The Camell Connection to Berry Pomeroy

Camell Coat of Arms

Camell Coat of Arms


The Dorset Connection: Who was Anne Camell?

The story of the Bowden Pomeroy’s continues by exploring the importance of Anne Camell, daughter of Robert Camell, of Shapwick, Dorset. The Camell’s were of solid gentry stock on whose estates were raised sheep and grain in Dorset and Somerset. 

Amy Cammel: A lady whose life was as the pebble tossed in a quiet pool…. 

Cast of Characters: 

Anne Cammel, Squire Henry Pomeroy’s 2nd wife. 

Robert Cammel, father of Anne Cammel,  was from a gentry family on whose estates were raised sheep and grain in Dorset and Somerset.  

Henry Barrett, Anne’s first husband, was a Wiltshire Wool Merchant, with Exeter and Dorchester connections. 

Joanna Barrett, Anne’s only daughter, married William Kelloway, a family based in Sherborne, also a gentry family of long history who mixed in all aspects of growing, clipping, tucking, wool and cloth.  

John Wykes, of Bindon in Axminster, married Anne’s aunt, Joan Cammel. The Wykes were gentry with properties in Devon, Dorset and Somerset. 

Thomas Gyll, son of a London family with an established shipping business in Dartmouth, and Anne’s 2nd husband, was a wealthy ship owner, licensed privateer and kings escheater serving Devon and Dorset.  

Thomas Pomeroy, 3rd son of Squire Henry Pomeroy. 

Agnes Kelloway, grandaughter of Anne Cammel.

Henry Pomeroy, Esquire: Lord of Berry Pomeroy. 


Dorset home of the Barrett's 

Dorset home of the Barrett's 

Robert  Camell negotiated marriage contracts for his  daughters, Anne and Katherine, which effectively walled off the property he settled upon each couple, so it would not be transferred irrevocably to their husbands.

The settlements specified that the lands were to go to the "heirs of her body," with remainder to his own right heirs. Some of the lands Camell settled upon his daughters came from his father’s sister, Joan Plecy, who in turn had inherited extensively from her brother, John Plecy. in 1416.   Robert had additional lands, suggesting a previous marriage settlement of his own.   


Anne,  the second daughter of Robert Camell was married first, at a very early age, to Henry Barrett of Whiteparish, Dorset, a Wiltshire Wool Merchant with connections to Exeter and Dorchester. The wool merchants of the mid-15th century were shipping wool and cloth out of Exeter, Bristol and Bridport to Ireland, Calias and Bruges.  

Widowed young, Anne Barret nee Camell obtained full control of her husband's property, and was free to dispose of this “personal property” as she chose. She chose to settle it entirely upon the single "heir of her body,” a daughter, Johanna Barret, at the time of Johanna’s marriage. 

Johanna, in her mid-teens, married William Kelloway,  of Sherborne. All of the Camell and Barret lands from her mother became irrevocably merged with the Kelloways. The Kelloways, a gentry family with a  long history in Sherborne, engaged in all aspects of growing, clipping, tucking, and weaving wool and cloth. 

William Kelloway and Joanna Barrett were parents of  several children, including Agnes William, and Thomas.   Johanna, sadly, did not live to see them grow up. William remarried. The lands Johanna  brought to the Kelloways from her grandfather Robert Camell, and father Henry Barrett become the inheritance of their eldest son William Kellaway, junior. Childless, William named two of nephews as heirs. 




Anne (Camell) Barret and Thomas Gyll

The Dorchester, Dorset connections of Robert Camell included the King’s Escheator, Thomas Gyll, the younger.  Widowed and still very young, Anne was introduced to the Dartmouth ship owner and merchant with extensive interests in London, Calais, and the West Country.   A marriage was arranged between   Anne by her father Robert Camell and her uncle, John Wyke, of Bindon in Axminster. 


The 15th century Gylls of Dartmouth were notable ship-owners and merchants. Thomas Gyll the elder served as a MP for Dartmouth six times; Father and son served as collector of customs in Exeter and Dartmouth, and on many commissions.  

Thomas Gyll, the elder settled an assortment of properties in Devon upon the couple in 1459.   Anne left her daughter and her Dorset lands behind for a new life in Devon.    


The Pomeroy Connection


Anne (Camell) ( Barret) Gyll was widowed for a second time, around the year 1472-1474. The property Anne and Thomas Gyll  owned between them was under no entail, and there were no children. As before, Anne ended up in total control of the lands, rents and properties accumulated during her 2nd marriage. That which had been settled upon the couple by Thomas Gyll, the elder was confirmed hers for life; that which her husband had purchased or inherited during their marriage became hers entirely.  

Her lands and properties were substantial and attractive to a widower named Squire Henry Pomeroy, of Beri. 


Included in those lands was Bowden, at Totnes; Ashprington  and Langdon. The Camell coat of arms seen at Bowden suggests Anne and Thomas Gyll had occupied the home prior to her marriage to Pomeroy.  She also held the manors of Boohay, Woodhuish in Brixham, and the manor, lands and rents of Haatch in Loddiswell,  and the manor of Stokenham.  

The archives reveal that  Thomas Gyll also held  property in Devon, Somersetshire, and Dorset. 


The close social and political relationship between Henry Pomeroy, esquire of Berry Pomeroy and the Gyles of Dartmouth, are revealed in the Patent Rolls.  


Dartmouth Harbor

Dartmouth Harbor

Lands from John Plecy:  13 May 1416.
Northampton:. Manor Burton called ‘Plecymanor. Surrey: Leatherhead. 3 parts of the manor of Headley. Hampshire:     Fordingbridge.   Dorset: Sturminster Marshall: Wimborne St. Giles, Sutton and Romford, Shapwick: Christchurch . West Parley. 1 carucate in Marnhill and Kentlesworth,

   1461: Patent Rolls: Membrane 14: 

April 8: Commission to Henry Pomeroy, Walter Raleigh, Thomas Gylle, the younger, Seinclere Pomeroy and John Ralegh to arrest Edward Peverell and deliver him before the king in Chancery. 

April 9: Appointment of Thomas Wille the younger in Exeter and Dartmouth as controller of the petty customs, the subsidy of wools and wool-fells for the port of Exeter and Dartmouth, receiving the accustomed fees, provided that he execute the office in person. 

1462: Membrane 24: Feb 23: Grant for life Thomas Gille the younger of the office of the water-bailiwick in the port of Dartmouth and places and creeks adjacent, with profits as in the last year of Edward III. and the first of Richard II. 

1463: Membrane 18d. Jan. 12: Commission to William Bourghchier of Fitz Waren, knight, Humphrey Stafford of Southwyk, knight, Phillip Courtenay, knight, Charles Dynham, Walter Ralegh, John Giffard, John Orchard, Henry Pomeray, Thomas Gill the younger, William Coffin and John Specot to arrest and imprison certain persons who are trying to excite dissension within the county of Devon. 

1464: Membrane 7d. August 15: Commission to Thomas Wyse, esquire, Oto Gilberd, esq. Thomas Gille, Esq. and John Gifford to enquire what lands and tenements Baldwin Fulford, knight, who has forfeited to the kind,

  1465: Patent Rolls: Membrane 28: June 16: Pardon, for 10 marks paid in the hanaper,  of the trespass in the acquisition for life without license by Phillippa Broughton, now deceased, late the wife of John Dynham, knight, from John Dynham, John Coplestone, and John Halshanger, clerk, now deceased, and Thomas Gylle, who still survives , a carucate of land in Croston, co. Somerset, held in chief by knight service, and the manor of Fenotery, co. Devon, held in chief by rent of 4l. 4s. 8d. yearly at the Exchequer at the hands of the sheriff of Devon, with remainder to the said John, John, John and Thomas and their heirs.

1465: July 14: Membrane 22nd: Commission to Henry Pomeroy, Thomas Dowerish, and the sheriff of Devon to arrest Thomas Fulford, knight.

1466: March 4: Commission to Henry Pomeroy, esquire, Thomas Gale (sic) and Nicholas Southcote, sergeant at arms, to enquire into the report that a hold of Prussia, laden with divers goods and merchandise, sailing to England, foundered near the town of Plymouth, co. Devon, and that divers goods and merchandise and gear came ashore, and to seize such goods and merchandise and gear. (Membrane 14d. Patent Rolls.) 


1466: April 9: The same: To enquire in the counties of Devon and Cornwall into the report that a hulk laden with divers goods and merchandise of Bernard de la Barde and other merchants was wrecked near the town of Plymouth. (Membrane 5d. Patent Rolls.)

Some of the lands  of Thomas Gyll:

June 17. 1466.  Westminster.

To the escheator in Somerset. Order to take the fealty of Thomas Gylle due for one carucate of land in Corston and for the manor of Fenotery co. Devon, and to give him seisin of that land, but to remove the king's hand and meddle no further with the manors of Northome and Criket Malerbe, delivering to him any issues thereof taken; as it is found by inquisition, taken before the escheator, that John Dynham, John Coplestone, Thomas Gylle and John Halshanger clerk were seised of the land and manors aforesaid, and without the king's licence by charter indented, dated Kyngescarswill co. Devon, Maundy Thursday, 7 Henry VI, made a demise thereof among other thingsto Philippa Broughton, late the wife of John Dynham knight, for her life, with reversion to themselves and their heirs, that the said John, John and John died in her life time and the said Thomas overlived them and was solely seised of the said reversion; that he is yet alive, that the said land is held of the king by knight service, and the said manors of others than the king; and for a fine paid in the hanaper by letters patent of 16 June last, the king pardoned the said trespass, and for 6s. 8d. therein paid has respited the homage of the said Thomas until Easter day next.

  Thomas Gylle the elder first appears in the records of Dartmouth after 1430,  a notable shipowner and merchant of some substance with connections to London. He was six times MP for the town between 1433 and 1455, and one of the collectors of customs in Exeter and Dartmouth in 1439 and in 1453. Between 1431 and 1435 he had frequently served on commissions to arrest men, ships and goods brought into West Country ports. In 1436, he was licensed to equip and arm two of his ships, l’Antony and Le Katerine, both of Dartmouth, together with two supporting balingers or barges. For this short time, at least, he was a fully accredited privateer

In 1448 Thomas Gylle, the younger is sworn in an as as Escheator for Cornwall and Devon.  Suggesting a man of some status.  (Fine rolls )


 1463.  March 26.  Baret Family of Sherborne – Dorset Record Office

D/1548/1:  Bond to fill an arbitration judgement.

(1) William Baret,  son of John Baret late of Sherborne

(2)  William Kayleway senior, William Kayleway and Joanne (Barret) his wife. Property: manors and lands in ‘Babbeton,’ Stockton, Sherrington, Wylye, Tisbury, Whiteparish and Hamptsworthe in Wilts., and the manor and advowson of Lillington, Bagber, Sherborne, ‘Duleford,’ Pimperne, Nutford in Pimperne, ‘Lokky’ [Nutford in Lokky now France Farm], Stourpaine, Blandford and Moor Crichel – Bond: (1) to (2) L59.6s.8d. to be paid 24 June next.

1492. 1497, 1506, 1518)

William Cayleway listed as one of the ‘freeholders’ of Whiteparish, Wilts 

1492.  William Kayleway of Whiteparish, one of those appointed as a commissioner to collect the ‘fifteenth & tenths,” excepting the city of Salisbury [Calendar of Fine Rolls, Vol XXII,1485-1509].

-Robert Kelloway and his son, John, were in possession of Babbeton [Bapton?], Tisbury and were connected with Hamptsworth in Wilts. Robert was in possession of ‘Duleford’ and Lillington in Dorset. Lillington later belonged to Robert’s son, Martin (will 1575).

Property Law was Family Law


Powley wrote  in 1943: 

"Any collection of facts concerning de la Pomerais not heads of the house from 1066 onwards is a task which has not, it seems, so far attracted attention.

Fans of Downton Abbey are familiar with Lord Grantham’s predicament; a man of great estate who had three daughters and no sons.  At the time of Grantham’s marriage to Cora, a wealthy American heiress, his father established an entail that locked Cora’s money into the patrilineal estate.  While Lord Grantham accepted that after the death of his orinal heir, Matthew Crowley, a distant relative was to inheirt,, his predicament was over Cora's money.  Was “her” money really locked in so tight? Could the entail be broken so that their daughters could benefit? Apparently not.

Blackstone, in “Commentaries on the Laws of England,” put it this way:  “By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law; that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband . . .”



Property law was family law

Inheritance of property was part of the natural order of things, but property, manors, castles, office, and titles, were not equally heritable. The ancestral knights fee was to go to the first born son, complete, but a man could give his acquisitions to whomsoever he preferred.  A father could turn an acquisition into a marriage portion for a daughter, or endow a younger son.  Curiously,  lands acquired by collateral succession was counted as an acquisition.  For instance: Squire Henry Pomeroy bestowed land on his oldest son St Cleer Pomeroy at the time of the latter’s.  marriage. St Cleer died without children and his heir was his next younger brother, Richard, who also became heir to his father. The land from his brother was counted as an acquisition,  not as inheritable land.  Distinction between inheritance and acquisition as one of several means whereby the family maintained unity of its property yet made provision for cadet branches. When the relationship between collateral branches became tenuous, the family always sought to ensure reversion in the courts. 

The legal system in the 15th and 16th centuries did place lands in the hands of women, but only temporarily,  in the form of dowers or jointures in order to provide for themselves, their dependents and female relatives in their widowhood. 

Providing for widows, daughters, and younger sons was a concern patriarchs took seriously, and there were subtle methods employed to work around the existing laws of primogeniture.

For instance, if the heir agreed, a patriarch could break out a portion of the property, assign it to a group of trustworthy friends, and have them giftit back to himself and his wife, thus legally separating it from the main inheritance (patriline) of the estate. 

Because they placed the well being of their own descendants first, a widow who had control of property after her husbands death often choose her own heir,  and in doing so, created a new patrilineal line of land ownership.

de la Pomerai



A prime example of how women influenced change and thus caused future dissension was the major upheaval in the patrilineal line of the Pomeroy’s in the late 14th and early 15th century.    John de la Pomerai (   ~1416), and his wife Joanna had no children.  His legal heir was Edward, son of his cousin, Thomas. The manor of Tregony had already been settled on Edward and his wife Margaret Bevill, but John was under a great deal of pressure to break the entail in favor of his sisters children. 

It helps us to understand the pressure John de la Pomerai was under when we learn that his wife,  Joan Merton, had been married first to James Chudleigh, and that she was his second wife. Chudleigh by his first marriage was father of Sir James Chudleigh, who was married to John de la Pomerais' sister,  Joan.   James and Joan Chudleigh had a daughter Johanna, who was both niece and step-grandaughter to Joan Pomeroy nee Merton.  

Yes,  John de la Pomeroy regranted the manor of Beri, in 1387, to himself and his wife, with his heirs being the children of his two sisters.  Soon after John died his widow turned both her dower rights and the manor of Berry Pomeroy over to JoannaChudleigh, and her 3rd husband, Sir Thomas Pomeroy of Allaleigh (Cornworthy).   

As one might expect, great struggles ensued between Sir Edward Pomeroy and the usurper, Sir Thomas, but there was no help for it; the latter’s control of Berry Pomeroy was firmly supported by the King.  Although Johanna died in 1423,  Sir Thomas Pomeroy, “The King’s Knight,” remained in possession ofBeri for the remainder of his life. (1428.)

It wasn’t until 1428 that Edward de la Pomerai, the right heir, had undisputed claim to Beri.  



Pomerey impalled with Chudleigh

Pomerey impalled with Chudleigh