MALET, John (by 1520-70), of the Inner Temple, London and Woolleigh in Beaford, Devon.
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Family and Education
b. by 1520, 1st s. of Baldwin Malet of St. Audries, Som. by 2nd w. Anne, da. of Thomas Hatch of Woolleigh. educ. I. Temple. m. by 1545, Alice, da. of Anthony Monck of Great Potheridge, Devon, 4s. 4da.1
Churchwarden, the Temple 1546-7; commr. relief, Devon 1550; j.p. Devon 1558/59-d.; sheriff May-Nov. 1562, 1569-d.2
The list of Members for the Parliament of April 1554 gives the name of the first Member for Plymouth as Johannes Maller. This is taken to be a misnomer for John Malet, a lawyer from north Devon admitted to the freedom of the port in the 1550s, presumably to qualify him for election there to Parliament.3
Malet never attained the eminence in the law of his father who died in office as solicitor-general in 1533. He presumably began his training at the Temple in his father’s lifetime as he was proposed for a minor post there during 1534. His father left him a reversion in the lands settled on his mother for her life and provided for his maintenance and education until 21. From his mother he inherited her ancestral home in Devon and other property. This patrimony, although not considerable, was sufficient for a place in county administration and he became sheriff twice, on the first occasion replacing Christopher Copleston in mid term after Copleston’s dismissal by Elizabeth. Little trace has been found of Malet’s activities outside Devon apart from occasional references to him at the Temple and his Membership of Parliament. His two appearances in the Commons were presumably the work of the Russell earls of Bedford, whom he honoured by naming his second son Francis. He had no personal ties with either Plymouth or Bodmin, and at Plymouth he took precedence over a rising townsman Richard Hooper. The Journal does not mention Malet. In his undated will he remembered local charities, provided for his surviving children and named h