DAVIES, John (1569-1626), of the Middle Temple, London and Englefield, Berks.

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

bap. 16 Apr. 1569, 3rd s. of John Davies of Chisgrove, in Tisbury, Wilts. by Mary, da. of John Bennett of Pitt House, Wilts. educ. Winchester; Queen’s, Oxf. 1585, BA Magdalen 1590; M. Temple 1588, called 1595. m. 1609, Eleanor Touchet, da. of George, Lord Audley, 1st Earl of Castlehaven [I] by Lucy, da. of Sir James Marvyn, 1s. d.v.p. 1da. Kntd. 1603.

Offices Held

MP [I]. Speaker of the Irish House of Commons 1613; solicitor-gen. [I] 1603-6, attorney-gen. [I] 1607-19; serjeant-at-law 1606.

J.p. Wilts. from c.1579.


Davies’s father, who had been to New Inn and practised law in Wiltshire, died when he was young, leaving the children in the care of their mother, who ‘brought them up to learning’.2 Davies was fined for dicing and disorderly behaviour at the Middle Temple in 1591, expelled for disorderly and insulting behaviour in 1592, re-admitted, called to the bar, and in 1598 disbarred ‘for ever’ after a fight with his friend, the wit Richard Martin, whose sallies at the expense of Davies provoked the quarrel. Davies now retired to Oxford, where he established himself as a poet. In Trinity term 1601 he was re-admitted to the Middle Temple after a public apology to Martin. Sir Edward Coke, to whom Davies dedicated at least one of his poems, was presumably responsible for Davies’s parliamentary seat at Corfe Castle, but no connexion has been established between Davies and the 2nd Earl of Pembroke, who controlled Shaftesbury. On 10 Nov. 1597 he renewed a motion on monopolies and was appointed to the ensuing committee; on 19 Nov. he spoke on the masters of Oxford and Cambridge colleges and was appointed to the committee, and on 21 Nov. he served on a committee concerned with spinners and weavers. In 1601 he reverted to monopolies, causing a stir in the House by the extreme nature of his suggestions. During the debate on 23 Nov. he cited precedent to the effect ‘that the King cannot create a disseisin