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Brewer of Somerset, London, and Isle of Wight

From: “THE HOUSE OF BREWER” By: Edward Denton Brewer Copyright 1947, Tulsa, Oklahoma


The Brewer family of Isle of Wight is shown in the Visitation of London in 1634 (Harl. Vol. 15, p. 101).

The family begins with William Brewer of Chard in Somerset who married, “Deanes, daughter of Mr. Baker of Crockehern in Somerset.” Reference to Collinson’s Somerset (Vol. II, P-473) finds mention of their monument in the Parish Church at Chard bearing the Arms, “Guiles, two bends wavy, or.” And the following inscription:

Here lieth interred (expecting their Saviour) the bodyes of William Brewer Of Chard, Phisitian and Deannes his wife, who, living forty years in Happy Wedlock, in full of age departed this life, shee dying 8 Nov. 1614 and he 24 July 1618, having issue only six sons and five daughters, all men and women growne, and all comforts to them”

The original home of the Brewer family was Isle Brewer in Somerset from which place the family seems to have derived its name and the family could probably be traced back several generations.

The Pedigree shown in the Visitation of London, was signed by John Brewer, son of the above William and the following children of William Brewer of Chard are shown:

1. Peter, son and heir, with children:
2. William
3. Thomas, married _______Drake and had children:
4. Christopher;
5. John, citizen and grocer of London, in Bartholomew Land, with children:
Thomas Brewer, who married a Drake, was the father of John Brewer of London and Virginia and outlived him, for in John’s will, dated: September 4, 1631, he mentions “My Father Thomas Brewer.” Thomas’ wife was a sister of Roger Drake of London, for “my uncle, Roger Drake, citizen and cloth worker of London,” is also mentioned in John Brewer’s will.

This Drake family is also shown in the Visitation of London, 1634. The family pedigree begins with Richard Drake of London and Cheddar, Somerset, who married Christian, daughter of Robert Fawcett of Abbott’s Isle, Somerset. Besides their daughter who married Thomas Brewer, they had 2, John Drake of London, mercer, who married Margaret, daughter of John Allyn of Uttoxden in Satfford; 3. Lawrence Drake of Abbott’s Isle in Somerset, who married Catharine daughter of Thomas White of Kingston, Somerset. Lawrence entered Wadham College, Oxford, 24 April 1618, age 17; 4. Richard Drake of Chedar; 5, Roger Drake of London, clothworker, who married Margaret daughter of John Allyn and sister of Margaret mentioned above.

Roger Drake, eldest son of the above Roger, was prominent enough to be mentioned in that monumental English work, the “Dictionary of National Biography.” He was admitted to Pembroke College, June 24, 1624, age 16; B.A. 1627-28; M.A. 1631. He first studied medicine entering at Leyden in 1638 and received his M.D. degree there in 1639. He then studied for the ministry becoming minister at St. Peters, Cheapside in 1653d, and was the author of a large number of medical and religious works which are mentioned in D. N. B. He died at Stepney in 1669. (Will P.C.C. 93, Coke.)

Roger Drake, next brother of the above Roger seems to have been as famous although not, mentioned in the D. N. B. He entered Pembroke in 1625, age 15; was M.A. 1631; B.D. 1639; D.D. 1661; chaplain to King Charles II in 1660-81. He died while rector of Wyche Regis, Dorset, parish church.

Roger Drake had 2 other sons, John and William. The arms of this family of Drakes, shown in the Visitation of London were: “Ar, a wyvern wings displ. And tail mowed, gu., which were the ancient arms of the Drakes of Devon.

John Brewer eldest son of Thomas of London was a grocer in London but moved to Virginia before 1630 as he was a Burgess from Warwick in 1629-30. (Journals, 1, p. xi) He was also a member of the Governor’s Council 1632-34. His plantation was called “Stanley’s Hundred” or Brewer’s Burrough” and his land in Warwick was adjacent to that of Colonel Miles Cary and Thomas Reade.

John Brewer’s mother was a Drake of London and Somerset as previously shown and he and his children are mentioned in the will of his uncle John Drake of London, as follows: (P.C.C. 77, Swan):

“I, John Drake, citizen and clothworker of London, do wish to be buried in the Parish Church of St Peter in Westcheapeals, Cheapside, London. I bequeath to Margaret Drake, wife of my brother Roger Drake citizen and clothworker of London, one standing salt of silver; to John Brewer, the son of John Brewer, citizen and grocer of London and of Mary his wife, the sum of 40L; to Marie, daughter of John Brewer and Mary his wife, the like sum; to Margaret, daughter of the same John and Mary, the sum of 3.6S; to Catherine my maid servant; the reside after payments of debts to be divided into 4 equal parts and one part given to my son John Drake; another to daughter Ann Drake; another to daughter Sarah Drake and another to son Richard Drake. I make my brother Roger Drake my sole and only executor. July 2nd, 1623; Probated, 23 July 1623, by Roger Drake.

The Drake family of Isle of Wight may be descended from John Drake or some of his brothers. A Richard and John Drake were living in Isle of Wight before 1700.

John Brewer died in Virginia in 1635 and his widow soon afterwards married Thomas Butler, “Clarke and Parson off Denbie.” (Later Warwick.) This is evidenced by a grant of land to Thomas Butler of 1000 acres in Isle of Wight, 11 July 1635. The land was in right of John Brewer, esq, “of which 50 acres was due Brewer’s own personal adventure and 50 acres for the personal adventure of his wife, Mary, due said Butler as marrying said relict Mary Brewer.” The Reverend Thomas Butler died in 1637 and his will was probated in London in that same year. He left no children. (V.M. II., p. 316)

John Brewer made his will September 4, 1631, as a “citizen and grocer of London,” same was probated May 13th, 1636 (P.C.C.) as follows:

“To be buried without any mourning apparel or gowns given to any but those of mine own household. To my dearly beloved father Thomas Brewer, eight pounds yearly and every year so long as he shall happen to live after my decease. To my son John Brewer My plantation in Virginia called “Stanley Hundred,” also “Brewer’s Burough,” only the third part of the profits thereof arising during the life of Mary my wife I give to her, and also the third part of my goods and chattels, beside which is also due by the custom of London. To my son Roger Brewer and my daughter Margaret Brewer forty L apiece payable at marriage or when 21. To my brother Thomas Brewer 40 sh. And to each of his children 10 sh. The Reside of my said children John, Roger and Margaret, they to be executors, but as they are now young, I appoint my wife Mary and my loving uncle Roger Drake, citizen and clothmaker of London, to be overseers and guardians of my children; to each of them 40 sh to buy them a ring. (Testator died in Virginia.)”

His children mentioned in the above will were, 1: John, 2: Roger, 3: Mary, 4: Margaret.

John Brewer, the above son, seems to have settled in Isle of Wight County on the Rev. Thomas Butler’s grant of 1000 acres. He also held his father’s plantation of “Stanley Hundred” in Warwick. In 1658 he and Col. Miles Cary represented the inhabitants of Stanley Hundred in a suit against John Harlowe. (Burgess Journals 1619-59, p. 113) In 1659 the land in dispute was granted to the inhabitants of Stanley Hundred and Mr. Harlowe’s patent was made null and void (Jour. 1659-93, p.5).

Isle of Wight was represented in the House of Burgesses in 1657-8 by Joseph Bridger and John brewer. John Brewer died intestate in Isle of Wight in 1669. His widow, Anne, married Anthony Holladay, for on May 20, 1671, Mr. Harlowe represented to the General Court that Mr. Anthony Holladay, who had married Anne held more land in Warwick than the probate allowed. John brewer’s personal estate was valued at 87,621 lbs. tobacco, 155L was in gold and silver and 78 ounces in valuable plate.

In l1698, Anthony Holladay and Ann, his wife, represented to the General Court that “Samuel Hill and John Read did surreptitiously procure themselves to be assigned guardians to Mary Brewer, an infant, granddaughter to the said Ann of which guardianship they are not capable by law, on of them being a professed Roman Catholic”, and intended to convey the said Mary Brewer to Maryland there to be married to one off their faith. The Council ordered that William Aylward of York, Samuel Hill, John read, John Lucas, Sr., of the county of Warwick be summoned before the sheriff of each county to take the oath of Allegiance and Supremacy and annulled the guardianship.

The Brewer family is now widely scattered through the Southern states, but none of the Brewer, although evidently descended from the above family seem to have traced back to their English ancestors.