Weare Giffard, Devon

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weare_Giffard  for an outstanding article on the Hall and the Church. The photo of the Hall is taken from there.

The Manor Were (Weare Giffard) belonged to the Breton Roald Adobat who became a monk in 1104. The estate was then granted to Walter Giffard  ‘Giffard’ signifies ‘’The Liberal’ being compounded of two teutonic names ‘Gif’ to give, ‘ard’ towardness.  Walter Giffard III a crusader born 1211, married Alice de St. George. Their effigies are in the Church. There being no issue, the estate passed to Walter II’s sisters. then to Elizabeth Denzill last in line of the Giffards to hold several titles. She married Martin Fortescue and he enlarged and remodelled Weare Giffard Manor. He died in 1472. It was inherited by John Fortescue who continued building the Hall – responsible for the hammerbeam roof. b.1460 – 1503. Bartholomew Fortescue ‘Patron of the Living’, married Ellen. Their initials BF and EF are carved on to a pew end in the church.  Hugh Fortescue who died in 1661 erected the memorial in the church. Colonel Robert Fortescue born 1617 Defended the Hall during the Civil War. The Rev. William Fortescue, of George Nympton, was Rector at the Church 1828 – 1856. and his daughter’s 1788 – 1856 tomb is in the Church. George Matthew Fortescue (1791 – 1877)  restored the Hall in 1832. Lady Elizabeth Baxendale daughter of Hugh William Fortescue 5th Earl Fortescue sold the Manor in 1960

In approaching the house, we have on our left the square gateway tower, and enter, by a low modern Gothic porch, the entrance hall. Above the fireplace are two oak carvings of the Adoration of the Magi and the Resurrection. The walls of the hall are lined with tapestry. The best view of the hall roof is obtained from the gallery. The N. wall is ornamented with three full-length portraits in the style of Sir Peter Lely, and some Elizabethan medallions. On the S. wall are three coats-of-arms in relief: the Royal arms, dating 1599; on the right, the Bedfor; on the left, those of Bouchier, Earl of Bath. To the height of 10 ft. the walls are panelled with richly carved oak. There are several rooms with interesting fireplaces. The house was probably built by the first Fortescue of Wear Giffard, a son of Henry VI’s Chief-Justice. The strawberry gardens at Wear Giffard are laid out on sloping land an noted locally, the Bidefordians look forward each year to at least one luxurious feast here. At Wear Giffard was born the famous lawyer, Sir John Fortescue, who embraced the cause of the Red Rose, and being attainted of high treason in the first Parliament of Edward IV., escaped to Scotland, and afterwards to France, where he became tutor to young Prince Edward. For the Prince’s instruction he wrote the great work, “De laudibus Legum Angliae.” In 1473 he obtained a reversal of his attainder by retracting all he had written against Edward IV.’s title to the Crown.” From “DEVON” by S. Baring-Gould.

Etching from “The History of the Family of Fortescue in All its Branches”