James De Havilland

Served as Mayor: 1494, 1498 and 1502

The richest trader in town

The following information is taken from a 'Chronicle of the Ancient and Noble family of De Havilland' (now famous within the aircraft industry) (originally Haverland in Normandy).

The following incident in the War of the Roses helped raise Poole from a place of small importance to be a wealthy and flourishing port.

Towards the end of the reign of Edward IV, Queen Margaret of Anjou, wife of King Henry VI, crossed over to France in order to obtain the aid of King Louis XI to regain the throne from Edward IV. She was unsuccessful but negotiated with a Norman nobleman Peter de Breze the Compte ( Count) de Manlevier, and as a reward for his help against the Yorkists, the Channel Islands were given to him.

However the jersey inhabitants did not want to be ruled by the French Military and revolted, so Edward IV sent Sir Richard Harlistan, Vice Admiral of England, with a squadron of ships to Guernsey, to rally the loyalists of both islands and attack and retake Jersey for the English.

As a reward, the King awarded exclusive rights to 16 of the most prominent volunteers who assisted the monarch. He did so by giving them special trading privileges in either Exeter, Dartmouth or Poole, effective from the 14 March 1469.

Thomas de Havilland was one of the 16 and was awarded trading privileges in Poole, and he sent his second son, James, and his Guernsey born wife, Helena, to Poole. James soon became the richest trader in the town, with links to Normandy and Spain. He was Mayor of Poole in 1494, 1498 and 1502. James built the north aisle of old St James Church at his own expense. This was called either Our Lady Aisle or The Havilland Aisle. James' eldest son Richard, was Mayor 3 times, and another son, William, was Mayor twice.

In later years, this link to the Channel Islands was to prove invaluable to Poole. The De Havilland family made a long and influential impact upon Poole. The Arms of the family had the motto God is our strongest tower.

Contact details


01202 633200

Mayor’s Office
Borough of Poole
Civic Centre
BH15 2RU 

Page last updated: 18 June 2019
Help us improve poole.gov.uk
This is just for feedback on our website, not comments or questions about our services. Feedback on services will not be passed on. To tell us anything else, contact us.

Please don't include any personal or financial information.