POLE (POLEY), William I (1515-87), of Colyford and Shute, Devon.

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



Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. 9 Aug. 1515, o.s. of William Pole by his 2nd w. Agnes, da. of John Drake of Ash. educ. I. Temple, called. m. (1) 1548, Thomasine (d.1556), da. of John Tudoll of Lyme Regis, wid. of John Strowbridge (d.1539) of Streathayne and of William Beaumont (d.1547), s.p.; (2) by 1559, Katherine, da. of Alexander Popham of Huntworth, Som., 5s. inc. William Pole II 2da.

Offices Held

Fellow, I. Temple by 1547, bencher 1556, Autumn reader 1557, Lent reader 1562, treasurer 1564; j.p. Devon and Dorset from c.1559; of counsel to Lyme Regis from c.1564.


The name entered on the Exchequer list of 1559 MPs is Poley. No likely William Poley has been traced, so it has been assumed that Poley was a variant spelling of Pole, and that the 1559 MP was William Pole, a wealthy lawyer and speculator in church lands who had already represented two Dorset boroughs in previous Parliaments. His cousin John Saintclere had sat for West Looe in 1555, but Pole’s own return there in 1559 may well have been due to the 2nd Earl of Bedford, who knew Pole’s mother’s family. Whether Pole shared Bedford’s protestant religious opinions is another matter. His not sitting after 1559 and his not attaining any higher legal office than that of counsel to Lyme Regis suggests at best a lukewarm acceptance of the new religion, as does his retirement to his country seat of Shute, which he had acquired from the Catholic Petre family, Sir William Petre having received it after the attainder of Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk. Still, Pole remained on the commission of the peace and he was employed by the Privy Council in September 1580 to inquire into disturbances at Exeter. His will gives no indication of any religious beliefs. In it he bequeathed 20s. each to the vicars of Colyton and Seaton, remembered the poor of several Devon parishes, and left his widow an annuity and a life interest in the house and park at Shute. The remainder to this property, and the residue of his lands, went to his eldest son, William. John Popham, attorney-general and the testator’s brother-in-law, was one of the executors, another being Thomas Hannam. Pole died 15 Aug. 1587, and was buried at Colyton.

R. Polwhele, Devonshire, iii. 311; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 603; Colyton Par. Regs. (Devon and Cronw. Rec. Soc. 1928), 20, 21, 459, 570-82; St. Ch. 4/3/10; Lyme Regis mss, Finance, i. 60; CPR, 1563-6, p. 81; 1569-72, p. 143; Hutchins, Dorset, ii. 223; W. Pole, Desc. Devon, 137-8; APC, xii. 186; PCC 62 Spencer; C142/213/72.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Authors: Helen Miller / P. W. Hasler