COLLETON, SIR JOHN
Sir John was born in 1738 to a family which had an extensive plantation in South Carolina.In 1774 he married Jane Mutter in the parish church in Bovey Tracey. What was the Colleton connection with Bovey Tracey when the family seat was in Colleton Raleigh in East Devon?
In 1759 Sir John had married Ann Fulford of Great Fulford House in mid-Devon. The marriage did not go well and Ann returned on her own to England in 1767,and in 1769 gave birth to a child John Fulford.
Later in 1769 Sir John Colleton returned to England and in 1771 purchased Shewte in Bovey Tracey. (Reference:Devon Heritage Centre 1477M/T 70-71). This was a joint purchase with his wife Dame Ann Colleton. Shewte remains a secluded farmhouse with extensive views of the beautiful Bovey Valley.
In 1772 Sir John Colleton obtained a divorce from Ann through his divorce bill which was heard in the House of Lords. (Reference: Parliamentary Archives HL/PO/JO/10/3/263/10)
Two years after obtaining his divorce, in April 1774, Sir John obtained a licence to marry from the Bishop of Exeter. This licence described Sir John as a resident of Bovey Tracey which indicates that Shewte was then his home. (Reference: Devon Heritage centre MB& A March-April 1774) His second marriage to Jane ‘Jenny’ Mutter followed immediately. The witnesses at this marriage were William and Joanna Langley, both local residents, and as William Langley witnessed other marriages he was probably a churchwarden. (Reference: Parish Registers Bovey Tracey)
Who was Jane Mutter? She was not born in Bovey Tracey and is thought to have been a governess in the Colleton Household. (Reference: Walter Edgar et al. eds,1992. The Biographical Dictionary of the South Carolina House of Representatives (Columbia University:University of South Carolina Press)pp. 161-162. I am grateful to Dr Kim Taylor- Moore for drawing this to my attention.)
Sir John and Lady Jane returned to Fairlawn, their estate in South Carolina, and Sir John died in 1777. Through a trust Shewte remained the property of his first wife Ann and it subsequently passed to their daughter Louisa in 1791. (Reference: Devon heritage Centre 1477M/T 75-75) Shewte finally passed out of that family’s ownership in 1818. (Reference Devon Heritage Centre 1477M/T 80-81).
Shewte Bovey Tracey. Frances Billinge 2016