Floyer Hayes

Floyer Hayes, detail from a 1617 map of the City of Exeter in the 6th volume of Civitates Orbis Terrarum by Georg Braun (1541-1622)
Floyer Hayes shown (bottom right) on 1617 map of the City of Exeter in the 6th volume of Civitates Orbis Terrarum by Georg Braun (1541-1622). St Thomas's Church at left (west)
Floyer Hayes shown on a 1765 map of Exeter by Benjamin Donn, situated on the Alphington road on the south side of the River Exe

Floyer Hayes was an historic manor in the parish of St Thomas[1] on the southern side of the City of Exeter in Devon, England, from which city it is separated by the River Exe.[2] It took its name from the ancient family of Floyer which held it until the early 17th century, when it was sold to the Gould family. In the 19th century the estate was divided up and the manor house demolished. The parish church of St Thomas, situated a short distance to the west of the house, was burned down in 1645 during the Civil War, and was rebuilt before 1657.[3] Thus no monuments survive there of early lords of the manor, namely the Floyer family.


No remains of the manor house survived beyond about 1830 or 1840. It stood set back a little way on the east side of the road from Exeter to Alphington, between the Haven Road and the railway viaduct, rather beyond what was known in 1898 as Sydney Place.[4] The name "Flower Pot Buildings" may have been originally "Floyer's Plot." The land lies very low, and was intersected by streams by which mills are worked. A mill is mentioned as being on the manor of Floyer's Hayes in the time of Henry III (1216–1272). Many open spaces around the outside of the City walls are shown on the 1765 map of Exeter by Benjamin Donnas as suffixed "Hay", such as Shill Hay, Southern Hay, Northern Hay, Fryers Hay and Bon Hay. The manor house is shown on a 1573 map of Exeter[5] as a building of large size, surrounded by a stone wall and entered beneath a large arched gateway.[4] According to Worthy (1892): "It stood nearly in a line with "Snayle Tower", and on the west side of the river, and must have been very near the ancient priory of Cowick, but a little to the south-west of it".

Feudal tenure[]

Floyer Hayes is referred to in a Latin note to the Heralds' Visitation of Devon of 1564, preserved at the College of Arms. This indicates that before the 14th century the manor was a member of one of the feudal baronies of the Courtenay family, Earls of Devon, thus either of the feudal barony of Okehampton or the feudal barony of Plympton. It was held from the Courtenays by the feudal tenure of grand sergeanty described as:[6]

"Whenever the Earl may come to Exe Island to fish, or otherwise enjoy himself, then the lord, or proprietor, of this manor, in decent habit or apparel, should attend him with a mantle upon his shoulders and a silver cup filled with wine in his hands, and should offer the same to the said Earl to drink".



Exon Domesday Entry for Sotrebroc, held by Floherus
Arms of Floyer of Floyer Hayes: Sable, a chevron between three arrows points downward argent; crest: A stag's head erased or holding in the mouth an arrow argent.[7] Motto: Floret Virtus Vulnerata ("Virtue flourishes wounded")

According to the Exon Domesday Book of 1086 in the section listing holdings of Terrae Francorum Militum in Devenesira ("Lands of French knights in Devonshire"), a man whose name was Latinised to "Floherus" (in French probably Flohère) held the manor of Sotrebroc in Wonford hundred, which later became known as Floyer Hayes.[8] The text is as follows:[9]

Floherus habet i mansionem quae vocatur Sotrebroc quam tenuit Alviet ea die qua rex Eduuardus fuit vivus et mortuus et reddidit gildum pro dimidia virga. quam possunt arare iiii boves et valet per annum ii solidos (which may be translated as: "Flohere has 1 estate which is called ‘Shutbrook’, which Ælfgeat held on the day that King Edward was alive and dead, and it paid geld for half a virgate. 4 oxen can plough this and it is worth 2 shillings a year.")

The scribe preparing the main (Exchequer) Domesday Book appears to have overlooked this entry when transcribing from Exon Domesday, thus it was omitted.[10] This early name of the estate may have come from the Schute Broke, a stream, whose name was recorded by the now lost "Shutbrook Street" in this vicinity.[10] It was later held from the feudal barony of Okehampton.[10] Flohere was also the mesne tenant of the manor of Sutton in the parish of Halberton, Devon, which he held from a certain Aiulf, one of the minor Devon Domesday Book tenants-in-chief of King William the Conqueror.[11] Flohere's mesne-tenancy of Sutton is mentioned only in the Exon Domesday Book. It is unclear whether Flohere was connected to Fulchere a Devon Domesday Book tenant-in-chief, called in the Exon Domesday "Fulchere the Bowman", as the arms adopted by the Floyer family at the start of the age of heraldry (c.1200-1215) featured arrows.

The pedigree of "Floyer of Floyer Hayes" as submitted in the 1564 Heraldic Visitation of Devon[12] by William Floyer (d.1578), commences in the reign of King Hery II (1154-1189) with "Richard Floyer of Floyer Hayes". The manor remained in the possession of the Floyer family until it was sold by Anthony Floyer (born 1596) (son of Anthony Floyer (d.1608) and grandson of William Floyer (d.1578)[13]) to Henry Gould (died 1636). This younger Anthony Floyer married Elinor Pole, a daughter of the Devon historian Sir William Pole (died 1635), who wrote concerning "Floyerhays": Antony Floier, nowe livinge, hath by Elinor, daughter of mee Sr Willam Pole, of Colcombe, Kt, issue: William, John, and others. The said Antony hath alsoe diverse tenements in the parish of St Thomas.[14] Pole's contemporary and fellow Devon historian Tristram Risdon (died 1640) also referred to Anthony Floyer of "Floyers Heyes" thus: The now inheritor thereof married Pole, his father Martin.[15] This refers to Anthony Floyer's mother Anna Martin, 4th daughter[16] and co-heiress of Nicholas Martin of Athelhampton, Dorset, descended from the ancient Martin family, feudal barons of Barnstaple in Devon. Nicholas Martin married Margaret Wadham, one of the three wealthy sisters and co-heiresses of Nicholas Wadham (died 1609), co-founder with his wife Dorothy Petre of Wadham College, Oxford. The Tudor manor house of the Martins survives at Athelhampton. Subsequently the Floyers lived in Dorset for several generations. Vivian completed the family's subsequent pedigree down to 1895, which includes the Floyer family of Martin Hall in Lincolnshire and in a junior line John Floyer (1811-1887) of West Stafford, a well-known cricketer and Member of Parliament for Dorset 1846-57.


Arms of Gould: Per saltire azure and or a lion rampant counterchanged[17]

The Gould family was descended from a certain John Gold, a crusader present at the siege of Damietta in 1217 who for his valour was granted in 1220 by Ralph de Vallibus an estate at Seaborough in Somerset.[17] The descent of Floyer Hayes in the Gould family was as follows:


The Goulds sold this property to the Templar family which "divided it, and destroyed the ancient house".[31] In 1811 Floyer Hayes was the property of Thomas Templar, Esq.[2]


  1. ^ Risdon, p.116
  2. ^ a b Risdon, 1811 Additions, p.374
  3. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus & Cherry, Bridget, The Buildings of England: Devon, London, 2004
  4. ^ a b Floyer, Rev. J. Kestell, 1898
  5. ^ Apparently reproduced in Lysons' Magna Britannia, Vol. 6, p. 178 (per Worthy, p.161). Not visible here [1]
  6. ^ Worthy, p.161
  7. ^ Vivian, p.344
  8. ^ Thorn, Caroline & Frank, (eds.) Domesday Book, (Morris, John, gen.ed.) Vol. 9, Devon, Parts 1 & 2, Phillimore Press, Chichester, 1985, Part 2 (Notes), Chapter 22
  9. ^ "Exeter 3500: Texts | Exon Domesday".
  10. ^ a b c Thorn & Thorn, Part 2 (Notes), Chapter 22
  11. ^ Thorn, Caroline & Frank, (eds.) Domesday Book, (Morris, John, gen.ed.) Vol. 9, Devon, Parts 1 & 2, Phillimore Press, Chichester, 1985, Part 2 (Notes), Chapter 41:1
  12. ^ Vivian, pp.344-5, quoting Harl. MS 1080, f.370 (1564, see note p.32)
  13. ^ Vivian, p.345
  14. ^ Pole, p.239
  15. ^ Risdon, p.117
  16. ^ Vivian, p.553, pedigree of Martyn of Oxton
  17. ^ a b Vivian, p.418
  18. ^ Vivian, pp.345, 421
  19. ^ a b c d e Vivian, p.421
  20. ^ Vivian, p.426, pedigree of Gould
  21. ^ Worthy, pp.160-3
  22. ^ "UPTON, John (1639-87), of Lupton, Devon." History of Parliament Online. Retrieved on 11 January 2017.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g Vivian, p.422
  24. ^ "Sheriff of Devon" per Vivian, p.421, but not listed in Risdon, pp.13-14
  25. ^ Poulton-Smith, Anthony, South Devon Place Names
  26. ^ "Explained: How Gould stayed Gould". Plymouth Herald 22 November 2014. Retrieved on 11 January 2017.
  27. ^ a b Worthy, p.160
  28. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus & Cherry, Bridget, The Buildings of England: Devon, London, 2004, p.339
  29. ^ Burke's, p.277
  30. ^ "TUCKFIELD, John (c.1719-67), of Little Fulford, Devon" History of Parliament Online. Retrieved on 11 January 2017.
  31. ^ Worthy, p.163