DEVEREUX, Richard (by 1513-47), of Carmarthen, Carm. and Lamphey, Pemb.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1513, 1st s. and h. app. of Walter Devereux, 3rd LordFerrers of Chartley, 1st Viscount Hereford, by 1st w. Mary, da. of Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset; bro. of William and half-bro. of Edward Devereux. m. settlement 1 July 1536, Dorothy, da. of George Hastings, 1st Earl of Huntingdon, 2s. inc. George 3da. KB 20 Feb. 1547.2

Offices Held

Bailiff, Carmarthen 1534-5, mayor 1536-7; commr. for tenths of spiritualities, St. David’s diocese 1535; dep. steward, lordships of Arwystli and Cyfeiliog, Mont. in 1537; dep. justice and chamberlain of South Wales temp. Hen. VIII; j.p. Card. and Pemb. 1543, Glos. and Mon. 1547; custos rot. Carm. 1543; member council in the marches of Wales Mar. 1547.3


The branch of the family to which Richard Devereux belonged was based in Herefordshire but its lands and influence extended deep into Wales. His father, a councillor in the marches of Wales in 1513 and steward of Princess Mary’s household when it came to Ludlow in 1525, was appointed chamberlain of South Wales in 1526 and thereafter built up a powerful position for himself, especially in Carmarthenshire and the town of Carmarthen, where he was mayor in 1534-5. He benefited greatly from the overthrow of Rhys ap Gruffydd, who was executed for treason in 1531; Rhys had resented the grant of the chamberlainship to Ferrers and had attacked him during his holding of the King’s sessions at Carmarthen in 1529. Richard Devereux was to die before his father and without attaining comparable stature. His life was centred on south-west Wales; he lived at Carmarthen, where during his father’s mayoralty he was town bailiff and in 1536, the year in which he married, mayor in his turn. In the Parliament of June 1536 a private Act (28 Hen. VIII, c.37) was passed whereby his father conveyed various lands to him on his forthcoming marriage.4

When Bishop Barlow of St. David’s began his trial of strength with the chapter there Devereux came out strongly on the side of the canons. His vigorous intervention answered to his dislike both of Barlow’s Protestantism and of the bishop’s relatives in Haverfordwest and Slebech. Devereux was deputy to his father as steward of the lordships of Arwystli and Cyfeiliog in Montgomeryshire, and so figured in the dispute over them between Ferrers and the 2nd Earl of Worcester in 1537. In the quarrel of 1540 between the borough of New Carmarthen and its suburb Old Carmarthen, formerly governed by the priory there, Devereux sided with Old Carmarthen, which Ferrers claimed to govern as successor to the prior. In 1543 he served in the French campaign under Sir John Wallop and was mentioned in a despatch. Three years later he acquired the episcopal palace at Lamphey in an exchange with Bishop Barlow. As a property owner in his own right and heir-apparent to one of the chief estates in Wales he was much concerned with farming and trade, and in the mid 154os he referred three deals made on his behalf to Chancery for remedy.5

Devereux’s parliamentary career may have begun with the enfranchisement of Wales at the Union. It is not known who was returned as knight for Carmarthenshire in 1542 but the election was contested and Devereux was one of the candidates. He enlivened the town of Carmarthen by his encouragement of unruly behaviour and resort to force, and the fact that his adversary lodged a complaint with the Privy Council, which was noted in the Council’s register on 24 Jan. 1542, shortly after the opening of the first session of Parliament, suggests that these methods proved successful. As the complaint was not referred to the Star Chamber but was sent to the president of the council in the marches, the resulting proceedings, like nearly all of those before that body, have been lost. There was another contest in 1545 but this time Devereux is known to have carried the day by a majority of 80. Whether religion was an issue at either election is not known, but Devereux’s comments on practices thought by him to be superstitious led in 1546 to his being examined by the Privy Council.6

The reign of Edward VI began auspiciously for Devereux: within weeks of its opening he was knighted and put on the council in the marches. A few months later he was again elected to Parliament for Carmarthenshire, but whether he took his seat may be doubted for he died on 12 Nov. 1547, eight days after the Parliament opened. At the inquisition post mortem held in July 1548 he was found to have died possessed of the lordship of Lamphey, worth some £39 a year. By his will (which is not extant but is quoted in the inquisition) the whole of the lordship was to go to Lady Devereux during her widowhood and then to their younger son George for life, with remainder to the elder, then aged six, who became 2nd Viscount Hereford and later Earl of Essex. In the absence of a testament the administration of Devereux’s goods was granted to his widow, who was sued in the common pleas during Michaelmas term 1549 for money owing to a London mercer. Devereux was replaced in the Commons by John Perrot.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: P. S. Edwards


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Warws. (Harl. Soc. xii), 279-80; DWB (Devereux fam.).
  • 3. Cal. Sheriffs etc. of Carmarthen (NLW ms 5586B), 7; J. E. Lloyd, Carm. ii. 467; LP Hen. VIII, viii, xii; SP1/117/230-1; APC, ii. 62, 448; C193/12/1; CPR, 1547-8, pp. 83, 86.
  • 4. DWB; D. Williams, Modern Wales, 28-29.
  • 5. Bull. Bd. of Celtic Studies, xv, 212-24; SP1/116/220, 158/145; LP Hen. VIII, xii, xviii, xxi; St.Ch.2/17/271; C1/1115/50.
  • 6. LP Hen. VIII, xvii; PPC, vii. 297, 299; C219/18C/169; APC, i. 401.
  • 7. Wards 9/137/106; CP40/1142, r. 695.