Farms of the Wills Families in Devon

Farms, Villages & Parishes
Wills Memorials


While studying the results of research of the Wills Family it was noted that many farms were named but no village or town/parish address was provided. Further research has located some of the farms as shown in the below table. Your contributions will be appreciated.

In many cases a reference is made to a "parish". For an explanation of the parishes see What is a Parish. The locations of the parishes/towns can be found at Devon Parish Finder or A Devon Gazetteer

Most parishes still undertake the old custom of "Beating The Bounds". This ensures that the parishioners know where the boundaries of their parish are, and warns the neighbouring parish not to encroach on them, as they did in former times by removing the boundary stone on a dark night ! Formerly young children of the parish were bumped on the boundary stones (which exist on the change of direction of the boundary) to instil into their memory where it is, telling them to do the same to their children in the future. Of course this is not allowed in our enlightened times, and now the chairman of the parish council has to suffer this indignity !

Ilsington has recently carried out this custom in honour of the Queen's Golden Jubilee and the boundary of 28 miles, which crosses all sorts of conditions, barbed wire, thick hedges, bogs and swamps, a golf course, rivers, up hill and down dale, was completed in four Saturdays. On the average about 40 people attended each time, and the sturdy ones who did all four were awarded a commemorative plaque."

Notes on the Farm/Village/Parish List

Bovey Tracey parish used to extend to the stream that runs alongside the cricket pitch near the old railway line in Lustleigh. Hence the old Manor of Wreyland was in Bovey but is now in Lustleigh. Wreyland Manor in the 1500s included Willmead farm and Middle and North Kelly.

Where it is said that farms are now private houses, the land has been sold off to adjacent farmers and maybe only an acre or two retained. They are virtually all very expensive and desirable private homes for wealthy incomers to the villages and normally in an excellent state of repair.

As most of the old house were built of Dartmoor granite, on granite, the walls have survived even if the roofs have required new timbers hence the houses mentioned in documents as early as 1547 still exist today as residences. Some have been demolished in the past and replaced by newer buildings or extended beyond all recognition but the name of the farm remains.

Farm & Village/Parish Locations and Information.
AllerBovey TraceyAller is a farm in Bovey parish near what was Plumley farm.
BlackingstoneHennock/ChristowBlackingstone is a farm in Hennock/Christow area, our family went from Kingskerwel to Blackingstone. Kingskerswell is a village near Paignton.
BlagdonPaingtonThis was a farm probably near Paington, but now probably does not exist as the area may well be built up. Blagdon is also a village in Somerset.
BowdenBuckfastleighBowden is a farm on the hill to south of main road. There is also a Bowden farm in Bovey Tracey which was a Wills farm.
BurnBickingtonA farm.
CaseleyLustleighCaseley, was a farm, is now private home in Lustleigh, originally farm borderd onto East Wrey farm.
ComptonMarldonCompton is a farm where the Wills lived but across the roads was an old castle, now restored, and some suggestions have been made that our Compton family lived there, but they were in the farm.
EastwreyLustleighEastwrey farm to north east of Lustleigh now small hotel/guesthouse,
Furlongs Brimley??Used to be a small farm now a smart modern house. Furlongs is also a big farm north of Moretonhampstead.
Gate HouseLustleighGate House was part of the Cleave hotel complex in the centre of Lustleigh but does not exist so name Gatehouse is now a new house nearby,
Great LounstonIlsington.
HawkmoreBovey TraceyHawkmore now probably in Hennock, was a farm then TB hospital now demolished and houses built.
Herebarn or
Lower Herebere
BickingtonHerebeare has always been in Bickington. It is an isolated farm to the east of the village.
Higher Dunscombe
Lower Dunscombe
ChudleighHigher and Lower Dunscombe are near Waddon and still farms.
Higher GabwellStokeinteignheadA large farm.
Higher Hisley.A farm.
Kelly North
Kelly Middle
HennockKelly was north and middle now in Lustleigh formerly part of Wreyland Manor still a farm.
KnowleBovey TraceyKnowle was farm now private house in Lustleigh.
Lemonford farm was in Ashburton but boundaries were changed in about 1890 and it is now in Bickington.
LendaIlsingtonLenda borders onto Narracombe farm. The building was burnt in the 1830's and rebuilt.
Note April 2002 - The remains of burnt timbers could be seen recently when the roof was renewed. The old house now rebuilt is a small appendage on the back of a very large house built and extended over relative recent times. There is still a cob walled barn close by which must be quite old. There was a mine on this farm.
LounstonIlsingtonA farm in Ilsington
Lower Hisley.A farm. The farm buildings and the first Wills to occupy this land.
Lower SigfordIlsingtonA hamlet of several farms in Ilsington.
Lustleigh MillLustleighThe old water mill on Wrey stream south of the village, now a private house, with a holiday flat in the old bakery building.
MiddlecoteIlsingtonMiddlecote was a farm in Ilsington, now a house.
Middle CoombeLustleigh
Middle Coombe is a farm between Lustleigh and Moretonhampstead.
MowlishStarcrossMowlish is a farm in Starcross, near Dawlish.
NarracombeIlsingtonNarracombe farm has been in the Nosworthy/Leare Wills family for about 400 years.
OdicknellKingskerswellOdicknell, was a farm. We are uncertain of its location. Can anyone assist in pinpointing the site please. October 2003 - Email received reading "Odicknoll, which is on Edginswell Lane in the parish of Kingskerswell. Described elsewhere as "an ancient manor”. Incidentally from a Google search it appears that there is another Odicknoll in North Devon"
PethebridgeLustleighPethebridge was a farm between Rudge and the Mill, now no longer exists.
PullabrookLustleigh Pullabrook is a farm between Lustleigh and Narracombe.
ReedChristowGeorge Wills who was living here in 1851 was the oldest brother of Thomas, Charles & Sarah who emigrated to Tasmania.
Note April 2002 - The old living quarters were at the end of the barn but it is now all one house with a wonderful view from the top of the hill. There is a big spoil heap there, now all grassed over, but apparently in the 1860s, or whenever, there was a silver mine up there. Present occupant is not a Wills, but said the postman who has just retired was George Wills.
RudgeLustleighRudge was a farm now a private house,
SigfordIlsingtonA small hamlet of several farms in Ilsington parish, to the south
SmallacombeIlsingtonA farm in Ilsington
South HartonLustleighSouth Harton is a farm, probably of monastic origins and the stone cross in the wall by the entrance is said to be from one of its ancient buildings.
Town BartonIlsingtonTown Barton is gone.
WaddonChudleighWaddon was a farm some two miles south of Chudleigh it is now private house with barn and some outbuildings, converted for living.
WayeLustleighWaye cottage nice private house.
Whiteway BartonKingsteightonIt has a walled medieval farmyard mentioned in the Domesday Book and is classified by the Nation Trust. Farmed by Thomas Wills from 1775 - 1835, then by his son Thomas from 1805 - 1846 and by his son John Thomas Brock from 1846 - 1851.
WillmeadLustleighWillmead dates from at least 1437. The farm buildings and the first Wills to occupy this land.
WreylandLustleighWreyland is a very old Manor, the house remains and is now in Lustleigh, there are several old houses around this building all now desirable residences.
.MortonShort for Moretonhampstead.
.North TawtonA village beyond Moretonhampstead.
.StokeinteignheadA village
.YealmytonYealmpton, a village towards Plymouth.
.IdsfordIdsford, is a typo for Ideford. Idsford is not a used word.
.Bere FerrersBere Ferrers is on a peninsula with the River Tavy on the eastern side, separating it from Plymouth, and the River Tamar on the western side, separating it from Cornwall.
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