Documentary evidence of the lifestyle of
an ancestor is an exciting thing for the family historian to find. When
that evidence dates from 300 years ago and is signed personally by the
ancestor and the design of the signet ring he wore on his finger is
recorded in the wax forming the seal at the end of the document, then
the find becomes a major event. But the biggest thrill of all must be that of
finding such evidence among the papers of one of the best-known families
in the world - the Drakes. In spite of the actions of a certain Drake
widow, who, to relieve the tedium of her widowhood took it upon herself
to "sort" and destroy many priceless documents, a large
collection survives in the custodianship of Devon Record Office. Anyone
who wishes to research the Stentiford group of families in the 17th and
early 18th centuries must first sift through bundles of ancient
parchments, reading the leases, bonds, mortgages, deeds and
conveyances through which the story of their relationship with the Drake
family is told.
In this Issue, we begin our search through these documents by
examining a new lease negotiated by John Stettaford of Meavy in 1711 for
the tenancy of a small farm in a nearby hamlet called Lovaton. Should
you wish to call up this document to read it for yourself when visiting the
Devon Record Office, ask for 346M/T332.
Doreen Norton, who wrote about Victor Stentiford in Issue 29,
concludes his story by tracing his family back to Henry Stentiford and
Emily Ann Snell who began and ended their lives in Chawleigh. Don't
forget that Doreen has offered to do look-ups at Kew for family members
who cannot go there for themselves - her e-mail address is minnienorton@aol.
Another reminder about Roy Hewitt's planned tribute to family
members who lost their lives in the 1914 - 1918 War. If you are
interested in having a copy, please try to find time to e-mail him
- the address is firstname.lastname@example.org.