John Rolle, Baron Rolle of Stevenstone

1751 - 3rd Apr 1842

Claimant or beneficiary


John Rolle, 1st Baron Rolle of Stevenstone, MP for Devon 1780-1796, son of Denys Rolle (1725-1797) of Stevenstone, the latter a landowner and MP and 'major colonial landowner in Florida'. The family was later granted land in the Bahamas as American loyalists. John Rolle left £300,000 in personalty. His heir was his second wife's nephew, Hon. Mark George Kerr Rolle (ne Trefusis) of Stevenstone. Baron Rolle was a title created twice, once for Henry Rolle (d. 1750) and a second time for John Rolle of this entry.

  1. John Rolle has an entry in the ODNB as 'politician.' As well as describing Denys Rolle as a 'major colonial landowner in Florida', the entry says of John Rolle in relation to slavery: 'Except on parliamentary reform, he almost invariably backed Pitt, whose opposition to the slave trade he approved, even though he was heir to his father's plantation in the Bahamas which was compensation for the loss of his Florida estates in the American War of Independence...At first peeved [in the 1830s] by the effect on his Bahamas plantation of the anti-slavery campaign, he became reconciled to it.'

  2. Rolle left a significant physical imprint on Devon, including the Rolle Canal in north Devon, the Rolle Quay at Barnstaple and urban development in Exmouth (notably Louisa Terrace and Bicton Place). His second wife also built extensively, including the China Tower (1839) at Bicton as a present for her husband, and Bicton Church. She herself left £133,654 10s 5d on her death in 1885. Mark George Kerr Rolle left £106,880 12s in 1907.


T71/890 Bahamas claim no. 960.

William D. Rubinstein, Who were the rich? A biographical dictionary of British wealth-holders Volume Two 1840-1859 (MS) reference 1842/6.

  1. J. M. Rigg, ‘Rolle, John, Baron Rolle (bap. 1751, d. 1842)’, rev. Roland Thorne, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2009 [, accessed 15 Nov 2014]. The History of Parliament gives a birth date of 1756.

  2. [accessed 16/11/2014]; [accessed 15/1/2014]; National Probate Calendar 1886, 1907.

Further Information

Name in compensation records
Lord Rolle
(1) Judith Maria Walrond (2) Hon. Louisa Barbara Trefusis Clinton
Wealth at death
Oxford DNB Entry

Associated Claims (1)

£4,333 6s 9d

Legacies Summary

Physical (5)

St Mary's Church 
Country house
Bicton House [Built] 
description →
'John Rolle (d 1730) demolished the C16 manor house and began to construct the present mansion on a new site, but this remained incomplete at his death and was not finally completed until c 1800....
Rolle Canal [Built] 
Urban Development
Exmouth [Built] 
description →
Red brick and stucco Georgian houses - Rolle Road, Rolle Villas, Louisa Place, Louisa Terrace, Bicton Place, Bicton Street, Trefusis Place, Trefusis Terrace....
Holy Trinity Church [Built] 
description →
Built by John Rolle 1825-6 at a cost of £13,000. See William White, History, Gazeteer and Directory of Devonshire... (1850) p....

Political (1)

election →
Devon Devon
1780 - 1796

Addresses (2)

Bicton House, Bicton, Exeter, Devon, Devon & Cornwall, England
Stevenstone House, St Giles in the Wood, Torrington, Devon, Devon & Cornwall, England