DAVIE, John (1589-1654), of Creedy House, Sandford, Devon

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



Family and Education

bap. 17 Jan. 1589,1 o.s. of John Davie of Sandford and Exeter, Devon, and Margaret, da. of George Southcote of Calverleigh, Devon.2 educ. Exeter Coll. Oxf. 1605;3 I. Temple 1608.4 m. (1) by 1611, Julian (d. 14 May 1627), da. of Sir William Strode* of Newnham, Devon, 5s. (1 d.v.p.) 4da.;5 (2) lic. 7 June 1630,6 Isabella (bur. 28 Oct. 1656), da. of Walter Hele of Gnaton, Devon, 1da.7 suc. fa. 1612;8 cr. bt. 9 Sept. 1641.9 bur. 13 Oct. 1654.10 sig. John Davie.

Offices Held

J.p. Devon 1617-at least 1624, 1626-at least 1640,11 1643,12 by 1647-d.;13 commr. Forced Loan, Devon 1627,14 charitable uses 1629, 1634,15 sheriff 1629-30,16 commr. sewers 1634,17 assessment 1641-3,18 array 1642.19


Davie belonged to a junior branch of a well-established Devon gentry family. His father, a successful merchant who served several times as mayor of Exeter, invested much of his fortune in land, including the Creedy estate at Sandford, and acquired a personal coat of arms in 1591. Davie himself received the education appropriate for a gentleman, and made a very advantageous first marriage to a daughter of Sir William Strode, one of Jacobean Devon’s leading figures.20

Davie served in the 1621 Parliament as one of Tiverton’s first two Members following the borough’s enfranchisement six years earlier. He probably owed his election to two separate factors. His mother’s family, the Southcotes, resided barely three miles from the town, and are known to have exercised electoral patronage there during this decade. Moreover, through his brother-in-law (Sir) George Chudleigh*, he enjoyed kinship with Sir Reginald Mohun*, who owned the largest share of the lordship of Tiverton.21 The significance of the latter connection became clear on 17 May, during the second reading debate on the bill to resolve a property dispute within the Mohun family. This seemingly innocuous measure sought to disadvantage Sir Reginald’s son John Mohun*, whose friends in the Commons opposed it accordingly. However, the bill received decisive backing from Sir Reginald’s allies, including Chudleigh and Strode, as well as from Davie, who was entitled as a Devon burgess to serve on its committee.22 Davie was also nominated to help scrutinize the bill to confirm the sale of Sir Edward Apsley’s lands in Fletton, Huntingdonshire, and to attend a conference with the Lords about the Sabbath observance bill (4 and 24 May). He is not known to have made any other speeches, and apparently never again stood for election.23

Davie was assessed for subsidy that year at £20, which equated to a payment of £4. He was also required to contribute the same amount to the Benevolence of 1622.24 Despite conscientious service as a magistrate, he was briefly removed from the Devon bench at the start of Charles I’s reign, then rapidly reinstated. There is no evidence that he had displeased the government, and he seems merely have fallen victim to lord keeper (Sir Thomas) Coventry’s* general purge of j.p.s.25 He evidently maintained some ties with Exeter, for in 1636 he helped to win the Privy Council’s support for the creation of a new free school there.26 In 1641 Davie purchased a baronetcy from the Crown, but he wavered in his allegiance during the Civil War. Although named a commissioner of array in 1642 and briefly confirmed in his place as a magistrate by the king in the following year, he sided with Parliament until Charles recovered Devon in 1644. Thereafter, he was reportedly a ‘commissioner for the king’, whom he lent £400 and ‘assisted ... with horses’. Consequently, his estates were sequestered in August 1649, though he managed to recover them a year later.27

Davie’s religious leanings are evident from his will, drawn up on 20 June 1639. He specifically requested a funeral sermon, delivered by a ‘godly preacher’, to put ‘those that survive in mind of their mortality and the better preparing and fitting of them for the kingdom of heaven’. Among his bequests, he left £20 to help establish a workhouse in Crediton, Devon, and £100 for maintenance of a schoolmaster there, to teach poor children to read and write, ‘and instruct them in the grounds of religion’. His two unmarried daughters were to receive £1,000 each, while his younger son Humphrey was assigned £500. Davie died in October 1654, and was buried at his own request at Sandford.28 His eldest son, John, a Presbyterian, sat briefly for Tavistock in 1661.29

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: George Yerby / Paul Hunneyball


  • 1. Devon RO, St. Mary Arches, Exeter par. reg.
  • 2. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 269-70; PROB 11/119, f. 321.
  • 3. Al. Ox.
  • 4. I. Temple database of admiss.
  • 5. Vivian, 270.
  • 6. Exeter Mar. Lics. ed. J.L. Vivian, 112.
  • 7. Vivian, 270, 462.
  • 8. Devon RO, St. Mary Arches, Exeter par. reg.
  • 9. CB, ii. 143.
  • 10. Vivian, 270.
  • 11. C231/4, ff. 45, 217; C66/2310, 2859.
  • 12. Docquets of Letters Patent 1642-6 ed. W.H. Black, ii. 11, 42.
  • 13. S.K. Roberts, ‘Devon JPs’, in Devon Docs. ed. T. Gray, 160-2.
  • 14. C193/12/2, f. 10v.
  • 15. C93/11/17; C192/1, unfol.
  • 16. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 37.
  • 17. C181/4, f. 163.
  • 18. SR, v. 61, 150; A. and O. i. 90, 147.
  • 19. Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 20. Vivian, 269; T. Moore, Hist. Devonshire, ii. 567; D. and S. Lysons, Devonshire, 115, 131, 278-9, 334, 433; C66/1617; Grantees of Arms ed. W.H. Rylands (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 71.
  • 21. CSP Dom. 1625-6, p. 312; Vivian, 190, 719; M. Dunsford, Hist. Memoirs of Tiverton, 100.
  • 22. CJ, i. 623b; Nicholas, Procs. 1621, ii. 86; HLRO, main pprs., 3 May 1621.
  • 23. CJ, i. 606b, 626a.
  • 24. E115/115/125; A.H.A. Hamilton, ‘Devon JPs and the Benevolences of 1614 and 1622’, Reps. and Trans. Devon Assoc. ix. 406.
  • 25. M. Wolffe, Gentry Leaders in Peace and War, 19, 267.
  • 26. CSP Dom. 1635-6, pp. 303, 331.
  • 27. M. Stoyle, Loyalty and Locality, 138; CCAM, 1127.
  • 28. PROB 11/244, ff. 401v-3; Vivian, 270.
  • 29. HP Commons, 1660-90, ii. 197.