Notes on St. Giles in the Heath Oath Takers, 1723

By Pat Williams

Historical Notes on St. Giles in the Heath

According to Risdon's Survey of Devon (1714), St. Giles in the Heath is 'so termed of its barren sight, is hemmed in within the Tamar river on one side, and a pretty brook called Cary on the other'. This he 'conceives gives rise to the name for the Cary family'. Cary barton is the only mentioned Manor listed in Doomsday 1068, as kari. In Risdon's Survey published in 1811, St. Giles in the Heath is 'forming the Manor of Werrington in Devon but within the Archdeaconry of Cornwall'. In 1850 Werrington belonged to the Duke of Bedford. (White's Directory, 1850).

In the 1744 visitation replies 35 families were recorded, including 90 communicants. 49 communicated at Easter last, according to the Rev. James Sanaxay, who resided in neighbouring Tetcott where he also performed Divine Service. There was one un-endowed almshouse, and no schools. Listed in the hearth tax for 1674 were 18 names paying tax on 31 hearths, and six paupers with one hearth each. Some of these families are possibly the same as those who took the oath in 1723.

The Sitcott Papers are interesting and refer to some of the oath-takers of 1723.

In 1647 John Horrell bought Sitcott from Erasmus Isaac jun, and rented it to James Martin and/or William Martyn, who passed it to Sargeant in 1650. In 1659 the tenancy was transferred from J. Courtice (possibly related to Bennedick Courtice) to his widow Mary for 13s. 6d. per annum. In 1665 John Horrell took out a mortgage for £106. Horrell left Sitcott to his nephew John Horrell in 1726, but with strings attached.

In 1744 John Horrell, a butcher, had a mortgage with Mr. Welch, who bought the lease from Robert Maddock in 1745. In 1760 John Horrell sold his house to pay £2449 debt to Welch, and the following year was in the debtors' prison. Philip Welch's heir, Richard, discharged the £100 debt owing to the Arscott family. Sitcott was sold in 1792 by Jane and Mary (John Horrell's sisters) for £580.

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