KELLAND, John (c.1635-92), of Painsford, Ashprington, Devon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1679

Family and Education

b. c.1635, 1st s. of John Kelland of Totnes and Painsford by Susanna, da. of Thomas Fownes of Plymouth. educ. Exeter, Oxf. 1652; M. Temple 1652. m. by 1657, his cos. Bridget, da. of John Fownes of Whitleigh, 2s. 3da. suc. fa. 1679.1

Offices Held

J.p. Devon 1677-81, 1682-July 1688, Oct. 1688-d., Dartmouth 1680-1, 1684; commr. for assessment, Devon 1679-80, 1689-90, sheriff 1683-4; freeman, Totnes to 1684, alderman and j.p. 1684-Jan. 1688.2


Kelland’s ancestors had been Totnes merchants for three generations. His father, who bought Painsford three miles away in 1647, was a wealthy man with many debtors, one of whom charged him with delinquency in the Civil War; his royalism was only notional, but he had to pay a fine of £663. He was active in the court interest at the Ashburton by-election of 1677.3

Nevertheless, when Kelland was returned for Totnes at the first general election of 1679, doubtless by agreement with the Seymours, Shaftesbury marked him ‘honest’. An inactive Member of the first Exclusion Parliament, he was appointed only to the committees for the habeas corpus amendment bill, for preventing illegal exactions and for reforming the collection of hearth-tax, and he voted for exclusion. He gave way in August to Edward Seymour, whose indentures he witnessed, and in the Oxford Parliament, when the Seymours temporarily abandoned Totnes, he left no trace.4

Kelland, who rebuilt the chapel at Painsford, was clearly an Anglican. He became an alderman of Totnes in 1684, and after a bitter dispute with the leader of the local dissenters over ‘a piece of ground of very small value’ he was re-elected for the borough in 1685 as a Tory. His only committee in James II’s Parliament was on the bill to prevent the export of wool. Towards the end of the year his casual attitude towards perfecting his accounts as sheriff brought him a severe rebuke from the Treasury. He was removed as alderman of Totnes on 22 Jan. 1688, and returned the same negative answer as Sir Edward Seymour on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws. His attitude to the Revolution is not known. He died on 7 Oct. 1692, aged 57, and was buried at Ashprington, the last of the family to sit in Parliament.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 508; E. A. Webb, Recs. of St. Bartholomew Smithfield, ii. 468-9.
  • 2. Trans. Devon Assoc. viii. 365, 367; SP44/335/198.
  • 3. Cal. Comm. Comp. 1878, 2810; Trans. Devon Assoc. xcviii, 214.
  • 4. HMC 15th Rep. VII, 106.
  • 5. W. G. Hoskins, Devon, 322; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 500; PC2/72/581.