Bramston, John (1611-1700) (DNB00)
BRAMSTON, Sir JOHN, the younger (1611–1700), lawyer and autobiographer, was the eldest son of Sir John Bramston, justice of the king's bench [q. v.], bv Bridget, daughter of Thomas Moundeford, M.D., of London. He was born in September 1611, at Whitechapel, Middlesex, in a house which for several generations had been in possession of the family. After attending Wadham College, Oxford, he entered the Middle Temple, where he had as chamberfellow Edward Hyde, afterwards Earl of Clarendon. Throughout life he continued on terms of intimate friendship with Hyde, who presented him with his portrait, the earliest of him now known to exist, and engraved for the edition of the 'History of the Rebellion' published in 1816. He was called to the bar in 1635, and after his marriage in the same year to Alice, eldest daughter of Anthony Abdy, alderman of London, took a house in Charterhouse Yard, and began to practise law with considerable success, until, in his own words, 'the drums and trumpets blew his gown over his ears.' In accordance with his father's advice, he sold his chambers in the Temple on the outbreak of the civil war, and his wife dying in 1647, he removed with his family to his father's house at Skreens. At his father's death in 1654 he succeeded to the property. In the new parliament, after the dismissal of Richard Cromwell, he served as knight of the shire for Essex, and supported the motion for the Restoration. At the coronation he was created a knight of the Bath, after refusing a baronetcy on account of his dislike to hereditary honours. Subsequently, he frequently acted as chairman in committees of the whole house. In 1672 an accusation was brought by Henry Mildmay, of Graces, before the council against him and his brother of being papists, and receiving payment from the pope to promote his interests. The chief witness was a Portuguese, Ferdinand de Macedo, whose evidence bore unmistakable signs of falsehood. Charles II is said to have remarked concerning the affair, that it was 'the greatest conspiracy and greatest forgerie that ever he knew against a private gentleman.' To the first parliament of James II Bramston was returned for Maldon, and in several subsequent parliaments he represented Chelmsford. He died 4 Feb. 1699-1700.
[The Autobiography of Sir John Bramston, preserved in the archives at Skreens, was published by the Camden Society in 1845. It begins with an account of his early years, and is continued to within a few weeks before his death. Although it casts no important light on historical events, it is of great interest as a record of the social and domestic life of the period.]