EVELEIGH, John (c.1511-86), of Holcombe in Ottery St. Mary, Devon.

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



Apr. 1554
Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. c.1511, 1st s. of Thomas Evelegh of Clyst St. Lawrence by Thomasin, da. of Michael More of Clyst St. Lawrence. m. (1) Alice, da. of Henry Collins, 1s. 2da., (1) Joan, da. of John Southcote I of Bovey Tracey, 8s. 3da.1

Offices Held

Attorney for Exeter by 1549-58 or later; subsidy collector, Devon 1553, 1554; escheator, Devon 1555-6; bailiff, duchy of Liskeard by 1559-69 or later; j.p. Devon 1563, q. 1569-d.; feodary, Devon, Exeter by 1567-d.2


John Evelegh was an attorney practising in the court of common pleas. On 18 Oct. 1546 he had a special admission to Lincoln’s Inn and three years later was appointed one of the permanent attorneys of the city of Exeter. He may have acted in a similar capacity for either or both of the boroughs which he represented in the two Parliaments of 1554, but he had no property in the western part of the county and he could have been the nominee of Sir John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, who appears to have wielded patronage at both Totnes and Tavistock: Bedford was a member of Evelegh’s inn. Evelegh was one of the Members prosecuted in the King’s bench for absenting himself without leave from the Parliament of November 1554. He was distrained 2s. for nonappearance before asking for a day to answer in Easter term 1556, when he again failed to appear, and during the following term he was distrained 10s. In Michaelmas term 1557 he was fined 53s.4d., his sureties being two Devonians, Richard Calmady and Peter Sainthill.3

Evelegh obtained his manor of Holcombe in Ottery St. Mary by foreclosing on a mortgage, and kept it despite the attempts of the former owner in both requests and chancery to recover it. There seems to have been some chicanery in the transaction and it comes as no surprise to find Evelegh accused in 1575 of fraud in his office of feodary. He died at Holcombe during 1586 without having made a will and was buried at Clyst St. Lawrence: administration of his goods was granted to his widow.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Aged ‘about 70’ in 1581, ex inf. Capt. A. Evelegh. Vis. Devon, ed. Vivian, 336.
  • 2. Exeter act bk. 2, f. 101v seq.; E179/100/346-7; CSP Dom. Add 1566-79, pp. 40, 84; CPR, 1563-6, p. 21; 1569-72, p. 222; Duchy Cornw. E6. 1/23v; Add. 24744, f. 262.
  • 3. C1/1369/74-76; KB27/1176, 1177, 1183-4.
  • 4. Req.2/8/225; C1/1369/74-76, 1426/56-59; NRA 5960, p. 537; 8513, no. 16; HMC Hatfield, xiii. 124-5; information from Evelegh; C. Worthy, Devonshire Wills, 9.