MELLER (MILLER), Sir John (c.1588-1649/50), of Little Bredy, Dorset and Aldermanbury, London; later of King Street, Covent Garden, Westminster
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Family and Education
b. c.1588,1 1st s. of Sir Robert Meller* and his 1st w., Dorothy, da. and h. of Henry Bailey of I.o.W.2 educ. Dorchester g.s., Dorset; privately;3 Caius, Camb. 1603, aged 15; M. Temple 1606.4 m. 10 June 1611 (with £3,000), Mary, da. of Sir John Swinarton*, Merchant Taylor, of Aldermanbury, 3s. at least 5da. suc. fa. 1624;5 kntd. 6 May 1625.6 admon. 19 Nov. 1650.7
Capt. militia horse, Dorset to 1628;8 treas. W. Dorset 1629-30,9 sheriff, Dorset 1630-1, Oxon. 1633-4,10 commr. inquiry into Sir Walter Ralegh’s† lands, Som. and Dorset 1633, sewers, Dorset 1638, piracy 1639,11 assessment 1641-2,12 contributions (roy.) 1643, j.p. 1643.13
Meller’s wife brought him an ample portion which was invested in land in Oxfordshire. Most of their children were baptized at St. Mary Aldermanbury, and London was apparently Meller’s main base until he inherited his patrimony.14 Probably not well known at Wareham, he most likely owed his election there in 1628 to the influence of his cousin, John Trenchard*.15 On 26 Apr. he obtained leave from the Commons to take the waters at Bath ‘in respect of his sickness’. Unlike his father, who had died at the spa, he recovered his health, but left no other trace on the Parliament’s records.16
In 1635 Meller defaulted on the Ship Money charged on his Dorset properties, though he was not otherwise noted as a critic of the government. From 1639 he was resident in Covent Garden, and his persistent absence in the capital presumably accounts for his failure to become a Dorset magistrate until the following decade.17 Trenchard influence probably again explains his return to the Short Parliament for Bridport. Taken prisoner in April 1644 while recruiting for the royalist army, Meller unconvincingly pleaded that he ‘never acted further than he was enforced’, and he was apparently not admitted to compound for his lands for another four years.18 He made his will on 3 Apr. 1649, requesting burial with his father at Winterbourne Came, Dorset, and died by November 1650, when the will was proved. His grandson Edward was returned for Dorchester in 1685.19
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: John. P. Ferris
- 1. Date estimated from age at univ. admiss.
- 2. Hutchins, Dorset, ii. 186.
- 3. Som. and Dorset N and Q, i. 107.
- 4. Al. Cant.; M. Temple Admiss.
- 5. St. Mary Aldermanbury (Harl. Soc. Reg. lxi), 87-111; C2/Chas.I/M45/57; Hutchins, ii. 186; Vis. Dorset (Harl. Soc. cxvii), 44.
- 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 188.
- 7. PROB 11/214, f. 187.
- 8. William Whiteway of Dorchester (Dorset Rec. Soc. xii), 99.
- 9. Dorset Q. Sess. Recs. 1625-38 ed. T. Hearing and S. Bridges (Dorset Rec. Soc. xiv), 90.
- 10. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 39, 109.
- 11. C181/4, f. 136; 181/5, ff. 113v, 152v.
- 12. SR, v. 61, 83, 150.
- 13. Docquets of Letters Patent 1642-6 ed. W.H. Black, 10, 73.
- 14. C2/Chas.I/M45/57; St. Mary Aldermanbury, 89-111.
- 15. Hutchins, iii. 326; Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 10.
- 16. CD 1628, iii. 94; William Whiteway of Dorchester, 64.
- 17. SP16/319/89; St. Paul, Covent Garden (Survey of London, xxxvi), 152.
- 18. A.R. Bayley, Gt. Civil War in Dorset, 133; SP23/175/567; CCC, 118