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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JOHN AVERY or TAVERNER. The surname ĎAvery alias Tavernerí is found quite frequently in villages around the north and east of Dartmoor. The earliest example I have so far found is in 1577, when William Avery alias Taverner was a suitor at the Manor Court of Sowtinge in the parish of North Bovey. This parish is adjacent to Lustleigh.

An alias may originate when a child is born out of wedlock and takes both surnames, or the second name may be adopted to flatter a benefactor, or to preserve a surname when the male line is about to die out. The alias was often passed down through many generations.

Research into Johnís branch of this family is complicated by the fact that they rarely used the full alias. Instead, people appear in some records as Avery and in others as Taverner. The most striking example of this is Johnís marriage. He is John Avery in the Lustleigh marriage register, but in the Bishopís Transcript of it he is called John Taverner.

The first certain record we have of John is this marriage in 1688. He does not appear to have been born in Lustleigh. We would assume a birth date around 1663, shortly after the Restoration of the monarchy.

The most likely baptisms found for him so far are in Bovey Tracey. Until the twentieth century, the boundaries of this parish came right up to the Wray Brook in Lustleigh village. The cluster of houses known as Wrayland were in Bovey, though the inhabitants found it far more convenient to use Lustleigh church.

The two baptisms in question took place in Bovey Traceyís parish church. This family were known in the 16th century Bovey registers as Averye, but in the 17th century as Taverner.

Baptismal Register. Bovey Tracey.

1662 John the Sonne of Bartholomew Taverner was Baptized the xth Day of November

1666 John the Sonne of Stephan Taverner was baptized the ivth Day of September


The reservation about both these possible identifications is that John did not call any of his sons Bartholomew or Stephen. However, Bartholomew Taverner did name two of his daughters Honour, and John used this rather uncommon name for a daughter.

There is no record in the registers that either of these boys married someone else in Bovey, or brought up a family there. There is a burial in 1684 for John Taverner. It was unusual, though not of course impossible, for a young man to die at 22 or 18, and no father is named. This burial is more probably an older John. In any case, it would leave one of the two younger Johns alive.

If Elizabethís husband is one of these two, then the son of Bartholomew Taverner is the more likely. Besides using the name Honour, he would have been close in age to his bride, as was usual then.

We have no information about Johnís occupation. Several of his descendants were farmers or husbandmen, and it may well be that John was a farmer, too. His great-great-grandson, another John, returned to Lustleigh as a husbandman.



ELIZABETH CASELEIGH came from one of the oldest families recorded in Lustleigh. The earliest record of this surname is in 1332. The family lived at Caseley Court until the end of the 16th century, when the male line there died out and the estate passed by marriage to the Nosworthys. Elizabeth must come from a cadet branch of this family, living elsewhere in the parish.

She was the second child of John Caseleigh and Joane Hambly .

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

1663 Caseleigh, Elizabeth d. of John & Joane 2 Aug


Elizabeth had three sisters, two of whom died in infancy, and one brother.

She was 25 when she married.



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

1688 Avery, John & Elizabeth Caseleigh . 21 June

In the Bishopís Transcript, Johnís surname is recorded as Taverner .


There were nine children of this marriage. Johnís surname is always recorded in the baptismal register as Avery.

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

1689 Avery, Elizabeth d. of John & Elizabeth. 19 Nov

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

1694/5 Avery, John s. of John & Elizabeth. 2 Feb

1695/6 Avery, Honour d. of John & Elizabeth. 23 Jan

1698 Avery, Joan d. of John & Elizabeth. 13 Sep

1700 Avery, Thomas s. of John & Elizabeth. 1 Apr

1702 Avery, Susannah d. of John & [blank] 26 May

1704/5 Avery, Joseph s. of John. 12 Jan

1705 Avery, Richard s. of John & Elizabeth. 30 Nov


There is no record of burials for any of these children. This confirms the presumption that they were not among the poorest families.


In the 18th century, the family appears to shift from using Avery as their surname to Taverner.

Their eldest son, William Taverner , was a resident of the parish when he married in Lustleigh in 1718, but he then moved to raise his family in Moretonhampstead. Most of the other boys disappear from the Lustleigh records too, though Thomas stayed on.

John and Elizabeth stayed, too. John appears to have died in 1724, probably in his sixties, and Elizabeth in 1735, at the age of 73.


Burials. St John the Baptist, Lustleigh. (DCRS transcripts)

1723/4 Taverner, John 15 Mar

Their son Thomas died the following year.

1725 Taverner, Thomas 16 June

Elizabeth lived on another ten years.

1734/5 Taverner, Elizabeth 16 Mar


There is then a gap in the records of Taverners in Lustleigh until the 1750s.


www.a2a.org.uk . DRO: D1508M/Moger/244-272/271

Joe Crowdy, The Book of Lustleigh, Halsgrove, p.19.


H.M. Peskett, Lustleigh: Records and Notes, (DCRS Special Collection, WSL)




Next Generation: 8. TAVERNER-AGGETT

Previous Generations: 10. TAVERNER

                                                     10. CASELEY-HAMBLY



Suzie's search for a rare document takes her to a nearby stately home. She does not realise that this will put first her son, then herself in deadly danger