Morcombe Family
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Morcombes have a long tradition of military service as evidenced by muster rolls.

In modern times we have been engaged in Great Wars in which we have been able to hold the enemy at bay while we built up our forces and our armaments until we could win. In earlier times the sovereign was not only threatened from within his realm but more often than not the whole our island was threatened by foreign powers. Examples of this are Philip II of Spain (Muster Roll of Queen Elizabeth for Cornwall. CRO Ref: SR 34) and Napoleon of France.

Therefore, Queen Elizabeth I had to take drastic measures for the defence of the realm by recruiting all able men into a country wide Defence Force. It was akin to the Home Guard in the last war, except that all fit men had to be in it. Further than that she expected all the male population to undergo weekly training. For example, all longbowmen had to shoot so many arrows at the butts each week. That is why she needed to list all the men on a Muster Roll. Listed below are the Cornish Morcombes in the Service of the Queen:

Henry Morcombe Able bodied Bow
John Morcombe Able bodied Bow & sheaf of 24 arrows
Richard Morcombe Able bodied Bow & sheaf of 24 arrows
Chelype Morcombe Able bodied Bow with 12 arrows
Nycholas Morcombe Able bodied Harquebus (primitive firearm)
Phillippe Morcombe Partly able archer Bow with 12 arrows

It is noticeable that there are 6 Morcombes here who have had weapons put in their hands compared with the 2 who, 45 years earlier, had paid the tax to King Henry VIII. Perhaps there were some ways of avoiding Henry's tax, but Elizabeth was determined to put every Englishman into the field to defend her country against Philip of Spain. It was less than 20 years later (in 1588) that Philip failed in his invasion attempt with the English defeat of the Spanish Armada.

So far I have not been able to collect similar information about Devon but that is a further job for me to do and now I know how it can be obtained for Cornwall there should be no difficulty beyond finding the relevant documents and books sometime in the West Devon Record Office in Plymouth. The next part is really the family history because I have traced our direct ancestor back to Cornwall.








©2007 Peter H. Morcombe
Last update: 14-June-2007