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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)

Sampson  Tree


 SIR JOHN LERCEDEKNE. John L’Ercedekne was the second son and the heir of Thomas L’Ercedekne.[1] A number of internet sources say that his mother was Thomas’s first wife, Alice de la Roche, from Roche in Pembrokeshire. But there is documentary evidence to show that she was Thomas’s second wife, Matilda de Moeles of Kingskerswell in Devon. In later life, John required prayers for her soul, not Alice’s, to be made daily by the chantry priests at Haccombe.

We know from his father’s IPM that John was born in 1306.

His father was Lord L’Ercedekne, having been summoned to the House of Lords as a baron. He served as Sheriff of Cornwall more than once and as MP. He was governor of Tintagel Castle. His duties took him all over England, since Parliament met in many places. He was also called for military service against the Scots and the French. John would probably not have seen much of him.

He probably grew up at Ruan Lanihorne, the ancient home of the Lercedeknes. While his father was away, his mother would have had charge of the family estates in that area.

John’s elder brother Odo, Alice de la Roche’s son, died before reaching maturity or marrying. John was left as the heir. He also had at least one, and possibly two sisters.


CICELY HACCOMBE was descended from two ancient families in Devon. Her father was Jordan Haccombe, lord of Haccombe, a small village south of the Teign estuary. His family had held it since Domesday. Her mother was Isabella de St Aubyn, daughter of the lord of the manors of Ham (Georgeham) and Pidekwill, near Woolacombe Bay.

She was her parents’ firstborn child, born before 1316.[2]

Cecily’s father died in 1320. Her grandparents, Sir Stephen de Haccombe and Margaret de Politmore, were still living. Jordan Haccombe was their only son and sole heir of their many estates. Cecily was his only child. That left her now as the Haccombes’ heir.

That same year Stephen and his wife Margery (Margaret) made a settlement on themselves for life and their heirs for life. If they had no further issue, then the whole should pass to Cecilia and her heirs.

Cecily was still unmarried in 1324, when her grandparents reached an agreement with Robert de Pyl, rector of Torbrian, over the manor of East Antony and the Antony Passage in east Cornwall. Again, after Stephen and Margery died, the manor and passage should pass to Cecily.


On 23 Dec, 1327, Sir John Lercedekne obtained a licence from the Pope to marry Cecily, daughter . and heiress of Jordan de Haccombe by Isabel, daughter of Mauger de St Aubyn, she being within the prohibited degrees of affinity. [3]

A.W. Searley, in his detailed study of the Haccombes and Lercedeknes thinks that the papal dispensations was necessary because Cecily had previously been betrothed to John’s older brother Odo, who died young, though he has found no evidence of this.

On 23 Dec, 1327, Sir John Lercedekne obtained a licence from the Pope to marry Cecily, d. and heiress of Jordan de Haccombe by Isabel, d. of Mauger de St Aubyn, she being within the prohibited degrees of affinity (Calend. Papal Reg., II, 166). There is no direct evidence, but it is highly probable that Cicily, at a very early age, had been betrothed to Odo, the half-brother of John, who, as already has been shown, died without heirs. Now Cecily must have been twelve years of age or more at the time of her betrothal, which fixes her birth well before 1316, and agrees with Jordan possessing Ham and Pidkeswell at that date. The fact seems to be that Jordan was married at a very tender age in order to secure that important property.

Another possible reason for the dispensation may lie in a lawsuit of 3 Nov 1302. John’s parents, Thomas and Matilda de Ercedekne were in dispute with Isabella de Sancto Albino (St Aubyn).[4] It concerned the manor of Rodwory and Bosyweyn and 18 pounds worth of rent in Kesteltalcarn, Trevalsu, and Porthmur, including demesnes, homages, service of freemen, villeinages, woods, meadows, pastures, waters, ponds, mills, fisheries, moors, heaths, liberties, and other things. Finding of Court — to Thomas and Matilda and their heirs for ever.

The Isabella de St Aubyn mentioned may be Cecily’s maternal grandmother. We do not know the connection between the Lercedeknes and the St Aubyns at this stage which would have led them to contest the ownership. There may have been an earlier marriage between these families, bringing Cecily and John within the prohibited four degrees of consanguinity.


In 1330 Cecily’s grandfather Stephen de Haccombe died, leaving her as his sole heir to his estates, apart from the income reserved for her grandmother Margaret.

In 1331 John’s father Thomas died, aged 56 . Since his brother Odo was already dead without issue, John inherited the Lercedekne’s considerable estates in Cornwall, Devon and beyond. He was then  25. His inheritance included the manor of Shobrooke near Crediton, where John’s great-great-grandfather Michael L’Ercedekne had been lord of the manor. Later deeds relating to John’s children show that John too held this manor.[5]

John and Cecily were now a wealthy couple.

A.W. Searley thinks that “with Thomas Lercedekne the family attained the zenith of importance”; but this importance did not decline with John and Warin of Haccombe.


The couple had at least ten children.

  1. Ralph alias Stephen, who had died without issue in 1377.
  2. Warin, the couple’s principal heir, c 1332 -1400. He married Elizabeth Talbot, who died in 1407. Their daughter Philippa married Sir Hugh Courtenay, who became Earl of Devon.
  3. Richard, d.1400, married Johanna Boson.
  4. Odo.
  5. John. His son Michael took holy orders and became Treasurer of Exeter Cathedral.
  6. Robert.
  7. Martin. He took holy orders and became the rector of Lanihorne, the L’Ercedeknes’ ancestral seat.
  8. Reginald.
  9. Michael, b. c.1344. Became an MP.
  10. Isabelle. She died in 1430.


Before 1332, and probably in the 1320s,  Cecily’s mother Isabella remarried. Her stepfather was Sir Robert Cruwys, soon to be lord of the manor of Cruwys Morchard in Devon.


A. W. Searley tells us, Sir John was not only the owner of numerous estates, but he led a strenuous public life.[6] He was Knight of the Shire and M.P. for Cornwall in 1332; also in 1336; and had his “writ de expensis” for 18 days. His colleague in 1332 was Sir William Basset, probably descended from Andrew de Haccombe. He was summoned as a Peer in 1342, but “neither he nor his issue had summons afterwards” (Maclean). It is noticeable that M.P.’s in those days were usually considerably under sixty; their average was about forty. Elderly men did not willingly undertake the fatigue of a journey involving 7 or 8 days on horseback. John Archdeacon was elected at 27 and 29, but not after; Warin about 49 and 51, but not after; Michael about 39 and 41, but not after.  He also served on commissions of enquiry.1333. Feb. 10. At York. “Commission of oyer and terminer to John Lercedekne and others touching alleged oppressions by John Treiagu, late Sheriff of Cornwall, by colour of his office”.1333. Dec. 6. At Marlborough. “Commission, etc., to Hugh Courtneye, John Lercedekne, and John Inge on complaint of the Abbot of Bucfestre that certain persons had taken away 24 oxen of his worth 24 marks at Sele Monachorum, felled his trees at Bucfestre, carried them away, and dug his several soil at Bucfestre, so that he lost the profit thereof.”  1334. Obtained a charter for a weekly market at Shepestall (Elerky), with an annual fair of three days’ duration. Shepestall was the Lercedknes’ ancestral home in Cornwall, in or adjacent to, Ruan Lanihorne on the lower reaches of the Fal.

RUAN-LANIHORNE, in the deanery and in the west division of the hundred of Powder, lies about two miles and a half south-west from Tregony, which is the post-office town, and about five miles and a half east-south-east from Truro. The only village, besides the church-town, is Treworga. Mr. Whitaker supposed that Ruan-Lanihorne was formerly a market-town. It seems not improbable that the market at Shepestall, granted to John Arcedekne in 1335, was in this parish: Thomas Arcedekne, when summoned to parliament in the reign of Edward I., was described as of Shepestall. We have not been able to find any place so called in the county; the circumstance of the ancient property and residence of the Arcedeknes being in this parish, and of there being a field adjoining to this parish, called Little Shepestall, renders it probable, that though the name has been long forgotten, the seat of the Arcedeknes in this place might formerly have been called Shepestall. The manors of Lanihorne and Ellerkey, in this parish, and Veryan, were certainly the ancient property of the Arcedeknes, whose chief residence was at a castle in Lanihorne. William of Worcester speaks of it as standing, in his Itinerary of Cornwall, temp. Edward IV…. The manors of Lanihorne and Ellerkey…. were formerly held under the honor of Launceston, by the annual render of a brace of grey-hounds. There are now no remains of Lanihorne castle. [7]

1335. Jany. 31. At Roxburgh. “Licence for John Lercedekne to crenellate his dwelling-place of Larihorne in Cornwall,” which he also enlarged; thus making it, as described by Leland, one of the finest in the county.

From the mid-12th century onwards Ruan Lanihorn had been the site of a adulterine, or unauthorised, castle of the Lercedekne family. On 31 Jan 1335, three years after Thomas’s death, John was given a royal licence to fortify his house. It became known as Ruan Lanihorne Castle. It lay between the River Fal and its tributary the Ruan.

John Le Erchedekne obtained a licence to fortify his house at Lanyhorn. The completed castle appears to have comprised a round keep, known locally as the ’round tower’, with attached higher and base courts, the higher court extending by tradition north of the road leading from the church to the mill. Six of the seven recorded towers were standing at the beginning of C18 but by 1780 only the 40ft. high remains of part of the round tower survived. Two stone chimneys attached to the round tower, one being incorporated in an adjoining house, were described by Whitaker and seen by Whitley who considered them later than the castle. Beneath this house was a cellar thought to be the dungeon. The tower had been pulled down for building stone by 1889. A fragment of the castle wall consisting of flat bedded slate stones filled in with rubble set in clay, about 5ft wide and 8ft high, still stood. The furnace beyond this wall had four flues and formed part of the castle brewhouse. The tradition of the site survives in the ‘Malt House’ built about 1870. The ‘Water Gate’ appears to be where two parallel walls were discovered and in the yard behind a human skeleton was dug up in about 1750. No traces of the west wall were visible in 1889 but Whitaker records an oak beam, said to be part of the castle floor, being found in the gutter about 1775. Whitley traced the north wall for almost its whole length, being about 5ft. wide and similar in construction to the south wall. Between the north wall and the road, in a long narrow garden, were found about 1789 the foundations of walls forming a suite of rooms on one side of the higher court. This court had walls bonded with lime mortar instead of clay, indicating a later date. Building stones from the castle can be seen in the walls of the village. There are no identifiable remains of a castle at Ruan Lanihorne. (PastScape)

Leland describes it “as a castelle of an eight towers, then decaying for lak of coverture.” Tonkin describes a large tower, which was pulled down in 1718; and says, that within 30 years of the time of his writing, six out of eight towers of the castle had been standing: some cottages have been built on the site. (Lysons, 1814)

It seems to have been a large house, although the use, in parts, of clay bonding instead of mortar suggests perhaps not as strong as the description of eight towers might imply.[8]

The Glebe Woods in Ruan contained a quarry that provided stone for the Castle.[9]

The Parish History of Cornwall describes its situation thus:

though more properly Lanyhorne castle, [it] was commonly called Ruan castle: it stood by the south of the church at no great distance from it, the rectory house being between them, in a pleasant situation enough, on the edge of a creek, into which a small rivulet empties itself; and the river Fale, which is of a considerable breadth, when the tide is in, and surrounded formerly with woods, which are now mostly destroyed. Leland gives account of the state of it in his  time…. “At the hede of this creek standith the castell of Lanyhorne”, sumtyme a castel of 8. tourres, now decaying for lak of coverture ; it longgid as principal house to the Archedecons.” By this one may guess what a stately castle this formerly was ; for in my time was only one tower of the castle standing, which was so large, that if the others were equal to it, the whole building must be of a prodigious magnitude ; but I fancy this was the body of the whole, for there is not room enough about it for so great a. pile: so that I believe the eight towers mentioned by Leland were only turrets and appendages to this principal part. I wish I had taken a draught of it in season (as I often intended) ; for this too was pulled down in or about the year 1718. But since the writing of this, 1 am informed that six of the eight towers were standing within these thirty years, of which that which I have mentioned, was the biggest and loftiest, as being at least fifty feet in height.

The Editor writes: The parish church is situated on a creek flowing into the Tregony branch of the Falmouth River, and has the appearance of much antiquity. When Mr. Tonkin wrote, about a hundred and thirty years ago, vessels of a size sufficient for enabling them to navigate the open sea, came up this creek ; but in common with many other similar estuaries, it has become filled up with alluvial detritus from above, and no longer admits even barges. Near to the church stood a large and magnificent castle flanked by eight towers, the residence of a very ancient family bearing the name of Arcedekne. Of this family, Thomas le Arcedekne was summoned to Parliament as a Baron, in the 14th year of Edward the Second, A. D. 1321, as was his son John le Arcedekne, in the 16th year of Edward the Third. [1343] This last Baron left a son Warine le Arcedekne, who died, leaving three daughters his coheirs. The arms of this familv are stated by Mr. Lysons to have been Argent, three chevronels Sable.[10]


Cecily’s mother died before 1337. Cecily added to her already extensive estates, the St Aubyn manors and advowsons in North Devon, near Woolacombe Bay. She owned them jointly with her aunt Joan.

Searley tells us that in Haccombe church there is a tomb under an arch next to the sedilia. It is of hard red sandstpone coloured with distemper. He quotes Crabbe: “With the assistance of water (oh, awful Antiquarian!)  I was enabled to discover on the mantle of a reddish brown, lined with a lighter colour, and bordered with black, the remains of several heater-shaped shields, which simple means showed me were the Haccombe Arms, which appear on the book carried in her left hand. (This book, or missal, is naively described in the card for visitors to the church as a “missile”, but there seems no intention on the part of the lady to use it for that purpose.) The mantle is gathered under her right arm, and fastened by two cords across the breast; the under garment of an apple green, falls in loose folds over the feet and rests on a dog. There is a great resemblance between the two figures [the other is that of Cecily’s grandmother Margaret] and the heraldic decoration on the dress of the latter, the presence of a veil and gorget and loose robe, point to 1330 – 1350. King Edw. III”.[11]

He identifies the effigy with the book as “Isabella, daughter of Sir Mauger de St Aubyn, wife of Jordan de Haccombe, both dead in 1341, as shown by the foundation dead, and not Cecily, Lady Lercedekne” as is generally supposed.

Others have taken a different view.

There remains the question of why Isabella should be buried in Haccombe, and not at Cruwys Morchard. Her second husband was still alive and her son was not old enough to have taken over the manor house. The tomb may be Cecily’s, but she died some eighty years later, which would not explain the stylistic similarity between this tomb and Margaret’s.


1335 was a busy year for John. He also served in the French wars.

For all his standing, John was not always on the side of the law.1335. Nov. 16. At Newcastle. “Commission, etc., to Hugh de Courtenay and others,on complaint by the said Hugh, that John Lercedekne and 28 others, including the Abbots of Tavystok, Bokeland, and Bokfast, had entered his free chace of Dertmore, co. Devon, hunted there, and carried away his deer.” It must have been an edifying spectacle to witness the consternation of this highly respectable gang of poachers, especially when they discovered that the wily Courtenay had managed to get placed on the commission to try his own case. However, the dignity of the church was not allowed to be hurt, for the case appears to have been hushed up, and the wounded feelings of the noble Earl healed by the customary diplomatic process. It is an interesting picture to think of John Lercedekne hunting across Dartmoor in the company of three abbots.

June 12, 1337. At Stamford. “Appointment of John Lercedekne, John Dauney, John Darundell, and Ralph Bloyou, Knights, to arrest and imprison at Exeter, Thomas Lercedekne, KV.

The Thomas Lercedekne in question was a cousin. His offence must have been an ecclesiastical one. The following week he was excommunicated in Exeter Cathedral.


Before his death, Stephen de Haccombe had restored the church of St Blaise close to Haccombe House. Bishop Grandisson of Exeter reconsecrated it in 1328.

Stephen had planned to endow it as an archpresbytery  with six chantry priests. Doubtless he discussed his plans with the bishop. But he died in 1330 before he could achieve this aim.

John and Cecily carried out his wish. The foundation deed of the Archpresbtery in the archives of Exeter Cathedral is dated 1337. Evidence from the Cornish parish of Quethiock suggests that arrangements for it began earlier.

Money for the endowment was found from the great tithes of Haccombe and St Hugh’s, Quethiock. Cecily had inherited the latter manor through her great-grandmother and namesake Cecilia de Penpol. St Hugh’s had been rebuilt in 1334, with the Archpriest, as rector, taking responsibility for the chancel. Traditionally, lay governors were responsible for the naves and transepts of churches.

In 1336 St Hugh’s, Quethiock, was appropriated to the Archpresybtery by the wish of its deceased patron, Stephen de Haccombe. [12]

The duties of the six chantry priests were as follows:[13]

“To sing daily the canonical Hours in choir, and two masses; the first the Office of the Day, the second in honour of the Blessed Virgin; a third was to be said, but not sung except at dirges and anniversaries. At each service they were to pray for the Bishop; for Hugh Courtenay, Earl of Devon (the Over-Lord); for Sir John Lercedekne and Cecilia his wife, and for their children; for Margaret, widow of Stephen de Haccombe; for Robert de Pyl, clerk [a benefactor of the church, who that year resigned his Rectory of Torbrian], all of whom were then living; and to continue the proper suffrages for them after their death. A priest was to celebrate daily for the soul of the Founder, Sir Stephen de Haccombe, Knt,; of Sir Thomas Lercedekne and his wife Matilda (the parents of Sir John Lercedekne); of Jordan de Haccombe and his wife Isabella (the parents of Cecilia), and for all the faithful departed.

“Here comes the necessity for a number of priests. The single-handed Mass-priest of the Founder of the Church was forbidden (by a statute of 1236) to say Mass twice a day except in the case of urgent necessity. “We  prohibit under pain of suspension that priests do at any time burden themselves with an immoderate number of annals [i.e. masses for the dead on certain days of the year] which they are not honestly able to discharge.”

“The priests were to assist their Superior in the cure of souls” – an arrangement which left them a fair margin of licence when the size of the parish [one of the smallest in England] is taken into account.

“They were all to board and lodge under the same roof” – to prevent such complaints as that made in 1481 by Thomas Kent, founder of the Chantry of St James Garlickhithe in London, who remarks that chaplains “conversed among laymen, and wandered about, rather than dwelt among Clerks, as was decent”. Bishop Stafford too, says… “Monks ought to serve God apart from the common intercourse of the people.”

“Their dress was to be similar to that of the Vicars of Exeter Cathedral” – a common dress of dark or nearly black cloth, with black surcoats

“Their salary should be two marks each yearly.”

“Two clerks skilled in reading and singing were to assist in church and serve at home. These had a stipend of ten shillings with board and lodging.”  [It had been decreed that: “A presbyter cannot alone perform Mass and other offices without the support of an assistant,” “Let every presbyter … have a clerk to sing with him, and to read the epistle and lesson, one who can keep school and admonish his parishioners to send their boys to church to learn the Faith.”]

“The Archpriest could claim no particular exemption from the jurisdiction of his Ordinary, nor of the Archdeacon”, though many have insisted to the contrary.

“He was precisely the same footing as the Superiors of the Arch presbyteries at Penkevill, Beerferrers, and Whitchurch”, all instituted in the early part of the fourteenth century. The Foundation Deed of the last was the model in founding that of Haccombe.”

Many claims were made about the privileges of the Archpresbytery. There is evidence for two of them. There are no churchwardens at Haccombe, nor apparently were there ever any. The Archpriest still “wears Lawn Sleeves” like a Bishop.


In 1342 Sir John was in possession of Haccomb, Clifford,and Ringmore; but in 1346 West Clifford was leased by William Pypard and Margaret his wife. Bocland and Churleton of the honour of Plympton, in Haytor Hundred were held by John Ercedeakne for ½ fee in 1346 (Feud. Aids, 392); and the same date he held Haccombe of the honour of Okehampton. The same year he held ½ Knight’s fee in Trenrys, which his father formerly held. “Buckland in the Moor, whence Roger de Buckland took name, of whom William de Buckland was Sheriff of Devon and Cornwall in the reign of King Richard, five years together. After which family Sir John Archdeacon succeeded to the land” (Risdon, p. 151). John does not seem to have inherited Treberveth, for it is not mentioned in the settlement of his lands made in 1365. Possibly it was held by Matilda, relict of Thomas, his mother, who, it can be presumed, was still alive.

We have heard much of John Lercedekne as a landowner, castle-builder and patron of churches. A different view of the rough-and-ready nature of the times is provided by an investigation of 1346:

  1. Feb. 8. Westminster. Commission of oyer and terminer to William de Shareshull, John de Stouford, Harno de Dere worthy and Adam le Bret, on complaint by Guy de Bryene that John Lercedeakne, Philip de Lostwythiel ‘clerc’, John Marreys, ‘chaumberleyn’,’William le Gouk, Roger Befou, John de Bokyate, John Boyscoffelok, John Trechevel, John Quyk, John Sturgoun, William Bolslo and others broke his houses at Haccombe and Leghani, co. Devon, carried away his goods and assaulted his men and servants, whereby he lost their service for a great time. Commission in like terms as far as ‘broke his houses’, then, at Rodory,Laryhorn and Penpol, co. Cornwall. By K.

It does not say what caused these men to break into the houses of Guy de Bryene in Devon and Cornwall.


In 1351 he was imprisoned in Launceston Castle (reason not stated);whence he escaped, and was pardoned in 1352 for escaping.

Haccombe was by no means the only church with which the Lercedeknes were concerned.

By the middle of the 14th century with Lanihorne Castle in its full glory a larger church was needed.  The north aisle was added and at this time the north transept, if one existed, was removed.  Claims are recorded that the Tower once stood half as high again as its present height.  About 1658 the tower fell down during a terrible storm and caused major damage to the nave and south transept.  Richard Trestain, a local Gentleman Farmer paid for the rebuilding of this transept.  When he died a few years later in 1664 he was buried in the corner of this transept in a tomb covered with a carved stone showing a medieval monk.  This tomb probably once contained the remains of an early Lord of the Manor and it is thought that the carved stone monk was brought to the church from Glasney College at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536.[14]


When John was sixty he and Cecilia made detailed provision for their many sons.1365-6. 21 Jany. At Westminster. Between Adam Pistre, clerk, claimant, and John Lercedekne knight, and Cecilia his wife deforciants; as to 5 messuages, 1 mill, 2 plough-lands, and 12 acres of pasture in Dynnerdawyk, Vorsknapp, Uphamme, Cadeston, Croft . . . and Cadebury in co. Cornwall (Dinnerdake, Fursnap, Upham, Cadson and Cadson Bury is St. Ive; Croft may be Crist in St. Ive); and 5 messuages, 2 mills, 11 ploughlands, 12 acres of meadow, 11 acres of pasture, 120 acres of wood, and £20 0s. 6d, of rent in Lygham (Leigham in Egg Buckland), Colrigg (Colridge in Egg Buckland,) Southtaunton (South Tawton), Lobba (Lobb in Braunton), Churchull (Churchill in East Down), Pydikville (Pickwell in Georgeham), Overhamme, Netherhamme (in Georgeham), Asselond (Hasland in Petrockstowe), Withybrigg (Withyhedge in Plymstock), Hoo (Hoe in Plymstock),Bokeland (Buckland in the Moor), Okeford (Oakford), and Mayton (Manaton), in co. Devon. Plea of covenant was summoned. John and Cecilia acknowledged the tenements to be the right of Adam as by their gift. For this Adam granted them to John and Cecilia and gave them up to them at the court. To have and to hold to John and Cecilia during their lives of the chief lords of that fee by the services which belong to the said tenements. After their death 5 messuages, 1 mill, 2 ploughlands, 12 acres of pastures, 6d. of rent of the aforesaid tenements in the towns of Dynnerdawyk, Vorsnapp, Uphamme, Ca. . . Croft . . . and Cadebury shall remain in their entirety to Ralph, son of John and Cecilia, and the heirs male of his body. To hold of the chief lords … for ever. With remainder after his death in default of heirs male to Warin his brother and the heirs male of his body. To hold as aforesaid for ever. With remainder on his death, on similar conditions, to Richard his brother and his heirs male, with remainder in default to Odo, John, Robert, Martin, Reginald, Michael, and the right heirs of the said Cecilia. And 1 messuage, 1 mill, 1 ploughland, 100 acres of wood, 26s. of rent of the aforesaid tenements in Lygham and Colrigg, with remainder to the said Warin and his heirs male, with remainder in default to Ralph, Richard, Odo, John, Robert, Martin, Reginald, Michael, and the right heirs of Cecilia. And 1 messuage, 1? ploughlands, 3 acres of pasture, 22s. of rent of the tenements in Lobba and Churchull to the said Richard and his heirs, with remainder as before to Warin, Ralph, Odo, John, Robert, Martin, Reginald, Michael, and the right heirs of Cecilia. And 1 mill, 1 moiety of ploughland, 10 acres of wood, £12 of rent of tenements in Southtauton to Odo and his heirs with remainder to Warin, Ralph, Richard, John, Robert, Martin, Reginald, Michael, and the right heirs of Cecilia. And 1 messuage, ? ploughlands, 5 acres of wood, 3 acres of pasture, 41s. of rent of Pydykwille, Overhamme, Netherhamme, and Asselond to John and his heirs, with remainder to Warin, Ralph, Richard, Odo, Robert, Martin, Reginald, Michael, and the right heirs of Cecilia, as before. And 1 messuage, 2 ploughlands, 12 acres of meadow, 3 acres of pasture in Withybrugg and Hoo to Robert and his heirs, with remainder to Warin, Ralph, Richard, Odo, John, Martin, Reginald, Michael, and the heirs of Cecilia, as before. And 1 ploughland, 5 acres of wood, 3 acres of pasture, and 41s. of rent in Pydykeville, Overhamme, Netherhamme, and Asselond to Martin and his heirs, with remainder to Warin, Ralph, Richard, Odo, John,Robert, Reginald, Michael, and the heirs of Cecilia, as before. And 1 messuage, 2 ploughlands, 41s. of rent in Bokeland and Okeford to Reginald and his heirs, with remiander to Warin, Ralph, Richard, Odo, John, Robert, Martin, Michael, and the right heirs of Cecilia, as before. As Maclean remarks, “each son had a portion except Michael.” This was probably an arrangement to give marriage portions to the various sons who were between 21 and 36 at the time. (Martin had entered the church.) His numerous possessions gave him the right of much ecclesiastical patronage. In each case below the patron is Sir John Lercedekne, Kt. 1340. Nov. 13. St. Ruan Larihorne. On the resignation of Master Walter Botriaux, John de Aldestowe was instituted (at Chudleigh). 1340-1. Jany. 9th. On Aldestowe’s resignation Sir William Glyvan, priest, was instituted. 1351-2. Feb. 23. Laryhorn. John de Sulthorne was inst. (at Chudleigh). 1357. Sept. 19. Larihorne. Sir John de Sulthorne exchanged benefices with Sir John de Plimstoke, Rector of Calstock, and the latter was instituted. 1361-2. Dec. 21. (Sancti Georgii de Hamme (Georgeham). Sir Andrew de Tregors had been instituted by undermentioned commissaries. “Ob zelum justicie et reverenciam demendantis.” Patrons, Sir John Lercedekne Kt and Cecilia his wife, and Joan, relict of Sir Thomas de Mertone, after an inquisition had been held as to the vacancy and right of patronage, by Richard Norreys and John de Holonde, Canons of Exeter. year.  Like many landowning gentry of the time, John would have travelled Cornwall and Devon, and ridden further afield, fulfilling his public duties and managing his estates. Since he had gone to such trouble and expense to expand and fortify Ruan Lanihorne Castle, it is likely that this is where Cecilia lived and brought up her large family.After his marriage with Cecily Sir John continued to reside mainly at Ruan Larihorn until his death in 1377.  John died between 30 Oct and 21 Dec 1377. His will was proved on 27 January 1390/91 at Clyst in Devon. His Inq. p.m.(No. 30, 2 Richard II, 1377) runs: “Joh’es Lercedekne, Ch’r. Cornub’-Trenrys unum feod’, Lerky unum feod’, Trerygon unum feod” His will, however, was not proved until later. In Brantyngham’s Reg., fol 215, we find : “Clyst, 27 Jan., 1390-1. Testamentary — Probacis Testamenti Domini Johannis Lercedekne,” — In the common form, — ” in quo nominati sunt Executores Warinus Lercedekne et Michael Lercedekne ” (his 2nd and 9th sons).


LERCEDEKNE, John, esq. 1 Rich. II [1377]

Chancery Inq. p. m.  Rich II. File 5 (30)


1 m. only. Cornwall

Inquisition taken at Lostwythiel, Monday the feast of St Thomas 1 Rich II [21 Dec 1377] before Richard Kendale, escheator; by the oath of John Flynyng, Thomas [Ch?]yddeleghe, John Gerard, Robert Bodman, John [Bodu]lgate, John Skeynok, Andrew Penfenten, Gilbert atte Hulle, John Lawhorn, Philip E[er]ker, David Kempe, John Martyn; Who say that John Lercedekne was seised of one knight’s fee in Treurys, one in Larky, and one in Trerygon, held of the late Prince Edward, Duke of Cornwall, by knight’s service; relief for the same at his death £10.

On the death of John Lercedkne his son Stephen became seused of the premises, he also is dead.

Next heir, Waryn Lercedekne, chr., brother of the said Stephen.

There would have been a separate IPM for his Devon estates.

At an Inq. p.m. held at Lostwithiel on Thursday the Feast of S. Thomas the Apostle, 1378, it was stated that Sir John Lercedekne was then dead; that he died seized (inter alia) of the Manor of Elerky, leaving a certain Stephen his son and heir; which Stephen entered upon the said lands and died, wherewith they descended to Warine his brother as his nearest heir, which Warine had livery of seizure (2 Richd. II, No. 30). Maclean notes that “the name Stephen is erroneous; it should be Ralph.” This leads, to a curious speculation. Did John call his eldest son “Stephen” after his grandfather Stephen de Haccombe and on finding so much money diverted to the foundation of the Archpresbytery did his feelings cause him to change the name to “Ralph”? It is noticeable, too, that there is no monument to Stephen in existence; probably the Archpresbytery was in itself considered a sufficient memorial. Sir John appears to have been buried with his ancestors at Anthony, and there is nothing to show that any of his children were buried at Haccombe. On the other hand, Leland, c. 1535, says, “Hexham Lordship of olde Tyme longgid to one of the Archidekens, of whom ther be dyverse fair tumbes in the Chirch ther.” To-day they have disappeared — if they ever existed. Lord A. Compton notes, “the greater part were removed soon after the year 1759, and the various brasses and slabs were placed in their present position.” There was another shuffle in 1811, when Powell tells us that “the church had long been disused, and at the time of my visit was fitting up.” Searley’s conjecture about the name Stephen and the lack of a tomb seems unnecessarily harsh. The Archpresbytery was granted the tithes of Haccombe and Quethiock. John and Cecilia had sufficient manors, smaller estates and advowsons for this not to have made such an appreciable dent in their income. They were under no obligation to carry out Stephen’s wishes in founding the Archpresbytery if they so much resented it.


A document of 1390 gives some indication of the couple’s estates in North and mid Devon alone, inherited from Cecily’s mother.

De Banco Roll.  Easter 14 Ric. II. m. 209.

Mauger Seintaubyn was seised of a messuage, 2 carucates of land, 10 acres of wood & £4 rent in Hamme, which is a long town of two parts, Overhamme & Netherhamme, the whole being called Hamme St George. From Mauger those lands, with appurtenances in Pydykwell & Asshelond fell to Joan & Isabel, his daughters:…

After the death of Isabel the premises fell to Cicely, who married John Lercedekne, chr. After the death of Thomas Merton (Joan’s second husband), the said John, Cicely  and Joan presented Andrew Tregors, temp. Edw.III [ to the church in Georgeham]

The premises being afterwards divided between the said John & Cicely, and Joan, it was agreed that Joan should have the first presentation, Cicely the second, & so on alternately.

Joan afterwards married John Witterne, & they presented John Hope, temp. Edw. III.

In Easter term 39 Edw. III [1365] a fine was levied between Adam Prestre, clk. Plaintiff, & the said John Lercedekne & Cicely, deforciants, of 5 messuages, 2 mills, 11½ carucates, 12 acres of meadow, 11 of pasture, 120½ of wood and £20.11.6 rent in Lygham, Colrigge, Southtawton, Lobbe, Chirchull, Pydykwelle, Overhamme, Netherhamme, Asshelond, Wythebrugge, Hoo, Bokeland, Okeford & Manyton. Deforciants acknowledged the same to be the right of plaintiff, as of their gift, and Adam rendered the premises to deforciants, for their lives, and after their deaths one moiety to John brother of Odo Lercedekne and his heirs male, the other moiety to Martin brother of Robert  Lercedekne and his heirs male.

After the death of John & Cicely, John brother of Udo entered upon two tenements, and Martin upon his. The tenements of John fell to Henry his son, a minor, and because his father held of the earl of his castle of Toryton by knight’s service, therefore, the earl has taken Henry & his lands into his keeping.

The church is vacant by the death of John Hope, and it pertains to the earl & Martin to present.


Cecily died before 1420/1. She is called the “late wife of John Lercedekne” in the IPM of her grandson Thomas Lercedekne.

Land in a number of manors in Devon, and one in Cornwall, was held by John and Cicely’s grandson Thomas, son of Richard, and Thomas’s wife Joan.  However, ‘contingent remainders’ of this gift of land went to Henry, son of John, to Martin Lercedekne and to Cicely. John and Cicely’s son Martin, was a clerk in holy orders. Henry is probably another grandson.

Cicely died before Thomas’s  IPM in 1420/1, but may have been alive in 1415, when the charter naming her was signed.


ARCHDEKEN, Thomas  8 Henry V [1420/1]

m.2. Devon

The said Thomas and Joan held, by the gift of William Squyer and John Tregedenowe, chaplain, 20 messuages, & lands and £10 rent in Bokelond in the More, Hoo, Southtawton, Withibrygge, Okeford, Churchille, Vifham & Lobbe, Devon, and in Dyuerdawyk, Cornwall, to them and their heirs male; with contingent remainders to Henry, son of John Lercedekne, Martin Lercedekne, clk, Cicely late wife of John Lercedekne, knt, as appears by the charter of William Squyer & John Tregedenowe, dated at Heaunton Punchardson, 14 Oct 3 Hen V [1415].

Thomas Lerchedekne died 4 Feb last past [1420/1]

John, son & heir, aged 27.


If this conclusion of Searley’s is correct, then Cicely must have been around 100 when she died. It is possible that the tomb of a woman holding a book in Haccombe church is hers, and not her mother’s.


[1] Most genealogical information on the Lercedeknes comes from Searley, A.W.,“Haccombe, Part II, (1330-1440)”, Report & Transactions of the Devonshire Association Vol 51 (1919).
[2] Genealogical information on the Haccombes from Searley, A.W.,“Haccombe, Part I (1086-1330),”, Report & Transactions of the Devonshire Association, Vol. 50 (1918).
[3] www.thepeerage.com
[4] Cornwall F. of F., No. 373
[5] National Archives: Access to Archives: ZZ/27/1/3-10. DRO.
[6] Searley, 1919.
[7] ‘Parishes: Quethiock – Ruan Minor’, Magna Britannia: volume 3: Cornwall (1814), pp. 274-280. www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=50650
[8] www.castlestudiesgroup.org.uk
[9] www.rootsweb.ancestry.com
[10] The Parochial History of Cornwall, Volume III by Davies Gilbert, William Hals, Thomas Tonkin, Henry Samuel Boase, originally published in 1838 (page 402). www.Archive.org.
[11] Photograph: www.churchmonumentssociety.org
[12] St Hugh Church, Quethiock. http://freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry.com
[13] Searley, A.W.,“Haccombe, Part IV, The Archpresbytery”, Report & Transactions of the Devonshire Association Vol 53 (1921).
[14] www.rootsweb.ancestry.com
[15] www.thepeerage.com.





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