DEVEREUX, Sir William (c.1525-79), of Merevale, Warws.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1553

Family and Education

b. c.1525, 2nd s. of Walter, 1st Visct. Hereford by his 1st w. Mary, da. of Thomas Grey, 1st Mq. of Dorset; bro. of Sir Richard and half-bro. of Edward. m. Jane, da. of John Scudamore of Holme Lacy, Herefs., wid. of John Warnecombe of Lugwardine and Hereford, Herefs., 2da. Kntd. 21 Aug. 1565.

Offices Held

J.p.q. Warws. from c.1559; sheriff, Warws. and Leics. 1564-5.


Devereux sold his Pembrokeshire lands in 1562, by which time the bulk of his property lay in Leicestershire and Warwickshire. Classified in the 1564 bishops’ reports as ‘indifferent’ in religion, he sat in only one Elizabethan Parliament and is not recorded as serving on any committees.

He was evidently on close terms with his noble relatives, being one of the feoffees appointed by the will of Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex. In his own will, Devereux left a standing cup to ‘my good lord’ the 2nd Earl.

In 1578 he was involved in a dispute with Humphrey Ferrers over the stewardship of Tamworth, Staffordshire, and both were ordered to appear before the Privy Council. The dispute reflects Devereux’s growing interest in Staffordshire, increased by the marriage of his daughter Margaret to Edward Littleton, son and heir of Edward Littleton of Pillaton Hall. His other daughter Barbara, married first into the Cave family and afterwards Sir Edward Hastings. Before his death, Devereux settled his estates on his two daughters, appointing as feoffees Thomas Trentham, Richard Hussey, Richard Bagot, Robert Collies, Anthony Green and Lady Jane Devereux.

He died 28 Sept. 1579. In his will, proved 2 Nov. of that year, he made legacies of property, land, animals and plate to his daughters and sons-in-law. The rent of a house was provided towards the establishment of a free school at Atherston. He bequeathed 13s.4d. to the poor of the town, and a further 4d. to be divided each year among two poor persons who should read the Lord’s prayer and ‘the twelve articles of their Christian belief’ in the parish church. As executors, he appointed his wife and Thomas Trentham, and as supervisors, Richard Devereux and Sir John Cockin.

CP, vi. 478-9; J. C. Wedgwood, Staffs. Parl. Hist. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), i. 328-9; CPR, 1554-5, p. 231; 1560-3, p. 350; Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 46; Augmentations, ed. Lewis and Davies (Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and law ser.), passim; C142/191/119; PCC 42 Bakon; Lansd. 8, f. 81; 23, f. 152; APC, viii. 244; x. 200-1, 214, 259.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: W.J.J.


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.