Devizes

Borough

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Elections

DateCandidate
29 Dec. 1558JOHN YOUNG I
 EDWARD HEYNES
1562/3HUGH POWELL
 EDWARD HEYNES
1571EDWARD BAYNTON
 WILLIAM CLERKE I
18 Apr. 1572GEORGE REYNOLDS II
 HENRY GRUBE
10 Jan. 1580JOHN SNELL vice Reynolds, deceased
31 Oct. 1584HENRY BAYNTON I
 HENRY BROUNCKER
1586HENRY BAYNTON I
 HENRY BROUNCKER
25 Oct. 1588HENRY BROUNCKER
 JOHN DELABERE
1593HENRY BAYNTON I or II
 RICHARD MOMPESSON
30 Sept. 1597JOHN KENT
 ROBERT DREW
2 Oct. 1601GILES FETTIPLACE
 ROBERT DREW

Main Article

Devizes was a corporate town, the majority of whose MPs in this period comprised either townsmen or neighbouring gentry. Edward Heynes (1559, 1563), George Reynolds II (1572) and Henry Grube (1572) were members of the corporation and sometime mayors of the borough. John Kent (1597) was town clerk. Both Reynolds and Grube had promised to serve without wages, but in 1578 Grube sued the borough in respect of wages for the second session. In Chancery he claimed that his promise to serve without wages applied to the first session of the Parliament only.1 Perhaps it was this incident which persuaded the borough to look to the neighbouring gentry such as the Bayntons of Bromham, the Brounckers of Erlestoke, John Snell of Kington St. Michael and Giles Fettiplace of Poulton. Robert Drew, son of a local gentleman, was studying at an inn of court at the time of the 1597 and 1601 elections.

The remaining five MPs have no apparent direct connexions with Devizes. Neither John Young I nor William Clerke I has been definitely identified. However, it is possible that they shared a common link with the Earl of Pembroke, who owned Devizes Park near the town. Young later sat for Old Sarum where he was undoubtedly a Pembroke nominee, and Clerke had served with the 1st Earl in France. Hugh Powell, registrar of Salisbury diocese, may have been returned by either the 1st Earl of Pembroke, a distant relative, or by Bishop Jewel of Salisbury. Richard Mompesson, also from Salisbury, was married to Lady Dudley and no doubt obtained his seat at Devizes by virtue of his local connexions and powerful relatives. John Delabere, a London lawyer originally from Gloucestershire, has no known link with Devizes.