This site is a work-in-progress. There is a massive amount to cover. I have included both male and female lines, and some go back 30 generations. Keep coming back for more.

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






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WILLIAM TAVERNER or AVERY was born in Lustleigh, a pretty village 4 miles south-west of Moretonhampstead, on the River Bovey . He was the second child, and the eldest son, of John Avery or Taverner and Elizabeth Caseleigh. His father was an incomer to Lustleigh, but his motherís family is one of the oldest recorded in the parish, dating back at least to 1332.

The name Avery alias Taverner was particularly common in and around Dunsford. No instances have been found of William using this double form. He was, however, baptised as William Avery and married as William Taverner .

Baptism. St John the Baptist, Lustleigh. (DCRS transcript)

1691 Avery, William s. of John & Elizabeth 28 Dec

William had at least four sisters and four brothers.


He was still living in Lustleigh at the time of his marriage. No direct evidence has been found of his occupation, but his eldest son seems to have been a farmer, and that was probably William seniorís work, too.


JANE AGGETT was living in Lustleigh at the time of her marriage. She came from a Dissenting family. She was the daughter of Thomas Aggett and Jane Easton , and was baptised at the Cross or New Meeting Presbyterian congregation in Moretonhampstead on 15 April 1691.

Moretonhampstead was an early centre of non-conformity in Devon. The parish church of Moretonhampstead had been staunchly Puritan in the mid-17th century Civil War. After the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 Dissenters were again persecuted. The Conventicle Act of 1664 condemned to prison or transportation anyone caught in an act of dissenting worship. This did not deter the Moretonhampstead Presbyterians from founding their meeting in 1672. The persecution lasted until the Revolution of 1688-9, when William of Orange, husband of James IIís daughter Mary, landed in Torbay and King James II fled the country. Both Whig and Tory leaders had invited this Protestant couple to take over as joint monarchs, rather than risk Jamesís newborn son succeeding as a Catholic king. Their accession was quickly followed by the Toleration Act of 1689, which granted freedom of worship to Protestant non-conformists, though not, in the letter of the law at least, to Catholics or Unitarians. Baptists and Presbyterians were well established in Moreton in the 17th century.

Datuidocís Stone

Janeís baptism took place only two years after Toleration Act allowed freedom of worship to Dissenters and the year before the Presbyterian chapel was built.

Jane was the first of Thomas Aggettís children to be baptised at the Cross Street meeting. Nine others followed, the youngest born in 1718, only a month before Jane married at the age of 26. Though at least one child died in infancy, Jane , as the eldest, no doubt played a part in bringing up this large family.

Since she married in Lustleigh, and not in her home parish of Moretonhampstead, it would appear that she had moved there to work.

Lustleigh is a beautiful old village in a wooded valley on a tributary of the River Bovey. The churchyard is typical of an ancient Celtic Christian site, a circular enclosure on a low mound. Inside the church is an inscribed stone which, until the late 20th century, was set in the paving at the inner church door.

It is one of only four post-Roman memorial stones in Devon. The carving reads: DATUIDOCI CONHINOCI FILIUS. Though the language is Latin, the names are British. It would once have stood in the churchyard marking the grave of Datuidoc, son of Conhinoc. It has been dated to AD 550-600.

Jane Aggett would have walked over this stone when she entered the church on 1 January 1718 (1719 new calendar) to marry William Tavernor .


Marriage. Lustleigh. St John the Baptist.

1718 William Taverner and Jane Agate of morton were married January ye 1st


Janeís parish of settlement was inserted after the initial record of the marriage was written.


There are no subsequent baptisms for the couple in Lustleigh. They must have set up home in Moreton soon after the wedding.

William first appears in the Moretonhampstead registers about the same time as Gilbert Avery alias Taverner. Gilbertís baptism has not been found, but he is almost certainly related to William. He may even be a brother, whose baptism has not been found. Williamís parents seem to have remained in Lustleigh, since they were buried there, but the registers suggest that only one of his brothers stayed.

There are no Taverner entries in the 17th century Moreton registers, though a John Taverner is recorded in the 1642 Protestation Return for Moretonhampstead. The surname first appears in the parish registers in the early 18th century. William and Gilbert are among the earliest entries in a new volume of the parish register, whose opening page bears this cure for rabies.



A n Infallible Cure for the


Brought from T onquin


Take 24 Grains of

Native Cinnabar

24 Grains of Factitious Cinnabar,

and 16 Grains of Musk:


Grind all these together into an exceeding find Powder, and put it into a small Tea-Cup

of Arrack, Rum or Brandy; let it be well mixíd, and give it to the Person as soon as

possible after the Bite; a Second Dose of the same must be repeated thirty Days after;

and a Third may be taken in thirty Days more: But if the Symptoms of Madness ap-

pear on the Persons, they must take One of the above Doses immediately, and a Se-

cond in an Hour after; and, if wanted, a Third must be given a few Hours afterwards.

N.B. The above Recipe is calculated for a full grown Person, but must be given to

Children in smaller Quantities, in Proportion to their Ages.

?This MEDICINE has been given to Hundreds with Success, and Sir GEORGE COBB,

himself has cured two Persons who had the Symptoms of Madness upon them.

* If in the Madness they canít take it in Liquid, make it up into a Bolus, with

Honey; after the first Doses, let it be repeated every three or four Hours, Ďtill

the Patient be recoveríd: This Repetition to be omitted unless necessary.

N.B. Take all imaginable Care that the Musk be genuine.

For ye use of ye Parish by Dr Pynes . . .


The second page reads:


Edward Tremlett Church Warden bought this Register Book

Anno 1711 Price

23 shillings




Gilbert is the first of the Taverners to appear in this register. On 19 August 1712 he married Loyalty Wotton. She was the third daughter of William Wotton and Anna Stediford, born in Moretonhampstead in July 1690. Wottons had been in Moretonhampstead for at least a century. Her unusual name suggests a Puritan family. The first five of William and Anna Wottonís children were baptised in the parish church, but the sixth, William, was baptised at the Cross Street Presbyterian Meeting in 1702. We may assume that Loyalty, like Jane Aggett grew up in this Dissenting congregation. The Wottons were a strongly Nonconformist family during the 18th century.

In 1713, James Taverner married Joane Berry in Moretonhampsted parish church. There seems to have been an influx of this family around the same time.


There follows a baptism.

Baptism. Moretonhampsted, St Andrews.

1713 July 20 was Baptized William son of Gilbert Avery


This is the sole entry for the Avery surname at this period. It is followed by:

Burial. Moretonhampstead, St Andrws.

1718 August 31 was Buried William the son of Gilbert Taverner


There is no previous mention of the baptism of William, son of Gilbert Taverner, nor are there subsequent references to either William or Gilbert Avery. Gilbert is a distinctive name and we can assume that Gilbert Avery and Gilbert Taverner are the same person. The association of these surnames is common in the area. Two generations later, James Taverner is named in Treleavenís diary of Moretonhampstead as Ď James Avery alias Tavernor í.

Aliases can occur when a child is born out of wedlock, but both parents are acknowledged. The combination may then be passed down over several generations. Or the alias may be adopted out of courtesy to a benefactor or to save a name dying out when there are no male heirs.

Gilbert and Loyalty Taverner had eight more children after the William Avery whose baptism is recorded above. The first two Williams died, but there was a third, baptized on 6 November 1720. It is possible, though less likely, that this third William was the father of James Avery alias Taverner . In 1740, he married Ann Tremlett. However, the available evidence shows that the more probable father for James is William , son of William Taverner.


William and Jane had four children baptised in Moreton. Although their wives were from Dissenting families, both Gilbert and William Taverner used the parish church for the baptisms of their children, not the Cross Street chapel.  

Baptisms. Moretonhampstead, St Andrews.

1720 (1721, new calendar) February 28 was Baptized William son of William Taverner

1725 May 24 was Baptized Joan daught r of William Taverner

1727 September Daniel

1731 Aug t 16 was baptized Elizabeth daught r of William Taverner


William was buried in Moreton in March 1736.

Soon after his death, there is a record of a surviving William Taverner taking an apprentice on his farm. It is highly likely that this is William and Janeís son, and that the family were farming in Moreton parish. 

Loyalty Taverner died in April 1751 and Gilbert eighteen years later, in 1770.

Jane outlived them all, dying in August 1773 at 82.

Burial. Moretonhampstead. St Andrews.

1773 Augt 4th was Buried Jane Taverner


Next Generation: 7. TAVERNER -LANGAMEAD

Previous Generations: 9. TAVERNER or AVERY- CASELEIGH




The search forNick's lifeboatman ancestor leads the Fewings into a

dangerous situation as Millie goes missing