SWET, SWETE, SWETT COAT OF ARMS

Ben H. Swett
Colonel USAF (retired)
18 September 2006

The coat of arms that has descended in families named SWET, SWETE or SWETT (and several other variant spellings) apparently originated in England before or during the Wars of the Roses.

1461. Edward, eldest son of Richard, Duke of York, won the battle of Towton and was crowned King Edward the Fourth. He was 19 years old.

1469. The Earl of Warwick shifted his support to the house of Lancaster. Edward the Fourth fled to Holland. His opponents brought back King Henry the Sixth.

1471. Aided by his brother-in-law, the Duke of Burgundy, Edward the Fourth returned to England in March 1471. He landed at Yorkshire, and assembled a small army as he moved south to London, which he entered unopposed. He won the battle of Barnet (14 April 1471) near London, and immediately proceeded by forced march across the country to Tewkesbury, near the west coast, where he defeated the forces of Lancaster (4 May 1471) and thus regained the throne. He promptly replaced those who supported Lancaster with men who fought for him.

1472. Earliest evidence. The coat of arms on a stone gateway at Traine Manor, Modbury, Devonshire, with the date 1472, is a shield with two stars over two chevrons over a rose. It has no crest. The date indicates that someone who carried this shield either was or was made lord of the manor of Traine in 1472.

Stone gateway at Old Traine Manor, Modbury, Devonshire.

Coat of Arms above the stone gateway at
Old Traine Manor, Modbury, Devonshire.

Photographs by Richard W. Large, FRICS, Chartered Surveyor, 25 July 1999.

Note that this coat of arms (two stars over two chevrons over a rose) is a shield without a crest.

Modbury is a small town near the South Devon coast 12 miles east of Plymouth. Traine Manor is on Brownston Street, at the top of the hill.

Old Traine Manor
from a booklet entitled
Modbury -- Our Inheritance
Modbury Local History Society, 1980

Modbury Priory, a daughter house of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Pierre-sur-Dives in Normandy, was founded in the first half of the 12th century by a grant from the Lord of the Manor of Modbury. The Abbey already owned land in Modbury and the Priory was founded to look after it. In June 1262, Traine Manor was deeded in fee from the Abbey to William de Arboribus of Modbury.

1441. The land and revenues of Modbury Priory were sequestered to the Crown and granted by King Henry the Sixth to his new foundation of the College of the Blessed Mary of Eton. Modbury Priory was dissolved in 1467. Thus, Eton College received the ìfiefî rights to 485 acres in Modbury including Traine Manor. [Modbury Local History Society: ìA History of Modburyî 1971, and ìModbury -- Our Inheritanceî 1980.]

This matter of ìfiefî rights needs a bit of explanation. The Crown and the Church often sold or gave property with these two restrictions: (1) as long as it passed down to a legitimate male heir, the owners must pay a yearly rental to the specified holder of the fief rights, and (2) if at any time an heir of the original owner died without a legitimate male heir, the holder of the fief rights would receive the entire estate. This is why men who had no sons bequeathed their "fief" property to their brothers or paternal uncles, and why widows who had no sons bequeathed their "fief" property to their deceased husband's brothers or paternal uncles.

1473. Grant of Arms and Crest. "A coat of arms was granted to Guy Swete of Trayne by Edward IV in 1473. Description: Gules, two chevrons between as many mullets in chief and a rose in base Argent seeded Or. Crest: a mullet Or pierced Azure between two gilly flowers proper. Apparently no motto was recorded with this coat of arms." (Signed) R. P. Graham-Vivian, Windsor Herald, College of Arms, London, 1963. When translated from the unique language of heraldry, this coat of arms is a red shield with two silver stars over two silver chevrons over a silver rose with gold seeds. The crest is a gold star pierced blue, between two gillyflowers colored naturally.

Coat of Arms and Crest granted to Guy Swete
of Traine Manor, Modbury, Devonshire, England,
by King Edward the Fourth, in 1473.

Drawing by Ben H. Swett, 1988.

The shield is the coat of arms and the family designator. A crest is an additional award inherited only by descendants of the one who received it. [A.C. Fox-Davies, A Complete Guide to Heraldry] Therefore, the grant in 1473 confirmed the pre-existing Swete family coat of arms (two stars over two chevrons over a rose), awarded a crest to Guy Swete (a pierced star between two gillyflowers), and stated the colors. Almost certainly, Guy Swete earned this award by fighting for York in the Wars of the Roses.

Although I havenít been able to prove it, I think Guy Swete lived in East Anglia (probably county Norfolk), joined the army when King Edward the Fourth marched from Yorkshire to London in 1471, fought in the battles of Barnet and Tewksbury, and was granted Traine Manor and the crest to his coat of arms as reward for his services. So I am looking for his birth and family in East Anglia rather than Devonshire. Any help in this research will be appreciated.

1483. Edward the Fourth was succeeded by his 12-year-old son Edward the Fifth. Two months later their uncle, Richard of York, Duke of Gloucester, imprisoned Edward the Fifth and his younger brother in the Tower of London. It is generally believed they were smothered to death. Richard of York then assumed the crown as King Richard the Third.

1484. King Richard the Third established the Heralds' College, also known as The College of Arms, to decide who was entitled to Arms.

1485. Henry Tudor, a descendant of the House of Lancaster, defeated and killed King Richard the Third at the Battle of Bosworth, and was crowned King Henry the Seventh. He married Elizabeth, daughter of King Edward the Fourth, thus uniting the houses of Lancaster and York and founding the Tudor dynasty. He revoked many titles and grants of land made by his Yorkist predecessors and probably expunged (had erased from the records) their grants of Arms as well.

From the foregoing, it seems likely that Guy Swete was granted Traine Manor by King Edward the Fourth in 1472 and held it until King Henry the Seventh revoked that grant in 1485 or shortly thereafter. There are several possibilities concerning what may have happened to Guy Swete. He may have been killed in the Battle of Bosworth (1485). If not, he and his family may have fled the country to avoid the vengeance of King Henry the Seventh. His family line may have died out. At this point, I simply donít know.

1489. Traine Manor was deeded in fee to John Scoos on 10 May 1489. [J. L. E. Hooppell, Old Traine in Modbury: The House And Its Early Owners, 1927] This deed must have been from King Henry the Seventh or Eton College.

1509. King Henry the Eighth inherited the throne when his father died. He was 18 years old.

1520. John Scoos died 5 August 1520 and Traine Manor passed to his son, John Scoos of South Milton, who died without issue shortly thereafter. [Hooppell] Therefore, full ownership of Traine Manor would revert to Eton College when their widows died.

Swete family of Traine

1530. John Swete of Upton in South Milton, born about 1512, married Johane Scoos, daughter of William and Isett Scoos, about 1530. [Hooppell, and the Trella Hall Manuscript Collection at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, MA.]

South Milton is a small village about seven miles south-southeast of Modbury; it includes the hamlets Upton and Sutton. I have read that a Swete family was living there in 1438 during the reign of King Henry the Sixth, and a small estate still belongs to a Swete family, but I have not seen these statements documented.

1530. Beginning of the Heralds' Visitations. These records cover the period 1530-1687 and were compiled by the heralds as they visited each county checking that the Arms being used by the gentry were correct and also recording their pedigrees. Although the grant to Guy Swete in 1473 is in the old records at the College of Arms, the records of arms approved by the Heralds' Visitations contain no entries for Swete or obvious variant spellings. [College of Arms] The Heralds visited Devonshire in 1531, 1564 and 1620.

1531. John Swete was born about 1531 son of John Swete of Upton in South Milton and Johane Scoos. [See next entry]

1541. John Swete of Upton in South Milton died in 1541 aged 29, leaving his widow Johane (Scoos) and their ten-year old son John Swete. [From a book in the possession of W. L. A. Rogers, the owner of Traine in 1962, cited by Trella Hall]

1547. King Edward the Sixth inherited the throne when his father died. He was 9 years old. He granted Arms to someone named SWEET, but this grant isnít in the records of the Heralds' Visitations and I donít know to whom it was granted. It may be the one in Burkeís Armory described as [translated]: A red shield with two silver stars over two silver chevrons over a silver rose seeded gold and barbed green. Crest: a tower rising normally, topped by a gold eagle with its wings raised back-to-back holding a green oak branch in its beak. This indicates that Swete and Sweet were the same family, but different branches of that family.

1550. ìIn the Chancery Proceedings and those of the Star Chamber, Johane Scoos, as widow of John Scoos of Upton in South Milton, who died without issue, says she has divers Deeds concerning tenements called Brownston, Brownswell, Treyne, and six messuages in ye borough of Modbury now claimed by John Swete, as Plaintiff against her, because of his descent from William Scoos and Isett his wife, who died about 1541. This was proved, with Agnes, widow of John Scoos of Trewen (aged 70), as witness that their daughter Johane was married to John Swete of Upton in South Milton, from whom the Complainant, John Swete, was descended, and who now recovered Traine, Brownston, and Brownswell, as heir of John Scoos of Mylton who died about 1520.î [Hooppell]

Thus, John Swete, born about 1531 son of John Swete and Johane Scoos, inherited Traine through his mother. William Scoos and John Scoos of Milton must have been brothers, sons of John Scoos of Traine whose widow Agnes (aged 70) testified that John Swete of Upton married [her granddaughter] Johane Scoos, daughter of William and Isett Scoos. The decision of the Court apparently was that Traine passed from John Scoos of Traine to his son John Scoos of Milton who died without issue about 1520; then back to his other son William Scoos who died about 1541, and then via Williamís daughter Johane to Williamís grandson John Swete, as the only surviving male heir. The comment that John Swete ìrecoveredî Traine suggests the writer knew Traine had been owned by someone named Swete, but it does not prove that John Swete descended from Guy Swete.

It is difficult to prove descent from the John Swete born in 1531 who inherited Traine in 1550. I have seen many claims and genealogies that say he married Mary Periam, daughter of John Periam the Mayor of Exeter, about 1555, and they had three sons: John (1557), Adrian (1559) and Robert (1561), but none of these secondary sources provide verifiable documentation. The Mormon International Genealogical Index (IGI) has nine different years ranging from 1530 to 1751 for the marriage of John Swete and Mary Periam. However, research among primary sources has cast some light on this problem [see next entry].

John Periam, Sr., was born about 1507 in Exeter, Devon, son of William Periam. He married Elizabeth Hone of Ottery-Saint-Mary, Devon, about 1532. He was a zealous Protestant and assisted Lord Russell during the Catholic Rebellion of 1549. Sheriff of Exeter in 1553. As a consequence of his Protestant activities, he spent five years abroad during the reign of Queen Mary (1553-1558) as a governor of English merchants in Antwerp. On returning to England he settled at Shobrooke (a village near Exeter). He was the Mayor of Exeter in 1563 and 1572. His will dated 1 November 1572 and proved 23 November 1573 gives a bequest to ìmy second daughter Margery & John Swete her husband.î [Westcountry Studies Library. Research by Stephen Coombes of Chudleigh, Devon, 2002]

Thus, it was MARGERY Periam who married John Swete. She was born about 1538 in Exeter, Devon. They probably were married about 1556 and had children born in the next 10-15 years, including John (1557), Adrian (1559), and Robert (1561). She apparently died before 1599 which is the earliest date in the extant Modbury parish records.

1553. Lady Jane Grey inherited the throne when King Edward the Sixth died of tuberculosis aged 15. Nine days later his half-sister Mary sent an army to London and took the throne. Queen Mary (known as ìBloody Maryî) was a Catholic and set about persecuting Protestants.

1558. Queen Elizabeth inherited the throne when her half-sister Queen Mary died. One of her first acts was to establish the Church of England. Queen Elizabeth was a popular ruler under whom England prospered and began to build a world-wide empire. Her reign is often called the golden age of English history.

1593. John Swete was Portreeve of the Modbury Fair. [A History of Modbury, p. 29]

1603. Queen Elizabeth died and was succeeded by her cousin King James the Sixth of Scotland who took the title King James the First of England. He wasnít a popular ruler. He increased royal spending, went into debt, and increased taxes. He often quarreled with Parliament because he believed in the ìdivine right of kingsî and tried to rule as an absolute monarch. King James authorized the translation of the Bible that still bears his name.

1613. Adrian Swete married Judith Mayne, daughter of John Mayne, 15 August 1613 at Ermington, Devon. [Parish Records, LDS #0917198] They had 3 sons and 5 daughters, and a pair of twins who died young. Ermington is one and one-half miles northwest of Modbury. I donít believe he was the Adrian Swete born about 1559 son of John Swete and Margery Periam, because that would mean he was 54 years old when he married. I think he was born about 1587 son of the John Swete born about 1557, grandson of John Swete and Margery Periam, and thus about 26 years old when he married.

1613. John Swete of Trayne died 3 November 1613 at Modbury. [Parish Records, LDS # 0916861] His will dated 28 July 1613 and proved 4 June 1614 gives bequests to (among others) his son Adrian, son-in-law John Neale and wife Alice and their children, daughter Agnes and her children, and ìTo the poor of Modbury Town, 2 pillows & coverlets, which I had from my brother Robert S.î I don't believe he was the John Swete born in 1531 who married Margery Periam, aged 82, but their son John Swete born about 1557, age 56, and he got the pillows and coverlets from his brother Robert born about 1561. With this assumption, the generations work out normally (men married about age 20-30, women married about age 18-28), and other people named Swete can be accounted for.

For example, the will of Hester Swete of Halwell (a village a few miles east of Modbury) dated 12 September and proved 15 October 1604 mentions her brother Robert Swete, sister Margaret Batty, sister Elizabeth Synner, Agnes Woolcott and Alice Neale [the two daughters of John Swete]. Her inventory was taken by Henry Swete. [Westcountry Studies Library. Research by Stephen Coombes of Chudleigh, Devon, 2002] If the Robert mentioned as ìmy brotherî in her will and the will of John Swete was the same person, then John, Robert, Hester, Margaret, Elizabeth (and probably Henry) were siblings and probably the children of John Swete and Margaret Periam. (Note that Adrian born about 1559 probably died before 1604 because he isn't mentioned in either of these wills.)

John and Alice Neale, others of their family, and members of the Wolcott families initiated a lawsuit against one of the executors of John Sweteís estate, George Cruse of Ashburton (who had been brought up from his childhood by John Swete). The records of this lawsuit show that John Swete left two sons and two daughters: John, a Jesuit priest in Italy; Adrian, who had already received the bulk of the estate when he married Judith Mayne; Alice wife of John Neele with six children, and Agnes wife of Hugh Wolcott with five children. [Chancery Court Proceedings, Peter Wolcott vs George Cruse, 1626, 1632, 1633.]

1614. Mayne Swete was baptized 3 August 1614 in Modbury, son of Adrian and Judith Swete. [Parish Records, LDS #0916861] He married (1) Honor Hele, daughter of Sir Thomas Hele, in 1648, and (2) Susannah Trevilian of Nettlecombe, Somerset, in 1660. He had 3 daughters. [Hooppell]

1620. Adrian and Mary Sweet (twins) were baptized 14 January 1620 in Modbury, son and daughter of Adrian and Judette Sweet. He died 22 December 1627. She died 16 August 1629. [Parish Records, LDS #0916861]

1620. Adrian Swete of Modbury was found to have no right to a coat of arms. The Heralds listed him with 102 other men of Devon deemed to be "ignoble omnes" which meant that, after due inspection, he was unable to satisfy the Heralds that he was entitled to a coat of arms. [Charles Worthy, Devonshire Wills (London, Bemrose, 1896) transcribed by John Overholt, 24 Feb 1999.] This finding may indicate that John Swete of Upton in South Milton did not descend from Guy Swete of Traine, or the award to Guy Swete in 1473 had been expunged from the records, but in any case, it proves that none of the Swete family of Traine from 1550 onward had any right to a coat of arms unless specifically granted to them.

1623. John Sweete was baptized 4 July 1623 at Ermington, son of Adrian and Judith Sweete. [Parish Records, LDS #0917198] He entered Exeter College, Oxford, 24 May 1639 aged 15. BA 1642. Fellow 1647. He was ordained and became the Rector of St. Keverne on the south coast of Cornwall in 1654. (The patron of St. Keverne at that time was Sir Thomas Hele of Fleet Damarrell, the father of his sister-in-law Honor Hele.) He married (1) Mary Ann Howell about 1645. They had 8 children of whom 7 died young. She died 24 July 1661 in St. Keverne. I have read that she and four of their children died at the same time, of the plague. He married (2) Loveday Harris or Harrison about 1665. They had 8 children of whom 3 died young. [Compiled from Hooppell, St. Keverne Parish Records, and Vere Langford Oliver, The History of the Island of Antigua (Mitchell and Hughes, London, 1899) sections photocopied and sent by Hilary Everett]

1625. King Charles the First inherited the throne when his father King James the First died. Under his rule, the conflict with Parliament intensified. In 1628 he signed a document that limited the power of the king, but he refused to convene Parliament from 1629 to 1640, thus setting the stage for the English Civil War.

1631. Adrian Sweet was baptized 26 June 1631 in Modbury, son of Adrian and Judith Sweet. [Parish Records] This is the Adrian who was later referred to as Adrian II. I have read that he married a woman named Ann, and their son Capt. John Swete moved to Ireland and founded a family there (nine children), but that is impossible because this Adrian Swete was born in 1631 and Capt. John Swete married Jeanne Abbott on 15 August 1639 in Ireland. [Abbott genealogy sent by Hilary Everett] Capt. John Swete of Ireland may have descended from Adrian born about 1559 or Robert born about 1561 (either of them could have been his grandfather).

1640. Parliament met for the first time since 1629 and refused to give King Charles the First any funds until he agreed to limit his power. He tried to arrest several leaders of Parliament, and civil war broke out in January 1642.

1641. The ìProtestation Returnî from Modbury lists Adrian Swete, John Swete and Maine Swete. [Devon Records Office] This was the Adrian who married Judith Mayne in 1613, their son Maine born in 1614, and their son John born in 1623.

1642. Some extracts from the diary of Adrian Swete of Traine survive from the time of the English Civil War (1642-1645). He apparently was neutral in that war, and only concerned with living a quiet life, because he gave money to whichever side was demanding his support at the moment. [Hooppell, and A History of Modbury]

1647. Adrian Swete died 23 August 1647 in Modbury. [Parish Records] He was the husband of Judith Mayne. If he was born in 1587 as I believe he was, he was 60 years old. Traine Manor passed to his eldest son, Maine Swete. [Hooppell]

1648. Maine Sweete married (1) Honour Hele in 1648 at Ermington, Devon. [Parish Records LDS #1917198] They had two daughters, Elizabeth born 10 April 1650 who married Philip Champernowne 6 March 1670, and Dorothea born about 1657 who married Humphrey Coplestone about 1680.

1649. Marriage settlement of Maine Swete of Traine and Honor Hele, daughter of Thomas Hele of Fleet Damarrell (Holbeton). In Modbury: Traine mansion and lands, Brownston and Katherine Pouckes (Paukes) closes. In Ermington: (not named). [From Devon Records Office, Box 18, Modbury, 1649-1840, Swete Family of Traine. Sent by Hilary Everitt]

1649. A special committee of Parliament condemned King Charles the First to death. He was beheaded in 1649. England became a republic governed by a committee of Parliament. They were self-indulgent and corrupt and re-elected themselves year after year. Oliver Cromwell forcibly dissolved Parliament in 1653 and established himself as a dictator with the title ìLord Protectorî. His armies brought Ireland and Scotland under English control. Oliver Cromwell died in 1658 and his son Richard Cromwell became Lord Protector, but Richard wasnít able to govern the country. In 1660 a new Parliament restored the monarchy under King Charles the Second, son of King Charles the First, but limited his authority.

1658 July 23. Mrs. Honor Sweet wife of Mr. Mayne Sweet died at Modbury. [Parish Records]

1660. Maine Sweet married (2) Susan Trevillyan 12 February 1660 at Ermington. [Parish Records, LDS #1917198] Marriage settlement of Maine Sweete of Traine and Susanna Trevilian, daughter of George Trevilian of Nettlecombe, Somerset. In Modbury: Traine, etc. In Ermington: Preston Farm, etc. Also Sweete family lands in Ugborough, Halbeton, Kingston, Aveton Gifford, Plymton Morris, Cornwood, and South Milton. [Devon Records Office]

1661. Susanna wife of Mr. Maine Sweet died 24 December 1661 (Christmas Eve) at Modbury, the same day their daughter Susanna was born. [Parish Records]

1666. John Sweete was baptized 27 July 1666 at St. Keverne, Cornwall, first son of Rev. John Sweete and Loveday Harris. [Compiled from Parish Records LDS #0246851 and Oliverís History of Antigua] He entered Oxford in 1680.

1670. Adryan Sweete was baptized 29 November 1670 at St. Keverne, Cornwall, second son of Rev. John Sweete and Loveday Harris. [Compiled from Parish Records and Oliverís History of Antigua] He married Honor Fownes in 1695.

1673. Mayne Sweete was baptized 15 May 1673 at St. Keverne, Cornwall, third son of Rev. John Sweete and Loveday Harris. [Compiled from Parish Records and Oliverís History of Antigua] He married (1) Grace Waldron in 1699, and (2) Esther Prickman in 1728.

1680. John Sweete, son of Rev. John Sweete or Swete of St. Keverne, Cornwall, entered Exeter College, Oxford, 26 March 1680, aged 13. In 1683 he entered the Inner Temple as the son and heir of John Sweete of Trayne, Devon. Therefore, it appears that Rev. John Sweete removed from St. Keverne to Traine some time between 1680 and 1683. [Compiled from Oliverís History of Antigua and personal correspondence with the College of Arms]

1682. Rev. John Swete wrote in his diary, 24 January 1682: ìMy son Adrian bound himself apprentice to Mr. Geo Lapthorn of Plymo... Paid with him 130 £.î [A History of Modbury, p. 15]

1682. Maine Sweet died 30 December 1682 at Modbury. [Parish Records] He was the eldest son of Adrian Swete and Judith Mayne, aged 68. He had three daughters but no sons. [Hooppell] Traine passed to his brother Adrian II. [Trella Hall] At this time Adrian II was 51 years old and apparently had not married. Rev. John Swete was the Rector of St. Keverne, and now, with the title of Esquire, came to Traine as the next heir. [Hooppell]

1684. John Swete gave land at the top of Galpin Street for almshouses in 1684. [A History of Modbury, p. 15]

1685. King James the Second inherited the throne when his brother King Charles the Second died. He was a Catholic and wanted to restore absolute monarchy. Most people tolerated him because they thought his Protestant daughter Mary would succeed him, but when he had a son, leaders of Parliament invited Maryís husband William of Orange, ruler of the Netherlands, to take the throne. He sent Dutch forces to England in 1688. King James the Second abandoned the throne and fled to France. William and Mary became joint rulers of England in 1689.

1688. Mayne Swete, third son of Rev. John Swete and Loveday Harris, moved to London about 1688. [Compiled from Hooppell and Oliverís History of Antigua]

1690. Adrian Swete died 28 July 1690 at Modbury. [Parish Records] He was the third son of Adrian Swete and Judith Mayne, aged 59, unmarried.

1690. John Swete followed Adrian at Traine. [Copied from a book in the possession of W. L. A. Rogers, the owner of Traine in 1962, cited by Trella Hall] He was Rev. John Swete, the second son of Adrian Swete and Judith Mayne.

1690. John Swete, Jr. died 22 August and was buried 25 August 1690. [Modbury Parish Records] He was the eldest son and heir apparent of Rev. John Swete, aged 25, unmarried. His memorial in Modbury church reads:

This is erected to the memory and importance of John, the eldest son of John Swete of Traine and Loveday his wife.  He previously spent some years as a good and clever pupil at the Exeter College at Oxford University and in his study of literature he was truly advanced.  In embracing, guiding and socialising with others he was not without praise.  Then in London he lodged at the Inner Temple where he read and understood the laws of the Church of England.  Suffering from the distress of a lengthy, wasting and corrupting disease, he had to give up his work (after only a few years), dying on 22 August in the Year of Our Lord 1690, aged only 25 years. [Translated from the Latin by Stephen Coombes]
The coat of arms with this memorial is a red shield with two silver stars over two silver chevrons over a silver rose. It has a helmet, but no crest. According to the church guide book, it was recently repainted. [Visit by Stephen Coombes, 2002] This memorial proves that in 1690 Rev. John Swete was using a coat of arms identical to the one over the stone gateway at Traine with the date 1472, even though his father was found to have no right to a coat of arms in 1620, but he was not using the crest granted to Guy Swete in 1473, which means it wasn't part of his family tradition.

1695. Settlement of Rev. John Swete of Traine on the [proposed] marriage of his second son Adrian Swete and Honour Fownes, daughter of Richard Fownes of Whitehouse in Ugborough, 23 July 1695. In Modbury: Traine, Brownston, Lapthorne and Hempscombes, Leigh Tenements, Widland. In Ermington: South Preston. In Ugborough and Ermington: Wadland and Kayton. In Ugborough: Broadford. In Kingston: John Robbinsí Tenement. In South Milton: Upton. In Aveton Giffard: Tenements of Elizabeth Willing, widow, and William Murch. In Holbeton: Brownswill and John Trebyís tenement. In Plympton Morris: Richard Kingdonís tenement. In Cornwood: Yeo alias Yoe. [Devon Records Office] This document still retains its original wax seal attached to the lower edge next to his signature. The imprint is the Swete coat of arms with a helmet but no crest. [Visit to the Devon Records Office by Stephen Coombes, 2002]

1695. Rev. John Swete died 2 August 1695 at Modbury. [Parish Records] He was the second son of Adrian Swete and Judith Mayne, aged 72, and the last Swete from Traine whose funeral was held in Modbury Church. [Hooppell] His will dated 10 April 1695 and revised 25 July 1695 gives bequests to his wife Loveday, son Maine Swete, daughter Philippa Swete, daughter Loveday Swete, daughter Judith Archer, her son John Archer and her four younger children, then gives everything else to his son Adrian Swete and names him executor. [Devon Records Office] This document still retains its original wax seal attached to the lower edge next to his signature. The imprint is the Swete coat of arms without crest. [Visit to the Devon Records Office by Stephen Coombes, 2002]

In the north aisle of Modbury church is a floorslab commemorating the Rev. Mr. John Swete, late of Traine, who died 2nd August 1695. On this stone is cut a shield with these arms: two chevronells between in chief two mullets, and in base a rose: impaling, Per fess, in chief, three towers, in base, on a cross five pheons. [Oliverís History of Antigua]

Drawing from a sketch by Stephen Coombes
made during his visit to Modbury church, 2002

The Swete coat of arms on this floorslab is identical to the one over the stone gateway at Traine with the date 1472. ìImpalingî means the shield is divided in the middle vertically and has separate coats of arms on each side. It is used to show that a man and his wife are separately entitled to a coat of arms. ìPer fessî means the wife's half of the shield is further divided horizontally and has two coats of arms, one above and one below the dividing line. It shows that Rev. John Swete had two wives during his lifetime. The upper coat of arms -- three towers -- identifies the family of his first wife, Mary Ann Howell. [The descendants of William Howell lived at Westbury Manor, Marsh Gibbon, Buckinghamshire, which he bought in 1536.  Arms: gulles, three towers, argent; i.e., a red shield with three silver towers.] The lower coat of arms -- five arrow-heads on a cross -- identifies the family of his second wife, Loveday Harris or Harrison. [Harrison: or, on a cross azure, five pheons of the field; i.e., a gold shield with five gold arrow-heads on a blue cross.]

1695. Adrian Swete married Honor Fownes 9 November 1695 at Ermington. [Parish Records, LDS #0917198] She was born 28 January 1663 in Ugborough, daughter of Richard and Petronell Fownes. [The searchable LDS extract of Ugborough parish records has "Honer Fowinge, daughter of Richardsi and Petternell Fowinge" which is why her birth has been hard to find. The College of Arms has this marriage dated 9 November 1685, no doubt a typographical error. The Cambridge Alumni has this marriage dated 9 November 1595, which is an error of precisely one century.]

1699. Mayne Swete married (1) Grace Walrond 22 February 1698/9 in St. Mary Abchurch, London, as her third husband. She was born in 1667 on the Island of Barbados, daughter of George Walrond and Frances Coryton, and had previously married (1) Henry Le Conte of New York, and (2) William Wainwright of Antigua. [Compiled from St. Mary Abchurch Records LDS #0374483, Hooppell, and Oliverís History of Antigua]

Lease and Release, 13 September 1699. Main Swete of Traine and Grace his wife, relict, devisee and executrix of William Wainwright of the Island of Antigua, decíd, to Peter Courtney of Lyons Inn and Adrian Courtney of London, goldsmith. In the Island of Antigua: Plantations, messauges, lands, near Falmouth and the Body Ponds, and all slaves, negroes, pickaninyes, stock, etc., whereof Wm. Wainwright died seized. [Devon Records Office] This document still retains its original wax seal. The imprint is the Swete coat of arms without crest. [Visit to the Devon Records Office by Stephen Coombes, 2002]

Mayne Swete moved from London to an estate on the Island of Antigua. His 337 acre plantation at Falmouth was surveyed on 15 July 1701 and a plan of it is recorded in the Surveyorís Book, folio 54. He was a member of the Assembly on 3 August 1704. [Oliverís History of Antigua]

1702. King William of Orange died, and his wifeís sister Anne became Queen. England prospered during the reign of Queen Ann, and Parliament took unquestioned control of the monarchy. In 1707 the Act of Union joined the Kingdom of England and Wales with the Kingdom of Scotland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

1705. In the Victoria and Albert Museum is the Mayne Swete clock, or Adrianís clock, made about 1705 by Mayne Swete as a present for his elder brother Adrian. It is an outstanding example of the combination of horology with cabinet-making in the early years of the eighteenth century. The cabinet is said to have been made by a Plymouth cabinet-maker. The mechanism includes a bell to strike the hours and twenty-seven others in semitones to play tunes by means of a keyboard with ivory and ebony keys. In addition it played a tune every three hours. A brass barrel could be substituted on Sundays to make it play a psalm. [A History of Modbury]

1708. Adrian Swete [son of Rev. John Swete] grandson of the Adrian who kept a diary during the English Civil War, presented the conduit in Brownston Street by which a public supply of fresh water was made available. He lived at Traine, then the finest house near the town. [A History of Modbury] The largest of three conduits in Modbury was the gift of Adrian Swete, Esq., in 1708, Lord of the Borough. It is built of wrought granite and stands in Brownston Street. It is supplied with excellent water from a spring in a field belonging to Traine called the Silver Well. [Modbury, by G. A. Cawse, 1860, p. 21]

The name Adrian Swete, his coat of arms, and the date 1708 are on a re-used medieval tomb slab (it has part of a canopied niche with a bishop on the back) now standing in a garden at Traine (1999). The coat of arms has a decorative helmet and torse above the shield, but does not have a crest. Thus, in 1708, Adrian Swete was using the coat of arms dated 1472, even though his grandfather was found to have no right to a coat of arms in 1620. He was not using the crest awarded to Guy Swete in 1473.

Coat of Arms dated 1708 on a re-used medieval tomb slab.
It was over the entrance archway to the central courtyard
at Old Traine Manor, Modbury, Devonshire, until 1874.

Photographed by Richard W. Large, FRICS, Chartered Surveyor, 25 July 1999.

1712. Grant of Arms and Crest. Adrian Swete of Traine, co. Devon, Esquire, a Justice of the Peace, petitioned the College of Arms, the text of his petition stating that ìhe & his ancestors having enjoyed a plentiful estate & made use of a Coat of Arms, but for want of registering the same in the College of Arms he is not able to make out such proof as may justify the bearing thereof, & had therefore desired His Lordshipís Warrant to us for granting & assigning unto him & his descendants & to the descendants of his father, such Arms and Crest as he & they might lawfully bear.î He was sponsored by George Courtenay of Powderham Castle, Esquire, & Peter Courtenay of Poltimore, Esquire, two well-known Devon gentlemen who stated he was a fit & proper person to be granted Arms. [R. P. Graham-Vivian, Windsor Herald, College of Arms, 1964]

On 13 February 1712 the following Arms and Crest were granted to Adrian Swete of Train, Devon, which were to be borne by him and his descendants. Arms: Gules, two chevronels between as many mullets in chief and a rose in base Argent bearded Vert seeded Or. Crest: a mullet Or pierced Azure between two gillyflowers proper. [College of Arms, Grants 6-85] This shield and crest are identical to the shield and crest awarded to Guy Swete in 1473, which means the College of Arms must have found that grant in the records of King Edward the Fourth, because it isn't in the records of the Heralds' Visitations 1530-1687.

1715. Maine Swete was a member of the Assembly on the Island of Antigua. [Oliverís History of Antigua]

1725. Adrian Swete was High Sheriff of Devon. [Hooppell]

1727. Will of Thomas Prickman of Falmouth, Cornwall, proved 6 December 1727:

Thomas Prickman inclines to make a will wherein he gives everything to his only daughter Esther Prickman without enumerating particulars desirous that the said Esther and whatever she may be possessed of be left to the care of Adrian Swete Esq of Train by Modbury and M/s Philippa Swete spinster sister to that said Adrian. Thomas Prickman has a brother and two sisters and if it be necessary that a shilling or other small summe be given to each of them let it be so. He desires to be buried decently but without expense or any show of pagentry. Legacies he gives none. [witnessed] John Prickman, Sarah Segory, Charity Holder. [Copied from the original by Stephen Coombes, 2002]
I donít know when Maine Sweteís first wife Grace Walrond died. He returned from Antigua to Devon, probably because his brother Adrian had no other heir. [see next entry]

1728. Maine Swete married (2) Esther Prickman 25 April 1728 at Kingsteignton, Devon. [Parish Records, LDS #0916852] She was baptized 7 November 1712 in Falmouth, Cornwall, daughter of Thomas Prickman. [Parish Records, LDS #0267527] Maine Swete was 55 years old. Esther Prickman was 15 years old -- the young ward of his brother Adrian and sister Philippa.

1731. Adrian John Swete was baptized 17 September 1731 in Modbury, son of Maine Swete and Esther Prickman. [Parish Records]

1733. Adrian Swete died 27 September 1733. [Memorial in Ermington Church] He was the second son of Rev. John Swete and Loveday Harris, aged 63. His Executor asked that his funeral might be in Modbury Church at five oíclock in the morning, but the Vicar refused, so it took place at Ermington, which was his grandmotherís old home. [Hooppell] His will dated 1 May 1716 and proved 4 December 1733 gives bequests to his wife Honour, sister Loveday, sister Philippa, brother Maine, and several cousins, but no children or grandchildren. [Devon Records Office] Traine and other properties passed to his brother Maine Swete.

Limitations of the 1712 grant of Arms and Crest. In his petition to the College of Arms, Adrian Swete requested extension of the grant "to the descendants of his father" which would have included his brother Maine Swete, but the grant is only "to be borne by him and his descendants" -- and he had no children. Therefore, Adrian Swete (1670-1733) was the only person to whom this grant applied.

1735. By his will, Adrian Swete bequeathed £40 to purchase a handsome silver flagon (gilt) now constantly in use at the Communion. [Modbury, by G. A. Cawse, 1860, p. 21] This flagon is a fine tankard with domed lid, silver gilt, 340 mm high, 285 mm to the lid, 128 mm diameter at lid, 202 mm at base with good chasing. Inscription: "The gift of Adrian Swete of Traine, esq., deceased. AD 1735. Arms: Gules, 2 chevrons beween 2 mullets in chief and a rose in base Arg. Crest, a mullet." [Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 1925, p. 134, Modbury, Church Plate] As of 1971 it was on loan to Plymouth City Museum and exhibited at Buckland Abbey. [A History of Modbury, 1971, p. 15] This is the Swete coat of arms, but the crest is only a star, unpierced and without the gillyflowers.

1735. Maine Swete died 5 July 1735. [Memorial in Ermington Church] He was the third son of Rev. John Swete and Loveday Harris, aged 62. His will dated 27 June 1735 and proved 10 July 1735 gives several small bequests and leaves Traine and his other properties to his wife Esther as guardian for their three-year-old son Adrian John Swete. [Transcript attached at the end of this paper]

1747. Philippa Swete died 15 February 1747. [Memorial in Ermington Church] She was 78 years old, baptized 14 August 1668 in St. Keverne, Cornwall, daughter of Rev. John Swete and Loveday Harris. [Parish Records LDS #0916893]

SACRED
To those Virtues
Which adorn the Christian Life
This Marble preserves the Memory
of
ADRIAN SWETE Esquire
MAIN SWETE Esquire
and
Mss PHILIPPA SWETE
of TRAIN in this COUNTY
Living, they raised unto themselves
A Monument of Good Works
Which when this frail Stone shall be gone
Will remain unshaken
A faithful and authentic Herald of this
A. S. died 27 Sept 1733
M. S. died 5 July 1735
P. S. died 15 Feb 1747

Memorial in Ermington Church
wall tablet, right-hand wall of the nave
from a photograph by Stephen Coombes

Oliver's History of Antigua (1899) describes the coat of arms on this memorial as: "Gules, two chevronels between in chief two mullets argent, pierced of the field, and in base a rose of the second" in which "pierced of the field" means the stars on the shield were pierced red. I have not been able to verify this feature. [see next entry]

The coat of arms on this memorial is a shield with two stars over two chevrons over a rose. It is carved in marble and not colored. It does not have a crest. [Visit by Stephen Coombes, 2002] Thus, it is identical to the one dated 1472. It is interesting that Adrian Swete was granted the Guy Swete coat of arms and crest by the College of Arms in 1712 but the crest isn't on his memorial.

1747. Adrian John Swete, son of Maine Swete of Modbury, entered Balliol College, Oxford, 12 October 1747 aged 16. Created MA 19 October 1751. [Oxford Alumni]

1755. Adrian John Swete died in December 1755 and was buried 10 January 1756 in Ermington. [Parish Records] He was the only child of Maine Swete (deceased), 24 years old, unmarried.

Swete, formerly of Trayne, Modbury ... the last male heir of this family died in 1755. [Magna Britannia, Vol. VI, p. 573]

Adrian John Swete of Train, co. Devon, Esq. Will dated 10 Dec. 1755 : proved 22 Jan. 1756 by Esther Swete, widow, the mother. (21 Glazier) To be buried at Armington. To Mr. Edmund Andrews of Ugborough £100 for his faithful services. To the St. Lukeís Hospital for lunaticks £100 & to the S.P.G. £100. To Mr. Robít Vansittart my esteemed friend the £50 he owes me. To my honoured mother Esther Swete of Train, widow, & to her heirs all my barton of Train & all other lands, plantations, etc., & all residue, & appoint her Exítrix. Witnessed by Robert Crawley, W. Usticke, Mary Abbott. [Devon Records Office. Recorded at the Registarís Office, St. Johnís, Antigua, 12 February 1757]


1759. Massachusetts. The heirs of Joseph Swett, Jr. (1689-1745) of Marblehead, Massachusetts, great-grandson of John Swett of Newbury, gave to the Marblehead Church a silver flagon engraved with his coat of arms. It has a lot of artistic decorations, but it does not have a crest.

Silver flagon given to the Church of Marblehead, Massachusetts,
by the heirs of Joseph Swett, Jr. (1689-1745). His name, their names,
and the date 7 May 1759 are engraved on the bottom of the flagon.
The engraving on the right is his Coat of Arms.

Photographed by Rick Ashley, 22 September 1998

Coat of Arms of Joseph Swett, Jr. (1689-1745)
Marblehead, Massachusetts
great-grandson of John Swett of Newbury

Photographed by Rick Ashley, 22 September 1998

Because it does not have the crest, this Swett coat of arms does not descend from the grant of arms and crest to Guy Swete in 1473 or the grant to Adrian Swete in 1712. According to the rules of heraldry, it is identical to the coat of arms over the stone gateway at Traine with the date 1472.


1781. Esther Swete, widow of Maine Swete, died 19 January 1781 in the City of Bath and was buried 28 January 1781 in Ermington. [Parish records] She was 68 years old. Her will dated 30 November 1778 and proved 3 February 1781 reads in part: ìAll my estate in Antigua & all my manors in Devon to Robert Child & Robert Dent, bankers in London, in trust for Rev. John Tripe, son of --- Tripe, surgeon at Ashburton, co. Devon, for life, then to his heirs, & failing such to Harry Beke, son of Mr. Beke of King Staunton, co. Devon, & his heirs, then to my kinsman Edward Archer, Esq., and Samuel Archer, Esq. The heir to take the sirname & arms of Swete only & within a year to obtain an Act of Parliament for that purpose.î [Devon Records Office]

Why Esther Swete chose John Tripe as her heir has been a mystery and a matter of speculation, but his autobiography explains it clearly. Her son Adrian John Swete was his godfather, and after Adrian John Swete died unmarried, she continued to treat John Tripe as the grandson she never had. Although he previously spent his vacations in London, after she moved to Bath, he visited her there for a month each year, and was there when she died. [Condensed from the autobiography of Rev. John Swete, 1794. Extracts sent by Stephen Coombes, 2002.]

Her memorial in Ermington church reads:

Here lie the Remains of Mrs Esther Swete of Train in Modbury who died Jan 1781 aged 68. In the aimiable endowments and elegancies peculiar to her sex, excelled perhaps by few, but by none in fortitude of mind and resignation to the will of GOD, with which she sustained the loss of her only son Adrian John Swete Esqr. who died at the early period of 24 years, especially if the greatness of that loss were to be estimated by the high attainments of worth, that marked him as the scholar and the christian. Memor beneficiorum, et amore, et observantia, plusquam cognatione, devinctus posuit. Jn Swete de Oxton.

[Memorials in Ermington Parish Church, wall tablet, right-hand wall of the nave, transcribed by Sheila Jones]

The coat of arms on her memorial is a red shield with two white stars over two white chevrons over a white rose. The crest is a pierced star between two flowers, but it is very faint and not easy to see. [Visit by Stephen Coombes, 2002] White is often used for silver in painting coats of arms. This memorial was commissioned by Rev. John (Tripe) Swete of Oxton.
Close to the above tablets is a hatchment, the field all sable: Arms, Swete as before, the crest being the same, except that the mullet is gules pierced or. Motto, ìIn coelo quies.î [Oliverís History of Antigua, 1899]
A hatchment is a diamond-shaped panel bearing the coat of arms of a person who has recently died, displayed before the house during mourning. In this case, the panel is black. The shield is red with two silver stars over two silver chevrons over a silver rose. The crest is a red star pierced gold between two silver flowers with green stalks and leaves. However, a red star pierced gold isn't the crest granted to Guy Swete in 1473 and Adrian Swete in 1712. I have no idea where it came from. This hatchment is no longer in Ermington church, and a churchwarden who said he had been connected with the church for 25 years could not recall ever seeing it. [Visit by Stephen Coombes, 2002]
By the side of this is an iron spike, on which a helmet was hung, part of a gauntlet, and the staff to which was fixed the bannerole, which at the time these notes were taken was lying rolled up on the Strachleigh tomb. The bannerole was of canvas, painted black, with on one side the arms of Swete as already given, with the motto ìFestinat Lethum,î while on the other side is displayed this crest: A mullet or, pierced gules, between two lilies (or iris) argent, stalked and leaved vert. Also the motto ìMemento Mori.î The helmet was a funeral one, which had found a resting-place, together with a spur and an actual helmet which may have seen service in the Wars of the Roses, on the tomb with the bannerole. [Oliverís History of Antigua, 1899]
The bannerole and two helmets are still on display in Ermington church. The bannerole is actually a funeral pennon at least 5 feet long. It is looking very fragile and has at some recent date been enclosed in a clear plastic sleeve. The helmets are affixed next to each other high up on the wall of the south isle chapel just below the pennon pole.

Swete funeral pennon and helmets
Ermington church, Devonshire
Photos by Stephen Coombes, June 2002

Obviously, the pennon and helmets are very old, but there is no indication of when they were placed in Ermingon church or by whom. The Swete family of Traine wasn't buried in Ermington before Adrian Swete was buried there in 1733 -- and his memorial doesn't have the crest, so this probably wasn't his funeral pennon. Maine Swete (1735), Adrian John Swete (1756) and Esther (Prickman) Swete (1781) were all buried in Ermington. Therefore, I think the pennon and helmets are part of the several memorials placed in Ermington church by Rev. John (Tripe) Swete to commemorate the family whose name he acquired.


Transition from the Swete family of Traine to the Swete family of Oxton

Mrs. Esther (Prickman) Swete, who had inherited Trayne from her husband, Mayne Swete II who died in 1735, by her will bequeathed Trayne to her relative, Rev. John Tripe, with the request that he take the name of Swete, which he did. This Rev. John [Tripe] Swete died in 1821, and his son John Beaumont Swete, a representative of the ancient family of Martyn, succeeded. [Magna Britannia, Vol. VI, p. 573.]
Thus, the Swete family of Traine died out, and the surname, the coat of arms, and the family inheritance passed to an entirely different family.

Here is a searchable database of both families and some related lines: Swete Family of Traine and Swete Family of Oxton


John Tripe was born 1 July 1752 in Ashburton, Devon, son of Dr. Nicholas Tripe and Rebecca Yarde. He was named after his godfather, Adrian John Swete, ìby way of a complimentî. He entered University College, Oxford, 19 October 1770 aged 18. BA 1774. MA 1777. He took Holy Orders and was made a prebendary of Exeter. In 1781 he changed his name to Swete in compliance with the will of Mrs. Esther Swete, the mother of his godfather and his life-long benefactoress. [From his autobiography]

1781 Grant by Act of Parliament. In March 1781 John Tripe petitioned Parliament to change his name to John Swete. His petition was considered by both Houses of Parliament and approved: ìAn act to enable John Tripe, Clerk, and the Heirs Male of his Body, to take and use the Surname and Arms of Swete.î [The British Library, Records of the House of Lords, Private Bill Office, Original Acts, 21 George III, c. 20, 1781] Thus, descendants of Rev. John (Tripe) Swete have a legitimate claim to the Swete coat of arms, although it remains to be seen whether the College of Arms would recognize a grant by Act of Parliament. .

His inherited fortune enabled Rev. John (Tripe) Swete to live a comfortable life at Oxton House, Kenton, which he rebuilt in 1781 on the site of an earlier property. [Oxton Yesterday, a pamphlet by the Devon County Archives Office in Exeter]

Oxton House, Kenton, Devonshire, England
home of the Rev. John Tripe
who changed his name to Swete
by Act of Parliament in 1781

Traine House at the top of Brownston Street in Modbury was built by John Andrews in the early 1780ís for the absentee owner, John Tripe Swete. This house and North Traine are across the road from the stone gateway with the coat of arms and the date 1472. Behind the gateway is a cobbled path leading about 100 yards up to the ancient manor house, which was renamed Old Traine. [A History of Modbury]

Rev. John (Tripe) Swete married Charlotte Beaumont 1 January 1784 in St. Nicholas church, Nottingham. They had 14 children -- 2 sons and 12 daughters. He was an excellent water-color artist, and liked to travel. His illustrated journals for 1789 to 1800 have been republished (one each year 1998-2001) by the Devon Records Office and Devon Garden Trust in four volumes entitled ìTravels in Georgian Devon.î They are beautiful.

He and his wife were buried in Kenton Church.
Their memorial is on the north wall of the Lady Chapel [copied by Stephen Coombes, 2002]:

Beneath are the remains
Of the Rev'd JOHN SWETE of Oxton House in this parish
Prebendary of Exeter Cathedral, for more than 39 years
Who died on the 25th day of October 1821 aged 69
Early distinguished by a purity of taste
A love of literature, and a thirst for knowledge
His cultivated mind retained thro' life
A strong relish for liberal and elegant studies
Hospitable, courteous and humane
An upright Magistrate, and a sincere Christian
An earnest and persuasive Preacher
He lived and died,
In the bosom of a numerous and affectionate family
Firmly trusting thro' the merits of Jesus Christ,
That he should again meet them,
In the enjoyment of a blessed immortality.

Here also again united by Death are deposited the remains
Of CHARLOTTE, his beloved wife,
Who died 10th December 1831, aged 66 years.
May the Lord Jesus Christ be with their Spirits forever.


Hatchment in Kenton Church, Devonshire, England, commemoriating
Rev. John (Tripe) Swete (1752-1821)
and his wife Charlotte Beaumont (1765-1831)
His coat of arms is identical to the one granted to Adrian Swete in 1712.
Her coat of arms is a gold lion rampant among ten gold crescents.

Photographed by Stephen Coombes, 10 February 2002


1842. Sir John Bernard Burke, The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales (First edition 1842; reprint of 1884 edition by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1967): "SWETE (of Trayne in the time of Edward VI and subsequently of Oxton, county Devon): Gules two chevrons between as many mullets in chief and a rose in base Argent seeded Or; Crest, a mullet Or, pierced Azure, between two gilly flowers proper."

This unofficial compilation of heraldry has Edward the Sixth instead of Edward the Fourth, and it doesn't mention the grant to Adrian Swete in 1712. The transfer of surname and Arms to John Tripe of Oxton House by Act of Parliament in 1781 explains the otherwise obscure statement, "subsequently of Oxton, county Devon."

1851. "Mementos : The Swett Family" by John Wingate Thornton, the founder of the New England Historic-Genealogical Society, published in 1851: "According to Burke, the Swete or Swett family -- bearing Gules two chevrons between as many mullets in chief and a rose in base Argent seeded Or; Crest, a mullet Or, pierced Azure between two gilly flowers proper -- was formerly of Trayne in Edward VIth's time and subsequently of Oxton in the county of Devonshire, which furnished many colonists to New England."

1852. New England Historic-Genealogical Register, Volume 6, 1852, pp. 49-62, The Swett Family, copies the foregoing statement from "Mementos : The Swett Family".

1914. Everette S. Stackpole, "Swett Genealogy: Descendants of John Swett of Newbury, Mass." (Lewiston, Maine, circa 1914) Foreword: "The surname Swete is often found in Devonshire. The coat of arms of this family was printed in the seventh volume of the New England Historic-Genealogical Register, as though it belonged to the Swett or Sweat family. This must be an error."

It was an error. John Wingate Thornton assumed that the Swete coat of arms and crest described in Burke's Armory belonged to the family of John Swett of Newbury. Thornton also assumed that John Swett of Newbury came from Devonshire, in the west of England, but research among primary sources shows that he came from Wymondham, Norfolk, near the east coast of England.

Summary

The shield is the coat of arms and the family designator. Any crest is an additional award to a specific individual and his descendants.

The Swete family of Traine (1550 to 1755) had no right to a coat of arms, with or without a crest. This finding may be a disappointment to those who have laid claim to the coat of arms by attempting to establish descendancy of the SWEET families in America from the Swete family of Traine.

The Guy Swete coat of arms with crest has been granted three times:

1. Guy Swete by King Edward the Fourth in 1473. This grant is in the old records at the College of Arms, but according to the Heralds' Visitations (1530-1687) and subsequent records at the College of Arms, no one has ever proved they descended from him.

2. Adrian Swete (1670-1733) by the College of Arms in 1712. This grant was ìto be bourne by him and his descendantsî but he had no children, so he was the only person to whom this grant applied.

3. John Tripe (1752-1821) by Act of Parliament in 1781. This grant has not been recognized by the College of Arms. The male descendants of Rev. John (Tripe) Swete are not numerous, because many sons died without issue or had no sons. One line survives, in California.

The coat of arms without a crest is another story.

The earliest known example is carved in stone above a gate at Traine Manor, Modbury, Devonshire, with the date 1472. Therefore, although this coat of arms without a crest is not officially recognized by the College of Arms, it represents a family tradition that predates the grant of arms and crest to Guy Swete in 1473.

Descendants of John Swett of Newbury used the coat of arms without crest in 1759, but I have found no evidence that any of them used the coat of arms with crest prior to the publication of Burke's Armory in 1842.


Descendants of John (Tripe) Swete

1788. John Beaumont Swete was baptized 1 January 1788 in Kenton, Devon, 1st son of Rev. John (Tripe) Swete and Charlotte Beaumont. [Kenton records] He entered Oriel College, Oxford, 16 October 1806 aged 19. BA 1810. He married Mary Templer 31 December 1817 in West Teignmouth, Devon. She was baptized 16 January 1794 in Stoke Gabriel, Devon, daughter of Henry Line Templer and Mary Rogers. They initially lived in Mamhead, a parish adjacent to Kenton. He inherited Traine Manor in Modbury, Oxton House in Kenton and other properties when his father died in 1821. He moved to Oxton House some time between 1822 and 1824. He and his wife had 15 children. Six of their nine sons have memorials in Kenton church. [Research by Stephen Coombes, 2002]

1789. William Swete was baptized 11 July 1798 in Kenton, Devon, 2nd son of Rev. John (Tripe) Swete and Charlotte Beaumont. [Kenton records] He entered Oxford 16 April 1817. BA 1822. MA 1824. He married Mary Anne Gordon 6 May 1824 in St. Giles, Camberwell, Surrey. [Parish records, LDS #0254574] (As an indication that these birth and marriage records refer to the same man, his mother died in Camberwell in 1831. Also of interest: two of his sisters married Gordon brothers.) He was vicar of St. Leonards parish, Exeter, Devon, in 1827, and moved to Wrington parish, Somerset, in 1831. His daughters were born in co. Kent, 1829 and 1846. He died 27 August 1878 in Reigate, Surry. His will was probated 1 September 1878 by his unmarried daughters Caroline Swete and Ellen Mary Swete which suggests that he probably did not have any male heirs. [Research by Stephen Coombes, 2002.]

1819. Henry John Beaumont Swete was baptized 28 June 1819 in Mamhead, Devon, 1st son of John Beaumont Swete and Mary Templer. [Parish records, LDS # 0916857] He married Camilla Shafto Carrington in 1840. They had one son.

1821. Frederick William Swete was baptized 22 February 1821 in Mamhead, Devon, 2nd son of John Beaumont Swete and Mary Templer. He died in 1834 at Whimple, Devon, aged 13. [Memorial in Kenton church]

1825. Adrian John Swete was born 25 November 1825 and baptized 11 August 1827 in Kenton, Devon, 3rd son of John Beaumont Swete and Mary Templer. He served in the British Army in Bengal. Cadet 1840-1841. He died unmarried 3 October 1844 at Meerut, Bengal, an Ensign of the 55th Regiment of the East India Company Service, aged 18 years 10 months. [Kenton records, including his memorial in Kenton church] The British Army records show him in continuous service in Bengal from 1840 to 1858 -- perhaps a bureaucratic error, or someone continued to collect his pay. [The British Library, India Office Records, Bengal Army Service Lists]

1827. George Henry Walter Swete was born 5 January and baptized 11 August 1827 in Kenton, Devon, 4th son of John Beaumont Swete and Mary Templer. He served in the British Army in Bengal. Cadet 1840-1843. He died unmarried 15 July 1846 at Belle Vue, Mussoorie Hills, Bengal, a Lieutenant of the 56th Regiment of the East India Company Service, aged 19 years 6 months. [Kenton records, including his memorial in Kenton church] The British Army records show him in continuous service in the 58th Regiment from 1840 to 1858 -- perhaps a bureaucratic error, or someone continued to collect his pay. [The British Library, India Office Records, Bengal Army Service Lists]

1830. Thomas Beaumont Swete was born in June 1830 in Kenton, Devon, 5th son of John Beaumont Swete and Mary Templer. He was buried 16 September 1830 in Kenton, aged 3 months. [Memorial in Kenton church]

1831. John Beaumont Swete was born 15 July 1831 and baptized 6 March 1832 in Kenton, Devon, 6th son of John Beaumont Swete and Mary Templer. He served in the British Royal Artillery, Madras, India. Cadet 1845-1846. He retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1873. The 1883 and 1893 directories show him living at 8 Barton Terrace, Dawlish, Devon, where his wife Frances (maiden name unknown) died 30 April 1893 and he died 21 January 1895 aged 63. Administration was granted to his brother Frederick George Buller Swete, banker. Effects £2439. The fact that administration was granted to his brother suggests that he had no surviving children. [Compiled from Oliver's History of Antigua; The British Library, India Office Records, Madras Army Service Lists; and research by Stephen Coombes, 2002]

1832. William Richard Lear Swete was born 7 December 1832 and baptized 21 March 1833 in Kenton, Devon, 7th son of John Beaumont Swete and Mary Templer. He served as Inspector of the General Police Force of Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar, where he died unmarried 31 October 1861 aged 28 as the result of a wound he received while carrying out his duties. His memorial in Kenton church indicates that he has a similar memorial in the cathedral at Port Louis, Mauritius. Administration was granted to his father, John Beaumont Swete of Torquay, Devon. Effects under £100. [Research by Stephen Coombes, 2002]

1837. John Montague Swete was born 22 April 1837 and baptized 11 August 1837 in Kenton, Devon, 8th son of John Beaumont Swete and Mary Templer. He served in the Imperial Customs Office, Ching Kaing, China. He died unmarried 16 April 1863 aged 27 at Shanghai, China, after a short illness. Memorial in Kenton church. Administration was granted to his father, John Beaumont Swete of Torquay, Devon. Effects under £20. [Research by Stephen Coombes, 2002]

1839. Frederick George Buller Swete was born 3 January 1839 and baptized 7 August 1839 in Kenton, Devon, 9th son of John Beaumont Swete and Mary Templer. He was living with his parents at 1 Park Place, Torquay, Devon, when the 1851 census was taken. In 1886 when he was granted administration of his sister Ellen's estate he was a banker, living at "The Quarry", Oswestry, Shropshire. The 1893 street directory again shows him living at 1 Park Place, Torquay. (The next available directory, 1897, has no Swetes at that address.) He died a retired banker, apparently unmarried, 19 February 1919 at "The Quarry", Oswestry, Shropshire. Administration was granted to Martin Benson Lawford and Arthur Hamilton Bardswell, solicitors. Effects £22,884. The youngest child of John Beaumont Swete and Mary Templer, he was by far the wealthiest at death. [Research by Stephen Coombes, 2002]

1840 (9 & 10 June) Lease and Release. (1) Elisabeth Pidsley of Exeter, spinster, (2) said Eliz. and Marianne Pidsley, spinster, (3) John Beaumont Swete of Oxton House, esq., and Mary his wife, (4) Henry John Beaumont Swete, the eldest son of said John B. Swete, (5) Sir John Louis Dantze of Staplake Cottage, Starcross, Bart., and Montague Edmund Newcombe Parker of Whiteway. Release in fee of Messuages and lands in Modbury, Woodleigh and Morleigh to the uses of certain deeds of settlement of which John Pidlsey was the surviving Trustee. Also a Conveyance by Mr. Swete of North Kenwood in Kenton and Lower Preston in Woodleigh (subject as within) to the same uses. [Devon Records Office]

1840 (11 & 12 June) Lease and Release. John and Henry John Beaumont Swete to Sir John Louis Dantze and Montague Edmund Newcombe Parker. Release in fee of the Capital Mansion House and Estates of Oxton, the Capital Messuage and Estate of Traine, and diverse Farms and Lands in Kenton, Modbury, Ugborough, South Milton, Moreleigh, and Woodleigh, for the purpose of barring an Entail and resettling the same to the uses within mentioned. [Devon Records Office]

After he sold his inheritance, John Beaumont Swete moved to Torquay, Devon. The 1851 census shows him, his wife, and 8 children, plus 5 servants, living at 1 Park Place, Tormoham, Torquay. He died 4 March 1867 aged 79 and was buried in Torquay Cemetery 9 March 1867. His wife survived him and placed a memorial to him in Kenton church. Part of the inscription reads ìhe was a good christian and affectionate husband and parent, a kind friend and neighbor, hospitable and accomplished country gentleman, and was through his life beloved and respected by all classes who knew him. This monument is erected by his widow after a happy married life of nearly 50 years.î She died 31 March 1886 at 1 Park Place, Torquay. Administration was granted to their son Henry John Beaumont Swete. Effects under £3000. [Research by Stephen Coombes, 2002]

1840. Henry John Beaumont Swete, 1st son of John Beaumont Swete and Mary Templer, married Camilla Shafto Carrington 7 July 1840 in North Bovey, Devon. [Oliverís History of Antigua cites Gentleman's Magazine] She was born 10 September 1822 in Heatherton Park, Somerset, only child of Rev. Robert Palk Carrington and Camilla Ann Adair, a few hours before her mother died of burns she received when she caught her dress on fire.

On 10 September 1822, at the residence of her father in Heatherton Park, Somerset, Mrs. Camilla Carrington caught her dress on fire whilst heating some varnish and in moments was engulfed in flames. Despite efforts by her father [William Adair] and her brother, Alexander Shafto Adair, they could do nothing for her. A few hours before she died as a result of her burns, she was delivered of a female child who is living and likely to do well. [from the Exeter Flying Post newspaper, September 1822, found by Stephen Coombes, 2002]
Henry John Beaumont Swete and his wife Camilla Shafto Carrington may have separated. He was "of Brussels" in 1871 [see next entry]. She died 15 November 1871 in Leamington, Warwickshire, "formerly of Douglas, Isle of Man." Administration was granted to her son Fanshawe Carrington Beaumont Swete and [his father-in-law] Dr. Peter Royle, MD, of 27 Lever Street, Piccadilly, Manchester. Effects under £1000. Henry John Beaumont Swete died 24 January 1882 at Endsleigh Place, Plympton St. Mary, Devon. Administration was granted on 28 February 1883 to his son Fanshawe Carrington Beaumont Swete of Westbourne Villa, Budleigh Salterton, Devon. Effects £171. [Research by Stephen Coombes, 2002]

1851. Fanshawe Carrington Beaumont Swete, son of Henry John Beaumont Swete of Brussels, entered Trinity College 24 April 1871 aged 20. Worcester College in 1872. BA 1877. MA 1892. [Oliverís History of Antigua] He married Mariana Fanshawe Royle 18 June 1872 in St. Anneís church, Sale, Cheshire. She was born 2 February 1851 in Sale, Cheshire, daughter of Dr. Peter Royle and Mariana Fanshawe, and was christened 8 March 1852 in Manchester Cathedral. [Compiled from Descendants of Rev. Nicholas Tripe and Susanna Martyn, and Royle family genealogy by Vernon Royle sent by Robert B. Clark] The 1878/9 street directory shows him living in the house at 1 Park Place, Torquay, Devon, that previously belonged to his grandparents. The 1881 census shows her as ìWife of Gentlemanî living at 9 Westbourne Terrace, East Budleigh, Devon, with her five young children and her brother John C. F. Royle. The 1883 directory lists Fanshawe Carrington Beaumont Swete as resident at that address in East Budleigh. None of them were there when the 1891 census was taken. She died 17 May 1899 in Plymouth, Devon, "formerly of Guinda, Yolo, California, America." Administration was granted to her husband F. C. Swete. Effects £1200. He died 27 November 1912 at "The Mansion", Sundridge Park, Bromley, Kent. Administration was granted to his brother-in-law John Charles Fanshawe Royle and Rev. Alfred Grier. Effects £3568. [Research by Stephen Coombes, 2002]

1873. Shafto Royle Beaumont Swete was born 21 March 1873 in Oxfordshire, England, son of Fanshawe Carrington Beaumont Swete and Mariana Fanshawe Royle, twin to Carrington Swete. He was living with his mother in East Budleigh, Devon, when the 1881 census was taken.

Shafto Swete emigrated to America in 1893 with his brothers and the family of Captain George Boniface. They boarded the steamship "City of Chester" at Southhampton on 3 August 1893, arrived in New York on 11 August, and crossed the continent to California by train in about seven days. After a brief stay in Bakersfield, they moved to Guinda, Yolo County, California. [From a biography of Captain George Boniface by his son John Boniface, 1958, sent by Robert B. Clark]

In 1900 Shafto and his brothers Carrington and Vernon owned and operated an orchard-farm in Guinda, Yolo, California. He married Albertine Gibbs 24 May 1902 in Guinda. They had no children. She was born 2 June 1884 in Dunnigan, Yolo, California, daughter of Frederick Lincoln Gibbs and Della Dexter, and died 14 January 1903 in Woodland, Yolo, Caliifornia. In 1910 he was listed as single [widower], operating a rented fruit farm in Guinda. In 1920 he was listed as a widower with no children, working for wages on a rented farm in Guinda. He died 3 October 1953 in Yolo County, California. [Compiled from the 1881 UK census, U. S. census for Guinda, Yolo, California, 1900, 1910, 1920, an LDS Pedigree Resource File by Donna Stock, Fresno, California, and California Deaths, 1940-97]

1873. Carrington Adrian Fanshawe Swete was born 21 March 1873 in Oxfordshire, England, son of Fanshawe Carrington Beaumont Swete and Mariana Fanshawe Royle, twin to Shafto Swete. He was living with his mother in East Budleigh, Devon, when the 1881 census was taken.

Carrington Swete loved the sea. He left home in his teens to sail on the last of the Clipper ships, working the top sails. He sailed from England to South America (Chile) and to Australia and back. He purchased a print of two great Clipper ships racing the wind, because it reminded him of the adventures he had as a young man, and the print has passed down in his family. He emigrated to America in 1893 on the steamer "City of Chester" with his brothers and the family of Captain George Boniface (wife and 6 children) whose daughter Agnes he later married. [email from their descendant Robert B. Clark]

The Klondike strike and subsequent gold rush resulted in a boom for transportation and outfitting businesses who encouraged gold seekers and adventurers to explore all corners of Alaska and the Yukon. Fallacious information moved quickly, and soon shiploads of stampeders were off to Kotzebue and the Kobuk. Several accounts show the visitors reaching Kotzebue in early July 1898; then assembling river boats to ascend the Kobuk where they spent the winter, even though there was almost no gold in the valley. Carrington Swete arrived in California from England as a young man but soon was off to the Kobuk as a shareholder in the Kotzebue Commercial and Mining Company. He served as the first mate of their river steamer, the Agnes E. Boyd. His memoirs read like an adventure story, presenting a fanciful account of how 800 non-Native men spent a winter on the banks of the Kobuk. [Karlene Leeper, National Park Service, Alaska, ìHorseplays and monkeyshines in the anti-Klondike: the history and archaeology of the Kobuk gold rush according to prospector-storyteller Carrington Sweteî Session 21. Sent by Hilary Everett.]
In 1900 Carrington Swete and his brothers Shafto and Vernon owned and operated an orchard-farm in Guinda, Yolo, California. In 1910 he was married to Agnes, and was listed as a fruit-grower on a rented farm in Guinda. In 1920 he was operating a rented general farm in Guinda, and they had three children: Mary C. Swete born in 1909, Olive F. Swete born in 1912, and John A. Swete born in 1918. Carrington Swete died 1 December 1951 in Santa Clara, California. His wife, Agnes (Boniface) Swete, was born 28 March 1881 in England, and died 28 August 1977 in Santa Barbara, California. [Compiled from the 1881 UK census, U.S. census for Guinda, Yolo, California, 1900, 1910, 1920, and California Deaths, 1940-97]

1874. Camillia Mariana Templer Swete, born 2 December 1874 in co. Cheshire, England, daughter of Fanshawe Carrington Beaumont Swete and Mariana Fanshawe Royle, was living with her mother in East Budleigh, Devon, when the 1881 census was taken. She died 1 June 1948 in Merton, Surrey, England, unmarried. [Royle family genealogy by Vernon Royle sent by Robert B. Clark, and Devon Probate Recods]

1876. Vernon Leith Hay Swete, born 29 August 1876 on The Isle of Man, England, 3rd son of Fanshawe Carrington Beaumont Swete and Mariana Fanshawe Royle, was living with his mother in East Budleigh, Devon, when the 1881 census was taken. He emigrated to America in 1893 on the steamer "City of Chester" with his brothers and the family of Captain George Boniface. In 1900 he was living with his brothers Carrington and Shafto on their orchard-farm in Guinda, Yolo, California, but he wasn't there in 1910. He served as a Lieutenant in the British Army during the South African War and World War I. In 1948 he was granted administration of the estate of his unmarried sister Camilla Marianna Templer Swete. He married Helen Finch and died about 1970 without issue. [Royle family genealogy by Vernon Royle sent by Robert B. Clark, and Devon Probate Records]

1878. Martyn Henry Fanshawe Swete, born 13 February 1878 in Devon, 4th son of Fanshawe Carrington Beaumont Swete and Mariana Fanshawe Royle, was living with his mother in East Budleigh, Devon, when the 1881 census was taken. He was Deputy Conservator of Forests in Siam, and married Margaret Elizabeth Cairns, widow of Thomas Maitland Upton, about 1920. He had no children. [Royle family genealogy by Vernon Royle sent by Robert B. Clark]

The illustrated journals of Rev. John [Tripe] Swete were originally a 20-volume series entitled ìPicturesque Sketches of Devon.î The original volumes were kept intact by the Swete family for 121 years after his death, until April 1942 when a German bomb exploded in the front garden of Martyn Sweteís home in Newton Abbot. Mr. Swete, a descendant of John Swete, had 3 volumes of the journals on a bedside table that night. He and his wife were rescued after being buried alive for 10 hours, but only the other 17 volumes which had been kept separately survived. They have been republished by the Devon Records Office and Devon Garden Trust in four volumes (one each year 1998-2001) entitled ìTravels in Georgian Devon.î [From Vol. I, Introduction, p. xviii, sent by Stephen Coombes, 2002]
Martyn Swete died 30 October 1952 at ìLydgateî 6 Courtlands Road, Newton Abbot, Devon. [Probate Exeter 15 December 1952 to Margaret Elizabeth Swete, Widow. Effects £3328 17s 8d.]

1918. John Adrian Carrington Swete, born 26 May 1918 in Guinda. Yolo, California, only son of Carrington Adrian Fanshawe Swete and Agnes Boniface, served as a Captain in the U.S. Army during World War II (South Pacific), and subsequently with U. S. Army Field Agencies in the United States, Japan and the Far East, and finally as Director of Administration at Sharpe Army Depot, Carson City, Nevada, retiring in 1971. He married June Bodell Kantlehner 24 January 1943 in Carson City. They had five children: John Adrian Swete and Robert Erving Swete (twins) born 15 September 1943, Thomas Carrington Swete born 7 September 1945, Richard William Swete born 1 December 1946, and Laurel Anne Swete born 9 October 1953. John Adrian Carrington Swete died 6 January 2005 in Santa Barbara, California. From thorough analysis of the foregoing research, it is virtually certain that his sons and their sons are the only surviving male heirs of Rev. John (Tripe) Swete.


References

A. C. Fox-Davies, A Complete Guide to Heraldry (Bonanza Books, 1978 ed.)

The shield is the most important part of the achievement, for on it are depicted the signs and emblems of the house to which it appertains. [p. 60]

A shield may be depicted in any fashion and after any shape that imagination can suggest, which shape and fashion have been accepted at any time as the shape and fashion of a shield. There is no law upon the subject. [p. 60]

The right to display a crest was an additional privilege and honour, something extra and beyond the right to a shield of arms. [p. 336]

We find infinitely more variation in the crests used by given families than in the arms, and that whilst the variations in the arms are as a rule trivial, and not affecting the general design of the shield, the changes in the crest are frequently radical, the crest borne by a family at one period having no earthly relation to that borne by the same family at another. [p. 326]

The great bulk of the lesser landed gentry bore arms, but made no pretension to a crest. The lesser gentry were bound to fight in war, but not necessarily in the tournament. Arms were a necessity of warfare, crests were not. This continued to be the case until the end of the sixteenth century. [p. 336]

Whilst there are still many coats of arms legally in existence without a crest, a crest cannot exist without a coat of arms. [p. 337]

The shield was one inheritance, descending by known rules. The crest was another, but a separate inheritance descending equally through an heir or coheir-general. The crest was, as an inheritance, as separate from the shield as were the estates then. [p. 340]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The College of Arms, London

King Richard III established the Heralds' College, also known as The College of Arms, in 1484. The Heralds' College decides who is entitled to wear coats of arms. It also decides what the coat of arms shall consist of.

I visited the College of Arms in 1963. An elderly gentleman led me to one of the rooms and opened a large old book. Unfortunately, I did not record the title. He searched several pages and said, "No, it is not here ... though there is an award for Sweet." I said, "I think that's a different family." I looked over his shoulder, noticed that he was searching records from the reign of Edward the Sixth (1547-1553), and said, "I believe the arms were granted by Edward the Fourth" (1461-70 and 1471-83). Whereupon he got down another book, searched for awhile, and then suddenly said, "Oh, indeed! One of the old families! And can you stay for tea?"

Before I left, he gave me a handwritten note that reads:

ìA coat of arms was granted to Guy Swete of Trayne by Edward IV in 1473. Description: Gules, two chevrons between as many mullets in chief and a rose in base Argent seeded Or. Crest: a mullet Or pierced Azure between two gilly flowers proper. Apparently no motto was recorded with this coat of arms.î (Signed) R. P. Graham-Vivian, Windsor Herald.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Having neglected to copy the grant to SWEET by King Edward the Sixth, I telephoned the College of Arms the next time I was in London, but the person who answered the phone was unable to help me, so I wrote to the College. I received a letter from the gentleman I had spoken with in 1963, as follows [I have re-ordered some paragraphs for the sake of clarity]:

(Letterhead of the College of Arms)
R. P. Graham-Vivian, M.V.O., M.C.
Windsor Herald
14th January 1964

With reference to your letter of the 10th instant, my assistant was under the impression that you mentioned the period of Edward VII on the phone, which was why I thought you were interested in a modern Grant. It had quite escaped my memory that we originally looked up an old one. I have now returned to the search with the right period, & have found the Arms you describe. As a matter of fact they were not granted until 13 Feb. 1712 (temp. Q. Anne); but it is fairly clear from the wording that the family had been using them much earlier, but they had never been duly regulated & allowed by the College.

On this date a Grant of Amorial Bearings was made to Adrian Swete of Train, Co. Devon, Esquire, a Justice of the Peace, the text stating that " he & his Ancestors having enjoyed a plentiful estate & made use of a coat of Arms, but for want of registering the same in the College of Arms he is not able to make out such proof as may justify the bearing thereof, & had therefore desired His Lordship's Warrant to us for granting & assigning unto him & his descendants & the descendants of his father, such Arms & Crest as he & they might lawfully bear. "

He was sponsored by George Courtenay of Powderham Castle, Esquire, & Peter Courtenay of Poltimore, Esq., two well-known Devon gentlemen who stated he was a fit & proper person to be granted Arms.

He was granted: Gules two chevronels argent between in chief two mullets argent & in base a rose also argent barbed & seeded proper. Crest, a mullet or, pierced azure, between two gillyflowers proper. (That is, a red background to the shield, with two narrow white (or silver) chevrons, up above two white stars, & below a white rose with the usual green sepals & golden heart. The Crest, a gold star, the middle pierced, with blue showing through, between two pinks or carnations in natural colors.)

There is no such parish in Devon as "Train" (elsewhere written as Trayne), & it was, I think, his house. I have looked through a lot of old Devon material without finding any mention of it, but I think it was in the parish of Modbury, which is not far from the South Devon coast, between Kingsbridge & Plymouth.

There is no continuous pedigree of this family, & the name of Adrian's father is not mentioned. The name is not an uncommon one all over Somerset, Devon, & Cornwall.

There is a John Sweete or Swete, son of Rev. John of St. Keverne, Cornwall, who matriculated in 1680 at Cambridge aged 13, & later entered the Inner Temple as the son & heir of John Sweete of Trayne, Co. Devon.

From the foregoing, it appears that Rev. John Swete removed from St. Keverne, Cornwall, some time after 1680, to a house at Modbury, Devon, which either he or some one else named "Trayne".

In an unofficial pedigree of Fownes of Devon, I see that Honor, 3rd. dau. of Richard Fownes of Ugborough, married Adrian Sweete on 9 Nov 1685 at Ermington. Both these places are near Modbury.

I find "Adrian Swete of Modbury" entered in the Cambridge Alumni.

It is possible that Adrian had no direct male descendants, as an Extension of the Limitations of a Grant to all the other descendants of the Grantee's father is often (though not always) made in order to let the nephews of a grantee without sons inherit the Arms.

In the Oxford Alumni I find Adrian John Swete, son of Maine Swete of Modbury, who matriculated in 1747 aged 16.

An unofficial printed work of Victorian times ascribes the above Arms to "Swete of Trayne, temp. Edw. VI, & subsequently of Oxton, Co. Devon". We have already seen that the Arms were not really authorised until 1712. But I looked round about Oxton. Oxton House is at Kenton, a place close to Exeter. We have in our Records a Pedigree of Martyn of Devon, connected with Tripe, which shows that Nicholas Tripe of Ashburton (b. 1711) inherited Oxton under the Will of William Clifford Martyn in 1770, & died 1790, leaving an elder son, the Rev. John Tripe of Oxton, who took the surname & Arms of Swete by Act of Parliament in 1781, pursuant to the Will of Esther Swete of the City of Bath, widow. But there is no explanation at all as to what way this lady was connected with the Martyns or Tripes, or with Oxton. From the entry in Burke's General Armory, however, it looks as though the Arms that Mr. Tripe took for Swete were the ones granted to Adrian Swete. This John Swete or Tripe of Oxton House was an antiquary, & a short article about him may be seen in the Dictionary of National Biography. The Swetes of Oxton (I suppose originally the Tripes) were still going in 1867, as John Beaumont Swete, of Oxton, High Sheriff of Devon, died in that year.

There is one other early Grant of Arms. On 10 April 1865 Arms were granted to Sir Giles Sweit, Knt., Doctor of Laws & Dean of the Arches, as follows:- Or a chevron between three fleurs de lis purpure. Crest, a talbot passant argent gorged with a collar purpure charged with three fleurs de lis or. In the same document his name is later spelled as Sweat, & in the Oxford Alumni he is entered as Sir Giles Sweet or Swett. There is no pedigree concerning him, though I have no doubt something could be traced by outside research.

Spelling was of no importance in earlier times, though later on people settled down to one spelling.

There were, of course, probably a large number of families called Sweet in the South-Western Counties who had no claim to Arms at all. This is nearly always so. Many people have the erroneous idea that if there are any Arms at all for a particular name, every one of that name is entitled to them. It is not so at all. Arms are, & always were, granted by the Sovereign (nominally) to one particular individual & his descendants for ever, & therefore to establish a right to any existing Arms it is necessary to prove descent from either the original Grantee or from one of his descendants already entered on a proved pedigree in the College Records.

(Signed) R. P. Graham-Vivian
Windsor Herald

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In 1992, I contracted with The College of Arms for research among the official records to try to find Arms and pedigrees for Swet or Swett or Swete or Sweet. Their report dated 18 May 1992 includes:

Grants 6-85: On 13th February 1712 the following Arms and Crest were granted to Adrian Swete of Train, Devon, which were to be borne by him and his descendants. Arms: Gules two chevronels between as many mullets in chief and a rose in base Argent bearded Vert seeded Or. Crest: a mullet Or pierced Azure between two gillyflowers proper.

The official records of the Heralds' Visitations were then examined. These records cover the period 1530-1687 and were compiled by the heralds as they visited each county checking that the Arms being used by the gentry were correct and also recording their pedigrees. Surprisingly I found no entries for Sweet or obvious variant spellings. Possibly Guy Swete's descendants had died out by the beginning of the Visitations. The Swete family obviously still existed in Trayne as illustrated by the grant made to Adrian Swete in 1712. However if Guy Swete had been granted Arms by Edward VI [sic] and Adrian was descended from him then he (Adrian) would not have needed a grant as he would have been entitled to Arms by inheritance.

In conclusion, if Guy Swete was granted Arms in 1473, then, had he had descendants alive during the visitation period (1530-1687), they would surely have come forward to establish their right to those Arms. It is interesting to note that the family of Adrian Swete of Train were not armigerous or he would not have petitioned for a grant in 1712. None of the pedigrees on record here extend back as far as Guy Swete so it is not possible for me to pronounce as to his relationship, if any, to any of the Sweet/Swete/Sweett families mentioned in this report.

(Signed) Mrs. B. Pendley, Assistant to Rouge Croix Pursuivant of Arms

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Everette S. Stackpole, Swett Genealogy (Lewiston, Maine, circa 1911) Foreword

The surname Swete is often found in Devonshire. The coat of arms of this family was printed in the seventh volume of the New England Historic-Genealogical Register, as though it belonged to the Swett or Sweat family. This must be an error.

In this speculation Stackpole was mistaken. Swete and Swett were the same family in county Norfolk. Both of these spellings (and other spellings) were often used interchangeably for the same person.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New England Historic-Genealogical Register, Vol. 6, pp. 49-62, The Swett Family

According to Burke, the Swete or Swett family -- bearing "Gules two chevrons between as many mullets in chief and a rose in base Argent seeded Or; Crest, a mullet Or, pierced Azure between two gilly flowers proper" -- was formerly of Trayne in Edward VIth's time and subsequently of Oxton in the county of Devonshire, which furnished many colonists to New England.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sir John Bernard Burke, The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales (First ed. 1842; reprint of 1884 ed., Genealogical Publishing Company, 1967)

SWETE (of Trayne in the time of Edward VI and subsequently of Oxton, county Devon) Gules two chevrons between as many mullets in chief and a rose in base Argent seeded Or; Crest, a mullet Or, pierced Azure, between two gilly flowers proper.

[translated] a red shield, with two silver chevrons between two silver stars in the upper part and a silver rose, seeded gold and barbed green, in the lower part. Crest: a gold star pierced blue, between two gillyflowers colored naturally.

There was a grant by Edward VI to someone named SWEET, but the grant to Guy Swete of Trayne was by Edward IV. [This type of confusion is the reason why I insist on spelling out the Roman Numerals used to distinguish between kings of the same name.] The transfer of surname and Arms to John Tripe of Oxton House at Kenton, Devon, by Act of Parliament in 1781, explains the otherwise obscure statement, "subsequently of Oxton, county Devon."

SWEET -- [translated] a red shield, with two silver chevrons between two silver stars in the upper part and a silver rose, seeded gold and barbed green, in the lower part. Crest: a tower rising normally, topped by an gold eagle with its wings back-to-back holding a green oak branch in its beak.

Note that, according to Burke, the Swete and Sweet shields are identical, but the crests are different. This means that Swete and Sweet were the same family, but different branches of that family.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cecil R. Humphrey-Smith, Additions and Corrections to Burke's General Armory (Genealogical Publishing Company, 1974)

SWEET -- Shield: sable, a lion rampant within an orle of eight cross crosslets argent, on a chief of the second three increscents of the first. Mantling: sable and argent. Crest: issuant from a coronet composed of nine cross crosslets set upon a rim or, an eagle's head between two wings proper and holding in the beak an increscent gold moth. Motto: virtus vera nobilitas.

This coat of arms was granted to Owen William Sweet of Tankerfield, Datchett, Berkshire, 14 November 1927 [Grants 95-49]. It has nothing in common with those of Swete or Sweet reported by Burke. Therefore, this is a separate family.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rev. J. L. E. Hoopell, ìOld Traine in Modbury: The House And Its Early Owners,î Transactions of the Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature, and Art, 1927, Vol lix, pp. 265-270. The author thanks John Andrews, the owner of Traine in 1927, ìwhose kind aid, by loan of valuable MSS., has made this paper possible.î

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chancery Court Proceedings, Peter Wolcott vs George Cruse, 1626, 1632, 1633. In these lawsuits, Peter Wolcott of Exeter was trying to obtain part of the estate of his maternal grandfather, John Swete. George Cruse was executor of that estate.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Vere Langford Oliver, The History of the Island of Antigua, Mitchell and Hughes, London, 1899. Sections photocopied and sent by Hilary Everett, 2001.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Charles Worthy, Devonshire Wills (London, Bemrose, 1896) includes a list of 103 Devonshire men whom the Heralds' Visitations in 1620 deemed to have no right to a coat of arms. The list was derived from MS.Harl.1080,fo.342. Transcribed by John Overholt <john.o@pipemedia.co.uk> 24 Feb 1999.

This listing is of those deemed by William Camden, Clarenceux King of Arms in 1620 (through his 2 deputies) as "ignoble omnes". This meant that after due inspection, the individuals were unable to satisfy the herald that they were entitled to be called armigerous; i.e., had a coat of arms (armorials) and/or called themselves knight, esquire or even gentleman. [The listing of names includes "Adrian Swete, Modbury"]

Adrian Swete of Modbury did in fact come forward to establish his right to Arms in 1620, but the Heralds rejected his claim, along with those of 102 other men from Devonshire. I wonder how many of those surnames might be found listed among the men who fought for York in the Wars of the Roses.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The will of John Swete (1623-1695) dated 10 April 1695 and revised 25 July 1695:

"The Will of John Swete of Traine in the County of Devonshire. I bequeath unto Loveday my dear wife all of the messuages, lands and tenements in Trgonning, Tregonning Wollas Mills in St Keverne and Cruplight in Manaccan in the County of Cornwall, also Stadownes in Modbury, Co Devon and Higher Brownston purchased by my father Adrian Swete. Also three chambers called the Small Chamber, Apple Chamber and Maidens Chamber and also of the closet in my mansion house called Traine. I give £100 in money to my dear wife, £600 to Mayne Swete my son and £600 to my daughter Phillippa Swete.  I give an annuity of £16 a year to my daughter Loveday Swete arising out of Lower Brownston in Modbury and the sum of £600 when she reaches age 21. (if she does not attain that age then none to be paid). Also I give unto Judith Archer, my daughter, the sum of 40 shillings for a mourning ring and to my grandson, John Archer 40 shillings for a mourning ring.  And to the four younger children of my said daughter Judith the sum of £100 to be divided equally within 2 years of my decease. Also to the end extent and purpose that my eldest son Adrian Swete pay all my debts, annuities to my said wife and children and the legacies hereby given and defray funeral expenses out of my lands, all lands and tenements whatsoever to Adrian  his heirs and assigns for ever." [Devon Records Office]

The revised document, although shorter, is essentially the same as the first except that it also includes "being infirm in body but of good and perfect rememberance" and "I give my gold and gold rings held before my marriage to Loveday to my dear wife." It also mentions additional property in Modbury, being Great and Little Elston alias Aylestone. [Stephen Coombes, 2002]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Adrian Swete of Traine, co. Devon, Esq. Will dated 1 May 1716 : proved 4 December 1733 by Main Swete, Esq., the brother and sole Executor. (319 Price) To my dearly beloved wife Honour S. & my sister Philippa Swete. To said Wife [followed by a symbol that looks like "7c"] & all monies due on mortgages &c in the name of my late honored mother-in-law Mrs. Petronell Fownes (my said wife being her Executrix). To my sister Philippa Swete & to my sister Loveday Swete. To my cousin Mr. Richard Norris. To my cousin George Norris all my books (except such as my Brother & Executor shall first take for himself) in case said George N. shall take Orders according to the Church of England. To my Brother Main Swete & to Mr. William Ley of Holbeton. To my cousins Anthony Penhay, Adrian P., Elizabeth P., & Honour P. To my cousins Edward Russell, Dennis R., John R., & Elizabeth Philippa R. (4 children of my cousin Anne R., wife of Mr. Dennis R. of Penryn) a debt which their uncle Joseph Archer owed me at his decease to be paid to them by the Executor of my said cousin Joseph A. To my cousin Mr. Peter Courtney of London & to his wife. To my cousins Thomas Luscombe, Esq., & Mr. Richard L. To Mrs. Sarah Archer, Mrs. Anne Russell & Mrs. Eleanor Norris. To said Brother Main S. the lot called Seadownes in the Parish of Modbury aforesaid. Ordain said Brother Executor & sisters Philippa S. & Loveday S. joint Executrixes. [Devon Records Office]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Main Swete of Train, co. Devon, Esq. Will dated 27 June 1735 : proved 10 July 1735 by Esther Swete the widow, Philippa Swete, and Hugh Coplestone. (163 Derby.) My beloved wife Esther is entitled to £2000 under our marriage settlement, & I give her also £100 a year. To my sister Philippa Swete £200. To my cousin Anne Russell of Penrya in Cornwall, widow, £100. To my cousin Rebecca White, now wife of Adam White of Newton Abbott, Devon, surgeon, £20. To my cousin Esther Norton, wife of Nichís Norton of Dartmouth, mariner, the £20 lent her by my late brother Adrian Swete. To Hugh Coplestone of Modbury, Gent., £50 in trust for his son John Coplestone. To my kinsman Benjín Swete of London, Esq., 3 guineas. To my sister-in-law Mrs. Honor Swete a single Johannes, a piece of Portugal coin of 36s., & the like to my kinswoman Mrs. Eleanor Norris of Modbury & to my cousin Dorothea Coplestone. To my wife Esther, my sister Philippa, & to Hugh Coplestone, all my real estate that is not entailed in England & all my plantations & slaves in Antegua in Trust to sell to pay legacies & to terminate any suits at law. All residue to my only child Adrian John Swete at 21, & if he dies without issue then my wife to have £1000 more, the children of my cousin Anna Russell £100 each, & the like sum to each of the children of my kinsman John Archer of Trelewick, co. Cornwall, Esq., deceased, & then all residue of trust money to my sister Philippa Swete. My wife Esther, my sister Philippa Swete, & Hugh Coplestone Exíors & Guardians. If the latter die, Jas. Legassicke of Modbury, Gent., to act. To my wife Esther all her fatherís plate & her jewels. Witnessed by Christopher Savery, Gilbert Isaack, Ralph Wakeham. Sealed afresh 30 June 1735. [Devon Records Office]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Esther Swete of Bath, widow. Will dated 30 Nov. 1778 : proved 3 Feb. 1781 by Rev. John Tripe and Henry Beeke (miscalled Harry Beke in the will) and Hugh Hammersley, Esq. (97 Webster.) To be buried at Armington, co. Devon. To my relations Mrs. Esther Yard, Mr. Nicholas Yard & Mrs. Jane Yard, all living at Chudleigh, co. Devon, £20 a year for life. To my friend Mrs. Rebecca Lee £100 a year for life. All these annuities charged on my plantation in Antigua, leased to Daniel Mathew, Esq., deceased. To my servant Leonard Fryer £50 a year. All my estate in Antigua & all my manors in Devon to Robert Child & Robert Dent, bankers in London, in trust for Rev. John Tripe, son of --- Tripe, surgeon at Ashburton, co. Devon, for life, then to his heirs, & failing such to Harry Beke, son of Mr. Beke of King Staunton, co. Devon, & his heirs, then to my kinsman Edward Archer, Esq., and Samuel Archer, Esq. The heir to take the sirname & arms of Swete only & within a year to obtain an Act of Parliament for that purpose. To the children of my cousin Rebecca Yard, except the said Nicholas, Esther, & Jane, £100 apiece, & the like sums to each of the children of my kinswoman Rebecca Jones, widow of --- Jones, clerk, deceased. To my dear friend Miss Eliz. Theobalds my best pair of diamond earrings. To John Tripe all my other jewels. Mr. & Mrs. Hammersley £200 each. Mrs. Margít Ayleworth £100. My steward Edmund Andrews £200 & to his son John my godson £100. The hospital at Bath £100 & the pauper scheme £100. My woman Hannah Abdy £400 & clothing. Poor of Armington & Modbury £20 each. My friends Mrs. Theobald, Lady Staplyton, Sir Edward & Lady Dering, Mr. & Mrs. Winchester, Mrs. Mary Weston, Mrs. Hay of Bath each a 10g ring. To John Tripe £1000 & to Harry Beke & Hugh Hammersley of Spring Gardens, Esq., £500 each, they to be Exíors. They are to recover & sell my lands in Jamaica which were given to me by my friend Miss Mary Hynes, deceased. To Alice Longstaff, spinster, £20 a year. My godson Robert Charles Dering , son of Sir Edward Dering, £200 at 21. My kinsmen Edward & Samuel Archer £500. My physician Dr. Harrington £100. Mr. Cawley my late apothecary £100. All residue to my trustees to invest in lands. Witnessed by Peregrine Courtney, Edward Cary, Thomas Bowdler. Codicil. 1 June 1779. Legacies to be paid in stock. Mathias Harris my coachman £20. Witnessed by John Andrews. On 1 Feb. 1781 appeared John Edgar of St. Georgeís, Bloomsbury, Gent. Recorded 3 Oct. 1789 at Antigua. [Devon Records Office]


Contents | Next