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John Arscott


John Arscott, “surgeon of Bow”.


His parents were both from Sampford Courtenay: His father, John Arscott, born in 1737, married Wilmott Fewings in 1761. Wilmott already had an illegitimate son, Joseph, who then became known as Joseph Fewings Arscott who later became a supervisor of excise living in St David’s Hill in Exeter. John and Wilmott then had two children: Elizabeth and John (born 1769).


John Junior was a surgeon in Exeter until about 1808, when he sold his 6 bedroomed house at the top of Fore St.

At that time he was appointed Paymaster to the 3rd (or Prince of Wales) Dragoon Guards. He was captured by the French in the Pensinsular War in 1812. The Duke of Wellington arranged  for him to be exchanged with a French prisoner. He retired on half pay in 1817.

In 1813 he was renting Clapp's tenement in Bow, owned by William Clapp, at that time an ironmonger in Exeter.


In 1818 he bought two adjacent plots of land in Bow, one (on the east side) from Sir Thomas Buckler Lethbridge containing the former “Barnstaple Inn”, the other being Clapp’s tenement. Together they comprised about eight acres part of which later became known as Fair Park.


John Arscott the surgeon died in Bow in 1824. He was buried in Sampford Courtenay. There is a plaque to his memory in the chuch there.

He had no children, and by his will he left his property in Bow to Joseph’s son, Robert Fewings Arscott, also an Exeter surgeon.

He was the last of a line of the Arscott family of Arscott (near Holsworthy)  and his memorial, by Stephens of Exeter, includes that coat-of-arms.


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Labor omnia vincit improbus:

Hard work conquers everything