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of Padstow

( 1606 - 1683 )


Edmond Prideaux's grandfather, Edmund, was the third son of Humphrey Prideaux of Soldon and Padstow and Honour ( daughter of Edmund Fortescue ). [ see 30th Report of Deputy Keeper of records p341 ].


It should be noted here that it is a convention of the writer to refer to this son of The Dean of Norwich as being spelt the way in which Edmond himself wrote his own name, that is with an "o". This has the advantage of separating this otherwise confusing array of Edmunds.


In Edmond Prideaux's history of the life of his own father, Humphrey Prideaux, the erudite Dean, he writes of his grandfather, Edmund, he "was a gentleman of great worth, for he was a sober grave and discreet son and well learned in most parts of literature and became a gentleman to know. He had studied in both universities, first at Sidney College in Cambridge, where he was under the care of Dr.Paul Michaelthwayt, afterwards Master of The Temple and afterwards he removed to Exeter College, in Oxford by the invitation of Dr.John Prideaux, then rector of that college, from thence he removed to the Inns of Court to acquaint himself with the laws of the this Realm," becoming a Barrister at Law, "and after this he spent some time in travelling through foreign countries, by all which means he acquired those accomplishments which rendered him honourable beyond most others of his time, in the County where he lived, to which he was very useful both as a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant. For in those two offices from the restoration of King Charles II to the time of his death which happened in the year 1683, he had the chief management of the affairs of the County, they being for his known wisdom and integrity mostly referred to him. Seven of the ten children he had survived him, that is three sons and four daughters, to whom he left plentiful fortunes for Humphry, the youngest of his sons had from him an estate of near 200 per annum which helped him in the service of the church."


Of his grandmother, Bridget Prideaux ( daughter of John Moyle of Bake in Cornwall ), Edmond Prideaux wrote, that she "was a gentlewoman of great parts which she improved in several branches of learning as far as English books could carry one of her sex, especially in Divinity, History and Astronomy. She survived her husband 7 years and died of an apoplexy in the 71st year of her age AD1690." She was buried 9th October 1690 at Padstow.


Edmund Prideaux was born 15th September 1606, and baptised at East Allington, Devon. He was married to Bridget Moyle on 24th March 1638 at St.Germans, Cornwall. He died 15th October 1683, and was buried on 25th October 1683 at Padstow Church, where there is a memorial monument to him.


In a letter from his son, Humphrey Prideaux, the Dean of Norwich, written to John Ellis on 15th November 1683, the Dean writes "I have lately lost my ffather who, having lived to an exceeding old age, dyed in the happiest circumstances of it. He hath left me a very good younger brother's estate, whereby I may be enabled, come what times there will, to support my selfe."


Edmund's brothers were Nicholas, John and Humphry and sisters were Thomasine and Elizabeth, which last was to marry Sir William Morice. Edmund had 10 children, Admonition, John, Edmund, Honour, Roger, Humphry ( The Dean ), Walter, Nicholas, Bridget and Anne. Edmund and his wife, Bridget, wrote many letters to his children, but those to their youngest were most poignant. Anne was married at Padstow on the 2nd May 1673, the second wife of, Richard Coffin ( High Sherriff of Devon 1685 ), of Portledge, Devon, she died 10th August 1705 and was buried at Alwington Church, Devon, where there is a monument to her.


Edmund had "thrown his lot in" with the Parliament Men, and his name appeared on the register of Protestation Returns, May 1641, even his marriage could be seen as an affirmation of his beliefs, in that Bridget was the daughter of John Moyle, MP for St.Germans and a leading Presbyterian. In the years that followed in the uncertainty of the future of King Charles II, treachery was afoot, Royalists became fragmented, confusion reigned, as to who were friends and who were foes. Edmund lay low, as it were. With the death of Oliver Cromwell in 1658, came a change in parliament, and local men were returned to positions of importance, Edmund Prideaux became the MP for Saltash and his brother-in-law, William Morice, was seated at Newport, twin borough of Launceston.


Much influence was brought to hearing by Edmund, as part of this mix of opinion, and after a meeting in Truro, the sheriff issued a proclomation in favour of a free parliament. Much correspondence took place between Edmund and William Morice until May 1660, when all was settled, much support being given to William Morice's part in the Reformation, Edmund had taken a discreet loyal role and settled with the office of Sherriff of Cornwall in 1664.


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