RIVERS, Nizel (1614-95), of Offham, Hamsey, Suss.
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Family and Education
bap. 19 May 1614, 5th but 4th surv. s. of Sir John Rivers, 1st Bt., of Chafford, Kent by 1st w. Dorothy, da. and coh. of Thomas Potter of Wellstreet, Westerham, Kent; bro. of James Rivers. educ. Westerham g.s.; Christ’s Camb. 1628, BA 1632. m. Jane (d.1668) da. of Ninian Burrell of Cuckfield, Suss., wid. of Sir Alexander Colepeper of Goudhurst, Kent, s.p.1
Commr. for sewers, rapes of Lewes and Pevensey 1659, Sept. 1660; j.p. Suss. July 1660-July 1688, Nov. 1688-d.; commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-80, 1689-90.2
Rivers’s ancestors were living on the borders of Kent and Sussex in the 15th century, but the family fortunes originated with his great-grandfather, lord mayor of London in 1572. His grandfather sat for East Grinstead in 1597. His elder brother James, a leading Puritan who represented Lewes in the Long Parliament till his death in 1641, owned Coombe Place nearby, and he himself had property in the same parish. His father sat on the Kent county committee till his death in 1651; but Rivers took no part in local government until the Restoration, and was probably a royalist sympathizer. Returned for Lewes in 1660, he was listed among Lord Wharton’s friends to be managed by Sir Richard Onslow, but he was appointed only to the committee for better observance of the Lord’s day. He is not known to have stood again, though in 1662 he signed the petition against iron imports. He was considered a persecutor by the local Quakers, and told the lord lieutenant in 1688 that ‘he dissents from the taking away the Tests and Penal Laws, or the giving his vote for any that shall do otherwise’. He was buried at Hamsey on 11 Jan. 1695, the last of the family to sit in Parliament.3