This site is a work-in-progress. There is a massive amount to cover. I have included both male and female lines, and some go back 30 generations. Keep coming back for more.
I have numbered the generations working backwards from my own as (1)
EARLY LEES (7)
We can only speculate about the origins of our Lee family. The surname has been traced back to William Lee , who married Sarah Arscott in Doddiscombleigh in 1785. The most plausible baptism for William is the following
1756 William Son of Eleanor Lee – A Bastard August y e 1 st
Drewsteignton is a village high above the River Teign, eight miles upstream from Doddiscombleigh, but nearer to Dunsford, where Sarah Arscott came from.
Eleanor’s baptism has not been found.
We have to ask what she was doing in Drewsteignton at the time of her baby’s birth. If a child was born in a parish, it had the right of settlement there. That meant that it would be a charge on the parish’s poor fund if it fell on hard times. Parish officers were therefore particularly keen to see that unmarried women from other parishes did not bear babies within their boundaries. They would do their best to move them on before the birth.
So it may be that Eleanor had settlement in Drewsteignton. She could have acquired this by having steady employment in the parish, or by being born there.
Assuming that she was in her late teens or twenties when she bore William, there is a family of Lees of the right age. On April 7, 1725 William Lee married Joan Philp in Drewsteignton. They had three daughters baptised there: Mary, 1725, Sarah, 1727 and Joanna, 1730. Mary was married there in 1750.
It could be that Eleanor was a younger daughter of this family, baptised elsewhere.
Or she may have been related to James Lee , ‘sojourner of this parish, but a parishioner of Crediton’, whose banns were called in Drewsteignton in 1760.
There were Lees in Drewsteignton from the early 17 th century onwards. They do not appear at the start of the registers. A number of them are first recorded in the registers about the same time, suggesting that a whole family had moved into the parish, rather than a couple.
The earliest record of them is the burial of John, son of Robert Lee, in 1618. Another burial in 1628, for Joane, wife of Robert Lee, is probably John’s mother.
The 1620s sees a younger generation starting their families. William Lee married Rose Pole and Maud Lee married Simon Arscott. A Robert Lee (not Joane’s husband) and his wife Ann had children baptised there from 1625. In one record this Robert is described as a farrier. There is also a baptism for the son of John Lee. Their relationship to the presumably older Robert and Joan is unknown. Some may be their children.
In the 1630s they were joined by the families of Edmund and Annis Lee.
In 1656 there is a marriage for Willmott Lee and in 1672 for Mary Lee.
The next Lee baptisms are in the 1680s, for the children of Thomas and Joan Lee . By now, they appear to be the only family of Lees left in the parish. It is just possible that William Lee , husband of Joan Philp , is their son, though his baptism does not appear in Drewsteignton. Even more speculatively, Thomas and Joan could be Eleanor’s grandparents.
Next Generation: 6. LEE-ARSCOTT