ROUS, William (c.1595-1635), of Halton, nr. St. Dominick, 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




Family and Education

b. c.1595, 1st s. of Ambrose Rous* of Edmerston, Devon and Magdalen, da. of Peter Osborne of Chicksands, Beds.1 educ. Broadgates Hall, Oxf. 1612 aged 17; M. Temple 1614.2 m. 24 Apr. 1617 (with £1,500), Mary, da. of Sir Richard Robartes of Truro, Cornw., 5s. 2da.3 suc. fa. and grandfa. Sir Anthony Rous* 1620.4 d. 6 Mar. 1635.5 sig. Will[iam] Rous.

Offices Held

Bailiff, honour of Trematon, Cornw. 1620-d.;6 j.p. Cornw. 1621-d.,7 commr. subsidy 1622, 1624,8 Benevolence 1626,9 Forced Loan 1626-7.10


Rous’s education conformed to patterns already established within his family. He attended the same establishment in Oxford as his uncle Francis*, and followed in his father’s footsteps at the Middle Temple. His marriage in 1617 to Mary Robartes reflected his religious background, both parties being of the ‘godly’ persuasion.11 The deaths of his father and paternal grandfather in 1620 brought him an estate of almost 10,000 acres, though several properties were encumbered with annuities. Rous was executor to his grandfather, who left debts of around £1,200, but administration of his father’s affairs fell to his mother, who engaged him in a long-running legal battle over her jointure and the provision for Rous’s siblings.12 As head of his family, he was appointed to the Cornish bench in early 1621, subsequently serving as a subsidy commissioner. The Robartes family, who were dominant figures in Truro, no doubt arranged his election to Parliament for the borough in 1625.13 Rous is not known to have spoken in the House or sat on any committees.

In the Cornish factional disputes of the later 1620s Rous adopted a somewhat ambiguous position. After his efforts as a Benevolence commissioner in 1626 met with failure, he probably distanced himself from the Forced Loan, though not to the extent of refusing to contribute like his uncle Humphrey Nicoll*.14 In 1628 he signed the election indenture returning Sir John Eliot and William Coryton as the Cornish knights of the shire, but he was not otherwise a conspicuous member of their anti-Buckingham grouping.15 His most important relationship around this time was rather with his father-in-law, Sir Richard Robartes. Under the terms of his marriage contract, virtually all Rous’s inheritance had been conveyed to trustees, led by Robartes, to prevent the disposal of the estates, a restriction which apparently stopped Rous clearing his accumulated debts. In 1629 he persuaded Sir Richard to give him £2,000 to pay off his creditors and stabilize his affairs, in return for renewal of the trust agreement, but in May 1630 he was outlawed for debt at the suit of his own sister.16 In the following year, he pleaded fear of arrest for debt as his reason for not appearing before the commissioners for knighthood compositions.17 Following his death in March 1635, administration of his estate was granted to a creditor; no will has been found. He left a minor as his heir, but the wardship was secured by his widow with the assistance of Sir Edward Seymour* and (Sir) James Bagg II*, whose connection with the family is uncertain.18 Rous’s second son Richard represented Bossiney in the Cavalier Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Paul Hunneyball



  • 1. (J. Polsue), Complete Paroch. Hist. of Cornw. i. 301.
  • 2. Al. Ox.; M. Temple Admiss.
  • 3. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 413; WARD 7/58/188; Cornw. RO, FP113/1/1.
  • 4. G.C. Boase and W.P. Courtney, Bibliotheca Cornubiensis, ii. 595; WARD 7/58/188.
  • 5. C142/520/111.
  • 6. WARD 7/58/188; C142/520/111.
  • 7. C231/4, f. 120v; C193/13/2.
  • 8. C212/22/21, 23.
  • 9. SP16/37/50.
  • 10. C193/12/2.
  • 11. A. Duffin, Faction and Faith, 50-2.
  • 12. WARD 7/58/188; C2/Jas.I/R8/26; 2/Chas.I/R11/35; C3/375/31.
  • 13. J. Palmer, Truro in Seventeenth Cent. 12.
  • 14. SP16/37/50; 16/71/2; R. Cust, Forced Loan, 314.
  • 15. C219/41B/135; Duffin, 87-8.
  • 16. WARD 7/58/188; C142/520/111; C2/Chas.I/R11/35.
  • 17. E178/7161.
  • 18. PROB 6/15, f. 108v; WARD 9/163, f. 60v.