STEWARD, John (c.1637-94), of Milland, Trotton, Suss.
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Family and Education
b. c.1637, 1st s. of Humphrey Steward of Milland by Bridget, da. of Simeon Brograve of Hamels, Braughing, Herts. educ. G. Inn entered 1649, called 1660, ancient 1671. m. lic. 27 June 1679, aged 42, Mary (bur. 23 Dec. 1695), sis. of William Luffe of Trotton, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da. suc. fa. 1662.1
J.p. Suss. July 1660-bef. 1680, 1687-?d., commr. for assessment 1661-80, 1689.
Steward’s father, a younger son of the East Anglian family, bought Milland and settled in Sussex in 1638. He took no known part in the Civil War, but he was discharged in 1644 from the £1,200 at which he had been assessed by the committee for the advance of money on proof that he had already paid his liability in full, and he was sufficiently acceptable to the authorities to serve as j.p. from 1646 to the Restoration.2
Steward himself became a lawyer, and was returned for Midhurst, seven miles from Milland, at the general election of 1660. Marked as a friend on Lord Wharton’s list, he spoke against excepting from the indemnity bill those who refused the oath of supremacy. But he was not an active Member of the Convention, being appointed only to the committees on the bills for reducing interest to 6 per cent and for restoring the dukedom of Somerset.3
Steward gave way to Lord Montagu’s kinsman, Adam Browne, at the general election of 1661, but regained the seat a few weeks later when Browne opted to sit for Surrey. He was apparently much less active in the opening sessions of the Cavalier Parliament than his distant cousin Robert Steward, though presumably he again served on the committee for reviving the Somerset dukedom. He was appointed by full name to a Shropshire estate bill (18 May 1663), but frequently obtained leave on grounds of ill health. From July 1670 to the dissolution he was definitely appointed to only eleven committees, but he made two speeches. On 16 Nov. 1670 he supported the jurisdiction of the House of Lords in the case of Lord Newburgh (James Livingston), and on 22 Mar. 1671 he spoke strongly in favour of the additional conventicles bill. His most important committee was to consider the state of Ireland in 1674. Although he was not named to the committee for the Tayer estate bill, as one of the Sussex Members he was entitled to attend, and on 14 May 1675 he reported it with amendments, apparently to the satisfaction of the House; but it was narrowly rejected on third reading five days later. He was marked ‘vile’ by Shaftesbury in 1677, the only assessment of his politics during the Cavalier Parliament. On 13 Dec. 1678 he was again given leave to go into the country for the recovery of his health.4
Steward apparently did not stand again. Having remained single during his mother’s lifetime, he married a certain Mary Luffe who was living in the same village, but not of a recognized gentry family. Perhaps this connexion explains his removal from the commission of the peace. He was restored in 1687, and to the questions of Lord Montagu, the Roman Catholic lord lieutenant, on James II’s ecclesiastical policy, he replied:
Provided the Church of England be first settled and secured in her just rights and service, as by law established, he shall not be against taking off the Penal Laws and Tests. ... If he can find a man of his principles (as already expressed) he will give his vote for his election.
These answers satisfied Montagu, who recommended him as a j.p., but he was not nominated as a court candidate, and took no further part in politics. He was buried at Tuxlyth (Milland) on 12 Nov. 1694. He seems to have been hard put to it to devise portions and even living accommodation for his three children, all under age, and no later Steward of the Sussex branch entered Parliament.5
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: M. W. Helms / B. M. Crook / Basil Duke Henning
- 1. Clutterbuck, Herts. iii. 150; PCC 10 Harvey, 30 Hayes, 59 Irby; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 1287.
- 2. The Gen. n.s. ii. 34-42; VCH Suss. iv. 23, 33, 36; Cal. Comm. Adv. Money, 413; Q. Sess. Order Bk. (Suss. Rec. Soc. liv), 175.
- 3. Bowman diary, f. 54v.
- 4. Grey, i. 289, 408; CJ, ix. 326.
- 5. Guildhall RO, Tuxlyth bishops transcripts; PCC 59 Irby.