Roger Pridyas 1224 – 1291

Roger Pridyas, son of Geoffrey, married a widow called Gilda. Gilda is an Old English name, and means golden. I do not know whether she was a blonde or had a lot of money.   Gilda was born at Hayleford, aka Heylffordd aka Helford. Heyl is Cornish for estuary and ffordd is road. Richard, the High Sheriff of Cornwall had control of these lands at Merthen (later Reskymer property) and exchanged them for lands at Tintagel where he built the castle. Both Roger and Gilda knew Richard , the second son of King John of England. Roger and his men fought alongside Richard in the Second Barions War with his cousin Thomas de Pridias and was rewarded by his stint as High Sheriff of Devon.
You will note that the family was now being recorded as de Pridyas in addition to de Pridias. You will also note that the family  was yet to be referred to as Prideaux even  two hundred years after the invasion. The land near Tywardreath was called Prideaux, but remember that the name was given retrospectively . This furthers my case for the family not having arrived with the Conqueror.
Roger’s marriage, in all likelihood, took place in 1247, as this was the year in which Geoffrey and Isabella, settled on Roger and his heirs forever, two carucates of land.
A carucate was as much land as could be tilled with one plough and the beasts belonging to one plough in a year.  It might have had attached to it a meadow or pasture and dwellings for the labouring man or cattle that went with it. Meadow or pasture for other use was calculated separately. This measure was introduced into England by William I and had little accuracy and varied from manor to manor. It came into common use for settlements where no boundaries were in dispute. As a carucate was often around 120 acres, it is possible that they were given 240 acres and the means to work the same land.

The document states,

With appurtances in Orcharton in Devon. One carucate of land in Rodewell in Cornwall at the rent of one pair of white gloves or one penny during the lives of the said Geoffrey and Isabella with remainder in fee.


There was also to be the service of one Knights Fee in Rodewell [Pedes Finum Div Cos 31st January III Easter No 4]
Roger was much better off both financially and time wise than his parents. This was due mainly to the hard work done by them and the estate they had built up over the years.  Roger was able have an education that would enable him to consider other options. Becoming a man of affairs and entering into local politics and social climbing was the sensible path to take. They helped in establishing the borough of Modbury which by 1238 had a weekly market and two annual fairs.Modbury Church (2)

Later in his life, Roger encouraged development by granting charters to peasants who were able to extend their holdings field by field as they colonised waste land. The younger sons of these free peasants and of the yeoman and the gentry went into trade and shipbuilding. They were now populating the new towns or worked on the tin ore at Dartmoor.
We do now that he first became Sheriff in 1271 during the last year of Henry III, 56-year reign. He was recorded as Rogerus de Pridias.
His deputies in 1271 and 1272 while acting for the King Richard of Almaine were Ralph de Teygnemus and John de Wilton, both clerks. King Richard, also Earl of Cornwall, and brother of Henry III, a famous and good man who fought in the crusades, had suffered a stroke and needed assistance. Richard died in December 1271, nine months after his own son Henry had been cruelly murdered by his de Montfort cousins while attending mass.  As Roger also acted on Edmund’s behalf in 1272 and 1273. Roger Pridyas had taken Edmund’s side during the power struggle which followed the deaths of Henry and Richard.
Richard, the King of Almaine, had acquired several properties in Cornwall, including Tintagel. He successfully persuaded Gervase de Hornicote to swap the castle in exchange for some manors. Then in 1236 he added the curtain wall and the great ward on the mainland which was linked to the island by a bridge. He did this to encourage the link with the area to King Arthur in line with the legend of Geoffrey of Monmouth.  Richard also obtained Restormel from the heiress Isolda de Cardinham and all lands on the east of the road between Bodmin and Lostwithiel.
Our ancestors, the Lords of Prideaux from the line of Geoffrey’s brother, Baldwin, would have borne witness to all of this. Times were changing fast.
The new Earl of Cornwall Edmund, spent most of his time at Restormel, although he also liked Tintagel and Trematon. He loved Restormel so much that he made Lostwithiel the capital of his county. It became his seat of government where tinners came with their blocks of metal and was the site of the gaol where many suffered the ultimate penalty of hanging. Edmund however would not help the poverty stricken and tumbledown Tywardreath Priory. Instead he relied on the hermits who were spiritual descendants of the early saints for his spiritual progress.
Roger may have won favour with the Earl by fighting alongside him during the crusades or taking his side during baronial battles, which occurred constantly. He certainly was doing all right politically, managing to hold the job for three years, until eventually dismissed.
The Knights of Devon however, wanted another Knight of their own county and made many petitions, which were finally heard and acted on.
His misdeeds made an impressive list in the Rotuli Hundredor um 3 Edward I.
As Roger tended to work for the Crown rather than for the area, raising taxes on their behalf, he made himself very unpopular. He often sat on the Shire courts and made judgments against his fellow countrymen. Because of this, there was an attempt to balance loyalty to local areas by the Lords and there was more emphasis on the idea that no Lord has the right to do wrong.
His unpopularity did not last and his daughters made good marriages. Obviously, no one was going to walk away from the chance of making good marriage matches for their children with a well-connected and rich family such as the Pridias.
In 1281, for the rent of £60 during his life, to be paid annually, Roger settled one messuage and two carucates of land in Orcharton and one messuage and one carucate of land in Brodoke to his son Peter and the heirs of his body. In default remainder to Reginald, brother of Peter with the same limitation in default remainder to Marjery Chartery and the heirs of her body. She was engaged to Reginald but died before the wedding and so Reginald became a priest. He must have been so in love. Unless of course he killed her and this was the only way to escape justice. I have no proof of that and am only making wild accusations. He may have really, really loved her.
There was still a lot of land about within the family to settle on their children.
The surviving children of Roger and Gilda were as follows.
Reginald, the son who became the Rector of Brodoke and presented to St Mary’s Truro in 1333 by his second cousin Thomas, as mentioned in the previous chapter. He died in 1343, an unmarried priest after Marjery his fiancée died.
Alice, a daughter was born in 1248 at Hayleford, Cornwall. This must have been where their mother Gilda came from as she could only have been visiting family to give birth other than at home. There is no way a risk was taken with a woman so near her time.  Alice married Sir Richard Reskymer who was also born in Hayleford and so perhaps related through her mother’s line.
Thomas another son, married Isolda.
As Thomas was a second son, it would have suited all for him to marry money and position. There may have been little coming from home. He and his wife had Roger who married Joan and they in turn had Roger, Thomas refused his inheritance, signing everything over to Peter, although we have no way of knowing why that would be.
He may have sold the inheritance to Peter or was blackmailed or tricked into it. He may have disliked his own heirs so much that he wished to leave them with nothing,  How great to find a diary written by everyone.
Lucy, another lovely daughter made an excellent match to Benedict Reynward.
Marjery, married Richard Heligan, but died in 1302. Her husband survived for another twenty four years until 1326.
Peter de Pridias, the last surviving son, upon whom Roger made a settlement of land in Orcherton and Bradoc in 1281 and left the remainder to Reginald. Peter married Clarice and died in 1316.
Roger was alive in 1290 [Pipe Roll 19th Edward I] but it is not known when he died.
The way the surname of the Prideaux family was written and recorded seems to depend on how each family wanted to be known as and to some extent how they were referred to by others.
There is still much evidence of the many forms of surname, Pridias, Prydyas, Prydas and so forth in the documents and writings in reference to the family at this point in time. These names often altered throughout the lives of the individual, going from one version to another. Although, this hinders research slightly, it is comforting to know that any combinations of the surname probably fall from the same Prideaux tree. Pronunciations of the word alter not only from each district, but equally within each family. I feel that all versions are acceptable.

More can be read about Roger in the story The Sheriff of Devon in the book Devon Prideaux Ghost Stories