LEWIS, John (c.1660-1720), of Coedmore, Card. and Hurst, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. c.1660, 1st s. of James Lewis of Coedmore by his 1st w. Catherine, da. of Richard Harrison of Hurst. m. 1680, Elizabeth (d. 1734), da. of Lodowick Lewis† of Llangorse, Brec. and coh. of her gdfa. Sir William Lewis, 1st Bt.† (d. 1677) of Llangorse, 1s. d.v.p. 1da. d.v.p. suc. fa. 1669, gt.-gt.-uncle Nicholas Lewes of Hean Castle, Pemb. 1672.1
Sheriff, Card. 1684–5.
Lewis seems to have resembled his father, ‘a person of an inoffensive, facile constitution . . . loved more for doing no wrong, than for doing any good’. James Lewis was by all accounts a lukewarm Royalist who had accommodated himself to the Protectorate and had then, just before the Restoration, married into a more staunchly Cavalier family. He had been ‘seldom out of public offices’. When he was proposed as a knight of the Royal Oak, his estate was estimated at £700 p.a. The property was, however, heavily encumbered, and despite an additional inheritance from an elderly relative, and marriage to an heiress, John Lewis had begun to borrow on the security of his Cardiganshire lands by 1682. Considering his indebtedness, the allegation that he was ‘indolent in his affairs’, and the fact that after his father’s death he had been brought up by a maternal uncle at Hurst in Berkshire and continued to live there, his election three times as knight for Cardiganshire and a further three times for Cardigan Boroughs is perhaps surprising. However, in 1700 he was reported to have developed ‘a vast interest’ in the constituency.2
Perhaps a moderate Tory before the Revolution, Lewis was one of the subscribers in 1692 to the petition to the Lords from the leading gentry of Breconshire, Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire, for leave to prosecute Bishop Watson of St. David’s, who was guilty, the petitioners claimed, of ‘divers crimes and misdemeanours . . . besides acts of oppression and covetousness’. It is possible (though Thomas Lewes* is a likelier candidate) that he was appointed on 26 Apr. 1695 as a teller on an adjournment motion, with the Country Whig Sir Samuel Barnardiston, 1st Bt., and against two Tories. Forecast as a probable supporter of the Court in the divisions of 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade, he signed the Association promptly. In September 1698 a comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments placed him on the Court side, but he was not blacklisted as having voted against the disbanding bill on 18 Jan. 1699. He may have been given a further leave of absence on 3 Apr., and was definitely listed in early 1700 as in the interest of the Junto. Coedmore was finally sold in 1700, but he was still named to the Cardiganshire lieutenancy in 1701, and enjoyed sufficient residual interest to be returned for the last time for the Boroughs constituency in the January general election. Although he now resided permanently in Berkshire, he was involved in later Cardiganshire elections, allegedly promising a bribe to the sheriff in 1708, and being enlisted to support Sir Humphrey Mackworth* in 1710, through the acquisition of an ensign’s commission for his son on Mackworth’s recommendation. Lewis was buried at Hurst, on 26 Jan. 1720, the last of his line.3