John Dodderidge (died 1659)

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Arms of Dodderidge: Argent, two pales wavy azure between nine crosses croslet gules. These arms are visible on the monument to Sir John Dodderidge (1555-1628), Lady Chapel, Exeter Cathedral

John Dodderidge (1610 – 1659) was an English lawyer and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1646 and 1656.


Dodderidge was the son of Pentecost Dodderidge (died c 1650) of Barnstaple in North Devon, thrice Member of Parliament for Barnstaple in 1621, 1624 and 1625, by his wife Elizabeth Wescombe.[1] Pentecost Dodderidge was the brother and heir of Sir John Dodderidge (1555-1628), a Judge of the King's Bench, who had purchased for his seat the estate of Bremridge, near South Molton, Devon.


He entered Middle Temple on 26 June 1629 and was called to the bar on 19 May 1637.[2] In 1646, Dodderidge was elected Member of Parliament for Barnstaple in the Long Parliament.[3] He was appointed JP for Devon on 26 July 1647.[1] He was re-elected MP for Barnstaple in 1654 in the First Protectorate Parliament.[3] In 1655 he was appointed recorder of Bristol.[2] Subsequently he became Recorder of Barnstaple, a position of significant honour, having left pieces of plate to the corporation of Bristol.[1] In 1656 he was elected MP for both Bristol and for Devon in the Second Protectorate Parliament and chose to sit for Devon.[3] He was however prevented by Oliver Cromwell from taking his seat. He became a bencher of his Inn in 1658 and published Opinions of Sundry Antiquaries touching the Antiquity, Power etc., of the High Court of Parliament.[2]

Marriages & progeny[edit]

Dodderidge married three times, but his only son John predeceased him.[1] His wives included:

  • Martha Dacres (d.1655), the youngest daughter of Sir Thomas Dacres of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.[4]
  • Jane
  • Judith

One of his wives was the daughter of John Gurdon[5] of Assington Hall, Sudbury, Suffolk.


Dodderidge died in 1659 at Cheshunt at the age of about 49. He bequeathed his library of 112 books to the town of Barnstaple.[1]


Detail from 17th-century plasterwork overmantle in hall of Hudscott House, showing arms of Lovering of Hudscott (Argent, on a fesse wavy azure a lion passant or) impaling Dodderidge (Argent, two pales wavy azure between nine crosses croslet gules[6]) here shown apparently with tinctures transposed. They represent the marriage of John I Lovering (died 1675) to Dorcas Doddridge, sister and co-heiress of John Doddridge (1610-1659)

As his only son predeceased him, his heirs were his two sisters, one of whom was Dorcas Doddridge, the wife of John Lovering (d.1675) "The Elder", of Weare Giffard, a merchant based at Barnstaple[7] who served as one of his executors. John Lovering's son was John Lovering "The Younger" (d.1686) who married Elizabeth Venner daughter of William Venner of Hudscott, Chittlehampton.[8] They made their home at Hudscott, as is evidenced by the heraldic overmantle showing the arms of Lovering impaling Doddridge.[9]


John Dodderidge's will, dated 20 Jan 1658 and proved 20 Jun 1659, may be summarised thus:[10] John Doddridge of Bremeridge, Devon, Esq. 20 January 1658, proved 20 June 1659. If I happen to die within thirty miles of Cheshunt, Herts, my body may be carried thither and there interred in the Vault of my honored father in law Sir Thomas Dacres of Cheshunt, knight, as near the body of my very dear virtuous and truly loving wife Martha, the youngest daughter of the said Sir Thomas Dacres, as conveniently may be, who hath promised me a burying place there according to my great desire. But if I happen to die within thirty miles of the town of Barnastaple, Devon, then I very much desire that my body may be carried to Barnstaple and buried as near the body of my dear virtuous and loving wife Jane as may be. Bequests to the town of Barnstaple, for the poor there, to the aldermen of Bristol (forty pounds) for a piece of plate with my coat of arms engraven upon it and this inscription "Ex Dono Johanni Doddridge Recordatoris Civitatis Bristoll" (i.e "From the gift of John Dodderidge Recorder of the City of Bristol"). To the poor of Ilfracombe, Fremington, and South Molton. My most dear wife Judith. My dear sisters Mistress Elizabeth Crossing, Mistress Dorothy Lowring (i.e. Lovering) and my nephew Master John Martin. My father in law John Gurdon Esq. and my loving brothers John Hele Esq., Thomas Dacres Esq., Robert Gurdon Esq., Master John Martin, Master Richard Crossing, Master John Lowring, Master Joseph Jackson and my friends Master Robert Aldworth, Master Edward Watts and Master Richard Sherbrook. I give and bequeath unto the College in New England towards the maintenance of scholars there the yearly sum of ten pounds forever, issuing and going forth out of my Rectory of Fremington in the County of Devon. I also give and bequeath unto the Trustees for the maintenance of select scholars at the University, according to the model drawn up by Master Poole and other godly ministers, the like yearly sum of ten pounds &c. My cousin Dorothy Watts wife of Master Edward Watts, Sarah Walker daughter of Thomas Walker minister of Assington, Suffolk. Cousin Roger Hill one of the Barons of the Exchequer. My manor of Abbotts Bury in Porbury, in the County of Somerset. My niece Jane Martin.

Wife's monument at Cheshunt[edit]

A monument exists in Cheshunt Church, Hertfordshire, inscribed as follows: "To the memory of Martha Doddridge, wife of John Doddridge, of Branbridge, in the county of Devon, Esq., youngest daughter of Sir Thomas Dacres, of Hertford, Knt., who died in 1655. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. (Prov. xxx. 29) This is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day. (Gen. xxxv. 19, 80)".


  1. ^ a b c d e Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries 1901
  2. ^ a b c W R Williams Parliamentary History of the County of Gloucester
  3. ^ a b c Willis, Browne (1750). Notitia Parliamentaria, Part II: A Series or Lists of the Representatives in the several Parliaments held from the Reformation 1541, to the Restoration 1660 .... London. pp. 229–239. 
  4. ^ As mentioned in his will
  5. ^ Called his father-in-law in his will
  6. ^ As shown on the monument in the Lady Chapel of Exeter Cathedral to the judge Sir John Dodderidge (1555–1628)
  7. ^ Will of John Lovering "The Elder" proved 1675
  8. ^ Chanter, Rev. J.F., The Parishes of Lynton & Countisbury, published in Report & Transaction of the Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature & Art, Vol.38, Lynton, 1906,p.165
  9. ^ Listed building text, Hudscott Barton
  10. ^ Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 380 Pell
Parliament of England
Preceded by
George Peard
Richard Ferris
Member of Parliament for Barnstaple
With: Philip Skippon
Succeeded by
Not represented in Barebones Parliament
Preceded by
RIchard Aldworth
Miles Jackson
Member of Parliament for Bristol
With: Robert Aldworth
Succeeded by
Robert Aldworth
Joseph Jackson
Preceded by
Thomas Saunders
Robert Rolle
Arthur Upton
Thomas Reynell
William Morice
John Hale
William Bastard
William Fry
Sir John Northcote, Bt
Henry Hatsell
John Quick
Member of Parliament for Devon
With: Thomas Saunders
Robert Rolle
Arthur Upton
Thomas Reynell
William Morice
John Hale
Sir John Northcote, Bt
Henry Hatsell
Edmund Fowell
Sir John Yonge
Succeeded by
Sir John Northcote, Bt
Robert Rolle