Preaux/Prouz/Prowse family questions

+4 votes

I had noticed the DNA link documents a direct male line to some very early ancestors including some surety barons and illustrious men so I was checking it out and this particular "Prouz" seems to be incorrect to me. I found a source that said the senior line died out in the reign of Edward II and his aunt Alice is documented as inheritting his father's manors based on a IPM cited in Weiss which implies that he predesceased his father and neither had  heirs. 

Weiss has a references to a William Le Prouz of Chagford, Devon havinga  da. Julian and a Peter le Prouz of Changford, Devon m. Mary de Vernon so perhaps Prouz-19 needs different parents who are connected to Peter although Peter only had one child, Alice (Alix), according to FMG. Peter (Pierre) specifically is G.1.d under their Normandy lands as Seigneurs de Preaux. 

Later the last name spelling is Prowse according to Weis for a John Prowse of Chagford whose wife was a da. and heir of a cadet Prowse family. The Prowse family probably is connected - Magna Britannia says 'A branch of the ancient family of Prous or Prouz had for many generations a seat in the parish called Way..." - a different family owned the manor of Chagford. I found a different source that called it Way Barton.

It appears to me that the linked profile should have no heirs, and the children should have no parents unless there's some documentation for their ancestry. They do seem connected to this family so I'm not sure how to represent that - I'm certain they are wrong, but I'm uncertain where they should go, which is a little different than 'uncertain'.

WikiTree profile: William le Prouz
in Genealogy Help by Kirk Hess G2G6 Mach 6 (64.8k points)
edited by Kirk Hess
Hello Kirk,

I am Ran Prouse and have been working on the Prowse/Prouse families in England and the U.S. for nearly 50 years now.  I would like to  work with you to answer some of the questions that are being raised.  I would like to on your Trusted List.  

In regard to Chagford and Waye Barton and the family connection I have some info. I am quoting from Susan's book"

"The medieval years in this remote part of Devon were indeed dominated by by the family ofPROUZ of Gidleigh, as well as by the other great medieval families of Bonville, Webbery and Gorges, to which the Prouz's were related.  By the 14th century, the Gidleigh Branch of the family had, as we have seen, gone into the female line, the manor and castle of Gidleigh passing to the de Moelys family through Alice le Prouz's marriage to Roger de Moelys.  The CHAGFORD branch of the family, however, flourished and remained the oldest and most stable of Chagford's nobility until the 17th century.  The churchwarden's accounts are full of the names of the many members of the family who held offices as church wardens, contributed to many community projects and were baptized, wed and finally buried in Chagford Church.  (History of Chagford)

About 1300, Sir William le Prouz, the last of our name to hold Gidleigh Castle, bequeathed several of his "wheat fields, lands, and holdings" in Chagford to his youngest brother, William Prouz (see Deed of Gift on page 49)  William Prouz, born circa 1250, married Elena, daughter of Geoffrey de Ponte of Cjhagford.  The de Ponte's owned the Cloth Mills at Chagford Bridge - the bridge, which led up to Gidleigh and Throwleigh, was in existence as early as 1224, so not was still fairly new at the time that William Prouz and Elena set up homie in Chagford, which must have been around the early 1270's or 80s.

Waye Barton

It was William and Elena Prouz's son and heir, yet another William Prous (remember the ancient Prouz slogan - "whereof most were called William") who came into possession of the Manor of Waye Barton.  Ion 1345, just eight years after the outbreak of the 100 years War with France and a year before the victory at Crecy, Robert de Waye "released all his right of land in Chagford to William Prouz, a younger son of the Gidleigh knights.

The Prouz family owned Waye Barton  from 1345 until the late 17th century, when it passed to the Courtenays through the marriage of Philippa Prouz, only surviving sister of John Prouz, last of the male line of this branch of the family (and whose marble monument can still be seen in the south chancel of Chagford Church) to Richard Courtenay.  With John Prouz's death in 1664, this "ancient line disappeared fro the parish."

Waye Barton was home to 10 generations of the Prouz family.

As this states Chagford and Waye Barton belonged to the same family through a younger son.

In regard to Peter  and Julien, I don't think they siblings.

It is my belief that the de Cailly family is the connection to the Prouz family.  No matter the spelling they were connected.

You and Joe answered my question - I put a suggestion in the answer below based on what I think should happen.

I think the pre-1500 profiles that are part of the British Isles subproj have a preference for more primary sources like the IPMs. Many of these profiles have no sources, or are sourced from Ancestry (w/o a link). Joe gave you some good sources, esp. the IPMs, to review and add to the profiles. 

 On de Cailly - I didn't look too hard in Medieval Lands but I didn't see that connection. 

Also, if you wouldn't mind please review the Okehampton locations in these profiles and check the spelling of the locations so they resolve to a mappable place in England. Also the LNAB should not have a preposition or article to match the style standards - those go in the CLN. Thanks!

Also, the more I read about the Prous and Chagford family they seemed like MP material - see Prous, Thomas of Exbourne, Devon, Prouz-19 might have been a MP - I'll keep looking. HoP calls them "(Le) Prouz or Prous" so in these early profiles you might want to consider standardizing on either Prouz or Prous in the LNAB and put the generation variation in the CLN (e.g Prowse) and the other common variations in the OLN (e.g. Prouse) Every William got to pick a new spelling apparently!

Osbert II Cailly married Heudeberge (Baudemont) De Preau and took the name as well as the coat of arms etc. As you well Know the name through time has been spelled several different ways and with out the De in front of the name. Prouse of Chagford,  Prouz of Eastervale, Prowse of Barnstaple,, Preau, Preaux, Prowse of Tiverton, Preauz with or without the De or Le in front.
I have just started putting my extensive data on the medieval de Cailly line (some were direct ancestors of mine, others collaterals) and connected families on Wikitree. There is indeed a Preaux link, through Osbern/Osbert de Cailly/Preaux. As time permits, I hope shortly to add quite a lot more to the information already on Wikitree.

Yes, Osbert II Cailly married Heudeberge (Baudemont) De Preau.  All I was trying to say was that the linked profile above William le Prouz doesn't have any evidence he had any children and his parents are suspect - he has siblings who are 40 years younger than him. The change in residence from their castle in Gidleigh, Devon near Chagford to a town Okehampton indicates to me this is not the senior branch. 

1 Answer

+2 votes
Best answer


The WikiTree profile is apparently attempting to follow that given by Vivian:  Vivian, John Lambrisk. Visitations of the County of Devon, Comprising the Heralds Visitations of 1531, 1564 and 1620. (1895):626.

There are so many errors in Vivian that I hesitate even pointing to the reference.  Primarily, all of the wives are wrong.  A number of articles have been published which discuss the family, and none of them give a satisfactory or certain ancestry for this family.  See:

Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Association, vol. LXXII (September 1940): 179-183. The Ancestors of Prouz of Chagford, by John Benson.

Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Association, vol. LXXIII (1941): 139-151. The Heritage of Prouz, by John Benson.

Devon and Cornwall Notes & Queries, vol. 26 (1954):140-143. Prowse of Prowse, by John Benson.

The Genealogist, vol. 9 no. 1 (Spring 1988):3-39.  The Trowbridge Ancestry, by Charles Fitch-Northen.

With regard to the William le Prouz generation you asking about, WikiTree has badly confused several men named William Le Prouz, It will take some time to detangle them.  Basically, you had William Le Prouz die in 1269 (not 1270) leaving a son and heir William age 25, and three other sons Richard Hugh and another William.  These two brothers, both named William have been mixed together.  The older William died 1316 leaving a daughter as his heir.  Their IPMs:

Great Britain. Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, vol. 1, 20-57 Henry III: 1235-1272. (London, 1904):236, inq. no. 740 William Le Pruz.

Great Britain. Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Vol. 5, 1-9 Edward II, 1307-1316. (London, 1904):368, inq. no. 572 William Le Prouz.


by Joe Cochoit G2G6 Pilot (233k points)
selected by Kirk Hess

Thanks Joe - those are very helpful.

"About 1300, Sir William le Prouz, the last of our name to hold Gidleigh Castle, bequeathed several of his "wheat fields, lands, and holdings" in Chagford to his youngest brother, William Prouz (see Deed of Gift on page 49)  William Prouz, born circa 1250, married Elena, daughter of Geoffrey de Ponte of Chagford." 


"Basically, you had William Le Prouz die in 1269 (not 1270) leaving a son and heir William age 25, and three other sons Richard Hugh and another William.  These two brothers, both named William have been mixed together. "

Ok so reading both your comments I think Prouz-19 should be merged with Le Prouz-2. Since his father married twice, Prouz-19 probably is the son of Alice Ferrers and his older brother is the son of his first wife Alice Widworthy, possibly uncertain since I don't think there's a source for his mother. If the wives are accurate and if he was born c. 1250 and they married c. 1250 that makes sense - Joe mentioned all the wives are wrong in the Visitation so that might require some more cleanup work and you'll have to correct and cite the dates - I think the IPMs should help. 


Related questions

+11 votes
3 answers
+1 vote
3 answers
+1 vote
1 answer
+5 votes
1 answer
+4 votes
3 answers

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright