Early Records

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These are a collection of Tudor and Stuart tax records, muster rolls etc, and give early glimpses of Vanstones in Devon. They are useful as a snapshot guide, but all the records are incomplete, so there could have been a lot more Vanstones around.

Lay Subsidies: Lay subsidies were taxes, in pre-income tax days, levied by the crown on land, goods and sometimes on wages, usually at a shilling or sixpence in the pound.  Subsidy rolls were lists of who owed what in each parish.

TETCOTT John Fanstone Goods worth £8
ASHWATER John Vanstone Goods worth £1
NORTH PETHERWIN Alice Fanstone, widow Goods worth £3

William Fannston

Goods worth £2

PARKHAM Isabel Vanston executrix to the will of John Vanston, married to John Durke in the same parish. Goods worth £4



John Fanston sen

John Fannston

John Fanston

goods/wages worth £10

goods/wages worth £3

goods/wages worth £1


John Fanston

Richard Fanstone

goods/wages worth £4

goods/wages worth £1

NORTH PETHERWIN John Fanston goods/wages worth £1
HATHERLEIGH William Vanstone goods/wages worth £2

John Vanston

Walter Vanston

goods/wages worth £1

goods/wages worth £1


TETCOTT Richard Fanstone Goods worth £3


Muster Roll 1569: Every man was obliged to bear arms to defend his country and muster rolls were held regularly to inspect men and weapons.  In 1569, with the threat from Spain growing, commissioners were appointed to draw up lists of the men available with their chosen specialities. Gentry were usually listed as light horse.  Others were either archers, pikemen, billmen (pikes and bills were both poll arms for using against cavalry), or harquebusiers.

TETCOTT Richard Fanston  

George Vanston

Thomas Fanston



WINKLEIGH William Fanstone Harquebusier
An arquebus (harquebus) was a flintlock forerunner of the musket


1642 assessment. Assessments replaced lay subsidies. Counties were told how much they owed the crown in total, and were expected to distribute payments fairly among people with incomes worth £3 goods, £1 land or £10 wages. The 1642 assessment was to raise money for the King at the start of the civil war.

TETCOTT (early entries illegible)

Nicholas Fanstone
John Fanston jnr
Richard Fanston
Roger Fanston
ST.PANCRASWEEK William Fanston 4/-
WINKLEIGH John Vanstone 4/8


Protestation Returns 1641-2
An oath of allegiance to Charles I and the Protestant religion was demanded of all males over 18 in every parish. It was intended to identify Catholics, who refused to sign.

Buckland Filleigh Stephen Vanstone
Burrington John Vanston
Calverleigh (Tiverton) John Vanston
Chittlehampton James Vanstone

Edmund Venson - was this a variation of Vanstone?
Abraham Vanstone

High Bickington John Vanstone
Matthew Vanstone
Tobias Vanstone
Little Torrington Thomas Vanstone
Merton Humphrey Vanstone
St.Olave (Exeter) John Vanstone
Shirwell John Vanstone
Tetcott John Fanteston
John Fanteston jun.
Nicholas Fanteston
Richard Fanteston
Roger Fanteston
Wembworthy Peter Vanstone

John Vanstone
Samuel Vanstone


HEARTH TAX 1674. An annual payment of 2/- for every hearth, to be paid by the occupier.  Exemption was made for paupers (those not paying poor rates or with houses or land worth less than £1p.a. or goods less than £10)

PANCRASWEEK William Fanstone 2 hearths
TETCOTT John Fanstone 2 hearths
STOWFORD Mary Vanson (pauper) 1 hearth
Dan Vanstone
1 hearth
1 hearth
HUNTSHAW Math Vanstone 1 hearth

Peter Vanstone (pauper
Peter Vanstone jun)
1 hearth
1 hearth

................ Vanstone
Mathew Vanstone
1 hearth
1 hearth
WINKLEIGH Samuel Vanstone
John Vanstone
George Vanstone (pauper)
1 hearth
2 hearth
1 hearth
HARTLAND Jon Vanstone (pauper) 1 hearth


Contributors to the Rebuilding of St.Paul's Cathedral 1678
The records for Petrockstow parish contains no names, but otherwise, only 2 Vanstones felt generous enough to contribute:

Jane Vanstone of Chawleigh, donated 4d
John Vanstone of Winkleigh, donated 2d

So if you ever visit St.Paul's in London, you can bask in the satisfying knowledge that Vanstones contributed sixpence to it.


Devon Freeholder's Book 1771
Tiverton: Francis Vanstone, scrivener


Tithe Apportionments, following the Tithe Commutation Act 1836.
The acreage is given in acres, rods and perches: 40 perches = 1 rod, 4 rods = 1 acre. Ah, those were the days.
It is evident that Vanstones were not major landowners or, with one or two exceptions, not major tenants either.







Alwington Rev.Coffin, John Thomas Pine   Edward Vanstone unnamed house etc 0.0.20
Bickleigh (Plymouth) Sir Ralph Lopes   John Vanstone unnamed cottage 0.0.02
Bickleigh (Plymouth) Sir Ralph Lopes   John Vanstone & Samuel Morgan unnamed land 0.0.19
Bickleigh (Plymouth) Sir Ralph Lopes and John Dawe   Richard Pascoe & James Vanstone unnamed land



Bickleigh (Plymouth) Sir Ralph Lopes and John Dawe   Jame Vanstone unnamed cottage etc 0.0.10
Black Torrington Joseph Chapman   Samuel Vanstone unnamed cottages etc 0.0.12
Black Torrington Mary Harvey & Anne Rowe   Mary Harvey & John Vanstone unnamed land


Black Torrington Lewis Heysett   ? Vanstone unnamed cottage etc. 0.0.09
Black Torrington Lewis Heysett   Charity Vanstone unnamed cottage etc 0.0.09
Black Torrington Ann Rowe   Samuel Vanstone Part of Northcott 29.0.33
Bondleigh William Arnold & George Tattershill   Samuel Vanstone Venn 68.0.21
Bondleigh William Arnold & George Tattershill   Samuel Vanstone unnamed land 12.2.00
Broadwoodkelly Benjamin Cleave   William Reed & Samuel Vanstone unnamed land 0.1.10
Buckland Filleigh Lord Ashurton   Stephen Vanstone unnamed cottage etc 0.0.21
Buckland Filleigh Henry Hawkes   James Vanstone Saint Clair 29.3.23
Clyst Hydon Churchwardens of Cysthydon   William Atkins & Francis Vanstone unnamed cottage etc 0.0.22
Exeter St.Thomas Thomas Northmore   James Vanstone unnamed house etc


Fremington trustees of Maj? Hogg Richard Vanstone Richard Vanstone unnamed house etc 0.0.22
Fremington Isaac Start   James Vanstone Lovecott Green 16.1.12
Great Torrington trustees of Lord ?   James Vanstone unnamed house etc 0.0.36

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