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Fay Sampson’s Family History

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)



JOHN WHITING was the last of the Whitings to be lord of the manor of Woode in Kentisbeare.[1] He was the third of four sons of Robert Whitinge, who owned estates in five counties, and Isabel Clevedon, herself from a landed family.

The Whiting home was Woode, now Wood Barton, in the parish of Kentisbeare, It stands on a low rise in the fertile red sandstone farmland east of Cullompton, under the Blackdown Hills. It was once a Domesday manor, and had been in the Whiting family for two hundred years.

John was born in the first half of 1474, in the violent reign of Edward IV and the closing years of the War of the Roses. As the third son, he did not grow up expecting to inherit Woode and the rest of his father’s estates. They was destined for his eldest brother George.

Like his younger brother James, he was trained for a career in the wool trade. The family had premises in nearby Cullompton, which was a kersey-making town. Kersey was a twilled woollen cloth for which Devon was famous.

The family also had a town house in London, at Stratford atte Bowe. This was almost certainly brought to the Whitings by John’s grandmother, Agnes Torrell, whose family had property in the parish of St Leonard’s, Stratford, from as early as 1375.

His childhood and teens saw the murder of the imprisoned Henry VI and of the Princes in the Tower, followed by the rule of Richard III, commonly held to be responsible. The defeat and death of Richard on Bosworth Field brought the first Tudor king, Henry VII, to the throne.

In 1497, Cornish rebels marched across Devon on their way to Blackheath to protest about taxes. The Pretender Perkin Warbeck attacked Exeter. The Cornish were crushed by the king’s forces and Warbeck executed.

Despite the violence of this period, Devon’s wool trade was thriving. The power of the town guilds was weakened and the industry increased in the countryside. Tax laws favoured the trade. Landowners like the Whitings would have benefited from this prosperity. The family premises in Cullompton probably formed the basis of John’s career as a wool merchant. He became a member of the Mercers Company of London, to which he was admitted after serving an apprenticeship. He was also a member of the Merchant Staplers of Calais. This was an ancient body which enjoyed exclusive export rights for wool.

John was literate. He had a knowledge of the common law and of the law merchant. In 1500/1 his brother James purchased entry to the Mercers Company of London in lieu of apprenticeship. He may have embarked on a career in trade in partnership with John.


Their father Robert died on 9 Sept 1500.[2]

George, who was by then living in Shaftesbury, was named as heir to most of their father’s estates and manors in Robert’s will. The younger brothers, John and James, were assigned debts, amounting to £50 each, owed to the estate by a kinsman, also called John Whiting. It is unlikely that they ever saw their money.

On 20 Nov 1500, a deed was signed in Shaftesbury confirming George, together with Humprey Walrond, John Kirkham and others as recipients of the manors of Stokewake, Hulle and Caundleswake, which John Keynes conveyed to them in return for a perpetual annuity of £24 for himself and his heirs.

Six days later, George died. He was buried, at his request, not in the Whiting aisle at Kentisbeare, but in the church of St Edward in Shaftesbury. A priest was to be paid to pray for his soul for a year.

Writs were issued to the escheators in Devon, Cornwall and Essex informing them of George’s death and directing them to hold inquisitions post mortem to determine the extent of his lands and revenues. But there was little to dispose of. George had died too soon to enter into his inheritance, since the inquisitions post mortem into his father’s estates had not yet been held.

Richard Whiting, always on the lookout for skullduggery, thinks it curious that George’s will is dated 16 Nov 1500. It was presumably written, as was the custom at that time, when he was facing imminent death. Yet four days later, he was apparently well enough to be present at the conveyance of John Keynes’s estates. He raises the suspicion that George’s will may be a forgery, written by or on behalf of the other three brothers in an attempt to speed up the succession and avoid the legal difficulties which might arise from his unconfirmed inheritance from Robert. It is possible, however, to think of another possible explanation. George may have suffered something, such as a heart attack, which scared him into making his will, then recovered, only to succumb to a second attack days later.

The will left John lands and tenements providing an annual income of £10 for his lifetime. The vast majority of the Whiting inheritance went to the second brother Christopher.

Their father’s will was not proved until 4 Feb 1501, when the three surviving brothers, Christopher, John and James, went to the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.

But Christopher have long to enjoy his inheritance. He, too, died that year, on 10 July 1501, at the age of 28. He was probably residing at the time in his London house in Stratford-atte-Bowe. He was buried at the church of Grey Friars, in Newgate Street, in a tomb bearing an inscription to him.

He was still unmarried, with no children to inherit his lands and wealth. He probably died intestate. Against all expectations, the Whiting estates passed to the third son John, who was then 27.

Inquisitions into Christopher’s property were held in five counties: Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wilts and Hants. John now owned the manors of Prodomisle, Catishay and Woode, and land in Wonford, More Ringswill, Payhembury, Luttokishele, Honiton, Cockinghayes, Sidbury and Milton, in Devon alone.[3] All told, he had 5216 acres in 5 counties, as well as the house in London. He also had an unknown parcel of land in Buckinghamshire.

Despite these extensive landholdings, John continued to trade as a wool merchant. He appointed John Smyth from his household to act as his bailey and oversee his estates.

ANNE PAUNCEFOOT was the younger daughter of Sir Walter Pauncefoot, lord of the manor of Compton Pauncefoot in Somerset. The village of Compton Pauncefoot lies 5 miles south of Castle Cary, not far from Cadbury Castle.

Anne was born on 4 July 1485. When she was 17, an inquisition was held to confirm the date of her birth. Witnesses were called who had cause to remember that day. They provide a snapshot of one day in a Somerset community in the 15th century.[4]

She was born at Compton Pauncefoot on the feast of the translation of St Martin, I Henry VII (4th July 1485) and baptised in the baptistery of the parish church of Compton aforesaid as deposed by:

Robert Gilford esq. who fell from his horse at Compton Pauncefoot at the time of her birth and broke his right arm.

John Lite was asked by her father to be godfather being at Compton Pauncefoot at the time of her birth but could not stay.

Tristram Storke was at Shaftesbury on that day with Walter Pauncefoot her father, and on returning one of Walter’s servants met them with the news and he rode with Walter to Compton Pauncefoot.

John Mychell was holding court at Compton Pauncefoot that day.

John Tracy says that her father gave him on that day one John Cropper bondsman belonging to the manor of Compton Pauncefoot who ran from him on that day.

Giles Carne was in the house of one Peter Baumfeld o f Shaftesbury on that day and Peter’s wife was then requested to be godfather(?)

John Dondo says that one Walter Robyns on that day said his first mass in the church of Compton Pauncefoot and he saw the letters of the orders of the said Walter dated 1486.

Edward Trychelloch first came to service with the said Walter Pauncefoot on that day and took 1d arles.

Thomas Middleton sold a fardel of canvas for 48s 8d paid in crysadoys and with this and other money he bought a house in Yevyll.

Lionel Harryan rang the bell which broke.

Roger Martyn’s sister Alice was the wet nurse.


Anne’s mother died was she was still a small girl, and her father married again, to Isabel. He himself died a few years later. He left his estates to Anne and her brother Peter. In 1493 Peter, too, died, aged seven.[5] Anne, who was only eight, shared the inheritance with her sister Maud.

As was usual with wealthy orphans, Anne remained under the wardship of the king until she married.

Her stepmother married again, to Richard Willoughby. There were more children from this marriage. Anne seems to have had a good relationship with these step-siblings, because she mentions a number of Willoughbys in her will.

She was 17 in 1502 when the inquisition was held to prove that she had the right to take her inherited estates to John Whiting at her marriage. Following the inquisition, an order of dower was made to provide for her stepmother Isabel.


John married Anne in 1502. The experience of the early death of his elder brothers may have convinced him of the necessity of marrying without further delay and providing himself with an heir.

He was 28 and she was 17.

Anne brought more lands to the already wealthy John. There was the rich manor of Compton Pauncefoot and its manor house, with the advowsons of its church and chantry, two mills, with water courses and lands at Blackford, lands at Britford in Wiltshire, and Broughton in Hants.


John had already embarked on an ambitious project. Between 1500 and 1515, he almost wholly rebuilt the original 13th century church of St Mary in Kentisbeare. The chequered tower, unique in Devon, dates from the 14th century, as does the chancel.[6] Much of the rest is John’s work.

The furnishings, materials and craftsmanship were the best available at that time. It must have cost a huge sum. He added a south aisle, known as the Whiting Aisle. The rood screen which spans the nave and aisle is said to be one of the finest in Devon. It bears the Whiting arms. The parclose screen, which separates the aisle at the east end, still shows signs of its subtle pre-Reformation colouring.

The renewed stone pillars are decorated with the arms of the Whitings, the Clivedon and Pauncefoot families they married into, and the Merchant Staplers of Calais. The carving of the shields and their surrounding foliage has been described by an expert as ‘a masterpiece’. Symbols of John’s wealth are the carved wool bags bearing his merchant mark and a Tudor ship with the heraldic shield of the Merchant Adventurers of London.

On the panelling of the church and at the base of the roof ribs there were originally 15 shields bearing coats of arms. The Whiting arms were combined on these with those of Prudhome, Ashford, FitzJames, Walrond, Wyke, Browne, Hake, Fletcher and Pauncefoot, the spouses of generations of Whitings. Eleven of these disappeared from the church in the 19th century. Six similar shields were seen in 1972 in the billiard room at Bradfield House, the principal home of the Walronds. Those that remain show the Whiting arms quartered or impaled with those of Hake of Cullompton, Hereward and Clevedon. The last one is blank, though a foreign shield was screwed to it in the 20th century.

On the outside of one of the north windows there are two carved heads, of a bearded man and a woman wearing a headdress. These are thought to be John and Anne.[7]

Inside the church, John prepared a tomb for himself and Anne, with brass effigies of them both.


At the time of John’s death there were five daughters: Mary, born 1501-2, Agnes, born 1503-4, Isabel, born 1513-14, Jane, born 1516-17, and Elizabeth, born 1523-4.[8] Given the long gap between Agnes and Isabell, and the significant one between Joan and Elizabeth, there may have been other children who died young. If the couple had sons, none survived.


The family home of Woode was said to be delightful place on a well-watered site. Not far from the house were parks planted for the pleasure of the family. To the north-west was Bloss (Blossom) Park. North-east was Annie’s Park, still known by that name today. John must have given this to Anne to have planted as she wished. Further to the north-east was James’s Park, no doubt the personal preserve of John’s younger brother. Francis Bacon’s essay ‘On Gardens’ bears witness to the importance of gardens to Tudor manor houses. A huge range of flowers, shrubs and trees were planted by their owners.

The Whitings did not lack for congenial society. Other landed families lived within two miles, including the Walronds of Bradfield, into which family Agnes later married.


In 1505, Henry VIII was trying to raise funds. John’s brother James, now a merchant in London, was required to purchase a pardon for any offence committed whilst trading in the Staple of Calais.


Throughout his life, John was involved in a number of law suits. Between 1501 and 1508 he was sued four times in Chancery by Richard Ferrers and his wife Jane. They were the heirs of William Malherbe, and John was a feoffee, or trustee, of his inheritance. The suits concerned land in Payhembury and Cornwall, which were Jane’s. The dispute must have been resolved satisfactorily, because Richard appointed John as trustee for his own lands.

In 1503 a long-running legal battle began over the family’s Devon lands. The plaintiff was John Whiting of London. He was the son of Thomas Whiting, a herald who was born in Gournay, Normandy, during the reign of Henry V, and the grandson of another John Whiting, older half-brother of John’s grandfather. It was easy to see why the London John Whiting thought he had a prior claim to the Whiting estates in Devon. John Whiting of Woode hired an attorney, John Jenour, who alleged that the plaintiff had French nationality, and was therefore not entitled to inherit English lands. This dispute dragged on for two years. It was eventually referred to the Devon Assizes. There, the case was heard before John Boteler and William Grenville, with a jury of twelve. On his home ground, tried by people who knew him, John won the case. It was then referred to the King’s Bench. In 1506, Sir Thomas Frowicke finally gave judgement in favour of John of Woode.


In 1508, John made his will. He was only 35. Perhaps he was seriously ill, or was undertaking a dangerous journey. He appointed as feoffees Sir Amias Paulett, Sir John Kirkham, Sir Wistan Browne, Sir Humphrey Browne, Justice of the King’s Bench, William Mordaunt of Bedfordshire, George Tanner of Cullompton, Sir Robert Edgecombe, John Smyth, his bailey, and others, to act as trustees for his estate and see that his will was carried out. His daughters Mary and Agnes, then his only children, were the chief beneficiaries after Anne.[9]

The same year, he started legal proceedings against Baldwin Mallett, who became Henry VIII’s Solicitor General. These were designed to confirm him in possession of the manors of Stoke Wake, Caundle Wake and Hulle in Dorset, which he held in perpetuity for an annual payment of £24 to John Keynes and his heirs.

The following year, the Mercers Company of London elected the youngest brother, James Whiting, to be one of eight Masters of the Bachelors. Bachelors had a status between apprentices and freemen. The Masters governing them had certain privileges. They could use a special barge on the Thames. During their year of office they wore a distinctive livery whenever they were engaged on business in Mercers Hall. It consisted of a violet gown with a crimson hood.

On Aug 4, 1510, John Whytyng of Woode, esq. signed marriage articles with Thomas Payn, gent. Thomas committed himself to marry John’s sister Elizabeth, before the feast of St Martin next. He was to make her an estate in law of lands in Somerset of the clear yearly value of £20, to hold for her life; in consideration whereof John was to pay Thomas £100.[10]

By a charter of 20 Aug 1510, John Whiting, Andrew Hillersen and Richard More, clerk, conveyed lands, manors and rents in South Devon, worth £42 per annum, to Nicholas Kirkham. On the same day, they conveyed to John Kirkham the manors of Blackdown, Ridmore, Ashcomb and Chelveston, with the advowson of the church at Manaton. The lands had been placed in trust in 1444 and passed down to the heirs of those feoffees.

The following year, a deed of feoffment to uses was drawn up between Thomas Payne of Hutton, John’s brother-in-law, on the one hand, and John Row sergeant at law, William Wadham, John Whityng of Wode, John Horsey esq, and James Whitynge on the other. This provided for the ‘manors of Uppehyll and Shepeham and all his lands etc. in Weston Blakedon Bannewell Clewere Wedmore Oldemyxon Elberough and Pontesyde and also all lands in Hutton now in tenure of Roger Marys and John Polwebbe’ to be reconveyed to Thomas and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Whytyng, esq, as a jointure for Elizabeth. One of the witnesses was Humfrey Walrond, who married John and Anne’s daughter Agnes. [11]

In 1514, John was back in Chancery. He sued Roger Litfote of Writtle in Essex for failing to disclose a debt he owed, after John had paid money to Henry VII’s queen Elizabeth on a bond of the defendant’s. Queen Elizabeth had died in 1503, so the debt was long outstanding. The Whitings clearly continued to have dealings in Essex, where John’s grandmother, Agnes Torrell, came from.

Also in 1514, Robert Yeo enfeoffed John, with Edmund Speccote, Bartholomew Fortescue and others, to fulfil his last will. But John predeceased Robert Yeo, who died a year after him, in 1531.

It is hard to see how John found time for his wool business. In 1517 he was commissioned by the Crown to inquire into the lands of the late John Queynt, ‘whose son and heir is said to be an idiot’. He carried out the task with his fellow commissioners, William Morewode and Humphrey Cadwoley.

On 20 Oct he was a witness in the Inquisition Post Mortem in Exeter into the estates of the late William Chudleigh.

In 1515, John Whityng de Woode was one of the sureties for a marriage settlement between Peter Edgecombe, knight, and his wife Joan.[12]

That year, John’s ambitious project to rebuild and beautify Kentisbeare’s church was completed. He also provided for its prayer life. There seems to be have been an early 16th century brotherhood of St John, probably paid to offer prayers for the dead Whitings. It consisted of two or three monks, probably associated with a larger monastery. They lived in the adjoining medieval Priesthall, which later became the Vicarage House. John arranged their foundation charter and paid their expenses.

This brotherhood would have been disbanded at the Dissolution of the monasteries, around 1538.

The two eldest girls married well, to other landed gentry. The eldest, Mary, married Humphrey Keynes, lord of the manor of Winkleigh. Richard Whiting says that in 1516, at the age of eleven, Agnes married Henry Walrond, who had the splendid house of Bradfield near Woode. Her uncle James, the London merchant, was present at the wedding. This is the last we hear of him. He probably predeceased John, since he is not mentioned in his brother’s will. He may have spent part of his time at Woode, enjoying his pleasure ground of James’s Park. The guide book to Kentisbeare church puts Agnes’s marriage at about 1530.

At an early age, the fourth daughter Jane was given to the prestigious abbey of Wilton in Wiltshire to have her hair shorn and take the veil of a nun. She was already there by 1522, so she could not have been more than six when she entered the abbey.[13]

In 1520, John acquired the property of Shyford in Feniton. John Gaye of Payhembury conveyed this to John Whityng of Wood, esq.[14]

On 24 Feb 1521-2, John again made a will. He asked his feoffees to ensure that his estates in Devon, Somerset and Dorset , including the ‘mancyon place’ of Woode, should be available to him and Anne during their lives, and to Anne after his death.

He left annuities to his ‘Bayly and servuaunt’, John Smyth, and to his daughter Jane, the nun. He omitted to add his third daughter, Isabell, to his will, an oversight he corrected later.[15]

Anne’s uncle, Henry Pauncefoot, died in Jan 1522. In his will, he charged John Whiting and John Browne with purchasing lands in Somerset yielding 10s per annum. They were to be used to endow the chantry chapel of Anne’s father Sir Walter Pauncefoot at Compton Pauncefoot.

In the tax assessments of 1523-6, John was assessed for land at £100. This is a large sum, but not as much as the largest in the Hayridge Hundred, which was £200.[16] In the Lay Subsidy Rolls for 1524 and 1526, he is listed in Kentisbeare parish, but in the Anticipation return of 1523 in Cullompton. He paid 100s tax.

There was also a William Whityng in Kentisbeare assessed for goods at the highest level of £50. The next highest was £20. We do not know what relation William was to John. William Whityng was a wool merchant, believed to have premises in Ottery St Mary. This was the home of the cadet branch of the family, who looked after the Devon end of the wool enterprise. William left no issue. A relative, Richard Whityng of nearby Bradninch, was a beneficiary in his will.

Another Whiting who may be distantly related is Richard Whiting, the last abbot of Glastonbury, 1523-c.36. No evidence has been found to confirm this, but their common ancestry in Somerset makes it possible.

In 1525, John Caylwy pointed Nicholas Ashford, Henry Walrond, Humphrey More and John Whiting as trustees of all his lands in Devon.


John’s final will was made on 12 July 1524, some five years before his death.[17]

His conscience was evidently troubling him about unpaid tithes and neglected offerings. He leaves 6s 8d to set the account straight. There was also money to two church guilds, fund-raising groups dedicated to particular saints, which were suppressed at the Reformation.

Servants received a bequest of 6s 8d, so long as they remained ‘diligent and true’ to Anne.

The two eldest girls, Mary and Agnes, were left his silver, gilt, brass and pewter, as well as bed hangings, but only after Anne’s death. The rest of his possessions and animals went to Anne, who was also his executrix. His sons-in-law, Henry Walrond and Humphrey Keynes, were to be overseers of his will.

He added a codicil, extending the bequests to his daughters to include napery, coffers, kitchen stuff, brewing vessels, wains, carriages and ploughgear. He now included the unmarried Isabell in his will, decreeing that she should have a third share with Mary and Agnes. Jane may have been omitted because she was already provided for in her convent; we do not know the date when she abandoned the veil. It is possible that Elizabeth was not yet born. John failed to add a codicil later making provision for her.


John was man of standing in the county. In 1527, Katherine of York, countess of Devon and daughter of Edward VI, was buried in St. Peter’s church, Tiverton. At the torchlight procession which preceded her funeral, John was one of six esquires who carried a canopy of black velvet above the coffin. After the burial service, some 500 people adjourned to Tiverton Castle for a dinner. The feast went on until the next morning, when a requiem mass was said by the abbot of Montacute.

In 1528, John was again involved in the affairs of his brother-in-law Thomas Payne of Hutton in Somerset. On 1 July, a charter of feoffment to uses was drawn up. Shortly before he died, Thomas Payne senior wanted all his manors, etc, in Somerset and Gloucestershire to be held with the intent of implementing his last will. They were made over to John Rowe, sergeant at law, John Whityng, Roger Blewett, Hugh Malett, John Ken and Thomas Michell esqs.[18]


John himself died the following year, on 15 March 1529/30. This was in the reign of Henry VIII, but John did not live to see the Reformation. He was aged about 56.

He was buried in the altar tomb he had already prepared, under the south window of the aisle chapel he built. The sides are of white stone, cut into decorated panels; the top is a slab of black Purbeck marble. It was to be used if he died in Kentisbeare. His will provided, however, that if he died elsewhere, then that was where his body should be buried.

Until 1858 this tomb bore the brass effigies of both John and his wife Anne. They were stolen in 1857, and apparently taken to America, but copies of them survive. Unfortunately, they cannot be relied on to give us an impression of what John and Anne looked like. They were made to a standard pattern found in other places. The shields and inscription remain, and the gouged-out shapes of the effigies.

The inscription reads:

Orate pro a[n]i[m]ab[us] Joh[an]nis Whiting Armig[er]i et Anne consort[is] sue qui obit xv o die Marcij An[n]o d[omi]ni m[illesim]o CCCCC xxix o quor[um] a[n]i[m]ab[us] propiciet[ur] de[us] amen

Pray for the souls of John Whiting Esquire who died on the 15th day of March in the year of our Lord 1529 and of Anne his wife. May God have mercy on their souls. Amen.[19]

Most of March was counted as belonging to the previous year. By the modern calendar it was 1530. This does not agree with his IPMs, which give his death as March 1528/9, or 1529 in modern terms.

There are probably other family burials under the present wooden floor of the chapel.

Anne was left a very rich widow. She had a life interest in all John’s lands.

For a time, she lived on at Woode, which she had the right to occupy for the remainder of her life. She then decided to move back to her childhood home of Compton Pauncefoot in Somerset. The house in Kentisbeare may have passed to her daughter Agnes and son-in-law Henry Walrond, who lived nearby at the grander mansion of Bradfield.

In 1531 Anne, perhaps in failing health, transferred to others the wardship of her two youngest daughters. That of Jane, the former nun, passed to Nicholas FitzJames. Jane appears to have abandoned the veil, because Anne wished her to marry Nicholas’s son. Elizabeth’s wardship was taken over by George Rolle. Both girls had annuities from the family estates.

Also in 1531, in a further settlement of her affairs, she enfeoffed Hugh Pawlett and  John, Robert and George Willoughby to administer her lands. The Willoughbys were related to her through her stepmother’s second marriage and she had probably grown up with them.

The settlement of these considerable estates was not achieved without family strife. In 1532, her daughter Agnes and son-in-law Henry Walrond sued her in Chancery for deeds relating to 14 manors, with lands and houses, which they alleged she had wrongly detained in her possession. The suit failed.


Anne died at Compton Pauncefoot in 1534, four years after John. In spite of the tomb John had prepared for them both in Kentisbeare, with her name and effigy on it, she elected in her will to be buried with her own ancestors in the Pauncefoot chantry of Compton Pauncefoot church. This may have been a practical decision, because she was now living in Somerset. John had said in his own will that he was not to be buried in Kentisbeare should he die elsewhere. Anne did, however, provide for three cows to be given each year to the brotherhood of St John, which her husband had founded at Kentisbeare, so that they could pray for the souls of both her and John. There were gifts of vestments to both churches.

The frieze in the south aisle has part of a stone inscribed “Anne Whyting 1535.” In the wall under the sill of the adjacent window is a long stone panel divided into compartments, each containing a shield bearing coats of arms relating to the Whyting and Pauncefoot families.[20]

She left the mansion at Compton Pauncefoot to her eldest daughter Mary and her husband Humphrey Keynes. There was one condition: they should live there at all times ‘except when the pestilence is reyning’. This they appear to have done. In the following century, two Jesuit brothers, George (1630-1659) and John Keynes (1625-1697) were born there. Agnes and Isabel also received property in the parish, with the proviso that this should be shared with Jane if she married Robert FitzJames, and Elizabeth if she, too, married as Anne wished.

The lawsuits over ownership of land continued. In 1534, soon after Anne’s death, her daughters and their husbands jointly sued Robert Willoughby, who was a stepbrother of Anne’s, one of the feoffees she had appointed in 1531 and her residuary legatee. They claimed the deeds of the manor of Compton Pauncefoot from him. They also sued John Ford, a tenant of the manor of Pridhamsleigh, for unpaid rent, and Richard Cole, Steward of Honiton, who refused to admit the plaintiffs to a burgage there. A burgage was a tenure of land or tenements in a town.

There are several mentions of mills on Anne Whiting’s property. Richard Whiting sees this as evidence that John Kayleway of Cullompton and John Whiting were possibly partners in the cloth enterprise.

The third daughter, Isabell was still single when John made his will. She later married Nicholas Ayshford of Burlescombe in East Devon. There is a memorial slab in the floor of the north aisle of Burlescombe church. The central inscription commemorates Nicholas. Along the border can are the names of his two wives, Isabell and Margaret. Nicholas and Isabell’s daughter Alice Ayshford married John Cruwys.

The fourth daughter, Jane, had left Wilton Abbey well before Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1538. She was already living a secular life when her mother made her will in 1533. As Anne had wished, she married Robert FitzJames. He was probably from the Fitzjames family of Redlane in Somerset. He became a Sheriff of Somerset. In 1539 he was a juror in the state trial of Richard Whiting, the aged and saintly last abbot of Glastonbury, of whom the Whitings of Woode were probably distant cousins. The abbot was hung, drawn and quartered. Sir John FitzJames, a judge of the King’s Bench, had made Jane’s father-in-law his heir. He wrote a letter to Thomas Cromwell, interceding for the abbot. He thought Richard Whiting had been unjustly treated by the Visitors’ report of his disloyalty to King Henry VIII.

The Devon Whitings may have fallen out of favour by this association with a condemned traitor. The marriage of Robert FitzJames to Jane Whiting was omitted in the pedigree drawn up by the Herald’s Visitation.

Woode, which had been the Whiting family home for two centuries, was now leased to Sir Gawen Carewe, and after his death to his widow. They were staunch Puritans, and the family chapel may have been destroyed by them. When Lady Carewe died, Agnes’s son, William Walrond of Bradfield, moved in.

In the 19th century, valuable panelling bearing the Whiting heraldry was removed from the church and installed at the manor house of Bradfield in Uffculme, which was then still the seat of the Walrond family.



[1] Source, except where otherwise stated: Richard Whiting. Whiting of Wood: A Mediaeval Landed Family, typescript in DRO.
[2] IPM Robert Whityng 1500
[3] IPM Christofer Whityng 1501
[4] Proof of Age. Inquisition 1502.  Chancery Series II. VII 15 (57)
[5] www.camelotp.webspace.fish.co.uk/html/compton_pauncefoot.htm
[6] The Story of the Parish Church of St Mary, Kentisbeare, Devon. Kentisbeare Church.
[7] ibid.
[8] IPM John Whytynge 1529
[9] IPM John Whytynge 1529
[10] A2A.org.uk: AC/D/11/40
[11] AC/D/11/41
[12] A2A.org.uk: ME/823.
[13] IPM John Whytynge 1529
[14] A2A.org.uk: 1926 B/W/T/10/1
[15] IPM John Whytynge 1529
[16] T.L. Stoate, ed,  Devon Lay Subsidy Rolls 1524-1527  (www.thebookshop.org.uk)
[17] Will of John Whiting 1524
[18] A2A.org.uk: AC/D/11/43/a-b
[19] Debbie Kennett
[20] Wikipedia





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