Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 18, 2016.
Webpage updated: February 18, 2016

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Diana Hartley, a member of the Saint Aubyn family, tells us in her book "The Saint Aubyns of Cornwall, 1200-1977", the family probably came to England with William the Conqueror in 1066 and were given land by him when he became King of England.  The name is said to derive from the town of Aubin which got its name from a Bishop of that name who was canonised in the fifth century.

But it was not until the 18th century that the name Saint Aubyn became associated with the Ancient Manor and Parish of Stoke Damerel.  On October 3rd 1725 Sir John Saint Aubyn of Clowance (1696-1744), 3rd Baronet and Member of Parliament for Cornwall, married Miss Catherine Morice, the daughter of Sir Nicholas Morice and coheir of Sir William Morice, of Werrington.  The marriage took place at the Church of Saint James in Westminster.  Through that marriage he inherited the Stoke Damerel, not to mention a dowry of 10,000 which was taken to Clowance in two cartloads of half-crowns.  In November 1726 Lady Catherine bore Sir John a son.

The Baronetcy and the ownership of Stoke Damerel continued through that son, Sir John Saint Aubyn (1726-1772); Sir John Saint Aubyn (1758-1839); Edward Saint Aubyn (1799-1872); Sir John Saint Aubyn, 1st Baron Saint Levan (1829-1908); to Sir John Saint Aubyn, 2nd Baron Saint Levan, (1857-1940).  The lineage continues today.

Other members of the Saint Aubyn family pop in and out of the history of Old Devonport, particularly James Piers Saint Aubyn, the architect of many of its places of worship, and the Reverend William John Saint Aubyn, who was appointed the Rector of Stoke Damerel Parish in 1828.

It has to be said, though, that although they were Lords of the Manor, they appear to have rarely appeared personally in the Town and ran its affairs through their Court Baron, Court Leet and their Steward.  They did give a lot of land for the public good of the Parish and donated money to all the worthy causes.