EWENS, Matthew (c.1548-98), of the Middle Temple, London and Somerset.
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Family and Education
b. c.1548,1 3rd s. of John Ewens of Wincanton, Som. by Ancaret, da. of Alexander Dyer of Wincanton. educ. Clifford’s Inn; M. Temple 1568, called 1574. m. Frances, da. of Sir John Rogers of Bryanston, Dorset, wid. of John Willoughby of Silton, Dorset, and of John Hyett., s.p.2
Autumn reader, M. Temple 1591; serjeant-at-law 1594; baron of the Exchequer from 1594; 2nd justice at Lancaster 1594; steward of Blandford Forum and Wimborne, Dorset 1594;3 j.p. Som. from c.1579, Dorset from c.1592, other counties from c.1596.
Ewens, younger son of a self-made country gentleman, lived mainly at the Middle Temple, where for many years he shared a chamber with one of his wife’s relatives, John Rogers, before moving to a bencher’s chambers in October 1587. Two of his colleagues at the Temple, Edward Hext. and John Popham, proved to be his lifelong friends. Ewens was counsel to the 3rd Earl of Huntingdon, which explains how he came to sit in Parliament for Christchurch, where the Earl had, and—as the mayor wrote in 1584—‘of ancient right ought to have’, the nomination of one of the burgesses. On a number of occasions he lent or otherwise raised money for Huntingdon. Ewens bought his Somerset estates from Huntingdon’s brother Sir Francis Hastings. Ewens died 23 May 1598, having made his will three days earlier. He left these estates in trust to Edward Hext and others, for his brothers and their children on the death of his wife, the sole executrix. To his ‘especial good friend’ Thomas Fanshawe I, he left plate, and he made bequests to Hastings and ‘mine especial good friend’ Sir John Popham, whom he appointed overseers. His widow married twice more and had not completed the execution of his will before she died in 1611, when a further grant of administration was made to Francis Glanville of Tavistock.4