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Mohuns Ottery

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Mohuns Ottery

Mohuns Ottery, photograph circa 1896-1920 of surviving ancient doorway with sculpted spandrels, from before 1868 fire and reconstruction
Mohuns Ottery, ancient gatehouse, lacking roof, photograph circa 1896-1920. In the right spandrel of the arch are sculpted the maunch arms of Mohun with supporters (see 1888 drawing below), in the left spandrel the arms of Carew[1]

Mohuns Ottery in the parish of Luppitt, 1 mile south-east of the village of Luppitt and 4 miles north-east of Honiton in Devon, is an historic manor, from the 14th to the 16th centuries a seat of the Carew family. Several manorial court rolls survive at the Somerset Heritage Centre, Taunton, Somerset.[2]

The old manor house burnt down in 1868 and was rebuilt, which structure survives today as a grade II listed building,[3] with six reception rooms and six bedrooms. Around the courtyard are a cottage, stables and farmbuildings. The River Otter forms part of the eastern boundary of the estate. The only surviving parts of the old house are the walls of the 16th century gatehouse, which lacks a roof,[4] to the south and the surrounding curtain wall, now enclosing the garden.[5] In January 2014 the house with 228 acres was offered for sale for £3.5 million.[6]


  • Descent 1
    • Saxons 1.1
    • de Douai 1.2
    • de Mandeville 1.3
    • Fleming 1.4
    • Mohun 1.5
    • Carew 1.6
    • Southcote 1.7
    • Yonge 1.8
    • Hawker 1.9
    • Bernard 1.10
    • 20th century 1.11
  • Sources 2
  • Further reading 3
  • References 4



Before the Norman Conquest the manor of OTRI had been held by Alsi, a Saxon, as recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086.

de Douai

In 1086 as recorded in the Domesday Book, the manor of OTRI was the 18th of the 27 Devonshire holdings of Walter of Douai, one of the Devonshire tenants-in-chief of King William the Conqueror.[7] His tenant was a certain Ludo, who held a further five manors from him, namely Little Rackenford, Hetfelle, Luppitt, Greenway (now represented by the synonymous large and ancient farmhouse in the parish of Luppitt[8]) and Stoch (later Stoke Fleming).[9] The last four manors held by Ludo, but not Little Rackenford, descended to the de Mandeville feudal barony of Marshwood and later to the de Mohun family,[10] at least one via the Flemings.

de Mandeville

It passed at some time, by means unknown, from Walter of Douai to the de Mandeville family, feudal barons of Marshwood[11] in Dorset.[12] A tenant of Geoffrey de Mandeville's manor of Ottery was Reginald de Mohun, as recorded in the Feudal Aid records.[13]


Arms of Fleming of Bratton Fleming, North Devon (and possibly of Stoke Fleming and Mohuns Ottery): Vair, a chief chequy or and gules[14] These arms appear quartered by Mohun on the mural monument in Exeter Cathedral to Sir Peter Carew (d.1575) of Mohuns Ottery

The Fleming family at some time held Ottery, which became known as Ottery Fleming. They were also lord of the manor of adjoining Luppitt, which manors thenceforth descended under common ownership for several centuries.[15] It is not known what relationship if any this family bore to the Fleming family, named after its likely origins in Flanders, of Bratton Fleming and other manors in North Devon. The descent was as follows:[16]

  • Richard Fleming
  • William I Fleming
  • William II Fleming


Canting arms of Mohun of Ottery (ancient): Gules, a maunch ermine the hand argent (here shown proper) holding a fleur-de-lis or[17]
Arms of Mohun (ancient) with supporters, sculpted on right spandrel of archway of old gatehouse, Mohuns Ottery, as visible in 1888: Gules, a maunch ermine the hand argent holding a fleur-de-lis or
Arms of Mohun (modern): Or, a cross engrailed sable

The de Mohun family succeeded the Flemings as tenants of Ottery,[18] but seemingly still as mesne tenants. The mural monument in Exeter Cathedral of Sir Peter Carew (d.1575) of Mohuns Ottery shows the maunch arms of Mohun quartering Fleming (Vair, a chief chequy or and gules[19]), which if in accordance with the rules of heraldry indicates that the Mohuns married a Fleming heiress. Reginald de Mohun held Ottery under Geoffrey de Mandeville as overlord, as recorded in the Feudal Aid records.[20] The family later superseded the overlord and held this manor as a tenant-in-chief of the king, when the manor became known as Ottery Mohun, with the standard word order for manors with proprietorial suffixes, and later as Mohun's Ottery.

The de Mohun family seated at Ottery was a junior branch descended from the Norman magnate William I de Mohun, feudal baron of Dunster in Somerset, who is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as seated at Dunster Castle.[21] The historian the Duchess of Cleveland wrote as follows in her 1889 work Battle Abbey Roll concerning the origins of the de Mohun (alias Mohon, Moion, etc.) family:[22]

"From Moion, near St. Lo, Normandy, where the site of their castle is still to be seen. Wace tells us that "old William de Moion had with him many companions" at the Battle of Hastings, and one of Leland's rolls of the Norman conquerors is nothing but a long list of those who came in the train of "Monseir William de Moion le Veil, le plus noble de tout l'oste." It gives him a following worthy of an Emperor, comprising all the noblest names of Normandy, and numbering at least ninety-four knights, but it is evidently, as Mr. Planché points out, a mistake of the copyists. Sir Francis Palgrave, though he calls him "one of the greatest Barons of the Cotentin," says he was only accompanied by "five knights who held of him." Dugdale, however, gives him "forty-seven stout Knights of name and note," and he was rewarded for his services by the grant of no less than fifty-five manors in Somerset, besides two in Wiltshire and Dorset. He chose Dunster — a place of some note in Saxon times — and built his castle where a former fortress of the West Saxon kings had stood, in a situation unsurpassed in beauty by any in England".

The descent of the de Mohun family of Dunster was as follows:[23]

  • William I de Mohun (died post 1090), Domesday Book holder of Dunster Castle, Seigneur of Moyon, near Saint-Lô in Normandy. He was Sheriff of Somerset in 1084.
  • William II de Mohun (died circa 1155) (son), created Earl of Somerset, which title was not inherited by his heirs.[24] He was a favourite of Empress Matilda and a loyal supporter of her in the war against King Stephen, during which he earned the epithet "Scourge of the West"
  • William III de Mohun (d.1176) (heir)
  • William IV de Mohun (d.1193) (son)
  • Reginald I de Mohun (1185-1213) (heir), who in 1205 married Alice Brewer, 4th sister and co-heiress of William Brewer, feudal baron of Horsley, Derbyshire[25] and of Torr Brewer (later Torr Mohun,[26] now Torquay, in Devon). She brought him a great estate, and "is set down among the benefactors to the new Cathedral Church of Salisbury, having contributed thereto all the marble necessary for the building thereof for twelve years."[27]
  • Reginald II de Mohun (1206-1258) (son), who married as his second wife Isabel de Ferrers, widow of Gilbert Basset (d.1241)[28] and daughter of William de Ferrers, 5th Earl of Derby (1193-1254) by his wife Sibyl Marshal, a daughter and co-heiress of William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1146/7-1219).[29] Reginald II de Mohun gave the manor of Ottery to his younger son from his second marriage, namely Sir William Mohun.[30] The senior line continued at Dunster as follows:
    • John I de Mohun (1248-1279) (grandson), son of John de Mohun (d.1253), killed in Gascony, son of Reginald II, whom he predeceased.
    • John II de Mohun (1269-1330) (son). He was the first of his family who had summons to attend Parliament, in 1299, thereby being created by writ a baron.[31] He fought under Edward I (1272-1307) in the wars of Scotland and Gascony, and in 1300 was present at the Siege of Carlaverock. He appears in the Roll of Carlaverock, which blazons his (modern) armorials in ancient French verse as follows:[32]
"Jaune o crois noire engreelie
La portrait Johans de Mooun."

The arms of Mohun (ancient) survive at Mohuns Ottery: "There, on a shield in the spandrel, is carved, amid elegant scroll work and foliage, the old coat-armour of the family — an arm vested in an ermine maunch, the hand grasping a golden fleur-de-lys; a bearing, which, for some reason unknown, John de Mohun, Baron of Dunster, who died in 1330, abandoned for the afterward well-known coat, adopted also by the Abbeys of Newenham and Bruton — a cross engrailed sable, on a field or".[33]


Mural monument in [34]

The Carew family succeeded to the Mohun family as holders of Ottery, but never changed the proprietorial suffix. The descent of Mohuns Ottery from Sir William Mohun (younger son from his second marriage of Reginald II de Mohun of Dunster) is unclear, but it seems to have reverted to the senior Dunster line, perhaps due to failure of male heirs, as it came to the Carew family, apparently on the marriage of John Carew (d.1363), Lord of Moulesford and Carew, to Margaret de Mohun, daughter of "John Mohun, Lord of Dunster",[35] apparently John II de Mohun (1269-1330) of Dunster.


Canting arms of Southcote of Indio in the parish of Bovey Tracey and of Mohuns Ottery: Argent, a chevron gules between three coots sable[36]
  • Thomas Southcote (d.1600) of Indio, Bovey Tracey. Sir Peter Carew (d.1575), the last in the male line, settled Mohun's Ottery and other lands on Thomas Southcote (d.1600) of Indio, Bovey Tracey,[37] who had married (as his 2nd wife) Carew's niece, Thomasine Kirkham, daughter of Thomas Kirkham (d.1552) of Blagdon[38] in the parish of Paignton,[39] by his 2nd wife Cicely Carew, sister of Sir Peter Carew (d.1575).[40] Thomas Southcote was in possession in 1589.[41]
  • George Southcot (born 1560) of Indio, son and heir, admitted to the Inner Temple in 1575. He married Elizabeth Seymour (d.1589), daughter of Sir Henry Seymour,[42] apparently younger brother of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset (c. 1500-1552), KG, Lord Protector of England and brother to Queen Jane Seymour.
  • Thomas Southcote of Mohuns Ottery, only son and heir. He married Katherine Pole, 2nd daughter of the Devon historian Sir William Pole (d.1635), of Shute and Colcombe Castle, Devon, MP. In his history of Mohuns Ottery Pole wrote:[43] "Thomas Southcot, Esquier, nowe dwellinge at Mouns Otery, maried Kateryn my 2 daughtr, by whom hee hath issue Sir Popham Southcot, Kt."
  • Sir Popham Southcote (1603-1643) of Indio, eldest son and heir, who married Margaret Berkeley (d.1654), daughter of Sir Maurice Berkeley of Bruton, Somerset.[44] He had three sons, all of whom either died as infants or otherwise predeceased him, and five daughters,[45] two of whom survived him as co-heiresses, married to Brian and Southcote.[46] Most of the lands were dismembered from the manor by the Southcotes in about 1670.[47]


The manor was purchased (probably from the co-heiresses of Sir Popham Southcote[48]) by Sir Walter Yonge, 3rd Baronet[49] (1653-1731), of Escott and Colyton, Devon, MP for Honiton and Ashburton. He was the son of Sir Walter Yonge, 2nd Baronet (d.1670), MP, of Colyton.[50]


In about 1793 the estates of

  1. ^ See image
  2. ^ See Somerset Heritage Centre, Taunton, ref DD\HLM/7
  3. ^ See: building text, "Mohuns Ottery Farmhouse"
  4. ^ Image see
  5. ^ Country Life
  6. ^ Estate agent: Jackson Stops & Staff, Taunton; see Country Life
  7. ^ Thorn, Caroline & Frank, (eds.) Domesday Book, (Morris, John, gen.ed.) Vol. 9, Devon, Parts 1 & 2, Phillimore Press, Chichester, 1985, 23,18
  8. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus & Cherry, Bridget, The Buildings of England: Devon, London, 2004, p.544
  9. ^ Thorn & Thorn, part 1, 23:13,17,19,20,22
  10. ^ Thorn & Thorn, part 2 (notes), 23;13
  11. ^ Thorn & Thorn, part 2 (notes), 23:18
  12. ^ Sanders, I.J. English Baronies: A Study of their Origin and Descent 1086-1327, Oxford, 1960, p.64, Barony of Marshwood, Dorset
  13. ^ Thorn & Thorn, part 2 (notes), 23:18
  14. ^ Fleming of Bratton Fleming, North Devon. As shown on the Powell Roll of Arms (c.1350), Bodleian Library, Oxford. Also per Lysons, Magna Britannia, 1822, vol.6, Devon, Families removed since 1620
  15. ^ Pole, p.128
  16. ^ Pole, p.128
  17. ^ Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, p.493
  18. ^ Pole, p.128
  19. ^ These are in fact the arms of Fleming, of Bratton Fleming in North Devon, per Pole, p.484, who gives a blank entry for the arms of Fleming of Stoke Fleming in South Devon, which families were possibly identical or related
  20. ^ Thorn & Thorn, part 2 (notes), 23:18
  21. ^ Sanders, p.114
  22. ^ Cleveland, Duchess of (Catherine Powlett), The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages, 3 vols., London, 1889 [16]
  23. ^ Sanders, p.114
  24. ^ Sanders, p.114
  25. ^ Sanders, p.114
  26. ^ Risdon, pp.146,378; Pole, p.272
  27. ^ Cleveland, Duchess of, Battle Abbey Roll
  28. ^ Pole, p.128
  29. ^ Sanders, p.114
  30. ^ Pole, p.128
  31. ^ Cleveland, Duchess of, Battle Abbey Roll
  32. ^ Cleveland, Duchess of, Battle Abbey Roll
  33. ^ Hamilton Rogers, p.286
  34. ^ Hamilton-Rogers, p.308
  35. ^ Vivian, p.134
  36. ^ Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, p.501
  37. ^ Vivian, p.698, pedigree of Southcote; Pevsner, p.193; Risdon, p.134
  38. ^ Vivian, p.516, pedigree of Kirkham
  39. ^ Risdon, p.150; Pevsner, p.844
  40. ^ Vivian, pp.135, 698; Pole, p.130
  41. ^ Lysons, 1822
  42. ^ Vivian, p.699; p.702, pedigree of Seymour of Berry Pomeroy
  43. ^ Pole, p.131
  44. ^ Vivian, p.699; Pole, p.131
  45. ^ Vivian, p.699
  46. ^ Lysons
  47. ^ Lysons
  48. ^ Lysons, 1822
  49. ^ Lysons, 1822: "Sir Walter Yonge, Bart.", thus possibly 2nd or 3rd Baronets. From the court rolls of Mohuns Ottery, apparently the 3rd Bt.[17]
  50. ^ Vivian, p.841, pedigree of Yonge of Colyton
  51. ^ Lysons, 1822
  52. ^ See Somerset Heritage centre, Taunton, DD\HLM/10, Settlements and Testamentary documents concerning the family of Hawker [18]
  53. ^ Vivian, p.841
  54. ^ See
  55. ^ Source describes his father, possibly in error for William II: The Monthly Repository of Theology and General Literature, Volume 9, Jan-Dec 1814, London, 1814, pp.771-2 (originally mentioned in the Monthly Magazine for April 1806, pp.285-6)[19]
  56. ^ Alumni Cantabrigienses: A Biographical List of All Known Students ..., Volume 2, edited by John Venn [20]
  57. ^ Vivian, p.138
  58. ^ Vivian, p.138
  59. ^ See
  60. ^ Victoria County History, Vol.5, Somerset: Crowcombe; Vivian, p.138
  61. ^ Vivian, p.138
  62. ^ A monument Gertrude Pyncombe (d.1730) in Poughill Church near Crediton was erected in 1809, inscribed: "... erected by the Trustees of her Bequests, JAMES BERNARD Esq. of Crowcombe Court Somersetshire. Rev. JAMES CAMPLIN A.M. Rector of Stoodley in this County and of Florey in the County of Somerset in the Year of our Lord 1809"[21]
  63. ^ Lysons, 1822
  64. ^ Lysons, 1822
  65. ^ Preface, Joshua Toulmin, History of the Town of Taunton
  66. ^ See: LuppittWhite's Devonshire Directory, 1850,
  67. ^ See: LuppittMorris and Co.'s Commercial Directory and Gazetteer, 1870,
  68. ^ See Decision 27 January 1986 of Commons Commissioner re dispute re Luppitt Common under the Commons Registration Act 1965 [22]


  • Copies of court roll, 1654-1683 and Leases for 99 years and lives, 1628-1763 for properties holden of the manor of Mohun's Ottery, etc. Somerset Heritage Centre, Taunton, ref: DD\HLM/7
  • Ryder, Lucy, The Historic Landscape of Devon: A Study in Change and Continuity[14]
  • Davidson, James, The History of Newenham Abbey, in the County of Devon, re Rectory of Luppitt, pp. 129–30 [15]

Further reading

  • Hamilton-Rogers, William Henry, Memorials of the West, Historical and Descriptive, Collected on the Borderland of Somerset, Dorset and Devon, Exeter, 1888, chapter The Nest of Carew (Ottery-Mohun), pp. 269–330 [12]
  • Hamilton-Rogers, William Henry, The Ancient Sepulchral Effigies and Monumental and Memorial Sculpture of Devon, Exeter, 1877, pp. 209–216
  • Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitation of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895, pp. 133–135, pedigree of Carew of Mohuns Ottery; pp. 698–9, pedigree of Southcott of Mohuns Ottery
  • Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, pp. 128–31
  • Risdon, Tristram (d.1640), Survey of Devon, 1811 edition, London, 1811, with 1810 Additions, pp. 37–9
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus & Cherry, Bridget, The Buildings of England: Devon, London, 2004, p. 543
  • building text, "Mohuns Ottery Farmhouse"
  • Lysons, Samuel & Daniel, Magna Britannia, Vol.6: Devon, London, 1822, see under "Luppitt"[13]
  • LuppittWhite's Devonshire Directory, 1850,
  • LuppittMorris and Co.'s Commercial Directory and Gazetteer, 1870,


In 1986 "Mohuns Ottery Farm" was occupied by Arthur Francis William Blackmore (born 1911), chairman of the Luppitt Commons Committee, who had lived in the parish of Luppitt all his life. At that date a "Miss Barnard" still lived in the parish, at Wren Cottage.[68]

20th century

  • Rev. James Bernard (1785-1839). Rev. James Bernard (1785-1839) (born "James Camplin") of Crowcombe and Sidmouth, was the son of Rev. James Camplin, Rector of Coombe Flory, Somerset. He was educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge. He entered [65]. A deed of partition had been signed in 1808 splitting the Hawker patrimony between the three Hawker sisters and co-heiresses. James Bernard owned the library of "Thomas Carew", and made it available to Joshua Toulmin, for researching his work "History of the Town of Taunton"."Some part of the ancient mansion of the barons Carew is still remaining, and occupied as a farm-house. The park has been long ago converted into tillage" [64] Lysons (1822) stated:[63] He married Mary Hawker, one of the three daughters and co-heiresses of William II Hawker (d.1806), and was the proprietor of Mohuns Ottery in 1822.[62][61]
  • Rev. William Bernard (son). In 1850 Rev. William Bernard of Clatworthy, Somerset, was lord of the manors of Luppitt and Mohun's Ottery, but the manor house was being used as a farmhouse.[66] In 1870 Mohuns Ottery was occupied by James Bishop, a farmer, but "W.H. Bernard" was still lord of the manor of Luppitt.[67]


"A steady Dissenter and a firm Whig who used to speak with a virtuous glow of his descent on the maternal side from the Reverend and Learned Thomas Sampson, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the bold opposer of superstition and tyranny in the reign of Queen Elizabeth" [55] Lower Poundisford). He was described as:alias ([54]Poundisford Park William II Hawker (d.1806) of Poundisford Lodge was the only son of William I Hawker (d.1739) of Luppitt by his wife Mary Sampson. He married Elizabeth Welman, only child of Thomas Welman of [53]

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