New light on old topic at Northam 30.09.1961
Light is thrown on the troubled story of Northam Burrows by documents found by Mr Arthur Griffey, of Northam, who have been people's warden at the Parish Church since 1929. He discovered the papers in the parish room at the old Vicarage to which they had probably been transferred from the old Vestry.
It is just 100 years since a major attempt to save the Burrows from the ravages of the sea created ill-feeling and suspicion among a section of the people - largely those jealous of their grazing rights. Man behind the move was Rev. Isaac Henry Gosset, which accounts for the presence of the documents among Church papers.
His research did bring to light "a true copy of the Charter of Northam" - "Charter of Henry I granted to St Stephen, of Caen" - and a copy of an award that ended a 1716 lawsuit between Roger Melhuish as Lord of the Manor and Richard Vernam.
Footnote: The Manor of Northam, granted by William I in 1067 eventually became vested in the Melhuish family, but in 1745 a lease was granted for 200 years to run from the death of William Melhuish who died in 1770. Since 1895 the lease has been held by the Royal North Devon Golf Club. In 1970, when the lease terminates, Melhuish descendants are expected to enter a claim.