Eggesford ( /ˈɛɡɪsfərd/ ) is a parish in mid-Devon, without its own substantial village. It is served by Eggesford railway station on the Exeter to Barnstaple railway line, also known as the Tarka Line.
The manor of Eggesford is not recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. In 1233 it was held by Sir John de Reigny, whose family, nearly all the male heirs of which were called John or Richard, remained in possession for many generations. In the 15th century Ibota, the widow of John Reigny, built an almshouse within the parish, which was valued in 1547 at £4 10s 6d per annum. No trace of the building remains and its location is unknown.
In the 16th century the male line of Reigny died out, and Anne Reigny (daughter and sole-heiress of Richard Reigny) brought the manor to the family of her husband, Charles Copleston of Bicton.  Their son was John I Copleston (died 1586), who is recorded as patron of the church in 1571. As a mural tablet in Eggesford Church records, his son John II Copleston (died 1606),  who witnessed a land settlement at Winkleigh in 1589, married Dorothy Beeston (died 1601), the daughter of Sir George Beeston (c. 1520 – 1601) of Beeston House near Bunbury, Crewe, Cheshire, who acquired Beeston Castle from the Crown shortly before his death. He was a naval captain who commanded HMS Dreadnought against the Spanish Armada in 1588, and was knighted at sea on board the Ark Royal by Lord Howard of Effingham the Lord High Admiral. He served as MP for Cheshire in 1589. His wife, and Dorothy's mother, was Alice Davenport (died 1591), daughter of Thomas Davenport Esq., of Henbury. Sir George's effigy and elaborate monument exists against the north wall of the sanctuary in St Boniface's Church, Bunbury.  The tablet in Eggesford Church is inscribed as follows:
"Here lyeth buried ye bodies of John Copleston Esq., & Dorothie his wife daughter to Sr. George Biston of Biston Castel in Chelshere, knight. They had issue Anne their sole daught. & heire who is now maryed to Edwarde Chichester Esq., one of ye sonnes of Sr. John Chichester of Rawleigh, knight, in whose memory the said Edwarde Chichester their son in law hath erected this monument in ye yere 1614. She departed ye 22 of July in ye yere 1601 he departed ye 11 of ... in ye yere 1606, living together 30 yeres in much peace w.th God & lovinge societie e.ch w.th other".
Anne Copleston (1588–1616), the heiress of Eggesford, married in 1605 Edward Chichester (1568–1648), later created Baron Chichester of Belfast and Viscount Chichester of Carickfergus. He was the second son  of Sir John Chichester (died 1569), of Raleigh, in the parish of Pilton, about 3/4 mile NE of the centre of Barnstaple, Devon,  by his wife Gertrude Courtenay (1521–1566), a daughter (by his 2nd marriage) of Sir William III Courtenay (1477–1535) "The Great",  of Powderham, MP for Devon 1529, Sheriff of Devon 1522, 1525-6, 1533-4 and Esquire of the Body to King Henry VIII,  a distant cousin of the Earl of Devon.  [ unreliable source ] He was thus the younger brother of Arthur Chichester, Baron Chichester (1563-1624/5). Anne Copleston died in 1616 aged only 28, having produced at least three sons to continue the Chichester line. Edward married secondly Mary Denham, which marriage is recorded by a date-stone now set in the wall of Eggesford Barton inscribed "E.C.M. 1626". This may be the date on which Edward Chichester completed his rebuilding of the former mediaeval Eggesford House, which is evidenced by William Pole (died 1635) in his "Description of Devon" thus: "Edward Vi.cont Chichester of Cairfus which hath builded a fayre howse dwelleth nowe at Eggesford". Tristram Risdon's 1620 "Survey of Devonshire" furthermore records regarding Eggesford that Edward Lord Chichester "hath made a dainty dwelling thereof". During the Civil War Lord Chichester allowed this house to become a garrison for royalist troops, under the command of Lord Goring, whose HQ was at Tiverton. It was stormed on 18 December 1645 by the Roundhead Colonel John Okey with a regiment of Dragoons, as part of the final push by the parliamentary troops northwards from Exeter to their final victory at the Battle of Torrington in February 1646. About twelve prisoners were captured and taken back top Okey's base at Fulford House near Dunsford. No trace of this Chichester house remains but it is believed to have stood on a level site some 50 yards to the NW of the parish church, and was later rebuilt on the same site in 1718 by William Fellowes, whose building was demolished in 1824, leaving only a level area in the large field which exists there today. Edward and Anne's eldest son and heir was Arthur Chichester, 1st Earl of Donegall (1606–1674/5), who erected a very elaborate alabaster monument to his first two wives in Eggesford Church. Although he produced six sons by his second wife Mary Digby (1612–1648), daughter of John Digby, 1st Earl of Bristol, it was his daughter Mary by his first wife Dorcas Hill (died 1630), a daughter of John Hill of Honiley, Warwickshire, who inherited Eggesford. This seemingly arose through the terms of a marriage settlement, not preserved in the records, in which John Hill insisted the manor should descend to the children, male or female, of his daughter and son-in-law. Such terms in marriage settlements were not unusual.  Thus were the sons of the Earl excluded from this part of the Chichester lands.
Lady Mary Chichester married in 1655 as his first wife John St Ledger (died 1696) of Doneraile, County Cork, Ireland. He was the son of Sir William St Ledger (died 1642), Lord President of Munster in 1627, MP for County Cork in 1639 and Privy Counsellor, by his wife Gertrude de Vries. Their eldest son was Arthur St Ledger, 1st Viscount Doneraile, MP for Doneraile 1692-3, Privy Counsellor and raised to the Irish peerage in 1703. He married in 1690 Elizabeth Hayes, daughter of John Hayes and had issue.[ citation needed ] He appears to have had little interest in his Devon manor of Eggesford and sold it in 1718  to William Fellowes.
William Fellowes (1660–1724) purchased the manor of Eggesford in 1718 and immediately rebuilt the Chichester house of c. 1620 in early Palladian style, using red bricks.  He had trained as a lawyer at Lincoln's Inn and rose to the position of Senior Master in Chancery. He was the son of William Fellowes by his wife, whom he married in 1653, Susannah Coulson, daughter of William Coulson (died 1664) of London and Greenwich, Kent, by Ann Rhode, daughter of Thomas Rhode, Citizen and Draper of London. Thomas Rhode's father was a minor gentleman who held property in Ayton Magna, Yorkshire and in South Mimms, Middlesex. Susannah Coulson was the sister and heir of Thomas Coulson (died 1713), MP for Totnes on three occasions, 1692–95, 1698–1708 and 1710–1713 and a director of the East India Company. Coulson was buried in the Fellowes family vault in the church of St Michael Royal, City of London.  William Fellowes had an elder brother who also died in 1724, Sir John Fellowes, 1st Baronet (died 1724) Deputy Governor of the South Sea Company, created a baronet in 1719. He died without children when the baronetcy became extinct. William Fellowes (died 1724) married in 1695 Mary Martyn, daughter and heiress of Joseph Martyn (died 1718) of St Mary-at-Hill parish in the City of London by his wife Mary. A fine neo-classical mural monument to Joseph Martyn with Latin inscription exists in St Mary-at-Hill Church.  William Fellowes was therefore many times an heir, to his brother, indirectly to Thomas Coulson and to his father-in-law Joseph Martyn, whose will stipulated that his daughter should invest £60,000 in landholdings in Devon.  The following deeds are held by Norfolk Record Office: 
"Deeds re £30,000 for purchase of estate for William Fellowes, his son-in-law, left by will of Joseph Martyn 1715; manors of Eggesford, Chawley, Borriston, Cheldon, Cudlip, East Warlington, Witheridge, Drayton; hundred of Witheridge; capital messuage called Eggesford, and farm and advowson, Devon, and manor of Mountsey and estates, Somerset, Lord Doneralle to William Fellowes 1718".
William Fellowes died on 19 January 1723 and was buried at Eggesford. His heir erected a very impressive neo-classical monument to his memory, which necessitated an eastward expansion of the north aisle of the church, and the creation of an extra window for lighting. The monument fills the entire eastern wall, and seems intended to have held an urn, now missing. He clearly became very fond of his new manor of Eggesford, as the Latin inscription on his monument makes clear:
"M(emoriae) S(acrum) Gulielmi Fellowes Arm(ige)ri almae curiae cancellariae Magistri quo officio tenente summa legis et aequitatis cura decessit 19.mo (undevicensimo) Jan(uar)ii 1723 aeta(tis) 64. Mariam Josephi Martyn de London mercatoris viri integritate insignis filiam et haeredem duxit; liberos quinqe ex ea genitos viz (videlicet) tres filios et duas filias reliquit. Familiam diu hic permanere cupiens ossa sua hoc in loco deponi voluit".
Which may be translated into English as:
"Sacred to the memory of William Fellowes, Esquire, Master of the Court of Chancery in holding which office in the highest care of law and equity he departed on the 19th of January 1723 of his age 64. He married Mary the daughter and heir of Joseph Martyn of London, merchant, a man outstanding in integrity; he left five children born from her namely three sons and two daughters. Desiring his family long to remain here he wished his bones to be deposited in this place".
The monument is said to have been made in Italy and originally included four kneeling figures at the base. At the top in a heraldic escutcheon are the arms of Fellowes quartered with the arms of Martyn, his wife's family, Argent, a pair of dolphins hauriant proper . 
William Fellowes left at least two sons, William the younger, of Shotesham Park, Norfolk, who established that branch of the family, and the eldest, Coulson Fellowes (1696–1769) who in 1725 married Urania Herbert, daughter of Francis Herbert of Oakley Park, Shropshire and sister of Henry Herbert, 1st Earl of Powis (1703–1772). The marriage settlement dated 1725 required him to transfer to trustees in tail male the following lands: 
"Manors of Eggesford, Chawley also Chawleigh, Borrington also Burrington, Cheldon Cudlip East Worlington Witherigges also Witheridge and Drayford, the Hundred of Witherigges, the capital messuage called Eggesford in Eggesford parish and Chawley, other lands in parish of Eggesford, Wembworthy, Chawley, Borrington, Winkley Rings Ash Dowland Rose Ash Crediton, South Tawton, Great Torrington, Cholmley Cheldon Cudlip East Worlington Witheridges and Drayford, parts of the Manor, borough, hundred, rights and lands of Northtawton, the Manor, borough, hundred, rights and lands of Brampton (sic, Bampton), the Manor of Hollacomb Parramore in p. of Wynkley, lands in Winkley and Winkley Town, messuages in Goldsmith Street and Keylane by Key Gate, Exeter, parts of messuages in Moreton Hamstead and Chagford and the advowsons of the churches of Eggesford, Chawley, Cheldon, and East Worlington, Devon, and the Manor of Mountsey also Mounyseaux and lands in Mounseaux and Dullverton, Somerset".
In 1737 Coulson acquired Ramsey Abbey and Abbots Ripton  near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire and was MP for Huntingdonshire from 1741 to 1761.  When in London he lived at St James's and at Hampstead, as mentioned in his will. He had two sons and three daughters:
He had earlier settled all his lands on his eldest son William, but in his will dated 1766 (two years before his son William's marriage) he bequeathed these lands in Devon, Somerset, Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire to his second son Henry should William die childless. The opposite was the case, as William had children and Henry died childless. However, by some unknown means Henry by the time of his death in 1792 had obtained the manor of Eggesford from his elder brother.
By his will  Henry Fellowes appointed as his heir, on condition he should adopt the name and arms of Fellowes,  his nephew Newton Wallop (1772–1854), his sister's second son. Newton's elder brother John Wallop (1767–1853) was destined to become the 3rd Earl of Portsmouth and to inherit the extensive family estates in Hampshire; he was also known to have been insane even from childhood. Henry Fellowes clearly did not wish the Eggesford estate to be merged with the Portsmouth estates, nor for the Fellowes name and arms to be lost. Newton Wallop thus appeared an ideal heir, having no family inheritance of his own. The inheritance was not without legal dispute, as the following record in Cambridgeshire County Record Office, Huntingdon reveals: 
"Papers relating to the Case in Chancery brought by Hon. Newton Wallop and Hon. Coulson Wallop, infants,  represented by John, Earl of Portsmouth, their father and next friend, and Robert Fellowes of Shottisham, Norfolk, Esq., devisees named in the last Will of Henry Arthur Fellowes, late of Eggesford, Devon, and Hill Street nr. Berkeley Square, Middlesex, Esq., deceased, against William Fellowes his brother and heir at law. The dispute arises over the will of the late H.A.Fellowes. The question is whether, because H.A.Fellowes was duped into leaving his lands in Devon, Somerset, Essex and Middlesex and some money to his supposed, but actually non-existent, children by Mrs Martha Brown, the rest of the will is valid. If the rest is valid, his nephew, Newton Wallop, will inherit: if not valid, his brother William Fellowes, will inherit as heir at law".
William Fellowes had alleged that his sister Mary had influenced both his father and his brother to make wills which were not in his favour. The will was deemed valid, and the unfortunate Mrs Brown was imprisoned in the Fleet, from where she made a plea for financial assistance to fight the case and secure her legacy and annuity.  Affidavits had been lodged in court testifying that she was already married, presumably to Mr Brown, and also to her bad character and the fact that she had not been pregnant over the past 12 or so years.  Newton Wallop was deemed the legal heir under the will and thus inherited Eggesford and by royal licence in 1794 duly adopted for himself and his issue the name and arms of Fellowes.  Fellowes' second wife Lady Catharine Fortescue, a daughter of Hugh Fortescue, 1st Earl Fortescue (1753–1841) of Castle Hill, Filleigh appears to have been the driving force behind the demolition of the old Eggesford House located immediately to the west of the parish church, and the building of the new Eggesford House, about a mile further east on the brow of a hill, the site of Heywood House in the parish of Wembworthy, ancient seat of the Speke family,  which was demolished as part of the scheme. Catharine had at first planned merely to enlarge and remodel the old house, and had drawings prepared by her father's architect Thomas Lee (died 1834) of Barnstaple.
The Devon topographer Rev. John Swete visited Eggesford House in 1797 and wrote in his journal as follows: 
"I went to reconnoitre the beauties of Eggesford, the seat of the Hon.ble Mr Fellowes, I was first conducted to a range of cottages which the maternal uncle of the present possessor had erected for some poor families: they consisted of three double houses with a narrow alley between each and a long strip of garden. These were severally let for £2 pr. an. to six families of the parish and though they were cheap in the rent I could not allow that for cottages the situation, which was on the top of a high hill, was judiciously chosen, nor the plan an appropriate one". From that criticism followed another, this time of the mansion house itself, the position of which he describes "On the left stood the house and almost contiguous to it behind was seen the top of the church tower". This is useful evidence in locating the old house next to the church. He praises the setting, but remarks "The detraction, which appeared glaringin my eye, was the red colour: brick houses are always offensive when situate among fields and woods, they should be ever in populous cities pent; the picturesque tint is a sober grey, or a soften'd ruddy brown; it should be in short of, or like, the Portland stone, a modest tint of this cast, when beheld in the bosom of weoods, or relieved by large spreading trees, had the finest possible effect, and was Eggesford mine I would either stucco it or case it with the patent tile, imitative of the Portland hue"...
John Christie, the founder of Glyndebourne Opera Festival, was born here in 1882. Three years later, Thomas Hardy came to Eggesford, and left a description in one of his letters to his wife, dated 13 March 1885:
My Dearest Em
I arrived at Eggesford Station a little after 4, and found there Lord Portsmouth's brougham waiting to take me up to the house, so there was no trouble at all. The scenery here is lovely and the house very handsome, which is on a hill in the park. I have had tea with Lady Portsmouth and the ladies-the only members of the family at home-Lord Portsmouth not having returned from the hunting yet (6 p.m.). The young ladies are very attractive, and interested in what I tell them-Lady Portsmouth charges them to take care of me-and goes away to her parish people, etc. altogether a delightful household. There are ladies here too, visiting, but of course I have only had a glimpse as yet. They sympathize with you - and Lady Portsmouth says you MUST come when you are well. I am now in the library writing this. I should say that a married daughter, Lady Rosamond Christie, I think she is, who is here, strikes me as a particularlarly sensible woman. If Lady Portsmouth's orders are to be carried out my room will be like a furnace - she is so particularly anxious that I should not take cold, etc. The drawing room is lined with oak panels from a monastery. When I arrived the schoolchildren were practisising singing in the hall, for Sunday in Church
- In haste (as you will believe)
- yours ever
There are several memorial monuments in the church, including two particularly fine ones of the Chichester family which include very high quality alabaster effigies, namely monuments to:
Arthur Chichester, 1st Earl of Donegall, was an Anglo-Irish peer and soldier.
Edward Chichester, 1st Viscount Chichester of Eggesford in Devon, was Governor of Carrickfergus and Lord High Admiral of Lough Neagh, in Ireland.
Tamerton Foliot is a village and former civil parish situated in the north of Plymouth, in the Plymouth district, in the ceremonial county of Devon, England. It also lends its name to the ecclesiastical parish of the same name.
Hugh Fortescue, 1st Earl Fortescue was a British peer, created Earl Fortescue in 1789.
Arlington was a manor, and is a village and civil parish in the North Devon district of Devon in England. The parish includes the villages of Arlington and Arlington Beccott. The population of the parish is 98.
Newton Fellowes, 4th Earl of Portsmouth was an English politician, styled Hon. Newton Wallop until 1794 and Hon. Newton Fellowes from 1794 to 1853. He was Member of Parliament (MP) for Andover from 1802 to 1820, and MP for North Devon from 1832 to 1837.
Bowden is a historic estate in the parish of Yealmpton in Devon, England. From the 15th century until 1748 the manor house was for eight generations the seat of a junior branch of the Copleston family of Copplestone. The manor house was largely rebuilt in the 19th century and, together with some of its outbuildings, now serves as a farmhouse.
Tapeley is a historic estate in the parish of Westleigh in North Devon, England.
John Bluett of Holcombe Court, lord of the manor of Holcombe Rogus in Devon, was MP for Tiverton from 1628 to 1629 when King Charles I embarked on his Personal Rule without parliament for eleven years.
Sir John Chichester (1519/20-1569) of Raleigh in the parish of Pilton, near Barnstaple in North Devon, was a leading member of the Devonshire gentry, a naval captain, and ardent Protestant who served as Sheriff of Devon in 1550-1551, and as Knight of the Shire for Devon in 1547, April 1554, and 1563, and as Member of Parliament for Barnstaple in 1559, over which borough his lordship of the manor of Raleigh, Pilton had considerable influence.
The historic manor of Raleigh, near Barnstaple and in the parish of Pilton, North Devon, England, was the first recorded home in the 14th century of the influential Chichester family of Devon. It was recorded in the Doomsday Book of 1086 together with three other manors that lay within the later-created parish of Pilton. The manor lies above the River Yeo on the southern slope of the hill on top of which stand the ruins of the Anglo-Saxon hillfort called Roborough Castle. Part of the historic manor of Raleigh is now the site of the North Devon District Hospital.
Hall is a large estate within the parish and former manor of Bishop's Tawton, Devon. It was for several centuries the seat of a younger branch of the prominent and ancient North Devon family of Chichester of Raleigh, near Barnstaple. The mansion house is situated about 2 miles south-east of the village of Bishop's Tawton and 4 miles south-east of Barnstaple, and sits on a south facing slope of the valley of the River Taw, overlooking the river towards the village of Atherington. The house and about 2,500 acres of surrounding land continues today to be owned and occupied by descendants, via a female line, of the Chichester family. The present Grade II* listed neo-Jacobean house was built by Robert Chichester between 1844 and 1847 and replaced an earlier building. Near the house to the south at the crossroads of Herner the Chichester family erected in the 1880s a private chapel of ease which contains mediaeval woodwork saved from the demolished Old Guildhall in Barnstaple.
The feudal barony of Bampton was one of eight feudal baronies in Devonshire which existed during the mediaeval era, and had its caput at Bampton Castle within the manor of Bampton.
Sir William Wrey, 1st Baronet of Trebeigh, St Ive, Cornwall and North Russell, Sourton, Devon, was High Sheriff of Cornwall in 1598 and was created a baronet by King Charles I in 1628.
The Manor of Poltimore is a former manor in Devon, England. The manor house known as Poltimore House survives in its 18th-century remodelled form, but has been dilapidated for several decades. A charity named the "Poltimore House Trust" has been established for the purpose of its restoration. The manor was situated within the historic Wonford Hundred and was largely coterminous with the parish of Poltimore and contained the village of Poltimore, 4 miles (6.4 km) north-east of the historic centre of the City of Exeter. It should not be confused with the eponymous Devon estate of Poltimore in the parish of Farway, 16 miles (26 km) east of Exeter. Poltimore was the principal seat of the Bampfylde family from c. 1300 to 1920.
Warleigh is an historic estate within the parish of Bickleigh in Devon, about 6 miles from Plymouth. Warleigh House, the manor house of the manor of Tamerton Foliot is situated one mile west of that village on the south-east bank of the River Tavy where it joins the River Tamar. It was remodelled in about 1830 in the Gothic style by John Foulston and has been listed Grade II* on the National Heritage List for England since 1960.
Sir Chichester Wrey, 3rd Baronet (1628–1668) of Trebeigh in the parish of St Ive, Cornwall and of North Russell in the parish of Sourton, Devon, was an active Royalist during the Civil War and was Colonel of the Duke of York's Regiment and served as Governor of Sheerness.
The Manor of Bicton is an historic manor in the parish of Bicton in east Devon, England.
Sir John Chichester lord of the manor of Raleigh in the parish of Pilton, near Barnstaple, North Devon, was Sheriff of Devon in 1576/7 and/or in 1585 and died of gaol fever contracted whilst acting as a magistrate at the Lent Black Assizes of Exeter in 1586.
Sir Robert Chichester (1578–1627), (KB), lord of the manor of Raleigh in the parish of Pilton in Devon, was Custos Rotulorum and Deputy Lieutenant of Devon.
Coordinates: 50°53′08″N3°52′23″W / 50.88556°N 3.87306°W