The CUTCLIFFE heraldic coat-of-arms is described as gules, three pruning hooks argent – a red shield with three silver pruning hooks. The helmet has a crowning wreath of silver and red, and decorative mantling (also of silver and red). The Cutcliffe motto is fingit premendo, meaning “he builds by discipline” (or “he fashions by restraint”).

The Cutcliffe family was established in the Barnstaple region of Devonshire, from Ilfracombe to Exeter. The family probably descended from the fifteenth-century Thomas Cutlyff of Hartland, county Devon. An important family seat was the estate of Damage Barton, located near Ilfracombe and Lee Bay (probably acquired in about 1505). Another acquisition was Lee Manor at Lee Bay. [information from ‘The Cutcliffe’s of Damage: Genealogical Family Tree of Cutcliffe of Damage’ web-site by Thomas F. Cutcliffe (cached)]

Cutcliffe coat-of-arms


Charles Cutcliffe was born in 1710 at Bideford, the eldest son of the family. He was baptised on 16 August 1710 at Great Torrington, county Devon.

Parents: Charles Cutcliffe and Avice (née Nash)

Charles Cutcliffe was baptised on 30 January 1683 at Ilfracombe, Devonshire, son of John Cutcliffe and Grace (née Newell).

Avice Nash was born in 1685; she lived at Iddesleigh.

Charles Cutcliffe and Avice Nash were married on 6 July 1707 at Great Torrington, Devonshire.

Charles Cutcliffe was educated at Bideford Grammar School “under the direction of the Rev. Zachariah Mudge, of whom he appears to have been a favorite pupil”.

Some letter to him from his quondam master are in my possession. They are dated 1729, and refer to the journey, or rather voyage to London, of Mr. Mudge’s second son Thomas, who went there to be apprenticed to Graham, the watchmaker, in Fleet Street, “as his genius has ever led him to something in the mechanical way”, and commends Thomas to the good offices on young Cutcliffe, who seems to have responded very cordially to his old preceptor’s appeal in favour of his son; for in a subsequent letter Mr. Mudge writes to Charles Cutcliffe thanking him for his reply, “which was very kind and obliging, but not beyond what I expected from you, because I ever saw that in you which would equal any expectation”. [(probably) W.R. Drake, cited above]

Charles Cutcliffe worked as a Solicitor at Bideford, county Devon. Bideford is a sea-port and market-town on the Torridge estuary.

Elizabeth DENE

Elizabeth Dene was born in 1715 at Horwood, Westleigh, county Devon. Horwood is a small village and parish, 3 miles ENE of Bideford. The local church, St. Michael’s, contains memorials of the Dene family. Westleigh is a larger village on the east side of the Torridge estuary, 2 miles NE of Bideford and 2 miles WNW of Horwood. References to “Horwood, Westleigh” for this family perhaps refer to Horwood House (near Horwood; possibly located between Horwood and Westleigh?). In 1850 Horwood House was owned by Rev. John Dene, M.A., incumbent of the rectory at Horwood. [White’s Devonshire Directory (1850)]

Parents: Humphrey Dene (of Horwood); mother’s name not known

Charles Cutcliffe and Elizabeth Dene were married on 9 April 1745 at Horwood, county Devon.

Children: Charles Newell, baptised on 25 February 1746/7 at Westleigh, county Devon;

married Margaret Mervyn.

John, born in 1749 at Horwood, Westleigh, Devon.

William, born in 1751 at Exeter, Devon

Ann, born in 1755 at Exeter, Devon.

Avice, born in 1758.

James, born in 1759 at Great Torrington, Devon.

Robert, born in 1761 at Great Torrington, Devon.

Thomas, born in 1763 at Westleigh, Devon.

George, born in about 1765 at Exeter, Devon.

Rebecca, born in 1775 at Exeter, Devon.


(see Appendix for further details)

Charles’ father, Charles Cutcliffe, died on 30 August 1745. Charles was named in the Will of his father, under which terms he succeeded to the Ilfracombe Estates.

Mr. Cutcliffe was, as we have seen, educated for the legal profession, which, however, he does not appear to have followed subsequently to his father’s death. He succeeded to the estates in Ilfracombe, and to the Barton of Weach, in West Leigh, where he resided, following the pursuits of a country gentleman. [(probably) W.R. Drake, cited above]

In 1747 Charles Cutcliffe acted de bonis non administrates in regard to the Will of his brother, Thomas Cutcliffe (in which document Charles was named). The term de bonis non administrates – “those assets not as yet administered by the executor” – refers to a situation where an estate has been abandoned or only partially administered by an executor, requiring the appointment of an administrator to complete the process.

Charles Cutcliffe was appointed to the Commission of the Peace for the county of Devon (a Justice of the Peace). He was known as Charles Cutcliffe of Weach (Westleigh, Devonshire).

Charles Cutcliffe died in June 1791, aged 82 years, and was buried on 15 June at Westleigh, county Devon. His Will was dated 20 February 1789 and proved on 6 July 1791 (Prerogative Court of Canterbury). The sources are contradictory regarding the administration: the executrix/executor was either Elizabeth Cutcliffe (wife of the testator), or Charles Newell Cutcliffe (the eldest son).

By his will dated 20th February, 1789, after giving pecuniary legacies to his sons John, William, Robert, Thomas, George and James, and to his daughters Elizabeth, Ann, Rebecca and Avice, (then the wife of the Rev. William Spurway), and to his niece Roberta, daughter of his late brother William Cutcliffe, and to his (testator’s) wife Elizabeth. He devised to his son Charles Newell Cutcliffe his estates in the parishes of Westleigh and Allscott, otherwise Alverdiscott, (including the Barton of Webbery, in the last-mentioned parish, which had been then lately devised to him by Harry Lupincott, Esquire). [(probably) W.R. Drake, cited above]

Elizabeth Cutcliffe died in 1804 and was buried at Westleigh, county Devon.


The children of Charles Cutcliffe and Elizabeth (née Dene):

Charles Newell Cutcliffe (baptised on 25 February 1746/7 at Westleigh, Devon) and Margaret Mervyn were married on 21 November 1776 at Kenton, county Devon. [click a link for further information]

John Cutcliffe was baptised on 5 November 1749 at Horwood, Devonshire. John Cutcliffe and Mary Pollard (born in 1753; of Clovelly) were married in 1775 at Horwood. They had the following children:

John Newel, born in 1777 at Hartland, co. Devon.

Charles, born on 6 June 1778 at Hartland.

William Newell, born at Alverdiscott.


John, born at Barnstaple, co. Devon.

Robert, born in 1783 at Barnstaple, co. Devon.

John, born at Barnstaple.

George, born on 12 April 1786 at Barnstaple.

Richard, born in about 1787-91 at Barnstaple.

Elizabeth, born on 20 February 1792 at Barnstaple.

John Cutcliffe and his family lived at Barnstaple from about 1780. John Cutcliffe died in January 1843.

William Cutcliffe was born in 1751 at Exeter, Devonshire. William Cutcliffe and Elizabeth Anne Tanner were married on 28 September 1784 at Topsham, co. Devon. They had the following children:

Theodore Charles


Federetta Amelia, born on 26 June 1792 at Saint Lawrence, Exeter, co. Devon.

William Cutcliffe was a Surgeon. William was named in his father’s Will.

William Cutcliffe died on 8 June 1833.

William Cutcliffe, of Exeter, surgeon, married Elizabeth Anne, daughter of Theodore Taner of Clyst, and died in 1833, leaving issue a son and two daughters, viz: – Theodore Charles, Elizabeth and Federata, who all died unmarried. [(probably) W.R. Drake, cited above]

Ann Cutcliffe was born in 1755 at Exeter, Devon. Anne Cutcliffe and Rev. Gamble, of Lurgan, Ireland, were married. The couple had children (details not known). By 1815 Anne Gamble was a widow, living at Barnstaple.

Avice Cutcliffe was born in 1758. Avice Cutcliffe and Rev. (Purbury ?) William Spurway, rector of Alvington, were married.

Avice Cutcliffe died on 19 February 1856.

James Cutcliffe was born in 1759 at Great Torrington, co. Devon. James Cutcliffe and Elizabeth Marshall were married, and the couple had no children.

James Cutcliffe, living in 1815, and then of Great Torrington, Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, married Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev. John Marshall of Heanton Punchardon, by his wife Laetitia, daughter of the Rev. William Mervyn. Of this marriage there was no issue. Both James Cutcliffe and his wife were buried at Great Torrington – her death occurring in 1818. [(probably) W.R. Drake, cited above]

James Cutcliffe was a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy. Elizabeth Marshall died in 1818; she was buried at Great Torrington, co. Devon. James Cutcliffe was buried at Great Torrington.

Robert Cutcliffe was born in 1761 at Great Torrington, co. Devon. He matriculated from Exeter College (Oxford ?) on 1 March 1779. In 1791 Robert Cutcliffe was appointed the vicar of Beer Seaton, county Devon. Rev. Robert Cutcliffe and Elizabeth Grainger (born in about 1764-5; of Exeter) were married on 29 May 1793 at Saint Paul’s, Exeter, co. Devon.

The Rev. Robert Cutcliffe, who was for fifty years Vicar of Beer Seaton, co. Devon. He married Elizabeth Grainger of Exeter, and died without surviving issue 1838, aged 77 years, leaving his wife, who died 1852, aged 88 years. They were both buried in Seaton Church. [(probably) W.R. Drake, cited above]

The couple had the following children:

Robert, born in 1794; died before 1838.

Elizabeth Ann, born in 1799; died before 1838.

Rev. Robert Cutcliffe died on 12 January 1838, aged 77 years, and was buried at Beer Seaton. Elizabeth Cutcliffe died in 1852, aged 88 years, and was buried at Seaton church.

[additional source: personal correspondence (John Overholt to Thomas F. Cutcliffe) 1 February 2000]

Thomas Cutcliffe was born in 1763 at Westleigh, Devon. He remained unmarried; living in 1815.

George Cutcliffe was born in about 1765 at Exeter, co. Devon. Rev. George Cutcliffe, Clerk of the Holy Orders. Rev. George Cutcliffe and Mary Abel were married on 31 December 1801 at Tiverton, co. Devon.

The Rev. George Cutcliffe of Exeter (living in 1815, and then of Exmouth), who married Mary Abel of Tiverton, and died without surviving issue. [(probably) W.R. Drake, cited above]

Rebecca Cutcliffe was born in 1775 at Exeter, Devon. She remained unmarried; living in 1815.

Elizabeth Cutcliffe and Rev. George Smith, Vicar of Westleigh, were married. By 1815 Elizabeth Smith was a widow.