WILLIAM GIFFORD, the satirist, was born at Ashburton in April, 1756. His father's name was Edward, and he says that his great-grandfather "was possessed of considerable property at Halsbury, a parish in the neighbourhood of Ashburton." There is no such parish, but there is the manor of Halsbury that belonged to the Giffords or Giffards in the neighbourhood of Bideford, in Parkham parish.
As William Gifford does not give the Christian names of his grandfather and great-grandfather, it will not be an easy matter to trace descent from the Giffards of Halsbury. That estate was sold by Roger Giffard, who died in 1763, seven years after the birth of William.
Roger had inherited Halsbury from his great-uncle, of the same Christian name, who died without issue in 1724. There is no trace of any legitimate son of this Roger.
No Giffords appear in the Ashburton register prior to 1716, when Mary, daughter of Edward Gifford, was baptized; but there were Giffords, but not gentlefolk, in the neighbouring parish of Ilsington.
William Gifford's great-grandfather was of the same generation as Roger Giffard of Halsbury, second son of John Giffard, of Brightleigh, who succeeded to Halsbury, under some family arrangement, in consequence of the then heads of the Halsbury Giffards dying with-