SPEKE, George (1623-89), of White Lackington, Som.
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Family and Education
b. 1 May 1623, 1st s. of George Speke of White Lackington by Joan, da. of Sir John Portman, 1st Bt. of Orchard Portman, Som. educ. travelled abroad 1639. m. 21 May 1641, Mary, da. of Sir Robert Pye† of Westminster, 6s. (2 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. fa. 1637.1
J.p. Som. 1643-5, July 1660-3, commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-80, sheriff 1661-2; freeman, Exetere 1670; dep. lt som. 1689-d.2
Speke’s ancestors were of Devonshire origin, and represented that county as early as 1332. They settled at White Lackington about the middle of the 15th century. Speke’s wardship was sold for £1,800 to an Exchequer official, whose daughter he later married. His wife was an ardent Presbyterian, and her brother, Sir Robert Pye, married the daughter of John Hampden†. Speke, however, went into the King’s quarters to preserve his estate, valued at £1,410 p.a., and was taken prisoner at the fall of Bridgwater. Although he had been an entirely passive Royalist, he had to pay a fine of £2,390. He was under suspicion during the Interregnum, but took no part in Cavalier plotting.3
After the Restoration, Speke became an incautious associate of ‘fanatics’ and an outspoken critic of the King’s government, and was removed from the commission of the peace in 1663. It was his declared opinion that the nation was governed by the King’s mistresses and that the Anglican bishops were all Popishly affected and betrayers of their country. The Presbyterians, on the other hand, he considered honest men who would keep to a right course. Speke’s wife was regarded as one of the prime encouragers and frequenters of con