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4Stooke of Bovey Tracey, Lustleigh, Clyst St George and Topsham

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  • Beavis Family History
    May 5, 2013
      Hello - I'm the new member, Martin Beavis, and I'm researching the Beavis family of Devonshire, with Stooke connections at Bovey Tracey, Lustleigh and Topsham.

      My 2xg-grandparents were John Beavis (born Aylesbeare 1830) and Louisa Stooke (born Clyst St George 1836) who raised a family in Topsham, including one son Joseph Stook Beavis (born 1864) with whom they lost contact and whom I'm trying to trace.

      Louisa was the daughter of William Stooke (born Lustleigh 1804) and Charlotte Drake (born Clyst St George 1809, descended from the Drake of Cruwys Morchard).
      Source: Private communication from one of the co-researchers of The Drake Family of Cruwys Morchard Devon at

      If anyone is interested in the Stooke-Drake descendants of Clyst St George and Topsham, I may be able to put you in contact with someone who has researched them more thoroughly than I have.

      William Stooke (born Lustleigh 1804) was the son of Joseph Stooke (born Bovey Tracey 1771) and Jane Crediford (born Lustleigh 1770).
      Source: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=PED&db=gregramstedt&id=I3212&style=TEXT
      which offers an extensive pedigree for Crediford/Wilmeade but nothing for Stooke.

      The 1841 census finds Joseph (abt 70), Mary (abt 70) and William (abt 20) living in Stokeinteignhead, where Joseph was an Agricultural Labourer.
      Joseph was the son of another William Stooke and Mary.  That was probably Mary Harris, married Bovey Tracey 1757 because FamilySearch reports several children of William Stooke and Mary, christened at Bovey Tracey or Lustleigh between 1758 and 1778.
      I'm seeking information about that last William - where he came from and who his parents were.  FamilySearch has no earlier Stook(e) BMDs in Bovey or Lustleigh, but does have the births of John and William Stuke at Bovey Tracey in 1691 and 1698, both sons of a Francis Stuke, either of whom could be the grandfather of the William who was father of Joseph.  FamilySearch also has possible births of William Stooke in Paignton (1717) and Ashburton (1724) but those locations seem less likely.

      The pedigree in HayStook.pdf has alerted me to the Stooke of Trusham which I had previously neglected, mostly because FamilySearch is seriously deficient in Trusham and Ashton parish records.  I find no explicit link between the Stooke of Trusham and those of Bovey Tracey and Lustleigh, but Bovey Tracey is only a few miles from Trusham and Bovey Church benefits from one of the several charities established by John Stooke between 1785 and 1791.  

      I became aware of the "Bag of Gold" story from several sources, including Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, volume IX (1917)
      ... then past Preston's (now called Prisons), owned at that time by old John Stooke, the father of William, George, John, Edward and Thomas. The old man may have stood on the wall and seen the fugitive and his pursuers gallop past. ... the bag of gold was found by young John Stooke, son of the owner of Preston's Farm, including " Kiln Close." John Stooke was then 17 years old. Nothing more is known of him till as an old man he is described as "Clothier of Chudleigh," otherwise of Trusham, possessed of lands in Trusham, Ashton, Christow, Bovey and Hennock.

      That "old John Stooke" is person [4512] in HayStook.pdf.  His son Edward [4514] is the ancestor of Steve Hayes.  But any of the five named sons might have been ancestors of the Stooke of Bovey Tracey and Lustleigh.  The National Archives holds several interesting documents from Trusham Parish relating to John Stooke's various charities:
      including Trust Deed  2014 A-2/PF 6  1675  Contents:  Stooke's Charity:  
      John Stooke, Trusham, clothier to Edward Stooke the elder (brother of John Stooke); Edward Stooke the younger (son of the said Edward Stooke); William Stooke the younger (son of William Stooke, brother of John Stooke); Gilbert Cuttiford the younger (son of Gilbert Cuttiford the elder), all of Trusham, and Augustine Symons and Thomas White of Ashton, yeomen.  Rentcharge of £5 per annum to be distributed in Bread and Wheat to poor parisioners of Trusham and Ashton at Christmas.

      These Edward are [4514, born 1631] and [4516, born 1656], but the deed names two William of the same generations, and I'm wondering if they might be ancestors of the aforementioned Stuke or Stooke of Bovey Tracey.

      Also of interest, the National Archives also hold Charity Commission documents mentioning five different Stooke charities in five different villages:

      To get some idea of the early distribution of Stook, Stooke and Stuke I counted the Devon births on FamilySearch between 1700 and 1800 and found the greatest numbers in Tiverton (51), Exeter (32), Lustleigh and Bovey Tracey (14), West Teignmouth (14), Paignton (13), Ilsington (11), Widecombe (10) and Alphington (10), and fewer births elsewhere.  But the only places with continuity of births from the earliest years were Tiverton, Paignton and Widecombe.  As already mentioned there were no birth records for Trusham and Ashton, but lots of Trusham births are evident from census records.  That gives some indication of the potential scope of this Stooke Families group.

      I would, therefore, be very interested to hear if anyone has extended pedigrees of the different branches of Stooke in Bovey Tracey and Lustleigh, which might point towards the William that I am seeking.  My other family interests are the Topsham families of Beavis, Pulman and Pym, including that missing Joseph Stooke Beavis.

      That seems complicated enough for a first message.  Looking forward to hearing from anybody, any time.

      Regards - Martin
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