SPARKE, John (by 1502-66), of Plympton St. Maurice, 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 1502, s. of one Sparke of Nantwich, Cheshire. m. Jane (bur. 29 Dec. 1583), da. of one Moore of Devon, 4s.1

Offices Held

Collector subsidy, Plympton Erle 1523; mayor (bailiff) 1554-5.2


It is not known what led John Sparke, who was born in Cheshire, to settle in Plympton St. Maurice, nor is he easily distinguished from a number of contemporary namesakes. His election to Mary’s second Parliament and his mayoralty later in the same year marked the culmination of his municipal career. Assessed at 5s.on his goods towards the subsidy of 1546, he may have been an overseas merchant as his sons and grandsons were later to be. He was probably the tenant who appears in rentals of the Strode estate during the 1540s, but further identification is more doubtful, whether it is with the servant of Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle, who was rewarded with 13s.4d. when Lisle’s household was broken up in 1542, the servant of William Gibbes whom Richard Pollard called an arrant thief in 1538, or the co-defendant to a charge of assault in an undated Star Chamber case.3

Sparke was buried in the church of Plympton St. Maurice on 11 July 1566.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Devon, ed. Vivian, 856; Vis. Cornw. (Harl. Soc. ix), 205.
  • 2. E179/281; C219/23/42, 24/44.
  • 3. E179/98/271; PCC 29 Pyckering; NRA 4154, pp. 158, 166; LP Hen. VIII, xiii-xv; St.Ch.2/30/65.
  • 4. J. B. Rowe, Plympton Erle, 248-9.