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It appears that the name of Prideaux dates back to 1423, when the name was originally "Preaux" or "de Pratellis", as the names of two Benedictine monasteries of Lisieu in Normandy. The monk of St.Peter in the diocese of Seez in Normandy came to England where a scribe erroneously recorded that the new Prior was named "Adam Prianho", later described, on being succeded, as "Adam de Pratellis alias de Prydeaux, ultima Prioris ejusdem". Bishop Edmund Lacey's Register for the small priory of Modbury in Devon so records the six year stay.


Dr. Oliver and Rev. Geoge C Gocham record that the name of the family, introduced first to Britain, when Paganus Prideaux came over from William the Conqueror, was "Preus" or "de Pratellis", taking the present form from the Lordship of Prideaux Castle in the Parish of Luxulyan. Pajanus de Prideaux was given the large estate in Cornwall and built his castle near Fowey. The castle was completed before the Conquest, Pajanus died in 1080. It has been suggested that the Castle was "pres d'eau", near the waters, but the name could equally have been derived from "pre eau", water meadow, this contracts to the "Preaux" as used by the monks, in fact there was a Benedictine monastery in Rouen, by the name of "St. Marye Preaux", founded on land where Matilda the wife of William the Conqueror received the news of the Victory at Hastings in 1066. Preaux in Latin becomes de Pratis or de Pratellis. This ties in with the idea the the original British use of the name was Preus.


Sir William Morice was the Secretary to King Charles II, married to Elizabeth Prideaux [ CS Gilbert 391 ]

Nicholas Prideaux was killed, at Modbury, during the War 21 Feb 1644.



The town was known as Aldestowe from the 11th century to around the 14th century, when "the Old Place" became Petrock-stow, and subsequently Padstow.


In 836 King Edgar seized the manor of Pawton, but spared the monks the sanctuary of Padstow.

King Athelstan gave Padstow special priveleges in 930.


Anciently it was called Lodenek, from Lanwethinoc, “the monastery of Wethinoc”,

The Domesday book records that it was Languihenoc / Lanwenhoc.

Quoting Leland in 1535 ... "the name of Lodenek in Cornische, and yn Englisch" ( mistakenly ) "Adelstow".

Usher says that Petroc was at Lodenic or Laffenac afterwards Petrock-stow near Padstow.

Padstow was abandoned before the 11th century, in favour of Bodmin, hence the name given as the "old stow", Bodmin being the “new”.

Padstow was granted a Royal Charter in 1583.



Prideaux Place was not always so called.

In olden days it was known as Gwarthandrea;


John Norden refers to Padstow in his Speculi Britanniae 1605....

"Padstowe or as Mr Camden calleth it Petrockstowe...-at the upper end of the town dwelleth one Mr. Nycolas Prydiauxe, in a howse situate on a loftie hill, healthful! for situation, and pleasant for prospect...."


Joel Gascoyne's Map of Cornwall, published 1699, shows the house as "Guadrondrane als Place", with the family name of Predeaux,


Until 1538, the Prior of Bodmin was Lord of Padstow.


The House was built on the site of the monastery, destroyed by the Danes in 981, but more exactly on the site of a manor farm house which must have been part of the Priory land which Nicholas Prideaux had "acquired" and left to his nephew Roger, whose son Nicholas inherited in 1581.


The house was commenced 1585.

When the house was built it was quite simply "Place", meaning, according to some, "palace", as opposed to a simple house.  However, before Nicholas Prideaux built his new mansion on the site of the monastery tithe buildings, the area was known as “the playing place” or simply “the place”. It is from this field name that “Place” got it’s name. With later association of the family name it became “Prideaux Place”


By inspection of the present layout of Prideaux Place, and a study of the stone used, the development can be seen, and it is clear as to which parts are part of the original manor house and priory buildings.



On the North quay of Padstow harbour is an ancient building known as Abbey House. A subterranean passage is thought to have been built between this old Guild House of the Padstow merchants, dating from the 15th century, and the monastery. Though there is no evidence for such a tunnel, it is not impossible that such a tunnel could have been constructed, but the Vita Petroci offers "And to guard against the possibility of disagreement with his neighbours arising from disputed boundaries, he surrounded the limits of his lands with very long ditches, dug deep like valleys, the ruins of which remain to this day...". No such remains are to be found now, but could not the mediaeval builders have covered in one or other of these with slabs to form tunnels? This would explain the “story” and to underline the possibility, there is a recollection that, in John Prideaux-Brune's time, there was a great pit that opened up in the middle of the Deer Park.



The Church of St. Petroc dates from the 13th Century, though it is mostly 15th century.



The conveyance plan of 1742c, for the area to the West of Prideaux Place, shows that at that time, a chapel to St. Samson existed, right in the centre of the present access drive. The access drive is built over shallow graves ( cut out of the slate bedrock).

The road, leading to the front entrance of Prideaux Place, is called St. Samson Street.



Edmond Prideaux makes reference to the windmill in his Cash Book. He also has included it in his paintings and drawings. John Prideaux of St Cadoc bought this windmill for £100 from merchant Thomas Johns of Newport, Wales, on the 24th Oct 1573. This consisted of the freehold of “one corne myll called a wyndemyll and one howse and a clause of ground conteyninge by estimation two Inglishe acres nigh unto the same myll adjoyninge, with all and singuler their appurtenances scituat lyinge and beinge in the parishe of Paddestowe aforesaid nigh bie a place of ground there called the playing place which said myll howse and clause are now in Inoccupation of the said Thomas Johans”, “at St. Cadyok aforesaid in the newe dwellinge howse of the said John Pridyaux”.


Humphry Prideaux ( son of Sir Nicholas Prideaux ) bought, in 1615, properties in and around Padstow, from John Prideaux ( son of John Prideaux of St Cadoc ), and these included the corn mill called the 'windemill and 2 acres belonging to it.'  


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