This record is held by Archives and Cornish Studies Service

Details of WW
Reference: WW

The documents deposited at the Cornwall Record Office relate to the acquisition and administration of the estate up to its acquisition by the Williams family and include a large quantity of title deeds recording the various transfers of the whole estate and of individual farms and tenements.


The administration of the estate was undertaken by local agents who were responsible for drawing up leases, keeping accounts and managing the manorial courts. Leases (mainly for 99 years or three lives) describe in some detail individual properties and farms in Werrington, St. Stephen by Launceston and Newport, and the range of trades occupations mentioned suggests a thriving and reasonably prosperous community.


There are few documents relating to borough elections, and a handful only of manor court records have survived, but these include a few mediaeval items.


Personal papers do not feature in the collection: the existence of an estate office which handled the management of property would have made it unlikely that the various families would have stored their private records with the estate papers as happened in some houses. There are however sale catalogues and inventories which provide some information on the house and its contents in the nineteenth century.




Acquisition of property: whole estate


Morice to Northumberland, 1775


Molesworth to Northumberland, 1784


Bedford to Northumberland, 1795


Phillipps to Northumberland, 1824, 1847


Manor of Launceston lands


Deeds of title (purchased 1775 by Sir Humphry Morice), 1629-1775


Property in Werrington, Launceston and Newport


Deeds of title (purchased 1775 by Duke of Northumberland from Humphry Morice), 1775


Werrington estate


Deeds of title (purchased 1882 by Williams), 1882-1885


St. Stephen by Launceston and Newport


Athill and Kernick






Fern and Thornhill meadow


Forges Park




Hawke Hills and Cross Lane fields




Newport properties


St. Stephen parish


St. Stephen and St. Thomas


St. Mary Magdalen


St. Thomas






Manor of Launceston Lands


Properties in Newport


St. Stephen


St. Stephen and St. Thomas


St. Thomas


Launceston borough




Deeds and leases: other parishes


Davidstow and Minster


Forrabury and Minster








Devon: Lifton


Administrative records


Maker of Launceston Lands


(Rentals, manor court records, schedules of deeds, accounts)


Newport borough


(Surveys, voters' lists)


St. Stephen by Launceston


(Overseers' rates and accounts, land tax, churchwardens)


Launceston borough and parish


(Acts of Parliament, tithes, accounts)


Werrington estate




Miscellaneous papers

Date: 1433 - 1909

The documents are in very good physical condition. They have been sorted and arranged into general categories of property acquisition and property management; many bundles carried original individual reference codes and these have been noted where they occur, though it has not been possible to interpret their significance.

Held by: Archives and Cornish Studies Service, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Werrington Estate, Cornwall

Physical description: 799 Files
Immediate source of acquisition:

Accession no. 3661


Deposited by the Williams Family

Administrative / biographical background:

The estate of Werrington was held by the abbey of Tavistock from before Conquest until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539


The estates of the abbey were granted by Henry VIII to Lord Russell, earl of Bedford, was soon afterwards conveyed the property in Werrington parish to Edward Woodward and Henry and Bartholomew Lucas. In 1620 the property was purchased by Sir Francis Drake, nephew of the Elizabethan seafarer. In 1631 he was granted a licence to impark lands in Werrington and St. Stephen by Launceston; ten years later he built for himself a new dwelling on the site of the old manor house.


In 1649 Drake moved to the family seat at Buckland and sold Werrington to Sir William Morice, purchasing instead the adjoining manor of Launceston (formerly the lands of the priory of Launceston) and the borough of Newport in the parish of St. Stephen, most of which he subsequently resold to the Morice family.


In 1775 the Werrington estates, comprising 11,000 acres, were sold to Hugh, duke of Northumberland, who also acquired all the outlying tenements in Newport, as well as considerable property in Launceston borough.


In 1864 the estates were offered for sale, and purchased by Alexander Hey Campbell, a Manchester merchant, who represented Launceston in Parliament from 1865 to 1868. In that year he sold to William Wentworth Fitzwilliam Dick, of County Wicklow; in 1871 the estates were purchased by James Henry Deakin, another Manchester merchant, also briefly Member of Parliament for Launceston, as was his son James (1874-1877)


Many of the outlying properties had been sold; in 1882 the much reduced estate was purchased by John Charles Williams of Caerhays Castle, who spent considerable sums of money in renovating the mansion and the church, and improving the farms and deer park.

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