SILLY, John (c.1621-72), of St. Wenn, Cornw.

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



5 May 1660

Family and Education

b. c.1621, 2nd s. of John Silly, attorney, (d.1646) of Trevelver, Cornw. by 1st w. Elizabeth, da. and h. of John Marke of St. Wenn. educ. Pembroke, Oxf. 8 May 1635, aged 14; M. Temple 1638. m. 1642, Jane, da. of William Cotton, precentor of Exeter Cathedral, 3s. 1da. suc. nephew at Trevelver 1667.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Cornw. 1657, 1664-9, militia Mar. 1660, j.p. Mar.-July 1660, Aug. 1660-2, capt. of militia ft. Apr. 1660.2


Silly’s father, a successful lawyer, acquired an estate in the parish of St. Wenn by marriage in 1612, and purchased the Barton of Trevelver in 1630. The family was strongly parliamentarian during the Civil War, and Silly was obliged with his father and elder brother to sue out a pardon from the King in 1644. He was first returned for Bodmin, eight miles from St. Wenn, in 1659, and in December he signed the declaration of the Cornish gentlemen at Truro for a free Parliament. He was involved in a double return at the general election of 1660 and seated with his kinsman Hender Robartes on the merits of the return. He was classed as a friend by Lord Wharton, and may have voted with the Presbyterian Opposition. His only committee was for the assessment ordinance on 7 May. He was removed from the Cornish commission of the peace in 1662, perhaps as a dissenter, and his brother’s widow later kept a Presbyterian meeting-house not far from Bodmin. He died on 11 Apr. 1672, and was buried at Trevelver. His elder son William was probably not a dissenter; he was added to the county bench in 1680, given the freedom of Bodmin in the new charter of 1685 and recommended as court candidate for Bossiney in 1688. But no other member of the family entered Parliament.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, ii. 520-1.
  • 2. Parl. Intell. 9 Apr. 1660.
  • 3. Maclean, ii. 515-16; M. Coate, Cornw. in Gt. Civil War, 308, 365; W. H. Black, Docquets of Letters Patent, 158; CSP Dom. 1671-2, pp. 354, 367; PCC 65 May; J. Wallis, Bodmin Reg. 168.