STEPHENS, Edward (1597-c.1661), of Little Sodbury, Glos.
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Family and Education
b. 23 Apr. 1597, 1st s. of Thomas Stephens of Lypiatt, Glos., attorney-gen. to the Prince of Wales 1603-13, by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of John Stone, Haberdasher, of Bow Churchyard, London and Bourne Hall, Herts; bro. of John Stephens. educ. M. Temple, entered 1612; Oxf. 1613. m. by 1619, Anne, da. of Sir Thomas Crew† of Nantwich, Cheshire and Stene, Northants., 3s. 1da. suc. fa. 1613.2
J.p. Glos. by 1634-?49, sheriff 1634-6, dep. lt. 1642, commr. for assessment 1643-8, Aug. 1660-?d., sequestration 1643, accounts 1643, levying of money 1643, execution of ordinances 1643-4, security, Bristol 1645, militia, Glos. 1648.3
Commr. for exclusion from sacrament 1646, scandalous offences 1648.
Stephens bore a common Gloucestershire surname, which achieved gentility only in the 16th century. A cousin, Nathaniel Stephens, sat for the county in 1628 and again in the Long Parliament. The whole family was parliamentarian during the Civil War. Stephens, who had to live down his record as a ship-money sheriff, was imprisoned at Pride’s Purge. He publicly called on Thomas Fairfax (3rd Lord Fairfax), to save the King’s life, but abstained from further political activity until 1660. He was returned to the Convention for the county and signed the Gloucestershire address of welcome to the King. He was probably still a Presbyterian, however, and was marked by Lord Wharton as a friend. His record in Parliament cannot be entirely distinguished from his brother’s. He was named to at least eleven committees, and may have been moderately active. Both brothers were appointed to the committee on the bill for settling ministers, and Stephens was also named to those for observing the anniversary of the Restoration and for preserving the Forest of Dean. On 17 Aug. he spoke in favour of limiting to twenty the number of culprits to be excepted from the benefits of the indemnity bill, but he probably gave general support to the Court. After the autumn recess he was appointed to the committee for the attainder bill, and his is the first name on the committee to prevent the export of wool. He may have spoken like his brother in favour of giving statutory forms to the Worcester House declaration for a modified episcopacy. He probably stood again in 1661, for Wharton expected him to manage his son-in-law Robert Packer and other Members of the Cavalier Parliament; but a few months later he was replaced by his son, Sir Thomas, on the assessment commission. None of his descendants sat in Parliament.4