ROLLE, Samuel I (1646-1719), of Heanton Satchville, 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



12 Dec. 1665 - July 1679
1680 - Mar. 1681
1689 - Nov. 1701
Dec. 1701 - Nov. 1719

Family and Education

bap. 5 Nov. 1646, 1st s. of Robert Rolle† of Heanton Satchville by Lady Arabella, da. and coh. of Theophilus Clinton, 4th Earl of Lincoln.  educ. travelled abroad (France, Switzerland) 1662–5.  m. (1) lic. 7 Feb. 1671, Frances, da. and h. of John Roy, merchant, of London and Puddleton, Dorset, s.p.; (2) 26 Oct. 1704, Margaret, da. of Roger Tuckfield of Raddon Court, Devon, 2s. d.v.p. 2da.  suc. fa. 1660.1

Offices Held


By the time Rolle had re-entered Parliament as knight of the shire for Devon in the Convention Parliament, his earlier Presbyterian Whiggery had been overlaid by Toryism. He was re-elected for the county in 1690, though as a precautionary measure he had also secured election at Penryn. He was classed as a Tory and probable Court supporter by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) on the eve of the new Parliament, and again as a Court supporter at the beginning and end of the 1690–1 session. Robert Harley* classed him in April 1691 as a Country supporter. Often styled ‘Colonel Rolle’ from his militia rank, he was never an active figure in the House, though on 25 Nov. 1693 he did bring a complaint of privilege over the arrest of one of his servants for which the culprits were required to beg pardon. He brought another such complaint on 6 Feb. 1696. His recorded behaviour in 1696 confirms that by this time he had become a consistent opponent of the Court; he was forecast as likely to oppose the government on 31 Jan. 1696 over the proposed council of trade, and though he showed no reluctance in signing the Association, he voted in March against fixing the price of guineas at 22s. He appears to have been absent from the division on the attainder of Sir John Fenwick† on 25 Nov. His rather casual attitude towards his parliamentary duties is further attested by several grants of absence: for ten days on 20 Feb. 1697, for an unspecified period on 9 Feb. 1698, and for 21 days on 13 Apr. of the same session.2

Following his re-election in 1698, Rolle was classed as a member of the Country party. Subsequently, he was listed with those who in February 1701 were deemed likely to support the Court over the ‘Great Mortgage’, and was later blacklisted as having opposed preparations for war. At the second 1701 election he was unable to secure re-adoption for the county, allegedly on account of his failure to oppose the sitting Whig MP Sir Walter Yonge, 3rd Bt., in the disputed Honiton election. Instead, he was returned for the borough of Callington of which he was lord of the manor, and which had originally been his seat in Charles II’s Cavalier Parliament. In an analysis of the returns, Harley classed him as a Tory. He was forecast as a probable opponent of the Tack in October 1704 and was not among its supporters in the division on 28 Nov. Noted as a ‘Churchman’ following the 1705 election, he seems to have been absent from the division on the Speaker on 25 Oct. He appears as a Tory in the list published early in 1708 and in the ‘Hanover list’ of 1710, and during the first session of the new Parliament, when he became a member of the October Club, he featured as a ‘worthy patriot’ who helped in detecting the previous administration’s mismanagements. The Worsley list of 1713 also duly noted him as a Tory. The possibility that he may have been a ‘furious Jacobite’ arises from his description of his neighbour John Harris† (who later married Rolle’s widow) as ‘the Hanover rat’. He died late in 1719, his burial taking place at Petrockstowe near his seat at Heanton Satchville on 5 Nov.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 655; J. W. Stoye, Eng. Travellers Abroad, 421; Coll. Voyages and Travels ed. Churchill (1746), vi. 717.
  • 2. Trans. Devon Assoc. xxxvi. 299–300.
  • 3. Som. RO, Sanford mss DD/SF 3068, E. Duke to Mary Clarke, n.d. [c.Dec. 1701].