SPECOTE, Humphrey (by 1532-89 or later), of Thornbury, Devon.

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 1532, 1st s. of Edmund Specote of Thornbury by Jane, da. of Roger Grenville of Stowe in Kilkhampton, Cornw. m. by 1561, Elizabeth, da. of John Walter of Broxbourne, Herts., wid. of John Arscott (d.1558) of Tetcott, Devon, 3s. inc. Sir John 1da. suc. fa. 24 Apr. 1557.1

Offices Held

Commr. i.p.m. Cornw. 1564; j.p. Devon 1582-3.2


Humphrey Specote’s family took its name from the manor which it owned in the parish of Merton in north Devon. His marriage to the widow of a wealthy neighbour augmented his patrimony which in the 1590s was said to yield £20 a year. He inherited a burgage in Plymouth but his election there to Mary’s last Parliament and his admission as a freeman at about the same time were probably promoted by his kinsmen: he was joined in the House by his ‘cousin’ James Bassett, his uncle John Grenville and one of his father’s trustees Thomas Browne alias Bevill, all sitting for Devon constituencies. Nothing is known about Specote’s part in the Parliament but he may have used the occasion to arrange his marriage as his wife’s first husband is thought to have died near London shortly before it opened. Little else has come to light about Specote apart from his role in county affairs under Elizabeth. He assisted the widow of Roger Prideaux in a dispute over her title to some of her husband’s lands and from his petition to the court of requests on the widow’s behalf he is known to have been still alive late in 1589. He may have died shortly afterwards as during 1592-3 he was named to the quorum of the Devon bench, from which he had been removed nine years before, but was immediately struck off.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/113/11. Vis. Devon, ed. Colby, 190; Vis. Devon (Harl. Soc. vi), 272; Vis. Devon, ed. Vivian, 706; Al. Ox. 1395.
  • 2. CPR, 1563-6, p. 334.
  • 3. C142/113/11; Plymouth receivers’ acct. bk. 1538-9; black bk. f. 297v; Req.2/61/48; Hatfield 278.