I ran across another Doddiscombsleigh, Devon reference tonight. It was in the form of a “Consolidated Index to Devon Wills“. I wish I’d had this link months ago. But I don’t know that I would have been able to sort it out had I had it back then. As it is, I almost missed it today.
The reference is to a will that is stored in the “DHC” (Devon Heritage Center) which is in Exeter. It is a fragment of a will and the first name of the person who wrote has been lost. The exact location of where the person lived has also been lost as has been the exact date of the will in question. There is a note on the abstract that it would have been written in the early 17th Century. I count that as 1700-1730, which is how I’ve entered it into the Big Tree. As we have a record in 1611 of his marriage, we can further narrow the dates to between 1611-1630.
What was discernable from the will were the locations of “Bridford, St. Thomas in Exeter and Doddiscombsleigh (all in Devon). In case you are seeing this story for the first time, there are no other families associated with Doddiscombsleigh other than the Hext/Babb lines that became the Lords of the Manor.
This seems pretty hopeless from the onset. The will simply shows a surname of “Bab”. I looked around the tree and initially didn’t find anything under Exeter or Doddiscombsleigh. But when it came to Bridford, there is a single person who exactly meets the description. It belongs to a Gyles Bab, who married Susan Leyman on 25 May 1611 in this very town. Gyles is one of only two Babbs in Bridford and the other appears about 120 years later.
Based on the same exact spelling of the surname and the very precise location, I was able to match Gyles to this Last Will and Testament.
The result of this is that we have now connected Bridford, Exeter and Doddiscombsleigh in the 1611 timeframe. Bridford adjoins Doddiscombsleigh on its western border. While I had records for Bridford, there was nothing to connect them until today.
What is the significance of this?
Proving connections between other towns and Doddiscombsleigh is imperative to determine what happened to the family after there were no direct Babb descendants left to take on the Lordship. This connection predates the last Babb Lords in the location and shows that there are other lines that continued forward. These lines, if brought to modern day will help us understand who the rightful descendants of the most powerful Babbs are to have ever ruled!