Mark Drake:
Founder of the Churchstanton family.

His father was John Drake of County Somerset (parish unknown) who on 1st September, 1619, was granted a license to alienate " all that land and pasturage with appurtenances called Buncombe, the property containing by estimation 60 acres on the parish of Broomfeilde in the County of Somerset".(1)

He and his sons Mark, John and Thomas granted the said property to John Stawell, Esq,, and his heirs. Since, John (afterwards Sir John) had some connection with High Ham in Somerset, where the parish registers show there was a long-established family of Drake, it is possible that John Drake came from High Ham and that Mark Drake was born there. At present no baptismal entry has been found for him. It seems probable, however, that he was born about the end of the 16th century. (It is likely that John's three sons,had all to be over 18 to be parties to the deed quoted above).

He removed to Churchstanton, possibly about 1630, but at any rate before 1641 when he signed the Protestation Roll for the parish, and is also referred to at " of Churchstanton" in the entry in Pitminister Parish Register which records his marriage there, on 24th January, 1641, to Grace Babb of Pitminister. The legal age for signatories of the Roll was from 18 years of age, upwards, so he must have been born before 1624. An argument in favour of his being already a young man in 1619 exists in the appearance in the Mayor's Court Roll, City of Exeter, of a record that "at court held 24th July l8th (year of the reign of) James 1, ( ie, 1620, ) Marcus Drake sued John Templer, who did not appear". No other particulars are given about the plaintiff, but it is almost certainly Mark Drake of Churchstanton, owing to the Christian name, which occurs in no other branch of the Drake family, (The compiler of these notes has searched a very large number of Devonshire and Somerset parish registers, wills and documents over a period of twenty years and found only one Mark Drake (of a parish in Dorset) whose descent from the Churchstanton family could not be proved.)

Mark Drake's marriage in 1641 was therefore at a late age by comtemporary standards; his widow survived him by twenty years, and his will mentions no children of any other marriage; facts which seem to indicate that he did marry at approximately forty years of age. It is possible that his share of the proceeds of the sale of Buncombe ( which is a beautiful valley at the south end of Quantock Hills) went to buy his farm at Churchstanton. His property was valued for probate in 1671 at 249.2,which must be multiplied by about twenty to arrive at some idea of it's value in terms of money as at 1939; the inventory attached to the will mentions bullocks, sheep and winnowing sheets beside furniture

Mark Drake had the following children;-- Mark,
John "under 30" in April 1671,
Edward, "under 25",
and daughters
Mary, wife of William GRABHAM,
Frances wife of Peter POOLE.

He died in 1671 and was buried at Churchstanton. His will, dated 19th April was proved in June 1671, his son Mark being sole executor, and the witnesses John Grabham, Joshua North, and John Southwood; the latter was Lord of the Manor. His widow Grace was buried at Churchstanton in 1691. His two younger sons left the parish (see under their names) and he was followed at Churchstanton by his son ;-

(1) This document is now in the Public Record Office, London.

Sophia Daphne Drake
" The Drake family of Chuchstanton and Teignmouth" 1950
Roy Andrews