WEARE (WEYER, WARRE), alias BROWNE, Robert (by 1512-70), of Marlborough, Wilts.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. by 1512, ?s. of John or Thomas Weare of Marlborough. m. Agnes, ?da. of William Pierse of Langley, 1s. 4da.1
Member, mayor’s council, Marlborough by 1538, mayor 1539-40, 1552-3, 1562-3 and in four later years.2
A senior and a junior Robert Weare were freemen of Marlborough in 1532-3, when the elder of them was one of the mayor’s 24 councilmen, and again in 1537-8, by which time both men had joined the council; thereafter only one, presumably the younger, appears in the town records. From 1540 he is found with the aliasBrowne already attached to Thomas and John Weare, freemen in 1524-5, so that he is more likely to have been the son of one of these than of his older namesake.3
Weare was assessed for subsidy in 1540 at 20s. on goods worth £40, figures exceeded only by three other inhabitants, and when he contributed 40s. towards the benevolence in 1545 Geoffrey Daniell alone paid more; by 1551, when Weare was required to pay 40s. on goods worth £40, he and Robert Bithway were the most highly taxed men in Marlborough. Always described as resident there, and long prominent in borough affairs, Weare is not known to have followed a trade or profession or to have served either the crown or a local magnate, but he prospered sufficiently to be styled gentleman in later life and to become the first of his family to appear in the heralds’ visitations. In April 1549 he partnered John Knight I in paying £613 for chantry property in Berkshire, London and Oxfordshire, of which his share may well have included the lands of two former chantries in St. Mary’s church, Marlborough, but the purchaser of the Wiltshire manor of Nettleton in 1551 was probably a namesake. In 1560 he was licensed to alienate a tenement and shop in Marlborough to William Daniell, and between 1561 and 1568 he paid fines ranging from £60 and £400 for acquiring property in Marlborough and Preshute and the manor of Great Poulton near Cirencester.4
Weare’s only known link with the house of Seymour was as the tenant of Barton, near Marlborough, which at the time he made his will he was renting from the 1st Earl of Hertford, while with the other neighbouring magnate, William Herbert I, 1st Earl of Pembroke, he seems to have had no connexion. His election with Bithway on 28 Sept. 1553 to Mary’s first Parliament may thus be taken to mark one of the occasions when Marlborough, helped by the hiatus in both Seymour and Herbert influence, chose two townsmen instead of the customary nominees. For each of them it was to be a solitary event, and neither took the liberty of opposing the initial measures to restore Catholicism.
Weare’s will of 2 Sept. 1565 provided that all his property in Marlborough, Mildenhall and Poulton, Wiltshire, was to go to his wife Agnes for life or for so long as she remained a widow, then to their son Richard Weare alias Browne, and after his death to his three sons Thomas, Clement and Richard the younger. Weare’s grandchildren by his four daughters, were each to receive £3 6s.8d., as were all the children of Richard the elder except a daughter Agnes, who was left £40. The residue was to go to the widow, who if she remarried would receive £200, and to Richard; they were named executors, and the overseers were John Allen, William Drury and Thomas Stephens. Weare died on 26 Oct. 1570 and his will was proved on the following 22 Nov. His seven terms as mayor were commemorated by a brass, now lost, in the church of SS. Peter and Paul, and his line was continued among the local gentry by the descendants of his grandson Clement.5
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: T. F.T. Baker
- 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 138; PCC 37 Lyon.
- 2. Marlborough corp. gen. entry bk. 1537-8, f. 1; 1542-3, f. 2; Bor. of Marlborough Guide, 7; Mill Stephenson, Mon. Brasses, 590.
- 3. Marlborough corp. gen. entry bk. 1524-5, f. 2; 1532-3, f. 1; 1537-8, f. 1; 1542-3, f. 2; E179/197/185, 203.
- 4. LP Hen. VIII, xiii; E179/197/185, 198/257; Two Taxation Lists (Wilts. Arch. Soc. recs. br. x), 25; CPR, 1548-9, pp. 425-7; 1550-3, p. 74; 1560-3, p. 52; Wilts. N. and Q. v. 25, 354; vi. 232-3.
- 5. PCC 37 Lyon; Wilts. N. and Q. vi. 233-4; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xxxiv. 199-200.