Earliest Keynes I know about appears in the Chronicle of Henry of Huntingdon, under the year 1141. King Stephen was beseiging Lincoln, and the Earl of Gloucester with `other powerful nobles' assembled to counter attack. In the ensuing battle Stephen was deserted by his cavalry and left fighting in the field until his battle axe and sword were broken,
`perceiving which, William Dekains, a brave soldier, rushed on him, and, seizing him by his helmet, shouted, "Here, here; I have taken the king!" Others came to his aid, and the king was made prisoner.'
Whether this William Dekains (de Kaynes) was ancestor to the Somerset or Devon families I do not know, but both families held land from the Earls of Gloucester.
The earliest Wiltshire Keynes I know is William de Kaynes, who in 1256 was granted the right to hunt with his dogs `the fox, the badger and the cat in the forests of Northampton, Oxford, Wiltshire and Dorset.' His wife was Lettice (also called Margary) the daughter of Adam de Periton. Lettice de Kaynes/de Kahanes/de Keines/de Caynes died in 1279 and her son Robert de Kaynes (b.c.1250) inherited her share in Adam de Peritons estates in Chelleworth (including the forest of Braden), Aston and Puriton, in Wiltshire. When Robert de Kaynes/ de Kahaynes/ de Kaynges died in 1282 he was holding land in Little Sobbyng, Gloucestershire; Wyledon, Sussex; Herleston and Great Heyford, Doddeford, Walton and Sprotten, Northampton; Cheleworth, Braden forest, Somerford, Aston, Periton, Foynton and Yeverton, Wiltshire; Tarente Kaynes and Combe, Dorset. His wife was called Hawise and his son and heir was Robert de Kaynes (born c.1272). Robert married Eleanor before 1308 and died between 1316 and 1321. She died in 1331. Their heir was William de Keynes, brother of Robert. William de Caynes (his relationship to William above I can only guess at) held land in Dodeford, Thurnley, Yelvertoft and Walton, Northampton, in 1361. A Margaret de Keynes (wife? of William) held land in Kayneston and Combe Keynes, Dorset, on her death in 1362. Her son was John de Keynes (b.c.1341), who was dead by 1366 when his widow Joan held the manor of Tarente Keynes and Combe Keynes, Dorset, her son (his name I do not know) being underage.
That is as far as I have gone on the Wiltshire/Dorset Keynes. Now for the Devon Keynes.
In 1301 Robert de Caynges held land in Hartland, Devon. Whether he is related to the later Keynes I do not know, but part of the Devon lands were in Hartland.
In 1308 Thomas de Keynes/Kaynes/Caygnes died holding land in Thory (in Hartland) and Winkleigh, Devon. His wife was Joan, sister to the Bishop of Exeter, Walter Stapledon. Their son was John de Kaynes/Caynes born c.1293. He held Thory, Winkleigh and Werynston, Devon, on his death in 1328. His wife Isabel (died 1360) was a heiress to John Wake and held land in Tangle, Southampton, and in Compton Martin, East Dowlish and West Dowlish, Somerset. Their son was Thomas de Keynes/Kaynz/Kayngnys/Kaynes (born 1328) who inherited his parents' estates and died in 1362, having married Margery and sired a son John de Keynes (born 1353).
John de Keynes held the above lands and also some in Cheliton, Somerset, and by his wife Joan, daughter of Nicholas Waumford, acquired land in Efforde, Cornwall. They were both dead by 1420, as was his son and heir John Keynes the younger, who had married Margery and had no male issue, only a daughter Joan who married John Speke and claimed the inheritance of her great grandfather Thomas de Keynes. (Joan and John Speke were ancestors to John Hanning Speke, explorer of the Nile). John Keynes the younger also had a brother Richard Keynes, who claimed part of the inheritance, but in 1428 it was a Nicholas Kaynes (another brother?) who held Winkleigh and Werynston, Devon. In 1476 Winkleigh was in the hands of a John and Joan Keynes. She died a widow in 1493 or 1495 and left a son and heir John Keynes (b.c.1473) who married Ellen Walrond and died in 1507, leaving his son Humphrey Keynes (born 1496) the heir to Winkleigh and Werynston, Devon. That is the last date in my research.
My connection to the family is via the family of Southcote, who held land in and around Bovey Tracy and in Winkleigh. One ancestor, William Southcote, married Alice daughter and heiress of Philip de Keynes of Winkleigh, Devon. This would be in the mid to late 14th Century, when Thomas Keynes (1328-1362) held Winkleigh. However in one record his father John de Keynes (1293-1328) is referred to as `Philip alias John Kaynes', so could he be the father of Alice? But Alice is called the daughter and heiress of Philip Keynes, and John Keynes had a son, Thomas. But Thomas wasn't born until the year his father died, so an older sister could have been the named heiress for some years, even up until a betrothel. Can anyone help with this?
Any additional info on Keynes families would be of interest. Who is the Philip Keynes Of Devonshire 1367??