The Landed Gentry Drew Families of Ireland and Devonshire
by Carol Baxter, Copyright 2012
Foreword: This analysis was written nearly two decades ago and the author has no further information to contribute or interest in the subject. It is published on this website purely to assist others. It needs the addition of family tree charts for clarity and more detailed source-referencing (the research exercise and written analysis was dumped without being completed when the connection was disproved), but this would take time that the author does not want to devote to the subject. Too much else to do!
Key: Inq.p.m = Inquisition post mortem (a hearing after the death of a landholder or heir to an estate to confirm assets at death).
The Landed Gentry Drew families of Ireland
In 1848, Burke's Landed Gentry included a pedigree of "Drew of the Strand House, Youghal". The pedigree records the descent of this Anglo-Irish Drew family from a relative of William the Conqueror, through Drogo of Drewsteinton, Devonshire, through the Drews of Drewsliff, Hayne and Sharpham, Devonshire, to:
- Thomas Drewe Esq. of Drewscliffe, Hayne and Sharpham, who married Eleonora, daughter and co-heir of William Huckmore ... and had two sons: Richard his heir (see below), and Edward of Sharpham ...
- Richard Drew Esq. of Drewscliffe and Hayne was father of
- John Drew Esq. of Drewcliffe and Hayne, who married Joan, daughter of _ Williams, Esq. of Ivesbridge, and had two sons: Richard of Drewscliffe and Hayne ..., and
- Francis Drew Esq. of Kilwinny, co. Waterford, and of Meanus, co. Kerry, [who] went to Ireland, a captain in the army of Queen Elizabeth in or about the year 1598 being then a young man.
This pedigree contains numerous inaccuracies, the most critical being that the Drews of Youghal do not in fact descend from the above Devonshire family. A number of documents have been found that prove the inaccuracy of the above pedigree as follows:
1. The will of Robert Drew of Kilwinny, who died in February/March 1607/8, was lodged with the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC). The will names a number of family members, including his wife Joan, sons Robert, John and Francis, and daughters Catherine and Suzan. An Anthony Drewe acted as a witness and Christopher Games acted as the scribe.
2. The Lismore Papers include a deed recording that in March 1607/8 Joan Drew signed an indenture covering a lease of the lands of Sarrigser in the Manor of Lismore and Tallagh, and that in 1626 lands leased by Christopher Games in right of Joan Drew his wife in Sorrinion were passed to Francis Drew by Indenture.
3. The Lismore Papers also include a deed recording that in November 1615 Christopher Games and Joan Games his wife leased the house and lands of Kilwinny in the name of Francis Drew who was then in his minority. These lands were surrendered by Francis Drew in 1634.
These documents reveal that Francis Drew of Kilwinny was the son of Robert Drew of Kilwinny and his wife Joan, who later married Christopher Games. They state that Francis was under the age of 21 in November 1615 indicating that he was born between 1594 and 1607, probably closer to 1594 as he was old enough to be farming land in 1615. This means that Francis Drew could not have been a captain in Queen's Elizabeth's army in 1598 and, moreover, was unlikely to have been the son of John Drew of Devonshire. It is feasible that his father Robert Drew settled in Ireland around 1598; however, evidence has survived suggesting that Robert was unlikely to have been a member of the Devonshire family. Robert's will was lodged with the PCC as he held land in the parish of Crewkerne in County Somerset. In his will, he named as overseers of his estate two men named William Drewe, one from the parish of Crewkerne and one from Shepton Beauchamp in Somerset, both being husbandmen. Clearly Robert's roots were more likely to have been in County Somerset. Moreover, the fact that his overseers, almost certainly relatives, were 'husbandmen' indicates a lower social status than the landed gentry Drews of Devonshire.
Although the source of the pedigree contained in Burke's Landed Gentry is not known, the Anglo-Irish component was almost certainly supplied by the Rev. Pierce William Drew of the Strand House, Youghal who was rector there in 1848. Drew was clearly interested in family history as his genealogy of the Drews of Mocollop Castle appeared in John Gough Nichol's Topographer and Genealogist (vol. II., p.209, London, 1853) and was afterwards separately published. From the detailed information provided it is evident that he had researched the family extensively and that his research was conducted in the mid-1800's well before the destruction of so many Irish records in Dublin in 1922. However, as the information concerning Francis Drew's parentage and arrival in Ireland is clearly incorrect, it seems likely that Rev. Drew fabricated a connection with the Devonshire Drews to improve the ancestral importance of the Irish Drews. This pedigree has been accepted as fact by later generations. As such the Anglo-Irish Drews have no right to bear the arms of the Devonshire Drews: ermines, a lion passant gules.
The Landed Gentry Drew Families of Devonshire
The Drewe Family of Sharpham, Devonshire
In 1862 Burke's Dictionary of Landed Gentry included a pedigree for "Drewe of the Grange". Under the subheading Lineage, the following information was recorded:
- William Drewe  m. Joan, dau. & heir of John Prideaux, of Orcharton, in Devonshire, and co-heir of her mother, Agnes or Amy, eldest dau. and co-heir of Robert French, Esq. of Hornford, by Anne or Maud, dau. and heir of Robert Wynard, of Haccombe. His eldest son and heir,
- William Drewe , Esq. of Sharpham, was father of
- Henry Drewe , Esq. whose son and heir
- William Drewe , Esq. dying 3 September 1532 was s. by his son
- Thomas Drewe , Esq. of Sharpham, b. in 1519, m. Eleonora, dau. and co-heir of William , 2nd son of Rogerr Huckmore, of the co. of Devon, and left two sons of whom,
- Edward Drewe , Esq. of Sharpham, Killerton, and Broad Hembury, co. Devon, of the Inner Temple, barrister-at-law, recorder at the city of London 1584, and recorder of Exeter, serjeant-at-law and queen's serjeant, 38th ELIZABETH, (1596) m. Bridget, daughter of Fitzwilliams, of Lincolnshire, and dying in 1622, was s. by his eldest son Sir Thomas Drewe .......
The estate of Sharpham came into the possession of the Drewe family with the marriage of William Drewe  to Joan Prideaux c1440. The Inquisitions post mortem for their son Henry Drewe  in 1516 records that "Sherpham" was held by "John Prideaux of Addeston and Agnes his wife and their heirs; after the death of John and Agnes the right fell to Joan their daughter, who married William Drewe; after the death of William and Joan the premises fell to their son Henry Drewe aforesaid." Clearly, the inclusion of Generation 2 in the above pedigree was incorrect.
The estate passed out of the family's hands after the death of Edward Drewe  in 1598 or 1599. Edward had been negotiating the sale of the estate at the time of his death in 1598 and his will authorised that his son Thomas was to continue with the sale in the event that Edward should die prior to its completion. The sale appears to have been completed shortly after Edward's death.
Inquisitions post mortem and wills have survived for various members of the above family, enabling additions and corrections to be made to the above pedigree as follows:
- William Drewe  was probably born c1410's. He married, probably early 1440's, Joan, dau. of John Prideaux of Addeston, Devonshire by Agnes (?eldest dau. and co-heir of Robert French, Esq. of Hornford, by Anne or Maud, dau. and heir of Robert Wynard, of Haccombe). William died prior to 1504, probably prior to 1487 while Joan died on 10 November 1504. Their eldest son and heir
- Henry Drewe , Esq. of Sharpham was born c1448. No details of his spouse have been discovered to date. He died on 22 January 1515/16. His son and heir,
- William Drewe , Esq. of Sharpham was born c1490. No details of his spouse have been discovered to date. He died on 3 September 1532. His son and heir,
- Thomas Drewe , Esq. of Sharpham was born c1519. He married Eleanor, daughter and co-heir of William, 2nd son of Roger Huckmore of Bukyate, co. Devon, probably in the early 1540's. Thomas died at some stage between 1564 and 1598. His widow Eleanor died between 21 February and 18 March 1599/1600 according to probate of her will. Eleanor's will and other source references indicate that they had the following offspring: Edward, Roger, Mary (m. John Shirwill), William, Robert, Richard, Judith and Anne. Their eldest son and heir,
- Edward Drewe , Esq. of Sharpham, Killerton, and Broad Hembury, co. Devon, of the Inner Temple, barrister-at-law, recorder at the city of London 1584, and recorder of Exeter, serjeant-at-law and queen's serjeant, 38th ELIZABETH, (1596) m. Bridget (?daughter of Fitzwilliams, of Lincolnshire). On 17 May 1595 Edward purchased from Henry, earl of Southampton, and Thomas Arundell, esq., son and heir of Matthew Arundell, knt., the manors of "Brodehemberye and Woolston". Broadhembury was to become the seat of the Drewe family for the next few hundred years. Edward died on 25 April 1598 and was survived by his widow and the following offspring: Thomas (eldest son who was born circa October 1576), George (second son), Edward (third son), John (youngest son), Elizabeth (eldest daughter), Mary (second daughter) and Frances (third daughter).
The Sharpham estate was sold to Mr Edward Gyles according to Edward Drewe's will, although contemporary publications record that the estate was sold to Edward's father John Gyles of Bowden. Significantly, Edward Gyles was the husband of Mary, daughter of Edward Drewe of Drewscliff and Hayne. The Drewscliff and Sharpham families have no identified common ancestors, although both undoubtedly had the same roots as they bore the same coat of arms.
The Drews of Drewscliff and Hayne
The pedigree of the Drew family of Drewscliff and of Highayne alias Norton, is recorded in Vivian's Visitations and in Tuckett's Devonshire Pedigrees. Although no information has been found substantiating the first two generations listed in these pedigrees, support for later generations is found in other sources. The details from these pedigrees combined with the author's research produces the following:
- William Drewe  of Drewscliffe married Joane daughter and heir of Mathew Wofford/Worsford, and had ...
- Thomas Drewe  of Drewscliff who had ...
- Richard Drewe  of Drewscliff. He was probably born c1450's and was probably the Richard Drewe who gave an oath at the Inq.p.m. of John Fortescue in 1481 at Exeter. He had ...
- Richard Drewe  Esq. of Drewscliffe & of Highayne als Norton (married Maud daughter and heir of John Farr of Ashburton.) Richard was probably born around the 1480's and died on 14 April 1544 leaving property in Ermington, Newton St Cyres and Holbeton parishes. He was probably the Richard Drew who was a juror at the Inq.p.m. for John Gyfford in 1528. His son and heir ...
- Edward Drewe  of Drewscliffe & of Highayne was born c1516. He married Ann (daugheter of John Crocker of Lyneham); she was buried on 13 April 1557 at Newton St Cyres. He gave oaths at various Inq.p.m. held at Exeter between 1545 and 1564, two being for members of the Fortescue family. The will of 'Edward Drewe of Heyne in the parish of St Cyers Newton, Devon, armiger' was signed on 3 April 1577 leaving his estate to his son Edmonde. Edward was buried on 22 March 1579/80 at Newton St Cyres. His son and heir ...
- Edmund Drewe  of Drewscliffe & of Highayne was born c1540. He married Elizabeth, daughter of William Gibbs of Fenton in Dartington parish on 14 September 1566 at Newton St Cyres; Elizabeth had previously been married to Edward Wootten. Edmund and Elizabeth had ...
- Mary Drewe  who was baptised 17 October 1568 at Newton St Cyres. She married firstly Walter Northcott (1566-1587) and had issue. She married secondly on 28 January 1587/8, Edward Gyles, son of John Gyles of Bowden. Edward was knighted in 1603 and died without issue in 1637 at Dean Prior. Mary died in January 1642/3 and was buried at Dean Prior.
The Drews of Modbury
Burke's Landed Gentry recorded the ancestry of the Anglo-Irish Drews as having commenced with William Drew and his wife Joan Prideaux of Sharpham who appear to have been married in the 1440's. Of the forebears of this William Drew of Sharpham, John Prince in The Worthies of Devon (1690's) makes the following comment:
[Sharpham] was the continued abode of this worshipful family for divers generations following; although from whence it did immediately proceed, when it came hither first, I can't determin. 'Tis not improbable, but it was from Modbiry, not far off, where this name flourished, anno 4 Edward 4th , now above two hundred and thirty years since; as may appear from a deed in which, John Gambon of Morston, and Andrew Knight, delivered over several messuages in the burgh of Modbury aforesaid, which formerly did belong to John de Lode of Dartmouth, and John Drew of Modbiry deceased, unto Henry Drew, son of the said John Drew, for his natural life; after whose death, they were to remain in John Rouse of Edmerston, in the same parish, and his heirs, to this intent; That they should provide out of the rents of those messuages, a fit chaplain, of honest and good fame, to perform divine service in a certain chappel, of the Holy Trinity, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and St John the Baptist, situate in the south part of the parish church of Modbiry aforesaid, there to pray for the souls of the said Henry Drew, Agnes, Alice and Joan, his late wives; and for the souls of John Drew and Joan his wife, the parents of the said Henry; and for the souls of Sir Richard Champernon and Katherine his wife, Sir Thomas Carew and Elizabeth his wife, Walter Regnel, Robert Hill son of Robert Hill the judg, and many others ...
This deed refers to a Drew family who were living in Modbury, Devonshire prior to 1464, so it is interesting to note that William Drew's wife Joan Prideaux was the daughter of John Prideaux of Adeston which lay in Holbeton parish, immediately to the west of Modbury parish. Given their proximity and the relatively small social class of which they were a part, the Drews of Modbury and the Prideaux family would undoubtedly have known each other. This raises the possibility that William Drew was a member of the Drew family of Modbury.
When William Drewe married Joan Prideaux, he was not only marrying into landed gentry, he was marrying an heiress who was the daughter of a knight. To have been acceptable as a marriage partner, William must have been well-connected himself. Via his marriage, William Drewe acquired the estate of Sharpham, which Joan Prideaux had inherited from her mother's family. This estate became the Drew's seat for the next few generations.
By the law of primogeniture the eldest son inherited his father's estates and usually remained at the family seat, so the fact that William settled at his wife's property suggests that he had no property of his own. It therefore seems likely that William was the younger son of an established family like the Drews of Modbury.
To determine if these families were connected, we need to ascertain when William Drew of Sharpham was living. The Inquisitions indicate that William and Joan's son and heir, Henry, was born in the 1440s (c1448?) suggesting that William and Joan were born in the early 1400's. In fact, Joan's approximate year of birth can be determined with greater precision; according to Prideaux family information, Joan's father Sir John Prideaux married three times, having two children to his first marriage (born c1409 and c1414), three to his second and one to his third. Joan was apparently the eldest of the second batch of children, Indicating that she was born after 1414; as she had a son born in the 1440's it is likely that she was born no later than the 1420s. This also means that William Drew himself was unlikely to have been born after the 1420s.
The Modbury deed of 1464 refers to two generations of Drews, namely to John and Joan Drew who had died by 1464 and to their son Henry Drew whose three wives had died by 1464. A number of references to Henry Drew have been found, one being his licence to marry Agnes Huchan in 1438. As 'Agnes' appears to have been Henry's first wife, this suggests that Henry Drew of Modbury was of the same generation as William Drew of Sharpham. Clearly, if William was a member of this family, he was the son of John Drew, rather than Henry.
The Modbury deed refers to 'messuages' which had belonged to John Drew of Modbury indicating that both John Drew and his son Henry had lived in Modbury. As the estates of John Drew of Modbury appear to have passed to Henry, the latter was probably John's eldest son. This raises the possibility that William Drew was a younger son of John and Joan Drew of Modbury. This possibility is supported by the evidence that William named his eldest son and heir Henry. Families tended to give their offspring names that were already in use in their family, and the name of the 'heir' was generally a family name. The name Henry almost certainly did not come from the Prideaux family as fourteen generations of Joan's ancestors are recorded in the Prideaux pedigree in Vivian's Visitations without any references to a Henry. This suggests that Henry was probably drawn from the Drew family, in particular a family member that William Drews wished to commemorate.
The Drews of Drewscliffe
It is also possible that William Drew was a member of the Drews of Drewscliffe, the other Drew family documented by Vivian in his Visitations [see p.???]. At some stage in their ancestry, the Drewes of Sharpham and the Drews of Drewscliffe had the same roots as identical coats of arms were held by the two families: "ermines, a lion passant gules". Prince discusses a possible connection in his Worthies of Devon (p.355):
Now, if it should be granted (what I acknowledg is not proved) that this family of Drew, came from Modbiry, the question will recur upon us, From whence it should first come thither? Very likely this was a younger branch of that stock, which long flourished at their antient seats, called Drew's Clyffe, in the parish of ____ and Hayne, in that of Newton St Sires, near Crediton in this county; of which I have met with this account [from Westcot] That William Drew of Drew's-Clyffe, married Joan, daughter and heir of Matthew Worsford, and had issue Thomas, who had issue Richard, who had issue Richard and Joan. Richard Drew of Drew's-Clyffe and of Hayn Esq. by Maud his wife, daughter and heir of John Farr of Ashburton, in Devon, had issue Edward, who by Anne his wife, daughter of John Croker of Lineham, Esq. had issue Edmund, who married the daughter of Gibbs of Devon, and had issue one sole daughter and heir, Mary, first married to Walter Northcot, son and heir of John Northcot of Crediton, gent; ... secondly [she] became the wife of Sir Edward Giles of Bowden near Totnes, Kt. Siss.
Curiously, in the 1848 edition of Burke's Landed Gentry, William Drew (husband of Joan Worsford) was recorded as the son of William Drew and Joan Prideaux, and furthermore one of the quarterings on the coat of arms held by Rev. Pierce William Drew of Strand House, Youghal was that of the Worsford family. However the edition of 1862 recorded William Drew and Joan Prideaux's 'son' William with no spouse details, indicating that a correction to the pedigree had been made and that the author believed that no connection existed between the Drews of Sharpham and the Drews of Drewscliff and Hayne in that generation.
Although few dates have been found for members of the Drewscliff family, it is possible to work backwards from available dates to suggest a possible time-span for the birth of the first known William Drew of Drewscliff. According to Inquisitions post mortem, William's great-great-grandson Edward Drew was born c1516 and was the eldest son of Richard Drew who died in 1544. As a generation was on average 30 years, it is possible to theorise that Richard was born c1480s and that Richard's father Richard Drew was born c1450s; the latter's father Thomas was probably born c1420s and Thomas' father William Drewe (husband of Joan Worsford) was probably born in the late 1300s. As such, if the Drews of Sharpham were an offshoot of the Drewscliff family, only one point of connection appears possible, that the first known William Drew of Sharpham was the son (or possibly brother) of William Drewe of Drewscliff.
According to Westcote's A View of Devon, William Drewe of Drewscliff and his son and grandson resided at Drewscliff, his great-grandson Richard (c1480s-1544) being the first to possess the estate of Hayne. Numerous references indicate that Hayne was in Newton St Cyres parish which lay 100kms north-west of Modbury. Richard's residence at the time of his death is not known with certainty however his son Edward had apparently settled in Hayne prior to 1557 [earlier date - locate]. From 1557 onwards all ceremonies for the Drewscliffe family appear to have been performed at Newton St Cyres, Edward's wife being buried there in 1557, two of his children married there in 1566, Edward himself buried there in 1580. and his granddaughter married there in 1585.
Although Prince noted that Hayne lay in Newton St Cyres parish, he clearly did not know the location of Drewscliff. Furthermore the other manuscripts prepared in the 17th century by Pole, Risdon, Westcote and others, provide no reference to Drewscliff's location nor is this clarified in the Visitations or other 19th century publications. This suggests that the location of Drewscliff was not known by these authors.
It is therefore noteworthy that a reference to a Drewscliffe has been found in an Inquisition post mortem for a member of the Fortescue family. In the Inquisition of John Fortescue, Esq. who died in 1586 it was stated that he held:
... a of 1 messuage, 40 acres of land, 10 of meadow, 40 of pasture and 10 of wood called Drewes Cliffe in Ermyngton held of the heirs of the earl of Devon, of Plympton Castle, by fealty and 6s. rent, worth [&c.], £4.
The above Inquisition notes that Drewes Cliffe was in Ermington, which is a parish lying on the north-western border of Modbury parish. Significantly, current Ordnance Survey maps show that Ermington parish includes two messuages named Drew and Cleeve which lie within 300 metres of each other; these names are almost certainly the current representations of what was once Drewscliffe. Although it will probably be impossible to determine how Drewscliffe became two separate properties named Drew and Cleeve, it is possible that the land was subdivided at some stage with one owner adopting Drew and the other Cliffe/Cleeve to distinguish their properties.
Support for the theory that Drewes Cliffe in Ermington parish could have been the property held by the Drews of Drewscliffe is suggested by marriages of various family members. Two members of the Drewscliffe family married into the Williams family of Stowford near Ivybridge, the same family which apparently produced Joan Williams, the wife of 'Captain Drew'. In the late 1400s Isabella daughter and heir of Thomas Drew of Drewes Cliff in Devon married John Williams of Stoford, while their great-grandson, John Williams of Stoford, married (in 1566 at Newton St Cyres) Mary daughter of Edward Drew of Hayne (late of Drewscliff), according to the Williams pedigree taken at the Herald's Visitation in 1620. The Ordnance Survey map of Devon shows Drew Cleeve to lie just over 2kms south-west of Stowford indicating that the Drews of Drewscliffe and the Williams of Stowford were 'neighbours'.
With Drewscliff lying only a few kilometres from Addeston, the home of the Prideaux family, it is clear that William Drew of Sharpham could have been a member of the Drewscliff family. Generational spans indicate that William could have been the son of William Drew and his wife Joan Wofford of Drewscliffe, and it is important to note that he carried a given name that was in use in the Drewscliffe family. However, further support has been found for the theory that William Drew of Sharpham was a member of the Drewscliff family, although this information raises separate questions as to the location of Drewscliff.
The connection between the Drews of Sharpham and the Drews of Drewscliffe
The Sharpham and Drewscliffe families were obviously connected at some earlier stage as both carried the same coat of arms; however, it is clear from readily available secondary sources that these two families were quite separate from at least the mid-1400s onwards. This being the case, the question begs answering as to why Rev. Pierce-William Drew (via Burke) believed the Drews of Drewscliff and of Sharpham to be one and the same family. In the pedigree recorded in the 1848 edition of Landed Gentry, William Drew (husband of Joan Prideaux) is recorded as 'William Drew Esq. of Drewsliffe and Hayne ... and jure uxoris [through his wife] of Sharpham'. William's 'son' Henry is recorded as of 'Drewscliffe, Hayne and Sharpham' as are the latter's son William and grandson Thomas (born 1519). Yet the references in Burke's Lineage to the publications of John Prince, Sir William Pole and Tristram Risdon amongst others, indicate that these secondary sources had been examined in preparing the pedigree, sources that clearly record the Drews of Drewscliff and the Drews of Sharpham as being two separate families. It is possible that Rev. Drew believed that he had determined the connection between the two families as he (incorrectly) listed William Drew of Drewscliffe as the son of William Drew of Sharpham in his pedigree of the Drew family; perhaps it was because of this belief that he recorded the families as one and the same, ignoring the words of these 17th century historians. However why was he so convinced that the two families were one-and-the-same, despite all evidence to the contrary?
A possible reason for Rev. Drew's belief is suggested by the Drew's connection with the Williams family. According to Vivian's Visitations, William Drew of Drewscliff's son Thomas had a daughter Isabella who married John Williams of Stowford, an estate lying near Ivybridge. [See pedigree] Rev. Pierce-William Drew (via Burke) records that the progenitor of the Irish Drews married "Joan daughter of _ Williams of Ivybridge". As primary source records have verified most of the names found in Burke's pedigree, it appears likely that the reference to Joan's family background is also correct, Rev. Drew having had access to family information which recorded these details. Therefore as John Drew and Joan Williams were probably married in the 1590s, this suggests that John's wife Joan Williams could have been a descendant of John Williams and Isabella Drew of Stowford, possibly their great-great-granddaughter. If Joan was indeed a descendant of this couple, then the Drews of Ireland were descended from both the Drews of Sharpham and the Drews of Drewscliffe. If family stories indicated that the Drews of Ireland were descended from both families it is possible that Rev. Drew, unaware of this intermarriage, concluded that the historians were wrong and that the two families were one and the same. [Note: the marriage is wrong so this whole paragraph is now doubtful.]
Generational information indicates that William Drew of Drewscliffe could not have been the son of William Drew of Sharpham, however he could have been the latter's father. Although generational information also suggests that William Drew of Drewscliffe was born in the late 1300s, neither he nor any other Drew was recorded as a tenant in Ermington hundred in the Subsidy Roll of 1428. In fact, only two Drews were recorded as tenants in the eastern half of Devon in the 1428 Subsidy Roll: namely Walter Drew who jointly held Eggebear, which lies about 4kms north-east of Drewsteignton; and William Drew who jointly held Nether Ex, which lies less than 10km north of Exeter. One of the other tenants at Nether Ex in 1428 was a man named William Somaster, and interestingly enough, this man married Elizabeth Prideaux who was the sister of Joan Prideaux who married William Drew of Sharpham. Furthermore, William Somaster's brother, Adam, married a third sister, Julian Prideaux, and these three sisters were the joint heirs to their mother's Sharpham estate. Clearly William Drew of Sharpham was either the joint tenant of Nether Ex in 1428, or a close relation.
In tracing the Drew family, all of the Inquisitions post mortems for Devonshire and Cornwall were examined and all references to people with the name Drew (and its numerous spelling variations) were noted. References were found to a Drue de Stok'/Stoke who acted as a juror in 1343 and a Drew de Stoke who acted as a juror in 1369. The significance of these references is suggested by another entry, a reference to a Henry Drew of Stoke who acted as a juror in 1398. Bartholomew's Gazetteer (1914) notes that Stoke was a seat lying 1¼m north-east of Exeter and it is identified on current Ordnance Survey Maps which show, astonishingly enough, that right on the boundary of Stoke Woods lay a hamlet called Drew's Clieve. Furthermore, Drew's Clieve lay less than 4km south of Nether Ex, where William Drew and William Somaster held land in 1428, and 6km east of Hayne/Norton, where the Drewscliffe family had an estate from at least the early 1500's onwards. Clearly there is strong evidence to suggest that this Drew's Clieve was the home of the Drews of Drewscliffe.
This information suggests that in the early 1400s, a few pockets of landed Drews were to be found in East Devonshire, as follows:
a. Drewsteignton area, where Drogo de Teign held land in the 1100's and 1200's; by 1428 a Walter Drew was a tenant in Eggbeare, current maps showing that Lower Eggbeer Farm and Upper Eggbeer lay less than 4km from Drewsteignton.
b. Nether Ex/Stoke area, where a seat named Drew's Clieve is found; in the mid-1300s a Dru de Stoke lived here, followed by a Henry Drue of Stoke in the 1390s. It seems likely that Dru de Stoke fathered (or grandfathered) Henry Drew of Stoke and that the latter was the father of William Drew of Drewscliffe (who married Joan Wofford). As William Drew was the first to be recorded in the Drewscliffe pedigree taken by the Heralds (apparently in the Visitation of 1564) and as his probable father was referred to as 'of Stoke' it seems likely that William was the first to possess Drewscliff. William and Joan were the parents of Thomas Drew who inherited Drewscliffe and the connection with the Somaster family would suggest that they were also the parents of William Drew of Sharpham.
c. Modbury area, where John Drew and his son Henry were living in the early-mid 1400's. John was probably the John Drue who acted as juror at the Inq.p.m. in 1395 at Modbury of Ralph de Stonore knt who held the manor of Ermington. Was John a brother or even son of Henry Drew of Stoke, naming his son and heir after this close relative? Did he carry the name Drewscliff to his new estate in the Ermington/Modbury area or was this property also held by the Nether Ex/Stoke family.
[NB. It is possible that the author located more information for these families before research was suspended.]
The origins of the Drews of Devonshire
In order to trace the family back any further it is necessary to understand the process by which surnames developed. Of the establishment of the surname system, Basil Cottle in The Penguin Dictionary of Surnames writes (p.12):
For generations after the Conquest a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Keltic, Old English, Norman, church Latin and church Greek, avoided ambiguity without the need for surnames [although] many had two names in the lifetime ... [e.g.] Robert (the) Carpenter ... But society became stabilised; there was property to leave in wills; the towns grew; and the labels that served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so that not even their occupations could distinguish them; and some first-names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it; but in a few cases in the 1200's, in many more in the 1300's, and in most of the remainder in the 1400's our present family names received their first forms.
Surnames can be divided into four main classes: those deriving from the first-name of an ancestor, from the locality or place where an ancestor lived, from the occupation or status of an ancestor, or from a nickname describing some feature or characteristic of an ancestor. References to the surname Drew suggest two possible origins: the surname could have derived from the Old French dru meaning 'sturdy' and later 'lover' and have been used as a nickname; or it could have derived from the Old Germanic given name Drogo, which was borne by a son of Charlemagne, among others, and which became Old French Dreus, Drues and Dru, Driu, Dreu.
The motto of the Drews of Devonshire provides a clue to the origin of their surname. The Latin motto, which claims Drogo nomen et virtus arma dedit, apparently has the following English translation: 'Drogo gaveth name and valour the arms'. Although it is not known when the motto was first used by the Drews, it is clear that the family claimed their descent from an 'important' ancestor who bore the baptismal name Drogo.
The method by which baptismal names became hereditary surnames is as follows:
- Generation 1: carried a given name such as Drogo/Drew and also carried an additional name (known as a 'byname') for purposes of identification, such as (de/of) Stoke;
- Generation 2: who had a given name such as Henry, was identified as being Henry (son of, or 'Fitz') Drew;
- Generation 3: who had a given name such as William was identified as William Drew rather than as William (son of) Henry.
Clearly, it took three generations for a given name to become an hereditary surname, with the grandson of the 'progenitor' of the family being the first to use an inherited surname rather than a personally identifying byname.
Landed families however tended to perpetuate their estate name as their hereditary surname, the case of the Prideaux family being a useful example. Originally referred to as de Pridias, the Prideaux family took their surname from Prideaux Castle in Luxulion parish, Cornwall where they had lived from the time of the Norman Conquest, if not earlier. Their byname was clearly being used as an hereditary surname by the early 1200s, as a younger son of the family, Geoffry de Pridyas, who married the heiress of Orcharton in Devonshire and settled at her estate, continued to be known as Geoffry de Pridias, rather than as Geoffry de Orcharton; if de Pridias was not being used as an hereditary surname, either he or his offspring would have adopted the appellation de Orcharton. The use of hereditary surnames amongst landed families of Devonshire appears to have been the norm by the late 1200s, as reflected by the Inquisitions post mortem which recorded details of the estates of many deceased landholders from the mid-1200s onwards.
As landed families were perpetuating the name of their estate as an hereditary surname by the late 1200s, this raises the question as to why in the late 1300s the Drews of Stoke were perpetuating the surname Drew rather than de Stoke. Records suggest that landed families were living at Stoke from at least the early 1200s onwards; the Crown Pleas for the Devon Eyre record that a William de Stoke was a juror for [? double check - can't find page] in 1238 while a Nicholas de Stoke is referred to in a deed dated 1268 [Dartmouth Corportation Papers - same family?]. It is possible that the Drews of Stoke were perpetuating Drew rather than Stoke as an hereditary surname as they were not the original holders of the Stoke estate; they could have acquired the Stoke estate in the early 1300's when their own surname was already hereditary.
Support for this theory is found in Foster's Some Feudal Coats of Arms which depicts a coat of arms described as 'ermine a lion passant gules' with the notation that these arms were held by William Drewe of Orcheston, Devon c1300. This coat of arms is the same as that held by both the Sharpham and Drewscliff families, indicating that the family were already using the surname Drewe by the early 1300s. The location of 'Orcheston' is not known, although it is possible that this was Orcharton, the seat near Modbury held by the Prideaux family from the early 1200s onwards; it is also possible that this is a reference to a site which can no longer be identified. What this name does suggest however is that the Drewe family were on the move around this time period as no other reference to the Drews of Orcheston has been found.
Devonshire historians of the past few centuries have speculated as to the identity of Drogo, the ancestor of the Drew family. Burke in his Landed Gentry refers to the words of some of these historians as follows:
Prince, in his Worthies of Devon, remarks: "'Tis possible to carry this family higher yet, even up to Drogo de Teign [Drogo of Teign], from whom is denominated a famous parish in this county, called at this day Drew's Teignton, the town of Drew standing nigh the river Teign. Here lived Drogo de Teign, in King Henry II's days (within a hundred years of the Conquest) which name we now call Drew, as Sir William Dugdale tells us." In Sir William Pole's Collections for a description of Devon, page 214, he says: "Tignton Drew both gave name and tooke name of the possessor thereof in King Henry II's tyme. He was called Drew, or Drogo de Teigne." Risdon, also in his Survey of Devon, page 167, speaking of the change of the name Drogo to Drew, says: "the first parish that taken name from Teign river, is Drew's Teignton, honouring the name of its ancient landlord, Drogo de Teign, by time's continuance modified into Drew."
It is possible that Drogo de Teign was the progenitor of the Devonshire Drews as he was living in the period immediately prior to the establishment of hereditary surnames, as he held land, indicating that he was a member of the upper classes who were the first to acquire hereditary surnames, and as he was living in Devonshire which is one of the southern counties where hereditary surnames first became established. However as members of landed families tended to perpetuate the name of their estate as their hereditary surname, this suggests that Drogo de Teign's descendants would have carried Teign or Teignton as their hereditary surname.
For Drogo de Teign to have been the progenitor of the Drew family, one of his sons must have been identified as "[?] son of Drogo" rather than as "[?] de Teign". As younger sons were sometimes identified by their father's baptismal name rather than by the family's estate name, this suggests that the Drews could have descended from a younger son of Drogo de Teign; alternatively, Drogo's family could have left the Teign(ton) estate around the time that hereditary surnames were being established, thereby no longer being eligible to be identified by the estate name.
Prince in Worthies of Devon referred to Drogo de Teign as living in Drewsteignton in the time of Henry II, that is, at some stage in the period 1154 to 1189. The 'Crown Pleas of the Devon Eyre for the year 1238' refers to a Drogo de Teintone who was alive in 1238 and living in the hundred of Wonford, in which Drewsteignton was situated; furthermore, the editor of the published version of this document added the following note: 'Drogo de Teintone gave his name to Drewsteignton, to which in 1244 he acknowledged the right of Richard, son of Drogo, probably his son'.
These entries are significant for the following reasons. Firstly, given the shorter life expectancy of those days, it appears obvious that at least two men who bore the name Drogo de Teign/Teintone were living at Drewsteignton from the mid-late 1100s to the mid-1200s; with that length of tenure, it is understandable that the landowners' full name came to be used as the estate name. Secondly, as a Drogo de Teintone was clearly still alive in 1244, he could quite feasibly have been the progenitor of the Drew family as this was well within the period in which hereditary surnames were being established. Thirdly, as this Drogo had a son (presumably adult) who was identified as 'Richard son of Drogo', this 'byname' could have become an hereditary surname in the next generation, in a son who was born in the mid-1200's. Interestingly enough, references have been found to people with the surname Drew/Drue etc from the late 1200s onwards.
As Drogo was acknowledging the right of his son Richard to the Drewsteignton property, the assumption could be made that Richard would subsequently be identified by the estate-name, and that the above reference was merely referring to Richard as the "son of Drogo" for the purposes of identification. However historians writing in the 1600s suggest that the Drewsteignton estate passed into the hands of the Dabernon family in the mid-1200s. Westcote in A View of Devon writes (p.517) that 'Eugenius D'Aubernon held Daubernon, Drewsteignton in time of Hen.III [1216-1272], being descended from Drogo de Teign, sometime lord thereof' while Sir William Pole in his Collections records that 'anno 27 of Kinge Henry ye 3 [c1242] Eugenius Daubernon held the same [Tington Drew]'. Clearly, if the estate did pass out of Drogo's hands around this time, Drogo's son Richard would not have perpetuated Teign or Teignton as his surname and is more likely to have borne the name of his 'important' father, Drogo or Drew.
Although the connection between the Drews and Drogo de Teign has not been established with any certainty, his apparent importance is enough to suggest that he could have been the Drogo whose name and valour was being revered in the Drew coat of arms.
The Domesday Drews
Nothing further is known about Drogo de Teign or his forbears, however Burke refers to both Drogo de Teign and the Drew families of Sharpham and Drewscliffe as being descendants of Drew 'the second son of Walter de Ponz', who was a relative of William the Conqueror. Charles Worthy in Devonshire Wills supports this genealogy (pp441-2):
[Many Devonshire] manors ... were held in 1086 by "Drogo" under Geoffrey, Bishop of Coutance, and this "Drogo" was one of four brothers, said in the "Clifford Pedigree" published in Paris in 1817 to have been the sons of "William de Owe" (Comte D'Eu was an illegitimate son of Richard "Sans Peur" Duke of Normandy) who was really the ancestor of the Duttons.
Walter, Osbourne, Drogo (ancestor of Bembridge and Drewe) and Richard were sons of Mauger le Ponz (uncle of William the Conqueror) by his wife Basilia, nephew of Mauger, the ancestor of the Granvilles and youngest son of Richard "Le Bon" Duke of Normandy.
Worthy makes a number of references to Drogo, each containing slightly different information. He writes (p.189):
The said Drogo FitzMauger was son of Mauger, Earl of Arquois, son of Richard II and grandson of Richard I, Dukes of Normandy.
He also writes (p.411):
This "Drogo" was a son of Mauger le Ponz (Lysons, and others, call him son of "Walter De Ponz") who was the third son of Richard "le Bon" second Duke of Normandy, the Conqueror's grandfather.
These statements indicate that Worthy is suggesting that Drogo's father was Mauger le Ponz, Earl of Arquois, third son of Richard II, Duke of Normandy. However pedigrees produced in the late 20th century depicting the Conquerors' kin do not support Worthy's statements. According to pedigrees in The Queen's Lineage and in The Norman Conquest and Beyond, William the Conqueror's grandfather, Richard II Duke of Normandy had four sons, the third being William Count of Arques who died c1053, the fourth being Mauger, Archbishop of Rouen who died c1055. As no mention is made of any offspring born to these sons, the accuracy of Burke's and Worthy's statements regarding the early ancestry of the Drew family is clearly open to doubt.
Interestingly, pre-19th century historians also do not refer to Drogo and his siblings as relatives of William the Conqueror. Worthy comments elsewhere that "another son of Mauger, Richard Fitz-Ponz, was the ancestor of the noble house of Clifford". However of the Clifford ancestry, John Prince in The Worthies of Devon wrote in the 1690's:
Walter, who first took to him the name of Clifford, from the place of his residence, in the county of Hereford; where Simon Fitz-Richard, Fitz-Ponze, founded a priory of Cluniac monks, in the days of King Henry I ... was the son of Richard, the son of Ponce, or Ponsius, who came into England with William, surnamed the Conqueror.
Clearly Prince provides no information to suggest that Ponce or Ponsius was a relative of William the Conqueror and nor does William Dugdale in The Baronage of England (1675) who wrote of the Clifford family:
The first of this Antient and Noble Family, of whom I find mention, was called Ponce, who had issue three Sons, viz. Walter, Drogo (id est, Dru) and Richard. Of Walter and Drogo, the Conquerors Survey takes notice; and that Walter did then possess the Lordships of [named] in Co. Oxon. As also part of Lece in Co. Gloc. And that Drogo held [named] in Co. Wiltshire, ... Co. Gloc ... Co. Wigorn ... [and] Co. Hereford.
The Duchess of Cumberland in The Battle Abbey Roll with some account of the Norman Lineages (1889) provides further information about the ancestry of these brothers (Vol.III, p.12) under the heading "Pounce or De Pons; the ancestor of the Cliffords; from Pons in Saintonge". She refers to a publication called The Norman People, which under the heading "Clifford, or De Pons" records the following information (p.201):
About 920 Manno and Pontius, Barons or Princes of Pons in Saintonge, nobles of Gothic race, were benefactors to Savigny Abbey and in 1079 Pontius or Ponce, Prince of Pons, granted a church to the abbey of Cormeroy, in the presence of his sons Anselm, Garnier and Philip-Milo. From the first descended the Lords of Pons in Aquitaine, one of the most powerful families in France, who are frequently mentioned in history. Ponce had also other sons who went to England, of whom Drogo Fitz-Ponce and Walter Fitz-Ponce held important baronies in 1086. Their younger brothers were: 1. Richard Fitz-Ponce. 2. Osbert Fitz-Ponce, ancestor of the Veseys and Burghs ... Richard Fitz-Ponce witnessed ... a charter of Brecknock Priory c1120 and was ancestor of the De Cliffords, Earls of Cumberland, as is generally known.
It is obvious that none of these publications provide any support for the claim that the Clifford family and their relative, Drogo, were members of the family of William the Conqueror. However the crucial information disproving this connection comes from the introduction to The Norman People which, in a section headed "Inconsistency with history" (pp.59-60), states:
The descent of the family of Clifford, so conspicuous in English history, is traced with certainty to Richard Fitz-Ponce, who lived in the reign of the Conqueror; but peerage writers, unsatisfied with this ancestry, have exerted their ingenuity to make the pedigree terminate in a more brilliant apex. According to these, "Ponce", the father of Richard, was none other than "William, Earl of Arques and Toulouse" [meaning Talou], paternal uncle of the Conqueror, who, it is added, "came into England with his victorious nephew, Duke William".
Criticism here interposes the inconvenient question, How do we know that Ponce the father of Richard was the same person as William, Count of Arques? There is no reply except the statement of the peerage - no other authority in support of that statement is vouchsafed; nor is there any evidence that William Earl of Arques ever came to England, nor that he left any sons. What we do know is this - that he rebelled against Duke William and endeavoured to dethrone him - that he was compelled to fly from Normandy - that he spent the rest of his life supported by the bounty of the Count of Boulogne - and that King William on his death-bed spoke with anger of his hostile conduct. These are matters which are known to all students of the Norman historians, and especially of Ordericus Vitalis; and how, in the face of these well-known facts, it can be imagined that William of Arques and his sons were provided for in England by King William does indeed seem strange. There was a William of Arques whose family was seated in England; but this family had no connexion with the Count of Arques.
Clearly, neither the Cliffords nor their relative Drogo FitzPonce had any connection with the family of William the Conqueror, their ancestry lying with the Ponce family of Aquitaine. Moreover, additional research indicates that there is also no connection between the Ponce family and the man named Drogo who held estates in Devonshire at the time of Domesday Book.
In his pedigree of the Clifford family, Dugdale referred to Richard FitzPonce's brother Drogo as having lordships in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Wigorn and Herefordshire at the time of Domesday Book. A recent transcription of Domesday Book includes a personal names index which records that "Drogo son of Poyntz" held estates in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire, which agrees with Dugdale's pedigree. Yet the index provides no evidence of Drogo FitzPoyntz holding estates as far south as Devonshire. The Drogos recorded as holding manors in Devonshire at the time of Domesday Book were Drogo of Montacute, Drogo son of Mauger and Drogo.
In Domesday Book Drogo is recorded as holding "these 73 lands from the Bishop". In the "Notes", the following comment is made:
Drogo is probably Drogo son of Mauger ... Mauger may have been Mauger of Carteret ... Drogo was the Bishop of Coutances' chief subtenant in Devon holding all but 19 of his manors in Ch.3.
Support for the argument that Drogo was the son of Mauger of Carteret seems to be found in the notes for entry 3,80 which refer to Thelbridge in Witheridge Hundred which was held by Drogo as subtenant of the Bishop of Coutance. The notes add:
In the Tax Return of Witheridge Hundred (x) tax is owed on 1½ virgates held by Humphrey of Carteret from Drogo which would seem to correspond to the 1½ virgates of villagers' land (the tax paying part of the holding). Although the holder is Drogo himself in DB, this Tax Return entry must refer to Thelbridge since it is held in Fees p.773 by Simon de Chartray as Thelebrig' and Chatemere ...
Drogo's father Mauger of Carteret is recorded in Domesday Book as holding Donningstone from the Count, which had been held by Dunning before 1066.
Although Domesday Book records that a relatively important man named Drogo was holding land in Devonshire in 1086, it is impossible to say with any certainty that he was the progenitor of the Drews of Devonshire. He was living well before the surname period so his given name is unlikely to have been perpetuated as a hereditary surname by his grandchildren. Furthermore, Domesday Book records another Drogo holding land in Devonshire and Somerset at that time, Drogo de Montacute. If the surname Drew derived from a man who was living at the time of Domesday Book, this man is as likely to have been Drogo de Montacute as Drogo FitzMauger. Whoever was the progenitor of the Drews – Drogo de Teign, Drogo FitzMauger, Drogo de Montacute or some other Drogo – it can be stated with certainty that there is no known or even likely connection between the Drews and the family of William the Conqueror.
Drogo de Teign
[?] for that year record the answers of the jurors for the hundred of Wonford, in which Drewsteignton was situated (p.49, No. 269): 'Of defaults they say that ... Drogo de Teintone [and others] ... did not come on the first day, so they are in mercy'. The editor of the published version of this document has added:
Note: Lysons adds (p.243) that Drewe de Teignton possessed the manor in the reigns of Hen.II [1154-1189] and Ric.II [1189-1199] and adds that from this Drewe the manor passed to the Dabernons. Sir William Pole (p.244) notes that anno 27 Hen.III [c1242] Eugenius Dabernon was ye lord thereof. Westcote (p.429) adds that Drogo de Teign in the time of Richard I granted to Parasius Alrecheston one farthing of land in his lordship of Fursham; a hamlet in the same parish, bordering on the land of Water, son of Roger de la Furse: the witnesses were Philippus de Ackworth, William Talbot, William le Proux, Richard Coll, and William Crostub. Westcote also adds (p.517) that Eugenius D'Aubernon held Daubernon, Drewsteignton in time of Hen.III, being descended from Drogo de Teign, sometime lord thereof; he had issue John who held it anno 24 Edw.I [c1295].
See other refs to Drogo de Teign's land in Crown Pleas 1238.
An analysis of Burke's pedigree
As the pedigrees contained in Burke's publications were generally submitted by members of the respective families, it is unwise to assume any degree of accuracy without using other sources as verification. In verifying a pedigree it is necessary to go backwards through time, to determine the accuracy of the most recent generations before proceeding to the earlier generations. This method will be used below in analysing the Drew pedigree.
An examination of the Drew pedigree raises immediate doubts as to the accuracy of the information contained in its most recent generations, doubts which Charles Worthy, an eminent Devonshire historian of the 1800's, discussed in his Devonshire Wills (1896):
According to their pedigree in Burke's Landed Gentry, the Drews of Youghal, co. Cork, and of Drewsboro', co. Clare, claim to originate from "Drogo" through Drewe of Hayne, in right of descent from Francis, asserted to have been the "second son of John Drew of Hayne, etc., by Joan Williams of Ivesbridge." I have neither space nor inclination to notice, at any length, the very obvious errors and assumptions in the earlier portion of the genealogy I now quote, according to which this Francis "went to Ireland, a captain in the army of Queen Elizabeth, about the year 1598, was afterward of Kilwinny, co. Waterford, &c., married twice, and was the father of John Drew of Kilwinny, and of Barry Drew of Ballyduff, the ancestor of these Irish branches." It is sufficient to say that it was Joane, not "John Drew", who was the wife, not "husband" of John Williams of Trobridge, co. Devon, that the father of Francis, younger brother of Edward Drewe of Hayne, not "Richard" does not appear to have been the Francis, if he ever had any real existence, who settled in Ireland; at all events Francis Drew of Newton St Cyres, and the nephew, not "son" of Joan Williams, was buried there, as shewn by the parish register, 20th June 1605.
An examination of J.L. Vivian's The Visitations of the County of Devon (1895) clarifies Charles Worthy's comments. This publication uses as its base the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 and 1620 and adds authenticating information extracted from parish registers, Harleian manuscripts, inquests and so on. Two Drew families are included, namely Drewe of Hayne and Drewe.
In The Visitations the pedigree of the Drewes of Hayne commences with William Drewe of Drewscliffe who was probably born in the late 1300s and who married Joane Wofford (or Worsford). Their great-grandson Richard Drewe, who was probably born in the 1480s and who died in 1544 according to his inquisition post mortem, had a sister Joane who married John Williams of Trobridge; it was to this Drew/Williams marriage that Worthy was referring. Richard left a son and heir Edward (c1516-1580) and another son Francis who left no offspring and who was buried in 1605 at Newton St Cyres, as mentioned by Worthy. Richard's heir Edward had only the one son Edmond (born c1540) who himself had only one child, a daughter Mary who was baptised at Newton St Cyres in 1568. With Mary the pedigree of the Drewes of Hayne ends. [Include copy of Vivian's pedigree of Drewscliffe and Hayne here for purposes of clarity - not included]
This well-documented pedigree indicates that it is highly unlikely that Francis Drew, who Burke records as going to Ireland c1598, descends from the Drewes of Drewscliffe and Hayne. Clearly Charles Worthy was correct in questioning Francis' link with this family.
While Burke in his Landed Gentry referred to only one Drew family in Devonshire, Vivian in his Visitations includes a pedigree of a second Drewe family, that of the Drewes of Sharpham. Under the heading Drewe this family commences with William Drewe who was probably born in the early 1400s and who married Joane Prideaux of Orchardton; the property of Sharpham passed into the Drewe family through this marriage.
In recording this information the Visitations and Burke's Landed Gentry concur regarding the first generation of this Drewe family. However the next three generations differ, with Vivian recording that this couple left a third son William Drew of Kene in Devon who married Elinor and died in 1548. This William was recorded as having three sons, one being John Drewe of Grays Inn in Middlesex who was named in the inquest of his father. John Drewe left a son John Drew of St Lennard's in Devon who was heir to his father and grandfather and who died in 1574. The latter had married twice and had fathered ten children to his first marriage including a son Emanuall Drew of St Lennards who was over 50 years of age when his father died in 1574. To his second wife, Vivian records that John Drew of St Lennard's had a son Thomas Drew who married Elinor Huckmore and inherited Sharpham. [Include a copy of Vivian's Drewe pedigree - not included]
Primary source references, however, have been found which confirm that Burke's pedigree of the Drewes of Sharpham was predominantly correct, and that Vivian's pedigree of the family in his Visitations was predominantly incorrect. Vivian recorded that he used a series of documents known as Inquisitions post mortems (which provide details of the estates held by the deceased) in determining his pedigrees, however an examination of these Inquisitions indicates that these were used neither thoroughly nor accurately. The Inquisitions clearly record the descent of the Drewes of Sharpham from William Drewe (husband of Joan Prideaux) through five generations to Edward Drew of Sharpham. Furthermore they indicate that, except for the inclusion of one generation too many (the second generation, the information for which appears to have been extracted from Westcotes' A View of Devon - pub. 1630), Burke accurately recorded the names of the heirs of Sharpham and even accurately recorded the death year of William Drew (1532) and the birth year of his son Thomas (1519). Clearly Burke's information came from more reliable sources.
With the marriage of Thomas Drew (born 1519) and Elinor Huckmore, the pedigrees recorded in the Visitations and in Burke's Landed Gentry again converge. Burke records that Thomas Drew of Sharpham and (inaccurately) of Killerton was born in 1519 and had a son Edward who had a son Thomas who was married and starting a family by 1603; the Visitations records the same information with the omission of a birth-date for Thomas senior. As a generation is on average 30 years, it is possible to use these dates to determine the likelihood of their accuracy. If Thomas was born in 1519 and his son Edward was born c1540s and Edward's son Thomas was born c1570s this generational span tallies with the latter's marriage date of 1600-1602 producing an average of 27.7 years between each generation. This generational analysis indicates that the pedigree is likely to be accurate.
Burke records that Thomas Drew and his wife Eleonor Huckmore had two sons, namely Edward of Sharpham and Killerton, and Richard (who Burke says inherited Drewscliffe and Hayne which is obviously incorrect). The Visitations records that Thomas and Eleanor had five sons, Edward of Sharpham, Richard, William, John and Robert. Eleanor's will names the following children: Roger, Mary, William, Robert, Richard, Judith and Anne; her eldest son Edward was obviously omitted as he had died the previous year. Interestingly, her will does not name a son John, yet one of her bondmen was John Drew of Silverton and the inventory was made by John Drewe, gent. and another. It seems likely that this John was a brother-in-law or nephew although it is possible that he was another son.
Numerous references suggest that Thomas and Eleanor's son Edward was born in the early 1540s (perhaps 1542?), indicating that their other children were probably born later in the 1540s or in the 1550s. This suggests that their son Richard, from whom the Drews of Youghal are supposed to have descended, was born in the early-mid 1550s.
Although confirming that Thomas and Eleanor had a son named Richard, the Visitations records no further information for this man. However Burke's Landed Gentry records that Richard had a son named John Drew who married Joan Williams of Ivesbridge and fathered two sons. One was named Richard and is recorded as inheriting Drewscliffe and Hayne, which is clearly incorrect; if this son did exist no further information has been located for him to date. The other was named Francis and was recorded as going to Ireland c1598. However as John's father Richard was probably born in the 1550s this suggests that John himself was probably born in the 1570's or 1580's and that John's son Francis was unlikely to have been born much before the year 1600. As Francis obviously could not have been a captain in Queen Elizabeth's army around the time of his own birth this again raises doubts as to the accuracy of Burke's information.
These doubts have been confirmed by a will located for Francis Drew's father in the records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. In the early 1620/30's Francis Drew had an estate in Kilwinny in the parish of Tallow in County Waterford. In February 1607/8 Robert Drew "of Kilwinnye within the parish of Tallowe" signed a will in which he named his wife Joan, sons Robert, John and Francis and two daughters. Clearly this was the will of "Captain Francis Drew's" father and clearly it was Robert and not Francis who was the Drew who "came to Ireland" in the 1590s or early 1600s.
Deeds indicate that Robert's youngest son Francis was probably born in the mid-late 1590's suggesting that Robert himself was probably married in the 1580's and born in the 1550's or 1560's. As such Robert would have been of a suitable age to have been the son of Thomas Drew and Eleanor Huckmore noted in Eleanor's will. However information contained in Robert's will indicates that a connection with the Drews of Sharpham is highly unlikely.
Robert's will was lodged with the PCC records because he also held land in England. The will refers to the disposal of his land in County Somerset and names as overseers of his will, "William Drewe of Weiford within the parish of Crewckherne in the county of Somerset and William Drewe of Shepton Beauchamp within the county aforesaid". Both men were described as "agricola", that is, husbandmen or farmers. An Anthony Drewe acted as a witness to Robert's will.
Although Thomas Drew and Eleanor Huckmore had a son Robert who was probably born around the time that Robert Drew of Kilwinny was born, the latter Robert appears to have been socially 'inferior' to the Sharpham Drews as his relatives were husbandmen. Furthermore his land lay in the County of Somerset, not in Devonshire. As such it appears highly unlikely that a connection exists between Robert Drew of Kilwinny and the Sharpham Drews.
Prior to the discovery of the will of Robert Drew of Kilwinny, extensive research was undertaken into the Devonshire Drews. These are the results of this research. The research was suspended when Robert's will was discovered and it is likely that more information can be discovered and more accurate conclusions reached.
 Will of Robert Drew (1607) of Kilwinnye within the parish of Tallowe (PCC Records).
 Lismore Papers MS 6140 folio 323.
 Lismore Papers MS 6140 folio 324.
 Edward Drewe's death was incorrectly recorded by Burke as 1622.
 William's son was recorded as "Henry Drew of Sharpeham" in 1487 when he gave an oath in the Inq.p.m. John Gibbys Esq. (1487).
 Inquisition post mortem for Joan Drewe, widow [24 Henry VII (1508) Chancery Inq.p.m. Ser.II. Vol. 22 (63).]
 J.L. Vivian's Visitations of the County of Devon records that William Drew and Joan (Prideaux) had a son William Drewe of Kene in Devon (died 1516, Inq.p.m. 1548), father of John Drewe of Gray's Inn, who had John Drew of St Leonard's, Devon (died 1574) who was the father of Emanuel Drew (c1523-1582) &c. John Tuckett's Devonshire Pedigrees records a similar pedigree. Vivian does note that the pedigree in the Visitation of 1620 signed by descendants of this family actually commenced with John Drew of St Leonard's (died 1574) indicating that the earlier connections were "determined" from other sources. Numerous errors have been found in the other relationships "determined" by Vivian and in fact the accuracy of the connection between this family and that of William Drew and Joan (Prideaux) is also open to doubt. The Inq.p.m. of William Drew of Brugh (not Kene) in 1516 records that on 8 June 1516[?] William granted Brugh to his grandson, John Drew (son of John Drew), and in default of issue the property was to pass through a couple of other family members then to "the heirs of Thomas Drewe, brother of the said William; [then] to Henry another brother and his heirs ..." William died on 22 June 1516 suggesting that this charter was made shortly before his death although it must be noted that the transcriber placed a question mark next to the year of the charter indicating that the writing was not clear. William's charter indicates that his brother Thomas was already dead at that time as he refers only to the "heirs of Thomas Drew". However his reference to his brother Henry suggests that Henry was still alive at that time. If William's brother Henry was still alive in June 1516, this could not be a reference to Henry Drewe of Sharpham who had died in January 1515/6. Further information would need to be found to substantiate a connection between William Drewe of Brugh and the Drewes of Sharpham.
 Henry was possibly born earlier than as his age was recorded as 60 at the time of the Inq.p.m. in 1508 according to the typescript whereas the originals often recorded ages as "aged 60 or above". This could also have been his age at the time of his mother's death in 1504 so the best guess is sometime in the 1440's.
 William was recorded as aged 26 at the time of his father's death and Inq.p.m. in 1516.
 Thomas was recorded as aged 13 at the time of his father's death and Inq.p.m. in 1532.
 Thomas Drewe of Sharpeham, esq. gave an oath at Inq.p.m. of Stephen Shynner [Inq.p.m. Ser.II Vol.138 (18)].
 Numerous references state that Edward Drewe sold Sharpham to Edward Gyles' father John Gyles however Edward's will said that he was in the process of selling it to Edward Gyles unless he was unable to provide the funds and his father came through. Sir Edward Gyles of Bowden married in 1588 Mary (1568-1643), dau. & heir of Edward Drew of Drewscliff and Hayne and his wife Elizabeth (dau. of William Gibbs of Fenton), according to pedigrees of the Drewscliff family. Edward Gyles was knighted in 1603. Mary Drewe had previously been married to Walter Northcott (1566-1587). Charles Worthy in Devonshire Parishes, Vol.I, p.310 records that Edward Drewe sold Sharpham to John Giles of Bowden. Same in Kelly's Directory of Devonshire 1923, p.36-7. Sir William Pole p.292 says that Edward Drewe Esq. contracted with John Gyles of Bowdon for the sale of Sharpham while his son Sir Thomas Drewe perfected the same and it is now the land of Sir Edward Giles son of the said John.
 Tuckett & Vivian - unconfirmed.
 See Richard Drewe 
 Will of William Gibbes of Fenton in Dartington Psh proved November 1580 [Worthy?]
 Further details of this family are recorded in recorded in Part B below.
 Centuries ago, particularly in the 1500's, families often gave multiple children the same given name to ensure that the heir carried an important family given name.
 Quoted by Prince in Worthies of Devon above.
 Interestingly enough, these references to Drewscliffe and Hayne were omitted in the 1862 edition.
 This information is found in the pedigree of Williams of Stowford, which was taken at the Herald's Visitation in 1620, and authorised by the Williams family. The pedigree of the Drews of Hayne contains a reference to a Joane Drew (daughter of Richard) who married John Drew of Stowford/Ivybridge however Vivian's source referencing indicates that Joane was not listed on the pedigree of the Drews of Hayne taken by the Heralds in 1564 and was added by Vivian from other sources. Dates indicate that the Williams pedigree is more likely to be correct in its reference to this Drew/Williams marriage.
 The accuracy of the date-fix "c1300" has not been established.
 He reigned 1154-1189AD.