QUIRKE, James (d.1611), of Minehead, Som.
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Family and Education
?s. of Robert Quirke of Minehead. m. Joan, 3s. 3da.
Quirke was the ‘poor burgess’ who, on 22 Mar. 1593, was unable or unwilling to pay a contribution of 5s. levied on the borough Members for the poor maimed soldiers. He offered only 2s. 6d. and narrowly escaped being committed to the serjeant’s custody. His only other possible activity in that Parliament was his membership of a cloth bill committee on the 15th of that month. Returned again in 1601, he stood down in favour of his friend Lewis Lashbrook, and the two were then prosecuted in the Star Chamber by Conrad Prowse, whose long list of complaints against them included allegations that they had assaulted him in Dunster and imprisoned him on the authority of a forged warrant. Quirke had ‘by way of unlawful maintenance solicited and followed in other men’s [lawsuits] he being no way authorized to follow or solicit any cause in any of your highness’s courts whatsoever’. On another occasion, it was said, Quirke and Lashbrook had used forged warrants to gain a judgment against John Bennet of Minehead, who had already paid compensation to Quirke for the assault and battery of which he was accused. Quirke may indeed have been poor. He left only household goods and a small house in Minehead, and his three daughters received only £20 each as dowry. Otherwise his only valuable asset was the rectory of Minehead, upon which these sums were secured. Lashbrook was an overseer of Quirke’s will, which was proved on 23 May 1611. His family remained in Minehead, several of them, merchants and seamen, being buried in Minehead church in the following century. His son Robert endowed an almshouse there in 1638.
D’Ewes, 499, 501, 503, 507; Cott. Titus F. ii. f. 70v; St. Ch. 5/P1/5, P31/30; Hancock, Minehead, 433; PCC 44 Wood; Collinson, Som. ii. 31-2; see also MINEHEAD.