|AYSHFORDS OF AYSHFORD|
Nicholas son of William and Elizabeth was born in the 1480s just as the Tudor dynasty took control. He lived through the last of medieval England.
Nicholas married Isabella the daughter and heir of William Wadham of Knap, who was himself the younger brother of Sir Nicholas Wadham, Sheriff of Devon in 1502 and 1515 and the great uncle of the (as yet unborn) founder of Wadham College, Oxford. Isabella brought rentals worth about £200 a year and gave her husband, in addition, three sons and two daughters. Jane married George Balche of Ilminster and Mary, John Sydenham of Dulverton. The descendants of Mary would play a major role in the future of the family but the sons John and Baldwin disappear from view almost entirely, although Baldwin was granted some church properties by his father. The writers believe that John may well be the ancestor of the Broadclyst and Silverton branch of the family although the proof is lacking.
On Friday, 15th November 1527, in her castle of Tiverton died the princess Katherine, the Countess of Devon and daughter of King Edward IV. Her funeral, on Monday 2nd December, was a very grand affair. Carrying the banner of Our Lady at one corner of the coffin was Nicholas Ayshford, esquire, dressed overall in a black hood and gown.
When Katherine’s nephew, Henry the Eighth, was preparing the invade Scotland in 1543, he ordered a muster of troops across the country. Such a militia was expected to serve the King in battle although he would generally hire the more dependable mercenaries for the toughest fighting. A knight or an esquire was expected to command the men from his own parish unless he had a very good excuse. By this date, Nicholas had such an excuse, he was recorded as being blind! In all probability his eldest son, also a Nicholas, showed up in his place. There is no evidence that he actually did any fighting!
At some time during their marriage, Nicholas and Isabella built the porch which adorns the church of Burlescombe. Their coats of arms can still be seen upon it.
After Isabella’s death, Nicholas married the widow Margaret Tanner (nee Tregarthian) another Wadham connection since her sister Joan married John Wadham and was the mother of the college founder mentioned earlier. Nicholas had no further children and died on the 2nd June 1557 in the "fifth year of their Catholic Majesties Philip and Mary".
He was buried in the North Aisle of the church he had enlarged, presumably with the full rites of the Catholic Church. Within a few years, the Elizabethan settlement had created an enduring Church of England and the medieval world of the Mass was gone.