RALEGH, Adam (c.1480-1545 or later), of Fardel and Plympton St. Mary, Devon; London, and Southwark, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
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Family and Education

b. c.1480, 2nd s. of Walter Ralegh (d. by 1486) of Fardel by Margaret. m. Elizabeth.1

Offices Held


A branch of the Ralegh family had been established at Fardel since at least the mid 15th century. His elder brother Wymond’s marriage made Adam Ralegh a kinsman of Sir Peter Edgecombe. The marriage was the outcome of the acquisition by Edgecombe’s father in 1486 of the wardship and marriage of Wymond Ralegh, and it sealed the already close association between the families: in 1519 Adam Ralegh was to be one of a group which assured to the King an annuity from Edgecombe’s Cornish manors. When he sued out a pardon on 8 Feb. 1510 Ralegh was styled of Cornwood and Fardel, Devon, London, and Southwark, Surrey; his house at Fardel, with its 15th-century chapel, still remains.2

It was doubtless to his powerful connexions that Ralegh owed his two or more spells of Membership of the Commons. At the time of the elections to the Parliament of 1529 Edgecombe, who held the manor and castle of Totnes, was sheriff of Devon: Ralegh was also related, through the Edgecombes, to Sir William Courtenay I, who on this occasion was returned as senior knight of the shire. His Membership of this Parliament probably ensured Ralegh’s re-election in 1536, when the King asked for the return of the previous Members. Whether he sat again in 1539 we cannot say as the names of the Members for Totnes are lost, but in 1545 he reappeared in the Commons as one of the two representatives of Plympton Erle. He was by then living at Plympton St. Mary (some miles west of Fardel), where in the same year he was assessed at 20s. towards the subsidy, and to this residential qualification he could again add the support of the Edgecombe family. Following the attainder of the Marquess of Exeter, who had held the manor and castle of Plympton, Sir Peter Edgecombe and his son Peter had been given custody of many of the forfeited estates; they also had a seat at West Stonehouse, not far from Plymouth, which Ralegh’s brother had frequented. Nothing further has been found about Ralegh.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Authors: L. M. Kirk / A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from elder brother’s, c. 1475, M. J. G. Stanford, ‘A hist. of the Ralegh fam. of Fardel and Budleigh in the early Tudor period’ (London Univ. M.A. thesis, 1955), 114. Vis. Devon, ed. Vivian, 639 corrected by Vis. Devon, ed. Colby, 180 and Stanford, clxxiv.
  • 2. Stanford, 114; LP Hen. VIII, i; Lansd. 16(55), f. 121.
  • 3. E179/98/271; Trans. Dev. Assoc. xxxii. 438; M. R. Westcott, ‘The estates of the earls of Devon 1485-1538’ (Exeter Univ. M.A. thesis, 1958), 83, 197, 244, 294; Stanford, 131.