HOLDITCH, Philip (by 1587-1654), of Totnes, Devon

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press




Family and Education

b. by 1587,1 1st s. of Philip Holditch† of Totnes, merchant and Susanna Crossing of Exeter, Devon. m. 22 Sept. 1606, Frideswide Fell, 6s. 6da. suc. fa. c.1608. bur. 2 Nov. 1654.2

Offices Held

‘Master’, Totnes by 1620-?d.,3 mayor 1623-4, 1638-9.4


Holditch’s father traded in a range of goods, from tin and cloth to fish and corn. Mayor of Totnes in 1598-9, he also represented the borough in the 1601 Parliament, the first of his family to sit in the Commons. Holditch himself was not yet 24 years old when his father made his will in December 1607. His inheritance, which he entered into the following year, included a manor and numerous houses in the Totnes area, and he probably invested in property himself.5 In 1611 he was assessed for subsidy at £7 in land. Holditch has not been traced in the local port books, but he clearly engaged in some commercial activity, since he was described as a merchant on the Totnes election indenture that returned him to Parliament in 1626. Although he left no trace on the Parliament’s records, he clearly had some business to conduct while in the capital; the corporation’s accounts show a payment on 30 July 1626 for ‘carriage of letters from Mr. [Arthur] Champernowne* and Mr. Holditch from London’.6

Holditch presumably declined to compound for knighthood in 1630, for it was not until November 1633 that he finally paid the unusually large fine of £25.7 As mayor in 1639, it fell to him to explain to the Privy Council that 85 Totnes residents had refused to pay Ship Money, ‘they being most of them men of the better rank and quality, too powerful for me to contend with’. He contributed £3 to the royalist coffers in December 1642, but is not otherwise known to have actively supported the king. Holditch was buried at Totnes on 2 Nov. 1654. No will or administration grant has been found. He was apparently the last member of his family to sit in Parliament.8

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: George Yerby / Paul Hunneyball


  • 1. Of age by Feb. 1608, when he proved his father’s will: PROB 11/111, f. 113.
  • 2. Totnes par. reg.; IGI (Devon); PROB 11/111, ff. 112-13.
  • 3. Vis. Devon (Harl. Soc. vi), 334.
  • 4. E. Windeatt, ‘Totnes Mayors’, Western Antiquary, x. 73; Reps. and Trans. Devon Assoc. xxxii. 121.
  • 5. HP Commons, 1558-1603, ii. 327; E190/938/11, 14; PROB 11/111, ff. 112- 13.
  • 6. E179/101/450; C219/40/146; Devon RO, 1579A-O/7/1/20.
  • 7. E401/1920.
  • 8. SP16/427/5; Devon RO, 1579A-O/17/30; Totnes par. reg.