Antiquaries: Did Miles Coverdale work at Paignton? Manor & Myth.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette (Exeter, England), Wednesday, Mar. 19, 1930 Volume CLVIII, Issue 26131 p. 8
Prepared by Bev Edmonds
At Totnes Antiquarian Society meeting, Mr. F. G. Hanks presiding, Mr. J. J. Alexander, of Paignton handed the Society manuscript lists of Members of Parliament for Totnes from 1295 to 1485 and for Plympton from 1295 to 1485. He said that Totnes would have a very good list of Members of Parliament in mediӕval times, perhaps superior to any other borough in the West of England. He hoped to prepare similar lists for Dartmouth and one or two other places.
On behalf of Mr. H. Sercombe, Mr. R. Drennan handed the Society a Totnes farthing token of Jeams Martyn (1653).
Mr. Alexander alluded to the suggestion that Miles Coverdale translated the Bible in the Bishop's Palace at Paignton. He remarked that in 1551, after 32 years of slothful neglet of his Diocese, the active reformers who flourished under Edward VI., finding the counter-reformation movement was causing unrest in Devon, derived John Veysey of the Bishopric of Exeter, and put that zealous Protestant Miles Coverdale, in his place. When they came to seek for proof that Coverdale translated the Bible into English, that he was Bishop of Exeter, and that the Bishops of Exeter had a Palace at Paignton, they were confronted with the facts that in 1531 Coverdale went to Antwerp, completed his first translation there, published it at Zurich in 1535, modified his version in 1537, superintended Cranmer's great Bible, and again went abroad. In 1545 Veysey leased Paignton to Sir Thomas Speke, to whom it was sold outright by Royal sanction in 1549, so that Coverdale was appointed Bishop of Exeter in 1551 with an estate from which Paignton and other episcopal lands had been alienated. Thus the story of his association with Paignton was a pretty romance, and nothing more. Sit Thomas Speke soon resold the Paignton property to William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, and in 1567 that Peer had a survey taken of his lands. From which they learnt many interesting facts about Paignton Manor. There was with the survey a sketch which showed the Palace in a state of ruin. The most interesting thing about the survey was the number of places with names which could still be recognised. One entry read “There to be four ale-testers that do present all brewings and typlings within their several limits-one for Paignton and Pruston, another for Yalbourne and Blackdon, one other for Stooke, and another for Marldon.” So the Bishop's Manor included Yalbert.n ? (Yalberton), Blagdon, Stoke Gabriel, and Marldon, as well as Preston and Paignton, the town being a straggling village, mainly north and west of the church.
There was one name of significance - Paignton Quay. Near Brixham they had Brixham Quay, and near Torre was Torre Quay. Hence Torquay was a late word, probably not earlier than the 15th century, whereas Paignton was probably early as the ninth, its name standing for the whole place, the front as well as the village around the old church.
Mr. T. H. Edmonds contributed an interesting paper dealing with the Totnes moneyers in Anglo-Saxon days. He said the first undoubted Totnes coin was minted at Totnes by Wynston in the reign of Edgar: and Totnes, spelt as present, appeared on coins of about 1026.