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John Prideaux Bishop of Worcester – Biography

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  • Born in Stowford, Devon 17th September 1578
  • Died at Bredon, Worcestershire 29th July 1650  (aged 72 years) of a fever
  • Buried at Bredon, Worcestershire 16th August 1650
  • Married in 1612, Anne Goodwin, daughter of William Goodwin. Died  August 11th 1627 and buried in St. Michael’s, Oxford
  • Married in 1628, Mary (Marie) Rendell, daughter of Sir Thomas Reynell of Ogwell, nr. Newton Abbott
  • Children by Anne:
  • 1614 William, bapt Devon . Matriculated at Exeter College and later became a Col. in Kings army, killed at Marston Moor, 1644
  • 1617 Mary, bapt. 10th February, buried 9th December 1624
  • 1618  Anne, bapt. 3rd March 1618, St. Michael’s, Oxford, buried 29th September 1624
  • 1619  Sarah, bapt. 15th December 1619, St. Michael’s, Oxford, marr. William Hodges died 17th April 1652, bur. Ripple, Worcs.
  • 1621 Elizabeth, bapt. 25th March 1621, St. Michael’s, Oxford, marr.  Henry Sutton died 2nd February 1659/60, bur. Bredon, Worcs.
  • 1622 Matthias, bapt. 1st September 1622, Exeter College Chapel, buried  17th February in 1625 February but died 14th September 1624. John buried him after consecrating the new Chapel at Exeter College.
  • 1622 John, bapt. 1st September 1622, Exeter College Chapel, bur. 1st August 1636
  • 1624 Robert, bapt. 14th May 1624, Exeter College Chapel, died of poisoning, buried 14th September 1627. He accidentally swallowed poison and took ten hours to die in agony. It was one month after his mother had died.
  • 1625 Mathias who matriculated at Exeter Collge and became a Captain in King’s Army. Author of “All Sortes of Histories….” Died in London of Smallpox in 1646.
  • No children by Mary
  • Several poems were written for the children after they died and some can be read here. 
  • John walked the 170 miles to Oxford under sponsorship of Lady Fowel in 1596
  • Pupil at Exeter College under Mr. William Helme, B.D. 1596
  • He matriculated from Exeter College Oxford 14 Oct 1596
  • A. 31st January 1599
  • Elected Fellow of Exeter College 30th Jun 1601
  • M.A. 30th Jun 1603
  • Took Holy Orders
  • Gave evidence at the Star Chamber in regard to the Gunter Witch case in 1606
  • Chaplain and tutor to Prince Henry the son of King James and later to King James and King Charles I
  • Fellow of Chelsea College 1609
  • D. 6th May 1611
  • Elected Rector of Exeter College 4th April 1612
  • D. 30th May 1612;
  • Vicar of Bampton 17th July 1614
  • Regius professor of divinity at Oxford 1615
  • Vice-Chancellor Oxford University, July 1619 to July 1621. July 1624 to 1626, and from 7 Oct. 1641 to 7 Feb. 1624/5
  • Canon of Christ Church 16th Mar 1616
  • Vicar of Chalgrove 1620
  • Canon at Salisbury Cathedral, 17th Jun 1620
  • Rector of Ewelme 1629
  • Rector, St. Martin’s, Bladon, Oxfordshire 1st Apr 1625 to 1641
  • Plaque erected at Harford Church 20th July 1639
  • Member of Lords’ committee 1 March 1640-1 to meet in the Jerusalem chamber and discuss plans of church reform under the lead of Williams
  • Bishop of Worcester, appointed 22nd November 1641, consecrated at Westminster 19th December 1641. He was a loyalist, and the surrender of Worcester to the Parliamentary forces in 1646 ended his episcopate. He is listed as being Bishop until his death in 1650
  • He spent his last years with his daughter and son-in-law who was the Rector of Bredon
  • He was a prolific writer, mainly in Latin, his principal works in English being The Doctrine of the Sabbath (London, 1634), and Sacred Eloquence (1659); he also wrote on devotional subjects. He had many pamphlets and books published, most which are in print nowJPx Book
  • Many of the great and the good attended his funeral
  • There are tributes to him in many books and pamphlets
  • Look here for lots of photographs relevant to John Prideaux
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Bishop John Prideaux 1578 – 1650

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Bishop John Prideaux is the star of A A Prideaux’s novel, The Bishop and The Witch.
As such, his life and history is dramatised in that novel and subsequent novels in the series.  Here I attach the Authors Epilogue to the book and the Bibliography.

     AUTHOR’S EPILOGUE NPG D22907; John Prideaux by William Faithorne

I began researching my family history many years ago. During that research I came across John Prideaux, a Stowford blood ancestor who ultimately became the Bishop of Worcester. He was involved in so many significant events during his busy life that he was easy to find in many articles, books and archives. Apart from the biography list, there is no central point where his life and achievements are described in any detail. I eventually managed to collect together all the references, facts and figures that I found.  Initially, I wanted to write a factual and historical book, but found it to be dry and unemotional. I wish I could write about history in the style of one of my heroes. A. L. Rowse, but sadly I cannot. So my plans changed and I decided to put my spin on the life John may have had between the known facts, in an effort to bring him to life.  I have so much research on JPx (as I refer to him in my notes) that I now intend to write a series of books about him and hopefully each one will not take the eight years it has taken to bring this one together.  I have enough research for two or three further books and so that could take me…. a while.
I researched the history of Oxford, Exeter College, North Moreton and all of the characters featured in the story.  I tried to ensure that each person could have been in the right place at the right time.  And I think generally that they were. I am sure you will tell me if I am wrong.  I really don’t mind if you do.
I visited Worcester Cathedral, Bredon, Harford, Stowford, Salisbury and Oxford while I was tracking him down. I stayed at the home of the Gunter family at The Rectory at North Moreton and visited the church and ate at the Bear Inn and walked the lanes and tracks there.  I was allowed in the Worcester Cathedral Library to go through John’s own books and walked in his footsteps in his childhood village, church and school. I can only guess what he was really like, but I have been following him for so long that he became my friend along the way and gave me glimpses of his personality. His framed picture looks at me from four rooms in this house alone and his eyes follow me everywhere. I feel so many times that his ghost is tailing me. I feel it now. I believe he approves of my personification of him, but perhaps I am delusional.
I have checked and checked the facts of his life and his contemporaries, but there may be errors and for that I apologise. What I don’t apologise for, is my linking those facts together and putting my interpretation on what propelled him from one fact to another. I can’t prove that he did this or that and equally you cannot prove that he didn’t.
Most of the people involved in this story actually lived and were contemporaries of his. Many of the places still exist, although they have been modernised and added to many times. His likeness can be viewed in several places and after I collected all the information together, his personality and style shone out. The bullet points of his life are available online, but that is not the same as marrying it all together.  I hope I make you understand how he matured and I hope you get to like him.
I have a copy of his Will and that is very interesting reading. He wrote several books and pamphlets and owned lots more. Many of his owned books are at Worcester Cathedral Library and John has written in many of them. He seemed to be trying to find his peace with God.  He wrote ‘Euchologia’ for his daughters, giving them instructions on how to live a good life through prayer and join him in Heaven. His scribblings though, did give a clue to his worries about whether he would end up there.
He enjoyed a lifetime of debating the Bible teachings and had been involved in the translation of the King James Bible along with his fellow worthy contemporaries. Following his involvement with the Gunters, he became tutor to Prince Henry and Prince Charles because King James valued his loyalty and knowledge. JPx continued during his long and successful involvement with Exeter College with the friendship and ear of Charles I.
It was King Charles who made him Bishop of Worcester during the Civil War. The bishopric was taken from him when Worcester fell. JPx was almost a broken man once he was stripped of his roles and livings and was incredibly lucky to escape with his life. Many of his contemporaries did not.
It was written somewhere following his death and then widely copied, that after his downfall, he was poverty stricken. His Will however, does not show that. He had lost much following the arrest of Charles, his livings, his positions, his titles and many of his friends. But he still managed to leave several valuable items to his family.  Further checking shows that these possessions such as King Henry’s staffe, his large collection of rare books and silver plate, were sold off by his grandchildren. These have been scattered around the world.
This book is called ‘The Bishop and the Witch’ and although JPx was not a bishop during this time, each book in the series will be called ‘The Bishop and….’
While writing I have tried to keep facts as accurate as possible, but sometimes found anomalies which are difficult to overcome. As an example, I searched for the day of the week for 30th October 1605 on an established website to be informed that it was a Sunday. But the letter in the archives of the papers of Robert Cecil record, that the letter from Richard Neile about not being able to send Anne for examination on that day, was apparently a Wednesday. Now I know that this could have been recorded incorrectly and so I tried to establish facts elsewhere. Instead I chose not to mention the day, merely the date.  You see why it has taken me eight years? Don’t get me started on the twirling gate…
Several people mention JPx in their books and research and I shall try and list all the ones I know of in the Bibliography at the end of this book.
Below is a list the facts known which I joined together for the fictional/factual tale you have already read. Perhaps you have turned directly to this page and for that I shall punish you by giving you few dramatic details.

  • John Prideaux did walk the 170 miles from Stowford to Oxford in the clothes he kept in his closets until the end of his life, so that he could never forget his beginnings. The dates I gave are approximate, but I don’t think I can be far out.
  • The prayer was a Prideaux prayer handed down through his family and used as a means of warding off illness, bad luck and perhaps, demons. I mention it in many of the Prideaux stories. JPx talked about the prayer regularly and taught it to his daughters in his latter years.
  • He signed himself as John Worcester once he became Bishop.
  • The first born son of his parent’s was called John, but he died almost immediately. It was said that the son born praying would become a great man. This child was our Bishop John.
  • The Gunters were living in North Moreton in 1596 and John’s walk would have taken him within a couple of miles of their village. Anne was a young girl at the time.
  • Brian Gunter was known to assault Anne, it was reported in Star Chamber records.
  • The football match of 1598 took place and the two Gregory men were killed by Brian Gunter. The story is written in many records both parish and courts of the time. There was a great deal of ill feeling between the families.
  • Anne Gunter had terrible fits and body movements as described throughout this story. She also constantly vomited or found pins. Her body swelled and her head turned and her ankles twisted. Not all of the fits could be put down to fakery.
  • Elizabeth Gregory gave birth around the time of Anne’s fits and complained that Anne’s spirit was harassing her during childbirth.
  • Once released from prison, Brian Gunter continued to live in his usual stroppy and vindictive manner until 1628 when he died in Oxford. He is buried there, he survived his wife by 11 years. She died at North Moreton and was buried in the church.
  • There is no record of Anne either returning or contacting her family after 1606 and she is not mentioned in any wills or documents that I have found. She did tell the King that she had fallen for a servant of Bancroft named Ashley and the King agreed to give her a dowry.
  • Anne Gunter eventually confessed all to King James during an examination.
  • Gilbert Bradshawe suffered several assaults in the years following the trial. These attacks were from Brian and his family and included Susan Holland who became prone to violence once her husband was dead.  Apparently the Gunters wanted him out of the church. Gilbert took his case to the Star Chamber in 1620.
  • Thomas Holland, the Regius Professor of Divinity and Rector of Exeter College lived (1539 – 1612. ) was 40 years older than his wife Susan Gunter, but they managed to have 6 children. John Prideaux succeeded him as Rector upon his death and as Regius Professor in 1615. He was one of the translators of the Bible.
  • Dr Richard Neile (1562 – 1640) was chaplain to Robert Cecil and became Dean of Westminster on 5th November 1605, the day Parliament was to reconvene. He could have been blown up had the treasonous plot been successful, but he wasn’t. He became Bishop of Rochester, Lichfield and Coventry, Lincoln, Durham and Winchester. He often sat at the Star Chamber, the Gunter trial being one of the cases.
  • Samuel Harsnett (1561-1631) was another man with a heady career. He was chaplain to the Archbishop Bancroft. He later became Bishop of Norwich and Bishop of Chichester. At the time of this story he was a resident at Chigwell, where he later established a school and he also had the living at Shenfield.
  • Richard Bancroft (1544 – 1610) was a great favourite of King James and became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1604 and oversaw the translation of the King James Bible. He was with Queen Elizabeth when she died, but he didn’t kill her… He was also Bishop of London. Although a Cambridge man he became Chancellor of the University of Oxford from 1608 until his death.
  • William Laud (1573 – 1645) was John Prideaux’s nemesis for much of their parallel careers. He was a homosexual, a fact which matters not a jot these days quite rightly, but back then he needed to hide his feelings.  He was chaplain to Richard Neile and became Dean of Gloucester and Bishop of St Davids. He later became Bishop of London and Archbishop of Canterbury during Charles 1 reign, but he made many enemies. Once he established a religious point of view he would force it through with little regard for other opinions. In 1640 he was accused of treason, but at his trial there were only a few who could agree a treasonable charge. Personal vendettas came into play and Laud was sentenced to death, although on no specific charge. In spite of a Royal pardon he was beheaded and died with dignity at 72 years old. Although John Prideaux had argued with him for much of his life, it seems likely that he would miss him once he was gone.
  • William Helme was tutor to John in his early Oxford years. He was a fellow of the college until 1615 when he left to become a vicar until his death in 1639.
  • The map of Oxford drawn by John Speed and reproduced in this book was drawn in 1605 and shows the layout of Oxford and the colleges and streets at the time of this story.
  • Turl Street which runs along the western perimeter of Exeter College was so named as it led from the turnstile in the north wall. The turnstile also known as the ‘twirl’ or ‘twirling gate’ was to keep cows and other animals out of the city.
  • John Prideaux assisted with the translation of The King James Bible.
  • The story of Dr Rowland Taylor is a true one.  He was one of the martyrs during Queen Mary’s reign. Miss Goodwin eventually became John’s first wife and mother of his children. He wrote about her in books and letters to his daughters near the end of his life.
  • John Prideaux surveyed the college during his tenure and oversaw many changes.  Excellent details and maps can be found here.
  • On the NW corner of the college fronting Turl Street between the chapel and the more modern looking building on the corner with Broad Street is known as Prideaux buildings and the front is all that remains of the house he built.
  • On either side of the wall to which parts of the college abutted, were ditches and small ponds full of black mud which often flooded into the college.
  • Elizabeth Gregory, Mary and Anne Pepwell were the three North Moreton women accused of witchcraft. They were found innocent of bewitchment at their trial in 1604.
  • He buried his wife and children either at St Michael at the North Gate or at Exeter College Chapel. His son Mathias was the first buried at Exeter following its foundation and the inscription reads ‘Are you trying to make out what the little child is saying? Read, you will die as did Mathias Prideaux, the Rector’s son, who was the first one to be buried in this chapel after its foundation.
  • There were poems written about each child as he/she died young and are still available here.
  • From his nine born children, only two daughters survived John.
  • John Cleveland wrote a long poem about JPx upon his death.  It can be read in John Cleveland’s Poems.
  • The likeness of John Prideaux can be found online.
  • The Bear Inn at North Moreton.

              BIBLIOGRAPHY

The words and pictures in following books, pamphlets and links have not been copied, or quoted, but I thought it would be helpful to researchers to have an idea where to look for more information on Cornwall, Devon, the Prideaux family and the Gunter family. I have many books which may also help in research, but have not listed them all here.

  • An Obscure Place by Louise Ryan.
  • A West Country Clan by R M Prideaux
  • A Devon Family. The Story of the Aclands by Anne Acland
  • Survey of Cornwall 1602 by Richard Carew
  • Sir Bevill Grenville and his times by John Stucley
  • Highways and Byways in Devon and Cornwall by Joseph Pennell and Hugh Thomson
  • Devon Its Moorlands, Streams and Coasts by Lady Rosalind Northcote
  • Survey of the County of Devon by Tristram Risdon
  • The Cornish Witch-finder by William Henry Paynter
  • Catholic and Reformed by Anthony Milton
  • The Hammer of Witches (Malleus Maleficarum) by Christopher S Mackay
  • The Bewitching of Anne Gunter by James Sharpe
  • Cecil Papers
  • Oxford History
  • North Moreton History
  • A selection of poems about the children of John Prideaux. (Sadly, after their deaths)
  • John Cleveland’s poem written as a Eulogy for John Prideaux.
  • History of Exeter College
  • Dictionary of National Biography
  • The Doctrine of Practical Praying by John Prideaux
  • North Moreton church registers
  • Public Record Office
  • Victorian County History of Berkshire vol iii
  • A British Library search brings up at least 50 books referencing John Prideaux
  • A guide to Harford Parish Church
  • The Heraldry of Worcestershire
  • An Historical Account of the Lives and Deaths of the Most Eminent and Evangelical  Authors and Preachers by the Rev. Erasmus Middleton
  • Lives of Individuals by R A Davenport
  • A History of North Moreton by Gerald Howat
  • Laudian and royalist polemic in 17thC England by Anthony Milton
  • Personal papers, books and documents of A A Prideaux.

APx at Worcester Cathedral

A A Prideaux at Worcester Cathedral

 The Bishop and the Witch is published by Paganus Publishing.

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John Prideaux 1505 – 1568

John Prideaux stars in the book A Ghost Story .

A Ghost Story A A Prideaux

The book is set in Harford, near Stowford on Devon

He also is mentioned in the book. The Bishop and The Witch.

bishop and the witch a a prideaux cover

The story is about the Bishop of Worcester and is set in Oxford and Harford, near Stowford Devon.

John Prideaux was grandfather of the Bishop.

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William Prideaux 1422 – 1472

William Prideaux became heir apparent to the Devon estates following  the premature death of his elder half brother John.  He was ten years old.
William subsequently named his second son in honour of his brother  John. He must have been greatly affected by losing a big brother at such a young age. For now though, William had everything any young man could wish for. A huge inheritance, plenty of money and lands, well bred and well connected and a well known and respected father. Oh and he was good looking too.
The Prideauxs were and still are a handsome bunch, intelligent and strong. It’s just that most of us are not rich.
William appears to be determined to have children and also to gain even more money than he already possessed. His sisters made good marriages and he obviously intended to, when one looks at the women he did manage to marry.
William’s father died around 1443, when William was almost twenty one years old. His mother Ann was still alive and helped him with his first choice of a bride. They chose Rose Michelstow.  She is highly likely to be the Rose Michelstow who was the daughter of the wealthy John Michelstow of Lanteglos in Cornwall. Lanteglos is very near to the Prideaux lands and again the families would have socialised and known about each other. Rose had a sister called Elizabeth who married Thomas Treffry of Fowey. This wife of Treffry helped her mother in law , also Elizabeth, defend Fowey against the Breton fleet while her husband and father in law were away. They fortified the town and poured boiling oil over the invaders. She is immortalized on one of three brasses in the church at Fowey, though the inscriptions are now vandalized. Captain Symonds a Cavalier, luckily made records of antiquities he spotted and this is one of them.

Poor Rose died, probably in childbirth again, as there are no children from this marriage.

The second wife of William was a daughter of John Fortescue, the future Chancellor and Chief Justice to Henry VI.  Her name was Joan Fortescue.
The Forstescue family owned Fallapit in East Allington .  William’s cousin John Prideaux of Orcharton settled the next door manor of North Allington and the advowson of its church on John’s brother Martin in 1429. The Fortescue and Prideauxs were close neighbours and friends and an alliance between the two families was sensible, indeed the family intermarried on more than one occasion as the centuries passed. Most of the gentry families in Cornwall and Devon have joined with the Prideauxs at some point or other.
They all believed in line breeding. Not that it did any of them any good, as this poor wife appeared to die in childbirth too.
William Prideaux  then married his third wife Alice Gifford, the daughter and heir of Stephen Thomas Gifford of Theuborough and Agnes Churchill.  They married in 1460. The couple eventually moved into the Domesday manor of Theuborough in the parish of Sutcombe near Holsworthy, after all the children were born. Theuborough can be translated as Thieves Hill.  There is a  farm there still has the remains of a Tudor manor house which William’s son Fulke  had built near an earlier house of his.
Their children were Fulke Prideaux born 1462 and who died on 15th January 1530. Joan Prideaux was born in 1468 and John Prideaux was born in 1461.
William’s son Fulke Prideaux was the son  who inherited both Theuborough and Adeston and enjoyed great lands and wealth. Joan Prideaux married well and John Prideaux, my ancestor,  married Sybell who was heir to the property and lands at Luson, Ermington, just up the road from Adeston. His line was very fruitful and produced many more Prideauxs to colonise the county.
A deed states that William died on 15th April 1472 and that following his death, Alice married William Wollacombe, another landed Devon gentleman.
William Prideaux’s children presumably spent their time between Theuborough and Adeston. As Fulke would be inheriting he property, it made sense that his education would be there, learning the family business from the lawyers and estate management. Both Fulke  and John would also be learning French and Latin.
Incidentally, it was one of Fulke’s grandsons who carried on the line which eventually built Prideaux Place at Padstow.
Alice died on 24th February 1512, the lady reaching a great age and seeing her grandchildren grown up. Even if it was from a different house.

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Some documentation referring to William

 

CP 25/1/46/84, number 132. County: Devon. Place: Westminster. Date: The day after St Martin, 15 Henry VI [12 November 1436]. Parties: William Predeaux of Thorleston’ and Philip Morgan, querents, and Thomas Loueney and Margaret, his wife, deforciants. Property: The manor of Nordon’ and 24 messuages, 300 acres of land, 12 acres of meadow, 2 acres of alder and 30 shillings of rent in Aluyngton’, Kyngesbrigge, Dodbroke, Colpyt, Wodehous and Lye. Action: Plea of covenant. Agreement: William and Philip have acknowledged the manor and tenements to be the right of Thomas, as those which Thomas and Margaret have of their gift. For this: Thomas and Margaret have granted to William the manor and tenements and have rendered them to him in the same court, to hold to William, of Thomas and Margaret and the heirs of Thomas, for life, rendering yearly to Thomas and Margaret for the life of Margaret 10 pounds sterling, to wit, 50 shillings at each of Christmas, Easter, the Nativity of St John the Baptist and St Michael, and for the life of Thomas 6 marks, 6 shillings and 8 pence at the aforesaid feasts if Thomas survives Margaret, and to the heirs of Thomas 1 rose at the Nativity of St John the Baptist for all service, and doing to the chief lords all other services. And after the decease of William, a moiety of the manor and tenements shall remain to Joan, wife of William, daughter of the aforesaid Margaret, and the heirs of her body, to hold of Thomas and Margaret and the heirs of Thomas by the aforesaid services for ever. In default of such heirs, remainder to Margery, wife of William Pillond’, daughter of the aforesaid Margaret, and the heirs of her body, to hold of Thomas and Margaret and the heirs of Thomas by the aforesaid services for ever. In default of such heirs the moiety shall revert to Thomas and Margaret and the heirs of Thomas, quit of the other heirs of Joan and Margery, to hold of the chief lords for ever.

And the other moiety of the manor and tenements shall remain to the aforesaid Margery and the heirs of her body (same tenure and services). In default of such heirs, remainder to Joan and the heirs of her body (same tenure and services). In default of such heirs, reversion to Thomas and Margaret and the heirs of Thomas (as above).

Feet of Fines: CP 25/1/46/91

 

CP 25/1/46/91, number 4. County: Devon. Place: Westminster. Date: One month from Easter, 2 Edward IV [16 May 1462]. Parties: Thomas Wilcok’ and John Haget, querents, and William Prydeaux’ and Alice, his wife, deforciants. Property: The manors of Yewe, Blacchesburgh’ and Myddelmerwode and 54 messuages, 8 tofts, 400 acres of land, 46 acres of meadow, 80 acres of pasture, 50 acres of wood, 200 acres of furze and heath and 66 shillings and 8 pence of rent in Cryditon’, Chepyngtoriton’, Yewton’, Nymettrace, Claneburgh’, Heyngsthyll’, Blacchesburgh’, Merwode, Sprayton’, Knolle, Seyntsydewillesse, Honyton’, Elyngham, Fyneton’ and Combralegh’. Action: Plea of covenant. Agreement: William and Alice have acknowledged the manors and tenements to be the right of Thomas, as those which Thomas and John have of their gift, and have remised and quitclaimed them from themselves and the heirs of Alice to Thomas and John and the heirs of Thomas for ever. Warranty: Warranty. For this: Thomas and John have granted to William and Alice the manors and tenements and have rendered them to them in the same court, to hold to William and Alice, without impeachment of waste, of the chief lords for the lives of William and Alice, and after their decease the manors and tenements shall remain to Fulk Prydeaux’, son of William and Alice, and the heirs of his body, to hold of the chief lords for ever. In default of such heirs, successive remainders (1) to John Prydeaux’, brother of Fulk, and the heirs of his body, (2) to the heirs of the bodies of William and Alice, (3) to the heirs of the body of Alice, (4) to the heirs of the body of William and (5) to the right heirs of John Spenser’.

 

CP 25/1/46/91, number 5. County: Devon. Place: Westminster. Date: One month from Easter, 2 Edward IV [16 May 1462]. Parties: Richard Denys and Thomas Wylcok, querents, and William Prydeaux’ and Alice, his wife, and John Denys and Eleanor, his wife, deforciants. Property: The manor of Thuburgh’ and a third part of the manors of Esseraiffe and Curreworthy, and a third part of the advowson of the church of the manor of Esseraiffe, and 30 messuages, 6 tofts, 5 water mills, 1 fulling mill, 500 acres of land, 60 acres of meadow, 80 acres of pasture, 100 acres of wood, 500 acres of furze and heath, 4 pounds, 13 shillings and 4 pence of rent and rent of 1 pair of spurs and 1 pound of pepper in Esseraiffe, Curreworthy, Hyghanton’, Inwarlegh’ [sic], Romandeslegh’, Estansty, Westansty, Weston’, Knoghtonbeanpell’, Hetherlond’, Wheteford’, Mylton’ Damerell’, Northlewe, Neweton’ Sc’i Petroci, Stoke Sc’i Nectani, Welcombe, Bradeworthy, Whyteley, Suttecombe, Hertelond’, Holdesworthy and Lampford’, which Agnes, who was the wife of Stephen Gyfford’ held for life. Action: Plea of covenant. Agreement: William, Alice, John and Eleanor have acknowledged the manor, third parts, tenements and rent to be the right of Richard, and have granted for themselves and the heirs of Alice and Eleanor that the manor, third parts, tenements and rent – which Agnes, who was the wife of Stephen Gyfford’, held for life of the inheritance of Alice and Eleanor in the aforesaid vills on the day the agreement was made, and which after the decease of Agnes ought to revert to William, Alice, John and Eleanor and the heirs of Alice and Eleanor – after the decease of Agnes shall remain to Richard and Thomas and the heirs of Richard, to hold of the chief lords for ever. Warranty: Warranty.

For this: Richard and Thomas have granted to William and Alice a moiety of the manor of Thuburgh’ and a moiety of the third part of the manors of Esseraiffe and Curreworthy and a moiety of the third part of the advowson of the church of the manor of Esseraiffe, and also a moiety of the aforesaid tenements and rent in the aforesaid vills, and have rendered them to them in the same court, to hold to William and Alice and the male heirs of their bodies, of the chief lords for ever. In default of such heirs, successive remainders (1) to Fulk Prydeaux’ and the heirs of his body, (2) to John Prydeaux’, brother of Fulk, and the heirs of his body, (3) to the heirs of the body of Alice, (4) to John Denys and Eleanor and the heirs of their bodies, (5) to the heirs of the body of Eleanor, (6) to the heirs of the body of William Prydeaux’ and (7) to the right heirs of the aforesaid Stephen Gyfford’. And Richard and Thomas also granted to John Denys and Eleanor the other moiety [of all the property, as above] to hold to John Denys and Eleanor and the heirs of their bodies, to hold of the chief lords for ever. In default of such heirs, successive remainders (1) to the heirs of the body of Eleanor, (2) to William Prydeaux’ and Alice and the heirs of their bodies, (3) to the heirs of the body of Alice, (4) to John Denys [sic] and the heirs of his body and (5) to the right heirs of Stephen Gyfford’.


CP 25/1/46/91, number 13. County: Devon. Place: Westminster. Date: Two weeks from St John the Baptist, 6 Edward IV [8 July 1466]. And afterwards one week from St Michael in the same year [6 October 1466]. Parties: John Wydeslade, gentleman, and William Eliot, gentleman, querents, and Robert Rokley and Elizabeth, his wife, deforciants. Property: The manor of Orcherton’ and 16 messuages, 2 mills, 2 gardens, 1 carucate and 400 acres of land, 200 acres of meadow and 240 acres of wood in Orcherton’, Roughdon’ in the parish of Modbury in the hundred of Magna Modbury, and Parua Modbury in the parish of Blakauton’ in the hundred of Blakauton’. Action: Plea of covenant. Agreement: Robert and Elizabeth have acknowledged the manor and tenements to be the right of William, as those which William and John have of their gift, and have remised and quitclaimed them from themselves and the heirs of Elizabeth to John and William and the heirs of William for ever. Warranty: Warranty. For this: John and William have granted to Robert and Elizabeth the manor and tenements and have rendered them to them in the same court, to hold to Robert and Elizabeth, of the chief lords for the lives of Robert and Elizabeth, and after their decease the manor and tenements shall remain to the right heirs of Elizabeth, to hold of the chief lords for ever.

CP 25/1/45/76, number 15. County: Devon. Place: Westminster. Date: One week from St Martin, 2 Henry [V] [18 November 1414]. And afterwards one week from St Hilary in the same year [20 January 1415]. Parties: William Prideaux the elder, querent, and John Prideaux the elder, deforciant. Property: The manor of Godeford’. Action: Plea of covenant. Agreement: John has granted to William the manor [sic] – which Elizabeth, who was the wife of John Prideaux, knight, held for life of the inheritance of John on the day the agreement was made, and which after the decease of Elizabeth ought to revert to John and his heirs – after the decease of Elizabeth shall remain to William and the male heirs of his body, to hold of John and his heirs for ever, rendering yearly to John and his heirs 1 grain of corn at St Michael for all service, and doing to the chief lords all other services.

In default of such heirs the manor shall revert to John and his heirs, quit of the other heirs of William, to hold of the chief lords for ever. For this: William has given him 100 marks of silver.

William stars in the story It is difficult to recognise a Ghost in the book Devon Prideaux Ghost Stories.