More on the old Hancocks of Combe Martin

Here’s an extract found by Mary (possibly a distant relative!) in Exeter library.

This shows that William Hancock had a son (as I’d hoped) and that son had two sons, Edward and John who were children when their father died in 1660. I’ve been in contact with the Local Studies Centre in Barnstaple who have said that they have parish records from Comber Martin dating back to 1670, so there’s a fair chance that I should be able to find some records of whether Edward and John married and had children. Definitely a trip to Devon coming up soon!

Tom Evans

A bit more recent this time. This is my maternal grandfather, William Thomas Evans (known as Tom). He fought for the 2nd Devonshire Regiment during the First World War.

Here are his discharge papers

It looks like he spend over three years in France and only returned home when he was injured. The last lines on the paper state:

Awarded Parchment Cert for Gallantry & devotion to duty near Villiers Brettoneux from 24th to 27th – 4 – 1918

I also have a copy of that Certificate

It’s difficult to read now, but the text says

Near VILLIERS BRETONNEUX on 24th April, 1918, Corporal EVANS displayed great gallantry and exceptional leadership until wounded. He kept posts supplied with S.A.A. and moved about personally supervising the men regardless of heavy hostile fire.

Here‘s a link to some details of the battle of Villers Bretonneux. It appears to have been the first ever tank battle and is also famous for the involvement of the Australian Army.

William Hancock

I found this extract from book called “Family records and pedigrees” (1909), written by Lavinia M Squarey, and copy held in the Indiana public library. This gives some details of William Hancock, Edward’s father. I’m not sure what to make of the section “They had one son and heir, aged 14, in 1613”. Does this mean he died in 1613. That doesn’t tie up with Cambridge student I found earlier.


WILLIAM HANCOCK, of Combe Martin, Devon, whose Arms are registered in the Heralds’ College, at the visitation of 1564, is there stated to have been married twice, first, to a daughter of John de Gaunt, of Lambert Castle, Dorsetshire, by whom he had one daughter, Petronella, and secondly, to Jane, daughter and heiress to Edward Batche, of Kentisbury, by whom he had three children.

1. Edward, married Dorothy, daughter of Sir Amyas Bampfyle. They had one son and heir, aged 14, in 1613.

2. Jane, married to Edward Parmytter, of Ilfracombe.

3. Elizabeth, married to Henry Preston.

The Crest was granted in 1588, demi Griffin, erased, &c., to Edward Hancock, and his Arms are thus registered. — ” Hancock, — Batchewolfe. — ”

Henry Hancocke married Dorothy Bamp- FYLDE, of Poltimore, who survived him, and afterwards she married Judge Dodderidge, She was Maid of Honour to Queen Elizabeth. Her tomb is in the Lady Chapel of Exeter Cathedral. Edward Hancocke was Recorder of the City of Exeter.

In Combe Martin Church, Devon, there is a brass with the following inscription on it : — ” William Hancock, Gentleman, formerly an inhabitant of this parish, in firm Christian faith and certain hope of living again for ever in Heaven, departed this life on the 4th day of February, A.D. 1587, and was buried the 19th of the same month, leaving three daughters and one son.”

The name of “Petronella” occurs in the Wiveliscombe Register. John Hancock who lived at Ford, in 1795, used a seal on which were the Arms described on the first quarterings alone, and the Crest, a demi Griffin, erased.

In the same Church is a monument to the memory of Judith, wife of William Hancock, “with an efhgy the size of life, exquisitely and elaborately sculptured in white marble. It bears the date, 1634. Dame Hancock is represented in the dress of that time, covered with point lace and looped with knots of riband. She has a pearl necklace round her neck, and her hair in curls, and bears some resemblance to the portraits of Henrietta Maria.” (Devon Guide Book).

It bears the following inscription : —

” Memoria et amoris sacrum. Here lyeth the body of Judith, wife of William Hancock, Lord of the Manor, by whom she had issue John and Anna. She married, secondly, Thomas Ivatt, His Majesty’s Principal Searcher in the Port of London, at whose cost this monument was erected. She had issue by him Thomas and Judith Ivatt. She departed this life March 28, 1634, aged 26.”

” Grace, meekness, love, religion, modesty.

Seemed in this mirror of her sex to die ;

For her soul’s lover, in her life did give

To her, as many virtues as could live,

And this bestowed by Heavenly art,

Earth claimed her body, Heaven her better part.”

Judith Hancock (afterwards Ivatt) was originally named Newman, and she was the daughter of — Newman, a London Goldsmith.

The remains of a Park and Mansion formerly existed between Combe Martin Rectory and the Church. The Manor was bought by William Hancock, of Lord Martin, in the reign of Henry VIII., and passed out of the family through an heiress, who married Admiral Sir Charles Waager. (?) Thence to a daughter who married Sir William Watson, who left three daughters, who still own the Manor.


Lady Watson lived at Combe Martin until her death, which occurred during the recollection of the present Vicar, Rev.W. Jones (1898). * On a handsome black marble and gilt monument in Torrington Church, Devon, is the following inscription : —

” Memoria sacrum

Judith iiliae Johannes Hancock,

de Combe Martin, arminger

Uxoris Henrici Stevens

de Velstone, generosi,

Quae obiit 6th Kal,

7bris Anno Domini, 1676,

^tatis suae 26

In maestrus Possuit.”

Sacred to the memory of Judith, daughter of John Hancock, of Combe Martin, Esquire, wife of Henry Stevens, of Velstone, Gentleman, who died 27th day of July, A.D. 1676, Aged 26.

Her sorrowful (or weeping) husband erected this.

* This Judith is probably niece of William and Judith

Hancock. — L.M.S.

One of my famous relatives?

I found the details of this person, Edward Hancock, who seems like an interesting character. He was from Combe Martin in Devon, where my side of the Hancock family seems to originate from. It would be interesting to connect him to the later people in the Hancock tree from Combe Martin. Here’s a section of his bio from the History of Parliament website:

Hancock was admitted to the Inner Temple free of charge at the request of ‘his near kinsman’ the lord chief justice of common pleas, Sir James Dyer. He and another student constructed their own chambers there. About 1590 Sir Walter Ralegh, who may first have met Hancock through Adrian Gilbert, bought the clerkship of assize for him from Justice Manwood for £90, and thenceforward Hancock was Ralegh’s trusted servant, in possession of his private seal. When Ralegh went to Guiana, Hancock accompanied him. Hancock’s return for Aldborough was presumably obtained through the influence of (Sir) Thomas Heneage, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, very likely at Ralegh’s request. As burgess for Aldborough he may have attended the committees concerning cloth (23 Mar.) and weirs (28 Mar.). William Strode II, himself a follower of Ralegh, presumably obtained Hancock’s return for Plympton Erle. At Barnstaple in 1601 Hancock was nominated by the Earl of Bath, though he had his own connexions with the borough, which paid him rent for Combe Martin manor, and after the election he sent the mayor a gift of venison. He sat on two minor parliamentary committees, the first concerning Rochdale, Lancashire, and second procedure, both on 11 Nov. 1601. After Ralegh’s fall Hancock committed suicide, in July 1603. Administration of his estate was granted to his widow 4 Nov., and a new administration to his daughter-in-law 28 June 1633.

Ralegh’s fall refers to the plot to remove James I from the throne after the death of Elizabeth I. The fact that the citation above mentioned a daughter-in-law obviously implied that there was a son. Edward does appear to have had a son William by his wife Dorothy.

HANCOCK, WILLIAM. B.A. 1619 (Incorp. from Oxford). S. of Edward, of Combe Martin, Devon, Esq. Matric. from Corpus Christi College, Oxford, June 7, 1616, age 14; B.A. (Oxford) 1618-9. Adm. at the Middle Temple, June 8, 1618. Died May 2, 1625. (Al. Oxon.)

I found that link in that well known book, “Cambridge Univeristy: Alumni cantabrigienses; a biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge (Volume pt 1 vol 2)”

I think it makes sense that administration of the estate initially went to his widow Dorothy, then passed on when Dorothy remarried John Dodderidge. By that time William had died, so the estate moved to his daughter in law. William died in 1625 when he was about 23, so any child in 1633 would be around 8 and wouldn’t be taking charge yet. I haven’t found any record of a child yet – that’s the next step…


Starting again!

After a few years out of it, I’ve decided to start up a website again. For a year a so I toyed with a blog where I put down my random responses to articles I’d seen in the papers and online (I moved all that out to I gave that up partly because it was easy to get involved in discussions on Facebook or elsewhere and partly because I didn’t have any time after Eddie was born.

Anyway, I’ve now found a new hobby (obsession?). I’ve been looking up our family tree. The main lines are from my dad (Hancock and Parnell) and my mum (Evans and Emanuel). On the Hancock, Parnell and Emanuel lines, I’ve traced back to the 17th century. The Evans side is a bit more tricky. There are lots of Evans in Wales!

The main things I’ve found out are that the Hancock and Parnell families are both from Devon and produced a lot of offspring that moved to Australia (not always voluntarily).

The Hancock line is interesting. From my great grandfather backwards, they were all from Combe Martin in Devon. There was a big Hancock presence there going back to Tudor times. Apparently, there was an Edward Hancock who was big mates with Sir Walter Raleigh, which didn’t end well. I’m trying to find the connection between the end of that line in 1620 through to where I have definite connections (1753).

I’m going to post up any interesting stories here, mainly so I don’t lose them!