John BROWNE JP (1582-1659)

of Dorchester & Frampton

©Compiled 2008 by Michael Russell OPC for Fordington - last updated Nov 2016

John Brown JP (1582-1659) 24

Ancestry: 10

His father was Sir John BROWNE (1558 - 1627 ) of Frampton a renowned Rear Admiral who helped Elizabeth defeat the Spanish Armada and was knighted on 23 July 1603 in the Royal Garden at Whitehall before the King James Coronation22. He was educated at Exeter College Oxford 9 where he had matriculated on 3 Dec 1575 at the age of 16. He became a student of the Middle Temple and practiced as a JP with Sir Arthur Ashley as he is mentioned in his casebook from 1614.12 The biographical notes done by Thomas D Murphy in William Whiteway’s diary 7 says he was elected High Sheriff for Dorset in 1588; 1616 and 1618 and became Deputy Lieutenant 1625-26. His death is also recorded in William Whiteway’s diary as ’This month there died near us (i.e. in Dorchester) Sir John Browne 10th October 1627’. He was buried in Frampton and the picture is of the table tomb for him and his wife Jane and rests on the North side of the chancel in St Mary’s church. Sir John is wearing tilting Armour and through his visor his moustache is visible. Probate of his will was granted 24th November 16271.

His mother was Jane the daughter of Sir Henry PORTMAN of Orchard in Somerset. Jane married his father in Orchard on the 18th July 1579 and John their first male child was born at Frampton in 1582. He had two surviving younger brothers George born 1583 and Robert born in 1588. Jane died at Frampton on 11th7 & was buried there on 20 May 1634.

His brother George BROWNE (1583 - 1631 ) went to Magdelen College Oxford9 in 1598 but moved to University College where he was awarded his BA in 1602. He became a Barrister-at-Law at the Middle Temple in 1609, was MP for Lyme Regis in 1614, and Lent Reader 1628. He died 22 March 1630/317 in Taunton Somerset 14

His brother Robert BROWNE ( 1588 - 1648) was also educated at Oxford’s Magdelen College9 which he entered 14 May 1602 at the age of 14 and was awarded his BA on 24 April 1605. He entered the Middle Temple in 1615 and like both his brothers became a Barrister-at-Law. He was also MP for Bridport for the year 1624/515 . Robert Browne features in the Court of Chivalry case BROWNE V SEARLE showing that Robert was alive in 1639. He was then of Taunton Castle and is referred to as son of Sir John Browne of Frampton. He appears to have died there leaving a will for which probate was granted on 12 June 1648.

St Mary's Church Frampton

St Mary’s church at Frampton dates from 1460/80 but the tower was re-built in 1695 and the south porch added in 1820 before a major restoration in 1862.
Inside however there are a few surviving monuments.

John BROWNE was born on the family estate in Frampton which is a small parish situated on the River Frome, 5½ miles north west from Dorchester on the Crewkerne road. Frampton is mentioned in the Domesday Book and at one time there was a priory here. After the Dissolution the lands were passed to the Browne family who remained lords of the manor until 1833, it then passed to the Sheridans. The principal residence for many years was Frampton Court which was demolished in 1932 after the estate was sold to pay death duties. Although there has probably been a church here since Saxon time, the present church of St Mary's dates from the 14th century but has experienced many rebuildings and additions. As far as we know the children were baptised here but the parish registers only start from 1627.16

On 13th October 1598 John BROWNE and his younger brother George entered Magdelen College Oxford 9 together, John being aged 16 and his brother 15; John became a student of the Middle Temple in 1599 and went on to be a practicing Barrister-at-Law. He sat regularly between 1625 and 1638 as a Justice of the Peace in Dorset at the Quarter sessions often with his fathers friend Sir Francis Ashley , but with other JP’s who had invested in the Dorchester Company like Sir Richard Strode and Sir Walter Erle . The Quarter Sessions were held in rotation at Beaminster; Blandford Forum; Dorchester; Sherborne and Bridport and he sat 19 times during this period. As a highly respected Barrister he was required to sit on many specially arranged commissions some examples being:-13

On 11 April 1628 the soldiers billeted in Dorset removed to Plymouth to go for Rochell with the Earl of Denbigh but they were left behind and so returned to be billeted in the County again. twenty three of them had come from Dorchester and were refused re-entry which incensed Sir Thomas Frier their Colonel. He obtained letters from the Council to the town and procured a commission of Sir Thomas Trenchard, Sir John Brewen, John Browne and Henry Drak Esq to examine Richard Bushrod who was described as ‘an agent in deterring other men from billeting’. Richard Bushrod was well respected in the town and as the prime mover with John White behind the creation of the Dorchester Company in which John Browne invested. John was also related to the Trenchard family through his marriage and it is probably due to their influence that nothing more serious seems to have come of it.7

On 23 May 1632 he sat on another especially arranged commission at Weymouth to try the Captain of a Portuguese pirate ship which had been seized. He sat with Sir Francis Ashley , Sir Thomas Trenchard and Sir Nathaniel Napper to hear the case. The Captain was condemned but reprieved.7

In December 1648 he was appointed as one of the 135 judges to try Charles I who was accused of being a "tyrant, traitor and murderer; and a public and implacable enemy to the Commonwealth of England." In fact only 68 turned up for the trial and he appears to have been one of those less than happy about being associated with the trial and did not sit. 17

Marriage and Children:

He married in his wife’s parish of Charminster where the Parish Register for St Mary's church shows “John BROWNE Son of Sir John Browne Knight of Frampton & Elizabeth TRENCHARD daughter of the Right Worshipful Sir George Trenchard married 13th Nov 160711. Elizabeth Trenchard (1586/7 - 1656/7) had been baptised in Charminster on 28 Feb 1586/87 the daughter of Sir George Trenchard of Wolfeton and his wife Elizabeth Speke. She died 25 Jan 1656/7. Both John Browne and his wife shared John Whites vision for Dorchester and Lady Browne in 1631/2 gave £10 towards 'the employ of the poor in work" and this was handed to the Governor of the Hospital so that according to her request her name might "remayne in record to posterity amongst many worthy benefactors".20

Church of St Mary - Charminster
Picture by Lynda Small 2003
They had 4 sons and 6 daughters:-10

1. John Browne of Frampton (1610c - 1671) Entered Middle Temple 1627; Married 7 Elizabeth WYES (Wise) daughter of Thomas Wyes KB under a marriage settlement dated 28 Aug 1634. John Browne was High sheriff of Dorset 1666 and his will was proved 9 May 1671 3. They had at least 3 children:- (1) John Browne who was buried 1657; (2) Thomas Browne who married 21 Dec 1658 in Melcombe Regis to Mary the daughter of Lewis WILLIAMS of Shitterton in Bere Regis; and ( 3) Margery Browne who married on 23 Dec 1658 in Melcombe Regis to Robert Williams ( - 1697) of Herringstone and died on 24th April 1661 and was buried at St Mary's church in Frampton in 1st May 1661.19

2. Elizabeth BROWNE (1616c - 1675) 23 married at Frampton on 24 Sep 1635 to Robert HUNT (1608/9c - 1679/80) of Compton Paunchefoot and Speckington in Somerset; Elizabeth died 24 Sep 1675 aged 55.

3. Thomas Browne JP (1620c-1680) Admitted to Middle Temple 1657; died 16 Sep 1680, buried Frampton 18 Sep 1680 Probate 16 Dec 1680 4

4. Joan Browne (1622-1653) She was baptised at Holy Trinity Church Dorchester on 13th Nov 1621 by Rev. John White and married 6 Jan 1642 at St Marys church Frampton to become the 1st wife of Robert COKER JP (1617-1698) of Mappower a graduate of the Middle Temple JP; MP for Dorset . Joan died 29 Oct 1653 and Robert re-married before his death 19 Sep 1698..

This emblem of mortality was erected by Robt Coker of Mappowder Esq. to ye memory of Joane his deare wife (being the 5th daugh of John Browne of this p'ish Esq.) and of William their infant son. She departed this life 29th. 8th and was inter'd the 15th. 9th. 1653.

5. George Browne of Frampton & Forston Charminster JP (1624 1677/8 ) He was baptised at Holy Trinity church Dorchester on 22nd February 1623/4 and married Ann the daughter of Henry HUNT of London a merchant and Relict of John GUNDREY of Lincolns Inn. George Browne was buried in Godmanstone on 1 Jan 1677/8 . Will proved 2 Jul 1678 5

6. Susan Browne (1626- ?) baptised at Holy Trinity Church Dorchester 18th Oct 1626. She married at Frampton 31 Aug 1654 to George FULFORD of Toller Fratrum, Dorset

7. Grace Browne (-) She married 22 Feb 1630/1 to John STEVENS of Lypiatt Gloucester a Counsellor at Law 7

8. Robert Browne (-) a merchant across the seas

9. Jane Browne (- 1679) she married three times10: Firstly to Rev. Walter NEWBURGH (1595-1631) a graduate of Hart Hall in Oxford who had been licenced to preach in 1623 and became Rector of Symondsbury 1624-1631. He died there in Sep 1631 probate being granted the following year 6: Her second marriage was at St. Mary the Virgin Aldermanbury London to John STOUGHTON DD MA on 18 Jan 1635/6. He was the Rector of St Mary's and this was also his second marriage. His first wife was the widow of Ralph Cudworth a fellow of Emmanuel College and Rector of Aller in Somerset and she had died in 1624.20 John Stoughton died 4 May 1639 and was buried in St Mary's. Her third marriage was on 15 Sep 1659 at Frampton to Thomas BURWELL (b.1626-?) Doctor of Physic of Dorchester25 by whom she had five known children:- (1) Henry Burwell, (2) Thomas Burwell (b1666) mattric Wadham Coll Oxford 1683 aged 17, (3) Jane Burwell (d.1680) she was buried at Frampton on 22nd Sep 1680 (4) Elizabeth Burwell (b.1668) who was baptised at Holy Trinity church in Dorchester on 8th May 1668.(5) Mary Burwell bap at Frampton on 22nd Nov 1671 and buried there 26 Feb 1671/2. Jane Burwell nee Browne died at Frampton being buried at St Marys Church on 5th March 1679/80.

10. Anne BROWNE (-1641/2) married 23 Dec 1637 William GOULD of Hayes & Dunscombe Devon - buried 18 Feb 1641/2.

Career: 7
Apart from his legal career already referred to he was also

§ Elected MP for Bridport in 1614; 1620-21 and in 1628 until it was made void on 12 April that year. William Whiteways diary also includes reference to his standing for Dorchester in 1626 when he had 'more voices than Baronet Morton but was defeated by the chicanery of the sherriff Mr Chaldicott'. He was also MP for Dorset from June 1641 to 1653.

§ Chosen Burgess for Bridport on 12 Dec 1620; 17 May1625

§ A staunch puritan and a close friend of Rev. John White and Rev. William Benn he invested in the Dorchester Company (1624-26) and other schemes for colonization. He was a member of the New England Planters Parliament elected at the Free School on 31 October 1624 under the Governor Sir Walter Erle . Their relationship is covered at some length by Rose Troup20 in her book on John White, in particular the incidents in 1635 when he was involved in allegations of non-conformity made against the Rev John White and Dr John Staunton who had recently married his daughter Jane.

§ 1 Oct 1632 became High Sheriff of Dorset

He lived for many years in Dorchester but his father died at the end of 1627 and there is an entry in William Whiteway’s diary for 15 December 1630 stating ‘Mr John Browne removed from Dorchester to dwell at Frampton’.

He died on 16 March 1658/921 aged 78 with burial at Frampton on 7th April. Probate was granted on 7 May 16598.

Genealogical Notes:

1. National Archives Documents On Line PRO 11/152
2. The Biographical Notes by Thomas D Murphy in William Whiteways diary under his fathers name gives George's death as 1631. The only will I can locate for that period at the National Archives is for a George Browne of Taunton Somerset PRO 11/159 which was proved on 27 May 1631.
3. National Archives Documents On Line PRO 11/336
4. National Archives Documents On Line PRO 11/364
5. National Archives Documents On Line PRO 11/357
6. National Archives Documents On Line Will of Walter Newburgh, Clerk of Symmondsbury, Dorset PRO 11/162 probate 7 Nov 1632
7. William Whiteway [WW] of Dorchester His Diary 1618 to 1635 by the Dorset Record Society Volume 12 published 1991
8. National Archives Documents On Line PRO 11/291
9. Oxford University Alumni [OXA] - register of students, graduates, and officers who attended Oxford University between 1500 and 1886. Original data: Foster, Joseph. Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886 and Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1500-1714. Oxford: Parker and Co., 1888-1892.
10.The Visitation of Dorset in 1677 made by Sir Edward Bysshe Knight published by The Harleion Socirty 1977- See under Browne, Coker & Newburgh
11.The Visitation of Dorset in 1677 gives his marriage date as 13th November 1607 whereas the transcription on the OPC website refers to the 18th. This is from the Charminster Marriages Volume 2 edited by P Philimore & Edmund Nevill published in 1908: I suspect the latter is a transcription error reading a 3 for an 8 and have relied on the visitation which is likely to be more reliable & we know a marriage settlement was signed on 12 May.
12. The Casebook of Sir Francis Ashley JP Recorder of Dorchester 1614-1635; Dorset Record Society 1981
13. Dorset Quarter Sessions 1625-1638 A Calendar published 2006 by the Dorset Record Society Volume 14 This lists cases heard by both his father and himself during this period
14. National Archives Documents On Line PRO 11/159 George Browne of Taunton Somerset
15. William Whiteways Diary (7 above) refers to his election as MP of Bridport which we know to be correct from his university record.
16. OPC website for the Parish of Frampton Dorset
18. IGI Film M158381:
19. Burkes Landed Gentry of Great Britain & Ireland and Parish Registers of St Mary's church Frampton in Dorset. " Mrs Margery WILLIAMS the wife of Robert WILLIAMS Gent departed this life the 24th of April and was interred the first of May 1661.
20. 'John White The Patriarch of Dorchester [Dorset] and Founder of Massachuesetts' by Frances Rose-Troup published by GP Putnam's Sons in 1930
22. The Knights of England by W.A.Shaw 1906 (1971 reprint by Heraldry Today) Vol II pp 116 and 125.
23. John Hutchins History of Dorset 1861/74, republished 1973 Vol II p 298.
24. I have had several people ask over the years how I know this picture relates to John Browne. I obtained this image in 2008 when compiling this biography but no longer have my notes and cannot now (2014) locate it's original source. It has been used in publications before, but the only case I have been able to find is a similar representation shown on page 263 of the "Dorset Quarter Sessions (1625-1638)" published in 2006 by the Dorset Record Society. This suggests that the original painting may be held at the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester.
25. The Visitation of Dorset taken in 1677 published by the Harleian Society in London in 1977 page 11pedigree of the BURWELL Family.

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