Rolle, John (1598-1648) (DNB00)

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ROLLE, JOHN (1598–1648), merchant and politician, fourth son of Robert Rolle (d. 1633) of Heanton, Devonshire, by his wife Joan (d. 1634), daughter of Thomas Hele of Fleet in the same county, was baptised at Petrockstow on 13 April 1598 (Vivian, Visitations of Devon, 1896, p. 654). Henry Rolle [q. v.], chief justice, was his elder brother. John engaged in the Turkey trade in London. He represented Callington borough, Cornwall, in the parliaments of 1626 and 1628 (Return of Members, i. 468, 474). In the latter year, in accordance with the order of the commons, he refused to pay tonnage and poundage. His silks and other goods, to the value of 1,517l., were seized by the custom-house officers. On 12 Nov. he brought a writ of replevin, but execution was stopped by order of the council. A second writ, in January 1629, was stopped by order of the exchequer. In February Rolle was served with a subpœna in the Star-chamber, where he was called in question for his replevins. As the House of Commons was then debating the question of the seizure of the merchants' goods, the house made the Star-chamber's treatment of Rolle a matter of privilege (Commons' Journals, i. 921–8, iii. 483). Although ‘a man of great trading’ at the time, Rolle declined to continue his business after the seizure of his goods. In January 1630 he was again subpœnaed by the Star-chamber, and questioned for his speeches in the commons. In the Short and Long parliaments he represented Truro borough (Return of Members, i. 480–1). The Long parliament instructed the committee of trade to consider his case in May 1641 (ib. ii. 154, 907). After long delay the case was reported on 7 May 1644 (ib. iii. 483), and the house resolved that satisfaction should be made to him of 1,517l. for the goods arrested, 4,844l. as interest on his remaining capital (6,887l.) in 1628, from which date he had refused to trade, and of 500l. for his four years' expenses in lawsuits in the exchequer and Star-chamber. In an ordinance of 14 June 1644 the total fine of 8,641l. was ordered to be levied on the executors of the farmers of the customs in 1628, and of Sir William Acton, sheriff of London in that year (ib. iii. 530). In April 1645 Rolle was unsuccessfully nominated as a member of the committee of three for the command of the navy (ib. iv. 125). In 1647 he was co-executor of the will of his brother, Sir Samuel Rolle (1585?–1647). He died unmarried in November 1648, and was buried at Petrockstow on the 18th (parish register, quoted in Vivian, Visitations, p. 654).

[Vivian's Visitations of Devon, 1896, p. 654; authorities quoted in text; Gardiner's Hist. vol. v.; Hamilton's Notebook of Sir John Northcote, p. 75; Old Parl. Hist. viii. 254; Whitelocke's Memorials, pp. 12, 87, 178; Rushworth, ii. 653–8.]

W. A. S.