PERIAM, John (?1701-88), of Milverton, Som.
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Family and Education
b. ?1701, 1st s. of John Periam of Milverton, Som. by Elizabeth, da. of John Southey of Fitzhead, Som.1 educ. St. John’s, Oxf. 6 Mar. 1719, aged 17. m.1761, Martha Dare, s.p. suc. mother-in-law to various properties in Taunton after 1761.2
By the early sixteenth century the Periams had established themselves as well-to-do merchants in Exeter, holding civic and high legal offices.3 A Somerset squire of comparatively small estate, John Periam was in 1742 returned as a Tory for Minehead at an uncontested by-election, voting regularly against the Government. In 1747 he prepared to stand again, this time as the candidate of Henry Fownes Luttrell, who wrote:
the civilities I have received from my friend, Mr. Periam, and the many solicitations I have received from other gentlemen in his favour, lays me under an obligation to serve him to the utmost of my power.
But Luttrell’s ‘utmost’ did not extend beyond issuing an address on Periam’s behalf and the election, which was contested, promised to be very expensive. In these circumstances Periam withdrew after consulting his supporters, then changed his mind after a further meeting, only to withdraw finally on finding that some of his voters had transferred their promises to an opponent after his first withdrawal.4 Never standing again, he died in 1788.