PRESTWOOD, Richard (d.1566), of Exeter, Devon.

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

s. of Reginald Prestwood of Worcester, and bro. of Thomas Prestwood. m. Alice, da. of John Bodley, 2s. 1da.

Offices Held

Bailiff, Exeter 1549, receiver 1558, sheriff 1559.


Prestwood was an Exeter merchant who supported the group that gained the upper hand in the struggle over the new charter of the merchants’ company in the early years of Elizabeth’s reign. As sheriff of the city in 1559, he was in the thick of things, and his faction may have chosen him as MP knowing that he could be useful in London where the dispute was partly carried on. Prestwood continued to be the subject of controversy: in 1560 he was fined £5 by the city chamber for not keeping his dinners during his time as receiver, and, in the same year, a member of the chamber named Lake was fined for calling him ‘a dissembler and knave and a beast’. Prestwood, who retorted with similar abuse, was also fined. In 1561 John Peryam—as strong an opponent of the new merchants’ company as Prestwood was a supporter—was fined for more ‘unseemly speeches’ against him. Still, by 1563, when Prestwood was granted the keepership of the new cloth hall at Exeter, John Peryam stood surety for him. Prestwood died in 1566.

Trans. Dev. Assoc. xxxv. 715-16, 717; R. Izacke, Antiqs. Exeter, 123, 128; Roberts thesis, 115; Exeter City act bk. 3, pp. 44, 102, 365; HMC Exeter, 308; J. Hoker, Desc. Exeter (Dev. and Cornw. Rec. Soc.), 934.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler