cs2014c

by Donald L. Caperton

In her discussion on the possible origins of the Caperton’s,  Katherine Phelps Caperton states, in part, that: “the family tradition that they are of French ancestry Is confirmed by the record at Canterbury...". Using this information as a starting point, I began research into the available resources in the Wells Somersetshire England area.

stcuthbertIn her discussion on the possible origins of the Caperton’s,  Katherine Phelps Caperton states, in part, that:

“the family tradition that they are of French ancestry Is confirmed by the record at Canterbury. These records found by Woods A. Caperton. and reported by Katherine Phelps Caperton in her manuscript, are as follows: 1705, May 28th. Monsieur Caperton, godfather to David La Croix, Walloon Church, Canterbury. 1712-13, Mar 2nd Richard Caperton of Wells, Somersetshire and Mary Devorelle, to marry at St. Cuthberts, Wells. Marriage license-Diocese of Bath and Wells”.

Using this information as a starting point, I began research into the available resources in the Wells Somersetshire England area. While no definitive link was found, quite a bit of information was indeed “unearthed”. I present below the facts as I found them followed by my interpretation of these facts. I have also scanned the pertinent documents and added them to the website so that others may view these sources and come to their own conclusion!


What was found…
In searching the Wells St. Cuthbert parish register, the earliest mention of the Caperton name found was on page 127 where on 11 July 1697 the wife of Thomas Caperton is recorded to have been buried. The last mention of a Caperton in the parish register was on 6 October 1728 when a Thomas Caperton is recorded as buried. I searched 15 years beyond the last entry of a Caperton in the registers but found no further Caperton entries. A listing of Caperton and Devorelle names extracted from the Wells St. Cuthbert Parish Registers can be found at the conclusion.
Theory…

It appears from the registers of Wells that the Devorelle’s and Caperton’s were in the area from at least the late 1600’s. With the earliest entry being that of the burial of Robert Deverill in 1695. I believe there were at least two families of Capertons in the area during this time. The first family was that of Thomas and Elianor Caperton, with Elianor having died 1697 and Thomas having died in 1728. I believe one of their children was Richard Caperton. Richard married Mary Deverill on 2 March 1712. Richard and Mary had at least 6 children: Ann (b. 1713); Richard (b. 1714); John (b. 1717); Mary (b. 1719); Richard (b. 1721); and Eleanor (b. 1723). It is probable that the first Richard died between 1717 and 1721 thereby causing the next son to be named for the father, but I was unable to locate any burial record to verify this. After Eleanor’s birth, there are no further entries for this family, with the final entry being that of the burial of Thomas Caperton. A check of the registers up thru 1740 found no additional Caperton’s, although there are a couple of Capleton families found in the 1851 census in the Somerset area. One weakness in the theory that Richard is the son of Thomas and Eleanor, is that even though he had three sons, none of them were named Thomas. With regard to the name changing from Caperton to Capleton, I believe that can be explained by a new Vicar taking over the parish. In the register the name is consistently spelled Caperton until 1719 when Richard Healy, the new vicar took over. After which it is consistently spelled Capleton.


Now for some wild guesses!
In an effort to tie the above to family lore, It is possible that the son John (b. 1717) is our John Caperton. Since there are no further entries for the Richard and Elianor family in the register the entire family could have moved to Ireland about 1725.
This would give the youngest child (Eleanor b. 1723) time to be old enough to safely travel, would explain why there are no further entries in the Wells register, and could explain the 1725 date found in family legend. John would have been 8 at the time of this emigration to Ireland. This would give him time to grow up, marry and have a family, get into the trouble he is purported to have gotten into, and travel to America, where by 1753 he was married and having children. The death dates advanced by Bernard Caperton for John Caperton are between 1787 and 1789. This would have made John between 70 and 72 years old at the time of his death. While certainly not impossible, the age does seem a bit old for someone with his alleged colorful past! While family legend conveniently explains why John did not name any of his sons after himself, it is interesting to note that there were no children named Richard, Ann, Thomas or Eleanor. Names that if he was indeed the same John as the one found in Wells, would have been important names to him.


So is this the missing Piece?
I have no idea! I think it is certainly possible that this is our John Caperton, I have found nothing that makes it impossible that this is our John Caperton. But it is also certainly just as possible that he is NOT our John Caperton. I do not believe we can link our family to this man until we find additional corroborating evidence. Perhaps we can find some ships passengers lists, or some documentary evidence in Ireland. The parishes were also pretty restrictive in allowing parishioners to move from parish to parish, so perhaps there are some settlement papers available in the Wells St. Cuthberts parish chest. My goal here is simply to make this information available to others and hopefully encourage discussion and further research in this promising area.

The following listing is an exact transcription, by year, of the Parish Registers of Wells St. Cuthbert, Somerset, England that pertain to the Caperton’s and Devorelles.
If you would like to share your thoughts on this information you can either go to www.caperton.info or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Year

Pg

Click to Enlarge

Transcription of Entry

 

1695

114

Robt Deviorll of East Wells Buried Dec 22 1695
Ann Devierell Widdow of East Wells Bur Jan 13 1695

 

1697

127

Elianor the wife of Thomas Caperton was buryed July 11 1697

 

1699

152

Thomas Devoroll and Elizabeth White was married by Banns July 16 1699

 

  153

Thomas Sanders and Grace Devroill were married by Banns Aug 10 1699 being both of this parish

 

1702

197

John Deverill was buried July 27 1702 -East Wells

 

1703

210

John the son of Thomas Deverill born May the 18 Baptized May the 19 –East Wells

 

1712

310

Richard Caperton, Husbandman, and Mary Devorill, Spinster Both of this City were married by license March 2 1712

 

1713

312

Ann Daughter of Richard Caperton Born Jun 3 Baptized 7 -Newstreet

 

1714

325

Edward Devorill Buried Nov 28 1714 - East Wells

 

  327

Richard Son of Richard Caperton Born March 8 Baptized 11 -Newstreet

 

1717

348

Thomas son of Widow Devorill buried april 3 1717 -East Wells

 

  349

John Son of Ric Caperton born Jun 26 Baptized 30 -Newstreet

 

 



At this point a new Vicar took over the parish


 

Year

Pg

Click to Enlarge

Transcription of Entry

 

1719

369

Mary Daughter of Richard Capleton born May 19 Baptized 24 -Newstreet

 

1720

390

Ann Daughter of Mary Deveril base born November 20 baptized December 4 -East Wells

 

1721

404

Richard son of Richard Capleton born December 27 baptized 31 -Newstreet

 

1723

419

Elenor Daughter of Richard Capleton Born April 5 Baptized 7 -Newstreet

 

1724

437

Edward Deverell buried September 27 -East Wells

 

1725

452

Grace Dorvill Buried Jan 4 -High Street

 

1727

6

Thomas Deveril Buried October 5 -East Wells
Elizabeth Daughter of John Deveril Born October 12 Baptized 29 -East Wells

 
  7

Elizabeth Daughter of John Deveril Born October 12 Baptized 29 -East Wells

 

1728

22

Thomas Capleton Buried October 6 -East Harrington

 

  33

Elizabeth Daughter of John Dervill Buried June 8 -Wet Lane

 

1734

129

Elizabeth Devorel Buried October 9 – East Wells