PHILIPOT, John (1588/9-1645), of Derby House, London; later of Aldersgate, London and Eltham, Kent.

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. 1588/9, 2nd s. of Henry Philpot (d.1603) of Folkestone, Kent and Judith, da. and coh. of David Leigh of Bridge, Kent. educ. appr. London 1604; L. Inn 1635; DCL Oxf. 1643. m. lic. 24 Dec. 1612, Susan (d.1665), da. and h. of William Glover of Sandwich, gent. usher to James I, 2s. 2da.1 d. 22 Nov. 1645. sig. Jo[hn] Philpott.

Offices Held

Freeman, Drapers’ Co. 1611;2 member, Art. Co. of London 1612.3

Blanch Lyon pursuivant extraordinary 1613; Rouge Dragon pursuivant 1618-24; Somerset herald 1624-d.;4 registrar, Coll. of Arms 1637-42.5

J.p. Kent 1617-at least 1623;6 escheator, Kent and Mdx 1621-2, 1625-6;7 bailiff, Sandwich 1623-8 (sole), 1628-35 (jt.), 1635-42 (sole), 1642-d. (jt.),8 freeman 1628;9 steward, Gillingham and Charing manors, Kent 1627-39;10 ?sub-collector subsidy, Kent 1641.11


Philipot’s ancestors called themselves Philpot, and in the fifteenth century held land in Shepherdswell, a few miles north-west of Dover. Philipot’s father, a younger son, settled in nearby Folkestone, where he served three terms as mayor.12 Philipot himself was a schoolboy when his father died in 1603. He was evidently an able youth, for in 1628 he was noted for his ‘eloquence, oratory’ and ‘diversity in languages’.13 In 1604 he was apprenticed to a London woollen-draper in accordance with his father’s will, and followed the trade, until marriage to the niece of Robert Glover, the scholarly Somerset herald from 1571 to 1588, opened an avenue to higher things.14 His aspirations to gentility were signalled by the insertion of an additional syllable in his surname, which not only obliterated its possibly bibulous connotations, but also established, in the first of his notorious bogus pedigrees, a claim to descent from Sir John Philipot†, the celebrated fourteenth century mayor of London. It also distinguished him from John Philpot of Faversham and Gray’s Inn, who became a justice of Ireland’s Court of Common Pleas in 1620.15 He was admitted in 1618 to the regular staff of the College of Arms as a pursuivant, or assistant to the heralds, and in 1623 Lord Zouche intervened with Sir Edward Conway I* to obtain for him the post of bailiff of Sandwich, which carried with it the responsibility for collecting the Crown rents and petty customs in the port. His marriage had already brought him a connection with the town, where he acquired house property.16

In June 1624 Philipot became Somerset herald by purchase,17 a position he retained for the rest of his life. In April 1627 he presented Buckingham with a collection he had made of all the former constables of Dover Castle and lord wardens of the Cinque Ports. In the 1626 Parliament the duke had been accused of holding too many offices, but in his dedication to Buckingham Philipot criticized those who ‘carp at your enjoying the offices of high admiral of England and lord warden of the Cinque Ports, as if they were incompatible in one person’.18 Philipot’s collection was evidently well received, for in the following November he was appointed steward of a royal manor in north Kent. It may have been a desire to do the duke further service that led Philipot in February 1628 to approach the corporation of Sandwich for a seat in the forthcoming Parliament, offering to serve at his own expense.19 Unlike Buckingham’s own nominee, Sir Edwin Sandys*, he was successful, but left no trace on the records of the third Caroline Parliament.

It has been naturally but erroneously assumed that Philipot was the author of a pamphlet, published anonymously in 1629, to prove that an apprentice could remain a gentleman.20 However, he certainly penned a catalogue of lord chancellors, lord keepers and lord treasurers which was printed in 1636. Early in 1633 Philipot accompanied Arundel, the earl marshal, to The Hague in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade the king’s sister to return to England now that her husband, Frederick, king of Bohemia, was dead. He returned to the Low Countries in the summer to invest the young Elector Palatine with the Garter, whereupon the queen of Bohemia found him ‘a very honest man’.21 Her assessment was perhaps mistaken, as previously he had unduly withheld fees from his fellow heralds. Indeed, in 1639 he was dismissed from the stewardship of the north Kent manor and temporarily suspended from his duties as a herald for forging a grant of arms.22 He maintained his interest at Sandwich by presenting to the Privy Council a petition for relief from Ship Money and enlisting the support of the Council clerk Edward Nicholas*, on whose behalf he canvassed the borough unsuccessfully at the next general election.23 He was at Oxford with the Court during the Civil War until captured by a parliamentary troop in the spring of 1645 and brought to London.24 He never compounded, but drew up his will on 15 Nov., wherein he asked his wife to publish ‘the survey of Kent wherein I have taken so great labour and pains’. 25 He died a week later, and, all social pretensions at an end, was buried as ‘Mr. John Filpott’ at St. Benet, Paul’s Wharf, the parish in which the College of Arms was located.26 The Kent survey to which he referred was published under the name of his eldest son, Thomas, in 1659.27 In the following year his catalogue of the knights dubbed by James I also appeared in print. No later member of the family entered Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Peter Lefevre / Andrew Thrush


  • 1. Al. Ox.; LI Admiss.
  • 2. Stanford London, 27.
  • 3. Ancient Vellum Bk. of Hon. Art. Co. ed. G.A. Raikes, 19.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 280; Stanford London, 28-30; B. Whitelocke, Mems. of Eng. Affairs, i. 439.
  • 5. Stanford London, 33.
  • 6. C231/4, f. 45; Cal. Assize Recs. Kent Indictments, Jas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 145.
  • 7. List of Escheators comp. A.C. Wood (L. and I. Soc. lxxii).
  • 8. CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 12; 1628-9, p. 215; Docquets of Letters Patent 1642-6 ed. W.H. Black, 354; Stanford London, 36-7.
  • 9. Procs. 1628, vi. 163.
  • 10. E315/311, pp. 22, 42.
  • 11. Stanford London, 39.
  • 12. Ibid. 25.
  • 13. A. Wagner, Heralds of Eng. 232.
  • 14. Stanford London, 27; Cent. Kent. Stud. PRC32/40, f. 46v.
  • 15. For this man, see GI Admiss. i. 89; E. Jacob. Hist. Faversham (1774), p. 163; Eg. 2584, ff. 77, 82, 215; Add. 37818, ff. 42v, 48; C181/2, ff. 247, 271; SP16/153/75.
  • 16. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 616; E. Kent Archives Cent. Sa/Fat 38, f. 52.
  • 17. Stanford London, 29.
  • 18. F.W. Steer, John Philipot’s Roll of Constables of Dover Castle and Lord Wardens of the Cinque Ports 1627, p. 15.
  • 19. Procs. 1628, vi. 162-3.
  • 20. Stanford London, 46.
  • 21. M.F.S. Hervey, Life, Career and Collection of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, 344-5.
  • 22. Stanford London, 35-6.
  • 23. Add. 33512, ff. 22, 24; CSP Dom. 1639-40, p. 561.
  • 24. Stanford London, 39-40.
  • 25. PROB 11/199, f. 425.
  • 26. Regs. of St. Benet [and St. Peter], Paul’s Wharf (Harl. Soc. Reg. xli), 33.
  • 27. Stanford London, 46-7.