LOWER, William (c.1570-1615), of St. Winnow, Cornw.; later of Treventy, Carm.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
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Family and Education

b. c.1570, s. and h. of Thomas Lower of St. Winnow by Jane, da. and coh. of William Reskimer. educ. Exeter Coll. Oxf. 1586; New Inn; M. Temple 1589. m. Penelope, da. and coh. of Sir Thomas Perrot by Dorothy, da. of Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, 1 posth. s. 1da. Kntd. 1604. suc. fa. 1610.1

Offices Held


The Lowers were Cornish minor gentry. Lower’s father built up his estates, busied himself in local administration, and saw to it that his sons were ‘trained in martial knowledge and exercised for the public service of the country’. Lower’s own studies at the Middle Temple were interrupted in 1591 when he was expelled for abusing the masters of the bench, ‘breaking open chambers in the night and levying money as the lord of misrule’s rent’. In 1592 he was re-admitted, soon leading a similar riot. Meanwhile, he acquired the interest in astronomy which earned him the friendship of Thomas Harriot and so a position in the group around (Sir) Walter Ralegh, who may have helped Lower to his parliamentary seat for Bodmin some ten miles from the Lower estate of St. Winnow.2

In the reign of James I, Lower’s marriage to the daughter of Sir Thomas Perrot brought him lands in Wales, where he seems to have spent the remainder of his life. He died intestate on 12 Apr. 1615, administration of the estate being granted to his widow 7 May. An inquisition post mortem held in Carmarthenshire, 3 May 1615, declared the heir to be his daughter Dorothy, aged 7, but by the time a second inquisition post mortem was held at Bodmin, 18 Apr. 1616, a son had been born, aged four months and twenty days at this date. These two inquisitions virtually rule out the earlier marriage between Lower and Agnes Treffry mentioned in the Visitations.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: W.J.J.


  • 1. Vis. Cornw. (Harl. Soc. ix), 133; Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 298-300; J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, iii. 375, 378, 386; PCC 97 Wood; Misc. Gen. et Her. i. 13.
  • 2. M.T. Recs. i. 307-8, 318, 326; Maclean, iii. 378; DNB (Harriot, Thomas); F. R. Johnson, Astronomical Thought in Renaissance England, 228.
  • 3. Maclean, iii. 378-9, 386; PCC admon. act bk. 1615, f. 15; C142/347/29; Wards 7/58/198.