JONES, John (-d.1630), of College Green, Gloucester, Glos.
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Family and Education
s. of Hugh Jones of Bredon’s Mitton, Worcs. and Joan, da. of one Webb of Suff. m. (1) Joan (d. 18 Jan. 1595), da. of one Weale, wid. of one Huntley, 3s. (?2 d.v.p.); 1 (2) Elizabeth, da. of Jerome Gilbert, recorder of Colchester, Essex, 2s. 1da.; 1s. 3da.2 d. 1 June 1630.3 sig. John Jones.
Freeman, Gloucester 1580, common councilman by 1584,4 sheriff 1587-8, 1592-3,5 alderman 1594-d.,6 mayor 1597-8, 1618-19, 1625-6;7 registrar, Gloucester dioc. 1581-d.;8 dep. lt. Gloucester by 1604-at least 1627,9 commr. subsidy 1604,10 1608,11 1621-2, 1624,12 charitable uses 1606-9,13 sewers, Glos. 1609, assarts, Glos. 1615, Berks. and Glos. 1616,14 martial law, Gloucester 1628.15
Jones’s father migrated from north Wales to a suburb of Tewkesbury.16 Jones himself became a notary, practising in the Consistory Court of Gloucester by 1576,17 and leasing the house ‘commonly called the Parliament House’ on College Green from the dean and chapter.18 He also became a prominent member of the corporation. At the pre-election meeting of the aldermanic bench in February 1604 he explained that he ‘much desired to be one of the burgesses’ in the first Jacobean Parliament
for many his own private respects, publicly alleging in particular amongst others that he was written unto by an honourable personage to procure the place for himself and that he feared lest the spiritual jurisdiction, to the prejudice and hindrance of his office of registrarship, ... would be called in question, and also that he held a lease belonging to the see of the bishopric of Gloucester, the state whereof and of all other leases of that nature and quality he feared would be likewise questioned in the said Parliament.
The aldermen, and later the common councilmen, refused to endorse his candidature, but Jones won the seat by a direct appeal to the electorate, promising to procure the passage of measures to the benefit of the poor and the grant of fairs. He also had the support of the sheriff, John Browne, whose mother had married Bishop Goldsborough. After the election he warned the defeated candidate Thomas Machen that ‘he would never leave to sue and follow the law’ against him ‘so long as he ... had one ear upon his head’; the subsequent Star Chamber cases reveal details of the election as well as Jones’s allegedly corrupt dealings as an ecclesiastical official.19 There were three Joneses returned in 1604 and there are numerous references to ‘Mr. Jones’ in the parliamentary records but only one specifically to John Jones. This was on 21 Feb. 1606, when he was appointed to consider the explanatory bill for the government of Wales and the Marches. As a Gloucester Member, Jones could also have served on the committees for the bills to reduce obstructions to navigable rivers and repair Chepstow bridge, appointed on 7 Feb. and 31 Mar. respectively.20 In August 1607 the corporation acknowledged that it owed the Members £100 ‘for their fees and wages as burgesses of the Parliament’,21 but when Jones secured two Chancery writs in 1615 for the payment of £69 6s. it was claimed that he ‘had not given his attendance at the said Parliament ... but had for some time absented himself thence without licence’, and the sheriffs were ordered to ‘make search with the clerk of the Parliament’. A year later, though, the corporation agreed that he should have ‘reasonable recompense by grant of some lease’ to cover ‘about £40 unpaid’.22
In 1616 Jones, in his capacity as an alderman and a magistrate, investigated a libel against William Laud, then dean of Gloucester, for setting up the communion table in the cathedral ‘altar wise’. He seems to have been reluctant to pass judgment himself, but instead suggested that a further investigation be carried out by commissioners appointed by the Court of High Commission, consisting of members of the local clergy and bench, ‘provided always that there be none such ... that favour the schismatical faction of the puritans’.23 In 1619, during his second mayoral term, he finally closed his parliamentary accounts, receiving £40 out of the chamber ‘in recompense of his wages’ and a further £50 from a lease ‘for his charges at the Parliament.24
Between 1621 and 1624 Jones was involved in a dispute over precedence with alderman Christopher Capell*, which began with his own appeal for judgment to the earl marshal and ended with a Star Chamber case initiated by Capell.25 In another Star Chamber case at the beginning of the new reign he was committed to the Fleet and fined 200 marks for bringing a lawsuit in the name of another and attempting to pervert the course of justice.26 He made out his will on 21 Jan. 1630, in which he instructed that no mourning clothes should be worn by his family, except by his wife if she desired, and that he should be buried in Gloucester Cathedral within two days of his death ‘without any such superfluous feasting as is commonly used at funerals’. He also accused his eldest son Henry of promoting suits against him and therefore intended to leave him just £10 and certain copyhold tenements, but three weeks before his death he relented, adding a codicil in which he bequeathed his son his remaining interest in ‘the Parliament House’. He named his second wife his executrix, and bequeathed her a life interest in his other leases, notably of property in Brockworth, four miles from Gloucester, which was to pass to another son, Gilbert, who subsequently became chancellor of the Bristol diocese.27 He was buried in Gloucester Cathedral where a funeral monument was erected to his memory.28 Gilbert sat for Wareham in the Short Parliament.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Alan Davidson
- 1. Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 96; T.D. Fosbrooke, Original Hist. City of Gloucester, 165; PROB 11/159, ff. 292v-4; MTR, 444.
- 2. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 405; Oxford DNB sub Gilbert, William; Vis. Glos. 96; PROB 11/159, ff. 292v-4.
- 3. Fosbrooke, 137.
- 4. Glos. RO, GBR B3/1, ff. 70v, 91v.
- 5. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 185.