MERE, Henry (d.1608), of the Inner Temple, London and Sherborne, Dorset.
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Family and Education
3rd s. of Hugh Mere of Sherborne by Alice, da. of Thomas Alombridge or Alanbridge of Dorset; bro. of William. educ. Sherborne c.1560; I. Temple 1576, called 1587. m. 1582, Magdalen, da. of Bartholomew Lyte of Tucks Cary, Som., 1s. 6da.
Escheator, Som. and Dorset 1591-2; collector for the bailiwick of Fineshade, Northants.; gov. Sherborne sch. 1592, warden 1599.1
In the 1601 return for Christchurch this Member was said to be of the Middle Temple, but there is no record of such a person entering this inn of court. A Henry Mere or Meres was a barrister of the Inner Temple, and it is assumed that he became the Member for Christchurch in 1601, even though he was again described as of the Middle Temple when accused, in the Star Chamber, of antedating a writ in order to invalidate a sentence of outlawry against his brother John. As the third son of a minor country gentleman he was lucky to inherit property in Grimstone, Stratton and Wootton Glanville in Dorset. A professional lawyer, in 1589 he was disbarred for not pursuing the required exercises, being re-admitted on paying £3 6s.8d.2
In 1592 his younger brother John became Sir Walter Ralegh’s bailiff at Sherborne. Ralegh granted him considerable copyhold land there, and the probability is that John Mere began swindling him. He was dismissed and initiated proceedings against Ralegh in the Star Chamber, with the support of Henry and the protection of Thomas Howard, 3rd Viscount Howard of Bindon. It was probably Bindon who had Henry Mere returned to Parliament for Christchurch, perhaps in connexion with this episode. Writing from Sherborne to Henry Brooke II, 11th Lord Cobham in August 1601, Ralegh promised to be with him as soon as he had settled his business with the justices ‘about those rogues the Meres’. But the accession of James I was the opportunity the two brothers had been waiting for. John Mere gained a place on the commission to view Ralegh’s lands in Sherborne, while Henry continued to prosecute him in the Star Chamber. In 1605 some sort of deal was suggested, whereby the Earl of Northumberland would cease a prosecution for debt against Henry Mere in return for Mere dropping his suit against Ralegh. There were other complaints about Mere, Henry Lyte writing A record of the villainy and knavery wrought by Henry Meere and The tyrannical dealings of Henry Meer against his uncle Henry Lyte, esquire, copies of which cannot now be traced. Mere died in 1608, apparently intestate, and was buried in the parish church of Sherborne.3
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
Author: A. M. Mimardière
- 1. Vis. Dorset 1623 (Harl. Soc. xx), 68-9; CSP Dom. 1604-10, p. 472.
- 2. St. Ch. 5/A22/38; PCC 33 Tirwhite; Cal. I. T. Recs. i. 358-9, 362.
- 3. Neale, Commons, 243; St. Ch. 5/M3/25; Edwards, Life of Raleigh, i. 470-1; ii. 228, 238, 308; HMC Hatfield, xvii. 505-6; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 472; PCC 77 Skinner.