COURTENAY, Sir William I (by 1485-1535), of East Coker, Som. and Ilton and Powderham, Devon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. by 1485, 1st s. of Sir William Courtenay of Powderham by Cecily, da. of Sir John Cheney of Pinhoe, Devon. m. (1) by 4 Nov. 1506, Margaret, da. of Sir Richard Edgecombe of Cotehele, Cornw., wid. of William St. Maure, 5s.; (2) by 27 Oct. 1512, Mary, da. of Sir John Gainsford of Crowhurst, Surr., 4s. 3da. suc. fa. 1512. Kntd. July 1517/Mar. 1521.2

Offices Held

Esquire of the body by Sept. 1512; commr. subsidy, Devon 1512, 1514, 1515, 1524; other commissions, Cornw. and Devon 1527-d.; j.p. Devon 1513-d.; keeper, North Petherton park, Som. 1513-d.; sheriff, Devon Feb.-Nov. 1522, 1525-6, 1533-4.3


William Courtenay obtained livery of his lands on 11 Sept. 1512. In January of that year he had been bound (as had Richard Cornwall) in a recognizance of 500 marks not to go two miles from London: the cause of the restriction is not known, but the bond was cancelled three months later. On entering upon his inheritance Courtenay moved from East Coker, where he had lived after his first marriage, to the family seat of Powderham, whence he intervened in the affairs of Devon but also travelled regularly to give attendance at court. His place near the King had probably been found for him by his father or by his kinsman the 9th Earl of Devon. He took part in the military campaigns of 1514 and 1523, and was present at the Field of Cloth of Gold and the King’s meeting with Charles V at Gravelines. It was during these years that he was knighted, although the date and occasion are unknown.4

Courtenay had become intimate with Sir Thomas Denys and had worked closely with him in Devon before the two were returned as knights of the shire to the Parliament of 1529: either or both may have