The Oxford DNB says of him:
Fabell probably was a real person, though his tricking of the devil is obviously fictional. He may be the ‘Favell’ who received a BA at Cambridge in 1469–70, given the claims about his education and dates (Venn, Alum. Cant., 2.125). He is less likely to be the Peter Fabell who made his will in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, in 1526, given the distance from Edmonton (Phillimore and Duncan, 205). Alternatively, Bolton suggests that the magician was Peter Favelore, who built a chapel within the Edmonton church before his death in 1360, and who left lands in Edmonton, Enfield, Tottenham, and Kent (Bolton, 131). This man lived a century before the dates given by Fuller and T. B., but would have been entitled to a monument in the church.I would be inclined to say "beyond that, it's all guesswork," but the limited traces left behind of this man who is said to have tricked the devil amount to little more than educated guesses anyway. Similarly, I can find no traces of an actual Chesson Nunnery. But what about the church? And what about Enfield itself? Now that's another story! There's actually almost too much out there to be useful. Almost.
While the usual searches through Google and Wikipedia have turned up very little traceable history on Enfield, they have provided a most useful symbol: the Enfield Beast, which is in use on the city's official website. I get the sneaky feeling like that could be a very useful emblem for our upcoming production. Also, under the "about Enfield" section, the website offers this description of Enfield: "Enfield has a proud and distinguished history, being home to a Royal palace, several country houses, ancient monuments and a host of famous people, past and present."
A short ride north of London, Enfield (where the action of Merry Devil seems to take place, if the location of Enfield Church is to be believed) presents itself as a nice country retreat from the bustle of London life; exactly the sort of place where one might want to get married, or take one's family for a working vacation. Of course, that's not where the Clare family is staying in the text of the play. They're staying at the George at Waltham.
Waltham Abbey is too good of a candidate to ignore for the location, seeing as how Friar Hildersham and Waltham Abbey figure prominently into the plot of the play. It's times like this that I am grateful for living in the era of Google because, according to Google Maps, one could walk from Enfield to Waltham Abbey in the space of about an hour and forty minutes. Back in 1603, the roads weren't as good, but it would certainly be plausible that Blague, Smug, Banks, and Sir John would have spent the night hunting deer in the wilderness between Waltham Abbey and Enfield, and made it back to the George at Waltham Inn in time to marry the couple the next morning. It's equally plausible that Sir Arthur and Sir Ralph could have been chasing after their children all night in the wilderness, and made it back to Waltham (though at the wrong inn) in the morning.
Another Waltham presents itself as a viable option, however: Waltham Forrest. Waltham Forrest is much closer to London than Waltham Abbey, and the fact that Queen Elizabeth had a hunting lodge there fits nicely with Brian the Keeper of the walk, who is tasked with protecting the king's deer. Also, Edmonton is located about 3/4 of the way between Waltham Forrest and Enfield. It looks like I'll need to be mining the text for some better clues, but in reality, I think either one of these locations presents itself as a potential candidate for the setting. Here's the Google map showing all locations.
There may be implications in all of this. Just as characters are disguised as other characters in The Merry Devil, the disguise of The George at Waltham as the (unnamed) neighboring inn is what tricks Sir Arthur and Sir Ralph, and what allows Sir John enough time to marry Milliscent and Raymond, and what allows the young lovers enough to to... ahem... formalize the marriage contract. The locations are as specific as the characters are to the point where confusing them is what brings about the happy ending. I don't think it matters too much whether the George at Waltham is in Waltham Abbey or Waltham Forrest, but it needs to be clearly fixed in space. We may as well fix it in the correct space, eh?