SPREYTONWOOD, BARGAINS AND NEW MILL
The original name for Spreytonwood appears to have been Sprayholt or Spreyholt Wood. Sprey (as in Spreyton) is derived from an old English term for brushwood and holt is a common term for a wood, so it probably means a wood predominantly of brushwood. The earliest reference to Spreyholt Wood so far found is in a 1699 will. Because Spreyholt and Spreyton are so close in sound, it seems likely that over time people began to assume that the name was really Spreyton Wood, which then became Spreytonwood – although in the 19th century, by way perhaps of a back formation, the farm was sometimes referred to simply as “Wood”.
According to D. St Ledger Gordon’s Devonshire, the wood at Spreytonwood is the remains of a great swathe of woodland that once reached all the way to Cheriton Bishop and Crediton. It is probably one of the few untouched parts of the ancient forest that covered this part of Devon from thousands of years ago until the medieval deforestation which allowed the creation most of today’s farms.
For some reason now lost in the mists of time, the ownership of Sprayholt Wood went with the ownership of a farm variously called Bargain, Bargains, Bargaines or Burgoynes or Spreyton Town Bargains. Usually, two fields called the Brendons (unidentified) were also part of the package. Bargains had its farmhouse and farmyard in the village, next to the pub. As the 1842 tithe apportionment refers to “houses”, there was probably both a farmhouse and a cottage or two for farm labourers. The Grade II listed Bush and Bargains Cottages are probably all that remain of this establishment.
There are several references between 1772 and 1820 to first John and then Christopher Copplestone taking apprentices to work at “Bargain” (it seems to have become “Bargains” only in the 19th century). There is no reference to any apprentices for Spreyholt or Spreyton Wood, so in the 18th and early 19th century it may have been no more than a wood, possibly with a cottage, with any usable land being farmed as part of Bargains. By 1841, however, Spreyton Wood seems to have emerged as a separate entity with its own tenant – although he appears to have lived in the village rather than in what was perhaps a rather inadequate cottage where the Spreytonwood farmhouse now is.
The 19th century nomenclature of these properties is confusing in the extreme. The 1841 tithe apportionment lists two farms, both called “Spreyton Wood”. One includes the Bargains farmyard and subsequently seems more often to be called “Higher Spreyton Wood”, and is clearly the ancient Bargains.Most of what is now Spreytonwood was generally known as “Lower Spreyton Wood”.
The fields belonging to the two farms ran along the southern side of the village and then along the road to Spreyton Wood Water, as far as the ford. They both appear to have been fairly large farms. The 1842 tithe apportionment records that Bargains/Higher Spreyton Wood had 109 acres and Lower Spreyton Wood 181 acres, so together they had an acreage of over 300 (although much of the land is moor and woodland). The two farms continued to be let sometimes separately and sometimes together until the early 20th century, when they appear to have been finally amalgamated and became simply Spreytonwood.
Lower Spreyton Wood had its farm buildings where Spreytonwood farmhouse now is. There was probably a typical cob and thatch house. However, like so many thatched properties, it was burnt down in the late 19th or early 20th century and replaced by a new and not very well-built house. Lower Spreyton Wood also included a small cottage in the woods south of the farmhouse, reached by a path from the farm and known as Wood or Spreytonwood Cottage. There is no sign of this cottage on the 1842 tithe map, so it may have been built after that to house a farm labourer, when Lower Spreyton Wood was developed as a separate farm. The cottage first appears in the 1861 census and continued to be occupied into the first half of the 20th century.
Spreytonwood probably c.1920.
New Mill or New Mills.
Bargains and Spreyton Wood were usually let together with a 23-acre smallholding called New Mill or New Mills, to the east of the Spreyton Wood Water (the “tail” running along the Troney on the right of the map above).. Until the early 19th century, villages relied on local water-mills to mill their grain for flour. The oldest mills in Spreyton were probably the ones called “Spreyton Mills” near South Beer. Somebody, however, must have decided that it would be a good idea to build a new mill on the eastern side of the parish. There may originally have been two mills, as the earlier documents (including the 1699 will) refer to “New Mills”.
The mill buildings are still clearly shown in the 1842 tithe apportionment map (which indicates that there were also a pair of cottages, no doubt to house the mill-workers), and also in the 1880s Ordnance Survey map. New Mill seems, however, to have ceased operating as a mill by the early 19th century if not before. Its steep and marshy fields went on being farmed as a smallholding at least until 1841, the tenant at that time being Christopher Copplestone, no doubt of the same family that had earlier rented Bargains. After he left, it was used to house a farm labourer, and probably the land with it became part of Lower Spreyton Wood. New Mill disappears from the census records in 1881 and it seems likely that the buildings were becoming so decayed that they were left to fall into ruin. There is no sign of them now.
17th century and earlier: Bargains, Spreyholt Wood and New Mill were part of the Manor of Spreyton that belonged to the Talbots in the Middle Ages and subsequently passed to the Kelly family of Kelly in West Devon. Ownership of the manor – and properties belonging to it – had by the 17th century been split three ways, no doubt as part of some Kelly inheritance arrangements. One quarter of the manor and of Bargains and Spreyholt Wood came into the hands of a family called Risdon, from whom it descended by inheritance to the Holes of North Tawton, The Holes were rich clerics who owned a lot of land in Devon as well as the livings of a number of parishes. They or the Risdons appear to have gradually bought up the other shares of the freehold of Bargains, Spreyton Wood and New Mill, so that they ended up owning the entire freeholds. Throughout these changes of ownership, the properties would always have been rented out for income, no doubt with a single bailiff collecting the rent on behalf of all the landlords.
1699: Will of Nathaniel Risdon of Spreyton bequeaths half of Spreyton Town Bargains; two fields called the Brandons; and Spreyholt Wood, that was purchased from Andrew Puddicombe of Hill and his mother, to his grandson Richard Risdon.
1708 and 1712: the Spreyton churchwardens’ accounts give John Tozer as the churchwarden for Spreyton Bargains, indicating that he was then the tenant. [The occupants of the various farms took it in turn to act as churchwarden.]
c.1736: Nathaniel Risdon dies childless, bequeathing his Spreyton property, including Spreytonwood, Bargains and New Mill, to his mother Mary. She in turn bequeaths it to her nephew Richard Hole.
1738: Arthur Kelly of Kelly, who owned one of the remaining quarters of the freehold of the properties, lets his quarter to the Risdons. The lease is renegotiated in 1743.
1743: Arthur Kelly of Kelly Esq leases one half of New Mills for 99 years to John Hill of Spreyton, yeoman, for £15, reserving the rights to timber on the estate.
1740-1820: parish records and land tax records indicate that the Copplestone family (Christopher and John) were the tenants of Bargains.New Mill seems to have had a succession of rapidly changing tenants, as four different people are recorded as taking apprentices to work there between 1793 and 1820.
1793: The will of Rev Richard Hole (proved 1796) bequeaths Spreyton Bargain and New Mill in Spreyton to his wife Juliana for her life and then to his fifth son Francis.
1824: George Lambert Gorwyn of Falkedon took a 14-year lease of Spreytonwood at £120 a year. He owned a number of farms in the parish, including Coffins and Rugroad which border Spreytonwood.
1842: the tithe apportionment survey provides the first full details of the properties. By then they are in the ownership of the Rev. George Hole, the Rector of Chulmleigh. There were two farms, one of 181 acres in the tenancy of Simon Martin, and one of 109 acres in the tenancy of William Newton; to which was added the 23 acres belonging to New Mill which was let to Christopher Copplestone.
1859: the Rev. George Hole died, bequeathing the properties for life to his son Richard Arum Hole, and after Richard’s death to Richard’s brother Robert Hole, the Rector of North Tawton. Richard Arum Hole was apparently simple-minded, and his father presumably left him a life interest in Spreytonwood and Bargains so that the rent from it could provide an income to pay for his care.
1885: the then tenant (whose name was Baker) seems to have died or disappeared, and the harvesting that year was done by the young farmer George Lambert of the neighbouring farm of Coffins (great-grandson of George Lambert of Falkedon who had rented it in 1824), presumably at the request of Robert Hole, who administered Spreytonwood on his brother’s behalf.
1886: Robert Hole, who was having difficulty finding a tenant, urged George Lambert to take a tenancy of the 313-acre property (it was described as two farms, of which the higher farm consisted of 129 acres of “very good land when in heart”). George was only 20 at the time and taking on Spreytonwood meant doubling the size of his land. It says a lot for George’s reputation as a farmer that Robert Hole pressed the property upon him at such a young age. George agreed to take over Spreytonwood, Bargains and New Mill, although not before driving a hard bargain over the rent on account of the bad state of the property – he ended up paying £120 rather than the £145 originally demanded. George let the house at Spreytonwood to Susan Battishill (of the Battishill family whose memorial inscriptions are in Spreyton church). For a time he farmed the whole of the two farms as well as Coffins.
1907: two separate surveys or valuations of the farm or farms were done (both are now in the Devon Record office). In a survey in February 1907, probably commissioned by George Lambert, it was valued at £2,500, a fair rental being assessed at £120 per annum, and the timber was valued at £1,010. The lands were described as being in a very fair state of cultivation, with meadows in an extremely healthy situation for sheep or cattle and the arable lands capable of bearing good average crops, although the surveyor found the then outbuildings quite insufficient for the acreage. The surveyor described the lands as ‘splendidly adapted for sporting, being intermixed with good game covers etc”. He noted that many of the fields adjoined the village or convenient roads, and could therefore always be let as smallholdings.In a second valuation in June 1907 for estate duty purposes,the property was described as freehold agricultural land of 313 acres, with a farmhouse, buildings and 2 cottages, valued at only £2,133.15s. The land was described as very poor, a large proportion being moor, furze and coarse pasture; the farmhouse was described as having been burnt down and the remains fitted up as a cottage with at least £500-600 needing to be spent on it.
1908: George Lambert M.P. sublet Lower Spreytonwood (175 acres) and New Mill (9 acres) to Ernest Sanders of Huddishill, Bow on a yearly basis for £75 a year.
1910: Death of the legal owner of Spreytonwood, the simple-minded Richard Arum Hole. By then the properties were heavily mortgaged, as Robert had borrowed on his expectations as the heir of Spreytonwood.
1911: George Lambert (by then an M.P.) purchased the freehold.
1912: George Lambert M.P. gave a 7-year lease of Spreytonwood and Croft Farms to Daniel and Charles Webber of Easthayes Farm, Ottery St Mary, at an annual rent of £150, reserving for himself as was customary the mineral, timber and game rights. Spreytonwod remained for some time with the Webber family and after that was taken on by other tenants, notably Isaac Vile and his sons.
1921:George Lambert M.P. sold a field next to Spreyton Cross to Okehampton Rural District Council for £100 to build Council houses.
A plan of the council houses c. 1921.
First half of the 20th century: George Lambert M.P. seems to have sold the decaying Bargains farmyard (the house had long disappeared) and the fields belonging to Bargains south of the village street to the occupants of Bush (the farm on the other side of the street). In the 1950s or 1960s, the farmyard and fields were sold to a smallholder and Bargains briefly regained its identity as a farm.
1972: Spreytonwood was sold by the Lamberts along with the rest of their Spreyton estate after the death in an accident of the only male heir.
Bargains or Higher Spreyton Wood is not mentioned by name, but Simon Martin, 48-year-old farmer, was living at the White Hart (now the Tom Cobley Tavern) with his wife, four children and four mainly teenage agricultural labourers. The 1842 tithe apportionment survey confirms that Martin was the tenant of a farm called “Spreyton Wood” that consisted effectively of the farm later called Higher Spreyton Wood or Bargains. The house and farmyard was next door to the White Hart. Simon Martin may have been doubling as the innkeeper.
William Newton, 50-year old farmer, was living with his wife, several children and two agricultural labourers in an unnamed dwelling in the village.Newton was the tenant of Lower Spreyton Wood at the time of the 1842 tithe apportionment survey. The fact that he was living in the village may indicate that the house at Spreyton Wood was not particularly desirable and he preferred to put a farm labourer there (see below).
Spreyton Wood: Richard Medland, agricultural labourer aged 49 was livingthere with his wife and the 70-year-old Wilmot Gidley (perhaps his mother-in-law).
New Mill: Christopher Copplestone, 42-year-old farmer, with his wife and daughter. He is noted in the 1842 tithe apportionment survey as the tenant of a 23-acre smallholding at New Mill.
Bargain: John Weeke, 41-year old farmer of 129 acres employing three labourers, living with his wife Ann and seven children. (The White Hart is not mentioned).
Spreyton Wood: Margaret Gould, widow, 56-year-old farmer of 161 acres, employing 1 labourer, living with son Richard (26) and daughtersElizabeth (18) and Harriet (15) and farm servant Thomas Arnold (16)
New Mill: Christopher Copplestone, farmer of 23 acres, 52-year-old widower, with daughter Elizabeth and grand-daughter Harriet.
Lower Spreyton Wood:John Hooper,33-year-old farmer of 136 acres employing one man and one boy, living with wife Jane (33) sons Henry and Rowland, house servant Rachel Burridge (18) and carter Benjamin Burridge (15).
Spreyton Wood (this may be the cottage): John Frost 45-year-old agricultural labourer living with his wife Martha and three children.
New Mill:Samuel Heard, 62-year-old farmer of 18 acres, with his wife Susanna (55)
Nothing listed for Bargains or Higher Spreyton Wood. Josias Middlewick, innkeeper and shoemaker, is living at the White Hart Inn.
Bargains: William Willcocks, 39-year-old farmer of 129 acres, living with his wife Susan, their four children, a 14-year old cow boy and a 13-year old general servant.
Spreyton Wood:John Hern, 38-year-old farmer of 186 acres employing two men, living with his wife Elizabeth and niece Elizabeth Isaac. There is also a lodger in a separate household, Samuel Powlesland, aged 73, farmer of 5 acres.
Wood Cottage: John Tozer, 37-year-old agricultural labourer living with his wife and daughter.
New Mill: Thomas Dart, farm labourer aged 72 living with his 42-year-old wife Jane, a charwoman, their two children and a step-daughter and step-grandson.
Wood (i.e. presumably Lower Spreyton Wood): Joseph P. Henley, 41-year-old farmer of 300 acres employing three men and two boys, living with his wife, his six children, an unmarried brother and three teenage farm servants.
Wood Cottage: William Rowe, 28-year-old farm labourer living with his wife and four children.
New Mill is not mentioned and the cottage there may by then have become uninhabitable. There is also nothing for Bargains, indicating that the house was probably occupied by farm labourers or had been Abandoned to the elements. The White Hart Inn is in the hands of William Isaac, who describes himself as “butcher, farmer and innkeeper”.
Wood: James Folley, 35-year-oldfarmer, living with his parents (his 71-year-old father is described as a farm labourer) and his sister, who is described as a general domestic servant.
Little Joy: on the census list this comes next to Wood so it may be a name for Wood Cottage. The householder is James Moore, a 47-year-old agricultural labourer, living with his wife, two adult children and his mother-in-law.
Wood Farm: Thomas Snell, age 37, horseman on farm, living with wife Jessie and daughter.
Wood Cottage:Ben Manning, 62-year-old ordinary agricultural labourer, with his wife Elizabeth and four children, the two eldest of whom are also agricultural labourers.
Spreyton Wood Farm: Joseph Ernest Sanders, age 37, with his wife and a farm labourer.
Wood Cottage:Elizabeth Manning aged 58, widow, charwoman, her youngest son Sidney and three grandchildren.
TITHE APPORTIONMENT SURVEY: FIELDS in 1842
|Tithe No||OS No. ||Name||Acreage||Usage|
|Higher Spreytonwood (previously Bargains)|
|501||Houses and courts||0.1.28|
|633 ||Homepark Bottom||4.1.28|
|Lower Spreyton Wood|
|650||North Elm Pit||13.1.29|
|655||House and Court||0.2.32|
|659||South Elm Pit||5.2.30|
|625||Houses and Courts||0.1.6|
DOCUMENTS IN THE DEVON ARCHIVES RELATING TO SPREYTONWOOD, BARGAINS AND NEW MILL
- 1699: Will of Nathaniel Risdon of Spreyton, gentleman, proved March 1702/3. Hebequeaths:
- half of Spreyton Town Bargains; two fields called Brandons; and Spreyholt Wood, that was purchased from Andrew Puddicombe of Hill and his mother, to his grandson Richard Risdon;
- half of New Mills in Spreyton to Mathew Risdon;
- the part share of the house called Spreyton Town Bargains, Sprayholt Wood and the fields called the Brandons that he purchased from Arthur Kelly, to trustees to divide the rents between his three grandchildren Nathaniel, Honor and Margaret Risdon for 10 years from his decease and then to sell the remainder to his daughter-in-law Mary Risdon.
Devon Archives ref: 76/14/2/9.
- 1702: Conveyance. Matthew Risdon, husbandman, conveys one half of New Mills to Richard Risdon of South Tawton, gentleman, for £30.
Devon Archives ref: 56/10 Box 32
- 1708: Conveyance to confirm between members of the Risdon family the right of Richard to a number of properties including one half of the “messuage and tenement called Spreyton Town Bargaine”; one half of two little fields called the Brendons; and one half of a wood called Sprayholt Wood. The properties are described as consisting of half of one messuage (i.e. dwelling), one garden, 100 acres of (arable) land, 10 acres of meadow, 100 acres of pasture, and 100 acres of furze and heath.
Devon Archives ref: 89Z-0/T28
- 1708 and 1712: Spreyton churchwardens’ accounts give John Tozer as the churchwarden for Spreyton Bargains, indicating that he was then the tenant. [The occupants of the various farms took it in turn to act as churchwarden.]
- 1738: lease whereby Arthur Kelly rents to Mary Risdon, widow, for £112 upfront one quarter of Spreyton Town Bargains; one quarter of two fields called the Brendons; one quarter of Spreyholt Wood plus one quarter of the adjoining cottage. The lease notes that the properties had been in the possession of Nathaniel Risdon, now deceased, and are all part of Manor of Spreyton. The lease is for 99 years or until the deaths of 99 years, lives Richard and Robert Hole of Zeal Monachorum and Mary’s grandson Nathaniel junior if sooner. There is an annual rent of 20s; and a 20s. heriot.
Devon Archives ref: 89Z/0/T32-33
- 1743:lease whereby Arthur Kelly of Kelly rents to Mary Risdonfor £20 one quarter of Spreyton Town Bargains; the two Brendons; one quarter of Spreyholt Wood; and the adjoining cottage for99 years or until the deaths of Mark Cann, son of Mark Cann of Spreyton, yeoman. The lease is to begin from death of Mary Risdon and Robert Hole. The annual rent is 20s and there is a 20s. heriot. [This is no doubt a renegotiation of the earlier lease to take account of a change in circumstances.]
Devon Archives ref: 89Z/T/34
- 1793: will of the Rev. Richard Hole (who had inherited the Risdon properties in Spreyton). He bequeaths to his fifth son Francis the advowson and right of presentation of the living of Doddiscombleigh; and after the death of Richard’s widow Juliana, and also Spreyton Bargain and New Mill in Spreyton.
PCC Wills, The National Archives.
There is a host of documents between 1879 and 1943 relating to the tenure of the properties by George Lambert M.P.
- Promissory note of 4.3.1879. Rev Lawrence Palk Welland of Talaton lends £1000 to the Rev Robert Hole on the security of Robert’s expected inheritance on the death of his brother Richard Arum Hole of Bargains, Higher Spreytonwood, Lower Spreytonwood and New Mill, (described as totalling 313 acres), then in the occupation of Joseph Phillips Henry. Robert Hole undertakes to execute a proper mortgage.Attached to the document is a note signed by Henry Mountrich James (Welland’s executor) on 17.4.1803 acknowledging that the principal and interest due has been paid, including £495.12s.6d paid that day byy William James Waye of Okehampton, retired yeoman.
- Abstract of Title 1899, prepared by George Fulford of Okehampton and North Tawton. It notes that:
- In his will of 15.3.1856 he bequeathed to trustees Rev Richard Stevens of Dunsford and Rev George Cuddington Bethune of Worth in Sussex inter alia Spreyton Bargain, Spreytonwoods and New Mill, together with a commuted tithe rent charge on Spreytonwoods and Spreyton Bargain. The trustees had to pay the income from these estates to George Hole’s son Richard Arum Hole for life (provided that he did not encumber the income in any way) and thereafter to his other son Robert Hole, who could dispose of the estate. George Hole died 14.5.1859 and his will was duly proved.
- On 4.3.1879 Robert Hole charged his expected inheritance of the properties with a debt of £1000 and interest.
- Letter of 15 October 1886 from the Rev Robert Hole of the Rectory, North Tawton, to George Lambert of Coffins (then aged 20) saying the farm at Spreytonwood was still unlet and that he was anxious to get a good tenant for his brother. It notes that the farm had been badly managed for several years, but even so the offers they had received had been ridiculously low. It talks of the two farms making up 313 acres of which the 129-acre higher farm had very good land when in heart. Hole notes that GL’s land adjoins the lower farm and expresses readiness to negotiate a lease with him for either just the lower farm or both, accepting £90 for the lower farm or £145 for both. Three later letters from Robert Hole to GL (dated 19, 24 and 26.10.1886) gradually lower the price to £120 per annum for the two farms. There follow a number of further exchanges between October and December about various aspects of the sale including the Great Tythes; land tax and other rates; and tithes due to Samuel Norrish of Colebrook. One mentions that Spreytonwood was lately in the tenancy of Mr Baker. There are two letters in December and January from Henry James of the Close, Exeter (Hole’s solicitor) to GL about the sale, one noting with surprise that GL is still a minor and that the documentation will need to be signed by his mother.
- A list of crops at Spreytonwood and their values.
- Two 1886 letters from Susan Battishill to GL about the possibility of her renting the house at Spreytonwood.
- Mortgage of 20.5.1899 and subsequent reconveyance. Rev Robert Hole of North Tawton mortgages his expectant interest in Spreyton Bargains, Spreytonwoods and New Mill, then in the occupation of George Lambert M.P., for £1000 lent to him by William Reddaway Knapman of Sampford Courtenay, yeoman. A reconveyance of 27.9.1902 added at the end of the document records Knapman’s reconveyance of the properties back to Robert Hole, who has paid his debt.
- Mortgage of 16.4.1902. Robert Hole borrows £800 from Sarah Jane Caseley, wife of John Casely, and Emily Banbury of Plymouth [Sarah Jane and Emily have a joint account and are probably sisters.] He conveys his interest in Spreyton Bargains, Higher Spreyton Wood and New Mill, in the occupation of George Lambert M.P. and his undertenants, to them as security. The properties are described as consisting of 313 acres.
- Mortgage of 29.9.1902. Robert Hole borrows £1,600 from William Sparke of Black Torrington, conveying to him as security Bargains, Higher Spreyton Wood and New Mill (313 acres), all in the occupation of GL and under-tenants. A memorandum on the back records the cancellation of the mortgage, and another mortgage on the property dated 18.9.1907 is recorded in substitution, signed by GL of Coffins in favour of William Sparke to secure £1,600. Attached to the front of the document there is a declaration by J.D. Cann, solicitor for Robert Hole, to William Sparke giving him notice that by an indenture of 5.5.1905 between Robert Hole and Edward Winkelman Nix of Tunbridge Wells the lands in mortgage to William Sparke from Robert Hole were conveyed by him to Nix by way of mortgage to secure £550 and interest, subject to Sparke’s mortgage and the one to Caseley and Banbury to secure £800. Also a list of deeds handed over to Sparke.
- Mortgage of 9.4.1903. Rev Robert Hole of North Tawton borrows £750 from William James Waye of Okehampton, retired yeoman, on the security of Bargains, Higher Spreyton Wood and New Mill (313 acres), then in the occupation of GL and under-tenants. At the end of the document there is a new deed dated 16.6.1904 between (1) John Shapley the younger of Newton Abbot, gent., and Edward Fulford Dunnof Okehampton, gent., and (2) Robert Hole. It notes that Waye died on 30.5.1904 having made a will on 27.4.1903 appointing Shapley and Dunn as executors. The latter proved the will on 15.7.1904. It is noted that the money due has been repaid and the property is reconveyed to Robert Hole.
- Declaration of 17.4.1903 by Henry Mountrich James of Exeter, solicitor, saying that he was employed by the Rev George Hole of Chulmleigh in 1854 in connection with his estates and that he fully understood that Hole was the owner of the fee simple [freehold] of Bargains, Higher Spreytonwood, Lower Spreytonwood and New Mill (313 acres), and that George Hole’s will left these in trust for his son Richard Arum Hole and then to the Rev Robert Hole of the Rdctory, North Tawton, in fee simple, and that since the death of George Hole the rents from these estates had been applied according to his will.
- Abstract of title of 1903 prepared by George Fulford of Okehampton and North Tawton. It notes the terms of George Hole of Chulmleigh’s will dated 16.3.1855[sic] and that George Hole’s wife and Robert Hole were appointed executors and that the will was proved. It notes the Welland mortgage; H.M. James’ statutory declaration; and a receipt of 17.4.1903 from H.M. James as executor of Welland’s will for the principal and interest due.
- Mortgage of 16.6.1904. Robert Hole borrows £750 from Mrs Sarah Hooper, formerly of Hatherleigh and now of Exeter, widow, with Bargains, Higher Spreytonwood and New Mill (313 acres), then in the occupation of GL and under-tenants. At the end of thedocument there is a reconveyance of the property back to Robert Hole dated 5.4.1905, the debt having been discharged.
- Mortgage of 5.4.1905. Robert Hole borrows £550 from Edward Winkelman Nix of Tunbridge Wells, with his interest with his interest in Spreyton Bargains, Spreytonwoods and New Mill (313 acres), together with the commuted tithe rent charge, as security. It is noted that Richard arum Hole was then 74. A schedule attached mentions the 1902 mortgages on the property. On the back of the document a memorandum notes that by an indenture of 16.9.1907 between (1) Hole; (2) nix and (3) George Lambert of Coffins, the reversion of the rent charge was sold to George Lambert, the reversion of the farms having been sold to GL by the first morgagees, Caseley abd Banbury. They did not realise sufficient to pay the two mortgages.
- Survey dated 2.2.1907 of Spreytonwood and Bargains by J. Heller. He values them at £2,500, a fair rental being £120 per annum, and the timber at £1,010. The lands are described as being in a very fair state of cultivation, with meadows in an extremely healthy situation for sheep or cattle and arable lands capable of bearing good average crops. However, he finds the present outbuildings quite insufficient for the acreage. He describes the lands as “splendidly adapted for sporting, being intermixed with good game covers etc”. He notes that many of the fields adjoin the village or convenient roads and could therefore always be let as smallholdings.
- About 13 items of correspondence 1907, mostly between Dunn and Baker (GL’s solicitors) and G.D. Cann (Hole’s solicitor) concerning GL’s purchase of Spreytonwood.
- Opinion of 4.5.1907 on the title of the morgagees. It notes that the trust created in George Hole’s will has devolved onto George C. Bethune; and that by the first codicil (15.3.1856) to his will George Hole declared that his bequests to Robert Hole were subject to their being mortgaged when the trustees requested it to secure sums of £7,063 and £2,660 plus interest due by Robert Hole. A second codicil (1857) raised this to £11,086.11s.1d, plus £1,000 to be for further provision for Richard Arum Hole. There was no evidence that these charges had been paid off (a manuscript note in the margin of the document suggests that evidence can surely be produced; and another note says that Mr Cann says Robert Hole can make a statutory declaration to this effect).The Opinion adds that the mortgages appear to be the two 1902 ones plus the Nix one. The first two did not include the tithe rent charge but the third one did, so Caseley, Banbury and Sparke cannot convey the rent charge to a purchaser. Another problem was that Richard Arum Hole could only convey the property for someone for his life. It noted, however, that Richard Arum Hole was non compos mentis. The Opinion (which is presumably addressed to GL) then suggests various courses of action.
- Estate duty account of 25.6.1907. It is the form of account where estate duty is paid in advance of the death of the ultimate beneficiary. It nots that Robert Arum Hole, born 31.3.1832, is still living. The property is described as freehold agricultural land of 313 acres, Spreytonwood farmhouse, buildings and two cottages let to GL on a yearly tenancy at a rack rent of £105 (?). The land is described as very poor, a large proportion being moor, furze and coarse pasture; the farmhouse is described as having been burnt down and the remains fitted up as a cottage, at least £5-600 needing to be spent on a new farmhouse. The value of the property is assessed at £2,133.15s. [One of the two cottages mentioned is presumably Spreytonwood Cottage. The other may be one in the village by the old Bargains farmyard. Alternatively, it could be a cottage at New Mill.]
- Statutory declaration of 6.9.1907. It refers to the first codicil of his father’s will, which applied to a number of estates, including advowsons and freehold and leasehold hereditaments. It states that the codicil referred to moneys which George Hole had advanced to Robert Hole and paid on his behalf. The second codicil increased the amount and added the £1,000 for Richard Arum Hole, which George Hole duly bequeathed to him. When his father died he became entitled not just to Spreytonwood estates but to other real and personal property of considerable value, including the perpetual advowson of Chulmleigh and the right of presentation of the Rectory of North Tawton. He also inherited under the will of his aunt Susanna Rogers Hole of May 1857 various freehold properties of great value in North Tawton, South Tawton, Drewsteignton, Biondleigh and Zeal Monachorum. The winding up of the two estates was carried out by Henry Mountrich James of Exeter, now deceased, as solicitor employed by the trustees of the two wills and by himself. In selling the freehold properties from Susanna and another property of his own, he was informed and believed that out of the proceeds and other moneys received by H.M. James on his behalf from the sale of freehold properties acquired by himself, H.M. James paid all the debts arising from the codicils. H.M. James was a relative by marriage, having married Robert’s sister, and acted as the family solicitor for all parties interested in the estates of George and Susanna for a great number of years.
- Abstract of title 1907 of the Rev Robert Hole and his mortgagees prepared by G. D. Cann, solicitor of Exeter, and a covering letter of 30.10.1907 from Cann to William Sparke of Hatherleigh.
- Note in the handwriting of George Lambert headed “Essentials”. It notes that the charges imposed by George Hole’s will have been satisfied; that Robert Arum Hole being non compos mentis cannot sell his life interest in the property; that Nix is willing to convey the tithe rent charge; and that no further mortgages seem likely to come to light.
- Conveyance of 16.9.1907 of tithe rent charge. The Rev Robert Hole of North Tawton (beneficiary owner) and Edward Winkelman Nix of Tunbridge Wells (mortgagee) convey their interest in the tithe rent charge (of £11 a year) to George Lambert for £20, subject to Robert Arum Hole’s life interest.
- Schedule of deeds of 18.9.1907 relating to Spreytonwood, prepared by G.D. Cann, solicitor for William Sparke.
- Mortgage of 18.9.1907. George Lambert takes over the 1902 mortgage to William Sparke. GL is described as seized in fee simple [freehold] in the premises in reversion of Bargains, Higher Spreytonwood and New Mill, then in the occupation of himself and under-tenants. The tithe rent charge is also part of the mortgage.
- Account of 18.9. 1907 from Dunn and Baker, solicitors, to GL in connection with the purchase of Spreytowood, describing the various steps that had to be gone through given the complicated mortgage situation.
- Lease of 13.10.1908 whereby GL leases Lower Spreyton Wood farm and New Mills to Ernest Sanders of Huddishill, Bow, on a yearly basis for £75 a year.ASchedule of fields attached. Lower Spreyton Wood is 175 acres; New Mill is 9 acres.
- Transfer of mortgage of 21.6.1909 (?), transferring the 1902 Sparke mortgage to Helen Clare Snell Brook of Fovaton Cottage in Crediton, plus a further charge of £400.
- Conveyance of 19.4.1911. Julia Bethune of unbridge Wells, widow, sole remaining represtative of the trustees of George Hole’s will, at the direction of Robert Hole convey to George Lambert Bargains, Higher and Lower Spreytonwood, New Mill and the tithe rent charge. The deed goes through the previous history and mortgages, including:
- Conveyance of 17.9.1907 whereby Sarah Jane Caseley and Emily Banbury granted their interest as mortgagees to GL (which had a schedule of fields attached).
- Indenture of 19.3.1860 whereby the Rev William Hebenden Karslake was appointed to replace R. Stevens as trustee of George Hole’s will in c onjunction with G.C. Bethune, but Karslake died in 1878 and Bethune in 1898, leaving Julia Bethune as his executor.
- Receipt of 22.12.1911 from Dunn and Baker for £20 paid by GL for costs in relation to Spreytonwood.
- Lease of 15.3.1912 granted by GL to Daniel and Charles Webber of Easthayes Farm, Ottery St Mary, of Spreytonwood and Croft Farms (a total of 301.5 acres) for 7 years at an annual rent of £150. Mineral, timber and game rights are reserved. A letter from Mary Jane Webber is attached agreeing to take Spreytonwood and Croft under the same terms from 25.3.1922 on a yearly tenancy at £160 a year.
- Grant of letters of administration of 20.6.1912 to the estate of Miss H.C.S. Brook deceased to Charles Brook, wool merchant.
- Land Tax Redemption Certtificate registered 14.10.1912. GL paid £99.2s.6d. A map is attached showing Spreytonwood.
- Schedule of deeds 1879-1916 relating to Spreytonwood.
- Conveyance of 22.6.1921 whereby GL conveys to Okehampton Rural District Council for £100 the field next to Spreyton Cross belonging to Spreytonwood Farm. Includes maps.
- Copies of letters of administration 29.6.1933 de bonis non re the estate of Miss H.C.S. Brook, granted to John Huxtable Snell, executor of the will of Charles Brook, deceased..
- Transfer of mortgage of 11.7.1933 whereby the Snells transfer the earlier mortgage to James Samuel Bookless of the Priory, Whitcharch near Tavistock.
- Statement of 16.9.1942 by Gwladys Bookless and Albert Henry Bugler of Lloyds Bank, Tavistock, acknowledging George Lambert’s right to the production of the power of attorney they hold from Gwladys’s husband James Samuel Bookless of Whichurch. A copy of the POA is attached.
- Schedule of deeds dated 27.11.1943 relating to Spreytonwood.
- Account of Dunn and Baker of 26.11.1943 to GL.
- Further schedule of deeds post 1943.
It also notes that Richard Arum Hole died on 12.12.1910. Attached to it is the death certificate of Karslake (described as vicar of Meshaw and Creacombe).
Sophia Lambert 2017