Heanton Punchardon

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Heanton Punchardon
StAugustine'sChurch HeantonPunchardon Devon.JPG
St Augustine's Church, Heanton Punchardon
Heanton Punchardon is located in Devon
Heanton Punchardon
Heanton Punchardon
 Heanton Punchardon shown within Devon
Population 2,406 2011 census[1]
OS grid reference SS5035
District North Devon
Shire county Devon
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district EX31
Police Devon and Cornwall
Fire Devon and Somerset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament North Devon
List of places

Coordinates: 51°05′41″N 4°08′36″W / 51.09464°N 4.14346°W / 51.09464; -4.14346

Heanton Punchardon is a village, civil parish and former manor, anciently part of Braunton Hundred. It is situated directly east-southeast of the village of Braunton, in North Devon. Its largest localities are Wrafton and Chivenor. The population was 418 in 1801 and 404 in 1901.[2] The surrounding area is also an electoral ward with a total population at the 2011 census of 2,673.[3]

St Augustine's Church[edit]

The parish church is dedicated to St Augustine, who brought Christianity to England. It is a Grade I listed building and has three listed monuments in its churchyard.[4] Parts date to about the 13th century. It has a bell-tower at the west end, with embattled parapet with crocketted corner pinnacles. The nave contains Tudor arched doorways and a five-bay arcade. The sundial over the south porch, dated 1795, is by John and Thomas Berry. The parish is within Barnstaple Deanery for ecclesiastical purposes.[5] An ornate Easter Sepulchre tomb in the chancel is to Richard Coffin (1456-1523), Sheriff of Devon in 1511. The church has monuments to the Ballyman family and to the Basset family, lords of the manor, situated in the Basset Chapel, at the east end of the north aisle, now almost fully occupied by the organ.

Commonwealth War Graves[edit]

Heanton Punchardon is one mile from the Chivenor and during World War II, the parish church, St. Augustine's churchyard was enlarged to accommodate a war graves plot on new ground. The churchyard contains two burials of the First World War and 85 from the Second World War. It also has 38 post-war Royal Air Force burials and one Italian war grave. In total it has 126 active military personnel graves.

Heanton Court[edit]

Heanton Court, former manor house of Heanton Punchardon, viewed from south at Penhill Point across the estuary of the River Taw at low tide
Heanton Court looking north-west across the River Taw estuary: Left, 1796 watercolour by Rev. John Swete; Right, similar view photographed from Penhill Point 2014

Heanton Court, the former manor house of Heanton Punchardon, is a grade II listed building[6] situated on the north shore-line of the River taw estuary, about a mile south-east of the parish church. Rev. John Swete (d.1821) passed by Heanton Court during his topographical tour in Spring 1796 from Barnstaple to Bideford and described the house then as "the seat of Col. Basset". He wrote of it thus: "The house exhibits itself handsomely though its situation (like that of Lord Heathfield's on the Exe (i.e. Nutwell)) seems to be too contiguous to the water. Nearly opposite to it was a large track of marsh and sand..." He had been prevented from painting it in watercolour as was his habit during his tours, and instead later made a copy of a painting by "Mr Payne" (i.e. William Payne (1760–1830), c. 1790[7]), which copy is held by the Devon Record Office, ref 564M/F11/7.[8] Swete compared it in physical position to Nutwell Court on the estuary of the River Exe in south Devon, known to have been a castle in mediaeval times. Nutwell faces on the opposite side of the River Exe the former fortified manor house of Powderham Castle, which may both have been built to protect the city of Exeter further upstream. It is unknown whether Heanton Court ever played a similar role to Nutwell or Powderham in protecting its own local town of Barnstaple situated upstream on the River Taw. The house as painted by Swete in about 1797 is essentially as it survives today, and it retains the battlements and corner towers shown by Swete. It is currently used as a public house and hotel.

Historic estates[edit]


51°09′N 04°15′W / 51.150°N 4.250°W / 51.150; -4.250
Wrafton is a large hamlet narrowly separated by a small field from edge of the main local town centre, that of Braunton to the west. It is the location of Wrafton Laboratories, the division of over-the-counter preparations and contract medications producer Perrigo UK, manufacturer for Bayer UK of Germolene.[9] Perrigo bought Wrafton Laboratories in 2001.[10] The Tarka Trail follows the course of the dismantled railway through Wrafton.


Main article: RAF Chivenor

51°05′N 04°09′W / 51.083°N 4.150°W / 51.083; -4.150
Chivenor was an estate within the parish and is immediately to the south of the village, which has a considerable military personnel only housing estate. Until 1970 the Chivenor part of the village had the first station after the still active Barnstaple station on the now-closed Ilfracombe Branch Line.[11]


Descent of the manor[edit]


Arms of Punchardon, of Heanton Punchardon, according to Guillim (d.1621): Sable, six plates three, two, one[12]
Map showing location of Pont-Chardon in Normandy, and its proximity to Meulles and Le Sap, the chief seats of his overlord in England Baldwin FitzGilbert, Sheriff of Devon and feudal baron of Okehampton

HANTONE is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as held by Robert de Pont-Chardon from Baldwin the Sheriff (d.1090), first feudal baron of Okehampton. The manor of Hantone included a mill, a fishery, had land for 12 ploughs with 24 villagers, with 10 acres of meadow, 100 acres of pasture and 100 acres of woodland. Of livestock it had 11 cattle, 9 pigs and 163 sheep.[13][14]

Robert's family were lords of the manor of Pont-Chardon ("Chardon Bridge", literally "Thistle[15] Bridge") (modern Pontchardon) in Calvados, Normandy, situated on the River Touques. His name was Latinized to de Ponte Cardonis or de Ponte Carduno[16] ("from the bridge of Cardon"). Although Robert de Pont-Chardon is not one of the dozen or so proven Companions of William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, he was certainly well rewarded for his companionship and support by Baldwin FitzGilbert (d.1090), Sheriff of Devon, and feudal baron of Okehampton (alias Baldwin de Meulles and Baldwin du Sap), tenant-in-chief of 176 manors in Devon, who granted him lands in England amounting to four and a quarter[citation needed] knight's fees. Baldwin's chief seats in Normandy were Meulles and Le Sap, from which he took his alternative surnames, which were located 7 kilometers north-east and 7 kilometers south-east of Pont-Chardon respectively. The lands granted to Robert were chiefly in Devon, Somerset, Hertfordshire and a manor in Hampshire. His Devon estates comprised the following five manors, all in North Devon and all held from Baldwin the Sheriff (whose follower he thus may have been):

  • Heanton (Braunton hundred)
  • Hagginton (Ilfracombe parish, Braunton hundred)
  • Charles (anciently Charnies) (Shirwell hundred)
  • Mockham (Charles parish, Shirwell hundred)
  • Blakewell (Marwood parish, Braunton hundred)

In 1894 Reverend Elgood Punchard published his research into the Punchard family in a volume entitled "Punchard of Heaton Punchardon - Records of an Unfortunate Family"[17] in which he traced the descent from wealth and standing in royal favour in the Norman era to relative obscurity by Tudor times in the 16th century. Rev. Punchard described the descent of the Punchardon family thus (largely following Pole[18]):

  • Sir William I de Punchardon, eldest son of Robert, who retained the Devon and Hampshire estates but those in Hertfordshire Somerset fell to younger brothers.
  • Roger de Punchardon (d.1243), eldest son. After a few transactions with his brothers Reginald and Robert, he confined his interest to Devonshire. In 1220 he acquired the manor of Coombe[19] His nephew Oliver, son to Reginald, was the last of the Hampshire family concerned with Devon and was summoned once as jurator in the hundred of Haytor.[20]
  • Sir William II de Punchardon, eldest son of Roger, succeeded in 1243 and largely increased the estates. In 1254 he was "coronator", with de Briwere and another knight, concerning wreckage;[21] in 1259 he was a juror concerning the claims of Isabell de Forz, Countess of Albemarle, daughter of Baldwin de Redvers, 6th Earl of Devon (1217-1245).[22] His widow Ermegard de Punchardon outlived him twenty years, and married Alexander de Viteri, who tried (though ineffectually) to retain possession of Heanton and Charles.[23]
  • Sir John Punchardon, son and heir, last of the direct male line. Mention of him is frequently made in various documents down to 1296; indeed, as Westcote (d.circa 1637) quaintly says, "There are few ancient evidences in those parts, whereunto the Punchardons have not been witnesses: yea sometimes two or three of them...Heanton is surnamed Punchardon; the parish reserving charily the old lord's name of long antiquity, and therewithal copious in some ages". he left three daughters as co-heiresses:
    • Ermegard de Punchardon, heiress of Heanton Punchardon, wife of Sir Philip Beaumont of Shirwell. She left an only son John Beaumont, who married Alice Scudamore and in the second generation, the male issue here also was extinct. But Joan Beaumont, the wife of Sir James Chudleigh, gave Heanton Punchardon to Richard Beaumont, nephew of the first Sir Philip Beaumont, whose last descendant and heiress, Joan Beaumont, married John Basset of Whitechapel, Bishops Nympton. John Basset, after several lawsuits in Chancery, secured the Punchardon estates and his successors were possessed of Heanton until the late 19th century. One of them was Colonel Arthur Basset, who held St. Michael's Mount for King Charles and surrendered to Colonel Hammond in 1646.
    • Mabil de Punchardon, wife of Sir Henry Ralegh of Raleigh, Pilton, heiress of Charles, whose descendants held that manor in direct descent for seven generations.
    • Margery de Punchardon, heiress of West Buckland, who married twice, firstly to Sir Richard Beauple, of Landkey and secondly to Joel de Buckenton.[24] She died without progeny.[25]
Junior branches of Punchardon[edit]

Of this senior stock was William de Punchardon (d.1274), priest and prebend of Bosham, and Canon of Crediton in 1270, and Canon of Exeter in 1273. His will, dated 3 February 1274-5 is preserved in Bishop Bronescombe's Register.[26] In 1268 Simon Punchardon was presented to the Rectory of West Buckland, by Dame Ermegard.

Punchardon of Little Bovey[edit]
Arms of Punchardon of Little Bovey: Argent, a cross cerclée voided gules

Although the elder branch of the family in North Devon, continued only in female lines after 1300, other descendants of the first Robert de Punchardon were landholders at Little Bovey, in South Devon, down to 1413.[27] Hugh Punchardon, with the consent of Reginald de Punchardon his eldest son, during the reign of King John (1299-1216) gave lands there to his daughter Mary de Punchardon. Roger de Punchardon held the same estates during the reign of King Henry III (1216-1272). In 1277 Sir William de Punchardon of this line, following a muster at Worcester, performed military service due from Edmund, Earl of Cornwall.[28] On his own tenure he was further summoned to Carmarthen in 1282, for the war in West Wales.[29] In 1310 another William Punchardon served for Richard Lovel,[30] and attended the levy at Tweedmouth. Three years later he crossed over seas on the same military duty, and in 1312[31] his lands had the usual foedus de protectione (letters of protection). In 1311 he was manucaptor of Alfred de Penhergard, burgess returned for Liskeard. In 1322 a certain Thomas Punchard was similarly bound for the return of John le Taverner for Bristol.[28] The most distinguished of the line was Sir Richard de Punchardon, made a [[knight banneret]] by King Edward III 91327-1377). During the French Campaign of 1356, which ended with the [[Battle of Poitiers]] on September 19, he was caught in an ambuscade, but with his gallant comrades, he fought a way through to the main army under the Black Prince.[32] Sir Richard de Punchardon's lands at Bovey were again under royal protection in 1359.[33] He stood high in court favour, and was entrusted by the King with the guardianship of the young de Bensted of Benington, with estates in Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Wiltshire.[34] Froissart speaks of him as Marshal of Aquitaine in 1366, at the birth of Richard of Bordeaux. His grandson Richard II Punchardon held Bovey until 1413. In 1446 John Punchardon, perhaps a brother, was noted at South Hole, Hardesworth and West Barlyngton.[35] The Bovey line probably ended during the Wars of the Roses as no further record of its fate survives.


According to Guillim (d.1621) the arms of the Punchardon family of Heanton were: Sable, six plates three, two, one, sometimes shown as ten plates, four, three, two, and one.[36] However according to Pole (d.1635), Sir William Punchardon of Heanton Punchardon bore: Argent, a cross sarcel voided gules.[37] Rev. Punchard (1894) suggested this coat given by Pole was that of the Bovey (Little Bovey[38]) line of the Punchardon family. Risdon (d.1640) gave the arms of Willelmus de Ponte Cardonis, de Lydyet (possibly Lydiard-Punchardon, Somerset) as: Argent, a cross moline voided gules.[39] The Crest was: A unicorn's head erased gules bezantee armed or.[40]


Arms of Basset: Barry wavy of six or and gules. These arms are shown for Basseth in the Book Of Additions[41] by Matthew Paris (d.1259), showing heraldic shields of King Henry III (1216-1272) and his principal nobles. They can be seen on four 17th-century Basset family mural monuments in Heanton Punchardon Church

The manor of Heanton Punchardon was held from the 15th century to 1802 by the Basset family, formerly of Umberleigh, whose seat was Heanton Court, situated on the bank of the River Taw, 3/4 mile SE of the village. The house is now the Tarka Inn. The last of the male line was Francis Basset (c. 1740-1802), MP for Barnstaple, who died in 1802 unmarried and without progeny. This last Francis Basset appears to have been the "Colonel Basset" who was master of the North Devon Staghounds (which became in 1837 the Devon and Somerset Staghounds) from 1775 t0 1784. Confusion however arises between this Francis Basset Esq. (c. 1740-1802) of Heanton Court and his contemporary and distant cousin (from a junior branch of the family) Francis Basset, 1st Baron de Dunstanville and Basset (1757–1835), of Tehidy in Cornwall, who is stated in his History of Parliament biography to have been Lt-Col. of the North Devon Militia from 1779.

Bassett mural monuments[edit]

The following 17th-century mural monument (one of four) exists in the Bassett Chapel in the north transept (now largely occupied by the organ) of the parish church:

Mural monument to Elizabeth Peryam (1571-1635), wife of Sir Robert Bassett. Within a lozenge at the top and on an escutcheon to the sinister are shown her paternal arms of Peryam: Gules, a chevron engrailed or between three lion's faces affrontes of the last. The arms of Peryam are also shown on an oval cartouche underneath, impaled by Bassett
Armorial of Sir William Peryam (1534-1604), as shown on the mural monument of his daughter Elizabeth Bassett (1571-1635) in Heanton Punchardon Church, Devon: Gules, a chevron engrailed or between three lion's faces of the last

The mural monument to Elizabeth Bassett (1571–1635) is situated on the east wall of the Bassett Chapel. She was one of the four daughters and co-heiresses of Sir William Peryam (1534–1604), Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, by his second wife Anne Parker, daughter of John Parker of North Molton, Devon. She married in 1591 Sir Robert Bassett (1574–1641) of Heanton Punchardon, MP for Plymouth in 1593, and bore him two sons and four daughters,[42] amongst whom was Colonel Arthur Bassett, MP, who erected the monument.

Memoriae Sacrum
Dominae Elizabethae Bassett uxori Roberti Bassett militis clarissima stirpe oriundi filiae et cohaeredi Gulielmi Peryam militis Schaccarii Regii Baronis primarii Judicic integerrimi et religiosissimi piae prudenti justae patienti modestae castae temperanti constanti hospitali misericordi beneficae pauperum matri et medicae suae familiae conservatrici. Arthurus Bassett armiger filius eius primogenit(us) debitae gratitudinis et observantiae ergo H(oc) M(onumentum) M(atri)? M(aerens) P(osuit) Anno Domini 1635 aetatis suae 64 ad Dominum remeaunt.
Should monuments goe by merit then surely thine,
With pretious stone and orient pearle should shine,
But since thy world of worth ye world doth know,
This marble stone may serve thy name to show.
"Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivereth him out of them all". Psal. 34.19.
Ita in fornacem prodiit aurum

Which may be translated literally into English as:

"Sacred to the memory to [43] Lady Elizabeth Bassett wife of Robert Bassett, knight, arisen from a famous stock, daughter and co-heiress of William Peryam, knight, Lord Chief Justice of the Royal Treasury, (he was) most impartial and duty-bound, (she was) pious, prudent, just, long-suffering, modest, chaste, temperant, constant, hospitable, compassionate, kind, a mother and healer of the poor , a preserver of her own family. Arthur Bassett, Esquire, her sorrowing first-born son, of a duty of gratitude and respect therefore placed this monument to his mother in the year of Our Lord 1635 of her age 64 may she remain to the Lord...Thus does gold come forth into an oven".


Arms of Davie: A ship with two masts or the sails trussed up and twisted to the masts argent adorned with flags charged with the cross of England on a chief of the second three cinquefoils pierced gules; crest: A mount vert thereon a lamb passant argent in the mouth a sprig of cinquefoil gules slipped vert. Depiction of arms of John Davie (d.1710) of Orleigh Court from his mural monument in Buckland Brewer Church, North Devon[44]

The heir of Francis Basset (d.1802) was his nephew Joseph Davie Esq. of Watermouth Castle, near Lynmouth, son of John Davie of Orleigh Court, near Bideford, by his wife Eleanora Basset, Francis Basset's sister. In accordance with the terms of the inheritance, as was then usual in such cases, Joseph Davie and his descendants adopted the arms and surname of Basset in lieu of their patronymic.


Arms of Williams of Caerhays, Scorrier & Tregullow in Cornwall: Vair, three crescents or.[45]

A catalogue note in the Williams Estate Archive held in the North Devon Record Office under ref: B170, states: "William Williams purchased the Heanton Estate from the Bassetts in the mid nineteenth century and the family resided at Heanton Court".[46] Documents show Williams as the new owner as early as 1852 and the Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales in 1894-5 stated a member of the Williams family to be lord of the manor.[47] A younger member of this family became heir to the Davie-Basset family, namely Charles Henry Williams, Esq., (who later assumed the surname Basset) of Watermouth Castle, near Lynmouth, JP and MP for Barnstaple (1868–1874) and master of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds from 1887 to 1893. Born 16 November 1834, being the fourth surviving son of Sir William Williams, 1st Baronet (1791–1870), MFH,[48] of Tregullow, Cornwall, by his wife Caroline Eales, younger daughter of Richard Eales of Eastdon. He married on 7 January 1878, Harriet Mary Basset, only daughter of Arthur Davie Basset, Gentleman, of Watermouth Castle, and sister and co-heiress of Reverend Arthur Crawfurth Davie Basset, JP and MA, also of Watermouth. Again there had been a failure in the male Basset line. As a condition of his inheritance he assumed by Royal License in 1880 the surname of Basset in lieu of his patronymic, with the arms of Basset.

Notable residents[edit]

Among those who rest in the churchyard is the poet Edward Capern (1819–1894), known as the Rural Postman (poet) of Bideford.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2011 Census
  2. ^ Figures for other years are available on the local studies website
  3. ^ "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1107743)". National Heritage List for England. 
  5. ^ See typescript Church Notes by B. F. Cresswell, arranged by deaneries, held in the Westcountry Studies Library
  6. ^ "Heanton Court Barton - Heanton Punchardon - Devon - England". British Listed Buildings. 1985-11-14. Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  7. ^ Payne's watercolours of c. 1790 are published in "Payne's Devon"
  8. ^ Gray, Todd & Rowe, Margery (Eds.), Travels in Georgian Devon: The Illustrated Journals of the Reverend John Swete, 1789-1800, vol.3, Tiverton, 1999, pp.95-6
  9. ^ Who makes Germolene Antiseptic Cream?, Bayer UK, March 2001.Accessed: 27 January 2010.
  10. ^ Perrigo UK History, Perrigo UK, Undated.Accessed: 27 January 2010.
  11. ^ Barnstaple to Ilfracombe Railway 1874-1970, Explore Braunton project, Undated.Accessed: 27 January 2010.
  12. ^ Guillim, John, Display of Heraldry, 1632, p.297
  13. ^ Thorn, Caroline & Frank, (eds.) Domesday Book, (Morris, John, gen.ed.) Vol. 9, Devon, Parts 1 & 2, Phillimore Press, Chichester, 1985, part 1, 16:69
  14. ^ http://www.domesdaybook.co.uk/devonshire3.html#heantonpunchardon
  15. ^ Robert-Collins, Dictionnaire Francais-Anglais, Paris, 1990, p.112
  16. ^ Pole, p.411
  17. ^ Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Association Punchard of Heaton Punchardon - Records of an Unfortunate Family
  18. ^ Pole, pp.396-7, Heanton Punchardon
  19. ^ Punchard, 1894, quoting: Testa de Nevill
  20. ^ Punchard, 1894, quoting: Rotuli Hundredorum, vol. i
  21. ^ Punchard, 1894, quoting: Placitorum in domo Capit: Westmonast: Abbreviatio,"p. 137
  22. ^ Punchard, 1894, quoting: Placita de quo Warranto," p. 177.
  23. ^ Punchard, 1894, quoting: Feet of Fines, 1877
  24. ^ Punchard, 1894, quoting: Pole's " Collections," pp. 896, 411, 404, 288, 428, &c.
  25. ^ Punchard, 1894, quoting: Pole's "Collections," p . 411
  26. ^ Punchard, 1894, quoting: Register," p. 283.
  27. ^ Punchard, 1894, quoting: Pole's •' Collections," p . 266.
  28. ^ a b Punchard, 1894, quoting: Palgrave, Writs
  29. ^ Punchard, 1894, quoting: Palgrave, Writs.
  30. ^ Punchard, 1894, quoting: Afterwards Baron Lovel of Kary. In 1313 Edward II and Isabella went to France for the coronation of Louis X, and this nobleman was in attendance
  31. ^ regnal year 6 Edward II
  32. ^ Punchard, 1894, quoting: Froissart. Chron : II. p. 296; III. p. 16. In vol: iv. Sir Richard is referred to as a Poitevin ; but this could only have been by enfeoffment. He was constantly at the Court of Edward III. See also Lysons' " Britannia," vi. p. 262.
  33. ^ Punchard, 1894, quoting: Foedera," 83° Ed : iii
  34. ^ Punchard, 1894, quoting: Abbreviatio Rotm : Orig : in Curia Scaccarii," vol. ii. p. 253.
  35. ^ Punchard, 1894, quoting: Feet of Fines
  36. ^ (Black shield with six or ten silver circles; Bovey Punchard: Silver shield with a red curly-ended hollowed-out cross) Guillim, John, Display of Heraldry, 1632, p.297: " Hee beareth sable, six plates : three, two and one: by the name of Punchardon. These are bullions of silver, having no manner of impression upon them: but are only prepared ready for the stampe. In the blazoning of this there is no mention made of colour, because they are alwaies silver" See also Berry’s " Encyclopaedia Heraldica," ii. and iv
  37. ^ Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, p.454; followed by Lysons Magna Britannia, Vol.6: Devon, 1822, clxix
  38. ^ Pole, p.266
  39. ^ Tristram Risdon's Notebook, p.247
  40. ^ (Gold horned, red unicorn head with a jagged neck edge over gold coins)
  41. ^ Book of Additions by Matthew Paris (d.1259), British Library, Cotton MS Nero D I, fol 171v; see File:MatthewParis BookOfAdditions BritishLibrary.jpg
  42. ^ History of Parliament biography of Sir Robert Bassett, MP
  43. ^ Elizabeth and her complimentary adjectives are stated in the dative case "to", not the genitive "of"
  44. ^ Rogers, W.H. "Buckland Brewer" (1938), pp.53-4
  45. ^ Burke's Landed Gentry, 1937, p.2442
  46. ^ "Access to Archives". The National Archives. Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  47. ^ "Heanton Punchardon, Devon genealogy heraldry and family history". Uk-genealogy.org.uk. 2011-12-18. Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  48. ^ Bailys Magazine

External links[edit]