SOUTHCOTE, John I (by 1504-56), of Bovey Tracey, Devon.

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



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1504, 1st s. of Nicholas Southcote by Margaret, da. and coh. of John Bossam of Bossam Sayle. educ. ?M. Temple. m. (1) by 1528, Joanna (d. 11 Apr. 1546), da. of one Hankford, wid. of one Sydenham, 2s. George and Thomas at least 1da.; (2) Agnes, wid. of Gilbert Kirk of Exeter.2

Offices Held

Clerk of the peace and the crown, Devon 8 Aug. 1525-d.; auditor, commission for tenths of spiritualities 1535; steward, dean and chapter of Exeter cathedral temp. Mary.3


John Southcote I must be distinguished from his more eminent namesake and nephew, the Elizabethan judge, who sat in Parliament for two Sussex boroughs in 1553. He presumably received his own legal education at the Middle Temple, the inn later attended by his younger son and nephew. Early in his career he was in the service of religious foundations in south Devon, employment which perhaps helps to account both for his inclusion in the important tithes commission of 1535 and for his successful accumulation of property from 1540 until his death, when the yearly income from his lands in the Teign valley was put at £144. He was exempted from serving in the French campaign of 1544 and on the death of Henry VIII he sued out a general pardon. In 1546 the corporation of Lostwithiel retained him in a case against Lawrence Courtenay and William Lower, and this link with the borough explains his own and his son George’s successive elections there under Edward VI and Mary. He could also have been the man whose name was erased, save for its concluding ‘ote’, on the Lostwithiel indenture of 1545 in favour of that of Anthony Browne II (q.v.). If Southcote was one of the pair originally chosen by the town on that occasion, the occurrence of a similar replacement there in the autumn of 1553, when the original name was obliterated in favour of Christopher Dauntesey’s, suggests that Southcote, or perhaps his son, was the man supplanted on that occasion. In what circumstances, whether friendly or otherwise, these changes were made does not transpire, but it is of interest that in 1555 both Southcote’s name, and his fellow Brice Rookwood’s, were inserted on the indenture in a different hand. Nothing is known about Southcote’s part in the Commons. He made his will (known only from a reference to it in his inquisition) on 20 Aug. 1555 and died on 14 Sept. 1556.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Devon ed. Vivian, 697; C142/107/14.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, iv-viii; C11/1467/29-31; J. E. Kew, ‘The land market in Devon 1536-58’ (Exeter Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1967), 202.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, iv, v, viii, xv-xix; Kew, 183, 202, 299, 311; D. H. Pill, ‘The diocese of Exeter under Bp. Veysey’ (Exeter Univ. MA thesis, 1963), 200; St.Ch.3/2/39; C142/107/14; 219/18C/21, 21/30, 24/28; CPR, 1548-9, p. 158.