PROWSE, Robert (d.1592), of Helstead and Barnstaple, Devon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
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Family and Education

s. of John Prowse, clothier, of Tiverton, by his w. the da. and h. of one White of Tiverton. m. 5 Oct. 1573, Joan, da. of Nicholas Witchalse or Wichalles of Barnstaple, 2s. 4da.

Offices Held

Receiver, Barnstaple 1583, mayor 1588-9.


Prowse, a Barnstaple merchant, was paid the large sum of £10 12s.6d. wages on the only occasion he represented his town in Parliament. His export trade involved him in an incident in 1590 when he shipped £250-£400 worth of cloth for ‘the Islands’, in the Marlyn, paying duty at Barnstaple on the cloth and at London on 10 cwt. of wax. Off the Scilly Isles one of the Queen’s ships boarded her and took off some of the cargo, no doubt suspecting evasion of duty. An Exchequer case ensued, depositions being taken at Barnstaple in 1591.

Prowse died 29 June 1592, administration of his goods being granted to his widow 17 July following. He had bought the manor of Helstead in 1560.1

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler


This biography is based upon the Roberts thesis.

  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 627; Vis. Devon (Harl. Soc. vi), 224; Barnstaple Recs. i. 45; ii. 168; Stradling Corresp. ed. Treherne, 240-1; G. Bushnell, Sir Richard Grenville, 203; E134/33 Eliz. Easter 9; Vis. Som. (Harl. Soc. xi), 89; PCC admon. act bk. 1592, f. 24; C142/236/44.