Back to The Acorn Archive




Now Known as Prideaux Place


The family of Prideaux alias de Pridias - during the middle ages was distinctly Cornish in origin and residence. By 1410, however, the leading branches of the family were flourishing on Devonian soil. Fulke Prideaux of Theuborough who died in 1530 had among other children two sons Humphry and Nicholas. Nicholas was bred to the law and became a distinguished exponent of his profession amassing it may be noticed considerable wealth.


In some way or other he came into connection with the Priory of St Petroc at Bodmin the most opulent religious establishment in Cornwall. At about the same time his brother Humphry became an inhabitant of Bodmin Town. In 1535 his name appears as one of the Town Council, in a business transaction with the Prior.


The last Prior of Bodmin was instituted in 1534, his name was Thomas Munday and his father had been Sir John Munday Lord Mayor of London. Prior Thomas adopted the surname of Wandsworth, having been at one time an inmate of Wandsworth Priory. This Prior seems to have been able to read the signs of the times. He anticipated the coming storm of the Reformation and decided to do as quickly as possible anything that might benefit him in the bad time coming. Like the unjust Steward of the Parable, he decided to make friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness and be received into their houses. He communicated to his Canons his views on the coming ecclesiastical revolution and they being persuaded, set about alienating all the conventual estates which were of considerable extent.


These matters had been discussed by the Prior and Canons in the Chapter House in September 1537. The Prior now set about carrying them out. He had two objects in view - one to benefit his family and the other to make friends. These birds could both be killed with one stone. His brother John Munday of London was given a 99 years lease of the pleasant manor of Rialton and each of his children received substantial grants. It must of course be remembered that the Prior had no power to sell the freehold of estates of which he was only tenant while in office. The most he could do was to grant 99 years leases at nominal rents.


Meanwhile, the brothers Nicholas and Humphry were awaiting the golden benefits. To make things more certain Humphry purchased for his younger son William the hand of Joan Munday, the Prior's niece. The old Prior behaved most handsomely. On 20 October 1537 he presented Joan and her affianced husband with a lease for 99 years of the whole of the Manor of Padstow with Tithes - offerings and other perquisites, Customs Tolls, Fisheries and the advowson of the Vicarage there.


A nominal rent of 10 was to be paid yearly and no consideration other than "natural love and affection" changed hands.


William Prideaux having thus obtained a very valuable estate (at the trifling cost of a possibly unpleasant wife) resided at Trevose in St. Merryn, because no mansion existed at Padstow, as yet.


On February 27th 1539 - one year and two months later - the great Priory of Bodmin "went down" and the Prior and Canons were turned out of doors. The beautiful Priory Church and buildings were pulled down and everything seized into the King's hands. The Royal commissioners however soon found to their disgust that the Prior's foresight had left very few pickings for their Kingly Master. All the great manors were held by members of the Munday family and those allied to them by marriage. It was the same with the Tithes and other sources of income.


This was the same all over England and the King was determined to circumvent it. The pliant Commons was compelled to pass a statute whereby any grants of whatever nature made by a Monastery within a year before its surrender should be null and void.


All those persons therefore who claimed under conventual grants were compelled to appear before the King's Judges in the Court of Augmentation. Here their Title Deeds were carefully examined. In many cases it was found the Religious grantors had purposely ante-dated having foreseen the inevitable statute.


On March 15th 1542-3 William Prideaux appeared in the Court with his Lease. He departed triumphant. It was dated two months prior to the period in which the statute was in force. Witnesses on behalf of the Crown urged that Prior Thomas was a most crafty ante-dater of Deeds. The Judges however were compelled to acknowledge the validity of William's Title.


Cheated of its prey the Crown was still Lord of the freehold of the Manor of Padstow and as such could dispose of it to anyone who would care to wait the 99 years. It may well be imagined that no purchaser would come forward unless he had reasonable hopes of buying out William Prideaux's interest.


On February 8th 1544-5 the King conveyed to John Pope of London, a gentleman, a great mass of Monastic property all over England including the Manor of Padstow. Since the considerable 1550 was far below the value of the estates so granted it is possible that Henry VIII wished to repay some debt and Pope was willing"to accept the land and sell it in parcels as a speculation. Nicholas Prideaux, the crafty lawyer, must have known that Padstow was to appear in the market for the very day after Pope received the estate. He obtained a Royal Licence to alienate it to Nicholas Prideaux Esq. (9th February 1544-5} The actual Deed of Sale was drawn up on February 21st. The property is described as "The Mannor of Paddestowe lately belonging to Bodmyn Priory - The Advouson and Right of Patronage of Padstow Ch: Fishery in the Water of Eill [Hayle] The Island called Gulland Rock with all its commodityes and advantages all offerings and oblations collected in the Chapels of St. Samson and St. Cadoc and farms called Cadocke Lanlesyck Rewne and Tretherrappe with premises in Paddstowe Town itself." No consideration is named, simply "pro quadarn summa pecuniae" [for a certain sum of moneyj.


Three days later William Prideaux of Trevose conveyed his lease to Nicholas, who was now both Landlord and Tenant of the whole estate. A little before this he had purchased the estate of Soldon in Devon where he resided.


Nicholas Prideaux does not appear to have ever been married. At any rate he had no children and so adopted as heir Roger son of Humphry his brother and elder brother of William of Trevose.


He entailed both Soldon and Padstow on this Roger and his heirs by deed dated 10th February 1549. The trustees were Richard Prideaux gent: and Reverend Robert Prideaux two brothers of Nicholas.


Roger the heir appears to have resided at Padstow as his uncle's agent while the latter still lived. His signature occurs at the foot of some accounts connected with the fish tithe of Padstow circa 1550. Nicholas Prideaux of Soldon is said to have died in 1560 when Roger became Lord of that place and Padstow. There being as yet no Mansion at Padstow, he selected Soldon for his residence.


The estate of Thewborough however passed to Richard Prideaux his eldest brother who had further"increased his patrimony by marrying the heiress of Arundell of Gwarnick.


Roger Prideaux died at Soldon in 1581 leaving as his heir a son, Nicholas. This Nicholas, in 1576 married as his second wife Cheston daughter and co-heiress of William Viell of Trevorder in St. Breoke. He resided at this fine old house for some years and doubtless superintended the erection of his mansion at Place, which was in building from 1588 to 1592. In 1592, he is still at Trevorder but in 1593 he is described as of Padstow.


Nicholas Prideaux was knighted in 1606 and appears to have spent the rest of his life at Place.

He died in 1627 leaving numerous issue. Soldon fell to the eldest son, Humphry: Padstow to the younger, John. The latter also inherited the Viell Estate through his mother and resided at Trevorder.


John Prideaux of Trevorder died in 1649 without any issue. His brother Humphry of Soldon, however, had several sons and Edmund the second was adopted by his uncle John and inherited Padstow. Soldon, however, passed away for good with the issue of his elder brother Nicholas. Edmund Prideaux inherited Padstow first at the beginning of the Puritan Regime. He appears to have been sufficiently embroiled in the Civil War on the side of the Parliament to merit a pardon for his offences from the restored Monarch. This pardon is dated 13th February 1663.


Edmund Prideaux married Bridget Moyle and died in 1683. His eldest son, John Prideaux succeeded him at Place. John Prideaux died in 1704 leaving a son and heir Edmund who died issueless in 1728. The Manor of Padstow and other estates thereupon reverted to his first cousin Edmond Prideaux, son of Dr. Humphrey Prideaux the erudite Dean of Norwich. From Edmond Prideaux the estate has descended in the direct male line to the present owner.



1000c Paganus de Prideaux vel Pridias (Fowey)

-1122 Richard Prideaux

-1165 Baldwin Prideaux

Nicholas Prideaux

Richard Prideaux

-1250 Richard Prideaux

Geoffrey de Pridyas

Roger Prideyas

-1316 Peter de Pridias

1294-1356 Sir Roger de Pridias of Orcharton

John Prideaux of Adeston

Giles Prideaux of Adeston

Sir John Prideaux of Adeston

William Prideaux of Adeston

1472-1531 Fulke Prideaux of Theuborough

1487-1550 Humphry Prideaux of Theuborough

1530-1582 Roger Prideaux of Soldon


1550-1628 Sir Nicholas Prideaux of Soldon & Padstow

1573-1617 Humphry Prideaux of Soldon & Padstow

1606-1683 Edmund Prideaux of Padstow

1648-1724 Humphrey Prideaux ( Dean of Norwich )

1693-1745 Edmond Prideaux of Prideaux

1719-1793 Humphry Prideaux of Prideaux

1760-1833 Charles Prideaux-Brune of Prideaux & Plumber

1798-1875 Charles Prideaux-Brune of Prideaux & Plumber

1821-1902 Charles Glynn Prideaux-Brune

1848-1936 Charles Robert Prideaux-Brune

Fulke Knatchbull Prideaux-Brune

John Charles Fulke Prideaux-Brune

Peter John Nicholas Prideaux-Brune



Back to The Acorn Archive