MATTHEWES, Sir John (c.1630-94), of Winchester Street, London and Evesham, Worcs.
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Family and Education
b. c.1630, 2nd s. of William Mathewes, surgeon (d.1672), of Evesham by Mary, da. of John Tovey of Pershore, Worcs. m. lic. 14 Sept. 1680, aged 50, Sarah, da. of John Mellish, Merchant Taylor, of London, wid. of John Mews of London, s.p. Kntd. 17 Apr. 1677.1
Consul, Cadiz bef. 1673; asst. R. Africa Co. 1678-81, 1683-4; member, Hon. Artillery Co. 1680, dep. lt. London 1681-7, Oct. 1688-d.; alderman, Evesham 1684-Feb. 1688, Oct. 1688-d., mayor 1685-6; 1684 capt. of auxil. militia horse, London 1685; commr. for assessment, London 1689-90, Worcs. 1690.2
Commr. for preventing export of wool 1689-92.
Matthewes’s ancestors had held property in Evesham since the middle of the 16th century, and his father was elected mayor in 1662. Matthewes was one of the leading English merchants in Cadiz by 1664, and in the next few years the readiness of his firm to assist the Mediterranean fleet with victuals, repairs and money attracted favourable comment. On his father’s death he inherited a reversionary interest in two houses and a row of tenements in Evesham. He seems to have returned to England soon afterwards, and settled in London. His marriage strengthened his links with the crown, for his wife was sister-in-law to Bishop Mews of Winchester. Matthewes helped to present a loyal address from the London militia approving the dissolution of Parliament in 1681, and served on the grand jury that found Thomas Pilkington and others guilty of riot at the shrieval elections of 1682.3
Described as rich and loyal, Matthewes was urged to take out his freedom to qualify for City office. But he appears to have preferred to devote himself to the affairs of his native town. With £21 10s., his was the largest subscription to the new charter, in which he was nominated alderman. He was returned on his corporation interest to James II’s Parliament, in which he was moderately active, with seven committee appointments, including the committee of elections and priviliges, and those to consider bills to suppress pedlars, encourage the cloth industry, and reform the bankruptcy laws.4
Presumably Matthewes disagreed with the King’s ecclesiastical policy, for he was removed from the London lieutenancy and the Evesham corporation in 1687-8. He was re-elected to the Convention as a Tory, voting to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant. Again an inactive Member, he was named to seven committees, including those to reduce trade with France to the level of barter, to prohibit imports from France, and to regulate the Droitwich salt-works. He helped to draw up reasons for a conference on tithe on 19 Aug. 1689, and after the recess he was added to the committee of inquiry into war expenditure. His holding in the East India Company at this time was registered as £1,300. He was replaced by a Whig at the general election of 1690, and the report that he was to be appointed a commissioner of public accounts was not well-founded. He was buried at Richmond on 28 Mar. 1694. His will mentioned messuages in the City as well as his own dwelling-house. After over £5,000 in legacies to family and servants, he bequeathed £200 to Christ’s Hospital and £300 to Lord Weymouth (Thomas Thynne I) ‘to be disposed by him to such persons as he in his discretion shall think proper objects of his kindness’. He was the only member of the family to sit in Parliament, but his step-son, Peter Mews†, sat for Christchurch as a Tory from 1710 to his death.5
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: John. P. Ferris
- 1. Add. 42185, ff. 65-66; Mar. Lic. (Harl. Soc. xxvi), 303.
- 2. Luttrell, iii. 288; CSP Dom. 1672-3, p. 604; K. G. Davies, Royal African Co. 384; Ancient Vellum Bk. ed. Raikes, 109; Guildhall Lib. mss 186/1/307, 2/589; HMC Lords, iii. 45; G. May, Hist. Evesham, 452-3; W. R. Williams, Parl Hist. Worcs. 148.
- 3. Add. 42185, f. 65; PCC 9 Pye; Jnl. of Thomas Allin (Navy Rec. Soc. lxxix), 155; CSP Dom. 1668-9, p. 302; 1670, pp. 348, 515; 1671-2, p. 140; Add. 1660-85, p. 308; London Gazette, 23 May 1681; HMC Lords, iii. 52.
- 4. CSP Dom. 1682, p. 609; 1683-4, pp. 156, 506.
- 5. PC2/72/618; Add. 22185, f. 14; Luttrell, ii. 44; iii. 288; Richmond Par. Reg. (Surr. Par. Reg. Soc. i), 251; PCC 59 Box.