Lyson, Magna Brittannia, 1822
TAWSTOCK, in the hundred of Fremington and in the deanery of Barnstaple, lies about two miles and a half from Barnstaple. The villages of Chapeltown, Prustacott, Hiscott, Eastercomb, Westercomb, and St. John's Chapel, are in this parish. The three last are nearly adjoining to each other.
The manor belonged, in the reign of Henry II., to William Lord Brewer, who gave it in marriage with his daughter to Robert Earl of Leicester. The Countess of Leicester, having no children, gave it in her widowhood to her niece Matilda, the wife of Henry de Tracy. Risdon says that this was the seat of Henry de Tracy, Baron of Barnstaple, and a judge in the reign of Henry III. His heiress brought Tawstock to Nicholas Lord Martyn, from whom it descended through the families of Audley, Fitzwarren, and Hankford, to the Bourchiers, earls of Bath. Anne, the elder daughter and co-heiress of Edward Bourchier, Earl of Bath, brought this estate to Sir Christopher Wrey, the immediate ancestor of Sir Bourchier Wrey, Bart., of Tawstock Park, the present proprietor. Tawstock House, which was nearly burnt down in 1787, was soon afterwards rebuilt from a design of Sir Bourchier Wrey's. An ancient gateway, with the arms and quarterings of that family, and the date of 1574, is all that remains of the old mansion of the Bourchiers. Tawstock Park abounds with beautiful scenery, and fine aged oaks: the high grounds command rich and extensive views over the bay and town of Barnstaple, &c. &c. Tawstock House was garrisoned by Sir Thomas Fairfax on the 19th of February, 1646.1
The manor of Hele, alias Templand or Templeton,2 in this parish, has belonged for some time to the Sturts, and is now the property of Henry Charles Sturt, Esq., of Dorsetshire.
Corfe belonged formerly to the Hearles, and came to the Northcote family by marriage with the daughter of Edward Lovett, Esq., who had married the heiress of Hearle. Sir Henry Northcote, Bart., a physician, resided at Corfe, and died there in 1730. This estate was exchanged, in 1790, for glebe land, and the present parsonage-house was built on the premises by the Rev. Bourchier William Wrey, now rector.
In the parish-church are several monuments of the Bourchiers,3 earls of Bath, the families of Wrey4 (Baronet), Northcote,5 Rolle,6 Pagett,7 Lovett,8 Peter Bold, the last of the family of Bold of Upton, in Cheshire, 1665, &c. &c.9 Sir Bourchier Wrey, Bart., is patron of the rectory.
Margaret Pine, in 1758, gave 2l. per annum for the instruction of poor children of this parish.
1 Sprigge's England's Recovery, p. 196.