WALKER, Robert (c.1597-1673), of Exeter, Devon.

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



Apr. 1640
Nov. 1640 - 6 Mar. 1643
1661 - 23 Aug. 1673

Family and Education

b. c.1597, 3rd s. of Thomas Walker (d.1629), merchant, of Exeter by Margery, da. of John Baker of Thorncombe, Devon. m. (1) 1622, Margaret (d.1629), da. of John Parkins, merchant, of Dorchester. Dorset. s.p.; (2) 19 May 1630, Mary, da. of William Cotton, precentor of Exeter Cathedral, 5s. (1 d.v.p.) 4da.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Exeter 1622, bailiff 1626-7, common councilman 1628-?49, June 1660-d., receiver 1633-4, sheriff 1634-5, gov. of merchant adventurers 1636, mayor 1639-40; commr. for assessment, Exeter Aug. 1660-d., Devon 1661-3; dep. lt. Exeter 1670-d.2


Walker’s grandfather established the family fortune as a goldsmith in Elizabethan Exeter, and his father founded the grammar school. Walker himself, a strong Churchman, was returned for the city at both elections of 1640, the first of the family to sit. Disabled for royalism, he attended the Oxford Parliament. He signed the surrender of Exeter in 1646 and in accordance with its terms compounded at one-tenth for his delinquency with a fine of £889. He was regarded during the Interregnum as one of the royalist leaders in Exeter.3

Walker was ineligible at the general election of 1660, but he signed the declaration of the Devonshire Cavaliers disclaiming animosity towards their opponents. He regained his seat in 1661, but he was not an active Member of the Cavalier Parliament. He was appointed to only six committees, including those to hear a petition from the clothiers of Devon and to consider a bill regulating the manufacture of stuffs in the county. As a result of a petition from the merchant adventurers of Exeter in 1663, he was ordered to attend the King with an address calling for the rigid enforcement of the Navigation Act. The last order for payment of his parliamentary wages was entered in the corporation act book in September. He died on 23 Aug. 1673 in his 77th year, and was buried at St. Mary Arches. An inscription records that he was thrice elected to Parliament, and describes him as always faithful to his God, his church and his King.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: J. S. Crossette


  • 1. Procs. Dorset Nat. Hist. and Arch. Soc. xvi. 69, 72; B. F. (Cresswell, Churches of Exeter, 103; Devon and Cornw. N. and Q. xv. 279-80, Exeter Cathedral Reg. (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc.) 23; PCC 153 Pye.
  • 2. Keeler, Long Parl. 375; W. Cotton, Guild of Exeter, 87; Devon RO, Exeter corp. act bk. 10, f. 136.
  • 3. Keeler, 375-6; Trans. Devon Assoc. lxi. 210-11; HMC Exeter, 146; Cal. Comm. Comp. 1259; HMC Portland, i. 584.
  • 4. Trans. Devon Assoc. lxviii. 108; CJ, viii. 522; Exeter corp. act bk. 10, ff. 158, 164; 11, f. 5; Creswell, 103.