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Even from the start, difficulties were met in identifying the Witheridge Manors, but, with the help of notes of the Revd. J A S Castlehow, Vicar of Witheridge for 40 years from 1925, and a much-respected local historian, most of the problems were resolved.

The King has a manor called Wiriga, which Githa held in the time of Edward the Confessor.
*Witheridge was Wiriga (now celebrated in the street name Wiriga Way), and probably included Combe (11), Cannington, Betham, Hole and Yeo (the area around Yeo Copse), as well as the land where the village now stands. The Domesday Book says the lands of two Saxon thanes had been added to the manor since the Conquest, these were Woodington and Henceford, now in Thelbridge.
*Odeordi represents Adworthy and Hellinghayes.
*Bradeforda, one of two manors of the same name, refers to Bradford Tracy which, as well as Bradford Barton, contained the lands of Leat, Downe, North Coombe, Pillivan, and Foxdon. Toredona had been added, and this probably equates to Rundon, which had possibly just been carved out of the moor.
*the other Bradeforda almost certainly means Menchine, as this was once known as Menchine Bradford.
*Draheforda is clearly Drayford, and, from the size of the holding, could have included the outlier of Little Witheridge as well as lands in the present parish of Thelbridge.
*Revd Castlehow adds the manor of Ratdona which he cites as being West Yeo.
*the manor of Labera is Essebeare, together with Rowden, Grendon, Broadridge and Newhouse.
*Welisedinge probably represents Wilson and Heiffers.
*Rev. Castlehow also includes the manor of Hilla which, he asserts, refers to Hilltown and Colleton.
*Derta is the name of three Domesday manors in the Hundred of Witheridge, of which one can firmly be established as Dart Raffe.
*another Derta was probably based on Queen Dart and included Malson, Ford Down, Newland, Rose Moor and Elworthy.
*the remaining Derta was held by a man called Theobald, who also owned three small manors called Wesforda, or Washford, so the Rev Castlehow has suggested that his property included Upcott, Eastway, Westway, Marchweeke and the outliers of Yeatheridge and the 'South Quarter', which included Stourton and Westcott.

1196 : William Brewer appears as Lord of the Manor from whom it appears to have passed by Dowry to: Fitzpain, Chideock, Botreaux, Courtenay.

Robert Fitzpain was the brother and Heir of Robert de Poles, whose widow was known as Alice Brewer, thought to be the sister of William Brewer the Elder. After the death of William Brewer the younger the Manor of Witheridge did not appear in the Brewer property list.

The following lists the names of all the manors, feudal tenures and spurious manors which will be found in the main lists of Devon manors for Witheridge. It should be noted that there will almost certainly be no manorial documents for the early manors (those whose courts did not sit after 1500).


Adworthy (e)
Bradford (e)
Bradford Tracy
Dart Ralph (e)
Dart Tracy (e)
Drayford (e)
Essebeare (e)
Freemancott (e)
Grendon (e)
Rowden (e)
Wilson (e) Witheridge
Witheridge Cannington, or Witheridge Rectory
Yeo, West (e)

Abbreviation used: (e) Early: Signifies a manor found in feudal lists (e.g. Testa de Nevill, Feudal Aids) but not in any context which proves manorial status after 1500.

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So how big were the Witheridge manors? Any idea of exact acreages must be forgotten as the Domesday manors give areas in "land for x number of ploughs", and each plough is generally taken to cover anything between 100 and 200 acres. As such, the sizes given below are for 150 acre ploughs. The Witheridge manors varied greatly in size as one would expect. For example, Adworthy and Essebeare had about 75 acres of arable land, while the combined holding of Bradford Tracy and Rundon was about 700 acres, and Drayford and Witheridge followed closely with approximately 600 acres each. The Domesday Book also gives acreage of meadow, pasture, and woodland as well as arable land, and the only notable figures in the Witheridge totals are the 100 acres of Woodland in the manor of Drayford, and the 100 acres of pasture at Hill. As far as animals are concerned, no one seems able to explain the numbers given in the document as, in some cases; even half a sheep is recorded. Perhaps it is because the figures represent a tax assessment rather than an indication of stock on the properties. Probably the best way to use the information is to compare the numbers given for the different manors. This way we find that Wilson had the most cattle, followed by Bradford Tracy, which had the most pigs. On the seven manors were animals where recorded sheep are the most plentiful, with 26 being given for Witheridge and 20 each for Bradford Tracy and the Washford Dart? Goats are only mentioned in three cases; the Washford Dart had 25, Bradford Tracy had 11, and Essebeare 5.

Probably the most annoying and difficult statistics that concerning people. The only figures we have are given as the heads of households and, even then, they are not all listed. We have no people listed for the Manor of Essebeare, now that could be because they worked on the manor of Queen Dart, but more likely they were not recorded. Slaves, that is those people who had no land and worked exclusively for others, were widespread on the manors, with Queen Dart having three. Of course, those three represent families and not individuals, so there were possibly 15 or 20 individuals. Perhaps another surprising fact is that the manor of Witheridge did not contain the greatest number of families that Honour falling to Bradford Barton and Queen Dart. Altogether there appear to have been 56 families counted on the Witheridge manors. Each would probably have consisted of husband, wife, and an average of three children. So, in total, we could expect just over 200 people in these manors. We must also remember that there were no schools, so as soon as the children were capable of performing work, from the age of 6 or 7, he or she was out in the fields tending animals or crops. Therefore apart from babies and toddlers, everyone would have been contributing to the local economy, that is to say, the Lord of the Manors pocket.

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Last Edited 03/07/2006    Copyright © 2000-2006 Witheridge

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