SIMEON (SYMONS), Sir George (c.1584-1664), of Brightwell Baldwin, Oxon.; later of Chilworth, Oxon.
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Family and Education
b. c.1584, 1st s. of John Simeon of Brightwell Baldwin and Anne, da. and coh. of Anthony Molyns of Mackney, Berks.1 educ. G. Inn 1616.2 m. (1) settlement 17 Oct. 1604, Mary, da. of George Vaux of Great Harrowden, Northants., 2da.; (2) 1612, Anne (d. Oct. 1616), da. of Robert Chamberlain of Shirburn, Oxon., s.p.; (3) 27 Nov. 1624, aged 40, Margaret, da. of Sir Richard Molyneux I* of Sefton, Lancs., at least 4s. 2da. kntd. 6 Nov. 1604; suc. fa. 1618.3 d. 4 May 1664.4
The Simeons appear as yeoman tenants of the Pyrton estate of the dean and chapter of Windsor, six-and-a-half miles from Wallingford, in the early sixteenth century.5 In the early Jacobean period Simeon’s father was described as a man ‘of great wealth’, but the family was frequently in trouble for recusancy.6 In 1604 Simeon married the sister of Edward, 4th Lord Vaux of Harrowden, a member of a notoriously Catholic family, when his father bought the manor of Brightwell Baldwin, two miles from Wallingford, and settled it on him.7 However, his mother-in-law sheltered the Jesuit John Gerrard, and consequently Simeon himself came under suspicion after the Gunpowder Plot. In 1607 he was convicted of recusancy, but, perhaps fearing the fate of his brother-in-law, whose property was expropriated for refusing the oath of allegiance, he had conformed by 1612, when it was learned that Lord Vaux owed him £1,500, presumably his wife’s portion or part of it.8
In 1614 Simeon was returned for Wallingford, almost certainly on the interest of his mother’s uncle (Sir) Michael Molyns†, whose electoral interest was acknowledged in that year by the borough’s high steward, William, Lord Knollys (William Knollys†).9 As Sir Michael died the following year, it was presumably his son, Sir Barentyne Molyns, who ensured Simeon’s re-election in 1621 and 1624. He left no trace on the parliamentary records and in 1625 Barentyne’s son Michael was returned in his stead.
In 1625 Simeon was pricked sheriff of Oxfordshire, the only office to which he was ever appointed, but he was spared the expensive duty by the intercession of the 1st earl of Montgomery (Sir Philip Herbert*).10 Early in the following year Knollys, by now Viscount Wallingford, whose wife may by this date have been the lover of Lord Vaux, secured his discharge from a Privy Seal loan demand for £30.11 In 1627 Simeon was granted the reversion of some Crown land in Brightwell Baldwin on the nomination of the 1st earl of Berkshire (Sir Thomas Howard*), Wallingford’s brother-in-law.12 Simeon may have acted as a moneylender to the nobility, as a schedule of the debts of the 1st earl of Northampton (Spencer Compton*) in 1633 included £1,040 owed to him.13 Simeon was among those able to produce the king’s letters in their favour when indicted for recusancy in Westminster in 1637.14
Simeon took no apparent part in the Civil War, retreating at one stage to Sussex.15 Two of his daughters became Augustinian nuns at this time, but Simeon himself was described as a heretic when a younger son, later a Jesuit, entered the English College at Rome in 1649, suggesting that by this date he was outwardly at least a Protestant.16 Shortly afterwards he acquired an eight-year lease of Stonor from his indebted neighbour and kinsman Francis Stonor.17 He died on 4 May 1664; no will has been found. His heir was created a baronet in 1677, but since he was a Catholic he never sat in Parliament. The Vaux barony was brought out of abeyance in favour of a descendant of one of Simeon’s daughters in 1838.18
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Alan Davidson
- 1. PROB 11/131, ff. 248v-9; Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 112.
- 2. GI Admiss.
- 3. C142/372/162; Vis. Oxon. (Harl. Soc. v), 237; Bodl. Top. Oxon. c.206, pp. 72, 82; St. Giles-in-the-Fields par. reg. (LMA mic.); London Mar. Lics. ed. Foster, 1226; CSP Dom. 1635-6, p. 414; PROB 11/131, f. 249; Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 135.
- 4. CB, iv. 93.
- 5. VCH Oxon. viii. 149.
- 6. Recusant Docs. from the Ellesmere Mss ed. A.G. Petti (Cath. Rec. Soc. lx), 135, 209.
- 7. CP, xii. pt. 2, pp. 223-4; C142/372/162.
- 8. G. Anstruther, Vaux of Harrowden, 300, 405; Recusant Docs. from Ellesmere Mss, 226.
- 9. Pprs. of Capt. Henry Stevens ed. M.R. Toynbee, (Oxon. Rec. Soc. xlii), 37.
- 10. T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, p. 32; CSP Dom. 1625-6, p. 151.
- 11. E401/2586, p. 545; APC, 1625-6, p. 315; Oxford DNB sub Knollys, William, 1st earl of Banbury.
- 12. CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 431.
- 13. Ibid. 1633-4, p. 57.
- 14. Mdx. Co. Recs. ed. J.C. Jeaffreson, iii. 140-1.
- 15. CCAM, 252.
- 16. Responsa Scholarum of English Coll. ed. A. Kenny (Cath. Rec. Soc. lv), 515.
- 17. VCH Oxon. viii. 155.
- 18. CB, iv. 93; CP, xii. pt. 2, p. 227.