FOOTE, Samuel (c.1626-91), of Tiverton, Devon.
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Family and Education
b. c.1626. m. (1) 1657, Mary Keate (d. 17 Jan. 1678), 4 da.; (2) Martha, da. of Thomas Mompesson of Brewham, Som., 1s.1
Alderman, Tiverton 1655-Jan. 1688, Oct. 1688-d., mayor ?1662-3; commr. for recusants, Devon 1675, assessment 1677-80, 1689-d.2
Foote, a merchant, was already prominent in the religious life of Tiverton by 1654, when he protested against the defective godliness of Robert Shapcote, and in the following year he was elected to the corporation after it had been purged by Major-General John Disbrowe. A convert to Anglicanism after the Restoration, as churchwarden and mayor he took a leading part in persecuting his former Independent pastor. He defeated the court candidate Sir Hugh Acland at a by-election in 1673, and became moderately active as a committeeman in the seven remaining sessions of the Cavalier Parliament, with 29 appointments. None of these was of political importance; five were concerned with the cloth trade, on which his opinion would certainly have been of weight. He exported no less than 22 per cent of the cloth that passed through Exeter in 1676. Sir Richard Wiseman confused his name with that of Samuel Rolle in his report to Danby in 1676, but probably meant to describe him as a ‘fierce mutineer’, while in the following year Shaftesbury put him down as ‘worthy’. In 1678, however, Foote joined his colleague (Sir) Henry Ford against John Birch and Thomas Papillon of the country party in opposing the bill to encourage leather exports; this, his only tellership, was presumably dictated by his own or his constituents’ economic interests.3
Foote was re-elected to all three Exclusion Parliaments. Still classed by Shaftesbury as ‘worthy’, he voted for the first exclusion bill. A moderately active Member in 1679, he was named to four committees, but to none in the second and third Exclusion Parliaments. In 1682 it was reported that he and his son-in-law Robert Burridge† were engaged in gun-running, but no action seems to have been taken against him. Probably he experienced another timely change of heart, for he was reappointed to the Tiverton bench under the new charter of 1684. But he was unable to save his seat in the general election of 1685, though he witnessed the return, and he was removed from the corporation in January 1688.4
Foote was again returned at the general election of 1689. He was an inactive Member of the Convention, being named to only two committees. He supported the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations. He has to be distinguished from two London namesakes, Samuel Foote, Ironmonger, who made his will on 5 Nov. 1691, and Samuel Foot, merchant, who died in 1697. It was probably the latter, a connexion of the Onslow family, who advanced money to the new regime; but Foote himself had enough interest to secure Burridge’s appointment as receiver-general of Devon and Exeter. Re-elected in 1690, he died intestate on 26 Mar. 1691, aged 65, and was buried at Tiverton. His landed property, including the manor of Wemworthy, was valued at over £500 p.a., and he had already given his eldest daughter £1,500 on her marriage to a local squire of ancient lineage. His only son died childless in 1696 and the property was divided among the daughters.5
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: John. P. Ferris
- 1. Burke, Gentry (1952); J. Blundell, Mems. and Antiqs. Tiverton; W. Harding, Hist. Tiverton, ii. 56, 58; Vis. Eng. and Wales Notes ed. Crisp, vii. II.
- 2. M. Dunsford, Hist. Mems. Tiverton, 372, 456.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1654, p. 279; Dunsford, 192, 372; CJ , ix. 358, 496; W. B. Stephens, 17th Cent. Exeter , 159.
- 4. CSP Dom. 1682, p. 69; Dunsford, 193; PC2/72/582.
- 5. J. R. Woodhead, Rulers of London , 71, PCC 27 Fane, 73 Pyne; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 130, 2004; Trans. Devon Assoc. lxvii. 326; Devon and Cornw. N. and Q. xviii. 261; Lysons, Devon , 513, 551.