The Hawton Family Tree and History
(Transcribed August 2006 from
a document sourced from Jenny Mitchell or possibly Tony Reese.
Transcritions done by Jan Nichols. Document has been copied verbatim
with some minor corrections)
In 1648 Richard Edgecombe was the owner of Cotehele and MP for
Tavistock, told of a paper left in 1470, says; these were troublesome
times, Edward IV was on the thrown and the wars between the house of
York and Lancaster were raging furiously. About this time rapid
changes took place in the government of the country. Edward died a
comparatively young man.
Edward V was murdered and Richard III waded to the thrown through
streams of blood. Englishmen objected to this government and Sir
Richard Edgecombe joined the effort made by the Duke of Buckingham to
overthrow it. Buckingham was defeated and Sir Richard pursued
into Cotehele Woods by a party headed by Henry Trenouth of Bodrigan
according to CAREW he put a stone in his hat and threw it over the
cliff into the river, his pursuers hearing the splash and seeing the
hat floating on the water thought him drowned and gave up the pursuit.
Sir Richard acting on the principal that “He who fights and runs away
lives to fight another day” got off to BRITTONY and joined the Earl
of Richmond. He came back in 1485 to assist in the overthrow of
Richard III at the battle of Bosworth and the placing of Richmond on
the thrown as Henry VII.
He built a chapel on the cliff to commemorate his escape. The
estates of his old enemy Trenouth of Bodrigan were part of his
reward. Bodrigan is said to have escaped from him by a similar
device jumping over the deadman’s head at a place still know as
Deadman’s Leap. It is probably after the acquisition of the
Bodrigan estate that Sir Richard started restoring and renovating
Cotehele House, the superior quality of the material and workmanship
indicating when he began.
There is a story that the Mother of Richard Edgecombe (who was the
first Baron created in 1742) was singularly recovered from death.
She had been ill, had apparently expired, and her body had been
deposited in the family vault. The internment was over and the
sexton, who knew that she had gold rings upon her fingers, went into
the vault and opened the coffin, proceeding to take them off, in doing
so he must have pinched the fingers perhaps not very mercifully.
All at once he observed the body move. He became terror struck
and fled leaving his lantern and also the rings behind him. The
Lady soon recovered sufficiently to get out of the coffin and go
home. She recovered her health and had a son 5 years after.
This is the inscription on a slab in the Stoke Climsland Church –
In memory of John Hawton of Venterdon in this parish who died the 12
day of June Ana D 1651
In Christ I lived, in Christ I dyed
in Christ I hope to be revised
This house Cotehele is very close to Stoke Climsland and is a big house
like Whiteford but now the family live mostly at the island just off
Plymouth and Devenport called Mount Edgecombe.
The story must be true as my grandmother told it to me as a
child. I also heard it from another person whose Grandparents
also came from Cornwall. It is included in the history of
Cornwall. By a Mr Vinner. The title Vinners History of
Ref 102 Page last
updated - 16 Aug 2006