DILLON, Anthony (d.1615), of Bratton Fleming, Devon; Culworth, Northants.; Cork, Ireland and The Friars, Derby.
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Family and Education
5th s. of Robert Dillon of Chimwell in Bratton Fleming by either Elizabeth, da. of Henry Fortescue of Ermington, Devon or Isabella, da. of William Fortescue of Prudonstone, Devon. educ. M. Temple 1558. m. Temperance, da. of John Danvers (d.1556), of Culworth, Northants., 4s. 2da.1
The Dillons of North Devon were a cadet branch of a family which had settled in Ireland in the Norman period. They were connected by marriage with the Pollards and the Fortescues, and either family may have brought about their association with the Killigrews, patrons at Penryn. It is not certain which of two namesakes, uncle and nephew, was the MP, who left no trace upon the recorded activities of the 1589 Parliament. The older man is here assumed to be the Member, as he was more closely related to the Fortescues, and his studies at the Middle Temple and service to the Crown would have given him the opportunity to meet the Killigrews at court. He settled in Northamptonshire, presumably after his marriage, but part of his active career was spent in Ireland, where he was in the service of the Crown and of his distant relative Sir Robert Dillon, chief justice of the Irish common pleas. A petition addressed by him to the Privy Council in 1602 has survived in the Carew papers. He had taken a 30-year lease of Castle park, Cork, and hoped that he or his relative Robert Pollard would be given the command of a new fort being built there. He was ‘greatly charged’ with a wife and ‘many small children’ and had suffered ‘great hindrances and losses by reason of these wars in Munster’. The Council passed on the petition to Sir George Carew, commending Dillon’s ‘good services’, while Sir John Fortescue supported the request as Dillon was ‘partly allianced’ to him. Carew, however, felt that the fort ought to be in the hands of a trained soldier, and Dillon must have returned to England at about this time, for when he made his will in April 1606 he was living in Derby. His wife was made executrix and residuary legatee. Other beneficiaries included his son John (knighted in Ireland in 1620), his daughter Prudence Culpeper, and a grandchild William. The overseers were Robert Dillon, Anthony’s nephew, and Robert Drewe, to whom a third was added in a codicil. Dillon died 12 Jan. 1615.2
The nephew was son of Henry Dillon of Chimwell, by Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Hugh Pollard, and is not known to have married. His father left him a warren called ‘the Borough alias Braunton Borough’ in 1579, and he may have been the man of this name added to the commission to inquire into Jesuits and seminarists in Devon in 1592. Late in Elizabeth’s reign he brought an action in Star Chamber for unlawful imprisonment against the mayor and aldermen of Barnstaple.3