Pole, William (1561-1635) (DNB00)

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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 [q. v.] 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 for 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 37l. 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 [q. v.], by whom he had issue 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 [q. v.] 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.

[Rogers's Memorials of the West, pp. 350 et seq. (with portraits); Preface to Pole's Description of Devonshire, 1791; Harl. MS. 1195, f. 37; Prince's Worthies of Devon, pp. 504–6; Risdon's Chorographical Description of the County of Devon; Visitation of Devon in 1620 (Harl. Soc.); 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.’]

A. F. P.