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Traditions and Hearthside Stories of West Cornwall, Vol. 2, by William Bottrell, [1873], at

The Levelis, of Trewoof.

Trewoof (or as it is now called Trove) was formerly the seat of a family of gentlemen bearing that name, who gave for their arms "Arg a chev, sa between 3 black birds (hoops) ppr."

This family flourished here from a very remote period, and we find that as early as 1292 (12 Edwd. I.) one Hawise Trewoof, the relict of William de Trewoof, intermarried with Henry de Boscawen, of Boscawen Rose (ancestor of the noble family of Boscawen Earls of Falmouth.) Trewoof and Boscawen Rose are both in the parish of St. Buryan, and less than two miles apart.

The estate continued in the possession of the Trewoofs until the reign of Henry VII, when Johanna, daughter and sole heiress of John Trewoof, "carried" it, together with herself, in marriage to Thomas Levelis, of Castle Horneck and Landewednack.

The Levelis family was of very old Norman descent, and had

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flourished in the district from the Conquest (1066) as appears from the monument of Arthur Levelis, Esquire, to be seen in Buryan Church.

The arms of this family are given as "Arg 3 calves’ heads couped at the neck, gules." The crest given in the Visitation is "A garretted turrett, or, surmounted with 3 turretts or small towers." In Landewednack Church window, easternmost but one, says Dr. Borlase, "I find that Thomas Levelis, who glazed ye window, bore arg 3 calves’ heads in pile gules. His wife's arms were arg a chev betwixt 3 hoops sable."

The learned doctor further adds, "I find also that Levelis arms, spelt there Levelys, are married to the arms of the Trewoofs and have no third bearing: whence it is to be conjectured that the Levelys of Landewidnock marryed Trewoof at the time when that window was glassed, that this Trewoof glassed it, that the Levelys passed from this parish of Landewidnock to Trewoof in Buryan on this marriage of the heiress, that Levelys married an heiress also from Landewidnock (viz., heiress of Archer,) for Arthur, buried in Buryan, quartered in the 3rd place sable a chevron engrailed betwixt 3 pheons arg, with the same arms are still to be seen joyned to arg on a fess sable 3 buckles, or, in the same window of Landewidnock Church which has the Levelys and Trewoofs in it."

Thomas Levelis settled at Trewoof, and, by the said Jane or Johanna, daughter of John Trewoof, has issue a son and heir—John Levelys, whose posterity in the male line were settled at Trewoof until the death of Arthur Levels (fifth in descent from the said Thomas Levelis,) which took place in 1671.

Arthur Levelis, like his wife's father, John Cooke, or Coke, of Tregessa, was a zealous Royalist; and an instance of his loyalty is recorded at page 134 of Mr. Blight's Churches of West Cornwall; he having concealed a band of Royalists in the fogue on the estate on their being closely pursued by Fairfax.

Mr. Levelis, through his mother—Ebit Coffin, daughter of Richard Coffin, of Portledge, Devon, Esquire (and wife of Hugh Levelis)—was enabled to deduce a descent from Edward I., King of England, through the noble families of De Bohun, Courtenay, Carey, and Coffin.

Of this descent his posterity were proud, and it has been urged as one reason for their devoted loyalty. Arthur Levelis had only one child—a daughter, the issue of his marriage with the daughter of John Coke of Tregessa; and this daughter became the sole heiress of the Levelis family and estates. She married Richard Vosper, gentleman, then residing in St. Buryan, who had accumulated a considerable fortune and was mortgagee of divers estates in the west of Cornwall.

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There was issue of this marriage several children.

Mr. Vosper had formerly resided at Liskeard, where his family had been seated for very many years, and in which town they held a good position, as will be seen by a reference to the Borough muniments.

The Vospers claim to be of Jewish origin, and settled in Cornwall at an early date. For some time they were engaged in mining operations.

The meaning of the name "Vosper," or "Vespuer," is "pure," "immaculate." And in an old seal, in the possession of the family, there is a coat on which is a cross charged with the Virgin. But on the title deeds in possession of the family, to which Arthur Vosper (son and heir of the said Richard Vosper, of Trewoof, was a party,) there is a quarterly seal of the Vospers and Levelis as follows:—1 and 4 or, a cross moline sable, Vosper; 2 and 3, or, 3 calves’ heads, couped gules, Levelis. This coat, appertaining to the said Richard Vosper, his descendants still continue to bear, and the same now appertains to the Vospers, formerly of Launcells, Milton Abbott, and Lewannick.

Trewoof estate passed, unentailed, to Arthur Vosper, the eldest son and heir-at-law, who married Elisabeth Eyans, of Eyanstone, Oxon, and this gentleman having been unfortunately drowned in 1679 in the Isis, the property passed to his two daughters and co-heirs—Elisabeth and Prudence.

The former of these subsequently married Joseph Marke, of Woodhill near Liskeard, gentleman, and jointly with her sister 1699, disposed of the property, contrary to the wish of their cousin, Mr Vosper, of Liskeard and Launcells.

Prudence was afterwards married to Mr. Dennis, of Liskeard.

The late John Vosper, of Milton Abbott and Callington, gentleman, who died in 1796, was one of the representatives of Mr. Vosper, of Liskeard and Launcells.

So also was the late Thomas Vosper, of Alternon.

Mr. Vosper, of Milton Abbott, had issue several sons; one of whom, Robert, was grandfather of the present Samuel Vosper-Thomas, of Wimborne.

Another Edward Vosper, of Stonehouse, Devon, gentleman, was grandfather of Thomas Phillips, of Plymouth, gentleman, the present magistrates’ clerk for Plymouth.

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