BURR, Oliffe (c.1515-85), of St. Olave's, Southwark, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1515. m. Anne, 5da.

Offices Held

Gov. Southwark g.s. 1571.


Burr was brought up near the Abbot’s Close, Southwark, then an open space, where he used frequently to play quoits. In later years he looked back with affection to the times of the old ecclesiastics who had been great entertainers and agreeable neighbours—always provided that people believed as they did. He became a coppersmith, merchant and shipowner, and twice sat for the borough in Parliament, being named to committees dealing with wharves and quays (26 June 1572) and the continuation of statutes (13 Mar. 1575).

Burr’s trading ventures suffered from the disturbed political conditions of the day: privateers sailing under letters of marque from the sovereigns of France and Portugal and the Prince of Condé in 1576-7 lost him over £4,000; one of his ships was impounded by the Portuguese; an economic depression caused his ‘good ships and belonging to the river of the Thames’ to lie idle. One of his sidelines was the brewing and the export of beer, his brewery on the river bank at Southwark being on or close to the site of the eighteenth-century Anchor brewery of Henry Thrale. In 1578 he petitioned for a 21-year monopoly of beer exported to the Netherlands.

He died in 1585. In his will, made 21 Aug. and proved 11 Sept. of that year, he asked to be buried in the church of St. Olave’s and left 20s. and 20 black gowns to the poor of that parish. Provision was made for grandchildren and his widow received an annuity of £320, the household stuff and a weekly barrel of small beer for life. The bulk of his property went to his son-in-law John Bird.

CPR, 1569-72, p. 298; W. Rendle and P. Norman, Inns of Old Southwark, 39; CJ, i. 103, 114; APC, xi. 229-30; T. S. Willan, Muscovy Merchants of 1555, 36; Req. 2/41/99, 120/53, 125/58, Select Pleas of the Ct. of Admiralty (Selden Soc. xi); Tudor Econ. Docs. ed. Tawney and Power, ii. 123-4; V. Rau, A Exploracǎo e o Comeceio do Sal de Setúbal (Lisbon 1951), p. 121; CSP For. 1579-80, p. 14; Lansd. 71, ff. 49 seq.; PCC 41 Brudenell.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: W.J.J.