Brimley, and Langaller Manor


Brimley, and the Manor of Langaller


Dr Frances Billinge 2022

Hon. Assoc. Research Fellow University of Exeter



Figure 1. Langaller Farm. Frances Billinge 2021




Langaller is a farm on the west side of Bovey Tracey parish (Fig. 1). From the late middle-ages Langaller was a manor, partly in Bovey Tracey parish and partly in Ilsington parish, and included the farms and tenements of Chapple, Higher and Lower Brimley, Langaller, and Whisselwell.[1] A manor was an administrative district over which a lord ruled. It held its own courts and administered local justice. Most manors were established in medieval times and continued until abolished by the1922 Property Act.[2]

The land of the historic manor of Langaller continues to be used for farming and some of the extant houses have Elizabethan features. Although aspects of the early manor have been described previously, the sites of many of its holdings have been forgotten.[3] This paper aims to highlight these forgotten holdings and encourage research to try and locate them.




The c.1640 map of the adjacent manor of Bovey Tracey shows by omission where the manor of Langaller lay due south, as indicated by the blue arrow (Fig. 2).[4]



 Figure 2. Gulielmus Map of the Manor of Bovey Tracey c.1641. The arrow indicates where the Manor of Langaller was situated.

Part of the boundary of the Manor of Langaller was shown on a map of 1837 which delineated the lands of the Folly Pottery in Bovey Tracey near Pottery Pond (Fig. 3 ).[5] The manor boundary was drawn as a straight line across part of Bovey Heathfield which is unusual as historic boundaries often followed topographical features. This land was financially important for the manor because of the natural resources connected with the pottery business and lignite mining.



Figures 3. The Folly Pottery, showing part of the boundary of Langaller Manor.


The 1930 OS map shows where the historic holdings of Langaller Manor were situated (Fig. 4) [6]



Fig 4. 1930 OS Map Bovey Tracey. Holdings of the Historic Manor of Langaller.



As the manor of Langaller was not mentioned in Domesday it was created some time after 1086. It is known to have existed before 1475 when an Inquisition Post Mortem for Philip Copleston described him as holder of ‘Langealler’ Manor. Philip held several other manors including nearby Chagford and Sigford.[7] He was from an ancient Devon family, his father John Copelston, had been an M.P. and escheator for Devon as well as steward for the Earl of Devon. As Philip held several manors it is not known if he ever lived at Langaller.

There are a few surviving early modern records for Langaller manor which help to show who the lord was, who lived there and what was happening at various times.[8]




  1. Brimley

The first reference to Brimely was of ‘‘Bromleage’ in 956 when it was referred to as an hiwisc, or one hithe land unit, belonging to Ipplepen.[9]  Harold Fox considered it to be a detached part of Abbotskerswell/Ipplepen.[10] The next reference to Brimley was in the 1285 Assises where it was written as ‘Bromleg’. The name meant ‘broom clearing’. Rent rolls from 1601 listed several holdings and numerous residents in Brimley together with a tan house and tan yard and a mill which suggests that it was a thriving hamlet.  By at least 1602 it was part of the manor of Langaller.


The Tithe Maps of 1839 for Ilsington and 1841 for Bovey Tracey show several properties in Higher and Lower Brimley and it is possible that some of these may have replaced or incorporated earlier buildings (Figs.5 and 6).[11]

In Higher Brimley Corbyns, and the previous farmhouse which now is Compass Cottage Honeysuckle and Little Thatch are likely to have been the main holdings in earlier times. They are all Grade II listed, as is the C17/18th Apple Tree Cottage.[12] It has not yet been possible to ascertain who lived in each of these properties, but it is assumed the Corbyn family lived in the house of their surname.



Figure 5. 1841 Tithe Map Higher Brimley

Figure 6. 1841 Tithe Map Lower Brimley


In Lower Brimley it was Brimley Farm which was likely to have been the main holding. Nearby is Byways which is Grade II listed and contains Elizabethan features (Fig. 7).[13]

Figure 7. Byways, Lower Brimley. Frances Billinge 2021.


Nearby Moormede is also Grade II and is C19th listed but it is not known if it has any early features (Fig. 8) The Historic England listing describes it as having an ‘Unusually rich treatment for a house of this size. There is a tradition that it was built for an estate bailliff.’ [14] There is no evidence in the court rolls or census of an estate bailiff living in the vicinity, so further research is needed.



Figure 8. Moormede Lower Brimnley. Frances Billinge 2021.


  1. Chapple

A manorial roll of 1530 showed that Chappell was held by John Phylippe. Gover gave no meaning for this name.[15] Perhaps there was once a chapel on the land but so far no reference has been found for this (Fig. 9).

Figure 9. Chapple. Frances Billinge 2021


  1. Langaller

Langaller was first referred to in the 1286 Assises where it was written as ‘Longhalre’ The name Langaller meant ‘the tall alder’.[16]



  1. Whistlewell

1395 The first reference to Whistlewell was as ‘Whyslewylle’ in 1395.The name probably referred to a whistling or noisy stream.[17]




We know the names of tenants and land holdings from Lay Subsidy Rolls, Land Tax Assessments, Manorial Rent Rolls and Court Rolls from 1530, and more recently from Census material since 1841. If you are interested in a particular family more details of their holdings can be provided.


Names of Tenants

Adair, William Esq. of Whisselwell

Atkins, Mr Aaron of Lomdon

Baker, James, Josias, Charity and John

Barnhouse, John

Bartor, John and William

Bastow, Richard and William

Baswell/Bussell, Anthony and Mary


Beare, Nicholas and Robert

Bowden, Agnes, Edith, George, John, Richard, Stephen

Bragg, Mr James andWilliam

Briant, Grace

Burd, Mrs Elizabeth, John and William

Bushel, Anthony

Bussell, Edward and Mary

Call, William

Chamber of Exeter

Chudleigh, James

Cleak, Edward

Cloak, Joan, John and Tristam

Comyns, Thomas sen. and jun.

Copplestone, John

Corbyn, Charles

Cornish, Joan

Cosh, John

Cotley, William

Coyte, Mr Anthony

Delve, Grace and John

Easton, Joan and Thomas

Ellis, Thomas

Fanshaw, Robert Esq.

Fines, John

French, John

Furlong, Edward, Richard and William

Furneaux, Christopher and Dorothy

Gambon, Robert

Gernon, Alice

Giles, George

Gince? . Mr

Glanfyld, John

Goss, John

Gribble, Mary

Hale, Elizabeth of Exeter

Hamlyn Joan, Mary and Richard

Heale, Ellis Esq.

Heath, Charles and Elizabeth

Hellier, George and Thomas

Hillman, Arthur and John

Hopworthy, Thomas

Hunt, George of South Tawton

Glanfyld, John

Jarman, William

Lambshead, John and Alice

Lane, Penelope and Rev, Thomas

Larkington, D., and  John

Lawrence, Thomas

Lear, Anne, Edward, Elizabeth, Hugh, John, Richard and Thomas

Lee, Mary and a Farmer of Woodbury

Marshall, John

Mardon, Nicholas, Thomas and William  sen. and jun.

Merdon, Wilmote

Moges, Thomas of London

More, John

Nightingale, Joanne

Northway, Richard and William

Nosworthy, Richard, Samuel, Thomas and William

Philip, John

Pierce, Mr Samuel

Poussell, Anthony of Starcross

Prowse, John

Puddicombe, Hugo and Richard

Rendell/Renell/Reynell, John and Stephen

Rogers, John

Rowell,  John and Thomas

Saunders/Sanders, Martha and John

Satterley, Mrs Elizabeth, Joseph and Samuel

Short, John Esq. and William

Skirdon, Thomas

Shirt, William Esq.

Sink, Mr.

Snellings, John

Soper, Jane, Joan, John, Marjorie, Peter, Richard and William

Sprye, John

Staddon, Anne/Agnes and Christopher

Stanbury, Henry

Stamcombe, Mary, Richard and William

Steed, Jonathan

Steer, Thomas

Steenings, Mr John Mount

Tapper, Thomas

Tothill, Mary, Penelope Elizabeth, Lady of the Manor of Bagtor Ilsington and Rev. Thomas

Trende, Agnes andWilliam

Turner, William

Underhay, Henry, Hugh, Jane and Michael

Vallance, Joan

Walker, Samuel

Waymouth, Joan and Richard

Wills, George, John, Joseph

Witchalse, Joan/Joanne and Richard

Woodley, James, John and Judith



Names of the Holdings– not all have yet been identified


Baker’s Lower Brimley

Bowden’s Hill Lower Brimley


Brimley Moor

Brimley Down

Brimley Heath

Brimley Meadows

Brimley Well, in Brimley Village Lower Brimley

Broade Parke Lower Brimley

Broad Park Higher Brimley



Clinks Tenement Lower Brimley on a path from Brimley Well





Dipping pot pool on William Soaper’s estate in Lower Brimley

Farthing Fields

Footlands, Lower Brimley


Gorse Hill

Great Meadow

Hensperch east of BekaleatE stream

Higher Brimley and tenements

Higher Brimley Down

Higher Brimley Moors

Hiogher Moor

Langaller and tenements

Little Parl

Lower Brimley and tenements

Lower Brimely Court

Lower Brimley Meadows


Mill in Lower Brimley on stream called Cowses

Nether Brimely


Outer Challabrook


Slade Meads

Slades Meadow


Trough by the hedge of the old Tanyard

Tan House and garden Lower Brimley, owned by Chamber of Exeter

Tanyard  n the lane leading to Clinks tenement in Lower Brimley


Whiteways part of Whisselwell




There are several references which support the existence of a mill in the manor.  In 1601 the claim for the right to have a mill at Langaller persisted which described that both Wrayland and Langaller had already erected illegal mills to the detriment of the mill in the centre of Bovey Tracey.[18] It is still not known where this mill was sited but it is possible it was in Lower Brimley where surface water is still evident.


There are several references to the tan house its yard and garden but it is not known where exactly it was.  In 1752 the Jurors of the court had viewed a stream of water that came from Brimley Well through Brimley village which was causing annoyance to the highway as the water ran in the middle of the road.  The jury had asked the,

‘old people’ about this and were told that the ‘stream of water anciently had,

and ought still to, have its course close by the hedge against a meadow belonging

to late Charles Heath’s tenement in Lower Brimley and from thence its course was and should now be bent about and conveyed to the trough of a hedge by the old Tan yard in the lane leading to Clinks messuage or tenement in Lower Brimley; the occupiers whereof have a right to it for pot water and otherwise; and it is therefore ordered that the occuopier or occupiers of Clink’s tenement do from one month of this time turn the said water in to its ancient channel under the penalty of 5s. and the occupier of late William  Soaper’s estate in Lower Brimley do renew a sheet and pool or basin for the dipping pot water for their use as heretofore’.[19]


Table 1 illustrates the records available for one holding. If you have information on a holding or would like to know what references are available please contact me.


TABLE 1 Tenanats of Whistlewell


Whiselwill Michael Underhay 1596 Church Rate  
Michael Underhay 1601 Court Roll  
Michael Underhay to his son Hugh 1606 Court Roll  
1652 Feet of Fines  
Whisselwell Mr Thomas Comyns was admitted for his late father Thomas Comys’holdings

of Langaller, late Whiteways and part of Whisselwell


Whisselwell Thomas Lane was admitted as a free tenant for Langaller estate, and

a tenement formerly known as Whiteways and one part of Whisselwell, which he

claimed by right of his wife Penelope. His wife was Penelope Elizabeth Tothill and Lady of the Manor of Bagtor in Ilsington

Parish. On their marriage in 1768  Lane

Mr Richard Puddicombe for two parst of Whistlewell


Whistlewell Mr Sink [nephew written above] Puddicombes for part of Whistlewell


  William Adair Esq for pt of Whistlewell Undated  
  George Hellier 100 acres


1841 and 1851 Census  
  John Soper  170 acres 1861 Census  
  William Hellier 187 acres 1871 Census  
  Unoccupied 1881 Census  
  John Pethybridge 1891 and 1901  Census  
  John Edwin Gribble 1911 Census  
  William J Raddicliffe 1930 electoral roll  
  Samuel Rowe 1939 register  




By 1714 Sir William Courtenay of Powderham was Lord of the Manor of Langaller  and an agreement was drawn up regarding tin mining in the area.[20] Minerals were an important resource and their presence helped Lanagller to continue to be profitable.  By 1758 William Hole of Crownley Bovey Tracey, whose successful family later owned the Parke estate, was Courtenay’s steward. Hole was busy extending his contacts with the landed gentry and aristocracy. However in 1855 when Courtenay no longer wished to be Lord of the Manor of Bovey Tracey it was not Hole of Parke who succeeded him, but Count Charles Aldeburgh Bentinck of Indio who was related to the Earl of Portland.[21] It is not known if Hole had hoped to become Lord of the Manor but he did live in the most prestigious estate in Bovey Tracey. By the middle of the 1900s the Hole family had sold most of their land and they gave Parke to the National Trust in 1974.



There were several inhabitants in Langaller Manor but as yet for most of them the site of their holdings has not yet been identified. Also it is not known exactly where the mill and tan house were. Nor do we know in which building the court met. Please do contact me if you have any documents which might help uncover these mysteries, or if you would like further references on particular families.


I would like to thank residents of Higher and Lower Brimley and other historic Langaller holdings for their interest in this research


[1] Devon Heriatge Centre 1508M/0/Moger/317, 1530-1 account roll and Court Books and Court Rolls from 1601.

[2] The National Archives, Manors, Historical Background.

[3] Bill Ransom 2007. The Manor of Langaller, The Devon Historian vol. 75, pp 12-17; Ian Mortimer, 2021, The Location and Extent of King Alfred’s Sudewyrde, Rep. Trans Devon. Ass. Advmt Sci., 153, pp. 227-254, p.242.

[4]  Devon Heritage Centre 2802Z, ‘Gulielmus’ Map of Manor of Bovey Tracey c.1640.

[5] Devon Heritage Centre,  1837, Plan of part of heathfield, 1508M/0/E/MPA/Bovey Tracey/Plans A/1.

[6] Devon County Council Environment Viewer.

[7] Calendarium Inquis. Post Mortem 15 Edward IV. p. 639, no 44. Vol iv, His Majesty King George IV. The House of Commons of Great Britain 1828; E. B. Gover, A. Mawer, F.M. Stenton, eds 1992The Place Names of Devon Part I and II  (English Place-Name Society, 1st issue 1931, reissued 1986, reprinted 1992),  p.469).

[8] Court Rollas see note 1; Ransom 2007 see note 3.

[9] Gover et al.,1932. Place Names of Devon. Cambridge University Press, The English Place Name Society, vol. 8, p. 467.

[10] Harold Fox, 2012. Dartmoor’s Alluring Uplands, Exeter, University of Exeter Press, p.114.

[11] Devon Heritage Centre 2160A/PB/4/a/1, 1841, Bovey Tracey Tithe Map; ibid., DEX/4/a/TA/50/Bovey Tracey 1839, Tithe Apportionment pp. 55-57; idid., DEX/4/a/TM/I  Ilsngton Tithe Map 1839, Tithe Apportionjment 1841 115Z/Z/79.

[12], Apple Tree Cottage ID 1240665 C17th /18th ; Compass Cottage, Honeysuckle and Little Thatch ID 1260872 late C16th/early C17th;  Corbyns ID  1240729 late C16 or early  C17th .

[13] Historic England List Entry Number 1140135 ( accessed 16 December 2021.

[14] Historic England List Entry Number 1329366, accessed 6 July 2022.

[15] See note 1.

[16] Gover et al., 1932. Place Names of Devon. Cambridge University Press, The English Place Name Society, vol. 8, p. 469.

[17] 1395-1419 Exon (p) (Gover et al., 1932. Place Names of Devon. Cambridge University Press, The English Place Name Society, vol. 8, p. 469.

[18] The National Archives 1601, Pincent et al. E 134/44Eliz/Hil15.

[19] 1732 Court Roll see note 1.

[20] Devon Heritage Centre D1508M/SS/Mining/25A.

[21] Frances Billinge, 2021. Hole – the Moving Spirit of Bovey Tracey