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Combe-Martin, a market town and parish in the north division, hundred of Braunton, the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, and the Diocese of Exeter, 1-1/4 miles east of Berrynarbour, 3 miles northwest of Kentisbury,* 4-1/2 miles east of Ilfracombe, about eight miles northeast of both Pilton and Barnstaple, 9 mi. from , less than 11 mi. from Tawstock and 176 miles southwest of London....

*Re Kentisbury, see Kentisbeare (not the same, but includes possibly relevant Gorges Family notes).

1298-1333 London. William de COMBMARTIN in business in 1298. Alderman, 1304/18. Will enrolled, 1318-1333. Margery COMBMARTIN, wife of William, 3rd, 2 manors (p. 333) (Index to Medieval Merchants Etc. in (mainly) London, by Michael W. Foster who created the index from "The Merchant Class of Medieval London," by Sylvia L Thrupp, 1948, Appendix A)

Richard II to Philip and Mary [22 Jun 1377 - 17 Nov 1558]. Court of Chancery: Six Clerks Office: C 1/501/21. Walter ELYS. v. Rauf ..... COMBE: Detention of deeds relating to tenements (in Combe Martin) late of Johan, daughter and heir of John ELYS.: (Devon). (Combs &c. of the PRO Index - Series C-1) [Search Words: Ralph, ELLIS, Combmartin]

According to the late James Logan Kendall (manuscript of 1943), "William de Combes of Combe-Martin" was a citizen of London 1302-1307," (references Sussex records), and the father of a "William de Combe of London" who died in 1327 with a son, Simon, whom Mr. Kendall states was living in London in 1327 and the father of "William de Combes, an alderman of London during the reign of Henry VI" (1422-1461. 1470-1). The above William may have been from Combe Martin, Devonshire, but Ms. Thrupp does not include any children for him, and it appears possible that Mr. Kendall may have created two William de Combes from one. Mr. Kendall also states that "There were several Coombs, Combs immigrants into the American colonies during the 1600's. Among them... three brothers from Combs-Martin, Devonshire; Austin in 1617-18; John and William Coomes in 1619-20. These came to Jamestown..." Austin, John and William are found in Early Combs of Virginia, but neither their ancestry nor the fact of a relationship to eac other has been documented. Kendall postulates that they were sons of John and Margaret ARCHDALE Combe, but this has been disproven by Combs &c. research, all children of John and Margaret having been identified. Josiah Combs' Combes Genealogy (p. 122) lists the above three as well as a Richard and a Joseph as sons of "Richard, Lord of Comb Manor," who died 7 Apr 1619, and postulates that the son, John, was John COMBE who married Margaret ARCHDALE. This, too, has been disproven.

According to Kendall, the lineage of this family was:

Richard de CUMB, md. Sybil de HICKLEMAN; living 1202.
Adam de CUMBA de Fittleton, of Wiltshire; ca. 1227.
John de CUMBA, Lord of Fittleton; ca. 1250.
Ricardus de CUMBA and Fittleton, owned the Parish of Cumbe (now known as Combe-Bisset) in 1279. This was only a few miles south of Castle Combe that dates back to ca. 800.
Simon de CUMBA, Lord of Fittleton.
Cabert de FITTLETON. Then to London.
William de COMBES of Combe-Martin was a citizen of London 1302-1307 (Sussex records).
William de COMBE of London, d. 1327; had a son Simon.
Simon de COMBE, living in London, 1327.
William de COMBES, an alderman of London during the reign of Henry VI (1428)
John COOMBES (COMBES?), citizen of London, reign of Henry VI
John COOMBES (COMB), merchant - md. 1587 Margaret ARCHDALE (b.1569)

Henry VI reigned 1 Sep 1422 - 4 Mar 1461 and 9 Oct 1470 - 14 Apr 1471. John COMBE, h/o Margaret ARCHDALE, was not born until ninety years later (ca 1661). The Kendall manuscript also includes a somewhat different lineage provided by the late Fred Combs, described by Kendall as a "fragmentary outline:"

(30) Eduardi de Cumba (Reign of Edward the Elder, ca.699-925)
(29) Adam de Pyncombe (holdings in Somerset and Devon) ca.925-960
(28) Ricardus de Marisco de Cumba, ca. 960-1000
(27) Ralf de Pomerai de Comba (vast land holdings) ca. 1000-1020
(26) Ralf de Pomerai de Cumba de Haccombe, ca. 1016-1060
Rafe de Combe de Bridstone, 1040
(25) Richard de Cumba, Lord of Haccombe, living 1128
(24) ------- de Cumba, filia de Richard, next above, living 1100-1115
(25)* Baron Martyn de Tours, Lord of Combe-Martyn, ca. 1140-116? [cut off]
(24) Robert de Tours, 2d Lord of Combe-Martyn, ca.1030-1140; md. filia de Richard, Lord of Haccombe, 2d above.
(23) Martin de Combe, 1st Lord of Combe, of Combe-Martin, ca 1140-116? [cut off]
(18) Henri de Combe de Combe-Martin, ca. 1327-1376
(12) Joseph Combe, Lord of Combe, Combe-Martin, living 1520
(11) Guileman Co'mes, Lord of Combe, Combe-Martin, living 1556
(10) Richard Coomes, Lord of Combe, Combe-Martin, d. Apr.7, 1619; Sons Joseph; Austin; John; William. Joseph succeeded; the other three to Virginia.

*Came with William the Conqueror, granted land in Devonshire and made Lord of Combe-Martin; founder of the Martin Family [sic]. (References "Colonial Families of the United States")

While some of the above information has been documented by Combs &c. researchers, the ancestry of John COMBE, h/o Margaret ARCHDALE remains unknown (research in progress). Re some of the other Combes listed above, see the applicable parish or town, see Early Combes of England and see the 1332 Devonshire Lay Subsidy Roll.

No IGI entries have been located for Combe Martin, but it is not yet known whether these have even been extracted. The death date for Richard COMBE, "Lord of Combe Manor" would indicate that there is some type of burial record. No Combes (including variant spellings) are listed in White's 1850 Combe Martin entry, or in the 1851 Devonshire census.

From Lewis' Topographical Dictionary..., Combmartin "...derives its name from its situation in a deep valley, and its adjunct from its proprietor at the time of the Conquest. In the reign of Edward I. some mines of lead, containing a considerable portion of silver, were discovered, which in the reign of Edward III. produced such a quantity of that metal as to assist him materially in defraying the expense of carrying on the war with France. These mines, after remaining in a neglected state for many years, were re-opened in the reign of Elizabeth, and worked with considerable advantage under the direction of Sir Beavis BULMER; a cup made of silver found here was presented to William BOURCHIER, Earl of Bath,* and another, weighing one hundred and thirty-seven ounces, to Sir Richard MARTYN, Lord Mayor of London. They were unsuccessfully explored in 1790: in 1813 a more profitable attempt was made; but after four years, during which time two hundred and eight tons of silver were extracted, the works were discontinued. The town is situated in a deep romantic glen, extending in a north-west direction, and opening into a small cove on the Bristol channel, which formed a convenient port for shipping the mineral produce, and still affords the inhabitants the means of conveying coal and lime to other towns, from which they receive corn and bark in return. The houses, many of which are in ruins and overgrown with ivy, extend for nearly a mile in an irregular line along the side of the vale: the surrounding scenery is strikingly magnificent, and in many points of view highly picturesque. The ... charter, granted to Nicholas FITZ-MARTIN by Henry III., in 1264... The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry of Barnstaple, and diocese of Exeter ... and in the patronage of the Rev. William TOMS... A school for teaching forty children reading, writing, and arithmetic, was endowed, in 1733, by George LEY, Esq....Thomas HARDING, a learned Roman Catholic divine and controversialist, was born here in 1512..."

* According to Devonshire Gen-UKI's Index to Stewart's Handbook, William BOURCHIER, Earl of Bath, was Lord of the Manor at Combmartin in 1593, and also refers to the BOURCHIER family (Earls of Bath) as Lords of Barnstaple. See also Tawstock, Devonshire, where the Earls of Bath were also Lords of the Manor, and Edward BOURCHIER, s/o William, married Anne LOVETT, sister of Elizabeth, wife of John COMBE (s/o John and Margaret ARCHDALE Combe), more about which follows.

From White's Devonshire Directory (1850):

"Combe Martin, or Combmartin, is a decayed market town, in one long, irregular street, in a deep and picturesque valley, about a mile from a fine cove of the north coast of Devon, and 4 miles E. of Ilfracombe. Its parish contains 1399 souls, and about 3900 acres of land, including 1837 acres of open commons and hilly moorlands. The manor was given by William the Conqueror to Martin de TOURS, ancestor of the Lords MARTIN, from whom it passed to the Lords AUDLEY. It was dismembered by the Pollards many years ago. The Barton, or Manor House, with a large estate, now belongs to Sir C.W. WATSON, Bart, and the rest of the parish belongs to the FURSDON, TREGONWELL, CORNISH, PYKE, GILL, and other families... Hemp was formerly grown in the neighbourhood, and shoemakers' thread was spun from it in the town. Coal vessels and fishing smacks resort to Combe Martin Cove, where pilots for the Bristol Channel are generally to be found... and the mines in the parish and neighbourhood have long been celebrated for their argentiferous lead ore. In the reign of Edward I., 337 men were brought here out of Derbyshire to work the silver mines, which are said to have furnished money for the wars in the reign of Edward III. They were again worked with success in the reign of Elizabeth, by Sir Beavis BULMER..."

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