DODDRIDGE, Pentecost (c.1570-1644), of Holland Street, Barnstaple, Devon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. c.1570, 3rd s. of Richard Doddridge (d.1619) of Barnstaple and Joan, da. of one Horder and wid. of one Badcock; bro. of John*. m. 12 Feb. 1599 (with £400), Elizabeth (d.1638), da. of Jacob Westcombe of Barnstaple, 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 5da. (2 d.v.p.). d. 24 Feb. 1644.1 sig. Pen[tecost] Doddridge.

Offices Held

Freeman, Barnstaple 1600, capital burgess 1611-?d., mayor 1611-12, 1627-8, 1637-8;2 commr. exacted fees, Devon 1638.3

Member, Span. Co. 1605.4


In contrast to his brother John, who enjoyed a distinguished legal career in London, Doddridge emulated his father, and became a Barnstaple merchant. By 1595 he was exporting Devon cloth to France on his own account, but he initially refused to comply with the town’s market regulations. In 1599, he was ‘rated for buying and selling and opening shop windows’ without being a freeman of the borough. His obdurate defiance of the local authorities over this penalty earned him an appearance before the Privy Council, which in early 1600 ordered him to pay up and also take out his freedom.5 Five years later, Doddridge and his father joined the revived Spanish Company, his father being nominated to the board. This body proved to be short-lived, but Doddridge made the Iberian peninsula and Atlantic Islands his main commercial focus during the next two decades, trading West Country cloth and calfskins for Spanish wool and iron. He also occasionally shipped cloth to France via Exeter. Although never one of Barnstaple’s most active merchants, he became relatively wealthy, and in 1622 was assessed for subsidy at £10.6

Doddridge was named as a capital burgess in Barnstaple’s 1611 charter, and it was as a senior corporation figure that he was returned for the borough to the parliaments of 1621, 1624 and 1625. Partnered each time by John Delbridge, who acted as constituency spokesman, he left barely any trace on the Commons’ records. While he attracted no personal nominations, he was entitled as a port town burgess to scrutinize the 1624 bill on fishing rights off the North American coast, and attended four meetings of this committee.7

The war with Spain during the later 1620s inevitably disrupted Doddridge’s business, and he failed to feature in Barnstaple’s customs records for 1627-8. However, in the latter year his finances improved when he inherited his brother John’s Devon properties. With the return of peace, he resumed trading on the usual lines, and was still shipping cloth to Bilbao as late as 1636. Elected mayor of Barnstaple for the third time in the following year, he raised all but around £11 of the town’s latest Ship Money assessment of £150. To justify the shortfall to the Privy Council, he complained that the sheriff of Devon, Thomas Wise*, had increased Barnstaple’s original target by £50 in order to spare Exeter.8

Doddridge sided with Parliament at the outbreak of the Civil War, in October 1642 offering to lend £50 towards fortifying Barnstaple against royalist forces. It is not known whether he retained his place on the corporation after the town capitulated in the following year.9 Doddridge made his will on 5 Feb. 1644, ‘weak in body’ and regretful that he was not ‘better prepared for another world’, but confident that he would enjoy ‘life eternal with all the elect’. He left over £100 to charity, including £39 for a weekly bread dole in Barnstaple, and £30 to help poor weavers there. The bulk of his property was assigned to his eldest son, John, but he reserved tenements in Barnstaple and Tavistock for his younger son, who was also to receive £500. He bequeathed £50 each to his three surviving daughters, all of whom had married Exeter merchants, and £550 in total to their children. However, he acknowledged that much of his fortune was tied up in current trading ventures, and in loans not yet repaid to him; if this money should be lost, through ‘bad debts, bankrupts, loss at sea, bad factors or other casual means’, then his legacies were to be scaled down proportionately. Doddridge died three weeks later, and was buried at Barnstaple. His son John, who proved the will at Oxford, served in the Commons three times between 1646 and 1654, twice for Barnstaple, and once for Devon.10

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Alan Davidson / Paul Hunneyball


Barnstaple Recs. ed. J.R. Chanter and T. Wainwright, i. 51.

  • 1. D. Drake, ‘Barnstaple MPs’, Reps. and Trans. Devon Assoc. lxxii. 259; S.E. Dodderidge and H.G.H. Shaddick, Dodderidges of Devon, 10, 12, 23, 26; PROB 11/81, f. 330v.
  • 2. J.B. Gribble, Memorials of Barnstaple, 202, 283, 399.
  • 3. C181/5, f. 109v.
  • 4. Span. Co. ed. P. Croft (London Rec. Soc. ix), 99.
  • 5. E190/936/13; Gribble, 282-4; APC, 1599-1600, pp. 36, 63.
  • 6. Span. Co. 99, 101; E190/942/13; 190/944/8; 190/945/8; E179/102/455.
  • 7. Gribble, 399; C.R. Kyle, ‘Attendance Lists’, PPE 1604-48 ed. Kyle, 221.
  • 8. E190/947/5; 190/949/10; Drake, 256; CSP Dom. 1637-8, p. 93.
  • 9. Gribble, 443; E.A. Andriette, Devon and Exeter in Civil War, 93.
  • 10. PROB 10/641; Dodderidge and Shaddick, 26.