POLE, William II (1561-1636), of Shute, 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

bap. 27 Aug. 1561, 1st s. of William Pole I of Shute by his 2nd w. educ. ?Exeter Coll. Oxf.; I. Temple Feb. 1579. m. (1) 23 July 1583, Mary (d.1606), da. and coh. of William Peryam of Crediton, 6s. 5da.; (2) Jane (d.1654), da. of William Sims of Chard, Som., wid. of Roger How of London. suc. fa. 1587. Kntd. 1606.

Offices Held

J.p. Devon from 1591, sheriff 1602-3.


Pole, the Devon antiquary, was brought into Parliament for Bossiney by his father-in-law, William Peryam. His pursuits in later life suggest the likelihood of a university education, and some credence may be given to the story, otherwise unsubstantiated, that he went to Exeter College, Oxford, where Peryam had been a fellow. On the death of his father he inherited his Devon property, including Colcombe Castle which he subsequently rebuilt. In later years he subscribed £37 10s. to the Virginia Company and was one of those who sponsored the third Virginia charter. Although not inactive in county affairs, he increasingly devoted himself to the study of antiquities and had, by the time of his death, 9 Feb. 1636, large miscellaneous collections which were later published.

In his will, dated 3 Dec. 1635, he renounced ‘this filthy flesh’, and announced his sole adherence to Christ. His second wife received all the plate which she had brought at her marriage, ‘as well the fashion not altered, as since by her appointment altered and changed into new fashion’. By a nuncupative codicil, made about 30 Dec. 1635, he nominated his eldest son, Sir John, as sole executor. The will was proved in October the following year.

Devonshire Studies, ed. Hoskins, 374, 476; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 603; Trans. Dev. Assoc. xvii. 256; xviii. 262-8; xxv. 105; CSP Dom. 1601-3, p. 193; PCC 38 Goare.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: W.J.J.