Diaries, farm notebooks, statements, accounts, receipts and other RECORDS OF THE BLANCHARD FAMILY OF LEIGH BARTON, MILTON ABBOT
|Administrative / biographical background:
Leigh (Lega) is mentioned in Domesday Book along with Liddaton (whereabouts now unknown) as being land held by Tavistock Abbey together with the manor of Milton Abbot (then "Middeltona"). Before the Conquest Leigh and Liddaton were held by two thanes as two separate manors.
Over the centuries Leigh was known as Leghe (129) Taxatio Ecclesiastica Angliae et Walliae, auctoritate Papae Nicholai IV (see The Registers of Walter Bronescombe and Peter Quivil, Bishops of Exeter, by Rev F C Hingeston-Randolph, 1889. Appendix II, pp 450 - 481) Legh Champeaus (1303) Inquisitions and Assessments relating to Feudal Aids ... AD 1284 - 1431, 6 vols, HMSO 1899 - 1920, and Leghz Barton (c1500s) J Caley and Rev J Hunter (eds) Valor Ecclesiasticus temp Henrici VIII, 6 vols, Record Commission, London, 1810 - 1834. We also know that it was held from Tavistock Abbey by Alicia de Campell in 1242 Book of Fees (Testa de Nevill), 3 vols, HMSO 1920 - 1931. At the Dissolution it passed, with much of the abbey's lands, to John, Lord Russell, and so began its long association with the Bedford estate which only ended in 1956 when the farm was sold to Mr P D Tuckett, the present owner.
The tithe apportionment of 1842 shows Leigh Barton being leased from the Duke of Bedford by John Ward, at which time the farm covered an area of approximately 292 acres (308 acres at the sale of 1956 see also PWDRO 1096/864). The following year Ward died and by 1844, when the records in this collection begin, Leigh had been taken over by George Blanchard. The farm was to stay in the hands of the Blanchard family from that date until the late 1970s, these records covering thepperiod 1844 - 1961, during which time the farm was run by George Blanchard, his son James and the latter's son Peter (in business with his mother as Mrs M Blanchard and Son).
Leigh (SX395773) is situated 1½ miles SSW of Milton Abbot just to east of the River Tamar as it winds down through Wareham and Leigh woods from Endsleigh Cottage (built in 1810 by the Duke of Bedford as lord of the manor of Milton Abbot). It is described by the DOE, in its list of scheduled buildings, as "an early 16th century house which was much altered and disfigured in the 19th century". It is also reputedly the site of a holy well (the well house being removed to Endsleigh in the last century) and, according to sale particulars of of 1956, of the hunting lodge of the abbots of Tavistock.