PERYAM, John (1541-c.1618), of Exeter, Devon.

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




Family and Education

b. 1541, yr. s. of John Peryam, merchant of Exeter by Elizabeth, da. of Robert Hone of Ottery St. Mary; bro. of William. educ. ?New Inn Hall, Oxf.; M. Temple 1562. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of Roger Prideaux, 3da.; (2) Margaret Peck of Buckarel; (3) wid. of one Hayes of Lyme Regis, Dorset.1

Offices Held

Bailiff, Exeter 1574, alderman, receiver 1581-2, sheriff 1582-3, mayor 1587-8; vice-collector of tenths and clergy subsidies, Exeter diocese.


As early as 1572 Peryam was transacting business for Exeter in London, consulting the 2nd Earl of Bedford, Burghley and Sir Peter Carew on the repair of Exeter castle. By 1585 he was living in London, and some two years later the Exeter corporation threatened to expel him unless he came back to take a turn as mayor, which he did. It is likely that his return to Parliament for Barnstaple was due to an arrangement between Bedford and Arthur Bassett, Peryam’s relative by marriage. His brother William probably brought him in at Bossiney in 1586. In the Parliaments of 1589 and 1593 he sat for his native city, being paid wages of 5s. per day. The Exeter MPs were appointed to two committees on kerseys (23 Mar. and a Apr. and Peryam was named to committees on recusants (28 Feb., 4 Apr. 1593) and the poor law (12 Mar. 1593).

By 1595 Peryam was anxious to be relieved of his position as alderman because he could not attend meetings of the corporation, but he was still active in the following year when, with William Martin, he arranged Exeter’s grain supply on advantageous terms. He was generous in his lifetime to young merchants of Exeter, and left bequests to Exeter College. In 1600 he subscribed two-fifths of the annual cost of a puritan preacher for Exeter, Edmund Snape. With another merchant, he gave a bond of £100 for the payment of the stipend. Peryam, who invested in a number of voyages of discovery, died between 10 Aug. 1617 when he added a codicil to his will, and 15 Oct. 1618 when it was proved.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler


  • 1. DNB (Peryam, Sir William); Hooker’s Common Place Bk. ed. Harte, 21; Trans. Dev. Assoc. lxxii. 255; T. Westcote, Devon, 585; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 603.
  • 2. Roberts thesis; W. T. MacCaffrey, Exeter 1540-1640, passim; Exeter dioc. reg., Bp. Wolton’s act bk. 436; HMC Exeter, 40, 85, 277; Trans. Dev. Assoc. xlv. 413; lxiv. 478-9; lxxii. 255; Gilbert Voyages, ed. Quinn (Hak. Soc. ser. 2, lxxxiv), 333; W. Cotton, Eliz. Guild City Exeter, 155; D’Ewes, 477, 499, 507, 513, 517; Exeter city mun. act bk. 4, p. 520; 5, p. 309; Notes and Gleanings (Exeter 1888), i. 65-6; Som. N. and Q. vi. 325; First Letter Bk. East India Co. 144; PCC 95 Meade.