ROGERS, John (c.1649-1710), of Wiscombe and Blackford, Devon
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Family and Education
b. c.1649 (aged 13 in 1662), 1st s. of John Rogers of Purleigh, Essex by Elizabeth, da. of Sir Robert Payne of Midloe, Hunts. m. c.1676, Mary (d. 1723), da. of Spencer Vincent, alderman, of Lombard Street, London, 2s. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. c.1670; cr. Bt. 21 Feb. 1699.1
Common councilman, Plymouth 1684–94, 1696–d., alderman 1694–6; sheriff, Devon 1701–2.2
Rogers was descended from the Rev. John Rogers, a Protestant martyr under Mary Tudor. His father, another divine and a Fifth Monarchy man, was a prolific pamphleteer who came into conflict with Richard Baxter and William Prynne†. Through his father-in-law’s London connexions, Rogers himself obtained ‘a handsome place’ in the customs house at Plymouth. He afterwards moved to Bristol where he made the bulk of his business fortune in the Virginia tobacco trade. At Plymouth he appears to have specialized in the curing of pilchards. Though a Whig and a Nonconformist, he was included on the remodelled corporation of Plymouth in 1684, and was naturally left in under James II. His wealth enabled him to make substantial purchases of land in the Plymouth area in the early 1690s, acquiring Cornwood, Ivybridge and Blackford, and he had loans to the crown outstanding in 1694 totalling £3,000. Although promoted to the aldermanic bench in 1694, he was only named as a common councilman in 1696 when Sir Francis Drake, 3rd Bt.*, remodelled the corporation in the Whig interest. In 1698 he stood successfully for Plymouth with the support of Drake by whom he was regarded as ‘a sensible man’. He was classed as a member of the Court party and was recorded as having voted in favour of a standing army on 18 Jan. 1699. It may well have been his financial services to the government that brought the reward of a baronetcy the following month. He did not, however, feature in the House as an active Member; a grant of absence was accorded him on 1 Apr. 1699. He stood down at the first election of 1701.3
Rogers died of an ‘apoplexy’ while smoking his pipe in a Plymouth coffee house, and was buried in the town on 23 Apr. 1710. His widow married Sir Edmund Prideaux, 4th Bt.*, in September that year.