Clavell of Dorset and Devon Coat of Arms as conferred to Walter de Claville by William the Conqueror in 1066

(This is an actual excerpt from the book entitled 'History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset' 3rd Edition, Volume 1, pg 566-568 by John Hutchins. This is the copyright of the Dorset County Council- the Dorset Archives Services. Please contact the Dorset Council -address at bottom of page- if you intend to reproduce parts or the entirety of this document.)

7 Hen. V. the said John Sperhauk and Richard Heryng, by charter dated at Smedemore 12 June, granted to John Wyot, son and heir of William Wyot, all the lands and tenements, &c. in Smedemore within the parish of Great Kymerich, which they had by the grant and feoffment of William Wyot, father of the said William Wyot, to hold to the said John Wyot and the heirs of his body; remainder to Johanna, sister of the said John Wyot, and the heirs of her body; remainder to John Wyot, uncle of the said John Wyot, and the heirs of his body; remainder to John Estoke, his heirs and assigns for ever: witness, John Nuborgh, William Payn, Robert Rempston, Brian Jerard, William Clavyle Chaldecote, John Talbot, and others.a John Wyot died without issue, whereupon Smedmore fell to his sister by virtue of this entail. She married John Clavyle.

The Family of Clavell could boast an antiquity not to be equalled. in this county, and very rarely in any other. The name is no doubt derived from some place in Normandy called Claville, of which there are several, the most important being Claville Mottevile in the arrondissement of Rouen. Walter de Clavile probably accompanied the Conqueror in his invasion of England, for at the time of the compilation of Domesday Book, he was tenant in chief of five lordships in Dorsetshire, viz. Alveronetune (Alfrington), Cnolle (Knoll), Holne (Holme), Cume (Combe), and Mordune (East Morden); but he had a still greater number in Devonshire. Amongst the latter was Burlescombe near Tiverton, and there his descendants of the elder branch continued for many generations to reside. Walter de Clavile, of Burlescombe, founded the priory of Canons’ Leigh in that parish, between 1161 and 1173. Morden, in this county, continued the property of the Devonshire Claviles, and some further notice of them will be found hereafter in the account of that place. The other property of Walter de Clavile in Dorsetshire seems to have passed at a very early period to a younger son, perhaps before the time of Henry II. Robert de Clavilla held a fee in “Porbica” in the time of Henry I, of which two hides were given to the Abbey of Tcwkesbury, probably about 1106, soon after the monastery of Cranbourne became a priory dependent on the former house. The gift was conferred by charter of King Henry I.
The Claviles seem to have been feudatories of the Earls of Gloucester, and to have held most of their lands of that family and their successors. In 12 Hen. II. Radulphus de Clavill held one fee in Dorset, of Alured de Lincoln, of the new feoffment, and Robert de Clavile held another of Gerbert de Perci, of the old feoffment. He also held a fee in Wiltshire of the Bishop of Sarum. At the same time Walter de Clavell held ten fees of the Earl of Gloucester. The latter are reckoned amongst the Earl’s possessions in Gloucestershire, because Gloucester was the site of the earldom, but they no doubt comprised the property which this Walter de Clavile held of the same lord in Devonshire and elsewhere, for his name does not occur in the BlackBook of the Exchequer amongnst the proprietors of the latter county, where he is known to have had at this time large posessions.
A Radulphus de Clavile, brother of Walter de Clavile, was a witness to the latter’s charter of foundation of the Priory of Canons’ Leigh. William de Clavile was the son and heir of Walter, ~ and in 22 Hen. II. the sheriff of Dorset and Somerset accounts at the Exchequer for 10s paid by a William de Clavill as part of a debt of 20s due from him to the Crown. 6 and 8 John, —Robert de Clavell was one of the surveyors of works then being carried on at Corfe Castle, and Robert de Claville de Ia Bere was a witness to a charter of Roger de Clavile, grandson of Walter, the founder above mentioned.
One branch of this family was seated at West Holme in Purbeck, a lordship held by Walter de Clavile at the Domesday survey. The last William Clavile of Holme died in the time of Edward I, leaving two daughters his coheirs. Margaret, one of these, inherited Holme, and married John Russel of Tyneham. What became of Alice, the other daughter, is uncertain; but there are some grounds for conjecturing that she may have been the Alice who was wife of John Estoke of Barneston, another of the manors in Domesday Book which belonged to Walter de Clavile.
In the time of Edward I, we find two other branches of this family in Purbeck, one of which was seated at Quarr in the parish of Worth Matravers, in the description of which place some further account of them will be found; and another at Leeson, in Langton Matravers. From the latter those of Smedmore were descended. William Clavile of Lesington was on a jury relatinn. to Corfe Castle, 27 Edw. I.b He was probably the same William Clavile who in 4 Edw. II. —settled lands in Langton and Swanage on himself and Matilda his wife, as her jointure.’ William Clavile, of Leston, was a witness to charters 11, 41, 30, 51 Edw. III. 2~ Ric. II. 10 lIen. IV. and 7 lIen. V. ;k and in 2 Ric. II. a William Clavile of Leston, with Johanna Talbot, released and quitclaimed to John Corfe and his heirs, lands in Godlingston and elsewhere. The Godlingston roll, apparently written about the commencement of the reign of Hen. VI., gives us three descents of the Claviles of Leston, viz. William Clavile of Leston, who by Alice, natural daughter of Henry Talbot of Godlingston, was father of another William Clavile of the same place, father of Walter of Leston, Nicholas, John, and Henry. No dates are added, and it is difficult to determine with accuracy to which of the two William Claviles mentioned in this roll some of the foregoing dates relate. Walter Clavel of Leston was a witness to a charter dated 28 April, 11 Hen. VI.; and there can be little doubt that he is the same Walter named in the Godlingston roll. John Clavel, his younger brother, seems to have been the same John who married Johanna Wyot, by which marriage he acquired Smedmore, Barneston, and other considerable property in tne Isle of Purbeck. We do not find this John Clavell in possession of any property except that which he obtained with his wife, which makes it more probable that he was a younger son. Henry Whitecliff in 9 Hen. V. settled lands in Whitecliff in Purbeck on himself for life, with remain-der to Walter Clavel (possibly the Walter lastwent joned) and Joan his wife, with remainder to William, Richard, and John their sons, and Joan their daughter; remainder to his own right heirs.
1 Jan. 5 Hen. VI. John Clavell, describing himself as “John Clavell of Smedemore in Purbik, who married Johan, cousin and heir of John Estoke, late of Barneston in Purbik, otherwise called Middlestrete, son of Edith Cutell of Great Craford,” releases and quitclaims to Nicholas Eliot clerk, John Payn of Egliston, and Robert Wynterborn, and their heirs, all his right and claim to all the lands, tenements, &c. which the said John Estoke called Middlestreet, lately deceased, recently held to him and Alice his wife who is still living, and to the heirs of the body of the said John called Middlestreet, in West Orchard, Church Knob, Barneston, Est Criehe, Est Holne, West Tynham, and Baltyngton; the reversion and remainder whereof belonged to John Rempston of Godlyngston, lately deceased; witness, John Neuburgh, sen. John Newburgh, jun. Robert Rempston, Richard Canon, John Hardyng, and others. Three seals are attached: 1st. on a shield fretty three cinque-foils or mullets, legend IDESU (?); 2d. a lion sejant; 3. R
30 Sept. 1 Edw. IV. John Clavel of Barneston and Johana his wife granted the manor of to Christiana, late wife of John Clavel their son and heir apparent deceased, for her life, rendering annually 26s 8d., and allowing to the said John and Johana six cartloads of underwood out of the said manor; Thomas Clavel and William Clavel, sons of the said John and Johana, are appointed attorneys to deliver seizin of the premises; witness, William Chyke,  and others.
9 Edw. IV. John Clavyle of Smedmore and Joan his wife held lands in Smedmore between the manors of East and West Kymeriche. 11 Edw. IV. Joan, late wife of John Clavyle, granted Smedmore to her son Thomas for his life. 22  Edw. IV. William, son and heir of John Clavyle of Barneston, lets to farm to Thomas Clavyle his unlcle all his tenements, houses, edifices, lands,  &c. in Smedmore in Purbyk, for a term of sixty  years, rendering 13s 4d. per annum, and half a  pound of pepper, and paying and performing to the King, the Prior of Christchurch Twynham, and other pcrsons whomsoever, all other rents, burdens, and services therefor due and payable. Seal, a buck statant, above its back the letter W.
20 July, 10 lIen. VIII. William Clavell, son and heir of John Clavell, granted to Edmund Cockerell, John Daekeham of Stypulton, Thomas Dackehain of Corfe Castle, Robert Gyllatt, and  Philip Chycke, clerk, his manor of Barneston and all his messuages, lands, and tenements in Barneston, Est Cryche, West Orchard, Warcham, Church Knolle, West Tyneham, Baltington, Est Holme, Smedemore, and Little Kyineryge, to the use of himself for his life; remainder to his sons
Roger and Alexander successively in tail male with remainder to the right heirs of Henry Wyot’ knt. This deed is endorsed “the feoffment~ of William Clavell, sumtyme of Serne.”
Amongst the muniments at Smedmore, in an original paper in the handwriting of the sixteenth  century, as follows:
“The Title and Pedigree or William Clavyle of Cerne in the Lands underwritten:-
 “John of Estoke was seasyd of lands in Barneston, West Orchard, Church Knoll, Est Crych,  West Tynbam and Baltington, in his demeanes as of fee, and had issue Agnes, who was weddyd  to William Wyatt, and had issue Joan, who was weddyd to John Clavyle, and had issue John Clavyle, which John had issue the said William Clavyle, which hath issue Roger, and is in playn lief anno 6 Hen. VIII. and that all the said londes be entailed to the said William by fyne anno 5 Hen. VI. as appereth in the fyne remaining amongst his evydence.—Also the said Wiham Wyatt was seasyd in londes in Smedmore and Littel Kymerishe, in his demeane, as of fee taille, and had issue Johan, whiche tooke to husband John Clavyle, and had issue John, which John had issue the said William Clavyle now lyvyng 6 Hen. VIII. which William hath issue Roger, being in playn lief. These londes be intayled by dede indentyd remaining in the keepyng of the  said William Clavyle.” This William Clavdll died 30 Oct. 29 Hen. VIII. seized of eight messuages or carucates, and
100 a. of land, 30 a. of meadow, 10 a. of wood, 60 a. of pasture, 6a. of moor, 30s rent, and a rent  of a rose in Barneston, Church Knoll, West Orchard, Est Orchard, East Holme, Westeyne- ham, Baltington, and Wareham; 1000 a. of heath in Est Crych, and pasture for 410 sheep in the  commons of Est Crych, &c. held of the Prior of Hermitage, with the exception of the tenements  at Wareham, which were held of the Prior of Shene. Also 360 a. of pasture and 40 a. of  meadow in Smedmore and Little Kymeridge, held of the Prior of Christchurch Twyneham, as of his manor of Estington, in soccage, by rent of 9s 8d. per annum; Roger Claveil his son and heir, aged 40 and more.’
 John Clavyle, esq. at his death, 10 Aug. 5 and 6 Phil. and Mary, held the manor of Barnston; three messuages, and 404 acres of land in Barnston, East Criche, Church Knolle and Little Kymeriche, clear yearly value 61. 13s 4d.; lands in Smedmore, and common for 410 sheep in East  Criche, and a drove on the west part of the close called the Park at Smedmore, held of the manor  of Estington, by rent of 9s 8d., clear yearly value 41.; the manor of Kymeriche, held of the King and Queen in chief, by the twentieth part of a knight’s fee, and rent of 27s., clear yearly value
11l. 1s. 8d.; lands in Cleangerwel1 clear yearly value 40s.; the manor of Bradel, held of Corfe Castle, clear yearly value 10l. 13s. 4d.; John his son and heir, aet. 16, who had his livery, 4 Eliz.
Sir William Clavel was son and heir of the last mentioned John. He had a command in Ireland during the troubles there at the end of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, when he was created a knight  banneret. lIe was a great but unfortunate projector. His projects, and the prosecutions that  resulted from them, involved him in losses amounting to 20,000l., owing to which he was obliged to sell and mortgage great part of his estate. The remainder, consisting of Smedmore, Orchard, and Kimeridge,—in order, he says, to keep the same in his name and blood,—he settled, by indenture dated 2 April, 1643, on himself for life, and in default of heirs male of his own body, to his kinsman Roger Clavell of Winfrith, for his life; and afterwards to the issue male of the said Roger by any wife he should thereafter marry;  remainder to Roger and Waiter, the two sons of the said Roger, by Elizabeth his former wife, successively in tail male. This Roger of Winfrith was great-grandson of Walter Clavell, who was great-uncle of Sir William. The latter, therefore, in making this settlement, passed over all his nearest relations, including not only his own brother Hatton, then living, and the issue of his two uncles, but he ever- postponed the sons, also then living, of Roger the devisee, in favour of any issue male of the latter then unborn. This singular and capricious disposal of his property may perhaps be attributed partly to a mind soured by unsuccessful speculation, and partly to mortification at the disgrace brought upon his name and
family by the conduct of John Clavell his nephew and heir apparent, the son of his next brother  John. This person, having fallen very early in life into evil ways, was apprehended for a robbery on the highway about the commencement of the reign of Charles I, and, with his associates, con- victed and condemned; but he experienced the royal clemency through the special interposition of the Queen. During his imprisonment, before his trial, he made a poetical appeal to the King, and he subsequently addressed the Queen in verse, in gratitude for the pardon she had obtained for him. Many other addresses in prose and verse to the King, nobility, judges, magistrates, &c. were written by John Clavell during his confinement. He also wrote a poem of considerable length, under the following title: “The Recantation of an ill life, or a Discovery of the Highway Law, with vehement Dissuasions to all (in that kind) Offenders. As also many cautelious admonitions, and full instructions how to know, shun, and apprehend a thief, most necessary for all honest travellers to prevent, observe, and practise.” The preface is dated “from my lonely, sad, and unfrequented chamber in the King’s Bench, October, 1627.” After he had received his liberty, he presented a poetical address to his “honorable friend, his ever dear and well approved good uncle, Sir William Clavell, knight banneret,” asking his forgiveness, on which he says his own happiness depends, and promising never to return to his evil course of life. Should he do so he concludes,

“O, then for ever disinherit me!

In a third edition of these poems, 4to, 1634, the editor states that the author was still living, and  that it was “become very disputable amongst wise men, whether they should most admire his former ill ways, or his now most singular reformation.”
George Clavell of Smedmore, esq. the last male representative of this branch of this very ancient family, dying without issue, devised his estates to his nephew William Richards, esq. eldest son of  his sister Margaret, wife of William Richards of Warmwell, esq. with an injunction that he should  assume the name and arms of ClavelL The latter gentleman, also dying childless, was succeeded by his brother the Rev. John Richards, rector of Church Knoll, who also assumed the name of his mother’s family. He died intestate in 1833, when his estates devolved on his coheirs-at-law,viz. Maria Sophia Richards, his only surviving sister, and the issue of Mrs. Pleydel, his eldest sister, then deceased. Mrs. Maria Sophia Richards devised her moiety to her niece Mrs. Mansel, who, having inherited a share as one of the coheirs, obtained a further share by gift from her youngest sister Lady Bingham. The remaining shares have been purchased of the other coheirs, and the whole estate, being thus reunited, now belongs to Lieut-Col. and Mrs. ManseL
Although the name of Clavell has become extinct in this county, it is so rare to meet with any living male descendant of a Domesday proprietor of lands in Dorsetshire, that we have deemed it not inappropriate to add a short pedigree, showing the descent of Captain Clavell, R.N. from the Clavells of Winfrith, who, though he has hitherto failed in establishing the connecting link, there can be little doubt, is a descendant of the Clavells of Purbeck. See pages 570,571.
 “Sir William Clavell,” Coker says, “built a little newe house at Smedmore, and beautified it with pleasant gardens.” This house was partly rebuilt by the last Edward Clavell, esq. and greatly augmented by George Clavell, esq. the last male representative of this branch of the family. It is now the residence of Lieut.-Col.  and Mrs. Mansel.

To contact, please write to:
Dorset History Centre
Bridport Rd.
Dorchester  DT1 1RP  England UK | Tel: +44, 01305 250550 | Fax: +44, 01305 257184

(C)opyright  Dorset Record Office, Dorset County Office, Dorset England