|In the Public record office , London is preserved a document
which records that on 1st September 1619 John Drake was granted a license
to sell sixty acres of land called Buncombe,in the parish of
Broomfield and County of Somerset,England to John Stawell. John
Drakes three sons Mark, John and Thomas were co-vendors. The
buyer of this land was a well known cavalier,afterwards Sir John
Stawell,who's principal seat was Cothelstone at the south end of the
This adjoined Buncombe.Sir John later was made to forfeit all his possessions to the parliament as a fine for supporting King Charles I. Where John Drake came from is not known; but his son Mark married a native of Pitminister in Somerset in 1641;and in the same parish were several other men and women named Drake, contempories of Mark Drake
; it is possible therefore that Pitminister was his fathers native place. The parish register for Broomfield is defective,so that it is now impossible to say whether there were any Drakes in that parish at the time of the sale. There were however in the next adjoining,Cheddon,a family named Drake whose marriages are recorded from 1564 onwards,and one of the Pitminister Drakes was married in the Cheddon church in the 17th century.
A distinquished physician named Roger Drake ,who was also a minister,belonged to this Cheddon family;he was born in 1608. The next heard of Mark Drake
is that by 1641 he was settled in Churchstanton, a country village on the Blackdown Hills which lie on the border between Devon and Somerset. In 1641 he initiallised the "Protestation Roll" which all men were required to sign in that year to prove that they were not members of the King's party; to sign it he had to be at least 18 years old,so this initilal proves he was born before 1624.In the same year he was married to Grace Babb and recorded in Pitminister Parish Register as being " of Churchstanton".
In that place he rented a large farm called Trickey Warren,which adjoined a much smaller one (thirty - three acres ) called Bagbear's which he probably owned.It passed by will to his son and grandson and may have been bought with his share of the proceeds of the sale of Buncombe. At any rate his two eldest sons are called yeomen ( in deeds ) which indicated that they owned their own farms.This Mark Drake founded the Churchstanton family and his descendents remained at Trickey Warren farm at least ( and perhaps in the posession of the other ) until 1809 when the last occupant of Trickey Warren,John Drake,was buried at Churchstanton.
By 1856 the only Drake recorded in the parish was Elizabeth Drake, a widow,but elderly villagers remembered in 1932 visits by descendants of the family in 1880 and 1900. The visitor who came in 1880 was a Francis Drake who spent some time in the village searching the parish register; he was probably the "Claimant" who is referred to in THE WESTERN ANTIQUARY, 1890 v. 9, pp. 17,40, 135 and 172. He had confused his ancestor John with John'a younger brother of Admiral Sir Francis Drakes and hoped to base a claim to the Elliott- Drake estates on that identification*