Sir George Chudleigh, 1st Baronet
Sir George Chudleigh, 1st Baronet (c. 1578 – 15 January 1658), of Ashton, Devon, was an English landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1601 and 1625. He supported the Royalist cause in the English Civil War after opposing the king initially.
Chudleigh was the son of John Chudleigh (1565–1589), of Ashton in Devon, who, according to the Devon historian Sir William Pole (d. 1635), "Hassarded all his great estate unto ruyn" and sold the family's original manor of Chudleigh, in Devon, to his tenants. His mother was Elizabeth Speke, daughter of Sir George Speke (c.1530-1584) of Whitelackington in Somerset, Sheriff of Somerset in 1562–63 and Member of Parliament for Somerset 1572-83. The de Chudleigh family originated at the manor of Chudleigh, in Devon, and later moved to nearby Ashton.
He succeeded his father when he was eleven years old. He matriculated at New College, Oxford on 26 November 1596, aged 18. In 1601 he was elected Member of Parliament for St. Michaels. He was elected MP for East Looe in 1614 and for Lostwithiel in 1621. He was created baronet of Ashton on 1 August 1622. In 1624 he was elected MP for Tiverton. He was elected MP for Lostwithiel again in 1625.
Chudleigh opposed the King at the start of the Civil War and built Chudleigh Fort in Bideford for the Parliamentarians; but later, with his son, took up arms for the King and published, in 1643, a declaration of his reasons for doing so. He is said "to have paid dear" for his loyalty.
In May 1643, the Earl of Stamford, who had just entered Cornwall with an army of seven thousand men, sent a party of twelve hundred horse, under the command of Chudleigh, to Bodmin, in order to surprise the high sheriff and gentlemen of the county. When Chudleigh heard of the defeat of the parliamentarian army, commanded by his son Major-general James Chudleigh, at Stratton Hill, he removed from Bodmin to Plymouth, and thence to Exeter. After Stamford had accused James Chudleigh of treachery, Sir George surrendered his commission, and published a 'Declaration' which is reprinted in Rushworth's Historical Collections, vol. ii. pt. iii. p. 272. Subsequently he espoused the cause of the king.
Marriage & progeny
- John Chudleigh (1606–1634), eldest son, MP for East Looe 1626, who predeceased his father.
- Sir George Chudleigh, 2nd Baronet (1612–1691), 2nd and eldest surviving son and heir.
- Mary Chudleigh, 2nd daughter, wife of Colonel Hugh Clifford of Chudleigh, Devon, and mother of Thomas Clifford, 1st Baron Clifford of Chudleigh, elevated to the peerage in 1672.
- Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, p.478
- For a description of the monument and its heraldry see: Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Association, Vol.31, 1st Series (Vol 1, 2nd Series), Plymouth, 1899, Maxwell Adams, A Brief Account of Ashton Church and of Some of the Chudleighs of Ashton, pp.185-198
- Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, pp.255, 260
- Pole, p.260
- George Edward Cokayne Complete Baronetage, Volume 1
- Cooper 1887.