Sir William Pole, MP

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William Poole, MP

Also Known As: "William Poole", "William Pole", "Pole"
Birthdate: (73)
Birthplace: Colcombe, Devon, England
Death: February 9, 1635 (73)
Colcombe, Devon, England
Place of Burial: Colyton, Devonshire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of William Pole, MP and Katherine Popham
Husband of Jane Pole and Mary Pole
Father of William Pole; Mary Courtney; Mary Hurst; Katherine Southcote; William Poole, triplet and 8 others
Brother of Kathryn Bowater and Dorothy Pole

Managed by: Ivy Jo Smith
Last Updated:

About Sir William Pole, MP

Family and Education bap. 27 Aug. 1561, 1st s. of William Pole I of Shute by his 2nd w. educ. ?Exeter Coll. Oxf.; I. Temple Feb. 1579. m. (1) 23 July 1583, Mary (d.1606), da. and coh. of William Peryam of Crediton, 6s. 5da.; (2) Jane (d.1654), da. of William Sims of Chard, Som., wid. of Roger How of London. suc. fa. 1587. Kntd. 1606.

Offices Held

J.p. Devon from 1591, sheriff 1602-3.

Biography Pole, the Devon antiquary, was brought into Parliament for Bossiney by his father-in-law, William Peryam. His pursuits in later life suggest the likelihood of a university education, and some credence may be given to the story, otherwise unsubstantiated, that he went to Exeter College, Oxford, where Peryam had been a fellow. On the death of his father he inherited his Devon property, including Colcombe Castle which he subsequently rebuilt. In later years he subscribed £37 10s. to the Virginia Company and was one of those who sponsored the third Virginia charter. Although not inactive in county affairs, he increasingly devoted himself to the study of antiquities and had, by the time of his death, 9 Feb. 1636, large miscellaneous collections which were later published.

In his will, dated 3 Dec. 1635, he renounced ‘this filthy flesh’, and announced his sole adherence to Christ. His second wife received all the plate which she had brought at her marriage, ‘as well the fashion not altered, as since by her appointment altered and changed into new fashion’. By a nuncupative codicil, made about 30 Dec. 1635, he nominated his eldest son, Sir John, as sole executor. The will was proved in October the following year.

Devonshire Studies, ed. Hoskins, 374, 476; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 603; Trans. Dev. Assoc. xvii. 256; xviii. 262-8; xxv. 105; CSP Dom. 1601-3, p. 193; PCC 38 Goare.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603 Author: W.J.J.

William Pole, (Sir) was baptized in Colyton, Devonshire, England, on Wednesday, August 27, 1561, and died in Colcombe, Devonshire, England, on February 9, 1635. He was buried in Colyton Church. Mary Peryam of Colcombe, England was born probably in Little Fulford near Crediton, Devonshire, England, about 1566, and died in Devonshire, England, on May 8, 1606. They were married in England on Tuesday, July 30, 1583. She took the name Mary Pole. He is the son of William, (Sir) and Katherine (Popham) Pole. She is the daughter of William, (Sir) and Anne (Parker) Peryam. They had 12 children:

  1. William Pole was born in Colcombe about 1584, and died on August 19, 1586.
  2. John Pole, (Sir) was born in Colcombe about 1585, and died on April 16, 1658. He was buried on April 16, 1658. Per Berke's Peerage: Sir John Pole, 1st Bt., M.P. co. Devon, created a Baronet 12 Sept., 1628, m. 5 Jan. 1613, Elizabeth (d. 16 Apr, 1628), dau. of Roger How
  3. Mary Pole was baptized in Colcombe on June 26, 1586. She married Nicholas Hurst on 5 Apr 1602.
  4. Katherine Pole was baptized in Colcombe on August 20, 1587. She married Thomas Southcode.
  5. Elizabeth Pole was baptized in Colcombe on August 25, 1588, and died in Taunton, Plymouth Colony, America, on May 21, 1654. She left Weymouth, Dorset, on 22 April 1637 on the Speedwell, traveling with two friends, 14 servants, goods valued at £100, and twenty tons of salt for fishing provision. She was preceded to the Plymouth Colony by her brother, William. They were both considered founders of Taunton. She never married. Per History of Bristol County ..., she was buried in The Plain (later called the North Burying-Ground); in 1771 only her remains were moved to the new cemetery at Mayflower Hill.
  6. Ann Pole: Ann married Edmond Walrond by licence in Exeter 5 Jan 1611
  7. Periam Pole was baptized in Colcombe on August 16, 1592. He married Dorothy Hippesley.
  8. William Pole, (Sir) was baptized in Colcombe on December 4, 1593, and died in America on February 24, 1674. He married Jane _____. He was a triplet with Arthur and Francis. From the Dictionary of National Biobraphy: he matriculated from Oriel College, Oxford, on 24 March 1609–10, graduated B.A. on 3 Nov. 1612, entered the Inner Temple [London] in 1616. Plymouth Colony ... indicates that he was made a freeman on December 4, 1638. Their seven children were: John, b. 1639, d. 1711; Nathaniel; Timothy, drowned at Taunton 1667; Mary, m. Daniel Henchman; Bethesda, m. John Filer; William bp. 1658, d. 1687; and Theophilus, b. 1660 in Dorchester.
  9. Arthur Pole was baptized in Colcombe on December 4, 1593, and died in Colcombe in June, 1594. He was a triplet with William and Francis. From the introduction to his father's Collections ...: "Arthur, died about the age of 3 quarters of a year, upon the hurt of a fall."
  10. Francis Pole was baptized in Colcombe on December 4, 1593, and died in 1627. He matriculated at Oriel College, Oxford, March 24, 1609–10, aged 16; B.A. Nov. 3, 1612; M.A. from Hart Hall, June 12, 1616; vicar of Tregony, Cornwall, 1623 (Foster's Alumni Oxonienses, vol. 3, p. 1175) He was a triplet with William and Arthur.
  11. Eleanor Pole was baptized in Colcombe on May 22, 1597. She married Anthony Floyer.
  12. Speculative Female Pole [#2655]: She was baptized in Colcombe in—say—1606.

His second marriage was to Jane Symes. They had no children. Her first husband was Roger How of London. In The Visitation ..., she is referred to as Jana, daughter of William Simmes de Chard.

From Burke's Peerage, page 2134:

Sir William Pole, Kt. of Colcomb, bapt. 27 Aug. 1561, m. 1stly,30 July, 1583, Mary (bur. 8 May, 1606), eldest dau. and co-heir of Sir William Periam, Kt., Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, by whom he had six sons and five daus. He m. 2ndly, Jane (bur. 17* Jan. 1623/24), widow of Roger How, and dau. of William Simmes de Chard, but by her had no issue. Sir William was bur. 9 May, 1635 and was s. by his eldest son, Sir John Pole, ...


  • The "7" in this date may not be correct.

From Dictionary of National Biography, entry for Pole, Sir William (1561–1635)

Pole, Sir William (1561–1635) antiquary, baptised on 27 Aug. 1561 at Colyton, Devonshire, was son of Sir William Pole, knt., of Shute in the same county, and his wife, Catherine, daughter of Chief-justice John Popham. The family originally came from Wirrell in Cheshire, and apparently had no connection with the dukes of Suffolk of that name or with Cardinal Pole's family. It was the father, and not the son, as Prince states (Worthies of Devon, p. 504), who was educated at Exeter College, Oxford (cf. Boase, Registrum, ii. 255), was autumn reader at the Inner Temple in 1557, double reader in 1560, and treasurer in 1565. The son entered the Inner Temple in 1578, was placed on the commission of the peace of Devonshire, served as high sheriff for that county in 1602–3, and represented Bossiney, Cornwall, in the parliament of 1586 (Official Return, i. 417). He was knighted by James I at Whitehall on 15 Feb. 1606. He paid 37£ 10s to the Virginia Company, and was an incorporator of the third Virginia charter. He died at Colcombe, in the parish of Colyton, Devonshire, on 9 Feb. 1635, aged 73. He was buried in the west side of the chancel in Colyton church. He married, first, Mary (d 1605), daughter and coheir of Sir William Peryam, by whom he had issue of six sons and six daughters. Of the sons, the eldest, William, died young; the second, Sir John, whose descendants still occupy Shute House, was created a baronet on 12 Sept. 1628, and died on 16 April 1658; the third was Peryam Pole, whose descendant, William Pole, dying in 1778 without issue, bequeathed his estates to his kinsman, the Hon. William Wellesley, who thereupon assumed the name Pole, and subsequently became Earl of Mornington. Another of Sir William Pole's sons, also named William, matriculated from Oriel College, Oxford, on 24 March 1609/10, graduated B.A. on 3 Nov. 1612, entered the Inner Temple in 1616, and emigrated to America, where he died on 24 Feb. 1674. Sir William's daughter Elizabeth (1588–1654) also emigrated to America, and took a prominent part in the foundation and incorporation of Taunton in 1639–40, where she died on 21 May 1654. Pole married, secondly, Jane, daughter of William Simmes or Symes of Chard, Somerset, and widow of Roger How of London.

Pole was a learned antiquary, and at his death left large manuscript collections for the history and antiquities of Devonshire. Of these the greater part perished during the civil war, but there survived: 1. Two folio volumes, entitled "The Description of Devonshire;" which were printed in 1791 (4to) under the title "Collections towards a Description of the County of Devon." 2. A folio volume of deeds, charters, and grants compiled in 1616; a small portion of this was privately printed by Sir Thomas Phillipps under the title "Sir William Pole's Copies of Extracts from Old Evidences," Mill Hill, 1840? 3. A thin folio volume containing coats-of-arms, &c. 4. A volume of deeds and grants to Tor Abbey, Devonshire. These collections were largely used by (among others) Prince, Risdon, and Tuckett, in his edition of the "Visitation of Devonshire in 1620," published in 1859.

[References cited:]

Rogers's Memorials of the West, pp. 350 et seq. (with portraits)

Preface to Pole's Description of Devonshire, 1791

Harleian Manuscript 1195, f. 37

Prince's Worthies of Devon, pp. 504–6

Risdon's Chorographical Description of the County of Devon

Visitation onf Devon in 1620 (Harleian Society)

Dugdale's Orig. Juridiciales, p. 165

Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714

Nichols's Lit. Anecd. vi. 299

Brown's Genesis U.S.A. ii. 968

Burke's Peerage, s.v. "Pole" and "Wellington"

From the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. 48 (1894), pp. 490–1, comes the will of William Pole and other information.

Sir William Pole of Colcombe, Devon, knight aged 74 years the Thirtieth of August last, will made 30 December 1635, proved 25 February 1636. To be buried near the body of my deceased father on the South side of my Aisle of burial near the place my grand nephew John Pole is lately interred, with such monument as my wife and eldest son shall think fit, not requiring extraordinary cost but decency. My will is that the Lady Jane my now wife shall have all such plate as I had by the intermarriage with her, as well the fashion not altered as sithence by her appointment altered and changed into new fashion, with all jewells, chains and other ornaments which belonged unto her. Other bequests to her. To my eldest son Sir John Pole, knight (certain plate and household stuff). My will is that William Pole my son shall have five hundred pounds whereof three hundred pounds was in the hands of Francis Courtney of Powderham Esq., thereof fifty pounds paid unto my said son the rest remained in his hands. The other two hundred my wife is content to pay if she overlive my six months.

By a nuncupative codicil the testator appointed Sir John Pole Bartt., his natural and lawful grandchild of Sir William Pole late of Holcombe, Devon, knight, deceased, to administer the goods &c. of the said deceased left unadministered by Sir John Pole Bart., son and sole executor &c. since also deceased.

Goare, 38

[Sir William Pole, the testator, son of the preceding {note: his father's will preceded his on the page.}, was the well known antiquary, author of "Collections toward a Description of Devonshire," 4to. London, 1791. He was the father of William Pole, or Poole, the schoolmaster at Dorchester, Mass. (whose epitaph is printed in the Register, vol. ii., page 381) and of Miss Elizabeth Poole, the first known settler of Taunton, Mass.

Sir William Pole was bp. Aug 27, 1561, at Shute, Devon, and d. in Feb., 1635-6. His burial is entered on the Colyton Register as "10th day of March, 1635"; but in the Appendix to his published "Collections" he is said to have died "on the 9th of February at his house of Colcombe in the seventy-fourth year of his age." There is an original picture of him at Shute House.—(History of Taunton, Mass., by Rev. S. H. Emery, Syracuse, 1893, page 67, where other facts concerning him will be found.) He married 1st, Mary, dau. and coheir of Sir William Periam, Knt, Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer; and 2nd, Jane, dau. of William Symes, Esq., and widow of Roger How of London, merchant. There is a pedigree of this family in the "Visitations of the County of Devon," edited by Lieut. Col. J. L. Vivian, pages 602–4, commencing before the time of Henry II. and coming down to the present century, to which work I am indebted for many of my facts. The children of Sir William were all by his first wife. His sons were: 1. Sir John, created a baronet Sept. 12, 1628; m 1st, his step sister, Elizabeth, dau. of Roger and Jane (Symes) How; 2nd, Mary, widow of William Lechland. 2. William, bur. Aug. 19, 1586. 3. Periam, bp. Aug. 16, 1592; mat. at Exeter College, Oxford, Nov. 3, 1609, aged 17; B.A. Dec. 12, 1609 [sic]; student of the Inner Temple, 1612, as of Shute, Devon, gen. (Foster's Alumni Oxonienses, vol. 3, p. 1176). He m. Dorothy Hippesley, and settled in Ireland, where he acquired large possessions. 4, 5 and 6. William, Arthur and Francis, triplets, bp. Dec. 4, 1593. William came to New England. (See below.) Arthur d. in childhood from a fall. Francis mat. at Oriel College, Oxford, March 24, 1609–10, aged 16; B.A. Nov. 3, 1612; M.A. from Hart Hall, June 12, 1616; vicar of Tregony, Cornwall, 1623 (Foster's Alumni Oxonienses, vol. 3, p. 1175) He d. 1627. The daughters of Sir William Pole were: 1. Mary, bp. June 26, 1586; m. 1st, April 5, 1602, Nicholas Hurst; m. 2d, Nov. 7, 1606, Francis, son and heir of Sir William Courtney of Powderham, Devon. 2. Katherine, bp. Aug. 20, 1587; m. Thomas Southcote of Ottery Mohun. 3. Elizabeth bp. Aug. 25, 1588; came to New England; d. May 21, 1654, aged 65.—(See Emery's Ministry of Taunton, vol. i., pp. 42–3.) 4. Anne, bp. Nov. 1, 1589; m. Edward Walrond of Bovey, Devon, mar. lic. Jan. 5, 1611-12, Exeter. 5. Eleanor, bp. May 22, 1597; m. Anthony Floyer of Floyer Hayes. A pedigree of this family of Pole, by Samuel G. Drake A.M., is printed in his edition of Baylies's History of New Plymouth, Part v. (vol. ii.) page 28. See also Wotton's English Baronetage, London, 1741, vol. ii., pp. 124–29.

William Pole (above mentioned), son of the testator, was mat. at Oriel College, Oxford, March 24, 1609-10, a. 16; B.A. Nov. 3, 1612; student of the Inner Temple, 1616, as of Colyton, gen. (Foster's Alumni Oxonienses, vol. 3, p. 1176). He and his sister Elizabeth came to New England as early as 1637. He settled at Dorchester, but after a short stay there removed to Taunton. He returned to Dorchester as early as 1660, and died there Feb. 25, 1674-5, aged 81. A biographical notied of him, by William B. Trask, A.M., is printed in the Dorchester Antiquarian Society's History of Dorchester, pp. 487–9.—Editor.]

[This William Pole is mentioned prominently in the early days of Taunton, 1939, as Capt. William Pole. He was deputy of Taunton to Plymouth in that and other years, and was also member of the Council of War. He moved to Dorchester in 1660, where his son Theophilus was born 27 May that year. He held the offices of clerk of the write and schoolmaster in Dorchester, where he died 24 Feb. 1674-5. On his tomb was engraved an epitaph of his own composition. Jane, his wife, survived him. From depositions in the Suffolk and Bristol County records, there seems to be a relationship with the Farwell family at Taunton, through it may be through William Pole rather than his wife. Jane, widow of William, died 9 Sept. 1690. Her will, dated 29 Aug. 1690, mentions son John and his wife, daughters Bethesda Filer (wife of John Filer) and Mary Henchman (wife of Daniel Henchman), a grandson, John Pole (who died before 1711), and his sister Jane (who married Timothy Lindall). The two children of William and Jane Pole were: John, b. 1639, d. 1711; Nathaniel, living in 1654; Timothy, drowned at Taunton 1667; Mary, m. Daniel Henchman; Bethesda, m. 1686, John Filer; William, bapt. 1658, d. 21 April, 1687; Theophilus, b. 1660.—W. K. Watkins.]



Much information provided by Basil Lewis from the following sources.

Burke's Peerage, 1970

Harlkian Society No. 6; The Visitation (of the Hearlds to) the County of Devon, 1620, p. 212

Dictionary of National Biography

New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 1894, vol. 48, pp. 490–9 (William's will and family details); and 1851, vol. 5, p. 262 (Elizabeth's will)

Pedigree of the Family of Walrond of Bovey in the Parish of Seaton and Beer, Co. Devon, compiled by A. J. P. Skinner of Colyton and published in the Transactions of the Devon Association in 1907 (vol. 39, pp. 264–6); obtained from the Devon Record Office by Marion Stainsby in 2002.

Plymouth Colony: Its History and People 1620–1691, Part One: Chronological Histories, Chapter 3: The Founding of Towns (1633–1643), Taunton

Hurd, D. Hamilton; History of Bristol County Massachusetts with Biographical Sketches of many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men, Illustrated, Philadelphia, J.W.Lewis & Co.,1883; found at, October, 2002


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Sir William Pole, MP's Timeline

August 27, 1561
Colcombe, Devon, England
August 27, 1561
Colyton, Devonshire, England
August 27, 1561
Shute, Devon, England
August 27, 1561
Shute, Devon, England
Age 22
Devon, England, United Kingdom
Age 23
Colcombe, Devon, England
June 26, 1586
Age 24
Exeter, Devon, England
Age 24
Kenton, Devon, England, United Kingdom
Age 25
Devon, England