ROUS, John I (c.1608-70), of Henham, Suff.
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Family and Education
b. c.1608, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir John Rous of Henham by Elizabeth, da. of Sir Christopher Yelverton, j.K.b. 1602-12, of Easton Maudit, Northants. educ. Pembroke, Camb. adm. 10 Oct. 1623, aged 15, BA 1626; G. Inn 1627. m. (1) 23 June 1636, Anne, da. of Nicholas Bacon of Gillingham, Norf., s.p.; (2) c.1645, Elizabeth (d. 7 July 1670), da. of Thomas Knyvett of Ashwellthorpe, Norf., 1s. 4da. suc. fa. 1652; cr. Bt. 17 Aug. 1660.1
Commr. for assessment, Suff. Jan. 1660-9, militia Mar. 1660, j.p. Mar. 1660-d.; freeman, Dunwich Mar. 1660; lt-col. of militia ft. Suff. Apr. 1660-d., dep. lt. 1661-d., commr. for loyal and indigent officers 1662.2
Rous’s ancestors had held manorial property in Suffolk since 1305, and represented Dunwich in several Lancastrian Parliaments. They acquired Henham, five miles from the borough in 1533, and were alleged to derive their wealth chiefly from the export of the notoriously inedible Suffolk cheese. Rous’s father, a Presbyterian, supported Parliament during the Civil War, sitting on the county committee. But Rous himself was a Royalist, holding no local office until the eve of the Restoration. Charles wrote to him from Breda on 27 Apr. 1660 to express appreciation of his loyalty.3
Rous was returned to the Convention for Dunwich. An inactive Member, he was probably appointed to six committees, including the committee of elections and privileges and those for the continuance of Parliament and the regulation of fees in courts and offices. As a militia commissioner, and later a deputy lieutenant, he ‘curbed the daring insolencies’ of the fanatics. Doubtless a court supporter, he was given a baronetcy in August. He was re-elected in 1661 with his brother-in-law Richard Coke, and became a moderately active Member of the Cavalier Parliament. He was appointed to 75 committees, including the committee of elections and privileges in seven sessions. He was named to the committee on the bill of pains and penalties (4 July), and before the House rose at the end of the month he and Henry Bedingfield secured a reduction in the fee-farm rent due from Dunwich to the crown. On his return to Suffolk, he was visiting a tenant at Wangford, and allegedly drinking a health to the King, when the house was struck by lightning and a kinsman of his was killed. The incident was variously interpreted as a miraculous escape for Rous, or as a dreadful warning. In 1663 he was among those ordered to peruse the Corporations Act, to recommend remedies for sectaries’ meetings, and to consider a petition from the woolcombers and yarn-makers of Suffolk. In 1664 he was on the committee for the conventicles bill, but thereafter his activity declined. He was ordered to be sent for as a defaulter on 15 Dec. 1666. He died on 27 Nov. 1670 and was buried at Wangford.4