I cannot tell you why, for I have no proof whatsoever, but I am convinced that this Peter Prideaux was one of the black sheep of the family.
I would love to know which house they lived in at Ermington, but I never shall. I tried to work it out, but failed on this rare occasion.
Risdons Survey of Devon` tells us the following about Ermington.
`a name framed from the river, was long since the principal place upon the stream, both for Saxons imposing of names in like sort and for that the whole hundred hath its nomination thereof.`
Peter Prideaux left Ermington in order to marry Elizabeth Saunders in Aveton Gifford on 27th July 1684.
This beautiful little place stands on the River Avon from where it takes its name. The Parliamentarians tramped through here on one of the attacks on Modbury a generation earlier. I note that at one point it was in the hands of the le Prous family, no doubt forebears of the family Prowse where I used to visit as a child. They had a farmhouse from where Mulfra can be seen in the most beautiful setting on Penwith Moor. I have written about these times elsewhere.
Peter Prideaux had a roving and restless spirit I think and was determined to do well and claw back some of the family fortune. He did not appear to work anywhere and so there must have remained some family money and inheritance from his father. This girl he married was from a decent family and Peter would still have had contact with the rich and landed Prideaux cousins in the near vicinity.
In the next generation, his son Peter had to list himself officially as `sojourner’, a term used for commoners to ensure that they would not be mistakenly connected to his rich cousins. That must have been hard.
Chances are that this Peter Prideaux was starting to have some experience of that during his lifetime.
Elizabeth died on April 1687 and was buried at Aveton Gifford on the 13th April. There were no children from this union .
Peter was not to be upset for long and after a short courtship, married Jane Boon in Bigbury on 28th June 1687. This girl died on 26th December 1688.
Peter Prideaux married Joan Stone on 28th May 1689 also at Bigbury. Joan died 6th August 1694 and so Peter married Anne Baron (Ruddes?) on 20th November 1694 at Bigbury, waiting not much longer this time.
We came across Bigbury on one of the early fact finding trips. The area is a famous and loved holiday destination and the village and the island just off the coast has been used both as an inspiration for writers but also as a film location. It was another place where I felt at home as soon as I arrived. Please do not imagine that I feel at home everywhere I go, because I most certainly do not. I don’t even feel at home when I am at home, this lovely cottage I have lived in for more than twelve years so far. (note: written in 2009). Perhaps I should say that the places felt familiar and as I said previously, I cannot tell you what mysterious wind of coincidence takes me to these places before I find the factual link with them.
Bigbury, known as Bikaberry in ancient times was in the hands of the Bigbury family, the heirs mainly being known as William before it passed elsewhere. It was one of these William Bigburys who John Prideaux killed in a duel at Sequers Bridge. I hope mud was not still sticking.
When inside the church at Bigbury, I noticed on their list of Rectors, that Ralph Prideaux had been Rector here from 1325 until 1347. I sorted him out in a previous chapter and he did turn out to be one of mine.
Peter would have seen this name every time he attended one of his many marriages, funerals and christenings there.
On the 17th September 1695, Peter Prideaux had the long awaited son and heir and called him Peter John. He was up all night thinking of that name.
Peter Prideaux junior was christened at Bigbury.
Ringmore is an equally beautiful place and I hope that my ancestors appreciated living in such a beautiful area. Although, appreciation is often not high on the agenda when being surrounded by death, bad luck and money worries. They would walk to the sea, perhaps watching the ships or the wrecks and picking up flotsam and food when not required to work at home.
Walking around these churches and graveyards, one does get a sense of personal history. Where it is not possible to know where an ancestor lived, at least one can be sure that they trod the same path to and through the churches in their lifetimes and that makes them feel closer.
More bad luck was to follow for this little family. On the 17th May 1697 they had a daughter Anne, followed by a sister Mary who was born in 1701. These two babies died within days of each other in December 1701, Their mother Anne died within a couple of weeks in January 1702. I am surprised anyone bothered at all, particularly the women, when either they or their babies would die so very often.
Peter was left to bring up his son, probably with the help of a housekeeper or some sort of girlfriend. He did not appear to marry again. Perhaps he was worried about the Amazonian tribe already waiting to meet him at the Pearly Gates.
Peter Prideaux died on the 24th March 1719 and is buried in Loddiswell. His son was living his own life and most of his close family had gone. His parents and brothers had all been dead for many years, his nephews and nieces would not have been interested in the past and his cousins at Stowford, Orcherton, Theuborough, Adeston and Prideaux would not want to be associated with him.
More info can be found here.