This family may properly be said to commence with Sir Francis Drake, as no records of same exist back of his grandfather, Edmund Drake, who, undoubtedly, was a member of a younger and obscure branch of the Devon family.
That Francis Drake was ignorant of his ancestry and unable to trace his connection with the house of Drake, is shown by his difficulties with Sir Barnard Drake, then the head of the Devonshire family, and an Admiral in Queen Elizabeth's navy, and also by Queen Elizabeth's granting him a personal coat-of-arms at the time of conferring knighthood upon him. The following account of the origin of his coat-of-arms is taken from "Worthies of Devon," by Prince, Vicar of Pomroy, the original edition of which appeared in 1701:
"About this time there fell out of contrast between Sir Barnard and Sir Francis Drake, chiefly occasioned by Sir Francis, he assuming Sir Barnard's coat-of-arms, and not being able to make out his descent from his family,a matter in those days where the court of honor was in more honor, not so easily digested. The feud hereupon increased to that degree that Sir Barnard, being a person of a high spirit, gave Sir Francis a box on the ear, and that within the verge of the court, for which offence he incurred Her Majesty's displeasure, and most probable it proved the occasion of the Queen's bestowing on Sir Francis a new coat of everlasting honor to himself and posterity forever, which hath relation that that glorious action of histhe circumnavigation of the worldwhich is thus emblazoned by Guillim:
"Diamond: a fessy wave between two polar starsArctick and Antarctick pearl, as before."
"And what is more, his crest is a ship on a globe under ruff held by a cable rope with a hand out of the clouds, in the rigging whereof is hung up by the heels a Wiven gul (Sir Barnard's arms), but in no great honor we may think to that knight, tho' so designed to Sir Francis. Unto all which Sir Barnard replied:
"That though Her Majesty could give him a nobler, yet she could not give him an ancienter coat than his."
Previous to this, as indicated above, the family had used the arms of the Drakes of Ashe. In later days they used the same arms, with the tail of the dragon not knowed, or knotted, in order to distinguish them from the family at Ashe. For a crest, they adopted an "Eagle displayed, Gules" (red), which was originally the crest of the Drakes of Ashe, down to the time of Sir Barnard Drake, and can be seen to-day on his tomb in the parish church at Musbury.
Edmund Drake* of Crowndale, the first from whom lineal descent can be traced, and the grandfather of Sir Francis Drake, had:
2. i. John, lessee of West Crowndale; will probated 1561.
3. ii. Edmund, will dated December 26, 1566; probated in Canterbury, January 16, 1566-7.
* "The Visitation of the County of Devon," by J. L. Vivian.
John (Edmund 1), married Julian, buried September 24, 1564, at Whitchurch, will proved 1565, at Exeter, lost. Child:
4. i. John, of West Crowndale; buried November 15, 1602, in Whitchurch.
Edmund (Edmund 1), admitted Vicar of Upchurch in Kent, June 25, 1560, will dated December 26, 1560, probated at Canterbury, January 16, 1566-7; married a sister, or possibly a cousin of Sir John Hawkins. Children:
i. Sir Francis of Buckland Abbey, Elizabethan Admiral, born 1545-6, in Crowndale; died January 28, 1596, without issue, on board his ship "Defiance," off Porto Bello, and was buried at sea. He married first, July 4, 1569, Mary Newman, who was buried January 25, 1582-3, in Saint Bordeaux; married second, Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Sir George Sydenham of Combe Sydenham, Somerset.
The following extract, taken from the codicil to his well, made on board ship the day before his death, wherein he refers to Richard Drake of Esher, of the Ashe family, as his cousin, indicated that his grandfather, Edmund Drake, as either a brother or first cousin of John Darke of Exmouth, who married Margaret, daughter of John Cole, although it is possible, as claimed by some, that he was a son of Gilbert or Robert, brothers of John, no record of whose descendants is in existence.
"In the Name of God, Amen. The seaven and twenteth day of Januarie the eighth and thirtieth yere of the Raigne of Our Soveraigne Ladie Elizabeth by the Grace of God of England, Frannce and Irelande Queene, Defender of the Faith, etc.:
"I, Frauncis Drake, of Buckland and Monathorn, in the Countie of Devon, Knight, Generall of Her Majesties Fleete, now in service for the West Indyes, beinge perfect of minde and memorie (Thankes be therefore unto God), although sicke in bodie, doe make and ordaine my last Will and Testament in manner and form followinge, viz.: First. I commend my soul to Jesus Christ my Savior and Redeemer, in whose righteousness I am made assured of everlastinge felicitie, and my bodie to the earth to be entombed at the discretion of my executor. Item, I give, devise and bequeath unto my well-beloved Cosen, Frauncis Drake, the sonne of Richard Drake of Eshire, in the Countie of Surrey, Esquier, one of the Quiries of Her Majesties Stable, all that my Mannor of Yarckombe, scituate, lyinge and beinge within the Countie of Devon, with all the rights, members and appurtenances to the same, belonginge, or in anie wise appertaininge. To have and to hould all and singular the saied Mannor of Yarckomb, with all the rightes, members and appurtenances unto the same belonging, unto the saide Frauncis Drake, Sonne of Richard Drake, his heirs and assignes for ever."
5. ii. Thomas of Buckland.
iii. John, killed in action; married Alice __________.
v. Edward. Also other issue.
John (John 2), of West Crowndale, buried November 15, 1602, in Whitchurch, will probated December 20, 1602, in Exeter; married 1562, John Libbey (Willoughby), buried May 10, 1600, at Whitchurch. Children:
i. John, baptized August 3, 1564; buried September 24, 1640, in Whitchurch; page to Sir Francis Drake at age of 10 years, and went to Ireland with him; circumnavigated the globe; married Joan Glanville, January 26, 1596-7, and had five sons and three daughters. Records of their descendants are found in the parish registers of Whitchurch, Tavistock, Wolborough, Stoke Damerel and Buckland Monachorum.
ii. Edmund of Penneton, baptized August 10, 1566.
iii. Richard, born 1570
iv. Roger, born 1573
v. Philip, died 1579
Thomas of Buckland (Edmund 3), born in Kent, will dated March 17, 1605; married Elizabeth, daughter of Gregorie of Plympton, St. Mary, and widow of John Elford of Sheepstor, died March 18, 1631. Children:
6. i. Francis of Buckland, Baptized September 16, 1588.
ii. Elizabeth, married September 22, 1602, in Buckland Monachorum, John Bampfield.
Francis of Buckland (Thomas 5), baptized September 16, 1588, created baronet August 2, 1622, and became Sir Francis, first baronet. On the death of his father, Thomas, he inherited the estate of his uncle, Sir Francis, in accordance with the will of the latter.
He married first, September 22, 1602, Jane, daughter of Sir Amias Bamfield of Poltimore. She was buried February 26, 1612-13, in Buckland Monachorum.
He married second, October 5, 1615, Joan, daughter of sir William Stroud of Newnham, Devon, Knight. Children:
i. Maria, baptized September 26, 1616; married Elizeus Crimes of Crapstone, Member of Parliament for Bere Alston, Lieut.-Col. of Plymouth Garrison for Parliament.
ii. Sir Francis, second baronet, son and heir, baptized September 25, 1617, in Buckland Monachorum, where he was buried June 10, 1661. He was Colonel of the Plymouth regiment of Horse for the Parliament. He married January 18, 1640, in St. Margaret's, Westminster, Dorothy, daughter of John Pym of Brimore, Somerset. She was buried May 16, 1661, in Dunster, Somerset.
Sir Francis died without issue, and in his will, dated April 10, 1661, after providing for his other relatives, he bequeathed the bulk of his property to "Francis Drake, sonne and heire of Thomas Drake (his oldest brother), in case God, blesse me not with an heire of my owne body." In this will, as shown in the following extract, he entailed the property, willing it to "Francis Drake, on trust, to preserve the contingent estates herein lymitted, and after the death of the said Francis Drake, to the use of the First issue male of the said Francis Drake and heires, males, of the body of such issue, the remainder to the second, third, foureth, fifte, and every other issue, male, of the said Francis Drake, and the respective heires males of every their bodyes, in order, and remainder successivelye, according to the seniority of birth of such sonne and sonnes; the remainder for want of such issue, to John Drake, my brother, and the heires, males, of his body; and for want of such issue, the remainder to my brother Wm. Drake, and the heires, males, of his body; and for want of such issue, to my brother Joseph Drake, and the heires, males, of his body, the revercon or remainder in fee to my right, heires."
On this clause in Sir Francis's will, in later days, when his nephew Francis's line became extinct, the Drakes in America, who claimed to be descendants of the brothers John and Joseph, mentioned in the will, based their claim to the property.
iii. Elizabeth, married February 14, 1638-9, John Trefusis of Trefusis, Cornwall.
7. iv. Thomas, baptized July 18, 1620, in Buckland Monachorum.
v. John of Ivybridge, baptized July 28, 1624, in Buckland Monachorum; buried November 9, 1681, in Ermington; married Prudence, daughter of Slavery of Slade, buried in the north aisle of Ermington Church, by whom he had eight children. His descendants lived in Ermington, Buckland Monachorum, Limpstone, Plymouth. Among them John Drake, commander of Her Majesty's ship "Sea Horse," and Francis Drake, Lieutenant of Her Majesty's ship "Rye."
vi. William of Netherton, baptized November 7, 1627; buried June 1, 1709, in Buckland Monachorum; married first, June 2, 1649, Susannah Ford; married second, November 14, 1699, Elizabeth, daughter of Charles of Lamerton; and died without issue.
vii. Sarah, baptized October 23, 1629; died 1667; married February 21, 1650, in Buckland Monachorum, Thomas Trevillian of Yarnscomb, Devon, died 1664.
viii. Joan, baptized February 22, 1631; married February 4, 1650, Sir Hugh Wyndham of Watchet, Somerset.
8. ix. Joseph, admitted to Exeter College, Oxford, June 21, 1653.
Thomas (Francis 6), baptized July 18, 1620; Major of Horse for Parliament; married July 22, 1641, Susan, sister of Elizeus Crimes. Child:
9. i. Sir Francis, third baronet, baptized May 1, 1642, in Buckland Monachorum.
Also, six children that died in infancy.
Joseph (Francis 6), admitted to Exeter College, Oxford, June 21, 1653; buried October 12, 1708, in Buckland Monachorum; married first, February 11, 1668, Margaret Crimes, buried May 1, 1682; married second, Grace _______, buried 1738. Children:
10. i. Bampfield, baptized, April 12, 1670, in Buckland Monachorum.
ii. Francis, baptized April 24, 1675, in Buckland Monachorum; married October 21, 1714, in Woodbury, Sarah Young of Woodbury. She was buried September, 1725, in Buckland Monachorum. Child: Gertrude, baptized October 18, 1716, in Buckland Monachorum.
Sir Francis, third baronet (Thomas 7), baptized May 1, 1642, in Buckland Monachorum; buried January 15, 1718, in Meavy; married first, February 6, 1664-5, Dorothy, Daughter of Sir John Bampfield, baronet, buried January 30, 1679, in Buckland Monachorum. Children, born in Buckland:
i. Dorothy, baptized February 1, 1666.
ii. Gertrude, baptized August 11, 1669.
iii. Margaret, baptized October 19, 1672.
iv. Frances, baptized May 9, 1674; married Henry Drake.
He married second, license dated October 21, 1680, Anne, daughter of John Boone, of Mt. Boone, Tounstall, Member of Parliament for Dartmouth, 1640. She was buried December 22, 1685, in Buckland Monachorum, s.p. He married third, license dated February 17, 1688-9, Elizabeth, daughter of sir Henry Pollexfen, Lord Chief Justice of Common Pleas. She was buried March 25, 1717, in Meavy. Children:
v. Elizabeth, married, by special license from the Archbishop of Canterbury, July 1, 1719, in Buckland Monachorum, Thomas Martin of Middle Temple, Welsh Judge. Had two daughters.
vi. Francis, baptized May 14, 1691; buried February 6, 1692-3, in Buckland Monachorum.
11. vii. Francis Henry, fourth baronet, baptized March 2, 1693-4.
viii. Pollexfen, baptized February 8, 1694, in Buckland Monachorum; died September 14, 1714, s.p.; buried in Meavy; commissioner of Appeals in Exicse.
ix. Duncomb, baptized 1694-5, in buckland Monachorum; died May, 1734, s.p.; buried in Upper Deal Church, Kent; married, license dated December 4, 1733, Grace, daughter of Sir Nicholas Trevanion, commissioner of the Dock Year, Plymouth.
x. George, Governor of Fort St. George, Madras; baptized December 4, 1696; will probated November 1741; married 1722, in Madras, Sophia Bugden, by whom he had two sons who died without issue, and three daughters.
ix. Henry, baptized November 13, 1702; buried September 27, 1704.
xii. Henry, baptized February 1709; will dated April 30, 1749, s.p.
Bampfield (Joseph 8), baptized April 12, 1670; buried June 20, 1729, in Farway; will probated July 9, 1729, in Exeter; of Exeter College, Oxonian, B.A. March 22, 1693; Rector of Farway, Devon; officiating minister at Bodmin, 1720. He married Catherine _______. Children:
i. Joseph, baptized August 11, 1694, in Buckland Monachorum; married, license dated November 1, 1720, widow Rebecca Hambly of Bodmin.
ii. Eleanor, married October 25, 1720, in Bodmin, William May of Bodmin, tanner.
iii. Joan, married, license dated April 17, 1722, in Bodmin, Samuel Key, Vicar of Bodmin.
iv. Francis, baptized August 21, 1701, in Farway; came to America, settled in North Carolina.
v. Bampfield, baptized October 23, 1704, in Farway; came to America, with his brother Francis.
vi. William, baptized December 17, 1705; solicitor in Wellington, Somerset; married Sophia ______. Children: 1. John, surgeon in Royal Navy; died at sea, unmarried. 2. Prudence, died 1807, in South Petherton, Somerset.
vii. John, baptized September 29, 1709, in Farway; mayor of Plymouth, collector of customs; died during his mayoralty; buried 1752-3, in Saint Andrew's, Plymouth; married, license dated August 13, 1736, Anne Spicer of Farway; buried October 25, 1786, in Saint Andrews, Plymouth. Children: 1. John, born about 1737; lieutenant 33d regiment; received freedom of Glasgow; died March, 1810. 2. Catherine, married Capt. Robert Rogers of Royal Navy, some of Sir John Rogers. She died, aged 19 years, s.p. 3. Anne Pollexfen, married first, William Young, Royal Navy, of Plymouth, who died March 25, 1772; two children; married second, George James Prosset, Capt. Royal Marines; died February 26, 1796, in Ireland; two daughters.
Francis Henry, fourth baronet (Francis 9), baptized March 2, 1693-4; buried February 15, 1739, in Buckland Monachorum; married September 27, 1720, Anne, daughter of Samuel Heathcote of Hursley, Hants, Esq., sister of Sir William Hursley, baronet, baptized 1702, buried November 5, 1769 in Hackney. Children:
12. i. Francis Henry, fifth baronet, baptized September 3, 1723, in Meavy.
ii. Francis Duncombe, baptized April 22, 1724; buried March 13, 1726-7, in Buckland Monachorum.
iii. Francis William, baptized August 22, 1724, in Buckland Monachorum; died 1787; vice-admiral of the Red, Governor of Newfoundland; married first, Grace America, daughter of Col. Samuel Gredhill, Governor of Placentia, Newfoundland. By this marriage, the validity of which is questioned, he had Sir Francis Henry, baronet of Cheltenham, Glost, born 1756, died 1839, without issue, married Anne Frances, daughter of Thomas Maltby, died 1840; married second, 1763, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Heathcote of Hursley, baronet, and had two daughters: Elizabeth, o.s.p., and Sophia, who married Jerome, Count de Salis.
iv. Anne Pollexfen, baptized 1726, in Buckland Monachorum; died February 18, 1772; buried in South Audley Street Chapel; married 1748, in St. Sepulchre, London, George Augustus Elliott, Baron Heathfield of Gibraltar, who died July 6, 1790, aged 73 years. Children: 1. Francis Augustus, second Lord Heathfield, died January 26, 1813, unmarried. 2. Anne, married John Trayton Fuller of Ashdown House, by whom she had eleven children, the eldest son being sir Thomas Trayton, who assumed the name of Elliott and Drake, and as Sir Thomas Trayton Fuller Elliott Drake was created baronet August 22, 1821. He was born February 8, 1785, and died without issue June 6, 1870. He married August 5, 1819, Eleanor, daughter of James Halford. She died September 18, 1841.
v. Francis Samuel, baronet, baptized September 14, 1729, in Buckland Monachorum; Rear Admiral of the Red; created baronet July 9, 1782, for bravery in action on the previous 12th of April. He died November 18, 1789, without issue. He married first, Elizabeth Hayman of Kent, and second, January, 1788, Pooley, daughter of George Onslow, Esq., member of Parliament for Guilford.
vi. Sophia, baptized September 14, 1729, in Buckland Monachorum; married Rev. John Pugh.
Sir Francis Henry (Francis Henry 11), fifth baronet, baptized Sept. 3, 1723, at Meavy, Member of Parliament from Bere Allston, Ranger of Dartmoor, Controller of Board of Green Cloth, died at his house at St. Jame's Place, February 10, 1794, without issue, when the baronetcy became extinct. The estate should then have reverted to the heirs of John Drake of Ivybridge, or, failing such, to the heirs of Joseph, brothers of Sir Francis, second baronet, by whose will the estate was entailed. The fifth baronet, however, left a will, bequeathing the estates to his nephew, Francis Augustus Elliott, second Lord Heathfield, son of his sister Anne Pollexfen. Thus, in violation of the express provisions of the will of Sir Francis, second baronet, Francis Augustus Elliott became possessed of the estates. he died unmarried in 1813, and the estate was claimed by his nephew, son of his sister Anne, Thomas Trayton Fuller, who took the name of Elliott and Drake, thus the estate passed entirely out of the Drake family. Sir Thomas Trayton Fuller Elliott Drake died in 1870, and by his will, dated July 25, 1861, the entire estates passed to his nephew, Francis George Augustus Fuller, a captain in the royal Regiment of Horse Guards, born December 24, 1839. He took the names of Elliott and Drake by royal license, October 3, 1870, and became Sir Francis George Augustus Fuller Elliott Drake, baronet of Nutwell Court.
During the life of Sir Thomas Trayton Fuller, several attempts were made by Drakes in England and America, who claimed to be descendants of John Drake of Ivybridge, and his brother Joseph, or in fact any branch of the family, to recover the Drake estates, in accordance with the will of the second baronet. The Drake estates were reported in America to consist of Buckland Abbey and the manors of Levy, Sherford, Limpstone, Callisham, Duvame, Knowle, Woodbury, Nutwell, and Yarcomb, all in Devon County, and some other estates in Cornwell County. Their value in 1873 was estimated all the way from one to three million dollars. The inventory of the estates appears to have been grossly exaggerated, as no mention is made of any such amount of property in the wills of Sir Francis Henry, fifth baronet, or of Sir Francis Augustus Elliott, or Sir Thomas Trayton Fuller. The estate apparently consisted of the ancient family house at Buckland Abbey, in the parish of Buckland Monachorum, and the barton belonging thereto, a mansion house at Nutwell Court, in the parish of Woodbury, and improved lands lying in Woodbury and Limpstone, Devon, also various personal property.
In 1870 an association was formed, with headquarters at New York, which was known at the "Association of the Heirs of Sir Francis Drake, deceased," the object of which was to "pursue and use all lawful ways and means, either by process of law, compromise, or otherwise, for obtaining, with all despatch, the settlement of the estates and moneys of Admiral Sir Francis Drake, deceased." Any person was eligible to membership who deemed himself or herself an heir of Sir Francis Drake, and might become a member by the payment of ten dollars, and the sum of two dollars annually thereafter. Their claim was based on an act passed about 1870, permitting aliens to inherit English personal property and real estate. Heirs were allowed by this law forty years in which to prove their claim after the death of the last male heir. The last representative of this family was Sir Francis Henry Drake, baronet of Cheltenham Glost, born 1756, died 1839, who had inherited the title on the death of his uncle, Francis Henry Drake, fifth baronet, but not the property, which has passed to Francis Augustus Elliott.
The membership of the association consisted principally of Drakes from new Jersey and New York State. It is interesting to note that the most active members were descendants of John of Windsor, Conn., and Thomas of Weymouth, Mass., whom recent investigations have proved to have belonged to an entirely separate family. The members of the association were very active for several years in collecting information and endeavoring to trace and prove their line of descent. They retained lawyers and sent them to England in order to present their claims in the courts there. This resulted in their finding that the "Squatter's Claim," of twenty years, entitled Thomas Trayton Fuller and his heirs to the Drake estates, and debarred every one else. A few years later a similar organization was formed, known as the "Drake Relative Association of Newcastle, Pennsylvania," whose efforts were equally fruitless.
Reference: "The Drake Family in England and America, 1360-1895 and The Descendants of Thomas Drake of Weymouth, Mas 1635-1691," by Louis Stoughton Drake, Privately Printed, Boston, 1896, Pages 275-283.
Submitted by: Barbara Williams