POPE, Lewis (-d.1623), of Taunton, Som.

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

m. (1) 7 Oct. 1594, Ellen Saunders; (2) 18 Aug. 1597, Grace, da. of John St. Aubyn of Alfoxton, Som., wid. of Francis Moore of Taunton; 1da. admon. 20 Dec. 1623.1

Offices Held

Constable, Taunton 1600-1, 1615-16, 1623-d.,2 trustee of town lands by 1617.3


A Taunton merchant, Pope was described by an adversary in a Chancery suit as ‘a man of very mean estate, and only raised, as it is thought’, by his second marriage. His parentage has not been ascertained, but he was respectable enough to be appointed as overseer or executor of the wills of two close kinsmen in Taunton, Thomas Pope senior and junior, in 1597 and 1602. The latter bequeathed him five burgages in the town, at least some of which were commercial properties.4 His second wife already had eight children by her first marriage, the joint beneficiaries of a trust fund valued at £300 a year, and Pope subsequently found himself accused by their uncle, Jasper Moore†, of seeking to benefit personally from this provision. Of his five stepdaughters, one married a Dorset Catholic, Martin White, another an aggressive anti-puritan from the same county, Richard Christmas.5

Pope was elected to sit for Taunton in the 1621 Parliament, but contributed little to its proceedings. On 19 Apr. he described how his stepson had been obliged to bribe Sir John Bennet* in order to obtain an administration grant from the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. He expressed concern on 7 May that if the Merchant Staplers were allowed greater privileges in the cloth export trade, their Company should not be obliged to admit ‘every mean person’. Appointed five days later to scrutinize the bill to improve the manufacture of perpetuanas, he was also nominated to the legislative committee concerned with tenants’ privileges on two Gloucestershire manors (20 April).6 After the recess he opposed a bill to restrict the export of coin, and also reminded the House of objections raised by Edward Alford* to the bill to ban wool exports (22 and 30 November).7

Pope was already ill when he drew up his will on 22 June 1623. He left £3 to the poor of Taunton, and ordered a funeral ‘in decent manner without any pomp’, with only his widow and his daughter Joan in mourning. The overseers were his stepson Thomas Moore and Roger Prowse*. The will was proved in the following December by his daughter. No other member of the family sat in Parliament.8

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Som. Par. Reg. ix. 14-15; C2/Jas.I/P20/66; PROB 11/142, f. 468.
  • 2. Som. Arch. and Nat. Hist. Soc. Procs. lv. 57.
  • 3. C2/Jas.I/W4/40.
  • 4. C2/Jas.I/P20/66; PROB 11/90, f. 477; 11/101, f. 165v.
  • 5. C2/Jas.I/P20/66; Wilts. Vis. Peds. (Harl. Soc. cv), 137; Hutchins, Dorset, iii. 265-6; D. Underdown, Revel, Riot and Rebellion, 60.
  • 6. CD 1621, iii. 26, 188; iv. 316; v. 338-9; CJ, i. 583a, 619a.
  • 7. CD 1621, iii. 428; CJ, i. 653b.
  • 8. PROB 11/142, f. 468.