- John Bridgeman (judge)
Sir John Bridgeman, SL (1568/1569 –
5 February 1638) was a barristerof the Inner Temple, serjeant-at-lawcite web | url=http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=42887 | title=History of the Parish of Astley | accessdate=2006-11-29] and local magnate in the West of Englandduring the early 17th century.
Bridgeman came from a minor gentry family settled at
Littledean, Gloucestershire. He matriculated from Magdalen College, Oxfordin June 1582, and after some years at Clifford's Inn, was admitted to the Inner Templein June 1591. Sometime during this period, he married Frances Daunt. When her brother Giles died in 1596, he became embroiled in a dispute with her uncle Thomas Daunt over the manor of Owlpen.cite web | url=http://www.owlpen.com/extend-history.shtml | title=History of Owlpen | accessdate=2006-11-29] He lost the case when he was accused of forging deeds before Sir Edward Coke, the Attorney General. They had at least two children:
*Anne Bridgeman, married John Winford
Bridgeman was called to the bar in 1600. Most of his work was in the Court of Common Pleas, a report of whose proceedings between 1613 and 1621 he compiled. In 1613, he purchased the manor of
Nympsfield, Gloucestershire, with Luke Garnon. He was counsel for the city of Gloucesterin 1614, and in 1615 he was made a bencherof the Inner Temple. In 1622, he served as counsel for Exeterin a successful attempt to block the inclusion of Bishop Valentine Carey in the city's commission of the peace, and was engaged as counsel by Lord Zouche.
1623 saw a number of advancements for Bridgeman. He was appointed to the
Council of the Marcheson 30 June 1623, made a serjeant-at-lawin October 1623, and knighted on 7 December 1623. With the assistance of Sir Thomas Coventry, a fellow student at the Inner Temple, he was appointed to the vacant office of Chief Justice of Chesterin February 1626.
Judicial activities in Wales
As Chief Justice of Chester, he retained, "ex officio", his place on the Council in the Marches, and regularly served as deputy for the two presidents during his tenure (Northampton and Bridgewater). He regularly served as a
justice of the peacein Wales and the Marches, and as recorder for Gloucester (1628), Shrewsbury, Ludlow, and Wenlock. Bridgeman seems to have been assiduous and devoted to his numerous duties.
In 1628, he and his son George jointly purchased
PrinknashPark, near Gloucester, which then became the family home.cite web | url=http://www.davidsemporium.co.uk/Prinknash/_pnash2.html | title=History of Prinknash Abbey | accessdate=2006-11-29]
In 1637, Bridgeman was compelled to take severe measures to end pilgrimages to
St Winefride's Well, Flintshire, considered a hotbed of recusancyby the government. [cite journal | title=Cures and Controversy in Early Modern Wales: The Struggle to Control St. Winifred's Well | first=Colleen M. | last=Seguin | journal=North American Journal of Welsh Studies | volume=3 | number=2 | month=Summer | year=2003 | pages=11–12 | url=http://spruce.flint.umich.edu/~ellisjs/Seguin.pdf | accessdate=2006-11-29] He died in 1638 at Ludlow. He seems to have been a harsh and unpopular judge, as Ralph Gibbon composed the following pasquinadeupon his death:
Here lies Sir John Bridgeman clad in his clay;He is buried in Ludlow Church, where the monument to him and his wife is attributed to court sculptor
God said to the devil, Sirrah, take him away.
*cite book | first=Brian | last=Quintrell | chapter=Bridgeman, Sir John (1568/9–1638) | title=Oxford Dictionary of National Biography | publisher=Oxford University Press | month=May | year=2006 | chapterurl=http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/94293 | accessdate=2007-05-30
* [http://www.reprodart.com/a/closterman-johann/john-bridgeman-d1638-of-p.html Portrait of Sir John Bridgeman]
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