CHICHESTER, Sir John, 1st Bt. (1623-67), of Raleigh, nr. Barnstaple, Devon and the Strand, Westminster.
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Family and Education
b. 23 Apr. 1623, 1st s. of Sir Robert Chichester of Raleigh by Mary, da. of Robert Hill of Shilston. educ. Exeter, Oxf. 1638-40. m. (1) 28 Jan. 1647, Elizabeth (bur. 30 Nov. 1654), da. of Sir John Rayney, 1st Bt., of Wrotham, Kent s.p. (2) 18 July 1655, Mary, da. of Theodore Colly, wid. of George Warcup, merchant, of London, 4s. 3da. suc. fa. 1627; cr. Bt. 4 Aug. 1641.1
J.p. Devon July 1660-d., dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1662-d., jt. farmer of excise 1662-5; recorder, Barnstaple 1665-d.2
Chichester’s ancestors had been landowners in Devon since at least the 14th century, and first sat for Barnstaple, two miles from Raleigh, in 1559. Chichester himself, who was created a baronet in 1641 and ‘heretofore smiled at the troubles of others’, began to feel the effects of civil war in 1644 when hundreds of troops were quartered at his house in Raleigh. Spending prolonged periods in France, by leave of Parliament, he claimed to have suffered severe losses at the hands of the royal forces, and was assessed at a mere £500 by the committee for the advance of money. He held no office until the Restoration.3
Returned for Barnstaple at the general election of 1661, Chichester was an inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, being appointed to only three committees. The first (25 June 1661) was for a private bill in which a fellow-Devonian, Sir Peter Ball†, was concerned. On 3 July he was mentioned as one of the Members who had not yet received the sacrament according to the order of the House, apparently having been ill. Together with Sir James Smyth he was nominated by the Devon justices to farm the county excise in 1662 for £8,600 p.a.; but after three years he was replaced by the father of Sir Peter Colleton. He was among those appointed to consider the Medway navigation bill on 8 Feb. 1665, and in the next session he was named to the committee of elections and privileges. On the evening of 2 Nov. 1667 he killed a young woman whom he ‘kept and conversed with as his wife’, while in a frenzy. He died of smallpox later in the evening.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: J. S. Crossette
- 1. W. R. Drake, Devon Notes and Notelets, 248-50; PCC 31 Alchin; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 174; Reg. Coll. Exon. ii. 58.
- 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 425, 639; Merc. Pub. 30 Aug. 1660; T. Wainwright, Barnstable Recs. i. 255.
- 3. Wainright, i. 239; HMC 4th Rep. 308; Cal. Comm. Adv. Money, 641; CSP Dom. 1657-8, p. 549; 1658-9, p. 578.
- 4. Bulstrode Pprs. 6; Westmld. RO, Fleming mss, 924; HMC 6th Rep. 186.