CHEESMENT (afterwards SEVERN), John (1781-1875), of Spring Gardens, Mdx. and Penybont Hall, Rad.
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Family and Education
b. 27 Oct. 1781, o.s. of Capt. John Cheesment, master mariner, of Mile End, Mdx. by 2nd w. Sarah, da. of Thomas Grace of Graceville, Castledermot, co. Kildare. educ. Eton 1796; Christ Church, Oxf. 1800; L. Inn 1801, called 1807. m. 30 Dec. 1811, Mary Ann, da. and h. of John Price, banker, of Penybont Hall and Devannor Park, Rad., 1s. 3da. suc. fa. 1783, took name of Severn in lieu of Cheesment ‘out of affectionate regard to the memory of William Severn late of Pall Mall esq. deceased’ by royal lic. 1 Aug. 1807.
Sheriff, Rad. 1811-12.
Cheesment claimed descent from the Cheesmans of Norwood: this remains unsubstantiated. His grandfather was one Robert Chisman of Houghton-le-Spring. His father, commander of the Britannia East Indiaman, called himself Cheesment and was a friend of John Wesley: his widow married one of Wesley’s executors, George Wolff, Danish consul-general in London. Cheesment was called to the bar and shortly before changing his name to Severn entered Parliament for Wootton Bassett on the ‘independent’ interest of James Kibblewhite*.
He remained in the House only a few months, making no mark there. He subsequently married a Welsh heiress and led the life of a Radnorshire country gentleman. He was again in Parliament, 1830-2, sitting for Fowey on the interest of Joseph Thomas Austen. At his death, 17 Dec. 1875, he was thought to be ‘the oldest Etonian, the oldest Oxford graduate, the oldest barrister, and the oldest ex-Member of Parliament in the three kingdoms’.
R. C. B. Oliver, The Squires of Penybont Hall (1971); The Times, 24 Dec. 1875.