THE BIG RED BOOK 18: peppercorn rent

Nicholas, the second surviving son of William Tapson [of Launceston], married Mary Walter in 1784 at Stowford, where their thirteen Children, Elizabeth, Ann, Mary, John, Charlotte, Nicholas, Jenny, William, Robert, Catherine, Ebsworthy, Emlin and Christopher were all baptized. The baptismal entry for Nicholas’s wife also appears in the Stowford parish register (but is much more legible in the bishop’s transcripts):

3 Mar 1761 Mary dau of John & Elizabeth Walters

Mary was about six years younger than Nicholas.

On 1 October 1770 Nicholas’s father, William, in association with William Spry of
Thrushelton and John Hall of Stowford, had taken out a one-year lease on Parish Land at Over Spry (WDRO 891/615) for a rent described as One Pepper Corn. Over Spry was probably land on high ground overlooking Spry Town, a hamlet about one and a half miles south-west of Stowford village and immediately to the south of Barbaryball, William’s main holding; the hamlet was called Sprei in the Domesday Book of 1086. William and his associates did not retain the lease of the Parish Land for long, because in the earliest of the surviving land tax assessment returns, those of 1780 to 1783, the occupier was named as John Walter (perhaps Nicholas’s father-in-law). The land tax assessments for 1784 to 1786 are missing, but by 1787 Nicholas had acquired the lease (page 167). Extracts from the
Stowford land tax returns already given (pages 167, 168) show that he was still farming the Parish Land in 1811. Nicholas continued to farm the Parish Land until his death in 1813; in 1812 he also took a one-year lease on Spry Mills.