PERYAM, William (1534-1604), of Crediton, 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. 1534, 1st s. of John Peryam, and bro. of John. educ. Exeter Coll. Oxf. 1551; Clifford’s Inn; M. Temple 1553, called 1565. m. (1) Margery, da. of John Holcot of Berks.; (2) Anne or Agnes, da. of John Parker of North Molton, Devon, 4da.; (3) Elizabeth, da. of Sir Nicholas Bacon, lord keeper, wid. of Robert Doyley and of Sir Henry Neville I. suc. fa. c.1573. Kntd. 1593.

Offices Held

J.p. Devon from c.1569, many other counties from c.1583; bencher, M. Temple 1577, serjeant-at-law 1580; justice of common pleas 1581; chief baron of the Exchequer from 1593; commr. trials of Mary Stuart 1586, Earl of Essex. 1601.1


The son of a Marian exile, Peryam became a London lawyer. By the time of the 1568 parliamentary election his services were no doubt already retained by the Plymouth corporation, which paid him for drawing up a bill about an almshouse during this Parliament. Peryam was a supporter of the 2nd Earl of Bedford as his father had been of the 1st. He was an overseer of the 2nd Earl’s will, and succeeded to his borough patronage at Bossiney and Camelford. Early in 1568 Peryam was called to Ireland by Sir Peter Carew, then prosecuting his claims to an Irish barony, and he was instrumental in winning Carew’s case. This may have led to his suggested appointment as judge under the president of Munster, Sir John Pollard. Though ‘scarcely known’ to Sir William Cecil, Peryam wrote to him to try to get out of it, then petitioned the Privy Council against it, mentioning his wife and children, losses previously incurred in Ireland, and his delicate state of health. The Privy Council agreed that he should serve for two years only and in the end he does not seem to have gone at all.

Peryam’s name has not been found in the journals of the 1563 Parliament. After distinguished service on the bench he was discharged of his circuit in 1603 ‘by reason of his weakness’, and he died 9 Oct. 1604 at his home near Crediton. Peryam was described by Ralegh as ‘my lord puritan Peryam’, and Thomas Wilcox, dedicating a work to John Popham and Peryam wrote ‘you both profess the holy gospel of Christ, and may ... be received amongst them that mourn for your own sins’. Peryam’s daughter Elizabeth married Robert, heir of Arthur Bassett and his daughter Mary married William Pole II.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Devon , 603; Roberts thesis; HMC Bath, v. 74, 269.
  • 2. Plymouth Recs. 195; PCC 45 Windsor; J. Hooker, Life of Carew, ed. Maclean, 80-2; SP63/26/25; 27/28; CSP Ire. 1509-73, p. 402; Trevelyan Pprs. (Cam. Soc. cv), 50; E. Edwards, Life of Raleigh, ii. 250; Stowe 130, f. 110; MacCaffrey thesis, 42; Collinson thesis, 59, 811, n. 1; Harl. 6996, f. 27.