John Glanville (judge)

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Arms of Glanville: Azure, three saltires or[1]

Sir John Glanville (1542 – 27 July 1600), the elder, of Kilworthy, Tavistock, in Devon, was an English Member of Parliament and judge and was the first judge recorded as having reached the bench after beginning his career as an attorney.


Born in Tavistock, he began as an attorney but joined Lincoln's Inn in 1567 and was called to the bar in 1574: his practice proved lucrative and he amassed a considerable fortune, building a mansion at Kilworthy near Tavistock. He became a serjeant-at-law in 1589, and was both Lent and Autumn Reader of his Inn in that same year. He sat as MP for Launceston in the Parliament of 1584-5, for Tavistock in 1586-7 and St Germans in 1593. He was appointed Judge of Common Pleas in 1598.

Marriage & progeny

He married Alice Skirret by whom he had three sons and four daughters including:

His widow Alice Skirret married Francis Godolphin (1540–1608) as his second wife.

Death & burial

While riding on circuit, Sir John was killed when he fell off his horse, breaking his neck, on 27 July 1600.[3] He was buried in Tavistock Church.


  1. ^ Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitations of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895, p.410, pedigree of Glanville of Tavistock
  2. ^ Vivian, p.411
  3. ^ [1] History of Parliament Online article.
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