BENE, Robert (c.1652-1733), of Norwich and Frettenham, Norf.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. c.1652, ?1st s. of Thomas Bene of Norwich by his w. Rebecca. unm. suc. fa. 1680.1
Freeman, Norwich 1674, sheriff 1694–5, alderman by 1708–d., mayor 1710–11.2
Bene, a brewer whose father seems to have established the family business, was returned for Norwich on the Tory interest in the year of his mayoralty and was classed as one of the ‘worthy patriots’ who exposed the mismanagements of the previous ministry. He was appointed to the drafting committee for a Norwich workhouse bill on 14 Dec. 1711, and was granted a month’s leave of absence on 8 Apr. 1712. Re-elected in 1713 he was appointed, on 9 Mar. 1714, to the drafting committee for a bill to curb wool smuggling. He was defeated at the 1715 election and did not stand again for Parliament. He was listed by the Jacobite Christopher Layer as one of the ‘loyal gentlemen’ of Norfolk, with £1,000 a year.3
Bene died on 27 May 1733, aged 80, and was buried in the church of St. Martin-in-Coslany, Norwich, the parish in which his ‘brewing office’ was situated. His will mentioned property in two other city parishes and in several of the surrounding villages, and included specific bequests of £3,600 to be raised from the sale of land and some £2,400 from his personal estate. According to the inscription on his monument, ‘his industry rendered him wealthy; his integrity, liberality and munificence, esteemed; his affection to his friends, and his benevolence to all men, beloved, and his death lamented’.4