HILL, John (1590-1657), of Dorchester, Dorset; later of London

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. 8 Nov. 1590, 3rd s. of Roger Hill† (d.1608) of Poundisford, Pitminster, Som. and Mary, da. of John Hassard, sen., merchant, of Lyme Regis, Dorset; bro. of Roger†.1 m. 1615, Sarah, da. of John Greene, merchant, of Dorchester, wid. of Thomas Davidge, merchant, of Dorchester, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da. d.v.p.2 d. aft. 25 May 1657.3

Offices Held

Constable, Dorchester 1618-19,4 capital burgess 1621-d.,5 alderman 1621-d.;6 bailiff 1624-5, 1631-2, 1642-3;7 treas. W. Dorset 1633-4;8 mayor, Dorchester 1636-7,9 commr. sequestration 1643, levying money, Dorset 1643,10 volunteers, Mdx. 1644,11 execution of ordinances, Dorset 1644, assessment 1644, 1647,12 militia, Mdx. 1644.13

Gov. co. of freemen, Dorchester 1621-2, asst. 1629-30;14 cttee. Dorchester New Eng. Co. 1624-7.15

Jt. collector of prize money (parl.) 1644-6.16


The Hill family of Poundisford was descended from a merchant of Taunton, Somerset, who died in 1546. Hill’s grandfather was listed as a ‘gospel favourer’ in 1564. His great-uncle and father were sat for Taunton in the 1571 and 1572 Parliaments respectively.17 Hill himself became an ironmonger in Dorchester, importing his materials by sea from South Wales. However, he was also licensed in 1618 to keep an alehouse in Colyton, Devon (probably as trustee for his step-daughter), and engaged in privateering activities against the Spaniards in the late 1620s. A prominent local puritan, he was returned for Dorchester in 1628, but left no trace on the records of Parliament, and never sat again.18

A defaulter in musters in 1629, Hill was brought before the Privy Council, and promised to conform in future. In the same year he contributed to the costs of obtaining Dorchester’s new charter. His brother Roger represented Taunton in the Short Parliament, while his nephew, another Roger, sat for Bridport in the Long Parliament before becoming a Cromwellian judge.19 Hill himself was an influential member of Dorset’s county committee in the Civil War, and was appointed by Parliament as joint collector of prize money, doubtless at the instance of his brother-in-law Giles Greene*.20 Defeated at the Weymouth by-election of 1645, he subsequently settled in London. Hill drew up his will on 25 May 1657, bequeathing £100 for a university exhibition to be held by poor scholars from the Dorchester free school. He died later that year, the will being proved on 4 Jan. 1658. His son Richard was also a merchant, but nothing further is known of his descendants.21

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. H.W.L. Way, Hist. of Way Fam. 35, 37.
  • 2. Vis. Dorset (Harl. Soc. xx), 55; Procs. Dorset Nat. Hist. and Antiq. Field Club, xvi. 68; Add. 46500 (Roger to Abigail Hill, 8 Aug. 1644).
  • 3. PROB 11/272, f. 31A.
  • 4. William Whiteway of Dorchester (Dorset Rec. Soc. xii), 23.
  • 5. Municipal Recs. of Dorchester ed. C.H. Mayo, 464, 717.
  • 6. William Whiteway of Dorchester, 42.
  • 7. Hutchins, Dorset, ii. 352.
  • 8. Dorset Q. Sess. 1625-38 ed. T. Hearing and S. Bridges (Dorset Rec. Soc. xiv), 235.
  • 9. Hutchins, 354.
  • 10. A. and O. i. 112, 229.
  • 11. Ibid. 383.
  • 12. Ibid. 460, 544, 964.
  • 13. Ibid. 556.
  • 14. Municipal Recs. of Dorchester, 386, 395.
  • 15. Procs. Dorset Field Club, xiii. 65.
  • 16. A. and O. i. 392.
  • 17. Way, 35; Cam. Misc. ix. pt. 3, p. 64; HP Commons, 1558-1603, ii. 315.
  • 18. William Whiteway of Dorchester, 42; Weymouth and Melcombe Regis Min. Bk. ed. M. Weinstock (Dorset Rec. Soc. i), 46; Som. and Dorset N and Q, xv. 85; CSP Dom. 1628-9, pp. 294, 297, 304, 381; D. Underdown, Fire from Heaven, 204.
  • 19. APC, 1629-30, p. 221; Municipal Recs. of Dorchester, 86.
  • 20. Dorset Standing Cttee. ed. C.H. Mayo, 30, 56, 128.
  • 21. Weymouth and Melcombe Regis Min. Bk. 56; Municipal Recs. of Dorchester, 578; PROB 11/272, ff. 31A-33.