Martyn, William (DNB00)


MARTYN, WILLIAM (1562–1617), lawyer and historian, baptised at St. Petrock's, Exeter, 19 Sept. 1562, was the eldest son of Nicholas Martyn of Exeter, by his first wife, Mary, daughter of Lennard Yeo of Hatherleigh. They were married on 19 Oct. 1561, and were both buried at St. Petrock's, Exeter, he on 24 March 1598-9, and she on 26 Sept. 1576. The son, after having been sent to the grammar school at Exeter, matriculated at Broadgates Hall (afterwards Pembroke College), Oxford, in the autumn of 1581 (Clark, Register, vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 99), where, according to Wood, he 'laid an excellent foundation in logic and philosophy.' He was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1589, and from 1605 to 1617 held the office of recorder of Exeter. On 7 April 1617 he died at Exeter, and was buried in St. Petrock's Church on 12 April, the inscription which was placed to his memory having been defaced in Wood's time. He married at St. Petrock's, on 28 Nov. 1585, Susan, daughter of Thomas Prestwood of Exeter, by whom he had three sons, Nicholas, William, and Edward, and one daughter, Susan, who married Peter Bevis of Exeter. She was buried at All Hallows, Goldsmith Street, Exeter, on 30 Jan. 1605-6. Martyn married for his second wife Jane, daughter of Henry Huishe of Sands in Sidbury, Devonshire. His eldest son, Nicholas, succeeded to his father's estate of Oxton in Kenton, was knighted at Newmarket, February 1624—1625, elected as member for Devonshire on 23 June 1646, and died on 25 March 1653-4.

Martyn was the author of 'The Historie and Lives of the Kings of England from William the Conqveror vnto the end of the Raigne of Henrie the Eight,' 1615, containing preliminary verses from his three sons and his son-in-law, and an appendix of 'succession of dukes and earles' and other particulars. A second edition appeared in 1628, which was illustrated with portraits of the kings by R. Elstrack, most of which were sold by 'Compton Holland over against the Exchange,' To the third edition in 1638 was added 'The Historie of King Ed. VI, Queene Mary, and Q. Elizabeth, by B. R., Mr of Arts,' which were much longer than all the rest of the lives put together. Fuller had been 'credibly informed' that James I took exception to some passages of this book, and that although the king was subsequently reconciled to him, the incident shortened Martyn's days. He also wrote 'Youth's Instruction,' 1612 (2nd edit.1613), for the benefit of his son Nicholas, then a student at Oxford. Each impression contained verses by his son-in-law, and to the second was prefixed a set by his son William.

[Fuller's Worthies, ed. Nuttall, i. 446; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Wood's Athenae Oxon. ii. 199-200; Prince's Devonshire Worthies, ed. 1810, pp. 574-9; Worthy's Devonshire Parishes, ii. 240; Vivian's Visitations of Devonshire; Oliver's Exeter, pp. 232, 236, 247.]

W. P. C.