SHERWIN, Robie (1669-1718), of Nottingham and Lincoln’s Inn

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



1708 - 1710

Family and Education

bap. 13 Jan. 1669, ?2nd s. of John Sherwin of Nottingham and Mary Robye of Castle Donington, Leics.  educ. Staple Inn 1681; Magdalen, Oxf. matric. 1684; Gray’s Inn 1694; I. Temple 1700; L. Inn 1702.  unm.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Nottingham 1692.2


Sherwin’s father had been a vigorous Whig at the time of the Exclusion crisis and was reputed to be ‘a very busy, factious, turbulent man, heading the Dissenters in all elections’. His father gained a majority of votes in a contest for a vacant alderman’s seat in Nottingham in 1681 but the other candidate was sworn into office. His strong showing was one of the reasons which prompted the Tory members of the corporation to surrender the town charter to Charles II. At the next mayoral election, John Sherwin was accused of leading a riot with ‘a crew of Dissenters’ and was subsequently fined 100 marks. When James II regulated the corporation in 1688 he finally became an alderman, serving as mayor until his death in April 1688.3

With this background of sympathy for Dissent, if not outright Nonconformity, Sherwin became involved in corporation affairs as an attorney. Already by 1691 he was in London reporting on the suit of the Tory alderman Gervase Rippon to be restored to the corporation. The report on 6 Apr. 1700 from the committee on a petition from the framework knitters of Nottingham complaining against the exactions of the master company in London reveals that he gave evidence to the Commons in support of their case. He claimed that the company purposely chose provincial stewards each year in order to fine them for refusing the honour. From 1701 he was regularly employed to undertake legal tasks for the corporation, including acting as solicitor in a complex charity case with Coventry, where he held some property, and in opposing the Derwent navigation bill. He stood for election in 1708 with the backing of the Duke of Newcastle (John Holles†), defeating the only Tory challenger, Robert Sacheverell*. On a parliamentary list of early 1708, Sherwin was classed as a Whig, and the Earl of Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) concurred in that assessment, counting his election as a Whig ‘gain’. Sherwin confirmed the accuracy of both analysts by voting for the naturalization of the Palatines in 1709 and for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell in 1710. Whig principles may also account for his holding over £500 in Bank stock in 1710. He was defeated in the election of 1710, and did not stand again.4

Sherwin died on 6 Aug. 1718 and was buried in St. Mary’s, Nottingham. His will, dated June 1718, gives some indication of the lucrative nature of his legal practice as he left over £8,000 in legacies to be charged on his estate. His character, however, can perhaps best be drawn from the meticulous attention to financial detail illustrated in his will and in particular the codicil drawn up six weeks later in which he clawed back £1,000 to pay for his ‘sore and expensive’ last illness.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Stuart Handley


  • 1. IGI, Leics; J. T. Godfrey, Notes on St. Mary’s Par. Reg., 43; Pollbks. of Nottingham and Notts. 1710 (Thoroton Soc. Rec. ser. xviii), p. xv.
  • 2. Pollbks. of Nottingham and Notts. p. xv.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1682, pp. 192–3; T. Bailey, Annals of Notts. iii. 999; HMC Finch, ii. 169; D. Gray, Nottingham through 500 Years, 104.
  • 4. Gray, 110; Recs. of Bor. of Nottingham, v. 405; vi. 9, 15–17, 22, 26, 30, 37–38, 52–53; Egerton 3359.
  • 5. Pollbks of Nottingham and Notts. p. xv; PCC 169 Tenison.