BRIDGES (BRIGGES, A BREGGES), John (by 1488-1537), of Canterbury, Kent.
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Family and Education
b. by 1488. m. Agnes Hales, prob. s.p.3
Common councilman, Canterbury by 1509-15 or later, alderman by 1519-d., mayor 1520-1, 1524-5, 1534-5; commr. subsidy 1523, 1524.4
John Bridges was a Canterbury brewer. A number of brewers had been mayors of the city in the past, and early in 1506 the company of alebrewers tried to force William Crump to retire from brewing after his mayoral year, alleging that this was the traditional safeguard against unfair influence in the victualling trades. John Bridges, however, evidently retained his interest, for he left his brewhouse, its store and implements to his wife in his will.5
Bridges is listed, as ‘John a Bregge’, among the common councilmen of the city in 1509 and, as ‘John a Bregges’, among those in 1510. The variant forms of his name in these early years make it possible that he was the John Bregge who was sheriff of Canterbury in 1508-9, although this is more likely to have been the John Brigge of Canterbury whose will was proved in 1526; in later years the Member’s name was invariably given the terminal ‘s’. The common councilmen and aldermen are not individually recorded for every year, but by 1519 the aldermen included John Bregges for the ward of Burgate. In August 1523 he was made a subsidy commissioner within Canterbury; he was reappointed in November 1523—this time to ‘practise’ for payment by anticipation—and in August 1524.6
Bridges was a Member of the Parliament which granted this subsidy. He and Christopher Hales were given a bottle of wine ‘at their riding up’ in the spring of 1523; later they were paid the £8 ‘that remained due to them of and for their costs and charges being at the last Parliament for the city’. Bridges was re-elected to the Parliament of 1529 and for the first session which lasted 44 days, he was paid £5 2s., that is, for 51 days at 2s. a day. This exemplary standard of attendance he did not maintain. No further payment to him is recorded until in 1533 he was given 7s. ‘towards a bonnet for saving of the wages that he should have [had] of the city by reason of his being at home from the Parliament after Easter term’; in the following year he received 7s.6d.for a bonnet, in reward ‘for saving the wages that he should have had if he had ridden up, which was spared by his good help and favour’. He resumed his attendance, if incompletely, later in 1534, being paid 40s. for 20 days (out of a possible 46) at the seventh session. As the accounts for 1535-6 are missing, there is no way of knowing whether he went up to the last session of this Parliament or to that of June 1536, to which he was re-elected by Canterbury on the order of the central government. Often cited as the classic instance of Cromwell’s interference in parliamentary elections, this directive was not intended to secure the return of the minister’s nominees but to bring back to Westminster, in accordance with the King’s request, those who had sat in the previous Parliament.7
In his will of 15 Nov. 1537 Bridges asked to be buried in St. George’s church, Canterbury. He left a life interest in most of his property to his wife and also provided for a young kinsman, William Bridges, whose upbringing was entrusted to a cousin Robert Browne. Among those to whom he left gifts were (Sir) Christopher Hales, his fellow-Member in 1523, and his brother-in-law Thomas Hales. He named his wife and Robert Browne executors and James Hales overseer. Bridges died on 29 Nov. 1537 and the will was proved two months later.8
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Helen Miller
- 1. Canterbury chamberlains’ accts. 1522-4.
- 2. LP Hen. VIII, x. 929.
- 3. Date of birth estimated from first certain reference. Canterbury prob. reg. A21, f. 71.
- 4. Canterbury burmote bk. passim; chamberlains’ accts. 1520-1, 1524-5; 1534-5; LP Hen. VIII, iii, iv.
- 5. HMC 9th Rep. pt. 1, p. 174; HMC 12th Rep. IX, 135.
- 6. Canterbury burmote bk. passim; LP Hen. VIII, iii. iv.
- 7. Canterbury chamberlains’ accts. 1522-4, 1529-30, 1532-5; HMC 9th Rep. pt. 1, p. 152.
- 8. Canterbury prob. reg. A21, f. 71; Canterbury burmote bk. 1537-8; Reg. St. George’s, Canterbury, ed. Cowper, 169.