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Nutcombe Nutcombe

By Ellie Jones, Cathedral Archivist

Nutcombe Nutcombe is a memorable sort of name, and one which many visitors comment on when they see it on a wall tablet in the south quire aisle – but it was not his original name. He was Nutcombe Quicke until he changed his name for an inheritance at the age of 65.
Nutcombe Quicke, the son of John and Rebecca Quicke (nee Nutcombe), was baptised at Newton St Cyres on 17 March 1727. It was a well-connected family. On his mother’s side he was related to the Nutcombes of Nutcombe in Clayhangar, Devon. On his father’s side he was descended from Sir Arthur Northcote (2nd Baronet of Hayne) and Elizabeth Godolphin, daughter of Sir Francis Godolphin. His brother was a High Sheriff of Devon.
Nutcombe Quicke graduated Bachelor of Laws from Cambridge in 1752, and in May that year he was ordained deacon. A year later, aged 26, he married Ann Lavington, daughter of George Lavington, the Bishop of Exeter. At the age of 28 he was installed as a prebendary of the Cathedral, and two years later he became the Bishop’s Vicar General and Chancellor of the Diocese of Exeter, as well as a Residentiary Canon and Chancellor of the Cathedral. Between 1766 and 1775 Nutcombe and Anne Quicke’s children Frances, Jane, George, Elizabeth, Marianne and Anne were all baptised at the Cathedral.
Then came the inheritance and the name change. Under an entry in the Chapter Act Book for the meeting held on 27 May 1786 – at which Charity Thetcher was paid for hassocks and mats – there is a note that this was the last time Nutcombe Quicke signed the Act Book under that name, “this name was alter’d by Act of Parliament to N. Nutcombe, the Chapter Books in future so signed”.
This may have been the last Chapter Act he signed in the name Quicke, but the name change wasn’t fully passed until 1792, with the “Act​‌‌‌​‌​ ​‌‌‌​‌‌to​‌​‌‌‌‌ ​‌‌​​​​enable​‌‌​​‌‌ ​‌‌​​‌‌Nutcombe ​‌‌​​​​​‌‌‌​​‌Quick​‌‌‌​​‌,​‌‌​‌‌​ ​‌‌‌‌​​of​‌‌‌​‌​ ​‌‌​​‌‌Nutcombe​‌​‌​‌‌ ​‌‌‌​‌‌in​‌​‌​‌​​‌‌​‌​​ the​​​‌‌‌ ​​‌‌‌​County​​‌‌​‌ ​​‌​​‌of​​​‌‌​ ​​‌​​‌Devon​​‌​​​, Clerk, and his first and other Sons and their Issue Male, and his Daughters and their Issue, to take and use the Surname of Nutcombe, according to the last Will and Testament of Hannah Nutcombe Bluett, deceased, and for ratifying Conveyances made by the said Nutcombe Quick, and his only Son, by the Surname of Nutcombe”.
In the past a legal name change could be made using a Private Act of Parliament. Such changes were never common (and were often related to inheritances). Nutcombe’s name change from Quicke to Nutcombe was one of just over 300 such Private Acts between 1627 and 1907. Nowadays you can apply for a Deed Poll online instead.
Nutcombe Nutcombe died in 1809, and Anne Nutcombe in 1811. They were interred in the Cathedral, alongside the remains of Anne’s father, and are also commemorated on the memorial to their son, the Reverend George Nutcombe who died in 1799.
The Reverend
Chancellor of this Church
Obt 22nd Novr 1809, Æ. 83
Wife of the above named NUTCOMBE NUTCOMBE
Obt 16th Jany 1811, Æ. 81
Long respected: Long beloved
Long will they be lamented