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The History of Higher Hele

Cornwood, Devon

Photograph by Simon Crosbie 2007

Jean Manco for GHK

January 2008
Higher Hele

Heles of Hele in Cornwood..................................................................................................................6
A confusion of Heles........................................................................................................................7
Expanding acres...............................................................................................................................9
The house that the Heles built........................................................................................................12
The decline of the Heles................................................................................................................21
The Elfords at Hele.............................................................................................................................21
The Georgian House ..........................................................................................................................22
The tenant farm ..................................................................................................................................25
20th-century alterations .....................................................................................................................26
Recommendations for further research .............................................................................................27
Appendix 1: Listed Building Description...........................................................................................28
Appendix 2: Deeds of North Hele .....................................................................................................29
Appendix 3: Will of John Hele of Hele .............................................................................................30
Appendix 4: Extract from Hoskins, Devon .......................................................................................31
Appendix 5: Tithe apportionment for Higher Hele 1842...................................................................32
Appendix 6: Census Returns for Higher or North Hele ....................................................................34
Appendix 7: Additional maps.............................................................................................................37
Appendix 8: Arms of the Heles of Hele.............................................................................................38

Higher Hele


Higher Hele is a granite-built, Grade II listed farmhouse on the edge of Dartmoor. It is one of the
scattered farmsteads within the parish of Cornwood, north-east of Plymouth.1 Its neighbouring farm
is Lower Hele. Both have had a change of name. Higher Hele was known as North Hele and its
neighbour South Hele from the medieval period until gradually acquiring their modern names in the
course of the 19th century (1).

The listed building description (appendix 1) is comparatively brief, and leaves open an interesting
question. The present building is mainly in a Georgian style, but incorporates earlier features,
including a finely-carved doorway with a four-centred arch. So are these features re-used from an
earlier building, or was a Georgian house added in front of an earlier building, as Pevsner thought.2
This report was commissioned by GHK on behalf of the present owners in the hope of a clearer
understanding of the building's history.

Its early story is intriguing. It could not be completely unravelled in the time available. In fact the
surviving evidence may never be enough for total certainty. So this report can only sketch a picture
from the pieces of the jigsaw currently in hand. Hele in Cornwood was the ancestral home of a
gentry family called Hele. We shall see the confusion over where exactly their mansion was.
However the Heles owned North Hele until their decline in the 18 th century, when it fell into the
hands of the Elfords, who sold it to Sir John Leman Rogers of Blachford in 1814. The house was a
tenant farm on the Blachford estate until c.1960.


Thanks are due to Martin and Louise Collins for allowing access to the building and their
thoughtful comments on it, to the previous occupiers Mrs Eva Moysey and her son Richard for their
helpful information on changes made to it in their time and to Simon Crosbie of GHK for
photographs, transport and useful discussion.


NA = National Archives
PWDRO = Plymouth and West Devon Record Office

1 The full address is Higher Hele Farm, Cornwood, Ivybridge, Devon PL21 9RE.
2 Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, Buildings of England: Devon (1989), p. 289.

Higher Hele

1: North Hele (Higher Hele) and its lands from the OS map of 1904.

Higher Hele

2: Plan of Higher Hele by GHK, coloured by J.Manco to suggest phases of building.

Higher Hele

Heles of Hele in Cornwood

John Pers de Hele =

Witness 1406

William atte Hele =

Occurs 1424, 1438, 1440

William Hele of Hele in Cornwood = Joan, daughter of Simon Cole of Slade

Bought land in North Hele 1484

John Hele of Hele = Hugh = Joan Flashman Nicholas Baldwin William Joan = John
d. 21 May 1532 of South Hele Stert

Thomas Hele of Wisdom

John Hele of Hele Walter Hele of Hele = Jane, daughter of Thomas Fortescue
b. c. 1511 Heir to his brother of Wymeston, Devon

John Hele of Hele = Alice, daughter Hugh Edward Jane = Fleshman Katherine
d.1621 & heir of Richard d. 1604
Brooking of Holberton
d.1625 John Hele of Uppaton

William Elizabeth = Walter Edward Jane Elizabeth Margaret Blanche

= Arundell = Sparke = Foster

John Hele of Hele = Mary, daughter of
Adam Williams of Ivybridge
4 June 1684 Crediton
James Hele of Hele = Katherine, daughter of George Trowbridge

Thomas Hele Joseph Mary

b. 1699

Higher Hele

A confusion of Heles
Hele and Heale are very common place-names in Devon.3 Since medieval surnames were often
derived from place of residence or origin, we would expect a number of completely unrelated Heal,
Heale and Hele families in Devon. That is indeed what the evidence suggests. One family surnamed
Hele traced its origin to Hele in the parish of Bradninch, a few miles north of Exeter. A second
family took its name from Hele in Cornwood. However by the 17th century the Cornwood Heles
were claiming to be descended from those of Bradnich.4

The reason for this was snobbery. The Bradnich Heles had the right to a coat of arms, since they
could boast knights in their family tree. Any family of this era with pretensions to gentility wanted a
coat of arms. So many persons dubiously claimed them that the College of Arms made periodic
visitations county by county to check up on the pedigrees of those displaying coats of arms. The
Heles of Cornwood came up with one that satisfied the herald and was accepted by later writers
drawing on the herald's visitations.5 So the Heles of Hele had their arms (appendix 8). In 1699 John
Prince wrote honestly of the separate origins of the two families. When his work was reprinted in
1810 with additional notes, we find that a descendant of the Heles of Cornwood had anxiously
presented in contradiction the dubious pedigree claiming descent from the Bradnich Heles.6

With the Cornwood Heles so keen to obscure their own ancestry, it may never be possible to
construct a complete family tree. Pole noted a John de la Hele in Cornwood in the time of Henry III,
followed by his son William de la Hele, who is mentioned in 1273/4, then a Robert at Hele
mentioned in 1343/4.7 This is long before the William Hele of Hele in Cornwood who appears on
the pedigree concocted for the College of Arms, supposedly the son of Roger Hele of the Bradnich
family, who was taken prisoner in Scotland in 1400/1401.8 It is far more likely that this William
Hele was the son of the William atte Hele who witnessed deeds of South Hele in Cornwood in 1424
and 1440,9 and is also mentioned in Cornwood in 1438.10 The latter may be the son of the John Pers
[Piers] de Hele who witnessed a deed of South Hele in 1406.11

South Hele passed through various hands in the 15th century, which did not include any Heles.12 So
clearly it was not the ancestral home of the Hele family, contrary to the belief of several county
historians.13 So that points to North Hele as their home. One of the Hele pedigrees which the herald
cheerfully accepted in 1620 gives William Hele as of Northeaw in Cornwood.14 That could be a
misreading of Northele.
3 The name meant “residence in a nook or secluded place”, from ME hele, from OE heale, dative singular of healh.
P.H.Reaney, A Dictionary of English Surnames, 3rd edn (1995).
4 The Visitation of the County of Devon 1620, Harleian Society vol. 6 (1872), p. 145.
5 J.L. Vivian, The Visitations of the County of Devon, Comprising the Herald's Visitations of 1531, 1564 and 1620
(1895); John Burke and John Bernard Burke, The Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies of England (1838), p. 252.
6 John Prince, The Worthies of Devon, 2nd edn with notes (1810), pp. 484, 489.
7 Sir William Pole, Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, (1791), p. 321.
8 The Visitation of the County of Devon 1620, Harleian Society vol. 6 (1872), p. 145.
9 PWDRO 733: Blachford estate papers, box 3307, nos. 74a-b, calendared in PWDRO 2239/2 and 2239/28.
10 The Place-names of Devon, pt. 1 (1931), pp. 270, 271.
11 PWDRO 733: Blachford estate papers, box 3307, no.60, calendared in PWDRO 2239/2 and 2239/28.
12 PWDRO 733: Blachford estate papers, box 3307, nos.10, 60, 74a-b, 94, 101 and deeds of 1486 and 1502 in box
3308, all calendared in PWDRO 2239/28.
13 Richard Polewhele, The History of Devonshire, vol. 3 (1806), p. 457; Daniel and Samuel Lysons, Magna Britannia,
vol. 6: Devonshire, part 2 (1822), p. 140.
14 The Visitation of the County of Devon 1620, Harleian Society vol. 6 (1872), p. 149.

Higher Hele

There are no early deeds in the Blachford papers for North Hele as a whole. That suggests that it
was not a freehold property. Only freeholders could dispose of property by deed. An undated rental
of the Manor of Cornwood (which by its handwriting is c.1550-1650) includes John Hele and
Richard his son holding by copy for term of their lives one tenement called Hele containing 32
acres, valued at £15 per annum, rent 20s.15 This was a copyhold property, held by a copy of an entry
in the manorial court roll, rather than by deed.

The only early deed relating to North Hele is a release by Roger Gynte to William Hele dated 6
January 1484 of lands called Holinehay in North Hele in Cornwood. 16 We could understand that as
William Hele expanding his farm by adding a freehold field called Holinehay.

So whence came the idea that the Heles were based at South Hele? Some later members of the
family did live there. In fact branches of this prolific and successful family at various times owned
two of the manors within the parish of Cornwood, and lived in several of its old houses. Nicholas,
third son of the William Hele who bought Holinehay, is given in the herald's pedigrees as “of South
Hele”.17 As a younger son, he would not have inherited the family home. Yet this mention of South
Hele evidently misled various writers. To complicate matters the last Hele of Hele lived at South
Hele, as we shall see.

No wonder then that William George Hoskins, one of the finest of local historians, could not make
up his mind whence the Heles of Cornwood sprang. In his history of Devon in 1954, he declared
that “South Hele, now a farmhouse, was their mansion.”18 Then in his study of Dartmoor, he said:
“Hanger, Stert, Wisdome and Higher Hele are mostly houses built about 1600, the latter being the
ancestral home of the well-known Hele family.”19

To confuse matters further, the last three

generations of Heles at Hele have left us lists of
their property in marriage settlements and
mortgages, which all refer to Hele and North Hele
as though they were separate properties (appendix
2). This may simply be the legal mind at work,
ensuring that the “capital messuage” (chief house)
of Hele, with its “barton farm and demesne lands”
(lands in hand), and any other land in North Hele
were all covered by the deed.

The earliest map to show Hele (3) has Hale beside

what is now Higher Hele. Hele does not appear on
that of Donn in 1765 (21) - a simple omission.
The place had been in existence for centuries.
3: Detail from a Survey of Plymouth and environs
1784-6. PWDRO microfiche copy of British
Library K. Top 11 80.

15 PWDRO 733: Blachford estate papers, box 3301.

16 PWDRO 733, box 3307, no.107, calendared in PWDRO 2239/2.
17 The Visitation of the County of Devon 1620, Harleian Society vol. 6 (1872), pp. 145, 147.
18 W.G.Hoskins, Devon, revised edn (2003), p. 376.
19 W.G.Hoskins, Dartmoor (1969), p. 57.

Higher Hele

Expanding acres

Despite their claims to gentility, the Heles of Hele seem to have been yeomen farmers in origin. The
earliest generations of the family may have had little more than a smallholding. A plan of Higher
Hele Farm c.1870 (4) shows a compact holding around the house, mainly bounded by two streams.
Since streams made convenient boundaries, the area within them may have been the original Hele.

The 17th-century marriage settlements show how the Heles had expanded their acres. When John
Hele married Mary Williams in 1668, his property was described as “Hele messuage, capital
mansion house, barton farm and demesne lands, North Hele and Daniell's, Blachford, Reddapitts,
Torr, Brooke, Milland, Uppaton and Hollamore” (appendix 2). “Daniell's” (the present Dendles)
was clearly an addition to North Hele, stretching toward the moor (5). Daniel may have been among
those who abandoned medieval homesteads on the edge of the moor.20 Blachford, Torr and Uppaton
were other farms in Cornwood parish and the other Hele holdings were probably local too.

4: Southern section of a plan of Higher Hele Farm c.1870. PWDRO 733, box 3340.

20 The Book of Cornwood and Lutton (1997), pp. 17-8.

Higher Hele

5: Plan of Higher Hele farm c.1870. PWDRO 733, box 3340.

Higher Hele

The house that the Heles built

The rise of the Heles may be partly due to fortunate marriages. As least one heiress appears on the
family tree. John Hele (d.1621) married Alice, daughter and heir of Richard Brooking of Holberton.21

This John has left us clues to the house he lived in. His will included the injunction that panelling
and table-boards in the hall at Hele, the panelling and table-board in the parlour chamber, and press
chamber were not to be removed (appendix 3). In fact he used the word “seylings” or “seilinge”
rather than panelling. This could mean wainscotting or plastering – both means of sealing walls and
ceilings.22 However it appears in building accounts of the period in contexts where the clear
meaning is panelling.23 In the case of Hele there can be no doubt, since there was no danger that
plasterwork would be classed as furniture and carted off.

In Devon farmhouses of the time, the hall was still the main room of the house and often treated to
more elaborate decoration, such as panelled walls.24 The farmer and his family would eat there –
hence the table-boards. These were table tops, which would be balanced on trestles to make a table.
In the classic cross-passage house, the hall would lead into a parlour at one end and have a cross-
passage at the other end, beyond which was a service room. In its earliest form the core of the
house was single-storey: a hall open to the rafters with a central hearth. But from around the mid-
16th century householders began to insert both chimneys and floors, to create two-storey houses.25
So the “parlour chamber” and “press chamber” in John Hele's house were probably first-floor
bedrooms, one over the parlour, the other with a cupboard (press).

It is a pity that the inventory of John's possessions that was presented with the will for probate does
not survive. Probate inventories were often carried out room by room and could have given us more
information about the house. However the value of his possessions was noted by Sir Oswyn Murray
in his abstract (appendix 3). £371 was an impressive total. The present-day equivalent would be
approximately £57,000.26

It would also be helpful to know how many hearths the house had. Unfortunately Hele seems to be
missing from the published Hearth Tax returns. The only Heles listed are Mrs Penelope Hele (the
widow of John Hele of Wisdome),27 who paid for 13 hearths, and Thomas Hele (of Fardel) who paid
for just one hearth.28

However there are enough clues in the will and inventory to picture a house to rival those of
neighbouring families of similar class. Hoskins was enthusiastic about the old farmsteads of
Cornwood, built in granite by prosperous yeomen farmers of the 15th to 17th centuries (appendix 4).
By the 18th century many of these houses were in decline. When that ardent traveller the Revd.
Swete visited his friend the Revd. Duke Yonge at Cornwood in 1797, he observed sadly that

21 The Visitation of the County of Devon 1620, Harleian Society vol. 6 (1872), p. 146; John Burke and John Bernard
Burke, The Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies of England (1838), p. 252.
22 Rosemary Milward, A Glossary of Household, Farming and Trade Terms from Probate Inventories (1977), p. 48;
Eric Gee, A Glossary of Building Terms used in England from the Conquest to c.1550 (1984), p. 76.
23 L. F. Salzman, Building in England Down to 1540: A documentary history (1952), p. 258.
24 Peter Beacham (ed.), Devon Building: An introduction to local traditions (1990), p. 40.
25 Peter Beacham (ed.), Devon Building: An introduction to local traditions (1990), pp. 35-40.
26 Lawrence H. Officer and Samuel H. Williamson, .
27 PWDRO 733, box 3328: will of John Hele of Wisdom 1661, who mentions his wife Penelope.
28 T.L.Stoate, Devon Hearth Tax Return Lady Day 1674 (1982), pp. 161-2.

Higher Hele

We came to an ancient mansion, once a seat of some consequence, but now, as is the
case with many others in this Parish of Cornwood reduced to the humiliated state of a
farm house and become an appendage to Blatchford, the contiguous seat of Sir
Frederick Rogers. The name of this mansion house is Wisdome, and it was for some
ages a possession and abode of a branch of the family of Hele, whose chief seat was
higher up in this same parish more to the west, and is yet called Hele.29

It was the sale of Wisdome in 1690 that began the decline. John Hele
of Wisdome sold it to a wealthy merchant of Plymouth, John Rogers.30
Once Rogers was ensconced at Wisdome, he snapped up neighbouring
farms, settling at Blachford. His descendants bought other estates in
Cornwood, so that by the middle of the 19th century we find that most
of the old yeoman houses had become tenant farms.31 This process
actually helped to preserve some of the historic features of these
houses, since it limited the funds to rebuild.

The “ancient mansion” of Wisdome is still there. It is substantial

though not grand: two storeys and an attic, with a porch wing, and
outbuildings. It still has some of its hollow-chamfered stone mullion
windows with hoodmoulds, like those at South Hele (6), and four-
centred arch doorways, which date it to the 16th or 17th century.32

But where was the house of the Heles of Hele? The map of 1784-6 (3)
6: Mullioned windows with shows a layout at Higher Hele distinctly different from the present one.
hoodmoulds at South Hele, There is a rectangular building in roughly the same position as the
similar to those at Wisdome.present house, and two buildings further west. Which range was the
house? Was the present house built before 1784 on a new site, but incorporating some features
brought from the old house nearby? Or is the present house a rebuilding of the old one?

There are clues that the present house is a rebuilding. The width of the
internal wall between the front and rear rooms (2) suggests that it was
originally an external wall. A broad-chamfered doorway with a four-
centred arch leads from the kitchen to the rear passage (7). This looks
as though a pre-Georgian external doorway has been heavily plastered
over. The single-storey rear of the house may therefore have
originally been an outshot added to the house of the Heles. The
single-storey rear lean-to or outshot was a common extension to the
traditional Devon farmhouse. It could house a kitchen, dairy or other
service rooms.33

7: Door from the kitchen to

the rear passage.
29 Travels in Georgian Devon: The illustrated journals of the Revered John Swete (1789-1800) ed. Todd Gray, vol. 3
(1997), p.145.
30 PWDRO 733: Blachford estate papers, box 3310, calendared in PWDRO 2239/2.
31 PWDRO 823/21-22: Tithe map and apportionment of Cornwood 1842. A transcript by Wayne Shepheard of the
entire Tithe Apportionment for Cornwood is online at .
32 Listed building description for Wisdome Farm.

Higher Hele

8: Fireplace and oven in the rear family room at Higher Hele.

In this case the rear family room was clearly a kitchen. It retains a large fireplace with a bread oven
beside it (8). The bricks in the arches are 65mm (approximately 2½ in) in width and probably date
from the 17th century.34

Even more interesting is the fireplace in the front family room (9). This incorporates a bread oven
and has bricks in the arch of 50mm (approximately 2 in) in width – typical of the Tudor period.35 So
this room could be on the site of the hall of the Heles, from which the Elizabethan chimney stack
was retained. The room would be both kitchen and dining room, until the outshot was added,
providing a separate kitchen, probably in the 17th century.

However the attractive rear door with its four-centred arch and decorated spandrels (10) does not
appear to be in its original position. It lacks a hoodmould and is set within an incomplete stone
frame. It also seems too decorative for the service end of the house. Possibly this was the front door
of the old house, reclaimed for a new position during the Georgian rebuilding. It is less weathered
than the door at Cornwood Church (11) leading to a porch with a Tudor rose on the ceiling. So it
could be a little later. However it has been in a more sheltered position for some time.

33 Peter Beacham (ed.), Devon Building: An introduction to local traditions (1990), p. 42.
34 An Act of 1625 for London stipulated that bricks should be 9 in x 4⅜ in x 2¼ in. The Imperial brick (9 in x 4½ in x
3 in) was in use from the Victorian period.
35 L.F. Salzman, Buildings in England Down to 1540: A documentary history (1952), p. 144.

Higher Hele

9: Possibly Elizabethan fireplace in the front family room, with Georgian niches either side. In creating the
niche to the right of the fireplace, the oven was reduced in size. Typically such ovens are circular in plan.

11: Tudor porch door of Cornwood Church. This is

less decorative and more weathered than the door at
10: Rear door at Higher Hele. Higher Hele, but has similarities.

Higher Hele

12: The mullioned window in the rear family room at Higher Hele. The mullions have hollow chamfers
internally and plain chamfers externally. The lack of hoodmould suggests either a late date or re-use.

Higher Hele

The decline of the Heles

James Hele of Hele was still alive in 1710, when he appears in a rental of the Manor of North
Blachford as the tenant of Torr.36 His son Thomas was presumably of an age to branch out by that
time. He chose to lease South Hele from Sir John Rogers in 1715.37

However Thomas was soon in financial difficulties. By 1717 he had inherited his father's lands and
mortgaged them to Sir John Rogers (appendix 2). From then on we witness through the deeds and
court papers his fruitless struggle to redeem the mortgages. In 1737 the mortgages were passed to
William Henry (known as Harry) Elford (appendix 2), but that only cleared the debt to Sir John
Rogers. Thomas had other debts to Elford, which he covered by a mortgage his lease of South

Clearly he defaulted on the necessary payments to Elford, who therefore gained the heritage of the
Heles. In 1743 the land tax for Cornwood shows Harry Elford in possession of Hele and Dendles.39
The sad end to the tale of the Heles of Hele is that Thomas was evicted from South Hele on 25
March 1748, because he had neglected to maintain the premises “which are now ruinous”, or pay
the rent, which was three years in arrears.40

The Elfords at Hele

Harry Elford was the son of one Captain William Elford, to whom Thomas Hele seems to have got
into debt while Harry was still a child. So Harry was of no great age and had not lived long at Hele
when he made his curious will on 18 January 1747. He left his lands to “Mrs Nanny” until his
natural son Billy was 21. We can infer that “Mrs Nanny” was Ann Challacombe, whom he named as
executor, and that she was the mother of his illegitimate son. She was to live at Hele until Billy
reached the age of 10, when he was to go to a public school and afterwards to be put to a trade.
Billy was to take the name William Henry Elford at 21 and to have Hele, North Hele, Dendles,
Lower Uppaton and Corntown for life and afterwards it should go to his children jointly for life
(appendix 2). This last clause was to create complications, for the estate could not be sold without
the agreement of all the children.

Young Billy either did not take to farming, or couldn't make it pay. He became a watchmaker at
Ivybridge. In 1781 the land tax shows that William Henry Elford owned Hele and Dendles, but they
were occupied by Henry Barons.41 Barons, a yeoman of Wisdome, began the complex process of
acquiring the shares in the Hele estate vested in the children of William Henry Elford junior. He
bought one share in 1797 and another in 1800.42 However he passed on his shares in 1812 and in the
end it was Sir John Leman Rogers of Blachford who bought the estate in 1814 (appendix 2.)
36 PWDRO 733, box 3343.
37 PWDRO 733, box 3310, calendared in PWDRO 2239/2: Lease dated 28 September 1715 for 99 years on the lives
of Thomas, Joseph and Mary Hele, brothers and sister. Thomas Hele to do repairs.
38 PWDRO 2239/28.
39 PWDRO 733, box 3340.
40 PWDRO 733, box 3310, calendared in PWDRO 2239/2.
41 PWDRO PH/398/8: photocopy of document at the Devon Record Office.
42 PWDRO 733, box 3320, calendared in PWDRO 2239/3, pp. 128-9.

Higher Hele

The Georgian House

As we have seen North Hele had already become

a tenant farm by 1781. It was to remain one for
nearly a century and half as part of the Blachford
estate. So when was the house rebuilt? The
impoverished Thomas Hele probably left North
Hele in as poor a condition as South Hele, which
might have encouraged Harry Elford to rebuild
in the 1740s. It seems less likely that it was
rebuilt during his son's minority or when farmed
by Henry Barons, who lived at Wisdome. So the
most likely alternative date would be c.1814
when Sir John Leman Rogers took over, and
might want to make it habitable for a tenant. 13: Detail from the Tithe Map of the Parish of
Certainly by 1842 the house had almost the same Cornwood 1842. PWDRO.
footprint as today, complete with western annex
(13). There have only been small additions since (see below: 20th-century alterations)

14: Georgian archway 15: The Drawing room at Higher Hele has Georgian niches
between the front hallway either side of a fireplace inserted in the 20th century.
and rear passage.

The physical dating evidence is somewhat contradictory. The symmetrical façade (front cover) and
layout speak to us of the Georgian period (1714-1836), but such classical design continued into the
early Victorian period. That is a broad swathe of time. So dating is in the details. Some don't help a
great deal. Round-headed archways (14) and arched recesses either side of fireplaces, to hold
shelves or cupboards (9 and 15), appear throughout the period.

The listed building description labelled the house mid-18th century (appendix 1). One can see why.
The front windows are recessed approximately 6-8mm (about 3in) from the façade, but not set

Higher Hele

behind reveals. The London Building Act of 1709 required window frames to be set back by the
width of a brick (4½in), as one its provisions to limit the spread of fire. The London Building Act of
1774 went further. It required the frames to be rebated into the inner face of the wall. 43 These Acts
did not apply to the rest of the country, but London fashions tended to spread. However one should
not rely on fashions reaching all parts of the country at an even rate.

The front windows had been replaced by modern casements by

1963.44 Presumably the original windows were either the sashes
fashionable in the Georgian and early Victorian periods, or
multi-pane casements similar to those surviving at the back of
the house (12) and in the annex loft. They have thin glazing bars
of late Georgian type. The window of the rear family room has
stone mullions containing multi-paned casements, and shutters
with plain recessed panels (16). Such shutters are more likely to
be early 19th century than 18th century.45

The doors to the front family room

and drawing room are of the
standard Georgian six-panel type.
However the width of these doors
is suggestive of the 19th century, as
is some of the detailing. The panel
16: Mullion window to the rear mouldings are similar to an
family room, with shutters. example dated 1821.46 The doors
have upright door handles on a fairly simple backplate (17), more
typical of the 19th than 18th century.47

would fit an 17: Door handle on the door
early 19th- to the front family room.
century date. Photograph Simon Crosbie.
Its balusters
are slender and mainly of plain square-
section type, typical of Regency houses. It
includes some decorative balusters though.
The three turned balusters on the landing
(18) could be mid-18th-century, but
appear re-used here – the height of the top
block on one is shorter than the other two.
The fluted balusters on the stair itself (19)
would fit the Regency period, though they
18: The first floor landing of the staircase. Simon Crosbie.
appear either side of it.48
43 Anthony Quiney, Period Houses: A guide to authentic architectural features (1989), p. 134.
44 Information from Mrs Eva Moysey, wife of J.A.S. Moysey, tenant of Higher Hele from 1963-2000.
45 Linda Hall, Period House Fixtures and Fittings 1300-1900 (2005), p. 97.
46 Linda Hall, Period House Fixtures and Fittings 1300-1900 (2005), pp.42-46, fig 2.61: 1821 Glos.
47 Linda Hall, Period House Fixtures and Fittings 1300-1900 (2005), pp. 57-8.
48 Stephen Calloway (ed.), The Elements of Style, 2nd edn. (1996), p. 193; Linda Hall, Period House Fixtures and

Higher Hele

19: Fluted balusters alternating with square cut on the 20: Cast-iron register grate in a first-floor
staircase. Photograph Simon Crosbie. bedroom. Photograph Simon Crosbie.

The two front bedrooms on the first floor have cast-iron register grates (20). The register grate, with
its canted sides and narrow flue, was designed in the late 1790s to give out more heat with less
smoke. They naturally became very popular in the 19th century.49 The one pictured here is of early
design, with a rounded top and without Victorian tiling. It could be Regency.

Taken overall the features suggest that the house was rebuilt by Sir John Leman Rogers or his first
tenant at Higher Hele in or soon after 1814.

The degree to which older walls and features were incorporated or re-used can only be guessed.
However the thickness of the wall between front and rear rooms has already been mentioned. The
size and design of the fireplaces in the front and rear family rooms suggests that they are pre-
Georgian. The way in which the right hand Georgian niche in the front family room has truncated
the bread oven is further evidence that the fireplace and its oven are earlier than the Georgian

The rear wall has a line of ashlar running above the door and ground floor windows (12), similar to
the ashlar used in the Georgian front. This suggests that the wall was raised at the time of the
Georgian rebuilding, to create the loft bedrooms above.50

Fittings 1300-1900 (2005), pp. 112-4, 120.

49 Stephen Calloway (ed.), The Elements of Style, 2nd edn. (1996), pp. 154, 187.
50 Helpfully brought to my notice by Martin Collins.

Higher Hele

The tenant farm

The earliest tenant of Higher Hele under Sir John Leman Rogers was probably John Luscombe. He
appears in an estate rental in 1821, paying an annual rent of £175 for North Hele and Corntown.51
This was probably not the whole of Corntown, but the same fields at Corntown that we find a later
tenant holding together with Higher Hele in 1842 (appendix 5: nos. 392, 461, 463, 469, 491 and
495). For some reason John Luscombe's rent went down to £145 in 1823.52

Philip Luscombe may have been the son of John, for he took a lease of North Hele and Corntown
for seven years from Lady Day (25 March) 1829, at a yearly rent of £135. He also continued to
lease Stealdon Moor, which he had held for several years together with a house at Moor Cross.53

After Philip Luscombe's lease ran out, North Hele and Corntown were leased for seven years from
Lady Day 1838 to Alexander Horton Junr. at a yearly rent of £140. 54 The prolific Horton family
took over one farm in Cornwood after another in the 19 th century.55 But in 1842 all were
leaseholders except Alexander Horton Junr., who owned Wingreen farm.56 He lived there before
moving to Higher Hele (as noted at the Christenings of his sons Matthew, James and Alexander.) 57
Alexander had 10 children by two wives, and also had employees living in (appendix 6), so Higher
Hele must have been crowded. Both the tithe map (13) and the plan of Higher Hele c.1870 (4)
colour the main block of the house red (to indicate a dwelling) and the other buildings grey,
including the annex that now houses the kitchen. So it is plain that the annex was not used for extra
living space in the 19th century.

Alexander was followed at Higher Hele by John Horton, who rented the farm from Lady Day
1861.58 This John cannot have been John, son of Alexander, who was still a child in 1861. But
presumably he was some relation. He remained at Higher Hele at least until 1883.59

Then Henry Corber rented Higher Hele from Michaelmas 1887.60 He was born at Harford, Devon,
and his children were all born at Plympton St Mary (appendix 6), where he had been farming 90
acres at Houndle Farm.61 Higher Hele perhaps appealed as being a larger farm. Henry Corber
remained there until at least 1902, but his son William had taken over by 1914.62 Margaret Cox of
Church House worked at Higher Hele in the time of William Corber.63 He remained at the farm

51 PWDRO 733, box 3343.

52 PWDRO 733, box 3343.
53 PWDRO 733, box 3343: Rentals of the estate in Cornwood of Sir John Leman Rogers, bart. 1825, 1833.
54 PWDRO 733, box 3343: Rental of estate in Cornwood of Sir John Leman Rogers 1839.
55 Post Office Directory of Devonshire (1856), p. 73.
56 PWDRO 823/21-22: Tithe map and apportionment. A transcript by Wayne Shepheard of the entire Tithe
Apportionment for Cornwood is online at .
57 Devon Family History Society, The Deanery of Plympton (CD 2007).
58 PWDRO 733, box 3343: Rack rental of the estates of Rt Hon. The Lord Blackford 1873, no. 20.
59 Kelly's Directory of Devonshire and Cornwall (1883), p. 111.
60 PWDRO 733, box 3343: Blachford rack rental 1892.
61 1881 Census return: NA RG1/2187, folio 41, p. 6.
62 Kelly's Directory of Devon and Cornwall (1902), Part 1: Devon, p. 152; Kelly's Directory of Devon and Cornwall
(1914), part 1: Devon: County and Localities, p.166.
63 The Book of Cornwood and Lutton (1997), 127: photograph of Margaret Cox with caption.

Higher Hele

until at least 1930.64

By 1935 James Stephens had taken over the farm at Higher Hele. 65 The Stephens family remained
there until J.A.S. Moysey and his wife Eva arrived in 1963. There is a photograph of happy
harvesters at Higher Hele in the 1980s.66 The Moyseys were to stay until 2000.67

Sometime around 1960 Dr Henry Burrows bought Higher Hele from the Blachford estate. 68 He
appears to have sold Higher Hele c.2005 to Christopher Andrews, from whom the present owners
Martin and Louise Collins bought Higher Hele in 2007 with intent to occupy it.69 So Higher Hele is
no longer a tenant farm.

20th-century alterations

The porch was apparently added at some time during the 20 th century.
It does not appear on the O.S. map of 1887 (22), nor that of 1904 (1).
Another small addition was the lean-to attached to the annex to house
two W.C.s., which appears on the O.S. map of 1906.

The central front first floor room was fitted out as a bathroom by the
Moyseys. When they arrived it had a small door under the stairs and a OS map of 1906.
window with a metal frame and 20 panes – eight each side, with four
each side at the top.70 That suggests a date in the 1930s.71 James Stephens perhaps modernised the
house to some degree, creating a new kitchen and larder in the annex, which has a steel-framed
window of a type we would expect in pre-War period. When the Moyseys moved in, the ground
floor of the annex was divided into a kitchen, which had a granite trough in the corner, Belfast sink
and a cast iron/brick washing boiler, and a larder and porch. The loft above had been used by the
Stephens family to store grain.72

In the time of the Moyseys, the ground floor of the annex was opened up and the floor concreted to
create the present kitchen. The house was re-roofed. The slates on the front part of house were re-
laid on a monoflex membrane, but on the back section there were very small slates covered with
two inches of cement or concrete, which were replaced with Spanish slates. The front windows
were replaced by the present casements. The fireplace and oven in the rear family room was opened
up again, having been reduced in size and the oven covered over at some time previously, and the
present fireplace (15) was inserted in the drawing room.73

64 Kelly's Directory of Devonshire (1930), p. 167.

65 Kelly's Directory of Devonshire (1935), p. 171.
66 Book of Cornwood and Lutton (1997), p. 51.
67 Information from Mrs Eva Moysey and her son Richard Moysey.
68 Information from Mrs Eva Moysey and her son Richard Moysey.
69 Information from Mr and Mrs Collins.
70 Information from Mr and Mrs Moysey, given to Simon Crosbie, with photographs of the window.
71 Stephen Calloway (ed.), The Elements of Style: An encyclopedia of domestic architectural detail 2nd edn. (1996), p.
72 Information from Mr and Mrs Moysey, given to Simon Crosbie, and Richard Moysey.
73 Information Mrs Eva Moysey and Richard Moysey.

Higher Hele


Higher Hele is an interesting house, whose full history has not been appreciated hitherto. Although
uncertainties remain, the evidence suggests that it was the house of a family who took their name
from Hele and lived there for centuries, leaving only when forced out by financial ruin in the 18 th
century. Their house was probably rebuilt and/or adapted a number of times over the centuries.
Looking at the evolution of farmhouses in Devon, we can guess that a simple three-room, cross-
passage house had been replaced by a two-storey dwelling by c.1600, either by rebuilding or the
insertion of a chimney stack and floors into an older house. The will of John Hele in 1621 hints at a
well-appointed and well-furnished house, which we would expect to have a decorative doorway
such as that which survives at Higher Hele (though moved to the rear).

The house appears to have been rebuilt in the late Georgian period, incorporating some original
walls and fireplaces. The exact date remains uncertain, but this report suggests an early 19th- century
date in preference to the mid-18th-century date suggested by the Listed Building Description. The
Georgian house did not aim at high fashion. It was appropriate for its use as a tenant farm.

The significance of Higher Hele needs to be assessed in the context of a group of houses within the
Parish of Cornwood which were built by prosperous yeomen around 1600, only to become tenant
farms at a later date. Their decline in status preserved some interesting features which might have
been completely lost to the rebuilding fervour of the Georgians had more money been available.
The group has attracted interest from the time that the Revd. Swete bemoaned their fate in the 18th

Recommendations for further research

The Blachford estate papers hold many clues to the history of Higher Hele. This vast collection is
housed in many boxes at the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office (ref. no. 733). It has not been
properly catalogued and therefore the individual items it contains are not included in the online
catalogues which are the chief method of locating material by personal or place-name. However the
collection was calendared and indexed privately and that calendar and index has also been deposited
in the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office (ref. no 2239), which has made it possible to find
some items related to Higher Hele, but the collection has not been exhaustively searched.

The Blachford estate papers include rentals for the Blachford estate, some of which have been read
for this report, but not all. There are leases of various Blachford properties, which might include
ones for North or Higher Hele, though none were discovered in the research time available. There
are deeds for properties bought up by the Rogers family, which include deeds for Hele and North
Hele. It would be worth examining the sale deeds from Elford to Rogers, to see if the description
refers to a new-built house at Hele, though I suspect that if it did, that would have been noted in the
calendar. Leases from Rogers might also refer to a new-built house.

There were no planning permissions for the work carried out by the Moyseys, so it would be
pointless to search for them. The Moysey family are the ideal source of information for this period
and may have photographs of the house prior to some of their alterations.

Higher Hele

Appendix 1: Listed Building Description

IoE Number: 99157

Date listed: 23 April 1952
Date of last amendment: 23 April 1952
Grade II

SX 66 SW CORNWOOD HELE CROSS 7/49 23.4.52 North (or Higher) Hele II Farmhouse. Mid
C18 with some earlier fabric. Granite ashlar front. Slate hipped tartaruga roof. Band at first floor
level and plinth. Two storeys. Symmetrical 5-bay facade. Original window openings with flat arches
and C20 casements. Central flush panel door with rectangular fanlight and C20 open porch.
Rendered chimneystacks at either end. At rear one storey and attic outshut with moulded 4-centred
arch doorway with carved spandrels and a stone mullion window. This way be the remains of an
earlier house or the doorway may be reused material. Interior: staircase with open well filled in but
retaining balustrade with moulded handrail ramped up to large column newels.

Higher Hele

Appendix 2: Deeds of North Hele

1484 6 Jan Quitclaim of lands in North Hele called Holinehay in the tithing of Cornwood, Devon,
released by Roger Gynte to William Hele [PWDRO 733: Blachford estate papers, box
3307, no.107, calendared in PWDRO 2239/2].
1668 10 May Marriage settlement John Hele of Hele, gent. and Mary his wife, daughter of Adam
Williams, late of Ivybridge, esq. Lease in trust Hele messuage, capital mansion house,
barton farm and demesne lands, North Hele and Daniell's, Blachford, Reddapitts, Torr,
Brooke, Milland, Uppaton and Hollamore. [PWDRO 733, box 3318, copy in box 3344,
calendared in 2239/4, p.304 and 2239/28].
1684 3 June Marriage settlement by James Hele of Hele, gent. on his marriage to Katherine
Trowbridge, daughter of George Trowbridge. Hele Barton, North Hele, and Daniells, Tor,
Blachford with Redapitts and Milland in tenure John Hele of Wisdom, Brook and Old
Ricks [PWDRO 733, box 3341, calendared in 2239/4, p.290].
1717 31 Dec Abstract of deeds to Thomas Hele's estates in Cornwood, mortgaged to Sir John Rogers
[PWDRO 733, box 3344, calendared 2239/4, p.300].
1724/5 23 Jan Release to secure £100 and costs of suit to be brought by Thomas Hele against Sir John
Rogers to redeem several mortgages. Capital messuage barton farm called Hele, several
tenements of North Hele and Daniell's, messuages of Brook, Uppaton and Corntown. (1)
Thomas Hele of Hele, gent (2) Trustees of the will of Capt. William Elford, decd, during
the minority of Henry Elford, his son and heir. Mortgage [PWDRO 733, box. 3320,
calendared in 2239/3, p.128 and 2239/28].
1729 13 June Thomas Hele's conveyance to Thomas Martyn esq. et al, trustees for Mr Harry Elford of
Hele, North Hele and Daniells in the parish of Cornwood. All that capital messuage,
barton farm and demesne lands of or called Hele and All those several tenements .. called
North Hele and Daniells situate ... in the parish of Cornwood and now in the tenure or
possession of him the said Thomas Hele his tenants or undertenants. £839 15s to be paid
to Sir John Rogers of Blachford, bart. to redeem certain mortgages [PWDRO 733, box
3320; calendared in PWDRO 2239/3, p. 129]. Original seen. It gives no further detail on
1736/7 31 Jan Assignment of mortgage on Thomas Hele's lands in Cornwood from Sir John Rogers to
Harry Elford [PWDRO 733: Blachford estate papers, box 3337, calendared in 2239/4 and
2239/28; related papers in 733, box 3344, calendared in 2239/4, p. 300].
1746/7 18 Jan Will of Harry Elford of Hele, gent., leaves to Mrs Nanny [Ann Challacombe] all his lands
at North Hele, Dendals, Lower Uppaton & Corntown, until his natural son Billy is 21.
She is to live at Hele until Billy is 10, when he is to go to a public school and after to be
put to a trade. Billy to take the name William Henry Elford at 21 and to have Hele, North
Hele, Dendals, Lower Uppaton & Corntown for life and after to his children jointly for
life. Executor Ann Challacombe [PWDRO 733, box 3329, calendared in 2239/3, p.194].
1814 10/11 June William Henry Elford formerly of Hele, now of Ivybridge, watchmaker, bars his right of
entail, in order to sell to Sir John Leman Rogers for £8,000 Hele, North Hele, Dendals,
Fernbriars, Lower Uppaton, Upperton and Corntown [PWDRO 2239: index to and notes
on PWDRO 733: Blachford estate papers].

Higher Hele

Appendix 3: Will of John Hele of Hele

Will of John Hele of Hele in the parish of Cornwood, dated 1 April 1620, proved 26 April 1621 in the
Archdeaconry of Totnes.

To be buried in the parish church of Cornwoode.

To the poor of Cornwood 20s and 20s to increase of the stocke of the said parish for the poor.

To William Hele, Walter Hele and Andrew Hele, my sons £20 each.
To every of my children's children 40s.
To my daughter Elizabeth Arundell and her children £20.
To the children of Margie Luxton and Jone Wyott my cosens 10s each.
To Margarett Sparke my daughter £10.
To Jane my daughter £6 13s 4d.

I will that seylings and tableboards in the hall at Hele, the seilinge and tableboard in the parlor chamber, and
presse chamber shall remain to my cosen & heir not to be removed.

Whereas I have by an indenture tripartite dated 19 April 33 Eliz: [1591] charged my lands in Cornwood with
the sum of £200, I will by this my will free and discharge my cosen of £100.

To Elizabeth wife of Walter Hele my son £10.

Residue to Alice my wife, executor.

Overseers: My kinsmen Edward Fortescue, Edward Hele, my brother, and Humfrey Arundell.
Witnesses: Edward Hele, Nich: Wiott, Humfrey Arundell.

[Codicil] 15 Decr. 1620

Additional bequest to my daughter Margery Sparke.

To my cozen Blaunche Hele, a heiffer & 2 shepe.
To Walter Sparke, sheep.
To Michael Bennett, Ellis Shillaber, Margaret Lavers and Blaunche Hannaford my servants, sheep.
To my daughter Blauche Foster, heifer.

Witnesses: Edward Fortescue, Humfrey Arundell, Edward Hele.

Inventory: 18 January 1620/1 by Adam Williams, gent. And James Beare.

A long list of household goods.

Plate £8.
Linen £3.
Sum value = £371

SOURCE: Westcountry Studies Library, Bound series of typescript abstracts by Sir Oswyn Murray of
Devonshire wills. The original wills and associated inventories from the Archdeaconry of Totnes were
destroyed when the Probate Office in Exeter was bombed in 1942.

Higher Hele

Appendix 4: Extract from Hoskins, Devon

The domestic architecture of Cornwood parish is also exceedingly interesting. Much of the parish
was "waste" in Domesday, and was colonised by free peasants in the 12th and 13th centuries whose
farmsteads, from which they took their family names, will be found scattered about below the
moorland edge. Best of these is Cholwich Town, where the Cholwiches began soon after 1200 and
which remained in their possession until the last of the family died in 1835. 74 The farmstead itself is
one of the best examples of a moorland yeoman's house that one can find anywhere round
Dartmoor, a rock-like structure of moor- stone dating from the late 15th century to early 16th
century. Other farmsteads of this type which gave their names to medieval freeholders were Hanger,
Stert, Wisdome, and Hele. Hanger to-day is a solid granite farmhouse of 17th century date, Great
Stert is late 17th century, Little Stert early 17th century, Wisdome and South Hele have some
remains of 17th century work.
Hele was the fountain-head of an important South Devon family, the Heles, who were considerable
landowners in the 16th and 17th centuries. Pole says they originated here in Henry III's time. The
last Hele of Cornwood died in 1741. South Hele, now a farmhouse, was their mansion. Like so
many of the old Devon freeholders, they owed their rise from yeoman obscurity to a successful
lawyer, in this instance Sir John Hele (1565-1608). Other notable houses in the parish are
Blachford, a Domesday manor, which became the seat of the Rogers family, who rebuilt the house
on a grander scale in the 17th century and made a park.
Slade belonged to the Slades in the 13th century, and then to the Coles from the time of Richard II
until the early 17th century. The present house is a composite structure of various periods from the
13th century to the 19th, with traces of quadrangular planning. It has a splendid great hall, with
beautiful panelling of a Flemish character, and an open-timber roof with 60 well carved bosses, a
minstrel's gallery over the panelled screen, and a large granite fireplace. The entrance porch is 16th
century. There are other internal features of 17th-18th century date. NW. of the house is a handsome
old barn which retains its original doors75 Delamore House was rebuilt about 1819-20, but there are
traces of the older mansion near Delamore Farm.
Architecturally, the most interesting house in the parish is Fardel, which was a Saxon estate and a
Domesday manor. It came to the Raleighs (of Smallridge in East Devon) by marriage with an
heiress early in the 14th century and continued in the family until Carew Raleigh, son of the great
Sir Walter, sold it to the Heles. The house is a medieval mansion of 15th to 16th century date, with a
well-preserved chapel and solar. The chapel was licensed by Bishop Lacy in 1432 and this is
probably the date of the existing building.

SOURCE: W.G.Hoskins, Devon (1954), revised edn. (2003), pp.376-7.

74 For the history of this family and of Cholwich Town see W.G.Hoskins and H.P.R.Finberg, Devonshire Studies, 78-
75 Transactions of the Devonshire Association 75 (1943), 94.

Higher Hele

Appendix 5: Tithe apportionment for Higher Hele 1842

Owner Occupier No. Name Use A R P

Sir John Leman Alexander Horton, 392 Bakers Park Arable 3 2 30
Rogers, Bart junior
461 Elfords plot Arable 2 12
463 Orchard 23
469 Orchard 11
491 Lower Slade Arable 3 29
495 Higher Slade Arable 2 3 23
1029 Higher Dendales Pasture 73 1 3
1031 Lower Dendales Pasture 42 2
1041 Middle Park Arable 4 1 10
1042 Long Field Arable 3 2 15
2 4
1043 Yonder Longfield Arable 3 34
1045 Robin's Park 4 34
1 10
1046 Great Whistles Pasture 7 1
1047 Little Whistles Pasture 7 3 6
1049 Widelakes Arable 4 3 31
1050 Broad Park Arable 8 1 18
2 16
1051 Pond Meadow Pasture 5 19
1052 Garden 21
1053 House, yard and offices 1 36
1054 Wood Park Arable 2 2 27
1055 Long Garden Arable 2 1
1056 Boo Garden Arable 4 1 25
1057 Well Park Arable 6
1058 Barn Park Arable 2 1 17
1059 New Orchard Arable 2 1 35
1060 Roadside waste 1 10
1061 Homer Undertown Pasture 4 1 2
3 10

Higher Hele

1062 Yonder Undertown Arable 4 3 17

1063 Fern Fires Pasture 7 3
1064 Edge Meadow Orchard Pasture 4 2 37
1065 Edge Meadow Meadow 3 8
Fences on the above 4 2 28
TOTAL 230 3 28

SOURCE: PWDRO 823/22, transcript by J. Manco.

Higher Hele

Appendix 6: Census Returns for Higher or North Hele

CORNWOOD 1841 CENSUS HO 107/217/5 Transcribed by Wayne Shepheard

Cornwood book 25, folio 5, p. 3: North Hele

Name Age* Profession, etc Born in county

Alexander HORTON 30 Farmer Y
Frances HORTON 25 Y
Elizabeth HORTON 10 Y
Mathew HORTON 9 Y
James HORTON 8 Y
Alexander HORTON 5 Y
Edward HORTON 11 mo Y
John STEAVINS 20 Ag. Lab. Y
John BLACKLER 15 Ag. Lab. Y
Samuel BARONS 15 Ag. Lab. Y
Mary TURNER 15 F.S. Y

* The ages of adults were rounded down to the nearest 5 years in this census.

CORNWOOD 1851 CENSUS HO 107/1877 Transcribed by Wayne Shepheard

Cornwood book 25, folio 365, p. 9, no. 28: North Hele

Name and Surname Relation Condition Age Rank, Profession, or Where Born
of each Person to Head Occupation
who abode in the of Family
house on the Night of
the 30th March, 1851
Alexander HORTON Head Mar 40 Farmer 260 ac emp 1 Cornwood Devon
Grace HORTON Wife Mar 33 Cornwood Devon
Elizabeth HORTON Daur Un 20 Cornwood Devon
Matthew HORTON Son Un 19 Cornwood Devon
James HORTON Son Un 17 Cornwood Devon
Alexander HORTON Son 15 Cornwood Devon
Edward HORTON Son 10 Scholar Cornwood Devon
Frances HORTON Daur 8 Scholar Cornwood Devon

Higher Hele

Mary HORTON Daur 6 Scholar Cornwood Devon

Joshua HORTON Son 3 Cornwood Devon
John HORTON Son 10m Cornwood Devon
Joseph CRISPIN Serv 20 Farm Servant Cornwood Devon
Elizabeth INNIS Serv 13 House Servant Plympton St. Mary
Richard SYMONS Serv 11 Farm Servant Cornwood Devon

The Census return for Cornwood in 1861 shows Higher Hele uninhabited [NA RG9/1433, Book

CORNWOOD 1891 CENSUS, EDN 26 Transcribed by Wayne Shepheard RG12/1724, no.77:

Higher Hele Farm


Surname of to Head as to Birthday or
each person of Family Marriage OCCUPATION
Henry CORBER Head M 61 Farmer Harford Devon
Sarah CORBER Wife M 50 Somerset
Annie CORBER Daur S 21 Farmer's Daughter Plympton Devon
William Son S 20 Farmer's Son Plympton Devon
Albert Peter Son S 18 Farmer's Son Plympton Devon
George CORBER Son S 14 Farmer's Son Plympton Devon
Reginald Son S 8 Scholar Plympton Devon

Higher Hele

CORNWOOD 1901 CENSUS, EDN 22 Transcribed by Wayne Shepheard

RG13/2088 Registration District: Plympton St. Mary; EDN 22, no.65: Higher Hele Farm


Surname of to Head as to Birthday N OR BORN
each person of family Marr. OCCUPATIO
Henry CORBER Head M 74 Farmer Harford Devon
Sarah CORBER Wife M 64 Somerset
William CORBER Son S 30 Farmer's Son Plympton St.
Mary Devon
George CORBER Son S 24 Farmer's Son Plympton St.
Mary Devon
Reginald C. Son S 18 Farmer's Son Plympton St.
CORBER Mary Devon
Mary A. CORBER Daur S 31 Plympton St.
Mary Devon

Higher Hele

Appendix 7: Additional maps

21: Detail from Donn's map of Devon in 1765.

22: Detail from the Ordnance Survey carried out in

1886 and published in 1887.

Higher Hele

Appendix 8: Arms of the Heles of Hele

Argent, five fusils in pale gules, on the middle one a leopard's face or.

SOURCES: John Burke and John Bernard Burke, The Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies of England
(1838), p. 251; The Visitation of the County of Devon 1620, Harleian Society vol. 6 (1872), p.145.

23: Leopard's face affixed to guttering on the porch at

Higher Hele.