CAESAR, Robert (1602-1637), of The Strand, Westminster and the Inner Temple, London
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Family and Education
b. 9 Oct. 1602, 7th but 3rd surv. s. of Sir Julius Caesar* (d.1636), being his 3rd but 2nd surv. s. with his 2nd w. Alice, da. of Christopher Greene of Manchester; bro. of Sir Charles*.1 educ. Eton 1609-15; Queen’s, Oxf. 1616, BA 1618; I. Temple 1616, called 1622.2 m. 7 Dec. 1630, Elizabeth, da. of John Manning of London. d. 27 Oct. 1637.3
Clerk of the petty bag, Chancery 1628-36, six clerk 1636-d.4
Vestryman, St. John Hackney, London 1631.5
Caesar was 11 years old in 1614 when his father, Sir Julius, became master of the Rolls, the second highest office in Chancery, and there can be little doubt that, as a younger son, much of Caesar’s subsequent education was intended to equip him for a post in that court. Consequently, shortly after matriculating at Oxford in January 1616, he was admitted to his father’s Inn, the Inner Temple, where he was called to the bar in 1622. It is possible that he practiced as a barrister in the early part of his career as Clarendon (Edward Hyde†) was subsequently to describe him as ‘a lawyer of good name, and exceedingly beloved’.6
Caesar was returned to Parliament for Bodmin in 1625 on the interest of Sir Robert Killigrew*, his stepmother’s brother-in-law.7 On 1 July, following Sir Edwin Sandys’s report of the previous day’s examination of the Council of War and treasurers appointed by the 1624 Subsidy Act, Caesar and William Ravenscroft, a Chancery official, were ordered to discover whether the oaths which the councillors and treasurers should have taken in accordance with the statute had been enrolled in Chancery as required.8 Three days later Caesar reported that he had found that the oaths ‘were duly taken’.9 He was appointed to only one committee in this Parliament, this being for the bill to enable the trustees of the deceased Richard Sackville, 3rd earl of Dorset to sell lands to pay his debts (8 July).10 He made one further speech, on 6 Aug. during the Oxford sitting, when he moved for privilege concerning an unidentified servant of Richard Erdeswicke.11
Caesar initially failed to find a seat in the second Caroline Parliament, but was elected for Ilchester after John Selden, who had been double returned, chose to sit elsewhere. He presumably owed his election to Sir Robert Phelips*, the dominant electoral patron of the borough whose father had been Sir Julius Caesar’s predecessor as master of the Rolls. During the Parliament Caesar made no speeches, but was named to nine committees. On 22 Mar. he was among those appointed to consider the election of Sir Thomas Monck, who had been returned for Camelford while imprisoned for debt.12 The following day he was named to the committee for the bill for regulating attorneys, but was not mentioned in the surviving parliamentary records again until 6 May, when he was among those instructed to consider the bill to allow marriages at any time of year.13 In addition, he was appointed on 1 June to the committee for the bill against adultery.14 His remaining appointments concerned private measures.
In 1628 Caesar acquired one of the three clerkships of the petty bag, which office was in his father’s gift as master of the Rolls. Sir Julius subsequently also tried to obtain one of the lucrative six clerks’ posts for his son. However, according to Clarendon, whose rather garbled account was written many years after the event, lord treasurer Weston (Sir Richard Weston*) blocked Robert Caesar’s appointment in favour of another candidate, who had paid him £6,000. Clarendon added that Weston promised to secure the reversion of the next vacancy for Caesar even if Sir Julius died in the interim, and wrote himself a note saying ‘remember Caesar’, which he put it in his pocket; but by the time he had found it again he had forgotten the cause and thought it was a secret warning of a plot against his life.15 In actual fact, in July 1631 Caesar did receive from Weston a grant of the next six clerkship to fall vacant following his father’s death.16 Moreover, in April 1635, six weeks after Weston died, he was granted the next vacancy regardless of whether it occurred when Sir Julius was alive or dead.17 Consequently, when George Evelyn (father of Sir John*) died in January 1636, Caesar succeeded to his office.18
Although Sir Julius lived on until April 1636 he settled an estate on his son some years earlier.19 Some of the methods by which Robert Caesar maintained this estate seem to have been rather harsh. In March 1630 Lord Wentworth (Sir Thomas Wentworth*) reported to the Privy Council Caesar’s maltreatment of tenants on the demesne lands of Barwick in Elmet, Yorkshire. Caesar had persuaded his tenants to surrender their lands to him on the promise of granting them fresh leases only to repudiate the agreement on the grounds that he had now sold the lands concerned.20 In another episode, in May 1633, Caesar was ordered to pay some legacies which he had retained in his hands as executor of a will.21 In 1635 the minister of South Hyckham, Lincolnshire, complained to Archbishop Laud that his tithes had been much diminished by the enclosure and conversion to pasture of Caesar’s lands in that lordship.22 The minister’s case was evidently borne out two years later when Caesar was fined £50 for depopulation.23
Caesar died on 27 Oct. 1637, and was buried on 9 Nov. next to the communion table in St. Helen’s Bishopsgate, London, near his mother and father and his paternal grandparents.24 In his will, dated 1 June 1637, he remembered the vicar of Mitcham, where his father had lived, and Paul Micklethwaite, the moderate Laudian minister of the Temple church.25
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: George Yerby / Ben Coates
E. Cox, Annals of St Helen’s Bishopsgate, 303.
- 1. R. Clutterbuck, Herts. ii. 286; L.M. Hill, Bench and Bureaucracy: the Public Career of Sir Julius Caesar 1580-1636, p. 89; PROB 11/170, f. 273v.
- 2. Eton Coll. Reg. comp. W. Sterry, 60; Al. Ox.; I. Temple database of admiss.
- 3. R.Clutterbuck, Herts. ii. 286.
- 4. T.D. Hardy, Principal Officers of Chancery, 109, 127.
- 5. Some Acct, of the Monuments in Hackney Church comp. R. Simpson, 83.
- 6. Clarendon, Hist. of the Rebellion ed. W.D. Macray, i. 65.
- 7. W. Blomefield, Norf. ix. 353; Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 270.
- 8. Procs. 1625, p. 283; SR, iv. 1262. The oaths were to be taken before the ld. kpr. or Caesar’s father, the master of the Rolls.
- 9. Procs. 1625, p. 297.
- 10. Ibid. 349.
- 11. Ibid. 411.
- 12. Procs. 1626, ii. 339.
- 13. Ibid. 348; iii. 180.
- 14. Procs. 1626, iii. 339.
- 15. G.E. Aylmer, King’s Servants, 71; Clarendon, i. 64-7.
- 16. CSP Dom. 1631-3, p. 123
- 17. Cal. of Docquets of Ld. Kpr. Coventry, 1625-40 ed. J. Broadway, R. Cust and S.K. Roberts (L. and I. Soc. spec. ser. xxxiv-vii), 192. The grant was confirmed by the Privy Council in July: CSP Dom. 1635, p. 251.
- 18. Strafforde Letters (1739) ed. W. Knowler, i. 511.
- 19. Hill, 260; PROB 11/170, f. 273.
- 20. CSP Dom. 1629-31, p. 211.
- 21. C78/514/5.
- 22. CSP Dom. 1635, p.125.
- 23. E401/2456, unfol. 29 Nov. 1637.
- 24. Clutterbuck, Herts. ii. 286; St. Helen’s Bishopgate (Harl. Soc. Reg, xxxi), 292.
- 25. PROB 11/173, ff. 129-30; Oxford DNB sub Micklethwaite, Paul.