Domesday Book is a manuscript record of the "Great Survey" of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states: Then, at the midwinter, was the king in Gloucester with his council.... After this had the king a large meeting, deep consultation with his council, about this land. Sent he his men over all England into each shire, it was written in Medieval Latin, was abbreviated, included some vernacular native terms without Latin equivalents. The survey's main purpose was to determine what taxes had been owed during the reign of King Edward the Confessor, which allowed William to reassert the rights of the Crown and assess where power lay after a wholesale redistribution of land following the Norman conquest; the assessors' reckoning of a man's holdings and their values, as recorded in Domesday Book, was dispositive and without appeal. The name "Domesday Book" came into use in the 12th century; as Richard FitzNeal wrote in the Dialogus de Scaccario: for as the sentence of that strict and terrible last account cannot be evaded by any skilful subterfuge, so when this book is appealed to... its sentence cannot be quashed or set aside with impunity.
That is why we have called the book "the Book of Judgement"... because its decisions, like those of the Last Judgement, are unalterable. The manuscript is held at The National Archives at London. In 2011, the Open Domesday site made the manuscript available online; the book is an invaluable primary source for historical economists. No survey approaching the scope and extent of Domesday Book was attempted again in Britain until the 1873 Return of Owners of Land which presented the first complete, post-Domesday picture of the distribution of landed property in the British Isles. Domesday Book encompasses two independent works; these were "Little Domesday", "Great Domesday" No surveys were made of the City of London, Winchester, or some other towns due to their tax-exempt status. Most of Cumberland and Westmorland are missing. County Durham is missing; the omission of the other counties and towns is not explained, although in particular Cumberland and Westmorland had yet to be conquered. "Little Domesday" – so named because its format is physically smaller than its companion's – is the more detailed survey, down to numbers of livestock.
It may have represented the first attempt, resulting in a decision to avoid such level of detail in "Great Domesday". Both volumes are organised into a series of chapters listing the fees, held by a named tenant-in-chief of the king, namely religious institutions, Norman warrior magnates and a few Saxon thegns who had made peace with the Norman regime; some of the largest such magnates held several hundred fees, in a few cases in more than one county. For example, the chapter of the Domesday Book Devonshire section concerning Baldwin the Sheriff lists 176 holdings held in-chief by him. Only a few of the holdings of the large magnates were held in demesne, most having been subinfeudated to knights military followers of the tenant-in-chief which latter thus became their overlord; the fees listed within the chapter concerning a particular tenant-in-chief were ordered, but not in a systematic or rigorous fashion, by the Hundred Court under the jurisdiction of which they were situated, not by geographic location.
As a review of taxes owed, it was unpopular. Each county's list opened with the king's demesne lands, it should be borne in mind that under the feudal system the king was the only true "owner" of land in England, under his allodial title. He was thus the ultimate overlord and the greatest magnate could do no more than "hold" land from him as a tenant under one of the various contracts of feudal land tenure. Holdings of Bishops followed of the abbeys and religious houses of lay tenants-in-chief and lastly the king's serjeants, Saxon thegns who had survived the Conquest, all in hierarchical order. In some counties, one or more principal towns formed the subject of a separate section: in some the clamores were treated separately; this principle applies more to the larger volume: in the smaller one, the system is more confused, the execution less perfect. Domesday names a total of 13,418 places. Apart from the wholly rural portions, which constitute its bulk, Domesday contains entries of interest concerning most of t
The History of Parliament
The History of Parliament is a project to write a complete history of the United Kingdom Parliament and its predecessors, the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of England. The history will principally consist of a prosopography, in which the history of an institution is told through the individual biographies of its members. After various amateur efforts the project was formally launched in 1940 and since 1951 has been funded by the Treasury; as of 2010 the volumes covering the House of Commons for the periods 1386–1421, 1509–1629, 1660–1832 have been completed and published. In 2011 the completed sections were republished on the internet; the publication in 1878–79 of the Official Return of Members of Parliament, an incomplete list of the name of every Member elected to serve in lower Houses of Parliaments in the United Kingdom and predecessor states, gave a useful source on which Victorian historians could build, there were several publications which identified and gave some biographical and genealogical details of the Members of Parliament for certain constituencies.
Among those writing histories was Josiah Wedgwood, himself Member of Parliament for Newcastle-under-Lyme from 1906. In 1918–1922 Wedgwood published the Staffordshire Parliamentary History. In 1928, Wedgwood decided to take the subject further. Together with other MPs who were interested in the subject, he wrote a memorial to the Prime Minister urging him to appoint a Committee to prepare a complete record of the personnel of every Parliament since 1264; the memorial noted that the Official Return was incomplete and inaccurate, contained no information beyond a list of names. Wedgwood obtained the signatures of more than 200 MPs. On 17 July 414 had signed, together with a number of members of the House of Lords, a delegation saw Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, again wary of the cost. Baldwin agreed to take the matter under consideration; the result of the pressure was that Baldwin announced in December that the Government agreed to appoint a Select Committee to report on materials available to write such a history.
The committee so formed in March 1929 included academics as well as politicians, it soon became riven by ferocious differences about the nature of the project with Wedgwood's romanticism alienating most of the historians. The interim report of the Committee, covering 1264 to 1832, was published in September 1932 in the run-up to the centenary of the Reform Act and gave a guide to the information available; the project ran into funding difficulties given the economic situation in the 1930s, no future reports were issued by the Committee. Wedgwood undertook fundraising and worked with a small group of assistants, completing in 1936 and 1938 two volumes entitled The History of Parliament 1439–1509, he took advantage of the one remaining offer of Government help and the books were published by His Majesty's Stationery Office. In 1940, the History of Parliament Trust was established to foster future volumes and arrange for their publication. However, the war and Wedgwood's death in 1943 meant. At the end of the war, strenuous lobbying by L. B.
Namier, a member of the 1930s committee succeeded in getting agreement by the Treasury to provide funding for the History of Parliament Trust. Namier was Professor of History at the University of Manchester; the initial grant was for not more than £17,000 a year, for 20 years, during which it was hoped that the whole period could be completed. Sir Frank Stenton became the first chairman of the editorial board; the historian David Cannadine, in the History of Parliament Trust's 2006 annual lecture on 21 November 2006, noted that while Wedgwood and Namier are predominantly responsible for the foundation of the History, they were quite contrasting characters. Despite working together on the Committee on House of Commons Personnel and Politics, they had quite different inspirations to take up the subject of Parliamentary history. Wedgwood looked on the history of Parliament as a member of the classic Whig school of history: as a romantic story of the spread of freedom and liberty to people of all backgrounds.
Namier regarded such views as fashionable nonsense and was interested in the personalities of Parliament. Once the History of Parliament Trust started looking into the scope of its work, it quite realised the enormity of the task before it. Namier was critical of the quality of Wedgwood's work and so his period of 1439–1509 was included to be rewritten from the start; the History was divided into 15 sections, but by 1956 this was impossible and they were reduced to six. For a decade, Namier himself worked nine hours a day at the Institute of Historical Research to write biographies of eighteenth century Members of Parliament, with three paid assistants and other volunteers. Although Namier died in 1960, the first volumes of the History to be published in April 1964 carried his name along with that of his colleague John Brooke and covered the years 1754–1790; the format of the first three volume set established the standard for all others. It began with an introducto
Historic England is an executive non-departmental public body of the British Government sponsored by the Department for Culture and Sport. It is tasked with protecting the historical environment of England by preserving and listing historic buildings, ancient monuments and advising central and local government; the body was created by the National Heritage Act 1983, operated from April 1984 to April 2015 under the name of English Heritage. In 2015, following the changes to English Heritage's structure that moved the protection of the National Heritage Collection into the voluntary sector in the English Heritage Trust, the body that remained was rebranded as Historic England. Historic England has a similar remit to and complements the work of Natural England which aims to protect the natural environment; the body inherited the Historic England Archive from the old English Heritage, projects linked to the archive such as Britain from Above, which saw the archive work with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland to digitise and put online 96,000 of the oldest Aerofilms images.
The archive holds various nationally important collections and the results of older projects such as the work of the National Buildings Record absorbed by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England and the Images of England project which set out to create a accessible online database of the 370,000 listed properties in England at a snapshot in time at the turn of the millennium. Historic England inherits English Heritage's position as the UK government's statutory adviser and a statutory consultee on all aspects of the historic environment and its heritage assets; this includes archaeology on land and under water, historic buildings sites and areas, designated landscapes and the historic elements of the wider landscape. It monitors and reports on the state of England's heritage and publishes the annual Heritage at Risk survey, one of the UK Government's Official statistics, it is tasked to secure the preservation and enhancement of the man-made heritage of England for the benefit of future generations.
Its remit involves: Caring for nationally important archive collections of photographs and other records which document the historic environment of England and date from the eighteenth century onwards. Giving grants national and local organisations for the conservation of historic buildings and landscapes. In 2013/14 over £13 million worth of grants were made to support heritage buildings. Advising central UK government on which English heritage assets are nationally important and should be protected by designation. Administering and maintaining the register of England's listed buildings, scheduled monuments, registered battlefields, World Heritage Sites and protected parks and gardens; this is published as an online resource as'The National Heritage List for England'. Advising local authorities on managing changes to the most important parts of heritage. Providing expertise through advice and guidance to improve the standards and skills of people working in heritage, practical conservation and access to resources.
In 2009–2010 it trained around 200 professionals working in local authorities and the wider sector. Consulting and collaborating with other heritage bodies and national planning organisations e.g. the preparation of Planning Policy statement for the Historic Environment Commissioning and conducting archaeological research, including the publication of'Heritage Counts' and ‘Heritage at Risk’ on behalf of the heritage sector which are the annual research surveys into the state of England's heritage. It is not responsible for approving alterations to listed buildings; the management of listed buildings is the responsibility of local planning authorities and the Department for Communities and Local Government. It owns the National Heritage Collection of nationally important historic sites in public care; however they do not run these sites as this function is instead carried out by the English Heritage Trust under licence until 2023. English Heritage Historic England Archive Cadw Historic Scotland Northern Ireland Environment Agency Manx National Heritage Department for Culture and Sport Conservation in the United Kingdom Heritage at Risk Historic houses in England National Trust Properties in England Heritage Open Days List of Conservation topics List of heritage registers List of museums in England Heritage film Official website The Historic England Archive: Search over 1 million catalogue entries describing photographs and drawings of England's buildings and historic sites, held in the Historic England Archive.
Britain from Above: presents the unique Aerofilms collection of aerial photographs from 1919-1953. Images of England website Heritage Explorer: Education site for teachers Department for Culture Media and Sport
Sir John de la Pole, 6th Baronet
Sir John William de la Pole, 6th Baronet of Shute in the parish of Colyton, was a Member of Parliament for the rotten borough of West Looe. In 1791 he published, under the title Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, the researches on the history and genealogy of Devonshire made by his ancestor the antiquary Sir William Pole, which he did not publish in his lifetime and which were enlarged by his son Sir John Pole, 1st Baronet, but which were destroyed during the Civil War at Colcombe Castle, he was born on 26 June 1757, the son of Sir John Pole, 5th Baronet by his first wife Elizabeth Mills, daughter and co-heiress of John Mills, a banker and planter of St. Kitts, West Indies and Woodford, Essex, thus he lost both his parents when a small infant, his mother when he was aged 1 and his 27-year-old father at the age of 3. He assumed the surname of de la Pole by royal sign manual, he was educated at Blundell's School in Tiverton and appointed High Sheriff of Devon for 1782. He represented the constituency of West Looe in Parliament from 1790 to 1796.
He was listed as hostile to the repeal of the Test Act in 1791. Pole's greatest legacy apart from the collation and publication of the historical researches of his ancestor Sir William Pole, is his building between 1787 and 1789 of New Shute House, an Adam style late Palladian country house near the mediaeval and Tudor Old Shute House, Devon, purchased by his ancestor William Pole, it was designed and built by Thomas Parlby, his father-in-law's partner in their civil engineering business. The house remained the principal seat of the family until the death in 1926 of the unmarried and childless Sir Frederick Arundel de la Pole, 11th Baronet, great-grandson of the builder, he bequeathed the entire Shute Estate to his distant young cousin Sir John Carew-Pole of Antony House in Cornwall, descended from Carolus Pole, the younger brother of the 4th Baronet. In 1926 to meet the heavy death duties the house was let and its contents were sold at auction, it became a girls' school between 1933 and 1974, was turned together with its stables and wings into eight separate apartments.
The main block, converted into two vertically divided residences is in 2012 again a single residence. Old Shute House was retained by Sir John Carew-Pole until 1955 when he gave it to the National Trust on the proviso that members of his wider family would remain tenants, which they did until 2008, he married Anne Templer the daughter of James I Templer of Stover House, Devon, a self-made magnate who had made his fortune building dockyards under government contracts. Her mother was Mary Parlby, the sister of Thomas Parlby of Stone Hall, Stonehouse, in Plymouth, business partner of James Templer; the famous and immensely valuable portrait of Anne Templer painted by George Romney is now at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. James I Templer, father of Anne, was a self-made magnate, he was born in Exeter of the son of Thomas Templer a brazier. He was orphaned young, whereupon his elder brother apprenticed him to John Bickley, a carpenter or architect of Exeter, he broke his indenture and set off for India where he made a fortune, either from government building contracts or from dealing in silver bullion, before returning to England aged 23.
He settled at Rotherhithe, where he obtained a government contract to re-build the dockyard with his partners John Line and Thomas Parlby. He married Mary Parlby, the sister of his business partner and daughter of John Parlby of Chatham, Kent, he obtained with his partners in about 1760 the contract to rebuild Plymouth docks, for which he used granite from Haytor, moved to Devon. In 1763 he obtained a grant of arms from the College of Arms, in 1765 purchased the manor of Teignrace and Stover Lodge, which in 1780 he re-built in grander form on a nearby site, he is commemorated by a monument in Teignrace Church, rebuilt in 1786 by his sons. Pevsner thought of this family stating: "The Templers were people of taste, as is clear from the building and their monuments", his son James Templer built the Stover Canal in 1792 to help ship clay along the Teign Estuary from the Bovey Basin to the port of Teignmouth. Coal and agricultural produce was freighted along the canal. Granite from Hay Tor was used to build Stover House, completed by 1792.
By 1820 a granite tramway, which had rails cut from granite, was opened connecting the granite quarries of Haytor to the canal. This enabled large quantities of granite to be transported for major works like the new London Bridge which opened in 1825. George Templer, son of James Templer and brother of Rev. John Templer, rector of Teigngrace, was the father of Sophia-Anne Templer, wife of her first cousin Sir William Templer-Pole, 7th Baronet. George Templer however overspent his resources and was forced to sell Stover House, Stover Canal, the Haytor Granite Tramway and most of the rest of the family's considerable estates to Edward St Maur, 11th Duke of Somerset, in 1829, in whose family it remained until 1921. In 1932 it became the Stover Girls' School, which occupies it still in 2012; the mural monument to Lady Anne Pole, wife of Sir John de la Pole, in Shute Church is inscribed as follows: The mortal remains of Anne, widow of John William de la Pole, sixth baronet in descent, are consigned to the resting place of her kindred within these hallowed walls in the sure and certain hope of that perfect consummation and bliss both in body and soul which the Lord Jesus Christ hath prepared for them that love him.
If purity of life can pr
Devon known as Devonshire, its common and official name, is a county of England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is part of South West England, bounded by Cornwall to the west, Somerset to the north east, Dorset to the east; the city of Exeter is the county town. The county includes the districts of East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge and West Devon. Plymouth and Torbay are each geographically part of Devon, but are administered as unitary authorities. Combined as a ceremonial county, Devon's area is 6,707 km2 and its population is about 1.1 million. Devon derives its name from Dumnonia. During the British Iron Age, Roman Britain, the early Middle Ages, this was the homeland of the Dumnonii Brittonic Celts; the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain resulted in the partial assimilation of Dumnonia into the Kingdom of Wessex during the eighth and ninth centuries. The western boundary with Cornwall was set at the River Tamar by King Æthelstan in 936.
Devon was constituted as a shire of the Kingdom of England. The north and south coasts of Devon each have both cliffs and sandy shores, the county's bays contain seaside resorts, fishing towns, ports; the inland terrain is rural and hilly, has a lower population density than many other parts of England. Dartmoor is the largest open space in southern England, at 954 km2. To the north of Dartmoor are the Culm Measures and Exmoor. In the valleys and lowlands of south and east Devon the soil is more fertile, drained by rivers including the Exe, the Culm, the Teign, the Dart, the Otter; as well as agriculture, much of the economy of Devon is based on tourism. The comparatively mild climate and landscape make Devon a destination for recreation and leisure in England, with visitors attracted to the Dartmoor and Exmoor national parks; the name Devon derives from the name of the Britons who inhabited the southwestern peninsula of Britain at the time of the Roman conquest of Britain known as the Dumnonii, thought to mean "deep valley dwellers" from proto Celtic *dubnos'deep'.
In the Brittonic, Devon is known as Welsh: Dyfnaint, Breton: Devnent and Cornish: Dewnens, each meaning "deep valleys." Among the most common Devon placenames is -combe which derives from Brittonic cwm meaning'valley' prefixed by the name of the possessor. William Camden, in his 1607 edition of Britannia, described Devon as being one part of an older, wider country that once included Cornwall: THAT region which, according to the Geographers, is the first of all Britaine, growing straiter still and narrower, shooteth out farthest into the West, was in antient time inhabited by those Britans whom Solinus called Dumnonii, Ptolomee Damnonii For their habitation all over this Countrey is somewhat low and in valleys, which manner of dwelling is called in the British tongue Dan-munith, in which sense the Province next adjoyning in like respect is at this day named by the Britans Duffneit, to say, Low valleys, but the Country of this nation is at this day divided into two parts, knowen by names of Cornwall and Denshire, The term "Devon" is used for everyday purposes e.g. "Devon County Council" but "Devonshire" continues to be used in the names of the "Devonshire and Dorset Regiment" and "The Devonshire Association".
One erroneous theory is that the "shire" suffix is due to a mistake in the making of the original letters patent for the Duke of Devonshire, resident in Derbyshire. However, there are references to "Defenascire" in Anglo-Saxon texts from before 1000 AD, which translates to modern English as "Devonshire"; the term Devonshire may have originated around the 8th century, when it changed from Dumnonia to Defenascir. Kents Cavern in Torquay had produced. Dartmoor is thought to have been occupied by Mesolithic hunter-gatherer peoples from about 6000 BC; the Romans held the area under military occupation for around 350 years. The area began to experience Saxon incursions from the east around 600 AD, firstly as small bands of settlers along the coasts of Lyme Bay and southern estuaries and as more organised bands pushing in from the east. Devon became a frontier between Brittonic and Anglo-Saxon Wessex, it was absorbed into Wessex by the mid 9th century. A genetic study carried out by the University of Oxford & University College London discovered separate genetic groups in Cornwall and Devon, not only were there differences on either side of the Tamar, with a division exactly along the modern county boundary dating back to the 6th Century but between Devon and the rest of Southern England, similarities with the modern northern France, including Brittany.
This suggests the Anglo-Saxon migration into Devon was limited rather than a mass movement of people. The border with Cornwall was set by King Æthelstan on the east bank of the River Tamar in 936 AD. Danish raids occurred sporadically along many coastal parts of Devon between around 800AD and just before the time of the Norman conquest, including the silver mint at Hlidaforda Lydford in 997 and Taintona in 1001. Devon has featured in most of th
Syon Abbey called Syon, was a monastery of the Bridgettine Order founded in 1415 which stood until its demolition in the 16th century on the left bank of the River Thames within the parish of Isleworth, in the county of Middlesex, on or near the site of the present Georgian mansion of Syon House. It was named after the Biblical Holy “City of David, Zion”, built on the eponymous Mount Zion. At the time of the dissolution, the abbey was the wealthiest religious house in England. Syon Abbey maintained a substantial library, with a collection for the monks and another for the nuns; when Catherine of Siena's Dialogue of Divine Revelation was translated into English for the abbey, it was given a new title, "The Orchard of Syon," and included a separate prologue written to the nuns. Syon Abbey was built as part of King Henry V's “The King's Great Work” centred on Sheen Palace; the royal manor of Sheen lay on the right, bank of the River Thames, opposite the parish of Twickenham and the royal manor of Isleworth on the left, bank.
Sheen had been a favourite residence of the last Plantagenet king Richard II and his beloved wife Anne of Bohemia. When Anne died there of plague in 1394, Richard cursed the place where they had found great happiness and razed the palace to the ground, his throne was usurped by his cousin Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster, who ruled as Henry IV, involved in the murder of Richard in 1400, in that of Archbishop Richard le Scrope, made a vow to expiate his guilt by founding 3 monasteries, which vow he died before fulfilling. The derelict palace was unfavoured by Henry IV but his son Henry V saw its reconstruction as a means of emphasising the dynastic link between his own House of Lancaster and that of Plantagenet, of unquestioned legitimacy, decided at the same time to found the 3 monasteries pledged by his father in one great, multi-campus building scheme, known as “The King's Great Work”, thus the “Great Work” commenced in the winter of 1413-14, comprising a new Sheen Palace, nearby the following 3 monasteries: A Monastery of the Celestine Order.
Established in Isleworth Manor. This monastery was of French monks, who refused to pray for Henry V following his warring with France at Agincourt in 1415, was therefore dissolved by the King immediately after its foundation; this monastery occupied the site in Isleworth to which Syon Monastery moved in 1431. The House of Jesus of Bethlehem of Sheen, of the Order of Carthusians Sheen Priory. Built within Sheen Manor, to the north of the new palace; the Monastery of St Saviour and St Bridget of Syon, of the Order of St Augustine Syon Monastery, the subject of this article. The first and original site of this monastery was almost due west of Sheen Palace, across the river, on the left bank of the Thames in Twickenham Parish; the first stone of Syon Abbey was laid by King Henry V himself on 22 February 1415, in the presence of Richard Clifford, Bishop of London. It was not until 9 days on 3 March 1415 that the King's founding charter was signed at Westminster; the exact location of this original plot is unknown, but it was in the parish of Twickenham, the most northerly river frontage of which lies directly west across the Thames from Sheen Palace.
Aungier states it is said to have been in the meadows which at the time of his publication in 1840 were the property of the Marquis of Ailsa, “formerly called Isleworth Park or Twickenham Park”. The dimensions of the plot were specified in the charter, seem to comprise a trapezoid, the longest side of which fronted the river: “... in a certain parcel of land of our demesne of our manor of Isleworth within the parish of Twickenham in the county of Middlesex, containing namely in length near the field towards Twickenham from a stone placed on the north side unto another stone placed on the south side 1938 ft. and in breadth towards the south from that stone placed on the south side unto the water of Thames, 960 ft. And in length by the bank of the Thames, from a stone placed by the aforesaid bank at the north side to another like stone placed on the south side by the bank aforesaid, 2820 ft, and in breadth from the north side from the aforesaid stone placed on the north side from the aforesaid stone placed on the north side unto the water of the Thames, 980 ft.”
The foundation charter states: We will and decree that it shall be called “The Monastery of St Saviour and St Bridget of Syon, of the Order of St Augustine” through all successive ages.. This name was quoted differently by the Abbess and Convent in their petition of 1431 as “The Monastery of St Saviour and the Saints Mary the Virgin and Bridget of Syon of the Order of St Augustine and of St Saviour”; the funerary brass of Agnes Jordan, Syon's last pre-reformation abbess, describes her as “Sometyme abbesse of the monasterye of Syon”. There are numerous references to Sion in the Latin Bible, called Zion in the English Authorised Version all of which are in the Old Testament. Mount Zion was the citadel of Jerusalem, which David captured from the Jebusites c. 1000 BC, as is clear from II Samuel, 5:7 David took the stronghold of Zion: the same is the city of David. It was there that David, 2nd King of Israel, established the capital of his kingdom of Israel, upon which citadel it was that his son Solomon built the Temple, in which he was the dwelling place of God.
It is thus the holiest site of Judaism and revered by Christians. Psalm 87:2 states The Lord loveth the gates of Zion; the Romans razed t
William Pole (antiquary)
Sir William Pole of Colcombe House in the parish of Colyton, of Southcote in the parish of Talaton and of Shute House in the parish of Shute, both in Devon, was an English country gentleman and landowner, a colonial investor, Member of Parliament and, most notably, a historian and antiquarian of the County of Devon. Pole was baptised on 27 August 1561 at Colyton, the son of William Pole, Esquire, MP, by his wife Katherine Popham, daughter of Alexander Popham of Huntworth, Somerset by his wife Joan Stradling. Katherine was the sister of Lord Chief Justice. In 1560 his father had purchased Shute House, near Axminster, Devon, he entered the Inner Temple in 1578, was placed on the Commission of the Peace for Devonshire, served as Sheriff of Devon in 1602–3, was MP in 1586 for Bossiney, Cornwall. He was knighted by King James I at Whitehall Palace on 15 February 1606, he paid into the Virginia Company, was an incorporator of the third Virginia charter. During his life Pole wrote many unpublished manuscripts containing his researches into the history and antiquities of Devon and the descents of that county's ancient families, their landholdings and heraldry.
These documents laid the foundation for not only future historians of the county but for his contemporaries, such as Tristram Risdon who acknowledged the help he had received from Pole's compilations. Pole stated that he used as his sources "Records out of ye Towre, the Exchecquer & such deedes & evidences which in my searches I have founde"; the Tower of London was one of the main repositories of legal and governmental deeds and other historical documents, until the opening of the Public Record Office in 1838. His work was enlarged by his son Sir John Pole, 1st Baronet, "who was much addicted to this ingenuous study"; however some, maybe many, of his manuscripts were destroyed at Colcombe Castle during the Civil War. The documents that survived include: Two folio volumes, entitled Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon which were published in 1791 by his descendant Sir John de la Pole, 6th Baronet, of Shute, MP, under the title "Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon".
In his introduction to the published volume, the 6th Baronet apologises to the reader for any of his spelling errors in transcribing the handwriting from the manuscripts and states that many of the resulting ambiguities "must still be left to the decision of the more informed reader". A folio volume of deeds and grants compiled in 1616, a small portion of, printed by Sir Thomas Phillipps under the title "Sir William Pole's Copies of Extracts from Old Evidences", Mill Hill, c.1840. A thin folio volume containing heraldry, etc. A volume of deeds and grants to Tor AbbeyPole's collections were used as source material for their own historical writings by among others, Tristram Risdon, John Prince, the brothers Daniel Lysons and Samuel Lysons, in volume 6: Devon of their Magna Britannia, his contemporary and fellow researcher into the history of Devonshire Tristram Risdon, who did manage within his lifetime to publish his own work the Survey of Devon, wrote as follows of Pole: "He was the most accomplished treasurer of the antiquities of this county.
Such a gift had he of rare memory, that he would have recited upon a sudden the descents of most eminent families. Moreover he had an extraordinary blessing of the Lord. Today, Pole's collections are considered to be valuable records of otherwise lost documents, though as Youings wrote in 1996: "being a man of his time, the material was concerned with the genealogy and landed possessions of Devon's aristocracy and gentry, he found no place for the rest of society". Pole married twice, his first marriage was to Mary Peryam, one of the four daughters and co-heiresses of Sir William Peryam, of Fulford House, Devon, a judge and Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer. Mary Peryam's first cousin was Jane Peryham who married the diarist Walter Yonge of Great House in the parish of Colyton, thus the wife of the famous Devon historian Sir William Pole was the first cousin of his near neighbour, the famous Devon diarist Walter Yonge. In future the Yonge and Pole families long competed with each other to win one of the two Parliamentary seats of the nearby Rotten Borough of Honiton, of which borough the Yonges were patrons, an electorate which expected to be bought by generous bribes which over time proved exorbitant to candidates.
By Mary Peryam he had six sons and six daughters including: William Pole, eldest son, who predeceased his father, as is stated on the mural monument to his mother in the Pole Chapel in Colyton Church. Sir John Pole, 1st Baronet, eldest surviving heir. Peryam Pole, 2nd eldest surviving son, who founded the Irish branch of the family and whose descendant William Pole, of Ballyfin, died without issue and bequeathed his estates to his wife's great-nephew William Wesley, who thereupon adopted the surname Wesl