Branscombe Timelines C16


The Sixteenth Century

The header for each year is preceded with an @ sign to facilitate searching


Portuguese lay claim to Brazil.

Europeans build forts on the coasts of west and east Africa.



Sir William de la Pole imprisoned in the Tower of London for rebellion against Henry VII. It is almost 38 years before he is released.

The Earldom of Devon, revived for Edward Courtenay in 1485, forfeited by attainder as to succession. [restored to Edward's son, William, in 1511]




Portuguese establish trading posts in east Africa.


Stow, in his Survey of London, examines the accounts of the wardens of London Bridge, and finds the bridge expenses for this year are £815.17.2d.



Sebastian Cabot leads a trans-Atlantic voyage of discovery, from Bristol, in the wake of his father. (cf:1497) He went so far north, into icebergs and the midnight sun, that the crew mutinied [cf:Waymouth/Branscombe, 1602]. He may have been looking for a north-west passage. He claimed, later, he'd actually found one.

`England was not yet a great sea power. Spain and Portugal ruled the waves.'


Reign of King Henry VII ends (since 1485), with his death. Henry VIII succeeds to the throne (to 1547).

The watch invented, by Peter Heule of Nuremburg.

The Mary Rose commenced construction, at Portsmouth (completed 1510). A carrack of 500-600 tons, it is the first English warship to carry complete batteries of seige artillery as main armaments, on complete gun-decks.


The Mary Rose completed, at Portsmouth. (cf:1509)


Portuguese seize control of Malacca.

Earldom of Devon, forfeited by attainder as to succession in 1502, restored to William, son of Edward Courtenay, by reversal of attainder. William died before completion of the formalities, but was buried an Earl, and his widow was recognised as Countess of Devon. [forfeited again by attainder, 1539]



Henry VIII founds the King's Yard at Deptford, often regarded as the birth-place of the British Navy.

`Shipwrights and caulkers were pressed in Otterton, Beer, Dartmouth, Exeter and Plymouth, to come to the new dockyard at Woolwich, to build the Henry Grace à Dieu in 1513, and more came from Dartmouth and Ipswich than from any other port.'

The Battle of Flodden Field. [adjacent to the village of Branxton, Northumberland]


Henry Grace à Dieu (1000 tons) launched at Deptford.

Corporation of Trinity House for pilots founded.


29 July: Stonework of King's College Chapel, Cambridge, completed. [commenced 1446 - completed 1544]


Ottoman Turks overrun Syria, Egypt, and Arabia. (to 1517)

Letters Patent, so called from being issued "open", with the Sovereign's Great Seal pendant, announce royal acts of the most diverse kinds, including grants and leases of land, appointments to offices, licences and pardons, denizations [naturalisation] of aliens, and presentations to ecclesiastical benefices. From 1516, the sort of royal grant that had hitherto been made by charter took the form of letters patent.




Magellan crosses the Pacific Ocean.

Spaniards under Cortez arrive in Central Mexico. The Aztecs are overthrown in two years.


Beginning of the slave trade from west Africa to the New World.

Sir Thomas More, Chancellor of the Exchequer, moves to Chelsea, for some peace and quiet.



Date of death of Thomas Halsey, according to a monumental brass in the Savoy Chapel, London.




Newton Saint Cyres parish (104 names:£17.3.6)

Jonathan Brounscombe jun G3
Jonathan Brounscombe sen G13
Robert Brounscombe G4
Thomas Brounscombe G5
Thomas Brounscombe W1

Morchard Bishop parish (99 names:£17.2.6)

John Brounscombe G5
William Brounscombe G30

[Morchard Bishop is north-west of Crediton. In 1548, the will of William of Morchard is proved. In the 1544 Subsidy, the households are headed by William & Joan]

Colebrook parish (67 names:£44.19.10)

Thomas Brounscombe G20

South Tawton parish (166 names:£17.6.0)

John Brounscombe W1

Whitestone parish (53 names:£3.11.6)

John Brownscombe G7

[John is also assessed in the 1544 & 1581 subsidies for Whitestone, about four miles west of Exeter. In 1606, a John of Whitestone makes his will]

Stoke Canon parish (46 names:£8.13.6)

Roger Brounscombe G5
William Brounscombe G3

Holcombe Burnell parish (37 names:£4.4.9)

Richard Bronscombe G2

Kenn parish (84 names:£11.15.8)

John Brownscombe G2

[John is also registered in the 1544 Subsidy for Kenn, about four miles south of Exeter. In 1545, the will of William Branscombe of Kenn is proved]

The subsidy rolls record 55 names in Branscombe village (£13.8.3), and 81 in Dawlish (£13.2.8), including Stephen Brounston G4.


Introduction of the potato from South America to Europe.

The words tobacco, tomato, potato, from an unknown Caribbean language via Spanish, were eagerly adopted in England and naturalised with great speed, but marked off as 'foreign' by their very phonetic structure.

Martin Luther marries Catherine von Bora.


Babur conquers the kingdom of Delhi and founds the Mughal dynasty.




John Hammond becomes 31st. and last Abbot of Battle Abbey.




Inca Empire destroyed by Spaniards, under Pizarro. The Inca empire contained perhaps 12 million people, extending some 4000 kilometers along the Andes mountains.


Writs and orders under the Great Seal addressed by the Sovereign to individuals were folded or closed up, and are hence called "letters close". Until Tudor times, the Close Rolls contain royal instructions for the performance of multifarious acts: the observance of treaties, the levying of subsidies, the repair of buildings, the payment of salaries, the provision of Household requirements, the delivery of their landed inheritances to heirs, and the assignment of dower to widows, and so forth. private deeds enrolled for safe custody on the back of the Close Rolls are especially numerous from 1382, and from 1532-3 such deeds form the entire contents of the roll.


Henry VIII divorces Catherine of Aragon and marries Anne Boleyn as Catherine has not produced him a male heir. This sets him in conflict with the Pope, and the Catholic Church, which had forbidden it. Henry VIII, in retaliation, established the foundations of the Protestant Church of England.

`There is overwhelming evidence of intense popular piety during the late Middle Ages, even if of a very ritualistic nature. It was normal to give generously for the setting up of altars, for the embellishment of the fabric of the church, and for the adornment of images. The calendar year was punctuated by elaborate processions and by feast-days and fast-days in honour of saints. A pilgrimage to a sacred site where miracle-working statues and relics were kept, was the preferred solution to all personal problems. There was a specialist saint who had the power to cure every disease or protect from every misfortune. In short, a great web of elaborate public ceremonies, ritualistic acts, magical beliefs and miracle-working images, bound the society together. The religion was based, admittedly, on a semi-pagan system of worship through prayers to a particular miracle-working relic or image, rather than appeals to the spirit that lay behind it. It was this stress on image-worship which made the mass destruction of images such a central issue for Protestant reformers ... [today's] Catholic revisionists [argue] that the price paid for the shift to Protestantism was far too high. Not only was this whole theoretical edifice of ritual, ceremony, and the worship of saintly images suppressed, but with it went the possibility of relief from pain or misfortune, and the sense of community. The most visible evidence of radical change was the destruction of the physical culture of the late medieval church, thanks to the savage iconoclasm of a tiny minority. The images, the stained glass, the wall paintings, the alters, the shrines, the rood screens, the crucifixions, and even the crosses, were smashed to pieces and burned by groups of fundamentalist fanatics, inflamed by a holy rage. These actions were first tolerated, then protected, then ordered by the state itself. The theory behind such destruction was simple. The decalogue forbids the worship of graven images. But believers who accepted the Host as the flesh and blood of Christ had no difficulty in accepting a particular statue of the Virgin as the miracle-working Virgin herself. The destruction of images therefore became the acid test of the Protestant faith.

But if the Catholic church, and the ceremonial and trappings that went with it were so popular, why did the Reformation occur at all? The answer lies, according to the Catholic revisionists, in the overwhelming authority of the monarchs - especially Henry VIII who, for his own marital purposes, first launched the attack on Papal authority, which nobody much bothered about. He then dissolved the monasteries in order to replenish his war-chest and get rid of pockets of resistance - an action which devastated the countryside and led to an armed rebellion which failed. Henry also seized all the goods of the parish churches, as well as the gold, silver and jewels adorning the shrines of saints. He finally nationalised the private chantry chapels established by the laity to finance the saying of masses for their souls - so easing their passage to heaven ... Protestant historians argue that as early as the 1530s, the story of the Reformation was not merely the product of the whims of monarchs. The numbers of monks and nuns was already decreasing, indicating an internal crisis; the wealthy laity were strongly anti-clerical - as proven by the willingness of Parliament to do what Henry VIII wished; the urgent need for internal reform of the Catholic church was recognised by influential humanists like Erasmus; and the people were increasingly influenced first by a revival of the old Lollard heresy, and, in the 1520s, by the wide dissemination of Lutheran tracts and ideas. To these incentives must be added the desire to be on the winning side, the greedy ambition to get a share of the spoils of the church, and fear of the ruthless terror exercised by Henry VIII against those who publicly opposed him. Some Carthusian monks were slowly - and illegally - tortured to death as an example to others. But Henry was no Stalin, and deaths were in the hundreds, not the millions. The question is whether, and when, all this became enough to turn influential circles against all that highly visible, socially-cohesive and personally satisfying Catholic piety and cermonial ... the fact that a large number of wills (not a majority) omitted all reference to the Virgin and Saints - even at the hight of the Marian drive to restore Catholicism - was an ominous sign of a permanent shift of popular belief which made the ambiguous Elizabethan settlement generally acceptable. By 1580 it had made most of the population conforming Protestants, even if only a minority were enthiusiastic.'



The Statute of Enrolments ... allowed feoffments to be valid without seizin [the medieval tradition in which the actual transfer of property only took place through the ceremony of Livery of Seizin, in which a token part of the property, e.g. a key or a piece of turf, was handed over to the new owner in the presence of witnesses. The written deed merely confirmed the seizin] if they were enrolled in either the national courts or before the Clerks of the Peace in each county. These resulted in the `Enrolled Deeds of Bargain and Sale' amongst Quarter Sessions records ... for Devon, a good series starts in 1530 and includes some 1,300 deeds in the sixteenth century...'


The Mary Rose re-built to 700 tons. (cf: 1509) She has a listed crew of 200 mariners, 185 soldiers and 30 gunners.

During the years 1536-1545, Henry VIII annexed the property of Religious Houses, a process that became known as the `dissolution of the monasteries'. He and his successors subsequently disposed of the greater part of their former landed estates.

`If one accepts the fairly liberal contemporary connotation of the term, there were about 130 'manors' [belonging to the Church in Devon, at this time] with a gross value, according to the Valor Ecclesiasticus, of £3820, or nearly 60% of the value of the whole monastic estate in the county.'

`Among the large number of local people who paid in full for all the monastic property they acquired were some of the older squirearchy, [including] the Champernons. Such men could not easily raise large sums of ready money, and their acquisitions were of necessity limited.'

`At the other end of the scale, the prosperous yeoman had never been a great feature of Devonshire society, and such as had appeared had never found it at all easy to enter the solid ranks of the small freeholders. Monastic lands did little to alter this situation. Of course many ofthose who bought the single tenements in their own or other people's occupation did thereby acquire their first piece of freehold property, and were thus enabled to send their sons into trade or the law.'


Henry VIII makes the City of Exeter a county itself, allowing the appointment of a city sheriff.


September: Thomas Cromwell's mandate creates parish registers. Pevsner says several registers have entries for earlier dates.

`The parish register has been called the Poor Man's Charter. With him it takes the place of wills and title deeds, escheats and herald's visitations, and through its entries almost exclusively, he must establish his claims to inheritance or legitimacy.'

Henry Courtenay, Earl of Devon, having fallen out of favour, is executed by Henry VIII.


15 June, North Tawton: John Brocke marries Joan Brounscombe.

1 October, Saint Winifred's, Branscombe: John Duck baptised. [first entry in the registers. The second, John Myco, is 19 February 1539/40. The register of marriages begins in 1545, that of burials in 1578. According to the transcribers of the registers, the Branscombe registers are among the most complete in the county.]

Printing reaches Mexico.

Forde Abbey and Polsloe Priory dissolved. Bovey House, owned by the Walronds on a manor belonging to Sherborne Abbey, is taken over by the Crown. [cf:1542]

Saint Albans Abbey is dissolved.

The Earldom of Devon, restored in favour of William Courtenay in 1511, is forfeited by attainder of Henry Courtenay, first and last Marquess of Exeter of his name. Total: 3 earls. [restored, 1553]

`The confiscation of the Courtenay estates, which took place in this year, removed the only ancient aristocratic house whose interests were primarily in Devon.'


`After about 1540 stone was only quarried [from Beer] for secular building, although one more church was created secretly and with devoted care. This was hewn from the rock in a secluded section of the quarry, where a vast chamber was excavated to form a chapel in which devout Catholics worshipped in secret during all their periods of persecution... The Walrond family, who ordered the construction of the chapel, had been lords of the manor and owners of the quarry, which was in their demesne, from 1300. In 1550, they re-built Bovey House entirely from Beer stone and had a priest's hole constructed in the roof to hide visiting clerics in the event of danger.'

`Although freehold property could be bought and sold, before 1540 it could not be left by will, but descended according to fixed rules. Almost always, inheritance went to the eldest son, although occasionally it followed local custom, either borough English (descent to the youngest son), or gavelkind (equal division bwteen sons). Daughters were next in line after sons, sharing equally, followed by brothers in order and sisters (divided). If more distant relatives had to be found, the result was often a law suit between people with roughly equal claims. A widow had the right to roughly a third of the property (her dower) but for life only, so that if the son sold it with her agreement, she would renounce her right in a quit claim. If she herself made a gift, then she had certainly inherited the property herself, rather than holding it as her dower.'

The Statute of Wills called for inventories as a means of settling disputes.


5 May, North Tawton: John Brounscombe, son of John, baptised.


Foundations of Spanish South American capitals at Lima, Santa Fe de Bogota, and Santiago.

Bovey House is given to Catherine Parr as part of the marriage settlement between her and Henry VIII. [cf:1539] At her death, it reverts to the Walronds.

`Continued strong Welsh national feeling was indicated by the rising led by Owain Glyndwr at beginning of the fifteenth century. The Acts of Union of 1536 and 1542 united England and Wales administratively, politically and legally.'



24 January, Shobrooke, (Crediton) Devon: Johane Branscombe marries John Grantland. (IGI) [In the 1524 subsidy roll, there is a Henry Grantlond listed G12, also a William Brounston G16. This is the first mention in the database to date of a Branscombe family in connection with Crediton, other than Walter Branscombe of 1332, a connection which extends into the nineteenth century]

26 March, Crediton: `John Braunscomb holds for his life by the grant of Bennet Kingwell and Phillipp Furse, by deed 26 March 1544, all those messuages [houses] called Pytt, in the parish of Crediton and now in the occupation of said John Brounscombe.' [Deed poll of Henry Kingwell, yeoman of Crediton, 7 April, 1580. cf:1544 & 1581 Subsidy rolls for Crediton. John or his son John may marry Margery Berry in Crediton, 1597]

Chapel of King's College Cambridge completed. [begun 1446]

1544 Devon Subsidy Roll


John Brownescombe 1


Nicholas Brownescombe 5
Thomas Brownescombe 4
Ralph Brownescombe 1

[between Crediton & Exeter]


William Brownescombe L4
Joan Brownescombe 1

[north-west of Crediton. In 1548, the will of William of Morchard is proved. In the 1524 Subsidy, the households are headed by William & John]


Thomas Brownescombe 20

[west of Crediton]


John Brounescombe 8

[John is also assessed in the 1524 & 1581 subsidies for Whitestone, about four miles west of Exeter. In 1606, a John of Whitestone makes his will]


William Brownescombe 13
Roger Brownescombe 3
William Brownescomne 1

[north of Exeter]


John Brownescombe 1

[south of North Tawton]


John Brownescomb 20

[south of Exeter]


Wilmota Bronscombe 2

[north of Crediton. The will of Wilmote, widow of Tiverton, is proved in 1625]


Richard Bronscombe 1

[east of Crediton]


John Brounescombe 2

[north of Exeter]


John Brounscombe 5

[North Tawton west of Crediton]


William Brounscombe 2

[west Devon, south of Great Torrington]


John Brounscumbe 8

[John is also registered in the 1524 Subsidy for Kenn, about four miles south of Exeter. In 1545, the will of William Branscombe of Kenn is proved]


Thomas Brounscombe 6
Peter Braunscombe 1
Alice Beard 10
John Beard jun. 2
John Paynter 1
John Way 1
Peter Waymouth 4
John Voysey 1
TOTAL: 168 names £7.16.4


James Bronscombe 1

[poss will proved, 1571 - James of West Teignmouth]

Henry VIII grants the rectory of Great Gaddesden to William Halsey or Hawsé, in which family it stays for the next 300 years.


18 (March?), Branscombe: Saint Winifred's Register of Marriages begins, with the marriage of John Duck and Johan Knight. [baptisms began in 1539, also with John Duck - burials begin in 1578]

19 July: The King's flagship, The Mary Rose (cf:1536) capsizes during an action against the French off Portsmouth, while acting as the vice-flagship of Sir George Carew. There were 20-40 survivors. Both Carew and the captain, Roger Grenville, were drowned. The action was fought within view of Southsea castle, where King Henry VIII and Lady Carew, wife of Sir George, witnessed the tragedy.

22 September: Aller, in the parish of Crediton, sold to Elizabeth, Countess of Bath, and Sir Thomas Darcy of Essex, Gentleman, for £12. [cf: Aller Farm, 1558]

William Branscombe of Kenn makes his will. [John Branscombe is registered in the 1524 & 1544 Subsidies for Kenn, about four miles south of Exeter]

Discovery of silver mines in Peru & Mexico.

The College Church of Ottery Saint Mary is partly destroyed, and the fine Beer stone decoration is dismantled. John Haydon, a sixteenth-century lawyer concerned with the purchase and sale of reformationsale of dissolved priories at the time, acquired large quantities of the stone, which he used to build a charming Tudor manor-house, Cadhay, about a mile from the town. [open to the public]


Public baths, re-introduced to the main cities of Europe by the first half of the 13th century, arepublic baths suppressed in England, as they had become so disreputable. (cf:1250)

The King establishes a Navy Board, thereby setting the groundwork for the rise of England's naval supremacy. Meanwhile, the rise of the Dutch Republic leads to a growth of the Dutch navy, as experienced Dutch sailor use their skills to gain freedom from Spanish rule. Spain was the common enemy of both countries, and the vast wealth of the Spanish colonies in America, which supported the mother country, became the prey of English maritime adventurers such as Hawkins and Franscis Drake.

20 May: Baldwin Bascombe, vicar of Ottery Saint Mary Collegiate Church, is awarded a pension of £6 18s 5d.


Reign of King Henry VIII ends (since 1509). Edward VI succeeds (to 1553). The sarcophagus in which Henry is entombed is later dug up and desecrated, during Cromwell's time. Lord Nelson is buried in it, in 1806.

The first printed map of Britain, probably by George Lily.

By 1547, the dissolution of the monasteries, begun by monarchsHenry VIII in 1536, was largely complete throughout the kingdom.

The will of John Brownyscombe of Sampford, Kirton, proved in the Consistory Court of the Bishop of Exeter. [cf:1564,1573,1589. Sampford Courtenay, west of North Tawton? cf:1544 John Branscombe of Down Saint Mary. Or Sandford, Crediton?]


Walter Brownscomb admitted to the freedom of the city of Exeter, on payment of a fine of £1.

Walter Bromiscombe named in a conveyance of land owned by the Priory of Saint Nicholas, Exeter, before the dissolution [1536-45], and then owned in part by Walter.

The great Norman family of De la Pomerai used their manor of Berry Pomeroy from the Conquest to 1548, as their principal residence in Devon.

According to the Somerset Survey of Chantries in this year, Avicia Brouscombe holds a burgage according to the custom of Taunton, and renders 43s. per annum.

The will of William Branscombe of Morchard Episcopi [Morchard Bishop] is proved in the Consistory Court of the Bishop of Exeter. [cf:1544 Subsidy - William & Joan are taxed in Morchard]


Edward VI, "The Boy King", ascends the throne (to 1553).

Protestant fanaticism and vandalism of churches becomes rife. Many churches, including Saint Winifred's, Branscombe, are desecrated. Stained glass is smashed, wall paintings destroyed, rood screens burned, fonts broken. Saint Winifred's absentee vicar, John Tailor (or Cardemaker?), Chancellor of Wells and later Reader of Saint Paul's;, was an advocate of the heady doctrines emanating from Geneva. (Calvinism)

`That heresy which assumed respectability in the sober bonnets of Geneva, and the well-cut habits of Port Royal. Here is proof of what will occur if sinful man presumes to follow his own concience, without the guiding hand of the Church's authority. Here, with a writhing of naked limbs, and a stench of burning flesh reminiscent of visions recorded by the immortal Tuscan, is the Hell that man has carried within himself ever since Adam first listened to the soft voice of Eve.'


Portuguese traders penetrate Zambezi Valley.

Ottoman Turks empire grows to include Asia Minor, Egypt, Levant, and south-Eastern Europe.

The middle of the 16th.century saw the rise of British and Dutch sea power. Henry VIII (1491-1547) reconstituted the Royal Navy and organised it around the sailing ship, being the first to favour sail, for his men o'war.

Shute House, near Colyton, constructed. (re-modelled, 1787-90)

Walrond family rebuilds Bovey House entirely from Beer stone, which quarry they have owned since 1300. Devout Catholics, they ordered the construction of a secret chapel in the quarry, and built a priest's hole into the roof of Bovey House.

In literature, coomb appears in the second half of the sixteenth century, probably introduced from local use; a century later it was still treated as a local southern word.

Period of Protestant fanaticism which probably led to the vandalising of Saint Winifred's, Branscombe.



Hayes Barton, East Budleigh: Walter Raleigh is born.


Reign of King Edward VI ends (since 1547). His sister, Mary I succeeds (to 1558). Roman Catholicism retored.

Insurgents led by Sir Thomas Wyatt march on London.

`... the English explorer Hugh Willoughby and his crew of 70 were the first non-native people to attempt to survive winter in the Arctic. In 1553 the two ships he captained became trapped when the Varzino River in the Kola Peninsula of Russian Lapland froze. Without proper clothing, shelter or medical supplies, they all died.'

The Earldom of Devon, forfeited by attainder in 1539, is restored by patent of creation to Edward, son and heir to Henry Courtenay, Marquess of Exeter. [became dormant at his death, 1556]



John Tailor, vicar of Saint Winifred's, Branscombe, and possibly responsible for the vandalism there arising from his anti-papist views, is tried before an episcopal court. Condemned and sentenced to death, he is burned at the stake at London's Smithfield, 26 May.

A Weaver's Act of this year attempted to curb the growth of cottage industry outside the cities, by restricting each household to a maximum of two looms, but it was largely ineffective.


31 August: Thomas Brounscomb admitted to the Freedom of the City of Exeter, on payment of a fine of £1. [cf:1548]

Earldom of Devon becomes dormant on the death of Edward Courtenay, who became Earl by patent in 1553. Total: 1 earl. [earldom remains dormant until 1603]


Portuguese established in Macau, the first European enclave in China.


Reign of Mary I ends (since 1553). Elizabeth I succeeds to the throne (to 1603). She is aged 25. It is said she was reading under a tree at her home, Hatfield House, when she heard of her succession, and that her first council of ministers was held in the great hall of the old palace.

Humphrey Gilbert, '... a quintessential Elizabethan gentleman of Devon', begins pressing for royal patronage of an expedition to find a north-west passage to the Orient.

`To be born a man in Devon was, in those days, to be born a seaman.'

`Of course often they appear in the records as humble and obedient servants, but the mutinousness of Elizabethan crews at sea and their drunkenness ashore cannot be ignored. They were not well regarded ...'

Aller Farm, Crediton, is still in possession of the Crown. It was worth £7 7s 8d, according to the Valor Ecclesiasticus.

A mandate of Elizabeth I, on 5 September 1558, ordered that the 10,000 parishes of England were to keep a register of baptisms, marriages and burials. A later decree, on 25 October 1597, ordered the records should be kept in a parchment book, with all previous records being copied into it. As the order gave the clergy the option of starting only from 1558, many did not transcribe entries back to commencement, although about 800 registers still exist which do. Also, from 1598, a copy of all entries was to be sent annually, at Easter, to the Bishop. These are therefore known as Bishop's Transcipts, and sometimes have survived when the original registers have disappeared.



Traingulation introduced into surveying. It combined a magnetic compass with an instrument called an alidade, used in conjunction with a sketching or plane-table.


22 December, Saint Mary Steps: Lease between Ralphe Dukyngfylde, William Toker, both wardens of the church and parish of Saint Mary the More, & Martyn Medlonde of Exeter, Elizabeth, his wife.

`Tenement in Saint Mary Stoppes, between the parish church of Saint Mary Stoppes on the south, and the tenement of the Vicars Choral on the north, and a certain lane on the east, and the High Street on the west. To hold for eighty years, if Martyn and Elizabeth live so long. Rent:16d. The said wardens also agree that after the end of the term, the tenement shall go to Wyllyam Bronscombe, son of the said Elizabeth, for 80 years, if he lives so long, for the same rents and services as Martyn and Elizabeth held it for. 3 red, pendent seals, 1 broken.'


Copies of entries into parish registers are required to be made, for the first time. However, for most parishes this does not take effect until 1604, when the practise is codified.


An outbreak of bubonic plague in London kills about 20,000, or roughly a quarter of the population.

Statute of Artificers (or Apprentices). Would largely control the structure of the British industrial economy until repealed in 1814. `Its aims were to stabilize industry throughout the country, to stop idleness, to ensure sufficient labour for farming,and to regulate wages. No person could practise any craft without serving seven year's apprenticeship. The Justices of the Peace were empowered to fix wages for all industries in accordance with the price of food. All poor, unmarried persons, and married persons under thirty years of age who were out of work were required to serve as yearly servants in the trade to which they had been brought up, and they could not leave such service during the year without the permission of two Justices of the Peace. All persons not otherwise employed were to work as farm labourers, hired by the year. At harvest-time, the Justices could compel workers of any other trade to serve in the fields to prevent loss of crops.'


Gerard Mercator publishes the first fine, large-scale map of Britain.

18 July, Sampford Courtenay: Walter Brownscombe, son of John, baptised. [cf:1547,1573,1589]

William Shakespeare born, Stratford Upon Avon.


2 January, Crediton: John Brenscome christened. [no parents listed] (IGI)


Thomas Gurney, Mayor of Dartmouth, 1566-7.

Licenced fishing nets survey of South Devon:

Seine, tuck & hake nets:

Branscombe 3 seines

Dawlish & East Teignmouth 8 seines & 5 tucks




2 October, Crediton: Englyshe Brenscome marries Thomas Quashe. (IGI)



Richard Bronscomb, presenter, is possessed of land which is valued at between £5-10 per annum, and is thereby obliged to provide the following horse and armour weapons:

1 almain rivet
1 bow
1 sheaf of arrows
1 steel cap
1 bill

Among the pikemen listed is John Brownscomb

[Shobrooke is adjacent to Crediton]


Robert Bramescombe [Branscombe] is named among the


John Brownscomb [Branscombe] is among the archers.


Agnes Branscomb, being in possession of goods worth between £10-20, is obliged to supply:

1 bow
1 sheaf of arrows
1 steel cap
1 bill


William Branscombe is a presenter sworn, but does not otherwise appear on the roll.


Roger Penter [Paynter?] has goods worth between £10-20, and must therefore supply:

1 bow
1 sheaf of arrows
1 steel cap
1 bill

There are no Branscombes mentioned.


London's Whitechapel bell foundry founded. (survives to the present day.)

George Waymouth probably involved in the Newfoundland fishery, and sending his own ships there.

July: Mariners mustered in Devon.

Branscombe 3

Dawlish 23


Spain colonises the Philippines.

An outbreak of bubonic plague at Crediton kills about a quarter of the population.

The will of James Brawnscombe of West Teignmouth, proved in the Consistory Court of the Bishop of Exeter. [cf:1544 Subsidy for Teignmouth]

Approximate year of birth, Geo. Branscombe, butcher of Feniton. [poss George, son of weaver Osmund Branscombe & Joan, of Feniton, and mentioned in Osmond's will of 1614, where there is also mention of George the Younger, possibly this George's son? George senior may have the following siblings: Peter (1572), Grace, Dorothy, Thomas, Joan? This is the first mention of Feniton in the database. The last is in 1724]

`Receiving interest for a [mortgage] loan was prohibited as `usury' until 1571, and instead the lender would take possession of the property and collect the rents, etc.. Furthermore, failure to repay the loan by the specified date led to the permanent forfeiture of the property, though in practise this danger might be reduced by choosing a friend or relative as mortgagee. Curiously, the use of mortgages in the sixteenth century seems to have been very irregular. Thus in Devon they were not uncommon, but in the Midlands they seem to be very rare.'


18 June, Crediton: Jone (f) Brenscome christened. [no parents listed] (IGI)

17 November, Feniton: Peter, son of Osmonde Branscombe, baptised. (IGI) [Osmond is a weaver & overseer of apprentices. His wife is Joan. cf:1614 will. Siblings: George (1571), Grace, Dorothy, Thomas, Joan]

John Branscombe, hatter, admitted to freedom of city of Exeter on payment of a fine of £1.


11 July, Crediton: Christen Brenscome marries Mathew Burrage. (IGI)

20 September, Sampford Courtenay: John Brounscombe buried. [cf:1547,1589]

The first printed map of England and Wales, in an atlas of the world Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, published by Abraham Ortelins. The map is the work of Humphrey Lhuyd of Denbigh.

A bad harvest, probably due to an unusually wet summer. The average national price of wheat rises 28% above the norm.

Berwick: Rob Branxscon marries Elnr Tindall.


17 May, Crediton: John Brenscome christened. [no parents listed] (IGI)

12 June, Crediton: Anys Brenscome marries John Piers. (IGI) [Pearce?]

Thomas Gurney, Mayor of Dartmouth, 1574-5.


28 May, Crediton: Inquisition ad quod damnum before Arthur Bassett, Sheriff of Devon, to investigate a writ by (among others) John Pearse, Richard Brownscombe and Nicholas Brownscombe, `... who say that it is not to the Queen's damage to allow William Perryam esquire to inclose ... a common road or lane leading from the vill of Crediton alias Kirton, near and under the house of the said William Peryam called Fulforde, newly erected there ... in the parish of Shobrooke ... provided that William shall make another road or street upon his soil not far distant from said ancient road.' (EPNI) [cf:1578,1579]


27 October, Shobrook: Johans Branscombe marries Marye Grantland. (IGI)

First voyage of Martin Frobisher to find the north-west passage.

None-such House built, on London Bridge, to replace the former executioner's tower, on which the heads of criminals were displayed. The heads were displayed instead on the next tower on the Southwark side.


Sir Frances Drake sets out on the first circumnavigation of the globe.

Second voyage of Martin Frobisher to find the north-west passage.


Third and last exploratory voyage by Martin Frobisher, to find the north-west passage.

William Waymouth of Cockington, merchant, susbcribes to Sir Humphrey Gilbert's voyage of exploration to the New World, this year. (William is carried over as a subscriber to the 1582/3 venture)

26 April: Endorsed by Queen Elizabeth,

`a grant for turneinge the way and stoppinge the old way, by Fullfford house.' (Royal seal)

[cf:1575 & William Peryam Esq. of Fulford, 1579]

Approximate year of birth of Edward Branscomb of Dawlish, mariner. [cf:1619 Survey]

27 March, Branscombe: Saint Winifred's Register of Burials begins, with the death of William Payton. Both the baptismal (1539) and marriage (1545) registers began with John Duck, but he failed to make the hat trick, although it's a close run thing, as the second entry in the burial registers is Agnes Duck, and she was actually buried on 28 February 1578. But because the new year started on 26 March at this time, she actually died in the following year.

Branscombe, Saint Winifred's: George Holcomb marries Agnes Myldon.


A county atlas of England and Wales, the first of its kind in the world, published by Christopher Saxton.

6 January, North Tawton: John Brownscomb buried.

21 May, Crediton: Grant of land from William Peryam esquire of Fulford, to John Kyngwill of Credyton, 80 acres of messuage [house], lands etc., called Pytt, in Credyton and now late in tenure of John Brounscombe of Credyton. [cf:1580] Witnesses: Wa. Dowriche, John Deyman, John Bidgood, Homfrey Holmead and Richard Evans.

Approximate year of births of Richard Bremcombe [Branscombe?] mariner of Plymouth, and George Bronscombe, mariner of Plymstock. [cf:1619 Survey. Richard my be the father of Nicholas of Plymouth, who may be the father of Nicholas of Dawlish? cf:1614 for poss bp. of son Martin, 1615 for poss daughter Margaret & 1623 for poss son Henry]


7 April, Crediton: Deed poll of Henry Kingwell, yeoman of Crediton. `John Braunscomb holds for his life by the grant of Bennet Kingwell and Phillipp Furse, by deed 26 March 1544, all those messuages [houses] called Pytt, in the parish of Crediton and now in the occupation of said John Brounscombe.' [cf:1581 Subsidy roll for Crediton. John or his son John may marry Margery Berry in Crediton, 1597]

26 July, Saint David's Exeter: John Brannscombe marries Agnis Brannscombe.(IGI) [?cf:1590 - duplication?]


Yemak begins the Russian conquest of Siberia.

Queen Elizabeth I knights Frances Drake on board the Golden Hind, moored in the King's Yard, Deptford, London.


Agnes Branscombe's goods assessed value £5

Robert Bramscumbe's land valued at £1

Robert Brownscombe's goods valued at £3

Osmond Branscombe's goods valued at £3

[poss d.1614, weaver of Feniton, husband of Joan? If so, they probably had the following children: George (1571?), Peter (1572), Grace, Dorothy, Thomas, Joan? Osmund was an Overseer (of apprentices?) in 1583]

John Brounescombe's goods valued at £3

[John is also assessed in the 1524 & 1544 subsidies for Whitestone, about four miles west of Exeter. In 1606, a John of Whitestone makes his will]

John Brounescombe's land valued at £1

John Brounescombe's land valued at £1

[John or his son John possibly marries Margery Berry 1597 Crediton]

Richard Brounscombe's goods valued at £3

[Shobrooke is adjacent to Crediton. Richard is mentioned in an "Inquisition ad quod damnum", 1575, before the Sheriff of Devon. In 1621, the will of George Brunscombe of Shobrooke is proved]

Sir Walter Raleigh builds a ship, the Ark Raleigh, which is eventually bought by the Crown and renamed Ark Royal. This was the flagship of Lord Howard of Effingham against the Armada.


Richard Hakluyt publishes Divers Voyages Touching the Discovery of America, aged 30.

William Waymouth of Cockington, Devon, a subscriber to the 1582/3 exploratory venture of Sir Humphrey Gilbert to the New World (carried over from 1578).

The Julian calendar, named after Julius Caesar, declared 25 March as the first day of the year, and a solar year to be 365 days and 6 hours long. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII determined that the Julian calendar was off by 11 minutes and 14 seconds. The new Gregorian calendar resolved the discrepancy, and declared 1 January as the start of the year. Not all countries accepted this at first. England and the American colonies didn't until 1752. But although government opposition to the new calendar was immovable for nearly 200 years, the general populace began observing 1 January as New Year's Day at once, leading to "double dating" for many documents and records.

`... Peter Morris, a Dutchman, made at London Bridge a "most artificial forcier", by which water was conveyed into houses. We are told how that, on the Lord Mayor and Aldermen going to view the works in operation, Morris, to show the efficiency of his machine, caused the water to be thrown over Saint Magnus' Church. The waterworks at the bridge were famous for a long time as one of the sights of London.'


27 July, Saint Edmund's, Exeter: Joane, daughter of John Branscome, christened. (IGI)

Sir Humphrey Gilbert drowns, when his ship, Squirrel (8 tuns), goes down in bad weather off the Azores. He was returning from an exploration of Newfoundland. His patent from Queen Elizabeth for the colonisation of America died with him.

Joan Tregarthen Wadham dies, at Edge Barton, Branscombe, Devon. Buried at Saint Winifred's, Branscombe, 30 September.

`This redoubtable lady, of Cornish extraction, had fourteen children by her first husband, John Kellaway, and six more by her second, John Wadham, whom she nevertheless outlived. Not all the children survived, and the only male Wadham to reach manhood was Nicholas, who died in 1609 and, posthumously, founded Wadham college at Oxford.'

William Waymouth of Cockington, Devon, builds the Judith, 170 tons, and receives a royal subsidy of 5 shillings a ton. (cf:1589,1594)

Osmond Branscombe an overseer (of apprentices?). Mentioned in will of Robert Baker. (EBMI) [cf:1581 Subsidy for Feniton. Poss d.1614, weaver of Feniton, husband of Joan? If so, they probably had the following children: Peter (1572), Grace, Dorothy, Thomas, George (1571?), Joan?]


Walter Raleigh knighted. Elizabeth gives him the patent for the colonisation of America which lapsed on the death of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. Also permission to call the new colony Virginia.

Exploratory voyage of Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe to Virginia (now North Carolina), commissioned by Walter Raleigh. All were Devonians. The two returned with glowing descriptions, which led to the colonisation attempt of 1585.

`During the period from the spring of 1584 until late summer of 1587, some fifty English vessels called at Hatorask and the other ports of entry along the Outer banks, and more than 1000 Englishmen viewed or visited those low-lying barrier islands.'

William Waymouth of Cockington, Devon, is paid a 5s per ton royal bounty for his vessel Judith, of Dartmouth, 170 tons.

`In the sixteenth century retailing in Exeter was still theoretically restricted to the freemen, as also was the use of any occupation. In 1584 the legal theory was stated by the Exeter City Chamberlain, John Hooker, as follows:

`...none can use, nor exercise any trade, art, calling or office in the Citie, vnlesse he be first sworne to the libertiee of the Citie...'

In the sixteenth century and the first two decades of the seventeenth, there is no doubt of the rigorous enforcement by the Chamber. This is clear from the number of enactments against goods `foreign bought and sold.''

21 January: The Mayor and Corporation of Exeter require "that Mr. Barcombe shall pay two-pence yearly during his estate in the house called the Beare, for and in consideration of his new building over the gate going into the churchyard by the said Bear Gate." Beregate, eight feet wide, enough to allow packhorses through, was one of seven entrances to the Cathedral Close. [Laurence Barcombe, owner of the "Bear Inn" in Southgate Street, according to Hooker. The gate is visible on R. Hogenberg's 1587 map of Exeter. The 1599 plan from Hooker's "History of Exeter" appears to show a house built on top of the gate]

26 January, North Tawton: William Brownscom buried.


9 April, Plymouth: Walter Raleigh leads an expedition of seven ships, under the general command of Sir Richard Grenville, to form the first English colony in North America. Besides the crews, the ships carried fourteen gentlemen, led by Ralph Lane, and nearly one hundred others, [including Robert Biscombe and Edward Barecombe]. They were landed on Roanoke Island, North Carolina, where they stayed for twelve months. But the settlement did not succeed, and they returned to England with Sir Francis Drake's expedition [1586].

First voyage of M.John Davis to find the north-west passage.

Elias Holcombe dies at Hole House, Branscombe. Buried at Saint Winifred's, Branscombe.

War with Spain commences. Ventures of reprisal against Spanish shipping is authorised, although privateering by Drake and others was already taking place. In fact, criminal and indiscriminate piracy on a disturbing scale had increased to such proportions, since the middle of the century, that it was a major headache for Elizabeth's Privy Council.


Second voyage of M.John Davis to find the north-west passage.

Relief expedition to the colony of Virginia, led by Sir Francis Drake, in the Bark Bonner (170t).

Statue of Elizabeth I erected on London's Ludgate. Later shifted to Saint Dunstan's-in-the-West, Fleet Street. Remains the oldest statue in London outside of a museum.

7 December, Saint Edmund's, Exeter: Elizabeth Bronescomb buried.


6 March, Saint Edmund's, Exeter: Ruthe Branscomb, daughter of John, baptised. (IGI)

4 July, Saint David's, Exeter: William Brannscombe, son of James, baptised. (IGI)

Third voyage of M.John Davis, to find the north-west passage.

Second Virginia colony established, by Sir Walter Raleigh [cf:1586]. The "Lost Colony". This time, the colonists included a handful of women and children, with Cornish artist John White as their governor. It had been decided to land them, this time, at Chesapeake Bay, but on arrival at Roanoke the sailors, led by former Portuguese pirate Simon Fenandez, insisted on them debarking, as the crews were keen to go searching for ships to plunder, on the way back home.

Deserted by a homeland preoccupied with preparations to defeat the Spanish Armada, all disappeared, virtually without trace. White, who had returned home to fetch more supplies, was the only survivor, though reports of others would persist to 1603.

At about this time, Walter Raleigh probably introduces both the potato and tobacco to Britain. Raleigh himself never actually went to the colony he had named Virginia.

William Waymouth (George's grandfather) makes his will. Included in his rather meagre possessions is a half-share in a ship, the Lyon, worth 50 pounds. the family had lived, for a long time, on the manor of Cockington, (now a western suburb of Torquay) under the aegis of the Carey family. His ancestors had been fishermen and tenants of the estate, but they had gradually emerged to some degree of independence in William's lifetime.

There is no record of George Waymouth's education, but he probably attended a grammar school nearby, as he wrote attractively, and read widely. While he was growing up, his father was branching out into building what were, for the time, substantial ships. (cf: 1583, 89, 94.) He received royal subsidies at the rate of 5 shillings a ton. During this period, it seems possible that George was both learning the shipbuilder's trade, and getting seagoing experience on his father's ships, since he emerged from his dimly-understood period of apprenticeship as a fully-fledged authority on ships and the sea, and particularly on American waters.

The elder Waymouth, William Waymouth of Cockington, merchant, subscribed as early as 1578 to an overseas venture when he put up some money, we do not know how much, for Sir Humphrey Gilbert's voyage of that year, and so he was carried over as a subscriber in the 1582-3 venture, though he may not have increased his contribution. George Waymouth emerges as a protagonist of overseas voyaging some eighteen years after Gilbert's death, when he proposed to the recently-organised East India Company that he should be put in command of the venture to which they would contribute substantially. [cf: 1601]

`The Mercurius Gallo-Belgicus collected information from France, the Low Countries, Poland, Austria, Bohemia and other European countries and was sold in book format, the first dating from 1587-94, and appearing until 1635. It was in Latin, which was the common language of the educated men of any European country.'


6 March, Saint Edmund's, Exeter: Ruthe, daughter of John Brunscomb, baptised. [duplication in IGI 1587? Or confusion over year because of calendar?]

Philip II of Spain sends the Spanish armada to convoy an army assembled in Flanders for the invasion of England. The expedition carried in its ships a large army which was to be strengthened further by the army in Flanders. The backbone of the fleet was 60 large galleons, which were sailing vessels with streamlined hulls, supporting two decks of guns mounted in broadside. Opposing the Spanish in the English Channel was the Royal Navy, supplemented by ships of every description, supplied by several coastal cities, and by nobles. The English ships were smaller, but faster, more manoeuvrable, and armed with guns of longer range. Eight days of desultory fighting had lowered the morale of the Spaniards as they sailed slowly up the English Channel. They reached Calais, only to be driven out in utter confusion, at midnight, by "fire" ships. In the battle that followed, they suffered from the superior English cannon-fire. Soon they were in retreat, sailing about the Orkneys, the English following them until their meagre supplies ran short. Although the defeat of the Spanish spaindefeat of armada marked the beginning of Spain's naval and imperial decline, and the rise of English naval supremacy in the Atlantic Ocean, Spain remained an important maritime power for at least the next 200 years, and England only gradually established maritime dominance.

`On 1 April 1588, the more important coast towns were ordered to equip ships, all to be above sixty tons in burthen ... they were all to join Frances Drake's division at Plymouth. Both in 1588 and later, most of the port towns in Devon and elsewhere showed an extreme unwillingness to furnish ships to serve in the royal fleets; they did not plead that such a demand was unconstitutional, but always professed poverty. In truth, the common notion which assumes a bright flame of patriotism and self-sacrifice burning steadily throughout the Elizabethan era requires considerable correction in the cold light shed by the state papers ... In many instances, money was borrowed from individuals all around the coast, in anticipation of the slow process of collection, and these persons often experienced great difficulty in obtaining re-payment ... the Crescent, 140 tons, Captain John Wilson (master Christopher Waymouth) [from Exeter or Topsham], was paid for by the Queen.

1/2 August: The Spanish Armada of about 130 ships, under Medina Sidonia, is becalmed overnight off Branscombe, Devon.

Sir John Spielman of Dartford, London, paper-maker, is responsible for introducing the Fool's Cap watermark.(1588-1605)

The Churchwarden's accounts for Saint Gregory's, Dawlish, begin this year. A gap in the records occurs from 1630-1687, most of the Commonwealth period. The accounts are then more or less continuous to the advent of the Urban District Council.


Richard Hakluyt publishes Principall Navigations.

William Waymouth builds the Moyses, 110 tons, and receives a royal subsidy at the rate of 5 shillings a ton. (cf:1583, 94)

13 January, Sampford Courtenay: Alice Brownescombe buried. [cf:1547,1573]

Approximate year of birth of Thomas Branscomb, mariner of Dawlish. [cf:1619 Survey]


26 July, Saint David's, Exeter: John Brannscombe marries Agnis Brannscombe.(IGI) [?cf:1580 - duplication?]

The first recorded Dawlish parish constable, John Paynter, is appointed. [cf:1595]

10 August, Dawlish: Johan [Joan] Braunescomb makes her will. [probate 14 December 1590] Persons mentioned include Alice Tooker, Katherine Corbyn, John Hellyer, Johane Scutt, John & Roger Paynter, Johane Wichalse, Geffory Coleman, John Shorten, Margarett Rusell, Dorithy Averye, Sir Geoffory, Richard Ratclyffe, Mary Lane, William Swallowe, Johan Fletche, John Cowse, Alice Bracter, Johane Allyn, Johane Bond, John Gyles, John Clarke, William Faringdon, Hugh Crosse, Peter Perrye, Thomas Hunte.

17 August: Will and inventory of moveable possessions of Joan Brownscombe (or Joan Farringdon, alias Braunscombe) of Dawlish, Devon, deceased, witnessed by John & Roger Paynter. [cf: John Paynter - first Parish Constable (above) John Paynter/John Paige, 1627], John Gowse, John Symmonds, Vicar of Dawlish, and Christopher Townsend. A beneficiary is William Farringdon, her son. The inventory is worth £15.15.4d.

Her apparrell £3 6s 8d; One cloke 16s; One siluer pinne and one pere of Taches [probably clasps, buckles or fringes; pendant attachments] of silver 3s 4d; One fether beedd with his furniture thereunto belonginge 26s 8d; 3 brasen pannes with 2 cawdrons 22s 4d; 3 brasen crocks with one posnet [a cooking pot with a long handle and three legs] 16s; One brasen crocke which lyeth in pawne 8s; 14 pewter dyshes and 4 sawcers 8s; One Cubborde with one Tabell borde [trestle table; the most common form of table in these inventories. The trestles are seldom mentioned separately] 13s 4d; One borde cloth a towell [table napkin or other cloth used at meals] & one sheet 4s 8d;

The hempe 13s 4d; 4 candellstickes one salte
[special container for salt made of wood or metal] one skillet [a saucepan shaped like a posnet] with one frieng Panne 3s; 2 cheares and one forme 20d; 2 Stooles and 6 shilffe bordes 12d; The wooddine vessell 10s; The paynted clothes [wallhangings, usually canvas, for decoration] 2s; 3 pillcherd netes 30s; 2 slinges of net one newe threed with one peece of Takell 16s; One bad beed and one bad beedsteed with the clothinge 2s; 3 cheestes 4s; 8 inch bordes 2s;

3 swine hoogges
[swine] 11s; The woode 2s; The donnge 12d; The beanes 2s; One Ranger [Range; a sieve or strainer] one Hempe combe with one Palchen Iron [In Cornish, palch = weak, soft - but the context here suggests an implement concerned with making hemp into nets. Palch also = to patch untidily] 2s; 2 Reape houckes 8d; Towe pere of pothangings [pothangers] with other Trashe [bits and pieces around the house not worth being appraised] 16d;

Debttes dew by vallue 20s; Thomas Wynckeley 5s 4d

[Probate inventories] `are lists of a deceased person's possessions (excluding property) which frequently accompany the wills in records offices. They are immensely valuable for social history, perticularly if they can be related to specific houses or farms.'

24 October, Saint Edmund's, Exeter: Jane, daughter of John Brunscomb, buried.


9 January, Saint Edmund's, Exeter: ?, son of John Branscomb, baptised. (IGI)


9 January, Saint Edmund's, Exeter: John Branscomb christened. (IGI) [poss son of John? Sibling: Thomas (d.1594)]



8 January, Saint Edmund's, Exeter: Thomas Brunscomb, son of John, buried.

William Waymouth of Cockington, Devon, builds the Crescent, 250 tons, for which he receives a royal subsidy of 5 shillings a ton. (cf:1583,1589)

Gerard Mercator dies, his World Atlas only part published.


The "Lkittle Ice Age" in Europe.

16 June, Saint David's, Exeter: Elizabeth Branscombe marries William W-? (IGI)

2 October, Ashwater, Devon: Beton, son of William Brenscombe, christened. (IGI)

6 November, Saint Edmund's, Exeter: Jone, daughter of John Branscomb, christened. (IGI)

`The Dawlish quota of trained soldiers was eight, and the earliest recorded trained band [1595] included John Paynter.


Sir Frances Drake dies at sea, off Puerto Bello.

`Sir John Harington a godson of Queen Elizabeth, describes a valve water closet he'd invented, in a book called The Metamorphosis-Ajax. (Ajax was a pun on `a jakes'... a latrine) His invention did not catch on until increasing urbanisation and epidemics of cholera in the 19th. century necessitated improvements in sanitation.'

The wife of William Waymouth of Cockington dies. She leaves a large inventory to George Waymouth and his five sisters. A debt is mentioned - money owed to her for "spilchards" sold in Spain. She seems to have been a wealthy businesswoman in her own right. Torbay "spilchards" and Newfoundland cod were shipped to Spain in exchange for oranges and iron-ore.


29 November, Crediton: John Brenscome marries Margery Berye. (IGI) [cf:1581 Subsidy roll for Crediton & 1580 deed poll]

A mandate of Elizabeth I, on 5 September 1558, ordered that parishes were to keep a register of baptisms, marriages and burials. A later decree, on 25 October 1597, ordered the records should be kept in a parchment book, with all previous records being copied into it. As the order gave the clergy the option of starting only from 1558, many did not transcribe entries back to commencement, although about 800 registers still exist which do. Also, from 1598, a copy of all entries was to be sent annually, at Easter, to the Bishop. These are therefore known as Bishop's Transcripts, and sometimes have survived when the original registers have disappeared.

`The system of binding poor children apprentices was authorised by the Act of 39 Elizabeth (1597), in which apprenticeship was compulsory for the child, its parents, and the master. Those persons rated sufficently high were compelled to take apprentices according to the value of their estate. In case of refusal, they were fined, but received a bonus with an apprentice. Boys were bound until the age of 24 and girls to 21, or marriage.'

`John Gerard's Herbal of 1597 was perhaps the first comprehensive ethno-botanical study of the northern European tribe, with descriptions of all the herbal remedies used by apothecaries of his day. Even such everyday plants as willow had uses, its sap being used "to take away things that hinder the fight" ... we now manufacture the active ingredient and take it in tablet form. It is aspirin.'


8 May, Saint Clement's Townstall, Dartmouth: Richard Branscombe marries Christa Hert. (IGI) [cf:1598/9 for poss first child, James & 1600 for poss second child Acot]

The Earl of Leicester's Men move from The Theatre, Curtain Road, London, to Southwark, following a dispute with their landlord. They set up a new theatre called The Globe. The Curtain and The Theatre, both in Curtain Road, were London's first public theatres.

By order of the Queen, parish registers, kept since 1538, are copied to parchment for better preservation. Some curates took the opportunity to copy entries only since the beginning of her reign (1558).


5 February (1598/9), Saint Clement's Townstall, Dartmouth James, son of Rychard Branscombe, christened. (IGI) [cf1598 for marriage of Richard & Christa Hert in Dartmouth. Also cf1600 for poss second child Acot]

East India Company formed.

The Globe theatre opens, in Southwark, London. (to 1644)

1 October, Cockington:

`That William Weymouth [Waymouth], George Bennett and John Marshall had not repaired le skolingstole (ducking-stool). Fined 12d.'- Court leet held at Cockington.

Dawlish parish possessed a clock before 1600.

© 1996-2006 Ronald Branscombe

Email: genealogy (at) branscombe (dot) net