The Pyncombe Estate

The principal land owner other than the Church in High Bickington, was the Pyncombe Estate. The Pyncombe family had lived at North Molton and owned considerable property and estates in Devon and Somerset. The last surviving member of the family was Gertrude Pyncombe who died in 1730 and left all her property to be administered by a charitable trust for the benefit of the poor. There is a memorial stone to Gertrude Pyncombe in Poughill Church near Crediton which reads as follows:

Gertrude Pyncombe, Spinster, who was born April 9th and died March 19th 1730.
She bequeathed her ample property to uphold the dearest interests of human society by the better maintenance of the Religion among men on the Knowledge and Practice of which depend the present and eternal Welfare of Mankind.
Her estates of Welsbere Barton and others in the Parishes of Ilfracombe, High Bickington, Atherington, Idsley, Chulmleigh, Chawley, Burrington, Cruwys Morchard, Bishops Morchard, Oakford, Broadwoodkelly, Withypool and Ringsash in this County and Dunster in the County of Somerset, are vested in Three Trustees ferever, in order that the income may be applied to the Relief of the Poor, to the instruction of the Ignorant, and to the assistance of the clergy in enabling them to augment all small livings, by claiming the Bounty of Queen Ann.
In memory og the exemplary Beneficience and pious zeal for the Church of Christ, this Stone is with all due Regard erected by the Trustees of her Bequests, JAMES BERNARD Esq. of Crowcombe Court Somersetshire. Rev. JAMES CAMPLIN A.M. Rector of Stoodley in this County and of Florey in the County of Somerset in the Year of our Lord 1809.

The Pyncombe Charity Trust decided to liquidate all of their assets in High Bickington and an auction was held at the village school at 2 p.m. on Wednesday 26th November 1919. as can be seen from the ‘Scehdule of Sale’ below, most of the properties and alnds were sold to sitting tennants. A grand total of £23,890 was raised from the sale of all the properties and 1137 acres of land, a considerable sum at the time but a miserable sum by todays standards!

The Schedule of Sale reads as follows:

The following freehold property in the Parish of High Bickington, in the County of Devon:-

Lot No.DescriptionTenantAcreagePurchase Money
1Lee farmRepresentative of Mr. Wm Tucker and in hand116.404£3,425
2YellandMr J. H. Woollacott and in hand235.242£3,375
3VauterhillMr T. Goss and in hand283.940£4,070
4DadlandsMr R. G. Pidler and in hand170.996£2,330
5Pulley MillsMr Wm Pidler62.486£2,310
6Part SeckingtonMr W. Pidler and Mr T. Goss and in hand50.804£1,483
6aWasteIn hand.100£1
7LibbatonMessers T. and W. B. Slee and in hand79.477£1,503
8WitherhillMr G. Pidler and in hand47.099£1,593
9QuicksMr W. B. Slee and in hand49.864£1,350
10Jewell’s MoorsMr G. Pidler13.790£410
11WhitebridgeMr Jno. Down4.331£230
12Jumps CloseMr. Wm Tucker4.313£230
13CottageMr. Wm Moore.319£165
14Pow’s CottageMr. Jno. Lang.169£90
15Estate YardIn hand.106£150
16CottageMr W. Pidler.287£145
17Arable FieldMr W. Pidler2.260£150
18Warren’s MarshMr. R.G. Pidler13.452£710
19Little BartonMr. W. B. Slee2.125£170

Sealed by Order of the Board this 12th day of March 1920

A transcript of the Charity Commission letter relating to the sale follows below as does a map showing the plots being sold:

General Charity – Pyncombe

Acreage – 96,571.

Authority to sell real estate (Auction)


In the matter of the PYNCOMBE CHARITY, regulated by a Scheme of the High Court of Chancery of the 5th July 1856 and comprised in a Determination Order made by the Charity Commissioners on the 23rd October 1906 under the Board of Education Act 1899, s 2 (2); and

In the Matter of “The Charitable Trusts Acts, 1853 to 1914.”

The Board of Charity Commissioners for England and Wales, being satisfied by the representations of the Trustees of the above mentioned Charity, and by a report from Charles John Hannaford, of Chulmleigh, in the County of Devon, Land Surveyor, that it would be advantageous to the Charity that the sale of the land and hereditaments describeed in the Schedule hereto, belonging to the Charity, and lately offered by the Trustees, with the approval of the said Board, at a sale by public auction, should be effected upon the terms hereinafter mentioned:

Do upon the application of the Trustees hereby order as follows:

  1. The trustees, within twelve calendar months from the date of this Order, may sell the said land and hereditaments for not less than the sums mentioned in the Schedule hereto, being the highest prices offered for the same at the said sale, and may do and execute all proper acts and assurances for carrying the sale into effect:
  2. “The Official Trustee of Charity Lands,” in whom the legal estate in the said land and hereditaments is vested in trust for the Charity, shall concur in the conveyance thereof if his concurrance is required:
  3. The Purchase moneys shall be imediately paid by the Trustees to the Banking Account at the Bank of England, of “The Official Trustees of Charitable Funds”:
  4. The proper expenses of the Trustees of the Charity attending the sale of the said land and hereditaments, upon an account being submitted by them to and approved by the said Board, shall be provided out of the purchase moneys:
  5. The purchase moneys when so paid as aforesaid, or the balance thereof after payment of the said expenses when so approved as aforesaid, shall be invested by the said Official Trustees, in……