SAWYER, John (1685-1750), of Heywood, White Waltham, Berks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1713 - 1715

Family and Education

bap. 8 July 1685, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of Edmund Sawyer of Heywood, by Mary, da. and coh. of John Finch of Fiennes, White Waltham.  educ. ?Eton 1698; St. Edmund Hall, Oxf. 1702.  m. lic. 5 Feb. 1709, Anne (d. 1770), da. of Anthony Duncombe*, sis. of Anthony Duncombe†, 1st Ld. Feversham, 5s. (1 d.v.p.) 5da.  suc. fa. 1698.1

Offices Held

Jt.-keeper of Home Park, Windsor by 1728–?bef. 1733; under-keeper, St. Leonard’s Walk, Windsor forest by 1733–d.2


Sawyer came from a family with a strong parliamentary tradition, his father being the grandson and heir of Sir Edmund Sawyer† of Heywood and nephew of Sir Robert Sawyer*. After his father’s death it seems probable that Sawyer was taken under the wing of his uncle by marriage Sir Constantine Phipps, a High Tory and sometime Jacobite, who from 1710 to 1714 was lord chancellor of Ireland. Phipps’s relationship with his wife’s family had always been close, and he may well have made a home in London for his bereaved sister-in-law and her family. Sawyer’s mother was described as ‘of St. Andrew’s, Holborn’, Phipps’s then parish, at her death in 1703, while Sawyer himself gave St. Clement Danes as his address when he married. It was through his marriage that he was able to come into Parliament, being chosen on his brother-in-law’s interest at Downton. The Worsley list classed him as a Tory. He did not stand for Parliament again, giving his time instead to his wife, of whom his boyhood companion Thomas Hearne strongly approved – ‘a very good, notable woman, and so far from pride that she will even milk the cows herself’ – and his new house, completed in 1714, of which neither Hearne nor anyone else had much good to say. Where his father had left, according to Hearne, ‘a very large, old house, and one of the most convenient . . . for a gentleman in England’, ‘the colonel’, as Sawyer was known from his militia commission, ‘pulled it down (though there was no manner of occasion, it being very strong and firm) and built a new-fashioned, little, inconvenient house . . . for which he hath been much blamed’. Sawyer was buried at Heywood on 6 Sept. 1750.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Berry, Berks. Gen. 88, 105; The Gen. vi. 51, 53–56; Hearne Colls. vii. 223; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 1192.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Pprs. 1720–8, p. 554; Cal. Treas. Bks. and Pprs. 1731–4, p. 459; 1742–5, p. 788; London Mag. 1750, p. 429.
  • 3. Hearne Colls. v. 11; viii. 126; x. 94; The Gen. 55–56.