COLMAN, William (b.c.1655), of Gornhay, Tiverton, Devon.

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



Family and Education

b. c.1655, o.s. of Roger Colman. m. (1) 19 Dec. 1676, Mary, da. of Peter Prideaux of Netherton, s.p.; (2) 3 Oct. 1680, Jane, da. of Sir Edmund Fortescue of Fallapit, s.p.; (3) 3 Nov. 1684, Elizabeth, da. of William Bogan of Gatcombe, Little Hempston, 1s. 1da. suc. fa. 1660.1

Offices Held

Capt. of militia ft. Devon by 1680; j.p. Tiverton 1680-1, Devon 1687-July 1688, Oct. 1688-?d.; j.p. and alderman, Tiverton 1684-7; commr. for assessment, Devon 1689-90.2


Colman was still under age when his mother drew up her will in 1674. Whereas his ancestors had been satisfied to marry into the lesser gentry, his first and second wives both came from leading Tory families. He was undoubtedly a Tory and probably a persecutor of dissenters. As one of the grand jury at the summer assizes of 1680, he was held responsible by the House for an abhorring presentment. Nothing is known of his election to James II’s Parliament, nor of his activities in it. He was removed from the corporation in 1687, and came in to William of Orange at Exeter in November 1688. He was re-elected to the Convention, and according to Anthony Rowe voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant. He sat on two committees in the first session, one to prevent the export of wool and the other to consider the affairs of the East India Company, and on the committee to prepare a bill of indemnity after the recess. He is not known to have stood again, though he was active as trustee in various family settlements till at least 1712. His grandson Edward sat for Orford as a stop-gap in the Seymour interest from 1768 to 1771.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 221.
  • 2. M. Dunsford, Hist. Mems. Tiverton, 193; PC2/72/535.
  • 3. PCC 15 Dycer; Trans. Devon Assoc. xcviii. 214; Dunsford, 193, 372, 457; CJ, ix. 656; HMC 7th Rep. 416; HMC Lords, n.s. v. 178; vi. 239; ix. 240.