A place called Byestelake was identified in the Assise Rolls of 1244 in the Broadwoodwidger parish of West Devon, a village as close to the modern-day Eastlake Farm as the village of Bratton Clovelly only three miles away. The Place-Names of Devon identifies Eastlake as the modern-day name of Byestelake.
Documentary evidence supports this placement, with William Byestelake listed as a tenant in Stoke Damerel near Plymouth in the 1332 Lay Subsidy. Then, there are about 75 occurrences of the name in the Bratton manor rolls from 1377 to 1552, further evidenced by land transfers in the mid-1400s preserved in the Calmady Manuscripts. The surname varies between Estelake and Estlake in the rolls, with Estlake predominant by the time of the 1552 roll.
Polwhele’s map of 1797 shows Eastlake in the same location as the Eastlake Farm that still exists today. The transition from both the property name and surname of Estlake to Eastlake appears to have taken place in the latter 1500s.
The Bratton Clovelly parish has interesting boundaries, with a western part of the parish detached from the larger part in which the church and village are situated. These boundaries were in place by the start of the surviving manor rolls in 1377 which identify that the detached part of the parish had formerly been the Domesday manors of Godescote and all or part of Coombe. Eastlake Farm is situated in Godescote and even today, it still has a field named Guscott which is an old variant name for Godescote. Note that for recent records, the Bratton Clovelly boundaries changed in 1885 when the western portion including Eastlake Farm became part of the neighbouring Broadwoodwidger parish.
Bratton Clovelly is a sprawling parish of about 8000 acres but the 50 or so farms are of a moderate size suitable for the rearing of cattle and sheep. Given the persistence in property boundaries, the 1845 tithe map is assumed to be a reasonable representation of Eastlake Farm in medieval times and shows that it was one of the largest farms in the parish at over 300 acres. Tax assessments throughout the centuries also identify it as a very productive farm, in earlier times attracting taxes only second to the glebe (church) lands and requiring it to provide a fully armed soldier as needed for military service.
J. E. B. Gower, A. Mawer, and F. M. Stenton, The Place-Names of Devon, Part 1 (EPNS 8), (Cambridge 1931).
Rev. Richard Polwhele, The History of Devonshire, (Trewman and Son, 1797).
R. Davis Lewknor, ‘A Survey of the Estates of Charles Holmes Everett Calmady Esqr. and Pollexfen his Wife Situate in the several counties of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. Surveyed in the Years 1788 and 1789, by R Davis Lewknor Oxon.’, ref 6107M/E/1, Devon Heritage Centre, Exeter.
Bratton Clovelly Tithe Maps, Devon Heritage Centre, A2A ref 2003 A-5/PB 1-3.
England and Wales Jurisdictions 1851, FamilySearch, http://maps.familysearch.org/, [accessed 10 June 2016].