PROWSE, Roger (1580-c.1640), of Taunton, Som.
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Family and Education
bap. 6 Sept. 1580,1 1st s. of Thomas Prowse, merchant, of Tiverton, Devon and Elizabeth, da. and h. of Ralph Waldron of Tiverton. m. (1) 18 July 1602, Elizabeth, da. of John Bond* of Taunton, 5s. 3da.; (2) aft. 1623, Grace.2 suc. fa. c.1596.3 admon. 16 Feb. 1641.4
There were several Prowse families in Devon and Somerset during this period, but their recorded pedigrees are scanty, and it is not known whether this Member was directly related to Conrad Prowse, who sat for Minehead in 1597, or to John Prowse*. The grandson of a Tiverton clothier, Prowse was still under age when his father died. Ostensibly he was bequeathed only £40, though this probably did not represent his entire inheritance, given that his younger brothers were each allotted £100.8 He matriculated at neither university, but acquired enough legal expertise, perhaps at an inn of Chancery or as an attorney’s clerk, to become escheator of Somerset and Dorset in 1604. He presumably settled in Taunton following his marriage to the daughter of John Bond, the renowned classicist, whose Commentaries on Persius he published in 1614 with a dedication to Bishop Montagu of Bath and Wells.9
Prowse represented Taunton in the last Jacobean Parliament, but left no trace on its records. Summoned to compound for knighthood in 1630, he claimed that although he had previously been assessed for subsidy at £12 in lands, he had recently sold one-third of this property, situated in Devon. Accordingly, he offered to pay just £28 in respect of the remainder. In 1634 he was in trouble at the Somerset quarter sessions for failing to provide a tithingman for his property in Wilton.10 Prowse apparently made over to his son Thomas his estate, including the Bell inn in Taunton, before drawing up his will on 27 May 1640. Presumably he had also made provision for his second wife, Grace, for he bequeathed her only beds and bedding. The will was proved by his son on 16 Feb. 1641.11