SPARKE, John (1636-80), of the Friary, Plymouth, Devon.
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Family and Education
bap. 27 Aug. 1636, 1st s. of Jonathan Sparke of Plymouth by Mary, da. of Sir Robert Basset of Heanton Punchardon. educ. I. Temple 1656. m. lic. 29 Oct. 1663, Mary, da. of Sir Alexander Carew, 2nd Bt. of Antony, Cornw., at least 2s. suc. fa. aft. 1673.1
Commr. for assessment, Plymouth 1677-9, Devon 1677-d.; j.p. Devon 1678-d.
Sparke was descended from John Sparke, a Cheshire man who settled in Plympton and sat for the borough in 1554. His father apparently avoided involvement in the Civil War, but at the Restoration he helped to disband the commonwealth forces, and as ‘the principal person of the place’ was nominated to the corporation of Plymouth by the commissioners, though he was allowed to resign after a few months, ‘his continuance therein being inconvenient for his Majesty’s service’. Sparke inherited considerable property in the town, including the former Carmelite priory, valued at £1,000 p.a. He was described as ‘very loyal’ when he was first elected in 1677, and marked ‘vile’ on Shaftesbury’s list; but he was on neither list of the court party in 1678. In the Cavalier Parliament he was appointed only to the bills for the Fal navigation and the prevention of burglaries in London. Re-elected in 1679, he was again classed as ‘vile’ by Shaftesbury; but he voted for exclusion. Otherwise he left no further trace on the records of Parliament, though the corporation spent £37 10s. on a large silver caudle cup and cover to be given him in token of ‘the respect and gratitude of the town for his faithful and diligent service’. He was again elected to the second Exclusion Parliament, but died on 8 Oct. 1680 before it met. He had probably changed his attitude towards exclusion, for the loyal James Yonge described him as ‘a gentleman of good principles’. His son John sat as a Tory for the Cornish borough of Newport from 1701 to 1707.