BULLER, Francis (c.1603-1677), of Shillingham, Cornw.
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Family and Education
b. c.1603,1 1st s. of Sir Richard Buller* of Shillingham and Alice, da. of Sir Rowland Hayward, Alderman of London; bro. of George† and Anthony†.2 educ. Sidney Suss., Camb. 1620 aged 17;3 M. Temple 1622.4 m. 21 Nov. 1625,5 Thomasin (admon. 17 Jan. 1678)6, da. of Sir Thomas Honeywood of Elmstead, Kent, 12s. (10 d.v.p.) 3da. d.v.p.7 suc. fa. 1642.8 admon. 22 Nov. 1677.9 sig. Francis Buller.
Capt. militia ft., Cornw. 1633-at least 1637, col. militia, from 1642.10
Recorder, E. Looe, Cornw. from 1640.15
Buller was educated at Cambridge, and then at the Middle Temple, where he and his cousin Thomas Wise* were bound with Alexander and John Maynard†, associates of his father, Sir Richard.16 Though admitted only in late November 1622, he evidently made an immediate impression on his fellow students, since a few weeks later they chose him to preside over that year’s Christmas festivities.17 Buller used his position to demonstrate his support for the exiled queen of Bohemia, under cover of a Middle Temple banquet. James I, in the midst of delicate negotiations with Spain over her fate, was not amused, and in May 1623 Buller’s superiors at the Inn banned any further such feasts.18
Thanks to his father’s dominant local position, Buller was elected for Saltash both in 1624 (when he was barely of age) and 1625, on the latter occasion as Sir Richard’s junior partner. However, he played no recorded part in either parliament. In 1628 Sir Richard’s influence over Saltash was challenged, and Buller instead sought election at Mitchell. He probably approached the borough’s principal patron, John Arundell* of Trerice, his father’s political ally, perhaps also anticipating local support from his relatives, the Vivians of St. Columb Major.19 Although returned, his election at Mitchell was disputed, and on 21 May the committee for privileges reported in favour of a rival candidate, John Cosworth. Buller seems not to have contributed to parliamentary business during the interim. 20
During the 1630s Buller began to play a minor role in Cornish local government. In 1636 he inherited property in Montgomeryshire from his uncle Sir John Hayward*, and was apparently shortlisted as sheriff of that county in both 1638 and 1639. His lands were assessed for subsidy in 1641 at £10.21 Buller sat for Saltash in the Short Parliament, but secured election to the Long Parliament at East Looe, where he had just become recorder. He finally emerged as a major local figure two years later when his father died. Buller’s parliamentarian war service and his large estates guaranteed him a place on the Cornwall county committee until Pride’s Purge in 1648. Following his seclusion from Parliament, he declined to co-operate with the new regime, and spent the remainder of his life in retirement, first in Cornwall, and then in Surrey and Kent. He died at Ospringe, Kent in 1677.22 Buller’s sons Francis and John both represented several Cornish boroughs, the former from 1659 to 1679, the latter between 1656 and 1695.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Paul Hunneyball
- 1. Al. Cant.
- 2. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 57; A.B. Beaven, London Aldermen, ii. 36.
- 3. Al. Cant.
- 4. M. Temple Admiss.
- 5. Vivian, 57.
- 6. PROB 11/356, f. 3v.
- 7. Vivian, 57.
- 8. Buller Pprs. ed. R.N. Worth, 86.
- 9. PROB 11/355, f. 330v.
- 10. Buller Pprs. 15, 17, 76.
- 11. C231/5, pp. 373, 529.
- 12. SR v. 82, 149; A. and O. i. 90, 1097; ii. 1087, 1384.
- 13. A. and O. i. 111, 1235, 1247.
- 14. Antony House, Cornw. Carew Pole mss, BO/21/2-3.
- 15. Carew Pole mss, BO/21/16.
- 16. MTR, 678.
- 17. Yonge Diary ed. G. Roberts (Cam. Soc. xli), 66; W.R. Prest, Inns of Court, 105.
- 18. Original Letters ed. H. Ellis (ser. 1), iii. 118; MTR, 52.
- 19. CSP Dom. 1628-9, p. 65; Vivian, 57.
- 20. CD 1628, ii. 37; iii. 511.
- 21. C142/779/5; Carew Pole mss, BC/24/4/65-6; E179/89/329.
- 22. Buller Pprs. 109-13; PROB 11/355, ff. 315-16.