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Bredon Church and John Prideaux

I called in at Bredon Church to see the grave site of Bishop John Prideaux.
He spent his last years living with his daughter and son in law and was buried at the church following a large and well attended funeral. Details of his life, death, will  can be found on my other blogs on this site.

I was disappointed to see that his gravestone was placed underneath a rug in front of the altar. I hope that this was because the congregation are worried that it will be damaged by constant footfall. There is a plaque on the wall acknowledging him, but stating that he died a pauper. This is a common and repeated misconception which has been passed down. He certainly lost his Bishopric and church livings and position at Exeter College, Oxford following the Civil War, but he left a good deal of money and possessions in his will. It was his sons in law who sold off his possessions quite swiftly, following John’s death. I don’t know how much his two remaining daughters were happy with that.

Part of his biography on the plaque states’

‘stofordiae pago obscuro sed ingenius parentibus natus’ – born in an obscure village, Stowford, to land holding parents –

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In addition to the blogs on the site, I have already written and published one book about John Prideaux and more are in the pipeline.

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Early 17th Century England

The Bishop and The Witch and Shudder are very different stories, but this film by Pudding Lane Productions  illustrates both very well. Early 17th Century England was a fantastical place.
I had similar images in my mind when writing both books. Although this film, created by six De Montfort students taking part in the Crytek Off the Map project is of 17th century London, the model fits perfectly for early 17th century Oxford of The Bishop and The Witch and mystery century Shudder.

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Bishop John Prideaux – His Will

Below is a copy of the Last Will and Testament of Bishop John Prideaux.
It was proved on the 20th September 1650 and the original copy of this will  has been lost in the Public Records Office.
The will was written on the 20th June 1650, a month before his death. It seems he was aware that his time was coming.

Bishop John Prideaux – His Will

In the name of God. Amen
The twentith Daie of June iun the year our of Lord God one Thousand six hundred and fiftie I John Prideaux Doctor in Divinitie Sometyme Regius Professor in the Universitie of Oxford and Bishopp of Worcester, being at present in perfect sence and memory praised bee God, Doe make this my last Will and Testament as followeth. I doe first commend my Soule to God And my bodie to be buryed in the Chancell of the parish Church of Breedon according to the discretion of my Executors. Item I doe protest that I dye in the true Christian Faith firmely beleevinge and houldinge the Doctrine Worshipp and Discipline established and professed in the Church of England, in the reigne of Queene Elizabeth King James and the beginninge of the raigne of the late Kinge Charles as I have alwayes professed mayneteyned and defended the same in my severall places and callings. Item I doe give and bequeath to Mary Prideaux my beloved wife my great guilt Bible and booke of common prayer bound upp with the Homilies of the Church of England. Item to my said deare wife I give my Episcopall Seale. Item to my said deare wife I give two bonds or obligacons of the summe of One Thousand poundes for the payment of five hundred poundes due from Thomas Reynell of Ogwell in the Countie of Devon Esquire. Item to her my said deare wife I give and bequeath one hundred poundes in gould. which she knoweth of, and already hath in her own possession. Item to her my said deare wife I give my best bedd with the furniture thereunto belonginge. Item to her my said deare wife I give two Bedds for her Servaunts. Item to her my said deare wife I give All my plate,my great Cedar Chest. Item all my Lynnen I give and bequeath to my said deare wife and my Two Daughters Sara Hodges and Elizabeth Sutton to bee equally devided betweene them. Item I doe give and bequeath to my Sonne in Lawe Henry Sutton Clarke All that me Messuage or Tenement acituate and beings neare unto Exeter Colledge in the Cittie of Oxford with all tenements and hereditaments thereunto belonging. To have and to hould to him the said Henry Sutton his Executots and assignes unto the End and terme of all the yeares which I have or ought to have therein, Together with all much Indentures of lease whereby I hold the same. Item I give and bequeath to my Two Sonnes in Lawe William Hodges and trhe aforesaid Henry Sutton Al;l my Bookes to be equally devyded betweene them. All the rest og my goods and Chattells unbequeathed I give to my said Two Sonnes in Lawe William Hodges and Henry Sutton  whom I nomynate and appointe joynt Executors of this my Last Will and Testament. Jo: Prideaux, Sealed and subscribed in the presence of Ric. Goslinge Elizabeth Pope Elizabeth Stock

There rose a rumour, seemingley begun by a Later Bishop of Worcester, John Gauden, that John Prideaux was living in poverty. This myth has been perpetuated in writings.John had certainly lost a great deal following his removal of his Bishopric and his livings by the Rebels, but this Will shows that he still had much to leave.
Gauden  and others had taken on face value John’s joke when asked

How doth your Lordship do?

John answered.

Never better in my Life, only I have too great a Stomach; for I have eaten that little Plate which the Sequestrators left me, I have eaten a great Library of excellent Books, I have eaten a great deal of Linen, much of my Brass, some of my Pewter, and  now I am come to eat Iron, and what will come next I know not.

The Bishop and the Witch

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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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Richard de Pridias Lord of Prideaux 1160 – 1225

Richard de Pridias, Lord of Prideaux was the son of Nicholas.view from prideaux castle
He lived through the reigns of Henry II, Richard the Lion heart, John and Henry III, the latter being famous for pointless wars and extortionate taxation. He was however, one of the greatest patrons of medieval architecture such as Westminster Abbey and Salisbury Cathedral. He also contributed to the Oxford and Cambridge teaching establishments. Many Prideauxs have made use of these establishments including John Prideaux Bishop of Worcester, the subject of one of my books.
Richard worked alongside his father, learning and following the ways of keeping one’s head enough above water to float,  but hidden enough so as not to draw unnecessary attention to ones self.
In order to increase tax revenues as discussed in the last chapter, King John chartered four Stannaries in Cornwall in 1201, Fowey moor, [Bodmin] Blackmoor, [Hens barrow and Pridias] Tywarnhaile [Truro to St Agnes] and Penwith with Kerrier.
The manor of our ancestors was now called the Manor of Prideaux of the Priory of Tywardreath. It seems likely that this was the only land they held as they are not mentioned among the Chancery or Exchequer records upon death. The Prideaux holdings would have only had local interest and none to the Crown with regard to any death duties or similar.
But, now it was becoming more difficult to keep the land farmed and looked after. The rights of the tin miners, who had to answer to no Lord except the Warden of the Stannaries, meant that the landowners began to suffer financially and the accepted ways of the villeins and master no longer applied.
It seems more than likely that the Lords of Prideaux were losing money fast and by the time Richard’s grandchildren arrived, the two younger boys needed to leave Luxulyan for good and try and make their fortune elsewhere.

prideaux road sign

Stannary records, charters and the tinners seal were kept in the tower at Luxulyan church for several centuries. They are not kept there now.
On one research trip, we drove to Luxulyan church with the intention of looking for any gravestones, which might be relevant. It was still raining, that soft rain which completely soaks a person, but does not make them cold. Probably very goods for the skin I should think.

We went off in different directions around the churchyard, trying to cover as much ground as possible in a short time. Richard is used to me doing that as I have always seen how much I can fit into as little time as possible. We still recall, upon discovering that there was only eight minutes left on a car park ticket while shopping in Shrewsbury when he was a boy,  that we had plenty of time to look around the museum there. So, we scampered around, saw the mammoth and all the trimmings and were driving back through the car park gate, ticket still in time. I always tell him, that as we don’t know how long we have to live in this life, we have a duty to see how much can be packed in. Trust me, it’s a lot.

Luxulyan Church (2)

Anyway, we only found a couple of graves, but I could not reconcile whose remains they housed, as they were more recent than the time I needed to research. Seeing a light on in the church, we ventured in. I love seeing a light inside a church, the way it becomes altered and coloured through the stained glass, it is disappointing when you go in and find no one there.
This evening we were not disappointed.
Opening the huge door, we were met with the sound of voices and laughter and there sat around a large table were a group of lovely ladies doing flower arrangements. They all looked up and smiled and welcomed us and told us to come in from the rain. A lady to the left of the door was standing by a smaller table and appeared to be making tea. We asked about Prideaux graves and were told exactly where some had been seen and there was plenty of what appeared to be genuine interest shown in the quest.

One lady showed us the old stained glass window in the bell tower which related to an ancestor. It was now in the west window of the tower and bears the remains of an original stained glass window Luxulyan Px Window (2)showing the representations of the arms of Prideaux. I was told that I must say Pridducks and not Preedo as I had always pronounced the name. This is difficult as other relatives in Leeds tell me I must say Priddo. I figure that I shall say what I want.
We carried on passing the time of day, looking around the church and were told that the bell ringers would be here soon if we wished to stop for that. We thanked them and declined the offer. Those ladies were genuinely nice and there was no hint of annoyance about the arrival of  strangers on a rainy evening in May. I am convinced that if churches were living buildings and one could be sure to find a friendly face and voice in them, they would be fuller on a Sunday.
In the village I grew up in, we had to go to chapel and church. There was Sunday school and ordinary school events held there and everyone knew each other. Seems romantic I know, but I am not that old and it all changed so quickly. Where I live now, we struggle to get any people to any villagey events organised and although many pay lip service to the need for a community spirit, few seem willing to do much about achieving it.
I feel for these ancestors of mine, striving hard from generation to generation and worrying how to make money and raise a family and then  get sick and die.
One becomes even more acutely aware of the speedy passage of time while researching ancestry. All those men and women, not doing something they want to because of the trouble it may cause or what the neighbours would think if they pleased themselves and it is all over so quickly. You must have all had the peculiar feeling of disliking someone and perhaps constantly battling with them and then they leave or die and you miss them. You miss the rows and the drama. They were part of your world and your story and now they are gone. Cherish even your enemies then. Apparently.

So back to this lot, Richard died and left a son and heir.  Richard.

There is a record of a Robert de Prydyas witnessing a grant to St Stephen of Launceston, but it is not known whether this is our Richard, with an incorrectly written name, or a brother of his.
The family may have spent time fishing or sailing  in the natural harbour with creeks and inlets creeping inland to  the Priory at Tywardreath, St Blazey, through the marshy land to Trees mill, up the Polmear valley and almost reaching Lower Lampetho. Daphne du Maurier wrote a book about these times. The House on the Strand, English for Tywardreath. The harbour was a busy place, with fishing-boats and trading vessels tacking to and fro, fishermen casting their nets.  The ferry was rowed back and forth all day and into the night allowing travellers and locals to cross to Par.  With geological changes, the level of the ground rose and the harbour which once had fifty or sixty feet of water at high tide, became sand and shingle. In 1773 the tide still reached St Blazey Church, and even up to 1800 the high water reached one mile north of Par. I wrote about this in more detail in prior blogs.

More can be learned about Richard in the story The Jousting Lords in the book by A A Prideaux entitled Cornish Prideaux Ghost Stories.

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The Library

The LibraryQuite a lot happens in the library in Mill Town  and here is one library I visited with friends which was an inspiration for it. I love libraries and books. I have hundreds of them, many first editions and lots are  leather bound.  The oldest book I have was published in 1625 and was written by an ancestor Bishop John Prideaux. He is the one I am currently writing about in ‘The Bishop and the Witch.’ The Prideauxs like writing and talking. That must mean something.