POPE, Sir William (1596-1624), of Cogges, Oxon.
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Family and Education
bap. 17 Oct. 1596, 1st s. of Sir William Pope, 1st bt. (d.1631), of Wroxton, Oxon. and Anne, da. of Sir Owen Hopton† of Yoxford, Suff., lt. of the Tower 1570-90, wid. of Henry, 3rd Lord Wentworth.1 educ. Oxf. 1614;2 travelled abroad (Italy) 1617-20.3 m. lic. 13 Dec. 1615,4 Elizabeth, da. and h. of (Sir) Thomas Watson* of Halstead, Kent, teller of the Exch. 3s. 2da.5 kntd. 28 Aug. 1616.6 d. 19 Aug. 1624.7
The Popes migrated to Oxfordshire from Kent at the beginning of the fifteenth century. They were small landowners until Sir Thomas Pope†, who sat for Buckingham in 1536 and Berkshire in 1539, became one of the richest commoners in England as treasurer of the Court of Augmentations during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.8 Much of his wealth went to the foundation of Trinity College, Oxford, but he settled large estates in north-west Oxfordshire on Pope’s grandfather.9
Pope’s marriage was not attended by the most favourable auspices. His bride’s first choice of husband, Sir Robert Sidney*, had turned her down, and she had in turn jilted Sir Lewis Watson*.10 Within two years he was reported to be ‘much discontented at his match and careless in all his discourses of his lady, his words rather savouring of hate and divorce in his affection towards her than love’. He obtained a licence to travel, and in 1619, despite the usual proviso against visiting Rome, was rumoured to be in Siena with his brother, ‘with a resolution for Rome, so add a pair of Popes more to that Babylon’, according to a fellow traveller, Richard Seymour.11 They were allegedly determined ‘never to return while their father lived’; however, shortly afterwards their companion, ‘one Mr. Goodwyn’, was ‘taken by the inquisition at Livorno’, and Pope himself apparently went into hiding.12 He soon returned to settle at Cogges, and in 1621 became the second and last of his family to sit in the Commons, when he served as knight of the shire for Oxfordshire. Although he left no trace in the records of the Parliament, he presumably played some part in furthering the petition introduced by his father against a decree in Chancery. This ordered the elder Pope to pay his brother-in-law Sir George Marshall* 1,000 marks for procuring him a knighthood of the Bath in 1603.13 The House, as Richard Dyott* reported, felt it ‘a thing dishonourable to the state for a man to presume in a court of justice upon a bargain and sale of honour’, and, with the king’s approval ordered the decree reversed and removed from the file.14
Pope received a licence to enter into his wife’s inheritance in 1623.15 He sought the county seat again in 1624, but was defeated.16 On 8 May one of the successful candidates, Sir William Cope*, was granted privilege after Pope brought a suit against him in Common Pleas. This case was probably connected with the estate of Pope’s late father-in-law Sir Thomas Watson, an executor of Sir Walter Cope*.17
Pope died intestate on 19 Aug. 1624 at his wife’s house at Halstead of ‘a most pestilent fever mixed with the smallpox ... very much grieved in soul for his debts, and for the troublesome estate he should leave his distressed lady in and her children’.18 He was buried at Wroxton.19 His father, unmoved by the strictures of the Commons on the sale of honours, purchased an Irish earldom for £2,500 in 1628.20 No later member of the family entered Parliament.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Alan Davidson / Rosemary Sgroi
- 1. Baker, Northants. i. 707-8.
- 2. Al. Ox.
- 3. APC, 1616-17, p. 348.
- 4. London Mar. Lics. ed. Foster, 1075.
- 5. Baker, i. 708.
- 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 159.
- 7. Bodl. North c. 7, f. 125.
- 8. T. Warton, Sir Thomas Pope (1780), pp. 443-4.
- 9. VCH Oxon. ix. 176.
- 10. PRO 30/53/7, f. 14v.
- 11. Add. 29974, f. 46.
- 12. Eg. 2595, f. 164.
- 13. CD 1621, v. 106-9; CJ, i. 580a, 700b.
- 14. CD 1621, v. 74; RICHARD DYOTT; Nicholas, Procs. 1621, i. 267, 364.
- 15. C66/2321.
- 16. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 541.
- 17. Ibid. i. 554; CJ, i. 700b.
- 18. Bodl. North c. 7, f. 125.
- 19. Vis. Oxon. (Harl. v), 151-2.
- 20. C.R. Mayes, ‘The Early Stuarts and the Irish Peerage’, EHR, lxxiii. 245.