FULFORD, John (1524/25-80), of Fulford, Devon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1553

Family and Education

b. 1524/25, 1st s. of Sir John Fulford of Fulford by Dorothy, da. of John Bourchier, 1st Earl of Bath. m. (1) by 1553, Anne, da. of Sir Thomas Denys of Holcombe Burnell and Bicton, 6s. 5da.; (2) 30 Jan. 1570, Eleanor, da. of Bernard Smith of Totnes, wid. of John Charles (d. 17 Aug. 1568), of Tavistock. suc. fa. 14 Nov. 1544. Kntd. ?2 Oct. 1553.1

Offices Held

Commr. relief, Devon 1550; j.p. 1554-64, q. by 1569-d.; sheriff 1556-7, 1575-6.2


John Fulford inherited lands which in 1579 were valued at £100 a year. As one of the wealthiest men in Devon he took part in local administration but made little mark outside the county. His return with Sir Peter Carew to the second Parliament of Edward VI’s reign was probably the work of Sir Thomas Denys, whose brother was his stepfather and whose daughter was already his wife: Denys was to sit for the shire in the following Parliament, but in the spring of 1553 his advancing years and links with Princess Mary may have prompted him to stand aside in favour of the younger and less committed man. Fulford was joined in the House by his brother-in-law Nicholas Adams alias Bodrugan. Queen Mary made his uncle, the 2nd Earl of Bath, a Privy Councillor and knighted Fulford, with other kinsmen of the earl, at her coronation. In January 1554 he was one of several Devon gentlemen ordered to arrest Carew for conspiracy; four years later he served at sea under Admiral Clinton and saw action at Gravelines. He sued out a general pardon at Elizabeth’s accession, and his promotion to the quorum of the bench bespoke his acceptance of her religious settlement. After his second marriage he completed a lavish rebuilding of his house, and it was there that he died on 23 Aug. 1580. He was succeeded by his son Thomas, then 27 years old and more. His will, which was proved at Exeter in 1581, was destroyed in an air raid in 1942. His widow married in succession John Wrey and Ambrose Bellot.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/73/39, and from livery of inheritance in 1545, LP Hen. VIII, xx. Vis. Devon, ed. Colby, 48, 108; Vis. Devon, ed. Vivian, 379; CPR, 1569-72, p. 2; C142/188/18.
  • 2. CPR, 1553, p. 352; 1553-4, p. 18; 1569-72, p. 222.
  • 3. J. C. Roberts, ‘Parlty. rep. Devon and Dorset 1559-1601’ (London Univ. M.A. thesis, 1958), 313; Chron. Q. Jane and Q. Mary (Cam. Soc. xlviii), 176; Trans. Dev. Assoc. xlvii. 70; lxx. 211; W. G. Hoskins, Devon, 392; C142/188/18; Devonshire Wills (Index Lib. xxxv), 64.