Devon Migration Map 1456-1650 (Phillip Babb)

Moving into the 1600-1650 timeframe, we finally arrive at the timeframe from which Phillip Babb would have departed England for America. He is known to have taken up residence at the Isles of Shoals where he was well established before his appointment as Sherriff in 1652.

1456-1650 – Courtesy of Bing Maps

In this Edition we now can finally see the bigger picture of the place we believe to be the hometown of Phillip Babb of the Isles of Shoals. Dartmouth is now connected with Totnes since 1586. As Phillip is a character of such great interest to many of our members, let me spend a little time expounding upon that.

Jasper Babb of Dartmouth (1586)

Jasper is a resident of Dartmouth and has two girls that were baptized in the same church Phillip was married in, St. Saviour. Jasper was born before 1573 and was twice married. He was married first to Joane Whitynge in 1586. In 1588 he remarried to Richaurd Crosse. They had two daughters that were baptized in 1590 and 1592.

Jasper is a potential father or grandfather for Phillip, even though no record exists to prove the connection.

Geoffrey Babbe of Totnes (1589)

1589 – Geoffrey Babbe of Totnes is sued by Richard Langdon to terminate a lease and direct Geoffrey to leave.

Glossary of Terms:
messuage: a dwelling house with outbuildings and land assigned to its use.
close: Having boundaries; enclosed: a closed corridor between the two buildings.
dismission: 1) To end the employment or service of; discharge. 2) To direct or allow to leave

Description: Langdon v Babbe.
Plaintiffs: Richard Langdon of Dartmouth, Devon.
Defendant: Geoffrey Babbe.
Subject of decree: Redemption of mortgage of a lease of a messuage and close in the borough of Dartmouth and of certain plate; dismission.
Date of decree: 18 June 31 Eliz.
Date: 1589 Jun 18
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Reference: C 78/72/12

Geoffrey Babbe, was of course, the famous merchant of Totnes. He owned a town mill and served as the Mayor twice in his lifetime. While he didn’t move to Dartmouth, there is a possibility that one of their children did. The will of Geoffrey’s widow Mary Dowsse provides for the children of Christopher Babb which is assumed to be of close relation such as their son, grandson or a nephew. We have no details on these children at this time. They are unnamed and we know that there are at least two of them. However, there could be more. Christopher is assumed to have passed by the time of her will in 1623 as only the children are provided for.

Note: As a reminder, Phillip was married in Dartmouth in 1634 and was in the US by 1652. So, these are a potential match.

Andrew Babb of Dartmouth (1660-1700)

Andrew is sued by Stephen Whitticke for possession of Whitticke’s property in the 1660-1700 time period. Andrew also had a daughter Mary Baptized at St. Saviour in 1666. Andrew is a potential brother or cousin of Phillip.


The real connection could be any, all or none of the above. However, for the first time we some concrete possibilities. We will need to begin a concentrated effort to collect Y-DNA from some Newton Abbot/Totnes area Babbs to start to bring these possibilities into focus.

Other Insights

Phillip isn’t the only show in this 50-year period. We see the family start to stretch out to North Devon. Bishops Tawton makes its debut in 1649 along with Swimbridge in 1637 and Arlington in 1614. Arlington is connected back to Doddiscombsleigh and Broadhempston

These three towns ring the city of Barnstaple and Fremington (Home to the Falcons). The Falcons lineage currently doesn’t start until 1844, so we are still 200-years before its known date of inception.

In the far Eastern side of Devon, we see Burlescombe arrive on the scene. Burlescombe is a quandary. It lies at a virtual center point between the home of the Somerset Dragons of Pitminster and the Gryphons of Halberton. The Gryphons make their debut in 1654 just a few years after the date on this map. That connection will be more apparent in the 1700 map that is forthcoming.

Even though many of these lines haven’t come into being yet, I’ve placed the Arms for each of the known Y-DNA Lineages on the map, to help you visualize the proximity of the connections I’m referring to. Note that two lineages are just outside the borders of Devon and could be shedding descendants across the county lines. The Celts of South Petherwin are located just across the county line in Cornwall, though their first record isn’t until 1776. The Dragons of Somerset came into existence by 1510, so they have been there through virtually our entire history in Devon.

Along the southern portion of Devon we see a number of connections taking root and many of them are connected to Geoffrey Babb, the merchant of Totnes.

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