The First Shapcotts of Knowstone

The first Shapcotts of whom we have any clear record  appear on a family tree at the time of the Royal Visitation of 1620.

Shapcott Family Contents   |   Shapcotts During The English Civil War

Shapcott Family of Looe   |   Looe A Branch   |   Looe B Branch   |   Looe C Branch   |   All About Looe   |   Contact Us

The Shapcote Family of Stepney & The Second Convict Fleet   |   Our Branch of the Shapcotts of Whitestone Exeter and the Musical Shapcotts   

Note - The original tree spells the family name as “ SHAPCOTT ”, with only one exception, when it uses  “SAPCOTT ”.   

In Vivian’s version of the family tree the surname is spelt in four different ways - the spelling of  “ SHAPCOTE ” being the one most frequently used.  Vivian was able to discover more records, to enhance the basic information found in the original tree.

From this pedigree we can derive  the earliest date that the Shapcott family were living at East Knowstone was 1350.   

These were two brothers:  William and Simon.   William heads the Shapcote family tree, and had a son named Simon.

This pedigree concludes with Phillip Shapcott “of Shapcott”, who died on the 31st August 1703.   

His gravestone can be found in the Knowstone Parish Church.

Many of the Shapcote family’s names are to be found amongst the registers, gravestones and memorials of St Peter’s Church in Knowstone, where the Shapcott family worshiped, and also in the parish registers of the surrounding villages, such as: Bishops Nympton, West Anstey, Molland, North Molton and South Molton.    

The farm previously known as Chenutdestana now was called: “Shapcott” or  SHAPCOTT BARTON.  

The meaning of the word “Barton” is “farm building or barn”.

The Shapcotts of Knowstone were involved in sheep farming from at least the 14th century, wool being a prosperous industry at that time,

and thus they took on our distinctive surname.   

They could well have become known in the district as: "the sheep cote people", and the property they occupied as "the sheep cote farm"  (or barton).

Note:  It should also be considered that as well as the owners of the farm, families who worked and probably lived on or around the farm, could also have become known as belonging to the “Sheepcote family or farm" and thus also acquired the surname of Shapcote  or a name of some similar spelling.

Next - Shapcott Barton in Knowstone

This early pedigree formed the basis for further research by J.L. Vivian in 1895, when writing his book “Visitations Of The County Of Devon”.

Below is Vivian’s own version of this family tree, as completed with the use of the appropriate parish registers.