PETRE, John I (by 1526-71), of Dartmouth, Exeter and Hayes, Devon.

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



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1526, yr. s. of John Petre of Tor Newton in Torbryan by Alice, da. of John Collinge of Woodland; bro. of Robert and William.1

Offices Held

Collector of customs, Dartmouth and Exeter 22 Nov. 1547-?d.2


Of the two men named John Petre who sat in the Parliament of November 1554 the Member for Dartmouth came of the family settled at Torbryan, between Newton Abbot and Totnes. He had other namesakes, including an elder brother, from whom he cannot always be distinguished, but he was almost certainly the John Petre who was appointed customer of Dartmouth in 1547 and died in 1571, and may have been the Dartmouth merchant of that name who was bailiff there in 1540 and receiver in 1544. His customership he probably owed to his brother Sir William, by then principal secretary, and the same influence may have smoothed his purchases of monastic property, in 1552 the manor of Norton in East Allington, and early in 1553 the manor in Kingkerswell which he bought with John Ridgeway, whose daughter married his brother John. During the western rebellion of 1549 Petre narrowly escaped death when struck by an arrow loosed by his best friend, a Catholic named Richard Taylor.3

There is no evidence that Petre married or had children. He was living at Exeter when he made his will, in which he called himself ‘esquire’, on 3 Feb. 1571. He left most of his lands to his nephew William, son of John Petre of Exeter, and made bequests to various other kinsmen. He died nine days later and the will was proved on the following 22 May. At the inquisition held at Exeter on 10 Mar. 1571 his brother Sir William was found to be his heir.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Devon, ed. Colby, 169.
  • 2. CPR, 1553, p. 314; 1560-3, p. 99.
  • 3. Trans. Dev. Assoc. xlv. 417-30; Exeter city lib. Dartmouth mss 1982, f. 197v; 2002, f. 19v, 2003, f. 6; Devon Monastic Lands (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. n.s. i), 108-9; J. Hoker, The description of the citie of Excester (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. xi), 755.
  • 4. PCC 26 Holney; C142/156/18.