BRADSHAW, Joseph (aft. 1585-1632), of Old Palace Yard, Westminster.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. aft. 1585, one of 5s. of John Bradshaw (d.1606), brewer, of Stratford-le-Bow, Mdx. and Westminster and Elizabeth Empson.1 m. by 1622, Elizabeth Anderson (d. by 26 Dec. 1657), 3s. 1da. d.v.p. bur. 20 Dec. 1632.2

Offices Held

Member, Artillery Co. of London 1623;3 liveryman Brewers’ Co. 1624, asst. 1628-d., renter warden 1629-30;4 overseer of poor, St. Margaret’s, Westminster 1624-5.5


Bradshaw’s father, John, leased a number of brewhouses in Westminster, and was sufficiently wealthy to send three of his five sons to Merchant Taylors’ and the two eldest to Emmanuel College, Cambridge. John’s choice of the puritan-inclined Emmanuel, the naming of his sons after biblical figures, and his decision to appoint ten ministers to ensure that, in the event of his death, his children should continue to ‘walk in the ways of the Lord’,6 suggests that he held puritan convictions. How far Bradshaw’s own religious views reflected those of his father is unclear, but in 1632 he bequeathed £5 to the minister of Holy Trinity, Knightsbridge, Nathaniel White, even though his local parish church was St. Margaret’s, Westminster. White was a graduate of Magdalen Hall, perhaps the most solidly Calvinist of all the Oxford colleges, and in 1662 was ejected for nonconformity from his Wiltshire living.7

Bradshaw and his brothers Job and Abraham became partners and followed their father into the brewing trade.8 Shortly after his admission to the livery of the Brewers’ Company in October 1624, Bradshaw took on an apprentice.9 A few months later he protested to the Privy Council that a bridge over the Mill Ditch at Westminster, which provided easier access to the ferry for the king’s servants, damaged his business interests, but his claim for compensation was rejected.10 By 1625 Bradshaw was brewer to Prince Charles, and in May he took part in James I’s funeral procession.11 Later that same month his brewhouse in Tothill Street was required to furnish 80 tons of beer within two weeks for the forthcoming expedition to Spain.12

In about March 1628 Bradshaw and his fellow parishioner Thomas Morris inflicted a crushing defeat on the duke of Buckingham’s client Sir Robert Pye* at the parliamentary election for Westminster. Bradshaw evidently benefited from popular hostility to the Forced Loan, so once in the Commons it was perhaps not surprising that on 28 Mar. John Selden listed him to help search for precedents to challenge the ruling in the Five Knights’ case. His only other appointment was on 17 June, when he was named to consider the patent previously held by John Peck, the former register of sales and pawns made to retailing brokers. He made just one recorded speech, on 30 Apr., when he supported his Company’s grievance against an imposition on malt first levied in 1614. He complained that he paid £12 a month to the king in imposts, and said that these charges meant that the royal Household was being overcharged for its beer by greedy middlemen.13 Later that year the Company unilaterally decided to refuse payment of the imposition, and in January 1629 it determined to present a bill to Parliament, a decision confirmed on 12 Feb., partly for the benefit of Bradshaw, who had not attended the earlier meeting.14 However, it seems unlikely that legislation was drafted before Parliament was dissolved.

Following the dissolution Bradshaw was appointed the Brewers’ junior warden, having been elevated to its Court of Assistants in the previous October. He used his position to procure a loan of £400 by the Company to his brother Job for six months, which was extended for a further six months in December 1630. However, 12 months later the Company ordered ‘that there shall be forthwith some speedy course taken with Mr. Bradshaw’ because the loan had not been repaid. A settlement was apparently reached in February 1632, but the incident had evidently blighted Bradshaw’s career, as he never became second warden as might have been expected.15

Bradshaw drew up his will on 14 Dec. 1632, by which time he was sick. As most of his estate lay ‘abroad in other men’s hands’ he declared that he was unable to provide for his family as he would have liked. He bequeathed £5 to the poor of St. Margaret’s, Westminster, where he was buried on 20 December.16

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Andrew Thrush


WCA, E150 (1615 acct.), f. 8v.

  • 1. WCA, Elsam, ff. 570v-74.
  • 2. W. Briggs, Abstracts of PCC Wootton Wills, iii. no. 413; Memorials of St. Margaret’s, Westminster ed. A.M. Burke, 113, 115, 123, 131, 549, 563.
  • 3. Ancient Vellum Bk. ed. G.A. Raikes, 36.
  • 4. GL, ms 5445, xiv. unfol., 7 Oct. 1624; xv. unfol., 21 Oct. 1628, 18 July 1629.
  • 5. WCA, E152, unfol.
  • 6. WCA, Elsam, f. 573v.
  • 7. PROB 11/163, f. 37v; G. Hennessy, Novum Repertorium, 24.
  • 8. PROB 11/163, f. 37v.
  • 9. GL, ms 5445, xv. unfol., 9 Feb. 1632.
  • 10. APC, 1623-5, p. 460.
  • 11. LC2/6, f. 72.
  • 12. Add. 64883, f. 96v.
  • 13. CD 1628, iii. 181; iv. 85, 345; vi. 105.
  • 14. GL, ms 5445, xv. unfol., 23 Dec. 1628, 15 and 27 Jan., 12 Feb. 1629.
  • 15. Ibid. 29 Apr., 4 Dec. 1630, 30 June, 5 Dec. 1631, 9 Feb. 1632.
  • 16. PROB 11/163, ff. 37-8.