ROUS, Sir John II (c.1573-1645), of Rous Lench, Worcs.
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Family and Education
b. c.1573,1 o. s. of Edward Rous of Rous Lench and Mary, da. of Miles Haselrigge of Noseley, Leics.2 m. 21 Nov. 1605,3 (with £1,500),4 Hester (bur. 12 Aug. 1620), da. of Sir Thomas Temple† of Stowe, Bucks., 4s. (1 d.v.p.) 4da. (1 d.v.p.).5 kntd. bet. 5 and 10 July 1607;6 suc. fa. 1 May 1611.7 d. 10 Apr. 1645.8 sig. John Rous.
Sheriff, Worcs. 1610-11, 1636-7;9 commr. sewers, Worcs. and Glos. 1618, 1630;10 j.p. Worcs. 1620-at least 1643,11 Evesham, Worcs. 1632-d.;12 commr. subsidy, Worcs. 1621-2, 1624, 1625, 1628-9, 1641-2, Evesham, 1625, 1628, 1641,13 Forced Loan, Worcs. 1626-7, Evesham, Worcs. 1627;14 dep. lt. Worcs. by 1628-at least 1642;15 asst. burgess, Evesham 1632, capital burgess 1632-d., alderman 1632-d.;16 commr. Avon navigation, Worcs. 1636;17 array, Worcs. 1642,18 safety (roy.), Worcs. 1643.19
Rous must not be confused with a Suffolk namesake, who sat for Dunwich. Rous’s family are first recorded at Ragley in Warwickshire, but in the early 1380s they acquired the manor of Rous Lench, over the border in south-east Worcestershire, and this had become their main residence by the sixteenth century.20 Rous’s ancestor, Thomas Rous, was returned for Worcestershire in 1436 and his grandfather and namesake served as sheriff and a magistrate. However, there is no evidence his father held any significant county office.21
Rous seems to have been prosperous as he added to his estates in Warwickshire and Worcestershire and lent out significant sums of money.22 He had close connections with other gentry families from southern Worcestershire, including Sir Thomas Bigg*, who was a godparent to one of his children.23 The Catholic antiquarian Thomas Habington stated that Rous served as sheriff and deputy lieutenant ‘with the applause of the county’,24 and it was probably the combination of his reputation for public service and his status as head of one of Worcestershire’s leading families which led to his election in 1626.
It is impossible to say whether the Sir John ‘Rowse’ appointed on 26 Feb. to the committee for the bill for taking accounts of public money on oath was this Member or his namesake, who also sat in 1626.25 It was almost certainly the Dunwich Member who was appointed on 25 Mar. to examine a woman charged with striking the serjeant’s deputy when the latter was sent to summon a Suffolk schoolmaster.26 By 15 May Rous or his namesake had fallen ill, and consequently he was absent when most of the House took the protestation exonerating Sir John Eliot and Sir Dudley Digges from the accusation of having spoken in disgrace of the duke of Buckingham when they had presented charges of impeachment to the Lords against the favourite a week earlier. Those, like Rous, who were absent were required instead to take the protestation at home before a Commons’ committee. Rous’s protestation was read in the Commons the following day.27
In the later 1630s Rous served a second term as sheriff and collected over 85 per cent of Worcestershire’s Ship Money quota.28 In 1639-40 he was in trouble before the Court of High Commission, but the cause of his arraignment is unrecorded.29 In 1641 his eldest son was created a baronet. Although not initially included, Rous was added to the ranks of the Worcestershire commission of array on 18 July 1642.30 The following October he supported an association of the Marcher counties formed in Parliament’s name to expel the king’s forces, but in March 1643, the royalists having secured control over most of Worcestershire, he was appointed to the royalist committee of safety.31 He attended only two meetings of the latter body, the first of which, on 18 Mar., drafted a letter to the king explaining why the commissioners had not executed the commission of array in their county, suggesting that Rous was still primarily concerned to keep the war out of Worcestershire.32 On 11 Apr. Rous was indemnified by the Worcestershire quarter sessions for money that he and the other pre-Civil War deputy lieutenants had collected and which had been appropriated by the royalists. Rous played no subsequent recorded part in the royalist cause.33
According to the royalist antiquarian William Dugdale, Rous and his sons were captured by parliamentary forces at Rous Lench in April 1644 and carried to Warwick. However, they may have gone willingly as Rous’s heir, Sir Thomas†, and at least one other son became active parliamentarians.34 Rous died at Warwick in April 1645. His will, made on 23 Jan. 1645, was proved by Sir Thomas on 12 Sept. following.35 Initially buried at Warwick, he was subsequently re-interred (23 Feb. 1653), in accordance with his wishes, at Rous Lench.36 Sir Thomas Rous was returned for Worcestershire in 1654.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Ben Coates
- 1. Aged 72 when he died, Worcs. RO, MF233/1, Rous Lench par. reg.
- 2. Vis. Worcs. (Harl. Soc. xc), 82
- 3. Soc. Gen. Stowe par. reg.
- 4. E.F. Gay ‘Temples of Stowe and their debts’, HLQ, ii. 424.
- 5. Vis. Worcs. (Harl. Soc. xxvii), 115; Worcs. RO, MF233/1, Rous Lench par. reg.
- 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 143; J. Nichols, Progs. of Jas. I, ii. 135.
- 7. C142/326/48.
- 8. Worcs. RO, MF233/1, Rous Lench par. reg.
- 9. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 159.
- 10. C181/2, f. 309v; 181/4, f. 18.
- 11. C231/4, f. 99; Cal. Q. Sess. Pprs. ed. J.W. Willis Bund (Worcs. Hist. Soc. 1900), ii. 708.
- 12. Evesham Bor. Recs. of Seventeenth Cent. ed. S.K. Roberts (Worcs. Hist. Soc. n.s. xiv), 32.
- 13. SP14/123/16; C212/22/21, 23; E179/201/285, 179/201/293, 179/201/299, 179/283/27; SR, v. 67, 157.
- 14. T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, p. 145; C193/12/2, ff. 62v, 77v.
- 15. SP16/113/31; Diary of Henry Townshend ed. J.W. Willis Bund (Worcs. Hist. Soc. 1920), ii. 69.
- 16. Evesham Bor. Recs. 32.
- 17. Rymer, ix. pt. 2, p. 6; C193/12/2, f. 62v.
- 18. Northants. RO, FH133.
- 19. Docquets of Letters Patent 1642-6 ed. W.H. Black, 14.
- 20. VCH Worcs. iii. 498.
- 21. List of Sheriffs, 158; Hatfield House, ms 278.
- 22. C78/253/6; VCH Worcs. iv. 47; C2/Chas.I/R48/8; CCC, 2438; PROB 11/194, f. 44; Gay, 405, 425.
- 23. Worcs. RO, MF233/1, Rous Lench par. reg.
- 24. Survey of Worcs. by Thomas Habington ed. J. Amphlett (Worcs. Hist Soc. 1893-5), i. 318.
- 25. Procs. 1626, ii. 21.
- 26. Ibid. 367.
- 27. Ibid. iii. 263, 265.
- 28. CSP Dom. 1637, p. 543.
- 29. CSP Dom. 1639-40, p. 281; CSP Dom. 1640, pp. 383, 385, 405, 416.
- 30. 47th DKR, 134; Northants. RO, FH133.
- 31. HMC Portland iii, 100; R. Hutton, Royalist War Effort, 1642-6, pp. 34-7.
- 32. Bodl., Rawl. D918, f. 145.
- 33. Bodl. Rawl. D924, f. 152v; Diary of Henry Townshend, ii. 111.
- 34. Life, Diary and Corresp. of Sir William Dugdale, ed. W. Hamper, 64; Diary of Henry Townshend, 229.
- 35. PROB 11/194, ff. 43-4.