History of Gibbs of Fenton, Dartington, Devon, England

by Lord Hunsden of Hunsden, 1925

The following has been provided by Adella McKay, Toronto, Canada, who extracted the information from the above mentioned book.

Gibbs, (Gibbe, Gebbes, Gybbes) is a family of English West Country squires of Norman descent, who, after the Conquest, were granted land from Norman connections, and increased their wealth, land holdings and importance between 1376 and 1487. The name Gibbs/Gibbes is however listed in a library resource on British surnames as originally Frisian, from the Saxon tribes who inhabited the coastal area, now Holland, but of Germanic origin and came to England after the Romans. Common first names were William, Henry, and Thomas in the Honnington branch (Devon) of the 15th century. At that time sons, other than the eldest, had no status and often worked the land as laborers for the eldest. (p. 48) In records held at Exeter Castle, on December 20, 1540, one William Gibbes, son and heir of Thomas Gibbes of Fenton, Devon, sold his land in Lutton, land in South Milton (a couple miles south of Kingsbridge), and a manor at Whitebeare in the parish Milton Damerell, to pay fines and debts for his drunken behavior. William Gibbes was a Gentleman (landed gentry), apparently at war with neighbors and fighting over cattle. It was reported in the legal recordings that he said, "Well, ye lytell ape, and it were not for shame I wolde brake your nose." (Star Chamber proceedings, Henry VIII, vol. vi, nos. 3-7) The same William Gibbes was among, "divers ryottes persons to them assocyatt ryottes by arrayed", who forcibly entered said premises, "and then and there wrongfully and without cause fellyd and cutt down 11 great trees", carrying them away for their own use (1540).



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