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SIR WALTER RALEGH.
THE Raleghs were an old Devonshire family, once wealthy CHAP. I. and distinguished. At one period five knightly branches of + the house flourished simultaneously in the county. In the reign of Henry III a Ralegh had been Justiciary. There were genealogists who, though others doubted, traced the stock to the Plantagenets through an intermarriage with the Clares. The Clare arms have been found quartered with those of Ralegh on a Ralegh pew in East Budleigh church. The family had held Smallridge, near Axminster, from before the Conquest. Since the reign of Edward III it had been seated on the edge of Dartmoor, at Fardell. There it built a picturesque mansion and chapel. The Raleghs of Fardell were, writes Polwhele, esteemed ancient gentlemen.' But the rapacious lawyers of Henry VII had discovered some occasion against Wimund Ralegh, the head of the family in their day. They thought him worth the levy of a heavy fine for misprision of treason; and he had to sell Smallridge.
Wimund married into the Grenville family; and in 1497
CHAP. I. his son and heir, Walter, was born. Before the boy attained
majority the father died. As Dr. Brushfield, a Devon antiRalegh's
quarian, to whose diligence and enthusiasm all students of the life of Walter Ralegh are indebted, has shown, Walter Ralegh of Fardell, on the termination of his minority, in 1518, was possessed, in addition to Fardell, of the manors of Colaton Ralegh, Wythecombe Ralegh, and Bollams. He may be presumed to have succeeded to encumbrances likewise. Part of Colaton was sold by him; and he did not occupy Fardell. As he is known to have owned a bark in the reign of Mary, it has been supposed that he took to commerce. Whether for the sake of contiguity to Exeter, then the centre of a large maritime trade, or for economy, he fixed his residence in East Budleigh parish, on a farm, which was his for the residue of an eighty years' term. His choice may have been partly determined by his marriage to Joan, daughter to John Drake of Exmouth. The Exmouth Drakes were connected with East Budleigh; and Joan's nephew, Robert Drake, bequeathed charitable funds in 1628 for the benefit of East Budleigh parish in which he lived. The dates of Joan's marriage and death are uncertain. It is only known that the two events occurred between 1518 and 1534. Her tomb is in East Budleigh church, with an inscription asking prayers for her soul. She left two sons, George and John. Secondly, Walter married a lady of the family of Darell or Dorrell, though some genealogists describe her as Isabel, daughter of de Ponte, a Genoese merchant settled in London. She left a daughter, Mary, who married Hugh Snedale. On her death, some time before 1549, Walter married thirdly Katherine, daughter of Sir Philip Champernoun. She was widow of Otho Gilbert, of Compton and Greenway Castles, to whom she had borne the three Gilbert brothers, John, Humphrey, and Adrian. By her marriage to Walter Ralegh of Fardell she had three more children, Carew, and Walter, Sir Walter Ralegh,' with a daughter, Margaret, described sometimes as older, and sometimes as younger than Walter.