Since the Devon Family History Society completed their marriage indexes for the two periods 1754-1813 and 1813-1837 I have obtained printouts of all Churchwards plus variants. The only John/Rebecca marriage in that earlier period was the marriage in Paignton on the 27th March 1777 - between John Churchward and Rebecca Pinson. Parish Register Entry No. 261. They are both "of this parish", but in the absence of any other likely candidates I, and a few other Churchward contacts of Buckfastleigh origin, have come to the conclusion that these must be the right ones. One of the witnesses was another John Churchward - maybe the father of the groom. So the hunt is now on for a likely John son of a John.
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