NOSEWORTHY, John (by 1481-1530/32), of Ashburton and Exeter, 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 1481, ?poss. s. of John Noseworthy of Ashburton.2

Offices Held

Churchwarden. Ashburton 1502-4; bailiff. Exeter 1502-3, member of the Twenty-Four by 1508, receiver 1516-17, mayor 1521-2; commr. subsidy 1523, 1524.3


John Noseworthy came of a family traceable in the locality of Widecombe since the 13th century but his parentage has not been established. Either he or a namesake (possibly his father) collected money for wax for candles in Ashburton church during 1496-7. He was to become churchwarden there after his admission as a freeman of Exeter in 1501-2 but before he settled in Holy Trinity parish, Exeter: on several occasions he was to represent Ashburton’s interests in the city’s courts.4

Noseworthy soon established himself as one of the chief spokesmen for his adopted city and frequently travelled to the capital on its business, but it was not until April 1516 that in succession to John Orenge he became one of the city’s fee’d counsellors. Long before then, however, he seems to have given up his private practice as a lawyer to devote himself to public affairs. His integrity and fairness combined with his charm and generosity made him ‘honoured of the best, reverenced by the inferior and beloved by all’. During his mayoralty he reformed much of the administration of the city and it was he who ordered adequate storage for its records, thus earning him the gratitude of the antiquary