GLANVILLE, John (1542-1600), of Kilworthy, nr. Tavistock, Devon.

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



Family and Education

b. 1542, 2nd or 3rd s. of John Glanville, merchant of Tavistock, by Thomasine, da. of John Brown. educ. L. Inn 1567, called 1574. m. Alice, da. of John Skerret of Tavistock, 7ch. inc. John, Speaker of House of Commons in Apr. 1640.

Offices Held

J.p.q. Cornw., Devon from c.1583; Lent and Autumn reader, L. Inn 1589; serjeant-at-law 1589; recorder, Launceston 1590; justice of the common pleas from 1598.


According to tradition Glanville began his legal career as an attorney and was the first of that branch of the profession to reach the bench. He was a servant of the Russell family, and the inference is that it was the 2nd Earl of Bedford who obtained him his first parliamentary seat. As the son of a local merchant, known to the Russells, Glanville would have had his own claim at Tavistock in 1586. During this Parliament he was appointed to a committee on the continuation of certain statutes (17 Mar. 1587), the only mention of him in the surviving records of the House. By 1592 he was being employed by Sir Walter Ralegh in stannary business. He was interested in his own right in the St. Margaret’s tin works in Cornwall, and probably owned property near St. Germans, for which he was returned in the 1593 Parliament, possibly assisted by Ralegh. In 1599 the 3rd Earl of Bedford addressed him as ‘my very good trusty and loving friend’. While on circuit 27 July 1600 Glanville fell from his horse and with ‘the unwieldy weight of his own body toppled down’ head first, breaking his neck. Administration of his large estate was granted to his widow on 8 Aug. of that year, and an inquisition post mortem was taken at Exeter 12 Aug. 1602. His heir was his son Francis, aged 14 in 1602. His widow married Sir Francis Godolphin.

DNB; Foss, Judges, v. 494; Devon RO, q. sess. order bk. 1592-1600, p. 216; Trans. Dev. Assoc. viii. 381; C. S. Gilbert, Hist. Surv. Cornw. ii. 412; Bodl. Tanner 115, f. 195; PCC admon. act bk. 1600, f. 57; C142/271/158; D’Ewes, 416; N. Pevsner, South Devon, 277.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler