Musbury, Devon, UK.
A trip back through 500 years of Drake history.

Date: Wednesday, 22 July 1998 1:44

Hello all Drakes thought you would be interested in knowing that musbury still exists and that there is much Drake memorbilia remaining even tho this village was mentioned in the domesday book as musberia.. in fact the norman Church-St Michael- is not in ruins and is still used for church services.

The oldest part of the building is the tower dating to 1420. inside is the Drake monument built in renaissance style in 1611 and extended about 1646. the figures represent 1. Sir John Drake and his wife, Amy 2. Sir Barnard Drake and his wife, Garthrud 3. Sir John Drake and his wife Dorothye. the wording on the last effigy mentions two members of the family in addition to the figures represented. they are Dame Mary Rosewell, dau of Sir Barnard and Sir John Drake, sone of the John Drake in the figure. this Sir John was father of Elizabeth who married Winston Churchill of minthorpe, dorset. her son was the future Duke of Marlborough and his birth is in the parish register of 1650. the baby was born at ashe house.

Three houses in musbury date from the c16...laurel cottage, yew tree house and may cottage. monmouth house, rebuilt in 1760 was reputed to have two secret passages, now boarded up, leading from it-one to Ashe house and one to the church.

The manor descended lineally from baldwin the sheriff to his successors the courtneys and was held by them until the attainder of the marquis of exeter for treason when the manor was given by Henry viii to Lord North who sold it to John Drake of Spratshayes, exmouth. the family lived at Ashe house which came to them thru marriage. Ashe house was built in 1583-86 althou there must have been a house there beforehand. because there is a record of a chapel being licenced on 27 apr 1387. Ashe house burnt to the ground in 1644 and rebuilt in 1669-83. During some of this time, the family lived at Great Trill. Ashe house was partially dismantled in 1782.

The drakes lived at Ashe until 1793 when Lady Anne Drake, to whom her husband, having died without issue left the estate, sold it out of the family, however, recently in 1947-members of the Drake family returned to live at Musbury.

There are many other memorials to the Drake family in the church as well as gifts from them. the commuion plate, including a chalice, pattenm, flagon and almsdish were given in 1730 by Sir William Drake of Ashe and the rerdos of venetian mosaic with a design of passion flowers set in marble behind the alter, was given by Sir William Drake of Surrey in 1874.

There is a large thatched-roof house next to the church with the Drake coat of arms over the door. no one was at home the day we were there. although someone called the police because our family was so long inside the church they thought we must be thieves!!! this was all straightened out quite the british way and we all had a good chuckle over the incident.

Behind the church there are signs pointing up to the Drake castle-thru meadows, over stiles and past the cows...we expected to see a ruined foundation at the least and only found out from the police that we had seen the ruins-a pile of rocks and bushes at the top of the hill. from that vantage point you are able to see all the way to lyme regis and the atlantic.

Well worth the trip.....esp since it is quite unusual to see a group of six figures-usually one one or two will be presented in this manner. they are all quite lifelike and beautifully preserved.

Hope this is not redundant but had not seen this information posted and thought it would be of interest to some of you.

My Drake line comes about because of the marriage of Isreal Dewey to Abigail Drake in 1678. Then the Dewey's take over. The visit to Musbury was practically magical as this was the first time I had been at the original starting point of any of my ancestors (in another country) our three children were with us and didn't mind visiting yet another church when they realized that this one was related to us-although quite distantly. Moments like this make all those puzzling roads to genealogy answers worthwhile.
The Drake monument that is in the parish church at Musbury.
Thankyou: Stephanie