This webpage is a collaborative effort on the part of a small group of family researchers descended from the Drakes of Cruwys Morchard, Devon. For privacy reasons no living people have been included on this database.
The research group originally consisted of: Andrew Dawson, Russell Downe, Bernard & Louise Drake, David Drake, Jack & Stella Drake, Guy Harris, Julie Moss, Lara Pollard, Marion West, and Jean Wilby. Sadly Julie Moss and Marion West are no longer with us.
Although a proven link is yet to be established, it is strongly believed that the Drake family of Cruwys Morchard are related to the Drake family of Ashe. It is probable that John Drake who died at Cruwys Morchard in 1552 was a younger son or grandson to John Drake of Otterton and the daughter of John Cruwys of Cruwys Morchard; the date of whose marriage is uncertain. The first two Drake generations on this family tree are therefore probable but speculative. The Drake family of Ashe goes back many more generations but these have not been included on this website due to the link remaining unproven.
Available records indicate that the Drake family first lived at the manor of Ruckham, Cruwys Morchard around 1540; although tax records indicate that there were Drake's in the area (Witheridge Hundred) prior to taking up residence at Ruckham.
Every effort has been made to authenticate and verify the information contained on this site; however, no guarantees can be made regarding authenticity.
The transcripts of most of the Wills are from the Olive Moget Collection and Oswyn Murray Collection which are located at the West Country Studies Library in Exeter. They are reproduced on this site with permission from the West Country Studies Library, Exeter. Please respect their copyright and do not reproduce these documents without seeking permission. The details of acknowledgement/source are given in the notes accompanying each of the transcripts.
Most of the original Wills were destroyed by the bombing of Exeter during World War II.
To view the Will transcripts and notes you need to click on the picture and a larger version should appear. If you have difficulty and the transcripts are not clear or large enough to read, I suggest you download them to your hard drive. You can then open the document with a program that reads JPEG files and use the magnification icon to enlarge the print.
For those that might not know, official church records (ie. baptism, marriage & burial records) have only been recorded since royally decreed in 1538. Anything prior is dependent upon other official records such as: taxes, court records, wills and other chancery documents. Many of the older documents are written in Medieval English or Latin. Spelling was not standardised until the 1700's, so names before that time were spelt phonically.
From medieval times until the Calender Act of 1751, the new year began on Lady Day (25th March), so there can be a bit of confusion over dates. Before 1752, if an event happened in January, February or March then using our present calendar, the year is actually a year later than stated.