1613, David Dromounde petitions about the profits from a Somerset manor

David Dromounde. SP 14/75 f. 92 (1613)

To the Kinges moste excellent majestie

The humble peticion of David Dromounde your majesties moste humble servante.

Sheweth whereas your majesties loyall subject Richard Connock some tymes servante and officer and servant to your late sonne Prince Henry standeth seised of the mannor, of Lylesdon in the county of Somersett the moyety of which mannor was sometymes the inheritance of Henry late Marquesse Dorsett and Duke of Suffolke, in the raignes of King Henry the Eight and Edwarde the Sixt. And whereas sondry ould debtes were due to the crowne att that tyme by the attaynder of the sayd Duke and were never yett recovered in respect of the desperatnesse and antiquity of the sayd debtes, which in that regarde with sondry other debtes of that kynde your majestie was gratiously pleased to graunte not longe since sondry grauntes of that nature to sondrey persons your majesties servantes of the sayd debtes and this debte also amongst others is past away ingenerall to them to make proffytt hereof by way of composicion with all persons whatsoever whose landes were lyable hereunto.

Now soe yt is that the moyety of the sayd mannor of Lylesdon beinge lyable by the rigor of lawe to the sayd debte and the sayd Richard Connock havinge already componed with the sayd pattentees of the sayd debtes graunted to them by your majestie, and now havinge extended the moyety of the sayd mannor whereuppon hee hathe reserved a yearely rent to your majestie whereas heretofore nothinge was founde nor answeared to your majestie neyther was yt heretofore any wayes questyoned but was voluntary done by your majesties subject to your majesties benefytt and use

In consideration whereof may yt please your majestie to graunt to your peticioner to the behoofe of the sayd Richard Connocke all such right tytle and interest as your majestie hathe and ought to have in and to all the sayd debtes due to your highnes out of the sayd mannor by the attaynder of the sayd Duke. Togeather with a lease duringe the extent of the sayd mannor of Lylesdon and he shalbe ever bound to pray for your majesties longe and happy raigne.

Report by Janette Storey

There is little definitive information about the author of the petition David Drummond (Droumonde). Drummond is a Scottish name and it is not inconceivable that his family were from the House of Drummond and associated with the court of James I. The same David Drummond is mentioned in other state papers of 1610 and later in 1624 claiming and being awarded money from recusants in the Midlands area.(1)

His most probable pedigree: From William, Master of Drummond, born about 1466, died about 1490, married Lady Isabelle Campbell and had two sons, Walter, second master of Drummond, and Andrew Drummond of Bellyclone, who married Janet Campbell, daughter of the laird of Glenorchy. They had a son Andrew Drummond, the 2nd of Bellyclone. Andrew married Janet Dickson in 1550 and they had two sons and one daughter, William his heir and David Drummond, who married Margaret, daughter of Edward Graham of Ardbeny Esq.by whom he had Sir David Drummond, major-general to Gustavus Adolphus king of Sweden, and governor of Stettin. (Szczecin, north west Poland is the modern name of Stettin). Various sources have his birth in 1589 or 1593.(2)

Sir James Spens of Wormiston (also called Jakob Spens) was behind the enlistment of many Scots in the Swedish army. Three of Spens’ daughters were married to Scottish officers. David Drummond married Cecilia. Drummond joined the Swedish service as a Lieutenant in the Lifeguards in 1617, he was a Captain by 1619 and knighted in 1627. He was commander of a Smâland regiment. In 1631 his regiment was transferred to the garrison of Stettin, Pommerania until 1634 . At this time Drummond was promoted to Major-general. He distinguished himself in the capture of Gartz in 1637, becoming Commandant of the town. The enemy took Gartz by surprise in the following year. Drummond was wounded, imprisoned and died shortly afterwards in Spandau. He is buried in Riddarholmskyrkan in Stockholm.(3) One source suggests that “when the coffin was opened in 1758 it was found to contain only a sawn-off skull. This was probably a purely practical arrangement to facilitate transport.”(4) Grosjean and Murdoch say he died 12 March [1638] probably from wounds sustained in the assault.(5)

Henry Marquess of Dorset and Duke of Suffolk

Henry Grey (1517-1554) is mentioned as the late owner of Lillesdon Manor and who had inherited it in the time of Henry VIII. An ardent protestant he is a person of note in that he was the father of Lady Jane Grey. He was beheaded, age 36 at Tower Hill for treason by orders of Queen Mary after an attempt to overthrow her.(6) The subsequent attainder(7) of his assets included Lillesdon.

Richard Connock

The subject of the petition is Richard Connock concerning the lease of Lylesdon manor. Lylesdon is more commonly known as Lillesdon, the hamlet is near the village of North Curry in the Somerset Levels. The manor was in the vested ownership of the late Prince Henry, something of which Richard Connock was fully aware.

Richard was born 1560 in Liskeard Cornwall, son of a rich tanner and Mayor and MP for Liskeard. He started his career as a lawyer and became the member of Parliament for Bodmin, 1593 and later for Liskeard, 1614. His biographical details are well documented.(8) He was an adept social climber, but displayed a mean streak. When jilted by a wealthy heiress he exhibited her portrait adorned with derogatory verses in his law chambers.

He held numerous offices under Elizabeth I and James I, making influential and sometimes lucrative business and political contacts including Lord Cecil and Lord Buckhurst.(9) When James I came to the throne the Duchy of Cornwall underwent a detailed audit by Richard Connock in preparation of its take over by Prince Henry, Prince of Wales.(10) As well as being auditor for the Duchy Richard acted as solicitor and a gentleman of the privy chamber to the Prince. He accrued wealth through his various dealings and was the subject of political envy by some court members.(11) When Prince Henry died unexpectedly in 1612 he lost considerable income. He took a long time to wind up the prince’s estate and it is at this time he is petitioning the King for the lease of Lillesdon Manor.(12) The manor seems to have come into Richard’s possession through his wife Joan, having previously been linked to the Buller family.

Richard’s fortunes diminished despite buying more crown properties. In 1614 he took a loan of £1000 from Sir Richard Smythe, but was not in a position to pay it back even though he had 1000 marks gifted to him from James I in 1617.(13) He was forced to mortgage properties to Smythe and was re-negotiating terms in London,1619 when he became ill. He was buried at St Martin-in-the-Fields January 1619/1620.

Richard’s will was written on 19 December 1619. He had lodgings in London and a residence in Calstock, Cornwall where he had several paintings, one of his former employer Prince Henry and a variety of musical instruments including Venetian virginals covered in crimson velvet, that belonged to Queen Elizabeth I. James I and Prince Henry were both noted collectors. This may have influenced Richard Connock. At his Lillesdon residence were more virginals, “a choice instrument for sweetness”, also most of his silverware.

Joan (Joane/Johan/ Jane) Connock

Richard’s widow was born c.1543, Joan Williams, daughter of Thomas Williams of Stowford, Devon, speaker in the House of Commons in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.(14) She married Philip Cole of Slade, Devon in 1563 and they had a son Richard (1564–1614). Philip Cole died 30 January 1595/6. On 12 March 1596/7 Joan married John Buller.(15) Lillesdon Manor was associated with the Buller family. John Buller died 19 February 1598/9 at Lillesdon. At sometime after this Joan remarried, this time to Richard Connock and Lillesdon came to his notice. After Richard’s death in 1619 Joan continued to live in Lillesdon until her own death on 2 April 1633.

Joane Williams: Effigy
Effigy of Joane Williams, https://www.wikitree.com/photo/jpg/Williams-45084

Her will was proved 14 September 1633. Joan expressed in her will a wish to be buried with her first husband Philip Cole at Cornwood.(16) There is an effigy of her in that church.(17) Rev. John Gibbs, Vicar of North Curry is reputed to have given to “Mrs. Johan Connock, of North Curry a gentlewoman of about 90 years of age, of much weakness and great infirmity and continually keeping her bed, a dispensation to eat flesh that Lent, such as the laws did permit”, to sustain and nourish nature in her.

Joan left a silver chalice to Cornwood church Devon, bearing the inscription ‘Ex dono Joannae Cole viduae relictae Philippi Cole de Slade arm igeri et filliae Thomas Williams de Stofford armigeri.’, money to the poor as well as more specific bequests to relatives and servants. Her will found in her home at Lillesdon, sealed up in a paper also mentions that she had to purchase her household effects from Richard’s executors after he died.(18) The bequeathed coach and silverware never came to Joan despite contesting Richard’s will. This shows the bad state of his fortunes. His estate was not finalised until 1650.

It has not been determined if Richard Connock’s petition was successful, but both he and his wife continued to reside at Lillesdon until their deaths.


(1) ‘James I: Volume 53, March, April 1610’, in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: James I, 1603-1610, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1857), pp. 590-605. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/jas1/1603-10/pp590-605 ; ‘James I: Volume 57, August-October, 1610’, in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: James I, 1603-1610, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1857), pp. 627-639. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/jas1/1603-10/pp627-639; ‘James 1 – volume 173: October 1624’, in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: James I, 1623-25, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1859), pp. 347-369. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/jas1/1623-5/pp347-369 .

(2) David Malcolm, Genealogical memoir of the most noble and ancient house of Drummond (1808), https://digital.nls.uk/94849714

(3) ‘DRUMMOND, DAVID [SSNE 2396]’, The Scotland, Scandinavia and Northern European Biographical Database (SSNE), https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/history/ssne/item.php?id=2396

(4) Jonas Berg and Bo Lagercrantz, Scots in Sweden, Seventeenth Century – Part 2, https://www.electricscotland.com/history/sweden/17-2.htm

(5) Alexia Grosjean and Steve Murdoch, Alexander Leslie and the Scottish Generals of the Thirty Years’ War, 1618–1648 (2014)

(6) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Grey,_1st_Duke_of_Suffolk

(7) ‘extinction of the civil rights and capacities of a person upon sentence of death or outlawry usually after a conviction of treason’: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, ‘Attainder’.

(8) ‘CONNOCK, Richard (1560-1620), of Charing Cross, Westminster and Lillesdon, Som.; later of Calstock, Cornw.’, in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010, https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1604-1629/member/connock-richard-1560-1620

(9) ‘James I: Volume 3, August-September, 1603’, in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: James I, 1603-1610, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1857), pp. 26-43. British History Online, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/jas1/1603-10/pp26-43. See also https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/jas1/1603-10/pp56-63; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/jas1/1603-10/pp64-90; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/jas1/1603-10/pp164-182; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/jas1/1603-10/pp200-214; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/jas1/1603-10/pp420-436; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/jas1/1603-10/pp627-639.

(10) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Frederick,_Prince_of_Wales

(11) ‘James I: Volume 57, August-October, 1610’, in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: James I, 1603-1610, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1857), pp. 627-639. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/jas1/1603-10/pp627-639.

(12) ‘James 1 – volume 71: November 1612’, in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: James I, 1611-18, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1858), pp. 154-160. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/jas1/1611-18/pp154-160.

(13) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merk_(coin); ‘James 1 – volume 90: March 1617’, in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: James I, 1611-18, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1858), pp. 439-456. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/jas1/1611-18/pp439-456.

(14) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Williams_(speaker)

(15) The Marriage Licenses of the Diocese of Exeter mentions 1596-97, Mar 8: John Buller of Lillesdon, in co. Somerset, and Joanne Cole of Slade, Gent., widow (widow of Philip Cole of Slade, in Buckland Toutsainte), http://kippeeb.blogspot.com/2013/03/will-of-john-buller-elder-of-north.html

(16) Some Descriptive Notes on the Parish of Cornwood and its inhabitants collected and arranged by JOHN DUKE PODE & CYRIL AUGUSTIN PODE (1918), https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/DEV/Cornwood/CornwoodNotes1918

(17) https://www.wikitree.com/photo/jpg/Williams-45084

(18) Abstracts of Somerset Wills Copied from the Manuscript Collections of the late Rev. Frederick Brown, Privately printed for Frederick Athur Crisp 1887-1890, https://www.westcountrybooks.com/index_htm_files/Abstract%20of%20Somerset%20Wills%20Vol%202.pdf


This report is part of a series on ‘Petitioners in the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I, 1600-1625’, created through a U3A Shared Learning Project on ‘Investigating the Lives of Seventeenth-Century Petitioners’.