The Last Will & Testament of John Babb (1697), Lord of Doddiscombsleigh

One of the records I’ve examined while conducting my detailed search of Doddiscombsleigh records is the Last Will & Testament of John Babb, Lord of the Manor. His will dated 1697 represents the end of the Babb reign of this Manor House and the associated Town Barton.

John’s will clears up a question that I’ve had for a while now. I’ve believed that the people of these very small communities moved freely to the neighboring communities and that they all likely knew who each other were. In John’s will you see this on full display as towns near and not too far away are referenced.

Immediately below you will find the 17th Century Original Will. Below it you will find my transcription. There are words and associations I’m not familiar with, so I’ve done the best I can to find the right words. You will see that Old English is extremely difficult to read. Give it a bit of a try and then move on to the Transcription. If you see a word that I’ve missed, please let me know!

What you will find in this document are references to people in places strewn from Newton Abbot up to Doddiscombsleigh and over to Exeter and beyond to Newton St Cyres.

This means that for over a month now I’ve been treading in the footprints of the Babbs of Doddiscombsleigh. They are likely the genesis of many of the Babbs in this Southeastern part of Devon. Incidents of infidelity have likely contributed to the spaghetti bowl of DNA we see represented. I don’t mean to say that there weren’t others, but I will not be surprised if one day we find that many of these disparate trees are connected via DNA. The paper trail can’t prove it, but it seems to be there lurking just out of sight.

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