FRY, John (by 1522-83 or later), of Membury and Wycroft, Devon and Gray's Inn, London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1522, 2nd s. of William Fry of Yarty in the parish of Membury, Devon by Alice, da. of Nicholas Bratton. educ. G. Inn, adm. 1536.1

Offices Held


John Fry was a lawyer. In 1547 he was living in Membury when he and his brothers, ‘greatly friended and allied with the most part of the gentlemen’ of Devon, were accused in Star Chamber of having dispossessed one John Walronde of a house at Wycroft, two miles from Membury. In his defence Fry said that he was acting on the orders of the 9th Lord Cobham, whose keeper of the park he was at Wycroft, and that Cobham had revoked his lease of the house to Walronde in favour of one to Sir Giles Strangways I. As Strangways was high steward of Lyme Regis until his death in the previous year it was almost certainly he who had procured Fry’s return in 1545; Fry’s name was inserted into the schedule made by the sheriff, an indication that he was not the free choice of the electors. Nothing is known about his work in the House, but during the prorogation in 1546 he bought two Devon manors for £456; one of these he resold, together with the manor of Whitwell, Devon, to the Willoughby family.2

Fry made Wycroft his home in Devon, having probably been granted the lease by Lord Cobham after the failure of the Star Chamber case against him. In 1582 he himself started a suit in the court of requests against his younger brother Edward, whom he accused of retaining his bond after he had repaid the £100 for which he had bound himself. The brother counter-attacked with further charges in his answer, to which Fry replied on 13 Feb. 1583, referring to unsuccessful attempts at mediation by their eldest brother William. This is the last reference found to Fry.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from education. Vis. Devon, ed. Vivian, 375.
  • 2. St.Ch.2/17/329; Lyme Regis rec. bk. f. 14; C219/18C/36; LP Hen. VIII, xxi; W. Pole, Description of Devonshire (1791), 137, 139-40.
  • 3. Req.2/87/66.