ROLLE, Sir Samuel (c.1589-1647), of Insworke, Maker, Cornw.; later of Heanton Satchville, Petrockstow, 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



1640 (Apr.)
c. Apr. 1641 - Dec. 1647

Family and Education

b. c.1589,1 1st s. of Robert Rolle of Heanton Satchville and Joan, da. of Thomas Hele of Flete, Devon; bro. of Henry* and John*.2 educ. Exeter Coll. Oxf. 1605; I. Temple 1609.3 m. (1) Mary (d. 23 Jan. 1614), da. and coh. of Edmund Stradling of Easton-in-Gordano, Som., s.p.;4 (2) settlement 20 Sept. 1618 (with £2,500), Margaret, da. of Sir Thomas Wise* of Sydenham, Devon, 1s. 2da.; (3) 20 Mar. 1631, Mary (d. by 1646), da. of Richard Carew* of Antony, Cornw., 4s. 2da. (1 d.v.p.).5 kntd. 28 June 1619;6 suc. fa. 1633. bur. 7 Dec. 1647.7

Offices Held

J.p. Cornw. 1619-25, Devon 1619-42, by Mar. 1647-d.,8 commr. subsidy 1621-2, 1624,9 piracy 1624-39, Cornw. 1624-6 ,10 billeting, Devon and Cornw. 1625, martial law 1625,11 Forced Loan, Devon 1626,12 sewers, 1627, 1634,13 freeman, W. Looe, Cornw. by 1641,14 commr. oyer and terminer, Western circ. 1641-2,15 assessment, Devon 1641-3, June 1647-d., Cornw. and Som. June 1647-d., col. militia, Devon by 1642-at least 1646,16 dep. lt. 1642,17 commr. sequestration 1643.18

Commr. excise 1645, excommunication 1646, sale of bps’ lands 1646.19


Rolle’s father Robert apparently inherited only three manors in 1595, but he greatly increased his estates thereafter, and served as sheriff of Devon in 1607-8. Following a standard gentry education Rolle himself settled near Saltash, Cornwall with his first wife, a Somerset heiress. When she died young a second, more advantageous union was negotiated in 1618 with one of Devon’s leading families, the Wises of Sydenham. This marriage, with its accompanying settlement, probably explains Rolle’s knighthood and elevation to the bench in both Devon and Cornwall in the following year. At about the same time, he took up residence at Insworke, a few miles west of Plymouth, which remained his principal home until the 1630s.20 In 1622 Rolle was summoned before the Privy Council in connection with a dispute between his father-in-law Sir Thomas Wise and Sir Robert Gorges* over impounded shipping near Plymouth, but he was cleared of all charges against him.21

In 1625 Rolle was elected to Parliament for the first time. Instead of taking a seat at the family borough of Callington, which that year returned his brother-in-law Thomas Wise, he found a place at Grampound, most likely with the backing of his cousin Sir Reginald Mohun*. Since Rolle was busy organizing the billeting of soldiers in the Plymouth area until at least late May, he cannot have reached Westminster much before the actual opening of the thrice-prorogued first sitting. On 25 June he was named to legislative committees concerned with larceny and benefit of clergy, but was not otherwise recorded as contributing to proceedings. It is not known whether he attended the Oxford sitting in August.22

In 1627 Rolle supplied the victuals for a Plymouth privateering venture, but allegedly failed to receive a share of two captured cargoes. He enjoyed greater success in developing his estates, and his ‘care and diligence’ as lord of the manor of Callington from 1633 brought about the town’s economic revival, according to a near-contemporary observer.23 Rolle sat for Callington in the Short Parliament of 1640, but failed to secure a place in its successor until early 1641, when he became the first member of his family to represent Devon, filling a vacancy created by the death of Thomas Wise. Although one of the more prominent parliamentarian leaders in the county during the First Civil War, he had become disillusioned with the conflict by 1645, and his alignment with the Presbyterian grouping in the Commons led to an attempt in July 1647 to bar him from sitting. In the event, he was excused from attendance only three months later because of illness, and died around early December.24 Much of his will, drawn up on 2 Mar. 1646, with a codicil dated 10 May 1647, was concerned with provision for his five youngest children, who were still minors. Although his eldest son Robert† seems to have been of age, Rolle chose as his executors six other relatives, including his brothers Henry and John and his uncle William Rolle*.25 Robert began his own parliamentary career in 1654, representing Devon.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Paul Hunneyball


  • 1. Rolle was aged 15 in early 1605, and about 45 in 1633: Al. Ox.; C142/502/65.
  • 2. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 654.
  • 3. Al. Ox.; I. Temple Admiss.
  • 4. J. Polsue, Complete Paroch. Hist. of Cornw. iv. 173. The children assigned to this marriage by Vivian, 654 probably belonged to one Samuel Rolle of Bradridge, nr. Launceston, Cornw.: C3/323/71.
  • 5. C142/502/65; Vivian, 142, 654-5; PROB 11/164, f. 245; 11/204, ff. 46v-7v.
  • 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 172.
  • 7. Vivian, 654.
  • 8. C231/4, p. 189; 231/5, p. 530; C66/2310; Devon RO, QS 28/3-4.
  • 9. C212/22/20, 21, 23.
  • 10. C181/3, ff. 113, 130; 181/5, f. 132v.
  • 11. APC, 1625-6, p. 55; T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 1, p. 180.
  • 12. C193/12/2.
  • 13. C181/3, f. 217v; 181/4, f. 163v.
  • 14. A.L. Browne, Corporation Chronicles of E. and W. Looe, 190.
  • 15. C181/5, ff. 189v, 221.
  • 16. HMC Portland, i. 54; CSP Dom. 1645-7, p. 416.
  • 17. FSL, X.d.483 (5).
  • 18. SR, v. 61, 83, 150; A. and O. i. 90, 111, 147, 228, 962-3, 974.
  • 19. A. and O. i. 691, 854, 904.
  • 20. C142/242/78; 142/502/65; List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 36; C.S. Gilbert, Hist. Survey of Cornw. i. 499; Polsue, iii. 251; Add. ch. 9282.
  • 21. APC, 1621-3, pp. 349, 357; CSP Dom. 1619-23, pp. 457, 479.
  • 22. Vivian, 464, 466; APC, 1625-6, pp. 87-8, 94; Procs. 1625, pp. 245-6.
  • 23. C2/Chas.I/R27/2; C142/502/65; Gilbert, ii. 469.
  • 24. Buller Pprs. ed. R.N. Worth, 29, 34, 58-9, 72-4; HMC Portland, i. 77, 292-3, 307; D. Underdown, Pride’s Purge, 82; CJ, v. 329b.
  • 25. PROB 11/204, ff. 46v-47v.