POLE, Sir John, 3rd Bt. (1649-1708), of Shute, Devon

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1685 - 1687
1689 - 1690
1698 - 1700
Dec. 1701 - 1702
1702 - 1705
21 Jan. 1707 - 13 Mar. 1708

Family and Education

b. 17 June 1649, 1st s. of Sir Courtenay Pole, 2nd Bt.†, of Shute by Urith, da. of Thomas Shapcote, attorney, of Exeter, Devon.  m. c.1666 (with £4,000), Anne (d. 1714), da. of Sir William Morice†, sec. of state 1660–8, of Werrington, Devon, and sis. of Sir William, 1st Bt.†, Nicholas†, and John Morice†, 3s. 1da.  suc. fa. as 3rd Bt. c.Apr. 1695.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Lyme Regis 1680; alderman, Honiton 1685–7, mayor 1685; commr. forfeited estates, Devon 1686.2


Although Pole had been one of the first Devon gentlemen to join William of Orange in 1688, he opposed the transfer of the crown in the Convention and was defeated at Tregony in 1690. In 1696 he was one of the prominent ‘murmurers’ against the Association in Devon which had resulted in many Tories, like himself, being ejected from the bench, and was active in trying to persuade others to adopt his own point of view. He returned to Parliament in 1698 for Bossiney, and was shortly afterwards classed as a member of the Country party and as a likely opponent of the Court over the standing army issue. However, on 7 Mar. 1699 he was one of the Members reported to the House for not having attended the session, but who were excused on account of sickness or age. After the prorogation of the first Parliament of 1701, he was foreman of the grand jury of Devon who in September voted an address to the King opposing the dissolution of ‘the best House of Commons, except that which brought his Majesty to the throne’. He was duly returned for the county in the December election, and was classed by Robert Harley* as a Tory. On 26 Feb. 1702 he voted in support of the motion vindicating the Commons’ proceedings over the impeachment of the King’s Whig ministers. In the 1702 election he transferred to East Looe, presumably on the Trelawny interest. In mid-March 1704 he was noted as a probable supporter of Lord Nottingham (Daniel Finch†) in connexion with the attack planned on him over his handling of the Scotch Plot, but he did not support the Tack on 28 Nov. 1704. As a deputy-lieutenant he took part during February 1705 in an initiative to search out real or suspected papists in his county, but none was found. He was not returned in 1705, but in January 1707 was brought in at a by-election for Newport on the interest of his Morice relatives. However, his addiction to drink had so seriously impaired his health that his brother-in-law, Nicholas Morice, doubted he was well enough to attend the session:

or if he do he will scarce return into the country, for he cannot forbear the bottle among drinking company. The last time at London, he almost destroyed himself and could not get free from the mischief bad wine did him a year’s time. Last week my man saw him at Exeter sessions; he had not been two days in town before gout seized him: how he got home I know not.

Pole died on 13 Mar. 1708 and was buried at Colyton near his estate.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 604; Cornw. RO, Carew Pole mss PS24/26.
  • 2. Dorset RO, Lyme Regis mss B6/11, f. 32; SP29/413/136; CSP Dom. 1685, p. 70; PC2/72, p. 535; Trans. Devon Assoc. lxvi. 254; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 546.
  • 3. E. F. Eliott-Drake, Fam. and Heirs of Sir Francis Drake, ii. 108–9; Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 88; HMC Lords, n.s. vi. 419; Bank of Eng. Morice mss, Nicholas to Humphrey Morice*, 21 Jan. 1706[–7].