BOGANS (BUGGINS), John (-d.1606), of Helston, Cornw.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



1604 - 7 Feb. 1606

Family and Education

Yr. s. of John Bogans (d. by 1590) of Totnes, Devon and Dennys, da. of one Dottynge.1 m. by 1579, Alice, da. of Alexander Penhellick of Helston, 2s. 1da. d. 7 Feb. 1606.2 sig. John Bogans.

Offices Held

Freeman, Helston by 1588-d., mayor 1588-9, 1603-4;3 collector subsidy, Cornw. 1602.4


Descended from a Totnes merchant family which achieved local prominence in the mid-sixteenth century, Bogans married a Helston woman by 1579, and settled in the Cornish borough around seven years later.5 He was presumably the ‘John Boggins of Exeter’ who featured regularly in Helston’s port books in the early 1580s. The speed with which he rose through the corporation’s ranks once he took up residence indicates that he was already wealthy.6 As mayor of Helston in 1588-9, he secured a parliamentary seat in the borough for his kinsman, William Buggin of London.7 Little evidence survives of Bogans’ subsequent business activities, but he certainly engaged in money-lending, and invested extensively in land. At his death, he owned over 300 acres, of which almost half lay around six miles from Helston, in St. Keverne parish. Assessed for the subsidy in 1597 at £9, he was the only Helston resident rated in land rather than goods.8 By then he was in dispute with a St. Keverne gentleman, Justinian Tallakerne, who had entered into a £500 mortgage two years earlier, and then defaulted. Negotiations having broken down, a complex legal battle ensued, and around early 1603 Bogans’ title to the mortgaged properties was upheld by Chancery, though Tallakerne had to be evicted by force.9

Bogans’ local standing was confirmed in February 1604 when he was elected to represent Helston in Parliament. As the serving mayor he must have returned himself, in contravention of electoral custom, but the indenture no longer survives, and his offence apparently went unnoticed at Westminster. Indeed, he failed to leave any trace on the Commons’ records at all. During the 1604-5 recess he was again sued in Star Chamber by Tallakerne, who alleged that Bogans had conspired to keep him unjustly in prison, but the outcome of the case is not known.10 Bogans died intestate in February 1606. Administration of his estate was granted just 18 days later to his son Nicholas, who inherited Tallakerne’s former property, and set himself up as a gentleman elsewhere in St. Keverne parish. No subsequent member of the family sat in Parliament.11

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Paul Hunneyball


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 98.
  • 2. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 40; C142/296/122; PROB 11/100, f. 114.
  • 3. C219/31/28; 219/35/1/157.
  • 4. E401/2399-400, unfol.
  • 5. J. Polsue, Complete Parochial Hist. of Cornw. ii. 339; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 98. In 1585 Bogans was neither a Helston subsidyman nor a member of the bor.’s common council: E179/88/236; C66/1270.
  • 6. E190/1015/4, 22.
  • 7. C219/31/28; Mdx. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lxv), 176.
  • 8. SP46/58, f. 177; C142/296/122; E179/88/262.
  • 9. STAC 5/T2/32; 5/T23/17; STAC 8/61/39; 8/286/7.
  • 10. STAC 8/286/7.
  • 11. PROB 6/7, p. 30; C142/296/122; Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 40.