John Chichester (died 1586)

Sir John Chichester (died 31 March 1586) lord of the manor of Raleigh in the parish of Pilton, near Barnstaple, North Devon, was Sheriff of Devon in 1576/7[1] and/or in 1585[2] and died of gaol fever contracted whilst acting as a magistrate at the Lent Black Assizes of Exeter in 1586.


John Chichester was the eldest son and heir of Sir John Chichester (1519/20-1569)[2] of Raleigh, a leading member of the Devonshire gentry. His mother was Gertrude Courtenay, a daughter of Sir William Courtenay (1477–1535) of Powderham.[3]

He had at least six brothers, three of whom became Governor of Carrickfergus: Sir John Chichester, junior, who was killed at the Battle of Carrickfergus (1597); Arthur Chichester, 1st Baron Chichester (1563–1624/5) who succeeded him; and Edward Chichester, 1st Viscount Chichester (1568–1648) of Eggesford, Devon,[2][4] who became governor on Arthur's death.

Marriage and children

John Chichester married Ann Dennis, the eldest daughter of Sir Robert Dennis (died 1592), of Holcombe Burnell,[2] in Devon, by his wife Mary Blount who was one of the two daughters and co-heiresses of William Blount, 4th Baron Mountjoy (c. 1478–1534), KG,[5] and a first cousin of Lady Jane Grey.[6] Their children included:


Chichester died in 1586 of gaol fever contracted whilst serving as a magistrate at the Lent Black Assizes of Exeter in 1586,[2] which accounted for the deaths of many people, including several other prominent Devonshire magistrates and visiting circuit judges.


  1. Regnal date 19 Elizabeth I (Risdon, Tristram (d.1640), Survey of Devon, 1811 edition, London, 1811, with 1810 Additions, List of Sheriffs; Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, p.101)
  2. Vivian, p.174, pedigree of Chichester of Raleigh
  3. Vivian, p. 246, pedigree of Courtenay
  5. Vivian, p.280, pedigree of Denys
  6. Vivian, p. 102, pedigree of Bonville


  • Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitations of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895
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