The WILLS Family of Lustleigh

3. Ilsington Farms

3.1. Narracombe

Narracombe Located in the village of Ilsington the name originates from Northacombe.  Its origins probably go back to Saxon times. Was owned by our ancestors in the LEARE and NOSWORTHY families from the 1500s and entered into the WILLS family as a result of the marriage of George WILLS, of Higher Brimley, to Mary NOSWORTHY in September 1808. It was farmed by the late Dick WILLS who was the major historian of the family, with his colleagues Hugh PESKETT and Bill AMERY he is responsible, in over 60 years of research, for the vast amount of knowledge available on the family. The large ancient fireplace still exists inside the house and the original longhouse stucture was overbuilt by the new facade and upper floors which were added in about 1836 after George WILLS married Susanna CROCKWELL. The external steps on the right of the picture lead to the upper floor of what was once the cottage where the NOSWORTHY sisters Sarah and Elizabeth lived untill they died in the early 1820s. The old barn on the left housed the cider press.
In the 1851 census George WILLS, age 37, was farming 219 acres and employing 6 labourers.

3.2. Town Barton

Barton Barn Barton House

Town Barton in the village centre of Ilsington. The above photgraphs taken in 2002 show the farm house and the adjoining barn now converted into living accommodation. It was owned as a farm by Charles WILLS who was baptised in Lustleigh in 1743, he also purchased Herebeare Farm in 1786. It was passed to his son Charles and grandson Charles Corbyn WILLS, unmarried, who sold it in 1844.

3.3. Lenda

LendaSoutheast of the village centre its land is adjacent to Narracombe. George WILLS, baptised in Lustleigh in 1706, purchased one half of Lenda from J and E BOWDEN and the other half from Charles CORBYN it stayed in the family until his g grandson sold it in 1838 to, a cousin, Charles Corbyn WILLS of Town Barton.
In 1838 the Charles WILLS who was living in it when it was sold emigrated to South Australia with his wife Mary nee KNIGHT and two sons. Alfred a third son born in Australia brought news to Adeleide of the discovery of Copper and received a reward of 100 guineas. The Australian family story is that they left their home after a fire. This is confirmed by family stories told years ago to Dick WILLS of Narracombe, also by the discovery of burnt timbers in the roof of the farmhouse during recent rebuilding. Today the old cottage has been restored and is the low roofed part of a large house. An old cob walled barn remains in the farmyard. Like many other areas of Dartmoor there is evidence of past mining activity on this farm.
The 1881 census shows John WILLS living in Lenda with his wife son and 3 daughters farming 65 acres.

3.4. Smallacombe

SmallacombeIn 1723 John WILLS sold Smallacombe to Joseph WILLS, born in Lustleigh in 1675 the son of George of Rudge, who passed it to his son Joseph.. It stayed in the family through 4 more generations until Joseph, who was baptised in 1821 at the Bovey Tracey Baptist Chapel, sold it in 1860 to Sarl & Co. Open cast iron ore mining was carried out here in the 18/19th centuries.
In the 1851 census it was farmed by John NORTHCOTT with his wife and a total of seven children and grandchildren, the acreage was 167 and one labourer was employed.

3.5. Higher and Lower Sigford

SigfordOne of several farms in a small hamlet in the south of Ilsington parish. Lower Sigford shown in the photograph was purchased in 1780 by Joseph WILLS of Smallacombe who was baptised in Lustleigh on 12 Dec 1731 the grandson of George of Rudge, it was inherited by his son Thomas and then passed to his nephew John WILLS, born 1801, who sold it to Francis BERRY in 1842.
Charles WILLS born 1743 in Lustleigh acquired North (Higher) Sigford, possibly as a marriage settlement, from his brother in law Charles CORBYN. This was inherited by his son Charles and then his grandson Charles who sold it in 1860

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Updated 12 May 2003 by Mike Wills