PIERSE, John (c.1546-1622), of Bridgnorth, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. c.1546,1 1st s. of James Pierse of Bridgnorth.2 m. (1) by 1568, Jane (bur. 6 Nov. 1614), 13s. (at least 5 d.v.p.), 2da. d.v.p.; (2) Elizabeth, ?2da.3 suc. fa. by 1556.4 bur. 24 Mar. 1622. sig. John Piers.
Pierse and his younger brother Rowland rose to prominence in Bridgnorth in the second half of Elizabeth’s reign as mercers and drapers. The town’s cloth industry was then declining, and Pierse probably made most of his money as a shopkeeper rather than a wholesaler, perhaps in partnership with the London Haberdasher Thomas Allen, to whose daughter he married one of his sons in 1609. The scale of these assets is difficult to quantify: one of his sons was granted lands worth £17 a year at his marriage; another, whose wife brought him property, was promised £200 in cash; while Pierse’s will mentions freehold and lease lands in the vicinity of Bridgnorth, and cash bequests in excess of £240.7
Pierse would doubtless have been reluctant to serve in Parliament before 1602, when his son James, having joined the town’s Mercers’ Company, could have taken over his business. In 1604, as one of the borough bailiffs, he was not eligible for election, but in 1614 his brother Rowland, then serving as bailiff, was in an ideal position to secure his return.8 He left no trace on the records of his only Parliament, and was presumably too old to stand for re-election in 1621. His will of 18 Aug. 1621 made provision for his wife, three surviving sons and two under-age daughters; he was buried on 24 Mar. 1622.9 None of his descendants sat in Parliament.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Simon Healy
- 1. Assuming age 24 on becoming a freeman.
- 2. C8/11/63.
- 3. PROB 11/139, ff. 446-7.
- 4. His father was buried at Bridgnorth St. Leonard’s, the reg. of which (at Salop RO) begins in 1556.
- 5. Mercers’ Hall, London, Bridgnorth Mercers’ Order Bk., ff. 25-7, 35, 37-8.
- 6. Ibid. f. 30; C219/35/2/38; Salop RO, BB/D1/2/1/5-6, 11-12, 14.
- 7. C2/Chas.I/P18/21; 2/Chas.I/P57/16; C8/11/63; PROB 11/139, ff. 446-7.
- 8. Mercers’ Hall, London, Bridgnorth Mercers’ Order Bk. f. 4; STAC 8/56/3.
- 9. PROB 11/139, ff. 446-7; Salop RO, Bridgnorth St. Leonard’s par. reg. transcript.