The Southmead family

The Southmeads are a very old family who lived at Wray in the 16th and 17th century.

The John Southmead (son of William)  who succeeded to the estate in 1620 and died in 1650 was a leading puritan, who was an important influence in the town.  He became the patron of St Andrews Church and appointed his son-in-law, Francis Whiddon, as Rector (Whiddon remained rector till his death in 1656; see List of Rectors and Memorials SA12).  

This John had a son and grandson with the same name, and the family continued to hold Wray, while also acquiring land in Chagford, until 1833, though by the end of  the period they lived in Chagford, the last Southmead christening in Moreton was in 1733.  He had a brother who emigrated to North America before 1640, not long after the Pilgrim Fathers.  The family became important in Massachussetts, and have descendants today (called Southmayd) who still value their connection with Moretonhampstead.

 See also the History of Wray Barton.


Abstract of Will of John Southmead

from the series of Wills in the WCSL (W929.3x, O.M. Collection 8/36), which is based on notes of historians collected together after the actual documents were lost. This is in typescript 

John Southmead of Moretonhampstead, gent.

Will dated 1648, proved 2.7.51 by John Southmead.