COLES, William (c.1616-97), of Woodfalls, nr. Downton, Wilts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



3 May - 9 May 1660

Family and Education

b. c.1616, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Barnabas Coles of Woodfalls by w. Katherine Barnes. educ. Brasenose, Oxf. 1635; M. Temple 1637 , called 1645. m. (1) settlement 25 Mar. 1647, with £1,500, Eleanor, da. of Leweston Fitzjames of Leweston, Dorset, 3s. (1 d.v.p.); (2) bef. 1657, Joyce, 2s. d.v.p. 2da.; (3) 21 July 1690, Elizabeth, da. of James Goddard of South Marston, Wilts., wid. of Gilbert Raleigh of Downton, s.p. suc. fa. 1653.1

Offices Held

Commr. for militia, Wilts. 1648, 1659, Mar. 1660, j.p. 1653-July 1660, commr. for scandalous ministers 1654, assessment 1657, Jan. 1660, sequestrations 1659.2


Coles’s ancestors had leased Woodfalls, about a mile from Downton, since the reign of Elizabeth. Their status lay on the fringes of the gentry and the professional classes; a namesake and contemporary, who resided in the Close at Salisbury, serving as steward to Edmund Ludlow and clerk of the peace for Wiltshire during the Interregnum, entered his pedigree at the heralds’ visitation of. Coles himself, ‘an honest gentleman’, according to his cousin’s employer, represented Downton in Richard Cromwell’s Parliament, and stood for re-election in 1660. After a double return he was allowed to sit on the merits of the return, but he was unseated six days later on the merits of the election, without leaving any other trace on the records of the Convention. He never again held local office, even the most minor, and died in 1697, leaving to his grandson and heir Barnaby an estate of about £350 p.a. No other member of the family sat in Parliament.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 5), ix. 20, 108, 110, 174-5; Dorset RO, 173; Hoare, Wilts. Downton, 55; PCC 289 Brent, adm. act. bk., 27 Nov. 1697.
  • 2. Cal. Comm. Comp. 755.
  • 3. Voyce from the Watchtower, 104, 119; C5/232/14.