STEPHENS, James (d.1683), of Gloucester.
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Family and Education
?1st s. of James Stephens of Rodley, Westbury-on-Severn. m. Hester. suc. fa. 1663.
Sheriff, Gloucester 1639-40, 1643-4, alderman by 1648-72; commr. for militia, Gloucester 1648, 1659, Gloucester and Glos. Mar. 1660, assessment, Gloucester 1649-52, 1657, Aug. 1660-80, Glos. 1673-80; mayor, Gloucester 1649-50, coroner 1650, capt. of militia ft. Apr. 1660.1
Stephens’s family background is conjectural, and no connexion has been traced with the local gentry of that name. A tanner by trade, he was a warm partisan of Parliament during the Civil War, but had become a Royalist early in 1660. On 11 Feb. the Council of State issued a warrant for his arrest, but there is no evidence that it was executed before the overthrow of the Rump. On the return of the secluded Members he was given a commission in the city militia, and was elected to the Convention shortly afterwards. Lord Wharton assigned him to the management of Sir Thomas Wharton, but he was probably inactive. His only certain committee was for supplying the defects in the poll bill on 6 Nov., though the common council granted him the lease of a meadow rent-free for 21 years ‘in recompense for his good service for the city in Parliament’. Stephens’s declaration of loyalty to the restored monarchy was accepted as genuine by the commissioners of corporations, and he remained an alderman till the new charter took effect in 1672. By this time he had probably left the city to reside on the family property at Westbury-on-Severn; from 1673 he served on the county assessment committee. He was buried at St. Nicholas, Gloucester on 9 Nov. 1683. Administration was granted to his widow on 9 Mar. 1685.2