LEVER, John.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
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Family and Education

Offices Held


As no one named Lever appears in the guild steward’s book at Calne, which begins in 1561, this Member was presumably not a native of the borough. Nothing has been found to connect a man of his name with Wiltshire, except a writ of good behaviour granted against one John Lever by the justices of Salisbury, under the 2nd Earl of Pembroke, on 12 Jan. 1576.1

The Member remains unidentified, but it is possible that he was descended from a Lancashire family which held property at Great and Little Lever, near Bolton. Thomas and Ralph from Little Lever were noted puritan divines and Marian exiles. Two at least of the Great Lever branch, again brothers Ralph and Thomas, later lived in London: early in James I’s reign Thomas succeeded Ralph as under-searcher in the London customs. A relative, Edmund Lever, was a warden of the Cutlers’ Company, who owned property in Leadenhall Street. These London trade connexions may account for one of the family being returned at Calne. The other Member in 1584 and 1586 was the nephew of Sir Lionel Duckett, the London merchant who bought the manor of Calne, and in 1589 Lever shared the representation with Duckett’s relation, a London cloth merchant named Henry Jackman. Lever may have been the man who in November 1566 leased the rectory of Kessingland, Suffolk, formerly belonging to the ‘house of the minoresses without Aldgate’: this had recently been held by Thomas (presumably Customer) Smythe.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Mins. Proc. Sess. (Wilts. Arch. Soc. recs br. iv), 18.
  • 2. Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxv), 185-6; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 192; Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxi), 9; E. Welch, Hist. Cutlers’ Co. ii. 274, 304; CPR, 1566-9, p. 419.