Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Brerewood, Robert
BREREWOOD, Sir ROBERT (1588–1654), judge, belonged to a family of respectable citizens of Chester, who had held municipal office. His grandfather, Robert, is called a wet-glover by trade, and was once sheriff, in 1566, and thrice mayor, in 1584, 1587, and 1600, in which last year he died in office. His father, John, the eldest son of Robert the elder, was sheriff of Chester, and his uncle Edward [q. v.] was a scholar of eminence, the first Gresham professor of astronomy. Two of Edward Brerewood's treatises were published by his nephew in 1614, on the author's death. Robert Brerewood was born in Chester in 1588. In 1605, at the age of seventeen, he was sent to Oxford, and matriculated at Brasenose College, and two years later was admitted a member of the Middle Temple. Probably he was his uncle's heir, for in dedicating one of Edward Brerewood's posthumous works to the archbishop of Canterbury, he says of him, 'Succeeding him in his temporall blessings I doe endevour to succede him in his virtues.' He was called to the bar on 13 Nov. 1615, and continued to practise for two-and-twenty years. He also turned his attention to literature, and published some of the works of his uncle Edward. In 1637 he was appointed a judge of North Wales, probably through the local influence of his family, as he had constantly maintained his connection with Cheshire, and in 1639 he was elected recorder of his native town. He had been appointed reader at the Middle Temple in Lent term 1638, and in 1640 was raised to the degree of serjeant-at-law. In Hilary term 1641 he was appointed king's serjeant, was knighted in 1643, and raised to the bench about a month after, on 31 Jan. 1644. The king being then at Oxford, he was sworn in there. Though he continued to sit until the end of the civil war, he never sat in Westminster Hall, and after the execution of Charles I he retired into private life. He died on 8 Sept. 1654, and was buried in St. Mary's Church, Chester. He was twice married: first to Anna, daughter of Sir Randle Mainwaring of Over Peover, Cheshire, and second to Katherine, daughter of Sir Richard Lea of Lea and Dernhall, Cheshire, and had several children by each of his wives.
[Foss's Lives of the Judges; Dugdale's Orig. 220; Wood's Athenæ (Bliss), ii. 139-40; Gent. Mag. lxi. 714; Books of the Middle Temple; The Vale Royal of England (Smith and Webb), p. 85; Ormerod's Cheshire, i. 181, 182; Archaeologia (Soc. Antiquaries), i. xx n.]