JANE, Joseph (1595-1658), of Liskeard, 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



1640 (Nov.) - 22 Jan. 1644
1644 (Oxf. Parl.)

Family and Education

bap. 1 Sept. 1595, o.s. of Thomas Jane of Liskeard and Honor, da. of ?one Molton of Pillaton, Cornw. m. (1) 29 June 1629, Jane (bur. 27 May 1632), da. of William? Sparke of Plymouth, Devon, 1da. d.v.p.; (2) 15 Aug. 1633, Loveday (bur. 7 June 1660), da. of William Kekewich of Catchfrench, Cornw., 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. fa. 1636.1 d. by 14 Sept. 1658.2 sig. Joseph Jane.

Offices Held

Feoffee of town lands, Liskeard 1625,3 chief steward by 1629-at least 1637,4 capital burgess by 1631-at least 1648,5 mayor and j.p. 1631-2, May-Oct. 1636;6 commr. salvaged goods, Cornw. 1631;7 escheator, Devon and Cornw. 1632-3;8 commr. assessment, Cornw. 1641,9 (roy.) 1644-6.10

Clerk of PC in exile (extraordinary) 1650-3, (ordinary) 1653-d.11


Jane’s background was relatively humble. His father, Thomas, possessed a basic legal training and was described in a law-suit in 1607 as ‘a poor man’, but this was probably an exaggeration. He was doubtless resident at Liskeard for some years before Jane’s birth there in 1595, since he had become a capital, or senior, burgess by 1601. Appointed steward of the borough court in 1604, Thomas was ejected from the post roughly two years later during a power struggle within the corporation, and apparently entered the service of a local gentleman, John Harris I*. His period of disgrace was short-lived, and he was subsequently mayor of Liskeard three times.12

Jane seems to have trained as a lawyer. During his father’s first term as mayor in 1621-2 he received £4 16s. 4d. from Liskeard borough ‘for the town business in Easter and Trinity term’, presumably the handling of legal matters. In 1625 he was recorded as a feoffee of the borough’s lands, and in the following year he represented Liskeard in Parliament. Although Jane was effectively the borough’s own electoral nominee, he appears not to have received a salary or expenses.13 He made little impression on the Commons, merely attracting nominations to two legislative committees on 23 March. One concerned the reformation of attorneys, while the other addressed a dispute over property in Gloucestershire.14

During the next decade Jane consolidated his place in local society, accumulating a small personal estate in and around his home town, and marrying into a minor Cornish gentry family. He served as chief steward of Liskeard for much of the 1630s, and twice combined this role with the mayoralty, on the second occasion stepping in after his father died in office. The escheatorship of Cornwall, which he held in 1632-3, also introduced him to county administration, albeit at a low level.15 Jane re-entered the Commons as a Liskeard burgess in November 1640, but he was disabled for royalism in January 1644, on account of his attending the Oxford Parliament.16 Returning to Cornwall later that year, he helped organize the royalist war effort there, though he was critical of the tactics employed by Sir Richard Grenville*. Jane was in Pendennis Castle when it finally fell to parliamentary forces in August 1646, and suffered sequestration of his lands, contrary to the articles of surrender.17 By September 1649 he had fled to the Continent, and he spent most of his remaining years at the Hague, where he monitored the international situation and wrote occasional royalist tracts. His principal work, in 1650, was the Eikon Aklastos, a rambling counterblast to Milton’s Eikonoklastes.18 Highly regarded by (Sir) Edward Hyde†, he was appointed a clerk of Charles II’s council in exile, but apparently never fulfilled his formal duties. Jane was reported as being dangerously ill on 9 Sept. 1658, and he died at Middelburg in the United Provinces before 14 September. No will or administration for him has been found, and none of his descendants sat in Parliament.19

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Paul Hunneyball


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 587; Cornw. RO, FP126/1/1, pp. 78, 116, 219, 223, 226-7, 254; FP188/1/1a, p. 26; Reg. St. Andrew’s, Plymouth ed. M.C.S. Cruwys (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. 1954), p. 119; T51/1, p. 37.
  • 2. Nicholas Pprs. IV ed. G.F. Warner (Cam. Soc. ser. 3. xxxi), 68.
  • 3. Cornw. RO, B/LIS/26, no. 10.
  • 4. J. Allen, Hist. Liskeard, 239; Cornw. RO, B/LIS/289.
  • 5. Allen, 58, 271.
  • 6. Allen, 58; Cornw. RO, B/LIS/284, 288; FP126/1/1, p. 223.
  • 7. APC, 1630-1, pp. 272-3.
  • 8. List of Escheators comp. A.C. Wood (L. and I. Soc. lxxii), 38.
  • 9. SR, v. 82.
  • 10. Allen, 86; A.C. Miller, Sir Richard Grenville, 198 n. 36.
  • 11. CCSP, ii. 63, 206; CSP Dom. 1657-8, pp. 377-8.
  • 12. C2/Jas.I/L7/35; STAC 8/15/11; 8/181/6; Cornw. RO, BK/353; B/LIS/279, 283, 288.
  • 13. Allen, 471; Cornw. RO, B/LIS/279, 281.
  • 14. Procs. 1626, ii. 348.
  • 15. CP25/2/402/2 Chas.I Hil., 6 Chas.I Trin.; C54/3099/8; 54/3174/6; Cornw. RO, B/LIS/288.
  • 16. CJ, iii. 374a; Historical Collections ed. J. Rushworth, v. 573.
  • 17. Bodl. Clarendon 26, ff. 164-5v; CSP Dom. 1645-7, p. 467; CCC, 3062.
  • 18. Nicholas Pprs. I (Cam. Soc. n.s. xl), 137-8, 207, 321; ii (Cam. Soc. n.s. l), 260, 349-50; CCSP, ii. 162; CSP Dom. 1650, p. 236; 1655-6, p. 235.
  • 19. CCSP, ii. 63, 365; v. 77; Nicholas Pprs. III (Cam. Soc. n.s. lvii), 116; iv. 53, 68.