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I have numbered the generations working backwards from my own as (1)




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BARTHOLOMEW TAVERNER. The most likely father of John Avery or Taverner , who married in Lustleigh in 1688 is Bartholomew Taverner of Bovey Tracey. The two parishes are adjacent.

The combination of the surnames Avery and Taverner, used interchangeably or as an alias, is found quite frequently on the north-east side of Dartmoor. In Bovey Tracey, there are early references to Averys from the 1560s, but by the 17th century, the standard form in the Bovey registers is Taverner.

Bartholomew was the son of Richard and Amy Taverner. He was baptised in December 1627, the second year of the reign of Charles I.

Baptism. Bovey Tracey. (DCRS Transcript)

1627 Tavernor, Bartholomeus filius Richardi 16 Dec

He had an older brother and two younger sisters, as well as other sisters who died in infancy.


Bartholomew was fourteen when the Civil War broke out in 1642. He was too young to appear in the Protestation Returns of that year, when all men over 18 took an oath of loyalty to uphold the Protestant faith. We do not know what side the Taverners took in the war. Those engaged the woollen industry usually favoured the Parliamentarian cause, but Bovey’s vicar was a fervent Royalist.

Armies marched across the county, Royalist forces from Cornwall, and Parliamentarian troops coming west to relieve the cities the King’s side had captured. If, as seems possible, Bartholomew’s family were farmers, he would have seen their animals and produce requisitioned to feed the soldiers, with or without adequate recompense. They may also have had troops billeted on them.

Lance Tregoning says that towards the end of the first phase of the war, at Christmas 1645, “there were three regiments of Royalist horse, under the command of Lord Wentworth, camped on the heath between Bovey and Heathfield. (The heath at this time stretched as far as Challabrook). At the same time the parliamentary forces were at Crediton and Moreton, under Oliver Cromwell and General Fairfax.

“Cromwell moved from Crediton, capturing Dunsford and Canonteign before Christmas, while Fairfax covered him at Moreton from the Royalists stationed at Okehampton.

“Local legend has it that in early January 1646, Cromwell, taking only a few men, advanced to Bovey to reconnoitre. He called at the house of a known sympathiser, named Coniam, living at Lower Atway… He left his men there and went on alone down Hind Street to the old monastery, (part of which was used as a presbyterian meeting place) where he learnt of the nearness of Wentworth’s forces and of the men actually billeted in Bovey.

“After staying the night, he returned to Atway and sent a message to Fairfax to advance at once. He then rejoined his own men to lead them to Bovey. Apparently the prime intention was to capture the newly built bridge over the river (built in 1642).

“On the bitterly cold day of January 8th, Cromwell led his men through Hennock and down Furzeleigh Lane and surprised a company of Royalist officers who were drinking and gambling in a house in Fore Street (said to be the Front House).

“One of the Royalists had the presence of mind to pick up the stakes and throw them out of the window, and while the Roundheads were scrambling for the money, the officers escaped out of the back of the house, across the river, so getting away….

“On 9 January, the following day, the battle of Bovey Heath was joined, ending in a great victory for the Parliamentarians. The Royalists lost seven colours, including the Royal Standard, 400 horse and many dead; among the prisoners were 4 Colonels, 3 Lieut Colonels, 5 Majors, 11 Captains, 300 arms of various kinds, 140 prisoners and 150 head of cattle.

“It has been said that this battle marked the end of the Royalist resistance in the south west…

“It was agreed that the Royalist forces were a rabble of unruly layabouts who pillaged the supporters of either side without pity, while they were very poorly led by their officers.”

No doubt the 18-year-old Bartholomew viewed the Battle of Bovey, and the troop movements leading up to it, with excitement.


There is a contemporary account by Lord Fairfax’s chaplain, Joshua Sprigge, of this battle fought on the wastes of Bovey Heath outside the town.



Joshua Sprigge


The events of the Battle of Bovey, Jan 9-10, 1645/6.

Upon this certain, & renewed intelligence, on the morrow, (viz Monday Jan. 5) a private consultation was had, & divers Officers of the Army sought councel of Heaven that day (keeping it as a private day of humiliation) in answer whereto, God inclined their hearts to resolve of an Advance. The next day a publique Councel of War was called, and (that the former resolution might appear to be the answer of God) it was in this publique Councel resolved, Nemine contradicente , to advance into the South Hams, where the greatest part of the Enemy lay. The Dragoons from Canonteen were before-hand with this Resolution, who this day fell into the Enemies quarters, took a Captain, 9 men and 20 horse. And that this purpose to advance might finde the less interruption; the same day, the Stockings and Shooes (which the poor Foot had so great need of, and had so long expected) came to Tiverton most seasonably, to fit them for a March; wherewith they were so well satisfied, as that they shewed much forwardnes to march, without staying for Cloaths, which they had great need of also, being many of them all to tatters, and the weather was extream cold to boot. While the Army was preparing to march, some of our Dragoons from petty garrisons, on Wednesday, snatcht at the Enemy at Huick, took a Lieutenant, 10 prisoners, 21 horses and one of their Colours, with this Motto, Patientia victrix .

Thursday Jan. 8. All things being prepared in readiness for a March, the Horse and Foot (with their Ammunition on horse-back) set forward to Crediton; and at the same time, Sir Hardresse Waller with two Regiments marched from Crediton to Bow, as if the Army had bent towards Okehampton, (where the Enemy had both horse and foot) when as indeed, it was only to amuse them; For at the same instant, a Bridgade of horse and foot marched that night to Crediton, and the next day (though very cold, and much snow upon the ground) the same Brigade marched to Bovey-Tracy (then the Enemies quarters) Liet.general Cromwel going in person with them, who about six at night fell into their quarters at Bovey, (where part of the Lord Wentworths Brigade then lay), took about 400 Horse, seven colours, one of them the Kings colours, with a crown and C.R. upon it. The enemy in Bovey were put to their shifts; yet through the darkness of the night most of the Men escaped, except a Major and some few officers more, and about 50 prisoners. It was almost supper time with them when our men entred the Town, most of them at that instant were playing at Cards, but our Souldiers took up the stakes for many of their principal Officers, who being together in one room, threw their stakes of mony out at the window, which whilst our Souldiers were scrambling for, they escaped out at a back-door over the river, and saved their best stakes. In the mean time his Excellency with another part of the Army was advanced from Tiverton to Moreton, within three miles of Bovey; but part of the Carriage-horses with the Ammunition, by reason of the Frost, could get no neerer then Fulford.

The next day (the weather still extream bitter cold) the forces at Morton, & at Bovey-tracy, had a rendezvous near Bovey, whereat intelligence was brought by the country, that about 120, of those that escaped in the night, were got into Ellington church: whereupon a party of horse and foot were comanded after them, which the Enemy in the church understanding, fled away. The Army marched that night towards Ashburton, the Enemies head-quarter the night before. A party of horse was sent to see if the Enemy had quit the town (as his Excellency had intelligence they had done) who finding the enemy at the towns end, were engaged with them, beat the enemies Rearguard through the town, took nine men, and twenty horse, and inforced the rest of their horse to flie severall wayes, being two Regiments of the Lord Wentworths Brigade, (that were left of five) three of them being taken at Bovey-tracy.


Tregoning adds a rider to the story of the story of the gambling money. “When the stake money was thrown out of the window, one of the officers then playing was said to be one of the Cliffords of Chudleigh. He threw his bag of winnings, (gold coins) to his servant and told him to run, before making good his own escape. The servant jumped from a window, found a horse, and galloped off towards Trusham, hotly pursued by a posse of Roundhead soldiers.

“During this pursuit, he threw the bag of gold over the hedge, whether to distract the pursuers, or come back himself at a later date, we do not know. Hiding behind the hedge was one John Stooke, (a farmer’s boy, out tending the cattle) who hid, terrified on hearing the clatter of horses’ hooves. He saw something thrown, and on searching found the bag of coins.

“With this treasure he is said to have laid the foundation of his fortune, from which springs the John Stookes Charity.”


When the Civil War ended with the execution of Charles I in 1649, Puritan Commissions were set up in every county. The most Royalist and High Church clergy were deprived of their livings and Puritan clergy put in their place. The Rev. James Forbes of Bovey Tracey was one of the ejected clergy.


John Walker wrote in The Sufferings of the Clergy in the Diocese of Exeter during the Rebellion :


BOVEY TRACEY Devon. James Forbest Vicar.
He was a Scotchman by birth, but educated in the University of Cambridge. He had been abroad in Germany, on some occasion, and was a Chaplain in that unfortunate Expedition at the Isle of Rhee, where he so much recommended himself to the Duke of Buckingham and other great persons that, by their interest, he got this Living from the Crown. He was a man of excellent learning and piety, and very laborious in the discharge of his Function. He was, also, a person of most firm and inviolable Loyalty, and of an undaunted courage, the latter of which was a very necessary requisite in the Clergy at that time, to support them under these Sufferings which the former never failed to bring upon them.
’Tis impossible to express how he was harassed. Parties were frequently sent out to take him; but, missing him, they robbed his house, plundered and spoiled what they could not carry off. He was sequestred by the Committee (or Commissions) at Exeter. Twelve Articles were drawn up against him, the sum of which was his Loyalty to his Prince. One of them only was proved, which was that, when £30 was demanded of him for the Parliament, he said he would lend it to them to buy halters to hang them all. He was, at first, succeeded by one Tucker, who had been, as it is affirmed, a weaver; but, travelling first to Oxford, and from thence to the Parliament-army, he became a preacher, and at length obtained this good Living; which, however, was not, as it seems, equal to his merit. For, some time after, ’tis said, he was promoted to a better in Somersetshire. His talents being suited to the humour of the times; for he was a most bitter, furious, turbulent fellow, used to preach with a sword by his side, defaced miserably the Church of Bovey, tore down not only the King’s Arms but the very Commandments, and with his own hands belaboured to saw the Font to pieces, which he partly did; but, being weary, he desisted from that enterprize, and left it, as it remains to this day, a monument to his sacrilege. He governed the parishioners with a very high hand, and poor Mr. Forbest more particularly felt the weight of it.
The next intruder was one Christopher Lee, who was no scholar and little better than crackt-brained. He had once a design, as ’twas verily thought, to have murthered his man; but the fellow not only prevented him but returned the attempt with a hearty bastinado. The same fellow often declared that he had several times kept him from murthering his wife. He likewise insulted Mr. Forbest, and used him ill, whilst he tarried on this Living, which was about a year. After which, the Parish having endeavoured to make him as uneasie as they could, he removed to Bradwinch [Bradninch] in this County, and died suddenly on the road betwixt that place and Exeter. To him succeeded one Joseph Edgecomb, who had indeed seen Oxford, but brought nothing thence except what little he had carried thither. He was a very poor silly man, and herding in with a club of combers, became in time such a sott that ’twas said he was never without a brandy bottle in his pocket. He permitted a fellow to sell ale in the Vicarage-house, notwithstanding he lived in it himself. This, however, must be said in his favour, that he much respected Mr. Forbest, honestly paid him his Fifths , and quietly resigned to him on the Restoration; for which Mr. Forbest afterwards proffered to maintain him, but he refused it, and retiring to Tavistock in this County, died there not long after. Mr. Forbest lived throughout the whole time of the usurpation in his Parish, and had the entire love and respect of the parishioners, though the others had the pulpit and the profits. He died about the year 1670, being then 80 years of age.


Church attendance was compulsory. Bartholomew’s family would have experienced years of Sunday services under these different colourful ministers.

It was sometime during this Commonwealth period that he married.


?HONOUR. We have no firm evidence of Bartholomew’s wife’s name or her parish of origin. The conjecture is based on the names Bartholomew and his son gave their daughters. Bartholomew called his Joane, Honour (twice) and Amy. Amy is his mother’s name. There is no record of a Joan Taverner in the burial register for the relevant period, but there are two possible burials for Honour Taverner. Bartholomew’s son John also named his second daughter Honour, so that could be his mother’s name.

She could have been a Bovey Tracey girl, if the wedding took place there during the gap in the marriage registers from 1648-1654. There were a number of girls christened Honour in the 1620s and 30s. A marriage has been found for only one of them. Or she might have been born in a neighbouring parish, but the marriage has not been found there either.


The first known baptism for one of their children is in 1659, the last year of the Commonwealth, when Oliver Cromwell’s unpopular son was Lord Protector of England. But there appear to have been at least two children, Thomas and William, whose baptism records have not survived. They were probably born in or before 1659, when there is a gap in the Bovey register of baptisms. Their names are found only in the burial register. There may have been other children born then who survived.

Baptism. Bovey Tracey. (DHRS transcripts)

1659 Tauerner, Bartholomew s Bartholomew 16 Dec

The following year saw the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy with Charles II, son of the executed Charles I. This was soon followed by the return of the Rev James Forbes to his vicarage in Bovey Tracey.

Tregoning says: “For the final five years of his vicariate (after the Restoration), the vicar spent his time restoring the damage done by his predecessors, in which he was greatly helped by the then Lord of the Manor, Sir John Stawell.

“In 1661 the font was provided with its existing cover, and one can imagine the scene when the lectern was dug up, cleaned and restored to its rightful place.”


Today you can see the royal coat of arms displayed at the west end of the nave. The inscriptions below it record Forbes’s opinion of the effects on the established Church of the Civil War:



Wm Laud archB: cant: beheaded

by the bloody Parliament 1642: every

high priest taken from among men

is ordained for man in things pertaining

to God.

Jas: Forbes Vicar 1628-1665



Jos: Hale B: of Exon imprisoned by that

wicked Parlim : 1642. If a man

desire the office of a Bishop he

desireth a good work.

Jas: Forbes

Vicar 1628-1665


The Taverner family continued to grow.

Baptisms. Bovey Tracey. (DHRS transcripts)

1662 Tavernor, John s Bartholomew Nov 10

The following year was a sad one for the family.

Burials. Bovey Tracey. (DHRS transcripts)

1663 Tavernor, Thomas s Bartholomew May 29

1663 Tavernor, William s Bartholomew Aug 13

The register lists five burials in Bovey that day. There were 25 burials in the month of August. Bartholomew’s mother also died in September 1663. This points to one of the epidemics of plague which swept the country from time to time. 1665 was the year of the Great Plague of London.

Five more children followed:

Baptisms. Bovey Tracey. (DHRS transcripts)

1665 Tavernor, Joane d Bartholomew April 3

1667 Tavernor, Honour d Bart: Nov 9. It would appear that this daughter died, possibly in 1671-2, when part of the burial register is missing.

1670 Tavernor, William s Bartholomew Oct 24

1673 Tavernor, Amy d Bartholomew May 19

1676 Tavener, Honor d Bartholomew 9 July


If the conjecture about the name of Bartholomew’s wife is correct, then there are two possible burials in the 1690s.

Burials. Bovey Tracey. (DHRS transcripts)

1694 (95) Taverner, Honer Jan 17

1699 Tavernor, Honner Aug 2.

Unfortunately, at this period the register does not give the usual information about whose wife a woman was, or whether she was a widow. Since Peter Taverner’s wife Honour was already dead, there is no identifiable candidate for these burials other than Bartholomew’s daughter Honour. It is therefore possible that the other was Bartholomew’s wife. If so, she would have been about 50.


There is a burial for Bartholomew in 1711, in the reign of Queen Anne.

Burial. Bovey Tracey. (DHRS transcripts)

1710 (11) Tavernor, Bartholomew Jan 24

If this is the Bartholomew born in 1627, then he was 73. Alternatively, it could be his son, who would then be aged 51.


Lance Tregoning, Bovey Tracey: An Ancient Town , (Cottage Publishing, 1993)

www.moretonhampstead.org.uk , Virtual Archive. An excerpt from a book published in 1947 about the actions of the Parliamentary army under Fairfax, published in 1647. Taken from the facsimile edition (available in the West Country Studies Library, Exeter). The book gives a good idea of the conditions in the army. See also Fairfax's own account.

“England's Recovery (Anglia Rediviva), being the history.... of the army under the immediate conduct of H.E. Sr. Thomas Fairfax, Kt, Captain-General”, by Joshua Sprigge, 1647. Excerpt from Part 3, Ch. 7, p. 163-5.

John Walker, ed. F.C. Hingeston Randolph, Dr Walker’s “Sufferings of the Clergy in the Diocese of Exeter (Devon and Cornwall) during the Rebellion”, (1908). Walker’s book was first published in 1713.

Tregoning says that the Woolcombers Club met in the vicarage for a drink.

The ‘fifth’ was the portion of the living which was paid to maintain the family of an ejected clergyman.





Previous Generations: 11. TAVERNER



12-year-old Collan discovers the pride and terror of working deep underground mining copper