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 Cornwall.

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