Catalogue description CALMADY MANUSCRIPTS

This record is held by Plymouth and West Devon Record Office

Details of 372
Reference: 372

The collection consists of approximately 1700 items, mainly deeds of property.

Date: 1220-1876

These have been classified by parishes and include many scattered properties chiefly in Wembury, Bridestowe, Sourton, Bratton Clovelly, Sampford Spiney, Broadworthy, Pancrasweek, Lydford and Lamerton in the county of Devon, also in the Borough of Plymouth, and other lands in the parishes of Poundstock, Langallos, Pelynt and Egloshayle, all in Cornwall.

Related material:

The main accumulation of material resulted from the business enterprise of Vincent Calmady, the purchaser of Langdon, followed by a series of profitable marriage alliances. This has been indicated in some of the marriage settlements and probate documents in the present collection, but these are insufficient to present the whole story. PWDRO accession 1221 comprises further Calmady papers. Further information may also be obtained from the Calmady-Hamlyn documents held at Devon Record Office, Castle Street, Exeter.

Held by: Plymouth and West Devon Record Office, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Calmady family of Langdon, Devon

Physical description: 1808 files
Administrative / biographical background:

The Calmadys first appear on the record at CALMADY in the parish of Poundstock, Cornwall. A Calmady living in 1337 is said to have married one of the Ermington Strodes.


Calmady tenement belonged to the Manor of Penfound. This property may once have belonged to the Manor of Newnham in free alms.


The Penfound connection appears in the Arbitration Award of 1521. Parties to the dispute were Thomas Penfound and John Calmady, gent. It is interesting to note that the chief arbitrator was one 'Roger Greynfyld', father of Sir Richard Grenville of the Azores. This is a reminder of the closeness of Poundstock to the Grenville country in NE Cornwall. In a matter of encroachment the award was in favour of the Penfounds and it was stipulated that John Calmady owed manorial dues to the Manor Court of Penfound.


In 1588 John Penfound, esq, received the homage of Richard Calmady, whose father John Calmady had formerly held Calmady Tenement.


There are two other documents of the period showing that Richard and Vincent, younger brothers of John, had bought from William Penfound the wardship in marriage of young Richard at Calmady and of Stephen another son of the late John.


The Calmadys first emerge from obscurity in the person of Vincent Calmady who negotiated the purchase of Langdon in 1564. He is described as an attorney at law and may have been agent for several landed properties. He was the third son of the John Camady of Calmady who married Frances Vincent.


There were five sons of this marriage :-


1. John Calmady of Poundstock, the one cited above:


2. Richard, of Farwood, M.P. for Plympton in the first parliament of Philip and Mary, 1554 - he married Thomasine Cole of Slade in Cornwall, but died in 1587, without issue male (6 daughters);


3. Vincent:


4. Andrew Calmady of Lew Trenchard - died unmarried:


5. Edward Calmady who died young, 1555. He is said to have married the daughter of Strode at Meavy, but her name does not show on any of the Strode pedigree lists.


Vincent is usually described as of Plympton Mary, gentleman. For some years he was resident at Boringdon when it belonged to the Mayhews of Tavistock and he was evidently estate agent during Jeremy Mayhew's minority. He also managd to acquire for himself portions of Manor land in Boringdon which had earlier belonged to the Bawdens of Colebrook.


He was still resident in Plympton St. Mary in 1565 when his first son Josias was baptised at St. Mary's Church. There is a contemporary copy of the baptismal certificate in the present collection. After 1565 it becomes difficult to pin Vincent down to any special address. He is usually called Vincent Calmady of Wembury, but in a deed of 1577 he is called Vincent Calmady of Lew Trenchard. There does not seem to be any evidence that he ever made Langdon Court his residence. On the contrary there is a deed of 1578 (the year before he died) showing he had been licensed by the Queen to gather up building material, stone and timber, from the ruinous houses of the dissolved Priory of Plympton. It is quite likely that he was using this material for building work at Langdon. (Champernowne Mss. Exeter City Library).


The Langdon conveyance dated 4 July 1564 is an impressive document showing how far the Calmady brothers had advanced in so short a time.


The Queen granted to the brothers Richard and Vincent Calmady her Manor of Langdon and a long list of other properties in sundry counties. By quitclaim of 13 February 1578/9 Richard disclaimed his moiety in the Lordship and Manor of Langdon entirely to his brother Vincent. In return Vincent may have quitclaimed other properties to Richard but there is no evidence of any such transaction.


This was Vincent Calmady's great buying period. He secured the rectorial tithes of Wembury, 1567, a large share in the Manor of Down Thomas, two-thirds of Brixton Manor and (later to prove highly profitable) the wardship of Katherine Courtenay, sister and next heir of Peter Courtenay, deceased (9th November 1577).


Vincent Calmady died in 1579 leaving sons Josias, Thomas and John of his first marriage and two others of his second marriage.


At the time of his father's death Josias was a minor, aged 14. In due course he succeeded to the main estate of his father, lands in Lew Trenchard from his uncle Andrew, who died childless, and further considerable estates at the death of his uncle Richard. His estate was even more strongly fortified by his marriage to Katherine daughter and coheir of Edward Courtenay, of Ugbrooke, deceased. The heiress brought into her marrige the lands of the Shilston family in Bratton, Thrushelton, Sydenham and South Tawton.


Katherine who died in 1605 or thereabouts passed on to Shilston Calmady her eldest son's properties in Hutesleigh, Bridestowe, Pancrasweek, Thrusselton, Maristowe, Brentor, South Sydenham, Broadworthy, Thornbury, Broadwoodwidger, Bratton Milton, Lydford, Sourton, South Tawton, Throwleigh, Gidleigh, Chagford, Drewsteignton and Mohuns Ottery.


Josias Calmady died 12 December 1611 aged 46. When the inquisition post mortem was taken at Exeter 22 April 1612, it was found that he died seised of Langdon, and the other Wembury properties, Monkswell and Dunridge in Sampford Spiney, lands in Horrabridge, Whitchurch, Plympton St. Mary, Halberton and Beare (in Broadclyst).


The combined estates of father and mother came to Shilston (afterwards Sir Shilston) Calmady, born 1585 and aged about 26 at his father's death. Sir Shilston was twice married and left two sons. He was killed in action during the Civil War January 1646 and buried at Wembury.


His elder son Josias succeeded and died at Wembury in 1683 without living issue. The younger brother Shilston Calmady of Leawood thereupon succeeded to the main estate. He died in 1688 and was succeeded by Josias his eldest surviving son who married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Edward Waldo, by whom he had sons Shilston and Waldo. Both of these sons succeeded in turn but both died without issue so that following the death of Waldo, the Calmady estates reverted to the descendants of Francis, the sixth son of Sir Shilston who had been killed in battle.


This branch of the Calmady family held estates at Stoke Climsland in Cornwall and had a double marriage connection with the Pollexfens of Mothecombe. The last of these in male descent was Captain Warwick Calmady R.N. who died unmarried in 1788. Thereupon the name and arms of the Calmady family were adopted by an Admiral Everett who died at Wembury in 1807.

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