Tombstone Tuesday: John and Mary Stooke

This one is not actually a tombstone, but a memorial in Trusham Church in Devon, England. A booklet on the church says:

At the east end of the north aisle is the large wooden monument to John and Mary Stooke in imitation marble. There is only one other such monument in Devon in any way comparable. John Stooke was the son of a yeoman farmer (also John) at Pristons in Trusham (now disappeared). An interesting local story attaches to him: in January, 1645, at the time of the Civil War, the night before the battle of Bovey Tracey a party of royalist officers were surprised while gaming at an inn in Bovey. One of these, said to have been a Clifford, escaped with his winnings — a bag of gold — and rode off towards Trusham, pursued by roundheads. It is said that in attempting to avoid capture he threw the bag over a hedge into a field called “Kiln Close” (still known by that name, by the turning off to Ashton; here it was found next day by John Stooke junior, who then set up as a clothier in Chudleigh, making his fortune and enabling him to leave substantial moneys for charity in Bovey Tracey, Trusham, Ashton and Christow. The two almshouses in Trusham were provided in this way…

Three of the bells date from the seventeeth century, the earliest (1623) bears the name of Adrian Norman, parson, Sand\ford Tucker and John Stooke, churchwardens. Two more (1676 and 1684) were given by John Stooke, son of the last, and already referred to (Stooke monument). These three are Pennington bells, from the Exeter foundry of that name.

Stooke memorial in Trusham Church

Stooke memorial in Trusham Church

Here is a closer view of the inscription:

Stooke memorial inscription in Trusham Church, Devon

Stooke memorial inscription in Trusham Church, Devon

John Stooke (1628-1696) was the elder brother of my 7-great grandfather Edward Stooke (1631-1699), and they were among the nine children of John Stooke (1592-1642) and Grace Smallridge (d. 1645). The younger John married Mary Apter, and they had no children. Edward, my ancestor, married Mary Satterley, and their son Edward married Mary Furlong.

The Stooke family lived for several generations in the Teign valley in Devon, mainly at Trusham and the nearby village of Ashton.

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