BAMPFIELD, Amias (c.1560-1626), of Poltimore and South Molton, Devon.

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




Family and Education

b. c.1560, 2nd s. but h. of Richard Bampfield of Poltimore by Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Sydenham. educ. Exeter Coll. Oxf. 1575, aged 15; M. Temple 1576. m. Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Clifton of Barrington, Som., 6s. 2da. suc. fa. 1594. Kntd. 1603.

Offices Held

J.p. Devon from 1596, sheriff 1603-4, dep. lt. 1616.


The Bampfields—since 1522 among the wealthiest Devon families, and third on the subsidy list in 1576—had close links with Somerset, where the branch of the family which had settled there in the fifteenth century was related by marriage to the Trenchards. Returned for both Minehead and Devon in 1597, Bampfield chose to sit for the county. Nothing is known of his activities in the 1597 Parliament, except for a reference to a ‘Mr. Henry’ Bampfield sitting on one committee dealing with armour and weapons (8 Nov.). However, as knight for Devon, Bampfield could have served on the following committees: enclosures (5 Nov.), the poor law (5 Nov., 22 Nov.), penal laws (8 Nov.), monopolies (10 Nov.), the subsidy (15 Nov.) and a cloth bill (8 Dec.). In the shire he served on various local commissions; viewing Thorverton Bridge with Richard Sparry on behalf of justices of the peace in 1600, and in 1608 investigating abuses in the bridge trust at Bideford; in 1607 he and his friend John Acland were appointed arbitrators at the neighbouring town of Barnstaple.

In 1602 Bampfield made a double marriage settlement for two of his children with Thomas Drake, the brother and heir of Francis Drake. His son and daughter, aged respectively 14 and 16, were to marry Drake’s daughter and son, each parent settling £660 on the other’s daughter. The trustees included Edward Hancock, Richard Bowden (Bampfield’s brother-in-law) and Thomas Philipps of Barrington, a neighbour of Sir John Clifton. For some years before his official appointment Bampfield deputised for the aged and infirm George Carey as deputy lieutenant of Devon.

Bampfield, ‘not well of body’, made his will 4 June 1625, commending his soul to God in the belief that it would be received into His glory and placed in His heavenly kingdom among His angels and blessed saints. He left a living to his son James, expressing the hope that he would become a ‘minister and preacher’. He named his son and heir John as executor, and left bequests to the poor, to whom he had, of late, been accustomed to give 2s. worth of white bread each week. He wished to be buried in South Molton church, with his parents. Bampfield died in February 1626. His inquisition post mortem was taken 2 Mar. and his will was proved 31 Mar.

Roberts thesis; D’Ewes, 552, 553, 555, 557, 561, 569; C142/424/82; PCC 40 Hele.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler