Copyright © 2016 Holy Trinity       Home      Heritage

Home. Heritage.

Revd Walter Raleigh D.D.

Raleigh, Walter (d. 1646) - Preb. Combe II, Bath and Wells, 1635-1641, III, v. 30; Resid. canon of Wells, Bath and Wells, 1642-1646, III, v. 110; Dean of Wells, Bath and Wells, 1642-1646, III, v. 6 - Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541-1857


The following is copied from a book of Street parish registers, transcribed and printed by ? in ?. What follows is mainly the transcriber's learned notes. There follows a brief account of Raleigh's imprisonment and death, from the Downton Parish Magazine of October 1883


* Upon the xxiii day of October Anno Dno 1635 Walter18 Ralegh instituted into the p'sonage of Streate to be toke quiet and peacable possession of the church of Streate aforesaid, with all the right members & appertenances thereto belonging in the presence of


Tho. Close, clerke Tho. Smyth, clerke Thomas Helliar and others.


Upon the 22nd of November 1635 Mr. Walter Ralegh instituted into the p'sonage of Streate, subscribed all the 39 Articles of religion agreed upon in the convocation (1562) in the pish church of Streate in the time of divine service and gave his dasyned assent and consent therunto in the p'sence of the whole congregation witnesses there unto


Tho. Clyfe clerk

Tho. Smyth clerk

Tho. Rush

Thomas Hellier

and many others.


19 This Walter Raleigh was the second son of Sir Carew Raleigh, of Fardell, co. Devon, and of Downton. in the county of Wilts, and a nephew of the renowned courtier Sir Walter Raleigh. He was born in 1586, according to the record of his matriculation on entering Magdalen College, Oxford, 5 Nov. 1602, he being then given as sixteen, he took his B.A. 11 June 1605, M A. 2 June 1608, D.D. 31 Aug. 1636. He was appointed Dean of S. Burian in 1638, and instituted Dean of Wells 22 Jan. 1641, he was then Chaplain in Ordinary to King Charles I, and we find him present at a Chapter held 1 April 16.12, when two months residence were allowed to him, he having been in attendance on the King, and he appears frequently as present at Chapter meetings, but after 1614 there is a blank in the Chapter Acts, two-thirds of the volume being blank. Dr. Raleigh, at the same time that he held Chedzoy and Street, also held the livings of Wilton S. Mary and Elingdon, also Wroughton, co. Wilts, being presented to the former in 1621 and the latter in 1632. We have above the record from the register of his institution to the living of Street, and the entry in the Register of Chedzoy shews when he took possession of that living, which from the frequent entries of the baptisms and burials of his children in the register, he appears to have made his usual place of residence, until he became Dean of Wells. Dr. Haleigh, who was sometime chaplain to William, Earl of Pembroke (indeed no ecclesiastical preferment seems to have been refused by him for he was also a minor canon, or priest vicar, of Wells Cathedral), is recorded to have been plundered as a Royalist, taken prisoner at Bridgewater and murdered 10 Oct. 1646, and was buried within his Cathedral Church at Wells, but no monument to his memory of any kind remains, and the Registers prior to 1660 are lost or have been destroyed. We possess no record of his marriage, but the arms impaled on his seal (arg. 3 battle-axes sa.) are those of Gibbes, and she is called " filiam ...... Gibbes " in the Visitation of Wilts in 1623.


The will of Dr. Raleigh styles him "Walter Raleigh, D.D., parson of Chedzoy," and in it he names his children George, Henry, Dorothy, Lucy, Walter, Mary, John, and Elizabeth ; his brother George Raleigh, and sister Elizabeth Wroughton ; also his cousin Henry Poole of Saperton, co. Gloucester. The will was proved in London by his widow Mary Raleigh on the 23 June 1648. The will of his widow is in the Probate Registry at Walls, it calls her " Mary Raleigh widow, of Chedzoy gentlewoman " and is dated 14 May 1662 14 Charles II., by it she bequeaths to her son Henry Raleigh land, arable and pasture let to Henry Harroon of Chedzoy husbandman with half an acre in Northfields and lands called Dippitt Ac. &c.To her son John Raleigh her dwelling house with .land in Chedzoy, formerly Edwards'. To her son Walter Raleigh a house and lands. To daughter Mrs. Mary Robenson, land. Names granddau. Elizabeth Kobenson ; granddau. Jane Robenson. To daughter Raleigh a house and land. To daughter Mrs. Dorothy Fitch 20s. To granddau. Mrs. Mary Fitch 8. Servant Margaret Worweth 2. Servant Katherine Jones 1. To the poor of Chedzoy '2. Sons Henry Raleigh, Walter Raleigh, and John Raleigh to each the .620 given to them by their father in his will. Son George Raleigh to be residuary legatee and executor, who proved the will at Wells 19 Sept. 1662. Seal. An oval with a plain shield charged with, a bend lozengy, impaling three battle-axes.


By the kind permission of the Rev. G. R. Mullens, M.A., the present Rector of Chedzoy, I have gone over the Register of that parish from the institution of Walter Raleigh to 1680. The coming of Walter Raleigh to Chedzoy is recorded by the following quaint note in the Register :" Upon 14th day of June in the yeare 1621 Walter Ralegh was inducted Parson of Chedsey by John Morley, Vicar of North Petherton, and did toll the bell when he tooke possession and did reade his articles on the Sunday following being the 17th day of the said moneth of June in the afternoone in time of divine service in the audience of the whole congregacon." In the margin is written " 1621 14 June Walter Ralegh entered Parson of Chedsey." All the Raleigh entries in the Register follow the same wording only varying with the progress of the Dean's preferments which makes them rather interesting ; thus from 1525 to 1637 he is styled simply Rector of Chedzoy, in 1638-39 he is. " Sacre : Theolog : D'ris, Decani St. Burians," as well as Rector of Chedzoy ; in 1643, he first appears as Dean of Wells, and it is the last entry of the name in the Register, which is somewhat singular, as in 1662 his widow calls herself "of Chedzoy " and leaves a good deal of land in the parish to her children. Nor do the wills at Wells help us, though there is among them the will of a William Rawleigh of Priston yeoman dated 6 Aug. 1730. It names his brother-in-law Joseph Light of Charlcomb, joiner; his cousin William Light, son of brother-in-law John Light of Dundry. There is no armorial seal, nor was the will ever proved, although left at the Probate Registry.



From the Downton Parish Magazine of October 1883


Learned and pious, he entered into holy orders, and eventually became chaplain to Charles I and Dean of Wells. When the rebellion broke out, he remained true to his royal patron. He was ejected from his living, and compelled to fly to save his life. He was, however, taken prisoner at Bridgwater. Confined first; for some years at Banwell, he was ultimately removed to his own house at Wells. There he was placed under the custody of a shoemaker, who added to his ability in leather the quality of being an inveterate and hasty Roundhead. He treated him with gross cruelty, and in the end stabbed him because he refused to show him a letter he had written to his wife.