger Whiteforde are described as holding tenements at Trethill and Liskawne (Truthell and Launstawen). One, Ralph Icory, apparently a farmer of some standing, is also mentioned.

Emmeline's son was Edward Courtenay, third Earl of Devon, Admiral of the King's Fleet in the Western Seas, and Earl Marshall of England under Richard II. He made over his Cornish property during his lifetime to his son and heir, Hugh, for a yearly rent of L50. This included the manors of Schevyoke, Anton, Tregantell, Treloya, Porthloo, Trelugaun, Landylp, Legh Durrant, Landreyne, Northtile, a moiety of the manors of Treverbyn and Tregamur, the boroughs of Portpigham and Croftholburgh, lands in Seintaustell, Lamana, Litelderyoke, and Biryco, and the advowsons of Schevyoke, S. John, Northtile, and the chapel at Lamana. [Calendar of Close Rolls 1420]. He died in1419. Sir Hugh Courtenay, the fourth Earl, devised Sheviock and other lands to pay his father's debts. In 1428 the Knight's Fee in Sheviock, formerly held by the Dawneys, was held half by the Earl of Devon and half by Sir Thomas Arundell, Stephen Trenewith, William Halywell, William Baake, Robert Clarke, John Serokysden, Richard Smith, William Rossall, John Brempdon, Richard Stacy, and William Clarke [Feudal Aids]. Sir Thomas Arundell married Margaret, daughter of Sir Waren L'Erchdekne, lady of East Antony, of whom there is a fine brass in Antony church. Bake, the seat of the Moyles, is in S. Germans. Serokysden (a name found also as Creulesdone) is Scraesden in Antony. Richard Smith was one of the tamily of Tregonnock in S. Germans, who also held Liscawne in our parish.

Hugh Courtenay, who died in 1422, married Ann, sister of John, Earl of Shrewsbury. That lady died in 1440, when her estates included Sheveok, Anton, Croftoleburgh, and Tregantell. [ The tenants of the fee in Tregantle in 1428 were Richard Laurans, Thomas Freades, William Benalva, Richard Wolesden, John Brese, Anthony Hewe, and others. The fee of Rame was divided between Radegand Durneford, Robert Bastard, William Osseford, William Creffel, Stephen Treville, and John Hurde. ] Thomas, the fifth Earl, sided with the Lancastrians in the Wars of the Roses. His son Thomas, who succeeded in 1458, led his tenants at the battle of Towton, where he was taken prisoner and subsequently brought to the block. The same year (1462) Shevyok, Antony, and Croftholl were granted by Edward IV with other lands to his uncle William Nevile, Earl of Kent, with remainder, should he die childless, to the Bishop of Exeter and others for 12 years. He died in 1463 and on January 30 a grant was made to Renfrid Arundell, the King's servitor, and his heir's male of "Shevyok, Antony, and the advowson of the church there, late of Thomas Earl of Devon, not exceeding the value of L4o." This was Sir Renfrid Arundell of Tremodret of the Lanherne family, nephew of Sir Thomas Arundell of Tolverne above mentioned. Sir Renfrid died in 1468. His sons died young. On September 4, 1464, the three manors were granted to George Duke of Clarence on the expiry of 12 years from the death of the Earl of Kent. In 1474 he seems to have entered into possession, but four years later he met his death in the Tower. About this period the north aisle of the church was built. Henry VII restored the Courtenay lands, and revived the title in the person of Edward, son of Sir Hugh Courtenay of Boconnoc, Emmeline Dawney's great grandson, who became Marquis of Exeter. [ Patent dated Oct. 26, 1486. ] Among the manors restored were Sheviok, Crofthole and Westanton. [ These grants are all in the Calendars of Patent Rolls. It is not always easy to see whether Anton is meant to imply the manor of East or West Antony or both. The manor of West Antony, of which part of the lands were in S. John's parish, appears to have descended through the Dawneys and Courtenays down to the attainder of 1538, and with it the patronage of S. John's rectory. Sir John Dawney held half a knight's fee in Estanton [Calendar of Inquisitions, 1346], and his successors held rents there, but in the thirteenth century the manor is dealt with by the family of Haccombe, vide Mr. Rowe's transcripts of the Feet of Fines Cornwall--" Oct. 20, 1289. Stephen de Haccombe granted to Cecilia, who was the wife of Jordan de Haccombe, the manors of Penpol (Quethiock) and Anton and the advowson of the church of Quethiock, with reversion, in case of her death, to Stephen." Also "Nov. 12, 1234. Robert de Pyl (he seems to have been rector of Torbrian) granted to Stephen de Haccombe and his wife Margery, the manor of Yestanton and the passage across the Lynher at Yestanton (the Antony Passage) with reversion, if they die childless, to Cecilia, daughter of Jordan of Haccombe." The manor passed by marriage to the Archdeknes, and in the same way to the Carews. The latter acquired West Antony from the Duchy in 1798. (Lysons) ] He died in 1509 in which year a royal bailiff, William Heywode, yeoman of the guard, was appointed for Sheviock. Edward's son, William, who married Katharine, daughter of Edward IV, was imprisoned as a possible claimant to the throne, but was released on the accession of Henry VIII. He died in 1512 without having his titles and honours restored. In 1514 his wife's trustees sold all the timber in Sheviock wood, lying between the Greenwaye and Fenton Ogglake, to Master William Hontyngdon of Plymouth and others [Antony House deed]. Henry Marquis of Exeter, Katharine's son, was fully restored in honours and estates, but he and his kinsmen the Poles were champions of the old religion and he openly expressed his disapproval of Thomas Cromwell and all his works. "Knaves rule about the King," he declared, "I trust to give them a buffet one day." He was not allowed the chance, being promptly arrested and beheaded (1538).

The Courtenay estates went to the crown. The King sent down one of his footmen, Richard Tredery, as bailiff of Sheviock, and two years later presented a Welshman, Reece Lewys, to the living. A muster roll of the 12th year of Henry VIII gives what must be a fairly complete list of the inhabitants.

Muster Roll 12 Henry VIII 1521. Misc. Books Aug. Office. Vols 77, 78.
The lady of the manor is stated to be Katharine Countess of Devon and the income L16 per armum. The rectory was worth L28. The rector [Owen ap Davi] was non-resident, and paid the curate L6 a year. The latter's name is undecipherable. His goods were valued at 10/-.
The following paid taxes on land as under: --
Richard Troblefylde L4/10/0
Edward Layne L0/10/0
Richard Bond L2/0/0
Thomas Hoblyn L0/10/0
John Brendon L0/10/0
Robert Smythe L0/6/0
Edward .... L0/10/0
Wilmot Power L0/12/0
Richard Yorke L0/10/0
John Bennet L0/6/8
John Lescarne L1/0/0

The following were taxed for their goods, the value of which was as under. The arms and armour in their possession is also stated : --

Walter Harry £ 6, John Harry 40/-, John Josep (a coat and sallet) £ 3, John Sargent (a sallet and splents) £ 4, Lawrence Sargent £ 2, Robert Lascawen (full harness) £ 10, Roger Wydall 4o/-, William Matthew (full harness), £ 10, Edward .... £ 5, William Hancocke £ 2, John Burgys 40/-, Olyver Pope £ 4, William Truscott £ 2, Richard Bone 40/-, William Yorke 40/-, John Chobe 40/-, John Braye 40/-, John Rundell £ 4, Roger Kynge £ 3, John Wyleforde (full harness) £ 20, Thomas Spyller £ 5, John Hancocke £ 2, Richard Hancocke £ 2, John Taylor £ 2, Thomas Odyorne £ 2, John Peter £ 2, Norys Davy £ 2, Richard Truscott £ 2, John Davy £ 5, Jerry Hancocke (full harness) £ 12, Thomas Taylor 40/-, William Chobe (brygonders and sallet) £ 6, William Bray (sallet and bill) 40/-, John Hancocke (full harness) £ 12, Richard Peter (a cote and splents) £ 6, John Grylls £ 8, John Bond £ 6, John Davy (full harness) £ 10, William Bone £ 8, John Bennett (cote, sallet, and bill) £ 4.
[Notes. -- The sallett was a light globular helmet, splints were strips of armour specially used for the protection of the elbows, brygonder was body armour composed of iron rings stitched on canvas or leather, the coat was a linen or leather jacket quilted with interlaced rings or overlapping plates of steel. The bill had a concave blade mounted on a long wooden handle.]

The obligation of all freemen between the ages of 15 and 60 capable of bearing arms, to turn out at the King's summons to defend their country goes back to Saxon times, though the earlier kings, for a more permanent and trustworthy force relied mainly on their military dependants to whom they had granted land on the condition of military service. In both cases, as a matter of convenience, service by deputy in lieu of personal attendance and the summons of a quota only were allowed from early times. In addition to the men found by the general and feudal levies, which it appears could only be properly called upon for a limited period and for home service, soldiers, that is to say paid men, were raised by indenture between the King and some of his subjects. Edward the Third's army in France comprised all three classes. In the reign of Henry the Eighth, the general levy was still a reality. Each county was required to maintain a quota of men, who were to be trained, armed, and exercised at the charge of the parishes. The parish arms were usually kept in the church. During the reign of Charles I, commissions of musters were used for the purpose of exacting contributions in money and arms from the counties, and so taxing them without Parliamentary intervention.

In 1541 Sheviock manor was included in the dowry of Queen Katharine Howard [ Letters and Papers Henry VIII ]. In the Valor Ecclesiasticus made 27 Henry VIII, the great and lesser tithes of the rectory with the agistment of the glebe were valued at L26 14s. 6d. per annum.

On June 30, 1553, the lordship and manor of Sheviock were granted to Sir Walter Mildmay, Surveyor-General of the Court of Augmentation [ Calendars of Close Rolls ], but this did not include Crafthole, which had already been transferred with West Antony, Tregantle, and a number of other Cornish manors, to the Duchy of Cornwall in exchange for the manor of Wallingford. Sheviock was sold to Thomas Carew of Antony, Esq., in 1558 [ Lysons ].

On the attainder of the Marquis of Exeter, his son Edward, aged 8, was kept in prison; but on the accession of Queen Mary he was released, created Earl of Devon, and a part of his father's lands, including the borough of Crafthole, were restored to him. Soon afterwards he came under suspicion of a design to marry Princess Elizabeth and put her on the throne. Leaving England in disgrace, he died at Padua in 1566, when his heirs were found to be the descendants of his great aunts, daughters of Sir Hugh Courtenay of Haccombe [ Vivian. "Visitations of Cornwall." ]. Crafthole seems to have reverted to the Duchy.

End of our excerpt, at least for now.


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