The government of Devon in the early 17th century was undertaken by leaders who ruled together in harmony, free from rivalry and from the influence of powerful residential nobles, and saved from religious conflicts by the pacific Bishop Hall. Confident of their ability to rule the county, and prepared to introducve innovative methods, even in the judicial sphere, they achieved a high level of competent administration. They gave the king loyal service, but were prepared to be outspoken about any difficulties his policies caused them. This text describes their administration through a series of biographical studies, each biography covering the whole life of the subject and relating service in peacetime to actions during the Civil War. The book thus shows the government of Devon in early 17th-century England through the eyes of its administrators, enabling readers to understand the ruling class.
Mary Wolffe is a freelance historian specialising in the early seventeenth century