Amyas Bampfylde

Sir Amyas Bampfylde (alias „Amias Bampfield“ etc.) (1560 – 9 February 1626) of Poltimore and North Molton in Devon, England, was Member of Parliament for Devon in 1597.

Bampfylde was the son of Richard Bampfield (1526-1594), of Poltimore and Bampfylde House in Exeter, Devon, Sheriff of Devon in 1576, (whose monument survives in Poltimore Church) by his wife Elizabeth Sydenham (d.1599), daughter of Sir John Sydenham of Brympton d’Evercy, Somerset.

He matriculated at Exeter College, Oxford on 3 December 1575, aged 15. He studied law at the Middle Temple in 1576. He succeeded to the manor of Poltimore on the death of his father in 1594. He was J.P. for Devon from 1596. In 1597, he was elected Member of Parliament for Devon. He was knighted at Windsor on 9 July 1603. He was Sheriff of Devon from 1603 to 1604. In 1616 he was Deputy Lieutenant.

In 1576 Bampfylde married Elizabeth Clifton, a daughter of Sir John Clifton (d.1593) of Barrington Court, Somerset, by his wife Anne Stanley, daughter of Thomas Stanley, 2nd Baron Monteagle (1507–1560). Sir John Clifton’s father was a London merchant, Sir William Clifton (d.1564), who had purchased the manor of Barrington from Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk. Elizabeth Clifton’s brother was Gervase Clifton, 1st Baron Clifton (c.1570-1618). Her portrait circa 1640, in the style of Anthony van Dyck, survives in the collection of Antony House, Cornwall and her stone-sculpted effigy sits in mourning next to the recumbent one of her husband in North Molton Church, on which monument are depicted the arms of Bampfylde impaling Clifton: Argent semée of cinquefoils pierced gules, a lion rampant of the last. By his wife he had six sons and four daughters as follows:

A monument survives in the Lady Chapel of Exeter Cathedral to his daughter Dorothy Bampfield (d.1614), wife successively of Edward Hancock (d.1603), MP, lord of the manor of Combe Martin, Devon, and later wife of Sir John Doddridge (1555–1628), of Bremridge, near North Molton, Justice of the King’s Bench, whose effigy is situated adjacent. The Latin inscription on a tablet within a strapwork surround is as follows:

Bampfield died at Cottonheath on 9 February 1625 at the age of 65 and stated in his will his wish to be „buried in North Molton church with his parents“. It might seem however that his parents were buried in Poltimore Church, where a grand monument with their effigies survives, erected by Amias in 1604, with Latin inscription above: Hic tremibunda boni requiescunt membra Rich(ard)i Bampfildi… („Here rest the trembling limbs of the worthy Richard Bampfield…“). A grand monument to Amias with effigy survives in the Bampfield Chapel of North Molton Church.

A fine stone monument to his memory exists against the south wall of the south aisle chapel („Bampfylde Chapel“) in North Molton Church. On the wall to its right is affixed a stone tablet inscribed with the following lines:

„Stand passenger gaze such was he
As thou tremble such shalt thou be
He dy’d to live so live to dye
Depart muse on eternity“

Ameae Bamfylde equiti aurato patri suo charissimo ex antiqua Bamfydeorum (sic) de Poltimore familia patre Richardo Bamfyde (sic) armigero matre Elizabetha Clifton de Barrington per 45 annos conjugato ex qua 12 filios 5 filias suscepit prudenti sed pio animoso sed affabili provido sed hospitali et benigno de suis de patria bene merito ex hac miseriarum valle anno aetatis suae 67 ad immortalitatem commigranti et sui reliquias his in terris quas post diuturna litigia et graves expensas sui posteritati foeliciter recuperavit in spem resurrectionis requiescere volenti Johannes Bamfylde filius et haeres qui etiam ex Elizabeth Drake de Buckland 8 filios et 7 filias ante patris obitum habuit anno Christi 1626 regis Caroli 2 hoc monumentum pietatis ergo posuit quas terras mea cura meis non parva redemit hae mea jure sinu molliter ossa fovent.

Translated literally into English thus:

„To Amyas Bampfylde, knight bachelor, most dear to his father, from the ancient family of the Bampfyldes of Poltimore from Richard Bampfylde, esquire, his father, from Elizabeth Sydenham of Brympton his mother; with Elizabeth Clifton of Barrington having been married during 45 years from whom he received 12 sons, 5 daughters. Prudent but with a pious spirit but easily spoken to; forward-looking but hospitable and benign, well-merited from his country. From this vale of miseries he migrated towards immortality in the 67th year of his age and having wished the remains of him to rest in hope of resurrection in these lands which after long-lasting dispute and heavy expenses happily he regained for his posterity. John Bampfylde his son and heir, who also from Elizabeth Drake of Buckland had before the decease of his father 8 sons and 7 daughters, in the year of Christ 1626, 2nd. of King Charles, therefore of piety placed this monument that these bones might gently warm the lands he redeemed not with small care“.

An escutcheon with 30 quarterings survives above the monument to Sir Amyas Bampfylde in North Molton Church, as follows: