DREWE, John (1603-1647), of Southbroom, Devizes, Wilts. and Pump Court, the Middle Temple, London

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

bap. 13 Mar. 1603,1 1st s. of Robert Drewe* and Jane, da. of John Jackman, Grocer of London.2 educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1621; M. Temple 1624, called 1632.3 m. lic. 12 June 1632, Elizabeth,4 da. of Sir Humphrey Lynde* of Cobham, Surr., 3s. 1da.5 suc. fa. 1645.6 d. bet. 20 Apr. and 8 Oct. 1647.7

Offices Held

Burgess, Devizes, Wilts. 1626, capital burgess 1628,8 mayor 1639,9 common councilman 1642-d.10


This Member has not been identified with complete certainty. One possibility is that he was John Drewe (1580-1634), the younger brother of Robert Drewe, a prominent council member in Devizes who four times represented the borough. Educated at Broadgates Hall, Oxford, this man described himself as a gentleman at the time of his marriage in 1618, and settled in the parish of St. Mary, Devizes, where he paid tax in 1624.11 However, it seems more likely that the Member was actually Robert Drewe’s eldest son. Schooled at Oxford and the Middle Temple, his entry into Parliament in 1626 at the age of only 22 would have been regarded as a way of rounding off his education. Moreover, the return of this young man rather than his uncle would explain why there is no trace of any payments to him by the corporation in the chamberlains’ accounts. Townsmen who sat for Devizes in this period were normally paid travel expenses, but Drewe, who was still training for the bar, had a London address and therefore no need of reimbursement.

Drewe played no recorded part in the 1626 Parliament. At the Temple he was one of the undertakers of a new building in Pump Court where, in 1629, he was allotted new chambers with his brother, Robert.12 He was called to the bar in June 1632, and three days later obtained licence to marry the daughter of Sir Humphrey Lynde, another Middle Templar who had also sat in the 1626 Parliament and whose son he subsequently undertook to train. In 1633 and 1634 Drewe was fined three times for being absent from law readings, and after May 1636 he disappears from the records of the Middle Temple.13

In 1645 Drewe inherited a dovecote in Southbroom, the only part of his father’s principal property to have survived a fire in that year.14 In 1646 he purchased the lease of several messuages and watermills in neighbouring parishes.15 He made out his will in April 1647, and died shortly afterwards. Choosing to be buried ‘in the sepulchre of my ancestors’ in the north isle of Devizes St. John, Drewe left all his property jointly to his widow and to one John Norden, a Devizes man, with whom he had recently purchased property. After his debts were cleared, any surplus money was to be distributed equally to his daughter and two younger sons during their minority.16 Drewe was succeeded by his eldest son, also named John, who died in 1660. The remainder of the family’s property in Southbroom was sold in about 1680.17

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Henry Lancaster / Andrew Thrush


  • 1. Wilts. RO, 594/2.
  • 2. Wilts. N and Q, iii. 36; Vis. Wilts. (Harl. Soc. cv-cvi), 50.
  • 3. Al. Ox; MTR, 689, 697; M. Temple Admiss.
  • 4. London Mar. Lics. 1521-1869 ed. J. Foster, 421.
  • 5. PROB 11/202, f. 92v.
  • 6. Wilts. RO, 594/2.
  • 7. PROB 11/202, f. 92v.
  • 8. Wilts. RO, G20/1/17, ff. 39v, 57.
  • 9. C231/5, f. 345.
  • 10. Wilts. RO, G20/1/17, f. 156.
  • 11. Wilts. RO, 594/1, p. 5 (bap. 19 Apr. 1580); Al. Ox.; Wilts. Arch. Mag. ii. 187; Salisbury Mar. Lics. 24; Wilts. RO, G20/1/17, f. 20v; PROB 11/165, f. 140; Wilts. RO, St. Mary’s Devizes, par. reg. (bur. 9 Jan. 1634).
  • 12. MTR, 697, 738.
  • 13. Ibid. 800, 807, 811, 821, 847.
  • 14. VCH Wilts. x. 250.
  • 15. Wilts. RO, 212B/5239, 5444.
  • 16. PROB 11/202, f. 92v.
  • 17. VCH Wilts. x. 250.