DREWES, John (by 1496-1557 or later), of St. Augustine's Green, Bristol, Glos. and Barrow Gurney, Som.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1496. m. by Nov. 1536, Elizabeth, at least 1s.2

Offices Held

Sheriff, Bristol 1517-18.


John Drewes was a merchant coming from a prolific west country family which had furnished traders and aldermen at Bristol since the 14th century. In 1526 he was attached to the retinue of John Bourchier, 2nd Lord Berners, and a year later to that of Sir Robert Wingfield. Drewes’s name appears in Cromwell’s remembrances and parts of an official correspondence survive: the minister was often approached by him for the lease of the manor of Henbury, Gloucestershire. At the Dissolution he acquired numerous small properties in and around Bristol, sometimes on behalf of the corporation for the endowment of charities, but mostly for himself, converting Barrow Gurney priory into a ‘fair dwelling place’. Drewes was not always successful in his purchases as in 1539 Cromwell instructed Sir Thomas Arundell to dispossess him of several parsonages recently acquired from augmentations. In 1544 he served in the French campaign.3

His experience of war stretching over 20 years may have earned Drewes the support of Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford and later Duke of Somerset, who was constable of Bristol castle at both his elections, as well as Sir Edward Baynton’s as high steward of the city at the first of them. Nothing is known of his part in the House, but while Parliament was in session he performed a number of duties for the corporation. After the first session of the Parliament of 1547 he was paid £9 8s. for ‘parliament money’ and after its dissolution a further £12 10s.4d. Described as the King’s servant, either he or his son obtained on 3 Oct. 1551 a licence to import 1,000 tuns of Gascon wine and Toulouse woad, Drewes had received a similar licence in 1523, but the second grant looks like a reward from the Earl of Warwick for support against Somerset. On 2 May 1555 one John Drewes, late of Bristol, gentleman, having surrendered himself into the Fleet was pardoned for an outlawry made during the reign of Edward VI for failure to answer a debt of £8 owed to Edward Bashe. Drewes leased a house on St. Augustine’s Green from Bristol corporation until Michaelmas 1557. If he made a will it has not been found.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Bristol AO, 04026/4/48.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Cal. Bristol Apprentice Bk. (Bristol Rec. Soc. xiv), 76; LP Hen. VIII, xvii.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, iv, vi, vii, x-xvii, xix; Staple Ct. Bks. Bristol (Bristol Rec. Soc. v), 172; Great Red Bk. Bristol (Bristol Rec. Soc. viii), 92-93; PCC 15 Blamyr, 16 Maynwaryng; Bristol Chs. (Bristol Rec. Soc. xii), 21 n. 2; Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. lx; 1.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, iii; CPR, 1550-3, p. 105; 1554-5, p. 239; Bristol AO, 04026/3/432, 4/48, 5/63.