ROBERTS, John (-d.1615), of Chippenham, Wilts.
Available from Cambridge University Press
Family and Education
m. 5 Oct. 1579, Sibill Rowland, ?2s. (1 d.v.p.). bur. 15 May 1615.1
Burgess, Chippenham by 1603, constable 1603-4.2
Roberts’ background is obscure. His family has not been traced at Chippenham prior to 1579, so he may have settled there on account of his marriage. He certainly had relatives in the capital, for in 1595 he and a namesake, a London surgeon, were summoned before the Privy Council to answer unspecified complaints.3 A merchant, Roberts was assessed for subsidy in 1587 and 1600 at £3 in goods, a fairly average rating for the town. Already a senior member of Chippenham’s corporation in 1603, he was chosen that year to serve as the borough’s constable, in which capacity he helped to collect parliamentary taxation.4
In 1604 Roberts was elected as Chippenham’s junior Member, ‘being proposed by the generality’ of the freemen.5 The only townsman to represent the borough during this period, he received wages of 2s. a day, along with his travel expenses, but left no mark on the Commons’ records. On 11 Mar. 1607, while presumably attending this Parliament’s third session, he was, somewhat surprisingly, fined at Chippenham for failing to appear before market officials to have his weights and measures checked.6
Roberts apparently fell on hard times at the end of his life. He was not listed among Chippenham’s subsidymen in 1611, and had left the corporation by 1614.7 It is unlikely that he had simply moved away, for he was buried at the parish church in May 1615. No will or grant of administration has been found, and no other members of this family are known to have entered Parliament.8
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Paul Hunneyball
- 1. Soc. Gen., Chippenham par. reg.
- 2. Recs. of Chippenham Bor. ed. F.H. Goldney, 191, 275.
- 3. APC, 1595-6, p. 92.
- 4. E179/198/333; 179/259/20; Recs. of Chippenham Bor. 191.
- 5. ‘Earle 1624’, f. 109v.
- 6. Recs. of Chippenham Bor. 192, 195; Tradesmen in Early Stuart Wilts. ed. N.J. Williams (Wilts. Arch. and Nat. Hist. Soc. xv), 3-4.
- 7. E179/199/366; Wilts. RO, G19/1/30/257.
- 8. Soc. Gen., Chippenham par. reg.