CHICHESTER, Sir John (c.1520-68), of Great Torrington, Youlston and Raleigh, Devon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. c.1520, 1st s. of Edward Chichester (d.v.p. 1526) by Elizabeth, da. of John Bourchier, 1st Earl of Bath. m. Gertrude (d.1566), da. of Sir William Courtenay of Powderham, 7s. 9da. suc. gd.-fa. John Chichester 1536.2 Kntd. 2 Oct. 1553.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Devon 1550-1; recorder, Barnstaple by 1555; j.p. Devon 1555, q. and dep. lt. by 1559; commr. eccles, causes, Exeter diocese 1559, piracy, Cornw., Devon 1564.3


Chichester was a friend of the 2nd Earl of Bedford in whose company he was at Venice in July 1555. In the early years of Elizabeth’s reign the two men were in constant touch over such matters as the religion of justices in the south-west, presentments and the subsidy.

Chichester did not achieve knight of the shire status in Elizabeth’s first Parliament, instead being returned for Barnstaple where he was recorder. He bought the borough and castle in May 1566, disposing of it almost immediately, though retaining the nomination of one burgess. Though his name does not appear in the exiguous journal for 1559, he was appointed to committees concerned with gig mills (3 Feb. 1563) and the succession question (31 Oct. 1566). He was also one of 30 MPs summoned on 5 Nov. 1566 to hear the Queen’s message on the succession. The ‘lewd pasquyle’ which lampooned the extreme protestants in the 1566 session calls him ‘Chichester the fell’. In his will, made in 1568, he asked to be buried near his late wife, and left £20 to be spent on a tomb ‘for a perpetual memory’. He died 30 Nov. that year, and was buried at Pilton, Devon. His property was valued at £185 p.a.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Unknown constituency
  • 2. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 173, 179; C142/45/40, 58/4, 24, 88; W. Drake, Fam. of Chichester, 331.
  • 3. Barnstaple Recs. ii. 1 7 2; H. Gee, Elizabethan Clergy, 98-9; A. L. Rowse, Tudor Cornw. 393; Roberts thesis.
  • 4. CSP Ven. vi. 145; SP12/7/1; HMC Exeter, 39; APC, vii. 225; HMC Pepys, 50; Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 68; SP12/6/17; CJ, i. 64; D’Ewes, 126; Stowe 354, f. 18; Cambridge Univ. Lib. Gg, iii. 34, p. 209; F/v 14; CPR, 1563-6, pp. 117, 369; PCC 43 Daper; Wards 9/104/258d, 139/303.