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The house of Martin; being chapters in the history of the West of England branch of that family online

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Dorset, gent."

He was a man of considerable property, lands, tenements,
etc., in Combe Aimer or Combe Marshal, in the parish of
Sturminster Marshal, and Lytchet Matravers came to him
through trustees on the death, in July, 1604, of his father,
Thomas Husey, of Thomson.

Seven years later, Hubert Husey attained his majority.^ He
was also the lessee of the manor of Sydling Saint Nicholas,
which belonged chiefly to Winchester College. His immediate
predecessor holding the lands was Sir Francis Walsingham,
Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth, the man who was mainly
responsible for procuring such direct evidence against Mary,

' Hutchins' Hi$t. of Dorset, iv, 498. ' Ibid., iii, 708. • Ibid., 351.


Queen of Scots, as led to her execution ; a man of unswerving
and unscrupulous devotion to his queen. He died in 1590. A
few years later, Hubert Husey became the lessee, and went
to reside in the manor house which stood on the north side of
the churchyard at S}-d]ing.

He evidently took some interest in politics, and was on
the side of Charles I when that monarch was engaged in his
struggles with his Parliament. And his caustic utterances
involved him in trouble. King Charles required money for a
French expedition and levied a forced loan. This was strongly
resented by many members of the Commons, with the result that
a number of the leaders were cast into prison.

Amongst tiiem was Sir Walter Erie, who represented Lyme
Regis, and resided at Bindon, near Axmouth. Husey did not
approve of Sir Walter's tactics, and did not hesitate to say so
publicly. IJc even went so far as to suggest that "if the peace
of the country was disturbed it was owing to Sir Walter Erie."

This was deemed as a reflection on the Parliament, and he
was ordered to be sent for as a delinquent. Sir Walter, who was
of a Somerset family, had his revenge for his imprisonment, for
in 1 6-] 2 he seized Lyme Regis for the Parliament, became an
active Parliamentarian officer, and his name frequently occurs
in connection with some of the most stirring events in the West
of England during the Civil W^ar.^ Sir Walter's garrison at
Lyme consisted of a regiment of ten companies, partly of
residents enrolled, and partly of men from other districts of

There is one incident of note during the early days of the
Commonwealth, in which a Martin was a leading character. On
the 19th October, 1650, a certificate was addressed to the
Justices of the Peace assembled in General Sessions, that Anne
Martin, of Wellington, widow, being in the house with the Hon.
Alex. Popham, with her family, at the siege thereof by the late
king's forces, " susteyened great losses of goods and cattle,
namely seaven kine, one heifer, tenne young cattle, three calves,

' Pulman's Book of the Axe, 875.


five colts, a mare, and a horse, forty sheep, five beds, with their
furniture, bacon, butter, and cheese, wool, lynnen, come of all
sorts, pewter, brasse, and other moveable goods valewcd in all
att the summe of * * * hundred and three score and fifteen
pounds, besides the summe of twenty-two poundes in ready
money, and that her eldest son was killed in the said howse by
the said kynge's forces."^

In 1645, Hubert Husey was made Sheriff of the county
of Dorset. At his death, in 1658, he was succeeded by his
son, Nicholas, to whom his property passed. He seems to have
died without issue, and to have been followed by his brother,
Hubert, who left five daughters.^

The question arises in one's mind — why was Adam Martin
and his wife buried at Crewkerne Church and not at
Seaborough, where they lived ? The reply can only be
problematical. Seaborough Church, at the end of the sixteenth
century, was ill-adapted to the wants of the inhabitants of the
village.^ It had existed over two hundred and fifty years, and
it is likely it was in such a condition that Adam preferred
leaving directions for his body to be taken to the principal
church of the neighbourhood for interment. Crewkerne was,
in fact, the mother church of the district, and he was well
acquainted with it and its services. There may have been
closer reasons why he should have wished to rest here,
or it may be that his love for the beautiful neighbourhood
accounted for this. Having walked over Bincombe, from whence
no prettier panoramic view of Crewkerne can be obtained,
might not Adam Martin have thought, as did one who a centur}'
later courted the muse to express his thoughts, and sang of
that spot : —

" Enchanting mount ! what lovely prospects rise,
Around thy brow, to charm my wondering eyes !
Plere Art and Nature mutually combine
To please the senses with a view sublime,

' Papers of the County of Somerpot ' Hutchins' Hint. 0/ Donet, iv, 497.

in Hist. MSS. Commiaion Report, vii, ' See p. 106.



Hill'^, vales and meads, with bleating flocks appear,
And woods and groves their shady coverts rear;
All that can gratify the sense of sight,
Surround this blithsome — this most lovely height !
The pleasant town of Crewkeme lies between,
And adds a grace and beauty to the scene ;
Watered by plenteous streams, whose varied rills
Delight the ear, the soil with herbage fills ;
The cultivated fields and gardens show
What agricultural skill resides below.
The church — the noblest staicture of the place,
Commands attention by its stately grace.
Sheltered by lofty elms, whose branches lend
Their friendly shade — the building to defend.
Behold ! the trade appears on either side.
Which guards the sailor from the swelling tide;
Commerce expands its richly laden wings,
The wealth of nations, and the boast of kings.
Bincombe .' whenever I thy beauties trace,
Imagination represents the place
Where the meek Jewish legislator stood,
And Canaan's favoured land with rapture viewed.
Nor aught is wanting to complete the scene.
But the refreshing brook which rolled between.
This land with milk and honey flowed 'tis true,
And may not Crewkeme boast those treasures too?
Look round again, and view the beautous kine.
Or mark the milkmaid's pail at evening time;
The bee — true emblem of the British swain —
Doth nectared honey from each blossom gain ;
And useful grains and fruits conspire to cheer
The anxious farmer, and reward his care.
This town no need of walls or bulwarks feels —
Nature has fence'^ '' vi-h a fort of hills.
The distant towers, which seem to touch the skies,
Check low desires, and bid my thoughts arise,
Point me to Him who formed each dale and hill,
And gave to man whate'er he has of skill.

But see I what varied colours meet the eye,
As Sol's last beams adorn the western sky I


What earthly paint can with those tints compare,

Or what beside can such a lustre wear?

It sinks, enveloped in a golden ray,

And balmy evening fills the place of day;

Venus ascending with the orb of light,

And both confer a mild but feeble light.

Whilst ever)' bush bemoans with dewy tears,

The absence of the sun — till morn appears ;

'Till from the eastern sky the dawn is seen.

Gilding afresh this sweetly-pleasing scene,

When numerous flowers their opening leaves display

To compliment the ruler of the day;

And birds their tuneful note of welcome sing.

Making all Bincombe with their music ring.

Farewell, thou blest retreat ! thou lovely spot,

By me thy aspect won't be soon forgot ;

How oft have I thy paths with pleasure trod,

In admiration of the works of God."'^

Hutchins gives Adam Martin a son, Christopher, of Sea-
borough, who married Ursula Hensleigh, of Spaxton, and in the
will of the lattei, dated 1620, Christopher is mentioned as " over-
seer."^ Christopher had a son, Adam. He was born in 1672,
lived at Seaborough, and was patron of the living, as was his
father previously. The right of presentation was exercised by
Adam ^lartin, who gave the living to Fidelis Ash, B.A., on
November 17th, 171 1, and to Thomas Edgar, on Septem-
ber 15th, 1720.3 In 1756, the living was granted by his son,
another Adam, to John Adams, who held it until 1779, when
he was succeeded by the Rev. John Wills, D.D.

This man, who was born in 1741, was educated at Crewkeme
School, to which he brought a good deal of honour. He
matriculated at Wadham College, in 1758, at the age of seven-
teen, and was Hody Exhibitioner from 1758 to 1765. He
graduated B.A. in 1761, and took his M.A. degree in 1765 and
B.D. and D.D. 1783. He was warden of his college from that
year until 1806, and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford from 1792 to

" "Augusta" in the WeeUy Enter- =" See p. 97.

fatTjer, A.D. 1818. * We&ver'a Soinerget Incuinbmts, 4^0.


1796. He bequeathed ^^27,000 to his college, and rebuilt
Seaborough Church. He died on the i6th June, 1801.^

In Seaborough Church is a mural monument, with the
following inscription: —

" M. S. Adami Martin, armig. qui, tanquam semper morlturus,
vivens; tanquam semper victurus, mortuus est. Die 15 Jan. 1738,
aetat. 66"

A life-size bust surmounts the memorial, the figure being
clothed in a robe gathered close below the shoulders, and a
flowing curled periwig.

Adam, who was a feofee of Crewkerne School,- in 1780, had
a son, Adam. He was senior sworn clerk of the Exchequer
office in the Temple, and in the commission of the peace
for the county of Somerset. Whilst visiting a friend at
Wootton, in Warwickshire, he was seized with a violent fever
and died on September nth, 1784. He was buried at Wootton.
A note by Hutchins says that this gentleman communicated to
the History of Dorset the extracts from the Testa de Nevill?

He died without issue, as did also his brother, Richard.
Another son of Adam, William, married and had a daughter,
Newland Martin, v>'ho married Foster Maynard. They had a
large family, and from a son is descended the Rev. T. Maynard
Shaw, who was in 1905 the Rector of Seaborough.

A branch of the Martin family resided at Long Melford, in
Suffolk, to which place Richard Martin removed in the reign
of Richai'd II. In 1558, Roger — a favourite name with this
section — Martin was an alderman of the city of London. He
was the son of Lawrence Martin, second son of Richard Martin.
He assisted in financing Queen Elizabeth, and on November 5th
of the year named, he was licensed to take twelve per cent,
for the money which he had lent her majesty.'* Ten years later
he was made Lord Mayor of London. He must have been a
very wealthy man, for on the 12th December, 1571, at Green-

' Bartelot's 'Ri&t. of Crewkerne ^ Hutchins' Hist, of Dorset, ii, 582.

School, 90, 91. ■• Cal. of State Papers (A.D. 1547-

' Ibid., 60. 1580), III.


wich, Sir Thomas Gresham, the " Queen's Majesties agent " in
Flanders, presented to the Lords fifty-nine " bondes " passed
under the Great Seal and seal of the city of London for certain
money taken up in the city for her majesty's use. Of these
bonds, five were to Sir Roger Martin for an aggregate amount
of £7,121 los}

A Roger Martin, of Melford, is included in a list of names
" of suche as weare committed for Papistry in the counties of
Norffolk, Suffolk, and Cantebridge," and the Sheriff of Suffolk
was instructed to keep him a close prisoner at Ipswich.^ The
order was dated August 22nd, 1578, and he was still a prisoner
in the February following. In 1 592 " Roger Martin, of Melford,
Esq.," is referred to as a recusant remaining at liberty in the
county of Suffolk.^

In Long Melford Church is a brass to Roger Martin, Esq.,
who died 16 15. Roger, wearing a go-vn and ruff, is represented
lying between his two wives. There are two groups of children
below — four sons and two daughters, and two sons and two
daughters.* Another brass to Richard Martin, dated 8th March,
1624, depicts a man in a gown, with one wife on his right and
two on his left.^

Another Roger Martin was created a baronet in 1667 by King
Charles II.

Through Richard Martin, the son of Sir William Martin, of
Athelhampston, the Devonshire line of the family issued as the
result of his second marriage with Margaret, daughter of William
Hurst, of Exeter.^ And from this time it may be stated the
family consistently spelt their name Martyn, and to this form we
will now adhere.

Richard, besides having a residence at Seaborough, must
have had a house and, perhaps, a business in Exeter. In that
city he found his second wife, and of Exeter he was mayor.

' Acts of the Privy Council (A.D. * Topographer and Genealogist, i, 167

1571-1575). 55- * * Ibid.

' Ihid. (A.D. 1577-1578), 313. * A portrait of this man hangs in

^ Marq. of Salisbury's Papers, Hist. the Mayor's parlour at the Exeter

ilSS. Commission Records, xiii, iv, 269. Guildhall.


Risdon gives the date as 27 Henry VI 11/ but Oliver's History
of Exeter fixes it as three years earlier.^

At his death, about 1533, his widow married John Drake,
of Exeter, whose will was proved on the 7th February, 1554.
Margaret's will was dated the 29th March, and proved the
23rd April, 1570, and in it she mentions her step-son, Adam
Martyn (of Hinton Saint George), and her daughter, Joyce

Richard and Margaret had a son, Nicholas. He married
Mary, daughter of Leonard Yeo, of Hatherleigh. He was Mayor
of E.xeter in 1574 and 1585,^ and twice Governor of the Com-
pany of Merchant Adventurers of that city. He was a wealthy
man and a bold and successful merchant. First to join in a
proposed venture and usually holding the largest stake, he was
yet generous to the poor and to local objects.* William
]Martyn, a brother, was twice Mayor, and twice elected
Governor of the Merchant Adventurers, and he strove to
equal his brother in wealth and enterprise. During his second
mayoralty (1600) he disbursed from his own resources £},o^
in obtaining the mitigation of customs' duties on woollen
cloths. This man had two sons, Thomas, a member of the
Guild and Mayor in 1612,^ and Richard.*^ Nicholas was buried
in Saint Petrock's Church, Exeter. His son, William, was
another member of the family following the law ; and he was
also an author of considerable repute. He was educated at
Exeter and passed to Broadgates Hall, now Pembroke College,
Oxford, in 1579, matriculating in 15S1 at the age of eighteen.
He entered as a barrister of the Middle Temple in 1589, and
became eminent in his profession.

He was Recorder of Exeter, his native place, in 3 James I,
following Serjeant Heal, who had held the office for nearly
twelve years, and who relinquished it in 1605. Sir William, in
161 2, published a book entitled Youths' Instruction, and this he

' Kisdon's Note-Book, 191. * Ibid.; Oliver's Hist, of E.ceter sftys

' Oliver's Hist, of Exeter, 23 1. 1618, p. 231.

" Risdon's Xote-liook, 191. * See p. 1 29.

* Cotton's An Elizabethan Qiiild
of tlie City of Exeter, 39.


dedicated to his eldest son, Nicholas Martyn, then a student
at Oxford. Next he wrote a great work, The History and
Lives of the Kings of England from VJilliam the Conqueror
to King Henry VIII, and, subsequently, The Succession of the
Dukes and Earls of this Kingdom of England from the
Conqueror until 12 fames 1}

He seems to have fallen under the displeasure of the king
for remarks which he made in his works, and this is said to

have so affected him as to hasten his death.

S:r William married Susan Prestwood, of Exeter. He died
on April 12th, 161 7, at the age of fifty-five years, and was
buried in Saint Petrock's Church, Exeter. He is described as
" a pious and religious man, and more than ordinarily zealous
:n those great duties of devotion which constitute and adorn
the Christian profession. "^ He had three sons — Sir Nicholas,
of Oxton and Kenton ; William, and Edward.

Sir Nicholas, who was born on the 12th April, 1593, was,
like his father, educated at Broadgates Hall, Oxford. He
matriculated on the 8th March. 1610-11, at the age of seventeen,
becoming a student of the Middle Temple in 16 13.3 He married
Elizabeth Symes, of Pounsford, Somerset, and was a man of
considerable property. He was knighted by King James I at his
Court at Newmarket, on Saturday, 12th February, 1624, and
was pricked Sheriff of Devonshire by King Charles I, on
the icth November, 1639. On the 23rd June, 1646, he was
elected Member of Parliament for the county of Devon,* ajid
for eleven years was one of its representatives.^

In 1 64 1, he became involved in some political difficulty. It
was a year of plots and treasons — the year of the death of
Strafford on Tower Hill. Nicholas was also proclaimed a traitor
by the king, and he was excepted from the offer of a general

• Prince's Worthiei of Devon, 575. Prince's Worthi^i of Devon, 579.
» Ibid., 576. » Ihid., 576.

• Alumni Oxoniemxt (A.D. 1500 to


pardon together with Sir George Chudleigh, Sir John Northcote,
and Sir Samuel Rolle,^ but was included in an order clearing
proclaimed persons issued on the 7th December, 1642.2

Sir George Chudleigh, who lived at Ashton, near Exeter,
was a very active personage in the West for the Parliament
against the king, but both he and his son subsequently relented,
and performed eminent services on behalf of Charles I. His
son, Colonel James Chudleigh, was slain at Dartmouth in the
king's service, when the town and castle were yielded to Sir
Thomas Fairfax.^

Dartmouth had declared for the Parliament and against
the king, and although badly situate for defence it held out
against Prince Maurice for one month and four days. The town
was afterwards garrisoned for the king, and three years after-
wards S Thomas Fairfax deemed it of too much importance
to pass by on his way to Cornwall,'* and it was taken by assault
by him in January, 1646. The town was stormed at three points
by Colonels Pride, Hammond, and Fortescue. Kingswear Fort,
on the other side of the river, which was held by Sir Henry
Gary, then came to terms ; finally the Governor, Sir Hugh
Pollard, who had taken refuge in the castle, surrendered. Thus
with comparatively little loss, the last town in the district that
held out for Charles was taken, and with it one thousand troops,
one hundred and twenty guns and two ships.°

Another member of the Martin family also courted trouble.
The elder daughter of Sir Nicholas married Mr. Turner, a
woollen draper, in Watling Street, London. She and her hus-
band were staunch Parliamentarians, and when Pym (who was a
Somerset man and M.P. for Tavistock), Hampden, Denzil Holies,
Arthur Hazlerigge, and William Strode, five commoners, were
impeached with Lord Kimbolton for having traitorously invited
a foreign power (the Scots) to invade England, and fled, they

' Hamilton's Quarter Sessions, 134. * Newman in Devonshire Association

• Mr. Bouvcrio'.s MSS. in Hist. MSS. Transactions, iii, 132.

Commission Report, YIII, i, 77. ' Worth's Hist, of Devonshire, 274.
=• Prince's Worthies of D,.von, 218.



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Martyn Monument in Kenton Church.


found sanctuary at the house of Mr. Turner, and lay hie' there
whilst Charles I was searching for them in the city.

The Lady Elizabeth also seems to have been of a pugnacious
character. In 1644 the constables of Kenton, near Exeter, acting
under orders of His Majesty's Commissioners, arrested one
Archillis Slapton. The Lady Elizabeth Martyn interested her-
self on the man's behalf, and, it is alleged, beat and abused the
constables, and incited others to follow her example. The result
was that the constables lost their prisoner. A great fuss was
made, and the constables were ordered to apprehend the Lady
Elizabeth and to bring her before some one of His Majesty's
justices of the peace, but, apparently, this was not done.^

Sir Nicholas was elected a knight of the shire in June, 1646.
In 1648 he was added to the committee of militia for Devon-
shire.2 He died 1653.3 Prince, on the authority of Sir Nicholas'
son, William, gives prominence to a singular event which is
alleged to have taken place at the demise of this man. He
says : —

" Immediately before his death, as he lay sick at his house
at Netherex, one of the bells of that church began to toll of
itself, and continued so to do to the time of his death, about
the space of a quarter of an hour.

" A Hke thing is said to have happened at the interment of
Boniface, our countryman, Archbishop of Mentz, when his body
was brought to the abbey of Fulda to be buried."

A handsome monument was erected to Sir Nicholas in
Kenton Church. It has been restored within the past few years
by Mr. Michael Williams, of London, a descendant of the family,
who has also shown great care for the Martyn memorials in
Hinton Saint George and Seaborough Churches.

The monument is inscribed: —

* Hamilton's Quarter Sessions, 134, * Prince's Woiihies of Devon, 576,

- Papera of Sir F. Graham, Bart., in
Hist. MSS. Commission Report, VII, 27.


" Sir Nicholas Martyn, Knight,

having lived sixty years dyed

the 25th day of March Ao. Doh.

And here lyeth deposited his mortal
Part until it shall be raised up unto
Immortal Life and Glory.
Surpassing the philosophers, this stone
Shall turne to pearles the teares are dropt thereon;
Since to praise worth, praiseworthy doth appeare,
This shrine makes saints of them which offer here
Their spice and balme for to perfume his name,
Which rather more perfumed are by the same."

The next in [he direct line was William, his son, who
married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Shilston Calmady. He died
at Xetherexe in 1662. His widow departed this life in 1695
at Oxton. He was a justice of the peace for the county. His
eldest son was Nicholas Martyn, J. P., who married, in 1675,
Gertrude, daughter of John Saint Aubyn, of Saint Michael's
i\Iount, and sister of Sir John Saint Aubyn, first baronet, of
Clowance, Cornwall.

This Nicholas greatly injured and reduced his patrimony by
persistent gambling, and on the 24th February, 169 1-2, royal
assent was given to an Act for the sale of tlie manor of
Manworthy, with the appurtenances in the county of Devon,
belonging to Nicholas, and which was in the hands of trustees,
the money raised to be used in the liquidation of Nicholas'

Nicholas died in 1717, and was interred at Kenton. He was
followed at Oxton by his eldest son, William, who married,*. in
1705, his cousin, Susanna, daughter of William Martyn, of
Holnicote, Somerset, sometime Clerk of the Peace for Devon-
shire. He died at Oxton in 17 10, leaving as his successor an
only child, William Clifford Martyn. who was born in 1706, and
married, in 1733, Mrs. Elizabeth Langton, of Saint Paul's,

' Hi$t. itISS. Commission Reports, XIII, i, 77-


Ccvent Garden, spinster, who wai. buried at Kenton in October,
WS5- William Clifford Martyn died without issue at Oxton,
in April, 1770, and with him the male line of this family

By his will, dated nth October, 1769, writes a descendant
of Nicholas Martyn, he bequeathed Oxton and his lands in
Kenton and one farm in Netherexe to a first cousin, Nicholas
Tripe, of Ashburton, whose mother was Susanna, second
daughter of Nicholas Martin and Gertrude Saint Aubyn. Mr.
Tripe's eldest son, the Rev. John Tripe, took the name and
arms of Swete on inheriting the estates of the last Swete of
Trayne, in Modbur>', in 1781. Mr. Swete was a Prebendary of
Exeter Cathedral, and a most learned classical scholar. He
rebuilt the house at Oxton about the year 1782. His eldest son,
John Beaumont Swete, was Sheriff of Devon in 1830.

William Clifford Martyn devised the residue of his property,
which included the old manor house (now pulled down), the
barton, advowson, and manorial rights of Netherexe, the manor
of Black Torrington, besides personal property in Exeter and
elsewhere, to another cousin, Peter Young, whose mother was
Katherine Martyn, fourth daughter of Nicholas Martyn and
Gertrude Saint Aubyn. Mr. Young's descendants parted with
their inheritance in or about the year 1845. Oxton was sold

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Online LibraryWilliam George Willis WatsonThe house of Martin; being chapters in the history of the West of England branch of that family → online text (page 11 of 13)