(From Devon Association Transactions
Vol 57 1925 pp 242-245)
By T. Cann Hughes MA. FSA.

EDWARD CORNISH (1711-1716).

It is suggested in Foster's Alumni Oxonienses that this Vicar was son of JOHN CORNISH of St Issy, Cornwall, pleb. (and MARY WARNE), who was bapt. there 2nd June, 1648, and matriculated at Lincoln College, Oxford, 18th March, 1664, aet. 17, and that he was Vicar of St. Minver, 1675, and married there on 30 May, 1677, AGNES, daughter of RICHARD LYNAM of St Kew. It would appear to be quite clear from EDWARD CORNISH's Will, hereafter epitomised, that he was not this man, as the family names are different.

He was clearly Curate of Okehampton to JEREMIAH HUSSEY before becoming Vicar, as he wrote a letter dated "Oakhampton, April 24, 1706," preserved in the Walker MSS. at the Bodleian, ending up "Mr Hussey and Mr Burton give you their humble services." He was presented to Okehampton by ANN HUSSEY, widow of his predecessor, on 26th March 1711. He died at Okehampton on the 4th March 1715 and was buried on the 6th March 1715. The following monument of him is to be seen on the east wall of the church outside:

Exuvias suas in spem beat_ae resurrec_tionis hic potissim_um loci condendas legavit Edwardus Cornish hujus Parochiae Vicarius ne ossa sua priusquam extremo cecin_erit tuba moverentur. Quod ne fiat ut omnes insequentium Sa_ecularum parochiam ac praecipue Vicarii succesore-sui bona fide caveant ob noxissime rogat Ita et ille misericordiam inveniant in ultima illo die Obiit Quarto die Martii Sepultres est Sexto. Anno Domini M.D.C.C. XV

Edward Cornish, Vicar of this Parish, laid it down in his will that his remains should be buried here in preference to anywhere else in the hope of blessed resurrection, so that his bones might not be disturbed till the trumpet sounds at last. Most pleadingly he asks that all succeeding generations in the Parish, and especially the vicars who succeed him, should in good faith see to it that this does not happen. So may they also find mercy at that last day. He died on the 4th day of March and was buried on the 6th. In the year of our Lord 1715.

The following is an epitome of his most curious Will pre_served at Exeter. He evidently had well-advanced views on the prevention of disease in his Parish, by the careful way he provided for his burial in case of death from infectious dis_ease:

Will of Edward Cornish, dated 28th February, 1715.

My body to decent and Christian burial as it shall seem best to the discretion of my Executrix except in some few things in which I have thought fit to give particular order myself which I would have her think herself obliged to perform, vize It have long been my desire to be buryed in the Churchyard and the particular place I now appoint is under the eastern or large window of the Chancel and in that part of it as lyes just against the sun rising and I further desire that the grave may be so far dug in under the said wall as the firmness and safety of the said wall will admit.

I further desire that my corpse may be interred in the place aforesaid on the 3rd day after I die at 8 o'clock in the morning unless my distemper hereafter appear to be malignant in which case I desire my Executrix to bury me at 8 o'clock at night in the place aforesaid. And I desire the Worshipful JOHN ELLACOTT, Mayor of Okehampton, Mr ROBERT RATTENBURY, Mr JOHN LETHBRIDGE, CHRISTOPHER CUNNINGHAM, SAMUEL PALMER Yeoman and WILLIAM WORDEN Butcher (unless I happen to die of a contagious distemper in which case my extrix is at liberty to get such bearers as she can) to be my bearers to carry me to my said grave.

And I desire my friend, Mr JOHN MAYNARD to interrr me according to the Burial office as it is extant in the excellent Liturgy of the Church of England and when they come to the choir door (in case I die not of a contagious distemper in which case I desire the said Mr MAYNARD and my said bearers to proceed directly to the grave and there interr me with no more than the grave service) my desire is that he lead and my bearers carry my corpse into the Church and that the said Mr MAYNARD read as much of the service as is usually read there and then proceed both to the grave and there interr me according to the grave office and my Will and meaning further is and I hereby desire ny executrix to give no notice of my intended funerall to any other but only the said Mr MAYNARD and the bearers aforesaid and that (if possible) no other person or persons be present at my said interment but only those aforementioned or such of mine and her nearest friends and relations or some very particular friends of mine and hers betwixt whom and us there has always been a strict and friendly correspondence or such of the servants as are allowed by my executrix to be present.

To friend JOHN MAYNARD, best broadcloth gown together with Chermutius his examination of the Council of Trent.

To friend JOHN ELLACOTT, Mayor of Okehampton, the works of Josephus the Jew which he has of mine in English.

To ROBERT RATTENBURY, Dr. Stanhope's exposition paraphrase annotation and comments upon all the collects, epistles and gospels for every Sunday and Holy Day in the year together with Dr. Hicke's, His controversiall letters.

To CHRISTOPHER CUNNINGHAM, Gibson's Anatomy together with Riverius his medical and chirurgical exurcita_tions.

To Mother JANE CORNISH, �4.

To brother JOHN CORNISH, �2. and my best grey riding coat together with such English books of mine which he now hath except such as were the books of Jeremiah Hussey late Vicar of Okehampton which he is hereby desired to return as soon as he conveniently can after my decease.

To brother WILLIAM CORNISH "of the City of Westminster near London," Gent. one mourning gold ring which was given to me at the funeral of Mr JOHN NORTHMORE late of Okehampton desiring that he will get it so altered as it may serve him for a mourning ring for me which (my will is) shall be given to him when he comes down into this county or to any other person he shall lawfully depute to receive it.

To brother-in-law Mr JONATHAN HUSSEY of Lanceston my boots and the following books (the history of Guichiardin, the dividing the hoofe and Predduchs, his history of the four monarchies).

To my nephew JOHN the son of JEREMIAH HUSSEY all my Classic authors which are now in my study and all my books of Greek and Hebrew as well as Grammars and Lexicons as others as also all those of Philosophy, History and Philology as shall be found in my study after my death.

And my will and meaning is that my extrix do use the skill and assistance of my friend Mr MAYNARD and deposit all the aforesaid books in his hands taking a catalogue of the names of them.

And I do hereby desire the said Mr MAYNARD to take the trouble of keeping the said books and delivering the same to my extrix as the child shall have occasion for them or be capable of using them and in case please God that the said child be sent to University I desire the said Mr MAYNARD to deliver or send unto him such books only as the said Mr MAYNARD shall judge proper for his age and standing.

To my niece SUSANNA, daughter of JEREMIAH HUSSEY, �5 and provision for maintenance during apprenticeship.

To MARY CUNNINGHAM the book she has of mine.

To nephew JOHN HUSSEY of Exeter, Apothecary a gold ring at discretion of Executrix.

40/- to poor of Okehampton to be distributed by Executrix.




Residue for tithes or otherwise to wife SUSANNA CORNISH, sole executrix.


Proved 17th May 1716. Inventory amounting to �132.2.11d.

The study appraised by JOHN WILCOCKS of Exbourne and JOHN MAYNARD, Vicar of S. Tawton.

From our database: Edward Cornish m. Susanna Hussey 04-09-1703 Okehampton.