ROLLE, John I (1679-1730), of Stevenstone, 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



25 Jan. 1703 - 1705
1710 - 1713
1713 - 1715
1715 - 1722
1722 - 1727
1727 - 6 May 1730

Family and Education

bap. 8 Dec. 1679, 2nd s. of John Rolle (d. 1689) of Stevenstone by Lady Christina, da. of Robert Bruce†, 1st Earl of Ailesbury; bro. of Robert Rolle*.  educ. Queens’, Camb. 1696; I. Temple 1697, called 1705.  m. Aug. 1706 (with £1,500), Isabella Charlotte (d. 1734), da. of Sir William Walter, 2nd Bt., of Sarsden, Oxon., 4s. 7da. (2 d.v.p.).  suc. bro. Robert 1710.1

Offices Held


Bred for the law as a younger son, Rolle was returned for Saltash, apparently on the Carew interest, at a by-election in 1703 and voted for the Tack on 28 Nov. 1704. He was not, however, re-elected in 1705 and remained out of Parliament until 1710. Succeeding in August of that year to his family’s vast estates in the West country, he was put up in the ensuing election as knight of the shire for Devon on the Church and Sacheverell platform, the Whigs making no opposition. He arrived ostentatiously in London in good time for the election of the Speaker, on 22 Nov. ‘with two coaches drawn by six horses each, 12 men in fine livery and was met . . . by about 100 gentlemen on horseback’. He was duly classed as a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’ of 1710, and during the first session featured as one of the ‘worthy patriots’ who detected the mismanagements of the previous administration. He also became a member of the October Club. On 16 Mar. 1711 he reported from a committee occasioned by a petition from Tiverton concerning the adverse local effects of imports of Irish yarn. In the following session, on 18 Jan. 1712, he was granted leave of absence for six weeks, and for a further month on 17 May. Having taken his turn as MP for the county, he transferred to Exeter at the 1713 election. He was noted as a Tory in the Worsley list, and on 13 May 1714 was granted another six weeks’ leave. At some point during the Queen’s last administration he was said to have declined the offer of an earldom. He remained a Tory after the Hanoverian accession, and died on 6 May 1730, an obituary notice praising him as ‘a gentleman of great candour and honour’. He was buried at St. Giles-in-the-Wood, the parish in which his country seat at Stevenstone lay.2

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 656; Folger Shakespeare Lib. Newdigate newsletter 17 Aug. 1706.
  • 2. Add. 70421, newsletters 24 Oct., 23 Nov. 1710; Collins, Peerage, viii. 527; London Evening Post, 12 May 1730.