DENYS, Walter (d.c.1410), of Bradford, Devon.
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Family and Education
s. of John Denys of Bradford by his w. Alice ?da. of John and sis. and h. of William Crystenstowe. m. Iseult, da. of Stephen Durneford of Plymouth,1 wid. of Gilbert Wybbery alias Forde of Woolleigh in Beaford, Devon, 1s.
The Denys family of Devon, which was Danish in origin, had been split in the 13th century into two main lines: that living at Orleigh in Buckland Brewer, and that of Manworthy, Gidcott and Bradford. Walter’s father came from the latter branch of the family; and besides the manor of Bradford in Milton Damerel he held parcels of land in north and east Devon at Thorndon, Holsworthy, Meeth, Goodleigh, Axminster, Uphay and elsewhere. Walter inherited the estate before 1382, when he and his mother conveyed property at Smallcombe with appurtenances on Exmoor to Richard Lokeworthy and his wife.2
In January 1386 Denys was pardoned his outlawry in London for failing to make an appearance in court when sued by a skinner for a debt of £4 0s.8d. In 1394 he was co-patron of the rectory of Alwington, by reason of an enfeoffment made by David Coffyn, the lord of the manor; and four years later he was charged at the assizes in a suit of novel disseisin regarding property in the same parish. His marriage to Iseult Durneford did not take place until after 1400, at which time she was still married to a co-defendant in the Alwington case, Gilbert Wybbery.3 Denys took the opportunity offered by his journey to Gloucester for the Parliament of 1407 to present to the chancellor a long list of grievances against Robert Hurdwick of Cornwall and others of Devon, including charges of extortion, disseisin of lands in Pylworthy, conspiracy, assault and malicious indictments before the marshal of the King’s household, but whether he ever obtained redress does not appear.4
Denys is last recorded in October 1410 when Bishop Stafford of Exeter wrote to the dean of Trigg Major informing him that whereas the former MP, as proctor for the rector of Marhamchurch, had arranged for a chaplain to serve there, the latter had broken his contract. He may have died before September that year, when his son Thomas presented to the living at Meeth, and certainly he was dead by December 1411, for it was his widow who then did likewise regarding the church at Bradford. Iseult Denys again acted as patron of Bradford in later years and in 1438 Bishop Lacy granted her a licence for an oratory at Forde in the parish of Little Torrington.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Trans. Devon Assoc. lxxiii. 147; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 279.
- 2. Devon and Cornw. N. and Q. xxii. 351-3; xxiv. 142-3; Trans. Devon Assoc. xxxiii. 159-60.
- 3. CPR, 1385-9, p. 31; Reg. Brantingham ed. Hingeston-Randolph, 136; JUST 1/1502 m. 161d; Reg. Stafford, 283.
- 4. C1/16/79.
- 5. Reg. Stafford, 34, 83, 149, 187, 251; Reg. Lacy (Canterbury and York Soc. lxi), 78.