Pyllond of Devon, England

By James Pylant
Copyright © 2013—All rights reserved
Do not post or publish without written permission

During the thirty-year reign of Henry II (1154—1189), the lord of Pilland was one William Fauvell,1 of Norman descent, whose surname derived from Fauville, near Evreux in northern France.2 Fauvell’s descendants who inherited the estate changed their surname to Pilland during the reign of Edward I (127—1307) when Archibald de Pilland was lord.3 Those who held the estate were recorded with various spellings, including Piland, Pillande, Pylland, Pyllaund, and Pyllond. The oratory (chapel) at Pilland House was licensed in 1370 for Edmund Pillande and his wife, Johanna, and regranted to Thomas Pyllond and his wife, Isabella, in 1403,4 when the house was referred to as the “mansion of Pyllond.5

One of the descendants who inherited the mansion married into the aristocratic Le Moyne family of Devon. Joan Le Moyne Piland was the ancestress of the Brett family,6 who inherited the Pyllond estate from Thomasine Pyllond, daughter and only heir of John Pyllond.7 Chancery proceedings in Devon show “Robert Bryt [Brett] and Thomasine, his wife, daughter and heir of John Pyllond,” held “a messuage [a house with adjacent buildings and land] and land in Pilland and Blakewell, late of said John.8 The Bretts sued Thomas Stery and his wife, Johane (formerly the widow and executrix of Simon Broun) over the detention of deeds relating to the messuage and land once owned by Thomasine’s father, John Pyllond.9

Thomasine Pyllond also inherited a coat of arms, which Sir George Carews in 1588 refers to as “Pylland of Pillond.” This arms had once belonged to Thomas Pilland, Justice of the Peace in the third year of the reign of Henry V (1418). Following Thomasine’s marriage, the arms was quartered by her husband.10 The will of John Brett, Esq., of Somerset, dated 1587, mentions “my grandmother, Thomasine Brett, of Pilland, widow of Robert Brett, my grandfather.11

The Bretts sold Pilland to John Woolton, the Bishop of Exeter, sometime before his death in 1593. The Bishop’s son, Dr. John Woolton, after retiring from his medical practice, moved to the Pilland estate.12

As of 1850, T. W. Harding, Esq., was the owner.13 By the next year, the estate was referred to as Pilland Farm.14

Other instances of variants Pillond, Pylland and Pyllond include:

  • During the reign of Edward II, three-year-old John de Luccombe inherited the manor of East Luccombe, in Somerset. William de Pyllaunde, or Pillond, parson of the church of Kingston, was granted custody of part of the manor of East Luccombe, in Somerset, to hold until John de Luccombe reached adulthood. In years to come, resenting William de Pyllaunde’s involvement, forced him from the property. William took the issue to court and was reinstated and remained so until 1335.15
  • In 1421 Thomas Pyllond was named in the register of Edmund Lancy, Bishop of Exeter.16
  • In 1436 Margery, wife of William Pillond, was named as an heir of Margaret Loueney, as was Margery’s sister, Joan, wife of William Prideaux of Thorleston, Devon.17
  • In 1466 one William Pylland paid forty marks of silver to William Gagham and wife Alice for a quitclaim to property in Goodleigh, in Devon, consisting of three messuages and fourteen acres of land.18
  • An inquisition post mortem in Devonshire, 13 June 1420, during reign of Henry V (1418—1471), mentions Thomas Pyllond, son of John Keynes’s sister, Joan.19

Tax lists from the 1520s reveal Richard Pyllond in Romansleigh Parish, John Pyllond in Georgeham Parish, and Elizabeth Pylland in South Molton Hundred.20 By that decade the surname was found northeast in the adjoining county of Gloucester.

  1. Tristram Risdon, Survey of the County of Devon (London; 1811), p. 333.
  2. [Anonymous], The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions (London: Henry S. King & Co., 1874), p. 244
  3. Risdon, Survey of the County of Devon, p. 333.
  4. Margaret A. Reed, Pilton: Its Past and Its People (Vineyard, 1985), p. 67.
  5. Rev. F. C. Hingeston-Randolph, M.A., The Register of Edmund Stafford (A.D. 1395—1419): An Index Abstract of Its Contents (London: George Bell & Sons, 1886), p. 279.
  6. Frederic Thomas Colby, B.D., F.S.A., The Visitation of the County of Devon (London: 1872), pp. 188-191.
  7. Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem and Other Analogous Documents Preserved in the Public Record Office, Prepared Under the Superintendent of the Deputy Keeper of the Records, Henry VII. Vol. I (Nendeln/Liechtenstein: Kraus-Thomson Organization, Limited, repr. 1973), p. 26.
  8. Public Record Office, Lists and Indexes, No. XX: List of Early Chancery Proceedings Preserved in the Public Record Office, Vol. III (London: 1906), p. 113.
  9. Item reference C 1/115/27:, accessed 10 March 2012.
  10. P.F.S. Amery, John S. Amery and J. Brookings Rowe, FSA, Devon Notes and Queries, Vol. 1 (Exeter: 1901), p. 97.
  11. Frederick Arthur Crisp and Frederick Brown, Abstracts of Somersetshire Wills, Etc., Copied from the Manuscript Collections of the late Rev. Frederick Brown, M.A., F.S.A. (privately published, 1887), p. 66.
  12. John Woolton (Bishop of Exeter), online,, accessed 30 May 2011.
  13. Barnstaple, Including Pilton Parish, and Part of Bishop’s Tawton, online,
  14. Reed, Pilton: Its Past and Its Present, p. 34.
  15. Charles E. H. Chadwyck-Healey, The History of the Part of West Somerset: Comprising the Parishes of Luccombe, Selworthy, Stoke Pero, Prolock, Culbone and Oare (London: H. Southern & Co., 1901), pp. 52, 55-56.
  16. G. P. Dunstan, ed., The Register of Edmund Lacy, Bishop of Exeter, 1420—1455, Vol. 1 (Torquay: Devon and Cornwall Record Society), p. 25.
  17. “Some Notes on Medieval English Genealogy,” online,, accessed 14 January 2012.
  18. “Some Notes on Medieval English Genealogy,”, accessed 14 January 2012.
  19. Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortems G-10 Henry V (1418—1472) (Woodridge, England: The Boydell Press, 2002), p. 178.
  20. T. L. Stoate, Devon Lay Subsidy Rolls, 152-7 (Bristol: the author, 1979), p. 87 (Richard Pyllond in Romansleigh Parish), p. 90 (Elizabeth Pylland in South Molton Hundred), and p. 99 (John Pyllond in Georgeham Parish).