BREWER, John (c.1654-1724), of New Romney, Kent and Gray's Inn.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Feb. 1701
Dec. 1701

Family and Education

b. c.1654, 2nd s. of Thomas Brewer of West Farleigh by Jane, da. and coh. of Thomas Houghton of Mayfield, Suss. educ. Wadham, Oxf. matric. 2 Apr. 1669, aged 15; G. Inn 1671, called 1678, ancient 1702. m. Jane (d.1717), da. of George Baker of Maidstone, Kent, 1da.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Hythe 1679-80, Kent and New Romney 1689-90, G. Inn 1690; surveyor of customs, Hythe 1680-5; freeman, New Romney 1687, recorder 1687-?d.; j.p. Kent 1689-d.; standing counsel, Tenterden 1690-1, 1708-23, Cinque Ports 1691-d.; recorder, Deal 1699-?d.; bencher, G. Inn. 1706.2

Receiver-gen. of prizes 1702-7.3


Brewer’s ancestors had resided at West Farleigh since the reign of Henry VI. His grandfather, a yeoman of the guard, was ‘murdered in his own house’ by the rebels, and his father, a lawyer, was in arms for the King in the second Civil War. Brewer also qualified as a barrister, but became a customs official. He took up residence in New Romney in 1682, and canvassed unsuccessfully in 1685. But two years later he was appointed recorder under the new charter, and on 9 Dec. 1688 he wrote to the corporation that ‘a fresh occasion is given me to revive my former requests to you’, and that he had made no application elsewhere. He was successful in a contested election, and became a moderately active committeeman in the Convention. He was appointed to 33 committees, acted as teller in three divisions, and made four recorded speeches. He was among those ordered to prepare a temporary bill for the detention of conspirators and to devise a new coronation oath, and he helped to support the canopy at the ceremony. With two legal officers of the crown he was given special responsibility on 30 Apr. 1689 for a bill to impose forfeiture of estates on officials who had not taken the test, and two days later he was among those instructed to prepare reasons for a conference on the seizure of horses belonging to Roman Catholics. He was appointed to the committees to hear the petition of George Speke and to consider the Lords’ bill imposing new oaths on army officers. In the indemnity debates he urged the House to punish only those judges who had upheld the dispensing power, and in particular spoke in favour of Sir Thomas Jenner. He was appointed to the committees for reversing the judgments on Titus Oates and Sir Thomas Armstrong. Although clearly a Whig, he was not listed as a supporter of the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations. After acting as teller against the return of John Beaumont for Dover, he was appointed to the committee for the bill to abolish the lord warden’s right of nominating one Member for each port. He continued to sit for New Romney until defeated in 1710, usually voting with the Whigs. He died on 2 June 1724, the only member of his family to sit in Parliament.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. liv), 6, 26; Arch. Cant. lxii. 81; Hasted, Kent, v. 141; vi. 73.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. vi. 502; viii. 280; Kent AO, NR/Ac2, ff. 660, 676; Arch Cant. xxxiii. 102; Cal. White and Black Bks. (Kent Recs. xix), 546, 555; CSP Dom. 1699-1700, p. 252.
  • 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. xvii. 251; xxi. 51, 503.
  • 4. Hasted, v. 140; Cal. Comm. Adv. Money , 1285; CSP Dom. 1660-1, p. 246; 1661-2, p. 620; Cal. Treas. Bks. vii. 444; Kent AO, NR/AEp, 55/3, 5; Add. 33923, f. 462; Suss. Arch. Colls. xv. 209; Grey, ix. 316, 327, 395, 401; Pol. State, xxvii. 623.