******   
Old Ashburton, Being Recollections of Master Robert Prideaux (attorney at law) 1509 - 1569

In 1882 P F S Amery published a book with the above title. In his introduction he admits that the account is not, in fact, the recollections of one man, but a story to link together 'a chain of incidents' connected to Ashburton, 'without sacrificing fact to fiction.' Robert Prideaux, attorney at law, did actually exist, and was apparently a leading light in the community. The other persons, and places, says Mr Amery, were real. It is slightly concerning that he said that most of the incidents were real, although Amery says that the details had been brought together from a variety of sources. Some of the material is not specific to Ashburton.
I have added references that I have found, and comments etc. in red - I have by no means been able to verify everything.
          
The book begins with Master Prideaux, son of Thomas, supposedly reflecting on his family, who had lived in the area for some time. Various members of the family had held 'positions of trust and importance', and some had married into neighbouring families, such as his father's great aunt Julyan Prideaux, who married Adam Somaster of Widecombe. Robert's sister Alice married Adam Williams of Stowford, Ivybridge: their son became Speaker of Parliament in 1560, and Feodatory to Queen Elizabeth.

'Thomas Prideaux of Ashburton had two sons, John Prideaux, Serjeant at Law, already mentioned, and Robert Prideaux who seems to have succeeded his father at Ashburton.....Robert Prideaux of Ashburton, the second son of Thomas, died in 1598, and in his will names his sons Thomas, George, Robert, and Harry, and Elizabeth his daughter.'
John Maclean, The Parochial and Family History of the deanery of Trigg Minor in the County of Cornwall, vol 2, London and Bodmin, 1873, p213

Robert Prideaux
1566 - 1567 Robert Predyaux, gent, attorney at law, was paid £3 18s 'for the lands now in litigation in le Excheker'
He appears several times in the churchwardens' accounts.
Alison Hanham, Churchwardens' Accounts of Ashburton, 1479 - 1580, Devon and Cornwall Record Society, Torquay, 1970, p157

Alice Prideaux
According to the website History of Parliament Thomas Williams of Stowford was the first son of Alice, daughter of Thomas Prideaux, and Adam Williams of Stowford. He was born 1513/1514.
Based on S T Bindoff, ed., The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509 - 1558, 1982.
www.historyofparliamentonline.org - accessed 31-10-2021
A letter in the National Archives, dated 1563 and transcribed by Nina Green and Christopher Paul, is from John Chidley to Thomas Williams, feodary of Devonshire.
National Archives SP 12/31/18, www.oxford-shakespeare.com - accessed 31-10-2021

Thinking back to his youth, 'Robert' says that he was a schoolboy in 1509, when Henry VIII married Katherine of Aragon. He was taught by Father Hellyer, a Buckfast monk, whose duty was to sing masses for the dead, and to teach the sons of burgesses.

Father Hellyer
During 1509 - 1510 the churchwardens at Ashburton received 4d for ringing a bell after the death of Dan Edward Helyer, formerly monk of Buckfast.
Alison Hanham, Churchwardens' Accounts of Ashburton, 1479 - 1580, Devon and Cornwall Record Society, Torquay, 1970, p39

Amery imagines that one evening Robert had been on Tarry, shooting at rabbits with his new bow. Afterwards he slipped into the house where Mistress Ford, a cousin of his father's, was visiting - she was married to John Ford, who held a Manor and was called Esquire. Alice, Robert's sister, was to be married to Adam Williams, and Mistress Ford was asking about Alice's dowry: 300 marks (£200) was to be paid. Within twelve months Master Williams snr. was to convey land at Stowford, worth £20, to his son. He was also to leave the male heirs of Adam and Alice land worth forty pounds, with the proviso that Adam behaved appropriately towards his father.
As to the date of the wedding, Father Hellyer suggested that the Feast of St Andrew might be propitious, with presents given to the saint's altar.

Tarry
'[Ashburton] nestles in the valley of the Yeo (a tributary to the Dart) with the rounded hills of Tarry, Sparnham, Whistley and Chuley immediately around....'
John Satterley, Memories of Ashburton in Late Victorian Times, Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Association, vol 84, Torquay, 1952, p21

Chapter 2.
'Robert' says that John Ford was chosen Portreeve at the Court Leet of the Bishop in 1509.
At the first court Nan Walsh was presented for gossiping: an example of this sort of misdemeanour might be speculation about the delay in Alice's wedding. She was ordered to be whipped from the bowling green to the bull-ring, and thence to the town pump in North Street. The next day the woman was stripped to the waist, and her hands were tied to a pole carried by two men. The Town Crier, complete with bell, led the procession, and a constable used a short rope to beat the woman until she bled. Once her ordeal was over a mob of boys accompanied her to her home in Cad Lane, shouting and hooting.

John Ford, who was the accountant for the churchwardens between 1509 and 1532, is described as 'an important Ashburton figure' by Alison Hanham.
Alison Hanham, Churchwardens' Accounts of Ashburton, 1479 - 1580, Devon and Cornwall Record Society, Torquay, 1970, p vii.
He is not in Pete Webb's book, Past Portreeves of Ashburton
Pete Webb, Past Portreeves of Ashburton, 7th edition 2011

'In the court leet the jury presented those accused of minor offences, especially breaches of the assizes of bread and beer and offences related tp public order, such as assaults, gossiping, night prowling or leaving foul rubbish in the street'
M Mulholland, Trials in manorial courts in late medieval England, PDF, p 81

The Whipping Act of 1530 (later than the time in which this account is set) authorised flogging for petty offences, such as poaching and blasphemy
Shubhankar Tiwari and Kaartikay Agarwal, Flogging as Criminal Punishment in the 21st Century, Jurist June 23rd, 2020
https://www.jurist.org/commentary/2020/06/tiwari-agarwal-flogging-punishment/ - accessed 04-11-2021

The three day St Martin's Fair was shortly afterwards, beginning on November 11th, but snow prevented merchants and pedlars coming from far, and stopped farmers coming with their wool. Father Hellyer took his young charges around the town singing songs about the saints, but there were not many people about in the cold, and he did not get much. 'People who could afford it were eating their geese'. Other luxuries included new cider and aquevite (whisky) made from malt.

Sir Thomas Furneaux was vicar at the time, and he, the Sub-Prior of Buckfast and Father Hellyer all had different ideas on how to bring good luck to Alice at her wedding. The Sub-Prior thought Alice ought to visit the Abbey Church at night, and recite incantations by a particular grave in the choir. The vicar thought Alice should present a candle each day at the altar of St Andrew, together with a silver figure of two hearts. It was also suggested that her mother should gift a silk velvet banner with the saint's cross in time for the feast day of November 30th, plus a generous gratuity. The sacristan, Walter Antony, was to be paid a fee to attend every night with his wheel, on which Alice could cast lots for a lucky day.

November 11th is the Feast of St Martin or Martinmas, commemorating the death and burial of Martin of Tours, a 4th century saint. During the Middle Ages it was a time for feasting, to celebrate the end of autumn. Goose and beef were the preferred meats.
Ellen Castelow, Martinmas, Historic UK https://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/Martinmas/ - accessed 04-11-2021

Saint Martin is a vintage quality cider apple, from the Calvados region of Normandy. There is also a British desert apple whose proper name is St Martin's.
Pomiferous https://pomiferous.com/applebyname/saint-martin-id-5719 - accessed 04-11-2021

Sir Thomas fFurneaux was vicar from 1500 - 1517
https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/DEV/Ashburton/Vicars - accessed 04-11-2021

For more on the wheel, see Chapter 4

The church before the Reformation had no screen across the chancel. Over the altar was a carved reredos, showing scenes from the life and martyrdom of St Andrew in the panels: the one in the centre showed St Andrew as an old man, on a cross formed like a letter X. The altar was covered with an embroidered velvet cloth, and a carved cabinet on top housed a fragment of bone, said to be that of the saint.
A large silver gilt crucifix stood on the shrine.
Small niches in the walls held earthenware jars laid on their sides, their open mouths level with the faces of the walls: these were said to improve the sound quality of the building.
The Chapel of Our Lady the Blessed Virgin was at the eastern end of the north aisle; and there was an image of her dressed in bright clothes of a century earlier in the centre niche of the reredos. Other niches contained pictures of the Wise Men, and the Holy Mother pierces with 5 swords in her heart.
Numerous tokens hung on a low rail in front of the altar, put there by worshippers in distress. These might include wooden babies, when a child was ill, or an injured part of the body represented in wax.
St John the Baptist's chapel was at the eastern end of the south aisle, with a picture of the death of the saint on its altar. In the centre stood the stone font on a raised dias.
In the north and south transepts were the chapels of St Thomas of Canterbury and St Katherine. Each chapel had an altar, and a picture of the saint to whom the chapel was dedicated. Tabernacles with small doors were on the altars, plus a large crucifix and candles. Master Ford's mother had given a richly embroidered altar cloth, and a red banner with a figure of the saint worked in gold hung from a staff by its side. Each chapel had a votive candle stand at the foot of the altar steps; brass lamps hung by chains from the roof.

Eight pieces of wood showed pictures of the Passion of Jesus: people knelt at them and repeated special prayers.

The pulpit had three or four steps to enter it. The seats were mostly in the chapels, but a few benches were around the pulpit. Sermons tended to be short.

The Vicar wanted a carved screen to divide the chancel from the nave, with a rood loft over; he also wanted the four chapels to be separated from the aisles, and the Chapel of Our Lady and the Chapel of St Thomas to be partitioned off from the chancel.

'For the painting of the reredos of our Lady's altar ixs in part payment...'
John H Butcher, he Parish of Ashburton in the 15th and 16th Centuries, as it Appears from Extracts from the Churchwardens' Accounts, 1870, p9

'In payment to Thomas Wilke for mending the Tabernacle of St Andrew xvid...'
John H Butcher, he Parish of Ashburton in the 15th and 16th Centuries, as it Appears from Extracts from the Churchwardens' Accounts, 1870, p3

'For making the Roodloft and separation between the chancel and the aisle of St Thomas and the aisle of the Blessed Mary on the northern part of the church...'
The Parish of Ashburton in the 15th and 16th Centuries, as it Appears from John H Butcher, Extracts from the Churchwardens' Accounts, 1870, p19

Chapter 3
On the eve of the feast of St Andrew, November 29th, the church was strewed with sweet smelling herbs; ivy and other greenery decorated the piers and pillars. The next morning a bell rang out the day of the month, followed by a peal of bells to call people to Matins, which were not as melodious as it could have been, as the tenor bell had not yet been recast. St Andrew's banner hung from the highest opening in the spire as people arrived from nearby villages dressed in their best clothes.
Alice and her family presented their gifts, and then knelt in private prayer in the Lady Chapel. The priests and vicar were wearing their highly ornamented festival vestments, and the Vicar, donning his chasuble, began to sing Mass. All the congregation fell to their knees when the Sanctus bell rang.
After Mass Father Furneaux processed around the church holding the body of Christ, encased in a jewelled crystal pyx. The water bearer sprinkled holy water on the worshippers; a large silver cross was carried in the procession, followed by the Vicar holding the Host. Principal laymen of the parish, such as Ford, Wyndeyat, Dolblear and Prideaux were in the procession, followed by priests, deacons and the choir all 'in their proper order'.
The congregation dispersed once the holy vessel was once again on the high altar, but were to return at eleven to hear the vicar preach. The image of St Andrew was at the porch, with indulgences in its hand; a priest urged those entering to purchase a pardon for 40 days in honour of the saint. Food and drink were being sold at stalls outside, and peddlars were also selling their wares.

Floors of churches were sometimes strewn with fennel and other herbs'
Lewes Priory Trust https://www.lewespriory.org.uk/what-are-we-growing - accessed 06-11-2021

Southwark Cathedral says that rosemary was strewn on church floors.
https://cathedral.southwark.anglican.org/visiting/churchyard-herb-garden/ - accessed 06-11-2021

'lxxiiis iiiid towards full payment for exchange of the great bell...'
John H Butcher, he Parish of Ashburton in the 15th and 16th Centuries, as it Appears from Extracts from the Churchwardens' Accounts, 1870, p14

'Expenses.....viiid for mending the pyx for the Body of Christ...'
John H Butcher, he Parish of Ashburton in the 15th and 16th Centuries, as it Appears from Extracts from the Churchwardens' Accounts, 1870, p19

In 1517 Martin Luther, in a letter to the Archbishop of Mainz, wrote, with reference to the selling of indulgences to finance the building of a new cathedral, 'I grieve over the wholly false impressions which the people have conceived from [indulgences], to wit...the unhappy souls believe that if they have purchased letters of indulgence they are sure of their salvation; again, that so soon as they cast their contributions into the money-box, souls fly out of purgatory...'
Medieval Sourcebook, Martin Luther, Letter to the Archbishop of Mainz, 1517
https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/lutherltr-indulgences.asp - accessed 06-11-2021

The vicar's sermon was on the life of St Andrew - Bishop Grandisson had collected many fine manuscripts on the legends of the saints at Exeter Cathedral.

Bishop Grandisson, 1327-69, was fascinated by the lives of the saints, and made his own collection, still in the cathedral Library and Archives.

Blog based on discussion 12th July 2019, Exeter Centre for Medieval Studies, https://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/medievalstudies/2019/07/grandisson-650/ - accessed 11-11-2021
See also 
https://humanities.exeter.ac.uk/history/research/centres/medieval/projects/bishop_grandisson/ - accessed 13-11-2021

Outside the church, monks from Buckfast were trading with local farmers for wool
The Cistercians were England's main wool producers. In 1236, the Abbot and his monks were admitted to the guild of merchants at Totnes, and in 1315 Buckfast was listed as an exporter of wool to Florence.
https://www.buckfast.org.uk/history - accessed 13-11-2021

'That day our dinner was a feast'. A long table was supported by trestles, fresh rushes were strewed on the floor. 'Father... believed the dreadful distempers so often breaking out were caused by the accumulations of fat, grease, and leavings by the dogs on the floors.'
After the feast came the latin, or grace after meat.

Erasmus, 1466-1536, writing to a friend: 'The doors [sic] are, in general, laid with white clay, and are covered with rushes, occasionally renewed, but so imperfectly that the bottom layer is left undisturbed, sometimes for twenty years, harbouring expectoration, vomiting, the leakage of dogs and men, ale droppings, scraps of fish, and other abominations not fit to be mentioned.'
https://www.medieval-life-and-times.info/medieval-life/medieval-hygiene.htm - accessed 13-11-2021

According to the Catholic Encyclopaedia the word grace was always in the plural form in pre-Elizabethan times. 
One of these graces was a tradition of thanksgiving after meat, at which time the souls of the faithful were also prayed for.
https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14554c.htm - aacessed 14-11-2021

During a stroll in the churchyard after the meal, the party came across a peddler selling various knives, ribbons and trinkets from a box supported by a leather strap.

According to the Caring for God's Acre website archery, games, festivals, markets and fairs were all held in churchyards during the medieval period.
https://www.caringforgodsacre.org.uk/resources/built-heritage/ - accessed 14-11-2021

For illustrations of peddlers (pedlars) see eg The Pedlar by Hieronymous Bosch, c. 1500
The recollections describe going to the Market, via King's Lane, and going up the steps to the upper floor. Amery imagines dancing taking place, and wrestling in the bull ring below.

Arriving back home Master Williams describes his travels, and says that when he was a boy it was fashionable to take a pilgrimage to St James de Compostello in Spain, after the Pope declared that a pilgrimage there was equal in virtue to a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. 'The offer was a grand one as for quarter the cost and peril a man might gain a character for sanctity and wear the scollop shell.' So popular was the pilgrimage that large sums of money left the kingdom, and eventually ship-owners had to take out a licence from the crown to carry pilgrims.

One of these ships was owned by a John Shipley. The St Catherine sailed from Plymouth with more than 50 pilgrims

Pope Alexander VI, 1431 - 1503, declared that the Camino de Santiago was one of the 'Three great pilgrimages of Christendom'
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camino_de_Santiago - accessed 20-11-2021

Susan Morrison says that there were already official decrees to control pilgrimages in the fourteenth century, with licences allowing pilgrims, but not certain goods including horses, gold and silver 'or other things prejudicial to the king'.
Susan S Morrison, Women pilgrims in Late Medieval England, London and New York, 2000, p54

The scallop shell is the traditional emblem of St James the Great. Medieval pilgrims returning from Compostela would tie a Galician scallop shell to their clothing or staff as proof of their journey.
https://www.greenpilgrimageeurope.net/santiago-de-compostela.html

George Roberts, writing in 1856, gives a list of pilgrim ships, including the St Catherine of Plymouth, ownded by John Shipley, carrying 60 pilgrims in 1445.
George Roberts, The Social History of the People of the Southern Counties of England, London, 1856, p132

Chapter 4
'Every sexton hath a wheel, that hangeth for the view,
Marked round about with certain days, unto the Virgin due.
Now when that any servant of our Lady cometh here,
And seeks to have some certain day by lot for to appear,
This sexton turns the wheel about, and bids the stander-by,
To hold the thread whereby he doth, the time and season try.'
Barnabe Googe
Barnabe Googe, 1540-1594, was an English poet born at Alvingham, Lincolnshire. He was related to William Cecil, and in 1563 became a gentleman pensioner to Queen Elizabeth.
https://allpoetry.com/Barnabe-Googe - accessed 22-11-2021

The Rev W H Sewell, writing in Norfolk Archaeology, describes a visit to Saint Mary's church, Long Stratton, where he saw the sexton's wheel. Two iron wheels had strings attached, and people had to catch a string as the wheels revolved backwards and forwards. The string indicated which day was chosen, in this case for a fast.
Rev W H Sewell, Norfolk Archaeology, vol9 p205, in Notes and Observations, Eastern Evening News, 22 August 1931
https://www.roundtowers.org.uk/long-stratton-saint-marys-church/ - accessed 22-11-2021

To make use of the wheel, 'Alice' and her mother make their way 'to the wedding door of the church, on the south side'. The wheel chose Trinity Sunday, which that year fell on June 1st, as the most propitious day for her marriage. Alice was reminded not to forget to reward Walter, the sacristan, and to light a wax candle before the altar as an offering.

The next morning Adam leaves for Buckfast, where the abbot has promised him some of the apple trees for which Buckfast was famous. These had been originally from Normandy, and the monks used them to make bright, strong cider.
'There was formerly a pound-stone at Buckfast Abbey, which was reputed to be the largest in Devon....'
R Hansford Worth, The Moorstone Age, Part II, p331
https://dartmoorwalks.org.uk/resource/docs/article233.pdf - accessed 25-11-2021

A day or two afterwards, a few friends gathered at four hours, which Amery, breaking away from the character of Robert Prideaux, describes as  'a meal taken at four o'clock, corresponding to our modern afternoon tea; but tea and coffee were then unknown.'

Mistress Ford, reading from a paper she had found, quoted:
'Advent marriage doth denie,
But Hilary gives thee libertie;
Septuagesima says thee nay;
Eight days from Easter says you may;
Rogation bids thee to abstain, 
But Trinity sets thee free again.'

Sources differ on when meals were taken in medieval and post medieval times. Whatever the norm was, mealtimes were affected by class and the time of year, as the working day varied according to the hours of daylight.
See also http://cdalebrittain.blogspot.com/2014/07/medieval-meals-and-mealtime.html - accessed 09-12-21
and https://www.foodtimeline.org/foodfaq7.html#:~:text=Medieval%20era&text=These%20meals%20consisted%20of%20breakfast,of%20devotions%20of%20the%20Church - accessed 09-12-21

The rhyme appears in a register in Everton, Nottinghamshire
Local and Family History https://rollitt.co.uk/marriage/ - accessed 05-12-2021

Mistress Ford also gives Alice a parchment on which is written:
How the Good Wife Taught Her Daughter
It begins, 'Dear daughter if thou wilt be a good wife live lowly; love God and go to church when you can; don't let the rain stop thee, for thou farest best the day thou hast seen God
Well proveth that God loveth
Willingly pay tithe and give freely to the poor, for seldom is that house poor where God is steward, for he well storeth him that honoureth the poor
In church pray, and not chatter to friend or relative, and scorn neither old nor young, but be courteous to all
Through thy fair bearing
Thy worship hath increasing
 Love thy husband above all earthly things; answer him meekly and he will love thee
A fair word and meek
Doth his wrath slake
Be cheerful of speech, and gentle of mood, true in word and deed, and in conscience good. Be well mannered and not a romp, or rude or ready to swear, In walking the street don't toss thy head or wriggle thy shoulders
For she that catcheth an ill name
It is to her a foul shame
In town don't gad about from house to house, or get drunk on your cloth money. If in a place where good ale is going, drink moderately, that you fall into no blame
She that is oft drunk,
Thrift is from her sunk.
Wisely govern thy household; be not too sharp or too easy; set them first doing what needs doing most. Let them not be idle when your husband is absent; mark who doeth much or little; and quit them accordingly. When need be great, and time short, set to work thyself, and all will be better for it,
For many hands and wight (nimble), 
Make heavy work light.
Look after thy household when at work, and if thy see a fault amend it at once. See everything right when work is done, and forget not to take thy keys thyself; be wise and trust no-one better than thyself. At term days pay the household and be generous to them whether they remain with thee or leave:
Thy good name is to thy friends
Great Joy and gladness.
Housewife, thy shall work diligently on work days, for pride, waste and idleness make waste and on Holy days thou shalt well worship God; care thou
More for God's friendship
Than for the world's worship?
If thou be a rich wife, welcome thy neighbours with meat, drink, and honest cheer, to each after his degree, and help the poor man. But daughter, be careful; make not thy husband poor with spending and pride: a man must spend as he hath;
Bleed and wren, according to his veins.
If thy children rebel, and are saucy, don't curse them but take a smart rod and beat them until they cry mercy and acknowledge their guilt. As soon as daughters are born begin to collect goods for their marriage;
For maidens be lovely,
But to keep they be untrusty.
Now, have them taught as thy mother did thee; think hereon night and day, and what man weds thee, he shall not repent;
Better were a child unborn,
Than a child untaught.
May Christ, and Mary, and all the angels bless thee; may all the Patriarchs', Prophets', and our Ancestors' blessings be with thee, and well may thou thrive my dear child,
For well is the child,
That with sin will not be filled.'
About 1430 MS Lambeth 853 p102
A version of this can be found at https://ellicesblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/23/how-the-good-wife-taught-her-daughter/ - accessed 09-12-21

Chapter 5
Master Prideaux comments that Ashburton church tower has five bells, matched by few other churches in Devon; only Exeter Cathedral, he says, has more.

The work of the Rev H T Ellacombe suggests this is not the case, although the bells in his list are of a later date.
Church Bells of Devon, listings extracted by Jean E Harris from Ellacombe, Rev., H T, The Church Bells in the Towers of all the Parish Churches of Devonshire, Transactions of the Exeter Diocesan Architectural Society, vol I, second series, part III, Exeter 1867
https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/DEV/ChurchHistory/ChurchBells - accessed 11-12-2021

In 1487 two new bells were added to bring the total to five, and circa 1503 one of the bells was exchanged, with Master John Gye riding to Exeter.

I have not as yet found a reference to the two new bells.

1503-1504 'To John Gye to ride to Exceter to take the tewne in the belle - 20d. For carige of the bell and thechyng of the way - 10s 4d.'

The 1509-10 accounts have a section 'Exchange of the Great Bell'. 73s 4d is paid in full payment for a heavier bell, with calculations made on the amount of old metal and new.
Alison Hanham, Churchwardens' Accounts of Ashburton 1479 - 1580, Devon and Cornwall Record Society, Torquay 1970, pp32 and 39

It was the tenor bell that was generally used as the 'passing bell' , tolling when people were dying. This served two purposes: firstly, to alert people so that they could pray for the departing soul, and secondly, 'to drive away the evil spirits, which haunt the house of death in readiness to seize their prey, or to terrify or molest the soul in its passage, but were unable to come within the sound of the bell.' [p28]

'The Passing-bell was, of course, then rung at all hours of the night, as well as by day. After the Reformation the custom of ringing the Passing-bell ini the ancient way continued. Bishop Hooper, in his Injunctions (1551) allowed it, the Royal Injunctions of 1559 enjoined it, and the Advertisements of 1564 show that it was then usual to ring or toll the Passing-bell whilst the person was believed to be dying, but not yet dead'
Thomas North, The Church Bells of Bedfordshire, London, 1883, p95

Robert then recalls an incident a year or two before his sister's marriage, when William Brownyswill lay dying. It was stormy, and the bell could not be heard half way up Tower Hill. There were accusations that the bell had been rung in a slovenly manner, allowing evil spirits to cause mayhem for the departing soul. The fee for the bell being tolled was initially refused, but was eventually paid - the great cross was carried at the funeral, and the vicar sung a free mass for the dead man's soul.
As a result of this incident, those resident in more distant areas of the parish demanded a heavier bell to be used on occasions of death.
William Furze de Waye died the following year, and two men tolled the bell, with such vigour that they cracked it. John Dolbeare and Roger Wyndeyat were churchwardens at the time, and shortly afterwards Prideaux's father and Master Ford consulted with a Robert Norton at Exeter on the cost of a replacement. It was arranged that after Christmas 1509 he and his men would come down to Ashburton and recast the bell.

I can find no reference to the incidents above.

John Farewell, Roger Wyndyatte, John Dolbere and William Gryge were churchwardens 1508-09 
Alison Hanham, Churchwardens' Accounts of Ashburton 1479 - 1580, Devon and Cornwall Record Society, Torquay 1970, p37

Accounts of a Robert Norton, bell-founder, refer to one working much earlier than the 1500s - he became a freeman of Exeter in 1423
Royal Albert Memorial Museum https://www.rammtimetrail.org.uk/Object/277/ - accessed 11-12-2021

Work began on the bell in February 1509, the recasting being done near the tower of the church. Strangers' Hill, on the northwest side of the tower was chosen as the spot, as there were only a few burials there, of people from outside the parish.

'French Officer Francois Guidon, age 22 who is said to have been captured at the Battle of Waterloo.......is buried on Strangers Hill....'
On this website, under Churches and Memorials, Background to the Making of the Tombstone Survey, 1973 -1981

Master Prideaux describes how Robert Norton paced out a circle in the ground; earth was then dug out of this circle to make a pit about 5 feet deep.
A furnace of brick and clay, and with a high chimney, was constructed against the Vicarage wall, for melting the metal. Charcoal was brought from Boro Wood, and a quantity of earth was sieved very finely. Old coins, believed to be Roman, were found amongst the earth.
The bell was broken up in pieces, and lowered out of the tower. The 30lb extra white tin that was needed was purchased from Thomas Matthew, the chief tinner of the town, who attended the Stannary parliament at Crocker-Torre on Dartmoor. 200lb of copper was bought from Master Cockey, brazier of Totnes.
Robert then describes the making of a frame to construct a mould for the bell.

Amery's description fits well with a talk given in 2010 by Michael Pascoe, Captain of the bell-ringers at Widecombe Church. That is not to say that the process ever took place at Ashburton
https://www.widecombe-in-the-moor.com/history/minutes/2010/talks_dec_2010.php - accessed 12-12-2021

See Early History on this website for mentions of Roman coins.

'....the antient public records and documents relating to the Stannaries have been lost.'
Reports from committees of the House of Commons, July 1800, appendix H.15, p259
For more on the Stannaries, see under Local Administration, under Gathering Together

Mordecai Cockey recast a bell at Totnes in 1686
https://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=MDV2856&resourceID=104 - accessed 12-12-2021
The National Archives has a reference to marriage articles between William Cockey, brazier of Totnes, and Elizabeth Hannaford.  However, the date is 1749, considerably later.
Ref 242/8/411 National Archives https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/48ea677c-d31c-4316-ae13-668622b42363 - accessed 12-12-2021

The bell was cast on Lady Day, the first day of the new year in March.
'After Mass the vicar, priests, churchwardens and leading inhabitants visited the operations, and threw in articles of silver, thereby to improve the tone of the bell'

As the molten metal flowed into the mould the choir chanted a psalm, prayers were offered and candles lit for the bell, which would be called St Andrew. Afterwards mulled wine and cyder was drunk to the future welfare of the bell.
The ceremony of blessing or christening of the bell by the Bishop would be some days later, after the metal had cooled and the bell removed.

'The writer recollects, on one occasion of the casting of a heavy tenor bell to complete a peal in a large town, that numbers of the inhabitants who went to see the operation cast silver money into the furnace, though whether to an amount sufficient to affect the mass, is uncertain.' 
The Cabinet Cyclopaedia, vol III, John Holland, A Treatise on the Progressive Improvement and Present State of the Manufactures in Metal, London, 1834, p200
This also has a detailed account of casting a bell

'The custom of blessing church bells is of great antiquity, and though it is said that the usage of bestowing names upon them was not general at first, it is clear that to this custom bell inscriptions owe their origin.....the bell about to be blessed was washed with holy water, wiped with a towel, and anointed by the bishop with holy oils....'
John L-Estrange, The Church Bells of Norfolk, Norwich, 1874, p17

see also The Order for Blessing and Consecration of Bells  https://www.liberalcatholics.uk/bellsblfrom essing.pdf - accessed 15-12-2021

The bell was weighed before Robert Norton was paid, ' They having made enquiries at Plumtree, where they found that the new bell cast there was paid for on Master Norton's word, and afterwards they discovered it lacked many pounds of the weight, which led to much expense and trouble at law.

'I am sorry to bear witness, that though his castings are a proof that he was an excellent workman, his mode of carrying on business with his employers stamps him to have been a most dishonest tradesman. This is proved by the following record taken from the early Chancery proceedings in the reign of Henry VI...' Details follow of the grievances of 'the pore parshenes  of Plymptre  in Devenshere' concerning the weight of metal for making bells agreed and paid for.
Rev H T Ellacombe, The Church Bells of Devon, Exeter 1872, p47

The National Archives holds a document Parishioners of Plymtree versus Forde, in which the defendants are John Forde of Plymtree and Robert Norton of Exeter, bellmaker. The subject is conspiring to defraud complainants as to the weight of certain bells supplied by Norton, Devon.
The date is 1433 - 1443, or more likely 1467 -1472
https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7446033 - accessed 16-12-2021

John Soper, the carpenter, and Roger Torryng, iron-worker, prepared the fittings for the bell.
Robert describes Robert Norton's mark: a bell with the initials R N either side, the whole surrounded by a rope.

Some months later Bishop Oldham came to anoint and name the bell. A piece of timber projected from the bell tower window, with pulleys and ropes attached; and by this means the bell was slowly raised. When it reached the window, balks of timber were slid underneath the rim, and the bell guided inside.

John Soper was paid iis ivd for sawing 200 feet of timber during 1482-82
Roger Torryng was paid for a hammer for the clock during 1479-80 
The Parish of Ashburton in the 15th and 16th Centuries, as it Appears from Extracts from the Churchwardens' Accounts, London, 1870, pp4, 3

An example of Robert Norton's mark can be seen on the Royal Albert Memorial Museum's website https://www.rammtimetrail.org.uk/Object/278/ - accessed 19-12-2021

Bishop Oldham was born circa 1452, and died in 1519
https://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/boldham.html - accessed 19-12-2021

Chapter 7
In the run up to Alice's wedding, she was instructed by her female relatives on household duties, manners, and recipes. One of the dishes she made was a sausage called Leche Lombard. Pork was put into a mortar with eggs, sugar, salt, raisins, currants, minced dates, pepper and powdered gilly-flower. Cooked in a bladder, it was then carved into slices. Large raisins ground in a mortar were then added to red wine, with milk of almonds. The mix was coloured with saunders [sandalwood] and saffron, and boiled with pepper and gilly-flower. Powdered cinnamon and ginger were flavoured with wine, and then sieved.

Hare in onions and coney in onions were other recipes.

For Pety panel marrow, ginger, egg yolks, minced dates and 'currant raisins' were mixed into a paste.
Payn puff was a similar dish but with a more tender (?) paste.

Gode Cookery describes Leche Lumbard as a striped almond meat loaf. A modern version of a 15th century recipe, found in MS Harley 5401, uses ground chicken or pork; blanched almonds; white wine; eggs; parsley; sandalwood or saffron.
http://www.godecookery.com/nboke/nboke58.html - accessed 20-12-2021

Payn puff or panne puffe appears to be a type of fritter. A Proper Newe Booke of Cokerye uses stock, ale, yeast, suger, mace and saffron, heated and added to flour and egg yolk.
http://www.medievalcookery.com/search/display.html?prope:13 - accessed 20-12-2021

Remedies also featured in Alice's instructions, including 'Medicine to restore nature in a person.' Chickens were to be fed a mix of snails ('that bear houses'), wheat and bread, and then the patient was to eat the chickens roasted, as they felt disposed.

Viper broth was recommended if someone was very poorly, or a fine filing of gold in cordial waters

Ground wild tansey was laid on a wrang-nayle or corn.

The chicken food and the cure for a corn both come from Lambeth MS 306, leaf 65, back, col2
https://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/cme/ANT9912.0001.001/1:4.16?rgn=div2;view=fulltext - accessed 27-12-2021

Recipes for viper soup and viper broth can be found, although both are from the 18th century, at http://www.foodsofengland.co.uk/vipersoup.htm - accessed 27-12-2021

'Of the Taste and Vertue of Gold Medicines. Le Mort, in his Pharmacia Rationalis, gives the taste of the Tincture of Gold, and says it is a little Styptick, and afterward very Sweet; the Sweetness following the Vitriolick Taste.'
Sir John Floyer, The Touchstone of Medicines, vol II, 1687, p402,403

Should a cow be ill, rather than a human, 'Farmer Furze de Waye' had a remedy. Hairs had to be cut from the animal's tail and put between bread and butter; this was then fed to the first stray dog that came along. If the dog ate the bread, all would be well and the cow would recover, but if the dog refused the cow would die.

Hints for keeping your teeth white and breath fresh included washing your mouth well after eating; sleeping with your mouth slightly open; and rubbing your teeth with a linen cloth in the morning. However, should your teeth become loose and filthy, the following mouthwash could be used: half a glass of vinegar, plus half a glass of rosemary water and three glasses of fountain water; an ounce each of myrrhe, mastic, dragons herb, and roche allome, and half an ounce of cinnamon. This was to be boiled together with half a pound of honey, plus a little beng-wine (gum Benjamin - benzoin) for a quarter of an hour, before being put into a clean bottle.

AD 1551-2. John Furse ali John Waye was one of the wardens. 
The Parish of Ashburton in the 15th and 16th Centuries, as it Appears from Extracts from the Churchwardens' Accounts, London, 1870, p32

Tim O'Neill MA, answering a question on Quora, says that mouth washes in medieval times tended to be wine or vinegar-based, with herbs and spices steeped in these liquids. 
https://slate.com/human-interest/2015/04/dental-hygiene-did-people-in-the-middle-ages-have-bad-teeth.html - accessed 28-12-2021

Various recipes for teeth cleaning can be found at dentalcorp.com/blog/dental-hygiene-and-mouthwash-products-from-a-variety-of-medieval-and-renaissance-sources/ - accessed 28-12-2021

'Alice' was to have linen and new clothes to begin married life with, most of which, apart from the kersey, being made from materials imported from abroad, and brought up from Dartmouth by peddlers. The clothes were four new gowns: a russet kersey, a rose coloured camlet, a carnation silk and a sad satin. With care these gowns would last six years, after which, made up as kirtles, they could last another four years.

The description of Alice's gowns comes almost word for word from a work similar to Amery's in that it was comprised of historical facts woven into a fictitious story; allegedly the facts are from unpublished MSS.
'I am to have iiij new gowns - a russet kersey for every day, and the rose colour camlet that I did covet for a better, and a carnation silk guarded with black for high days, and a sad satin gown.'
Emily Sarah Holt, Isoult Barry of Wynscote, Her Diurnal Book; A Tale of Tudor Times, New York, 1872, p66. 

Kersey or carsie was a coarse woollen cloth, often used for making stockings. It was made in various places, including Devonshire in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Valerie Cumming, C W Cunnington, P E Cunnington, Dictionary of Fashion History, Oxford and New York, 2010, p253

A camlet, camelot or camblet, was a woven fabric, originally possibly made of camel's hair, later of goat's hair and silk, or wool and cotton.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1913

In England 'sad' indicated a dark or sombre tone of a colour.
Robin Netherton, Gale R. Owen-Crocker, Medieval Clothing and Textiles, vol10, 2010, p41

Kirtles, usually worn over a chemise or smock, were loose gowns, reaching below the knee. A more formal garment was worn on top.
Medieval Britain, https://medievalbritain.com/type/medieval-life/clothing/medieval-dress/ - accessed 29-12-2021

Her father often travelled to Exeter in his role as attorney, and on his return from one of these visits he said that he had ordered three carved oak panels, to be made up as a linen chest - he thought John Soper or John Mayne could undertake the work.

After some time there was a delivery sent by Master Martyn, the wood carver of Cathedral Close. The panels featured designs based on the story of Abraham and Isaac, and pieces of wood forming the rest of the chest showed minstrels with various instuments. The carpenter was instructed to fasten the chest together with wooden pins, so that it could be transported in pieces to Alice's new home.

1515-16. Expenses iiiis iiiid to John Mayn beyond xli vs viiid paid to him before in part payment for xili for making the seats of the church, lixs iiid for timber-work for the church.
The Parish of Ashburton in the 15th and 16th Centuries, as it Appears from John H Butcher, Extracts from the Churchwardens' Accounts, 1870, p16

 1557-8 Payments xs iiid to Martyn the carvyr for the Boxe upon the high aulter
ibid p37

Chapter 8
New Year's Day
'The next to this is New Yeare's Day, whereon to every friende,
They costly presents in do bring, and New Yeare's gifts do sende.
These gifts the husband gives his wife, the father eke the childe,
And maister on his men bestowes the like; with favour milde;
And good beginning of the yeare they wishe and wishe again,
According to the ancient guise of heathen people vaine.'
Barnabe Googe

Lady-day, the annunciation of the blessed Virgin, was the first day of 1510.
The two springs of water in Aysheperton were venerated as holy wells.
One was Ladwell, or Lady-well, at the bottom of St Lawrence Lane, dedicated to the Virgin; the other was Gulwell, 'in the corner of the vicar's glebe field', called after St Gudula, the patroness of the blind. A stone cross stood at each spring, and that is where the name Stone Park for the vicar's field originates.
Prospective brides would visit Lady-well early in the morning of Lady-day, and it was considered lucky to see the first rays of the sun reflected on its surface.
The well is large, and the water 'gushes up from the earth and flows away in a strong stream to join the old Yeo.'
The story went that once upon a time the tinners had poisoned the water of the Yeo with their streaming works. The people appealed to the Virgin, and on Lady-day a large spring of sweet water sprung out of the ground. This was what became Lady-well.

I can find no references to brides visiting any holy wells, or to the legend of water springing out of the ground at Lady-well.

See also Crosses and Holy wells, under Churches and Memorials

Seeing Alice and Old Dorothy heading towards Bloggis-hay-lane, Robert crossed Priggemead and hid behind some bushes near Lady-well. 'Many women and girls were kneeling in devotion around the cross on its six-sided base. After crossing themselves with a finger dipped in the water, they carefully filled small vessels to keep until the next year.

Robert then ran home to see who would be the first to cross the threshold of the front door.

New Year's presents were exchanged, including a pouncet box containg herbs and a bowed tester, or crooked sixpence, for luck.
Adam Williams, Alice's betrothed, sends her a cramp ring, touched by Queen Katherine.

A blog on Ireland's holy wells says that people usually drink the water; or pour a little over their heads 'or dip a finger in and cross yourself as a reminder of your own baptism'.
Adomnan, August 24th 2011, http://irelandsholywells.blogspot.com/2011/08/what-is-holy-well.html - accessed 04-01-2022

A pouncet box was a small box, with open work on the lid, containing perfume.
William Toone, A Glossary and Etymological Dictionary of Obsolete and Uncommon Words, London, 1834, p371

It used to be considered lucky for one to carry about a crooked sixpence on his person. 'So you must keep me by you for your crooked sixpence (to bring you good luck).' - George Eliot.
J M Dixon, Dictionary of Idiomatic Phrases, London, Edinburgh, New York, 1891, p76


 The Science Museum Group says that cramp rings were used from 1308, in the reign of Edward III, up until 1558. They were typically made of gold or silver, and by touching them the monarch gave the rings the power to heal cramp and epilepsy.
 https://collection.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/objects/co106807/metal-cramp-ring-english-1308-1558-cramp-ring - accessed 04-01-2022
Left: Metal cramp ring, English, 1308-1558
With thanks to the Science Museum Group.

Alice's father told how the King's touch cured the Evil, saying that there was an authorised religious service for the occasion. 

The King's Evil was scrofula, a disfiguring and sometimes fatal disease where the lymphatic glands enlarged and degenerated.
Patients knelt before the king, who touched or stroked their necks, whilst a chaplain read an extract from the Gospel of Mark. Prayers and readings also accompanied the ceremony.
The order of service was in the Book of Common Prayer.
Andrew Taylor, The Monarch with the Magic Touch, Historia Magazine, 4th April 2019
https://www.historiamag.com/monarch-with-magic-touch/ - accessed 04-01-2022
Alice writes back to Adam.
'My right good lord, most knightly gentle knight,
Unto your grace in my most humble wise,
I me commend, as it is due and right,
Beseeching you at leisure to advise,
Upon this bill, and pardon my emprize,
That this rude bill shall put itself in press,
To see your lordship of its presumptuousness
Ere I myself; but yet ye shall not miss
To have my heart before my bill I wis,
Which I commit and all my whole service
Into your hands, demean it as you list,
Of it I care to have no more franchise
Than I heartless surely me wist
Saving only that it be as trist (trusty),
And to you true as ever was my heart, and plain
Till cruel death divide it upon twain.'

This verse can be found in:
A Ramsay, Paston Letters, Original Letters written during the Reigns of Henry VI, Edward IV and Richard III, by Various Persons....., Vol II, London, 1841, p144

Chapter 9
The Chaplain of St Lawrence.

Robert now remembers the chaplain of St Lawrence Guild, Father Edward Hellyer, who died a few days after the casting of the tenor bell. As he lay dying he sent a message for the Prideaux children - Robert and Alice - to come for a blessing, and so they went with their father to the priest's dwelling in St Lawrence Lane. Father Hellyer was as white as a Rennes sheet.
The children's father became alarmed at Father Hellyer's 'raving', which was to start speaking of Jesus rather than the Virgin Mary. 'His mind is gone'.

That evening the passing knell was rung from the tower of St Lawrence, which only happened for members of the Guild.
His principal duty had been to sing masses for the souls of the departed, 'all had full confidence that he would get their departed relatives out of purgatory in the shortest possible time'. He 'had also endeavoured to teach us boys as much of the mass service as possible, in order that we might the more intelligently follow the priest at the celebration'.

Robert says that Father Hellyer taught boys the Paternoster, or Ave Maria - prayers to say at night for their parents, relatives and friends - in preference to another prayer often said at the time:
'Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
Bless the bed I lie upon;
Four corners to my bed,
Four angels at its head;
One to watch, two to pray,
And one to bear my soul away;
God within and God without,
Sweet Jesus Christ all round about;
If I die before I wake,
I pray to God my soul to take'.

The best sheets were made of Rennes linen
webpage Old and Interesting http://www.oldandinteresting.com/medieval-renaissance-beds.aspx - accessed 08-01-2022

Presumably Father Hellyer's ravings are a reference to the move from Catholicism to Protestantism.

According to Opie and Opie, the first known record in English is from Thomas Ady's A Candle in the Dark, or a Treatise Concerning the Nature of Witches and Witchcraft, 1656.
I Opie and P Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursey Rhymes, Oxford, 1951, pp 357 - 60

Robert's father says that Bishop Stapleton founded the Guild; he frequently resided at Aysheperton, at the Manor House in East Street, at the corner of Ave-head Lane. As well as procuring charters for fairs and markets from Edward II, he also got the market house built - ship builders were hired to construct it, which made the shambles resemble a ship upside down. Bishop Stapleton also had the chapel of St Lawrence built, and gave it to the Guild, on condition that they provided a chaplain to sing masses for his soul, and for the souls of all Bishops of Exeter.

See the page on St Lawrence Chapel under Ashburton Schools for more on Bishop Stapleton.

There is a persistent story that Bishop Stapleton had a manor house in Ashburton, but this is the first reference I have come across that says it was at the corner of Heavyhead Lane (now Woodland Road). Evidence??

A door in the tower led into the chapel, and at the eastern end was the high altar of St Lawrence, with a large picture of St Lawrence's passion hanging above. On either side of the nave were aisles, with small altars at the eastern end. Cloths, plates and banners were at these altars, where mass was said morning and evening for the dead. Whole families might join in the mass at the anniversaries of the deaths of burgesses, and the poor would arrive at the door on these occasions to receive alms.

To be continued
With many thanks to David Sinclair, for providing me with a copy of this book