HARRIS, John (c.1633-77), of Lanrest, Liskeard, Cornw. and Radford, Plymstock, Devon.
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Family and Education
b. c.1633, o.s. of John Harris† of Lanrest by 1st w. Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Emorb Johnson of South Petherton, Som. educ. Pembroke, Camb. 1649; I. Temple 1652. m. 4 Feb. 1666, Mary, da. of John Rashleigh† of Menabilly, Cornw., 1s. suc. fa. 1648.1
Commr. for assessment, Cornw. Aug. 1660-3, 1665-d., Devon 1661-3, recusants, Cornw. 1675; j.p. Devon Feb. 1677-d.
Harris’s paternal ancestors had been seated at Lanrest since Tudor times, but do not appear to have been of the same stock as the Devonshire family with whom they intermarried and whose Radford estate they inherited. His father was recorder of Liskeard, where he was first elected in 1628, and he continued to represent the borough until disabled for royalism in 1644. His property was still under sequestration at his death. Harris himself was accused by his footman of complicity in Booth’s rising in 1659.2
Harris was returned for Liskeard at the general election of 1661, though he seems to have resided chiefly in Devon, and was known in Plymouth as ‘the great Mr Harris’. But he did not acquire the epithet through his activity at Westminster. In 14 sessions of the Cavalier Parliament he was appointed to only three committees, of which the most important was to prevent meetings of sectaries (14 May 1663), and he defaulted on calls of the House in 1666, 1668 and 1671. In the opening sessions, when present, he was presumably a court supporter. He was entered on the working lists as under the influence of the Earl of Bath, but Sir Richard Wiseman in 1676 included him among the Cornish Members of whom he could ‘say little’, and in the following year Shaftesbury classed him as ‘worthy’. He died in August 1677, the last of his family to sit in Parliament. His widow married Shadrach Vincent.3