VAUGHAN, Hugh (d.1607), of Bedford House, Exeter and Barton, near Tavistock, 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

1st s. of Anthony Vaughan of Littleton, Mdx. by Susan, da. of John Cranmer, wid. of Thomas Brooke (bro. of George, 9th Lord Cobham). m.Elizabeth, da. of John Hals of Kenedon, at least 8s. 4da.

Offices Held

Steward or sec. to 2nd Earl of Bedford by 1577-85; steward of Russell lands in the west country; clerk of peace in Devon from 1596.


Vaughan was related by marriage to (Sir) John Hawkins, an executor to his will and a trustee of the hospital Hawkins built at Chatham. In 1577 at Exeter, Vaughan was involved in an affray in which Thomas Bruarton (a distant connexion by marriage) was assaulted. The 2nd Earl of Bedford investigated and ‘the more he dealt in the matter ... the worse he found it against his man’, and so he handed Vaughan and two others over to the mayor for imprisonment. The mayor later asked the Earl to take Vaughan back into his service.

When in January 1581 Bedford’s son John Russell was raised to the peerage, Vaughan came in for Bridport in his place. Perhaps he was the Mr. Vaughan who sat on two legal committees, 26 Jan. and 17 Feb. that year. In 1584 Bedford had him returned for Dartmouth. After Bedford’s death in 1585—Vaughan witnessed his will and received a bequest—he remained in the service of the family as steward of their lands in the west country. In 1586, through the influence of Hawkins, he was returned for Plymouth, where for some time Bedford and Hawkins had amicably divided the patronage, and in 1593, his position as steward of the Russell lands in Devon enabled him to be returned for Tavistock. No parliamentary activity can be certainly ascribed to Vaughan, but he may have served on committees concerned with cloth, 23 Mar. and 2 Apr. 1593. When the 3rd Earl was appointed custos rotulorum in Devon in 1596, he appointed his ‘servant and officer’ clerk of the peace. Vaughan administered the office by deputy, and his family kept the post certainly until 1615. Vaughan was mentioned in the Countess of Warwick’s will made in October 1603, and died 3 Feb. 1607, being buried the same day in St. Lawrence’s, Exeter, ‘out of the Earl of Bedford’s house’. In his will, dated 22 Dec. 1606 and proved 13 Mar. 1607, made ‘for the relief and maintenance of my wife and children’, Vaughan left leases of a farm called Barton, near Tavistock, and a house in the town to his wife, the executrix and residuary legatee, with remainder to his eldest son Charles, who received immediately a farm called Chillamill, and was given discretion to deal with some of Vaughan’s smaller bequests. Concern was shown ‘for the better maintenance and education of my five youngest children’ and generous marriage portions were provided for his daughters. Several farms and mills are mentioned in the locality and in Cornwall.

Roberts thesis; Gabriel thesis: Devon N. and Q.x. 98, 103; Devon quarter sess. order bk. 1592-1600, f. 158; PCC 24 Huddleston, 45 Windsor; Western Antiq. iv. 120; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 439, 729; Exeter freeman’s bk. f. 144; D’Ewes, 507, 513; CJ, i. 120, 127; A. H. A. Hamilton, Quarter Sess. Q. Eliz. to Q. Anne (1878), 51; Trans. Dev. Assoc. xlii. 370; C142/295/35.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.