SAINTHILL, Peter (by 1524-71), of Bradninch, 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

Family and Education

b. by 1514, s. of Richard Sainthill (d. 29 Dec. 1525), of Moreton Hampstead by Joan, da. of Richard Mayne of Exeter. educ. ?M. Temple. m. (1) by 26 Nov. 1552, Catherine, da. and coh. of Sir Humphrey Browne, wid. of Richard Townshend (d. by Nov. 1551) of Brampton, Suff., s.p.; (2) 1560, Julian, da. of William Shine of Bradley, Berks., wid. of Stephen Wilford and Alexander Writhington, 2s. 1da.2

Offices Held

Commr. relief, Devon 1550, sewers, London 1554; dep. steward, manor of Bradninch by 1559-d.3


Peter Sainthill came of a gentle family which had been settled in the neighbourhood of Moreton Hampstead since the 14th century. He inherited a small estate in Moreton but evidently preferred to make his home at Bradninch. He was probably a Middle Templar, for his first wife was the daughter of one of that inn’s luminaries, his friends and colleagues seem to have been largely drawn from its members, and his son was to be admitted there. In 1546 he supported a successful claim to a coat of arms with the declaration that he had ‘long continued in virtue and in all his acts and other his demeaning hath discreetly and worshipfully guided and governed himself’. Such virtue had not been its own reward, for in the previous year he had bought former monastic land to the tune of £600 and he would go on to make regular, if smaller, purchases and to rebuild his house at Bradninch.4

In 1547 Sainthill entered the Commons for a recently enfranchised borough. He had no personal link with Grampound and he probably owed his return there to Admiral Seymour: on the previous 11 May he had visited Seymour House on admiralty business and when on 17 Sept. he wrote to the admiral from Hamworthy, Dorset, about a vessel driven ashore on the Isle of Wight, he professed himself ‘your friend assured’. By the time of the next Parliament, in March 1553, both Seymour and his elder brother, the Duke of Somerset, had disappeared and it was not the moment for a former client of their family to be helped to obtain a seat in the Commons. Sainthill did not reappear there until the spring of 1554, when he was returned for another Cornish constituency, his fellow being Humphrey Cavell, a member of the 1st Earl of Bedford’s circle. Although this was to be his last experience of Parliament, he did not lose all connexion with it: in 1557 he and Richard Calmady stood surety for John Evelegh, when Evelegh was fined for quitting the Parliament of November 1554 prematurely without leave.5

After Sainthill had secured for himself the deputy stewardship of the duchy of Cornwall’s manor of Bradninch, his right to the office was disputed by John Haydon, who had been deputy steward there under Bedford and who had retained rent rolls, court rolls and other muniments; Sainthill brought actions against Haydon in both Chancery and Star Chamber, complaining that his precursor was causing ‘much contention ... between the copy-holders and the Queen’s highness’, and succeeded insofar as he retained the office. In the autumn of 1566, however, he became insane, and he seems to have remained so afflicted until his death on 19 Nov. 1571.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: J. J. Goring


  • 1. Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Devon, ed. Vivian, 663; Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 291; A. St. Hill, Sainthill Fam. i. 13-14; CPR, 1550-3, p. 333; C142/45/80.
  • 3. Duchy Cornw. RO, 131, m. 22; CPR, 1553, p. 352; 1553-4, p. 37.
  • 4. St. Hill, 5; CPR, 1550-3 p. 333; 1563-6, p. 300; C1/1270/25-26; 142/147/203; Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 1), i. 281-2; LP Hen. VIII, xx; Devon Monastic Lands (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. i), 59-60.
  • 5. HCA 1/34, f. 64; 14/2; KB 27/1184.
  • 6. Duchy Cornw. RO, 130, m. 23v; 131, m. 22; St.Ch.3/6/32; 5/S29/26; C3/158/9; 142/147/203, 160/7; St. Hill, 13-14; CPR, 1569-72, p. 329.