The Lewens 'of Dorsetshire' and Ewell, Surrey

The Lewen Coat of Arms
The Lewen Coat of Arms

The following family tree was published in The Pedigree Register for June 1907. The first named Robert is reported to have been the son of Robert, the elder, and Dorothy Lewen. A Will of John Habgood of Wymbourne Mynster, tanner, proved 13 February 1637 [PROB 11/173/274] mentions his daughter Dorothy, wife of Robert Lewen and her children - in addition to George and William, two daughters, Sarah and Ann. It appears that Sarah Lewen married Roger Biggs of Dullar.

The Lewen Family Tree
The Lewen Family Tree
The Pedigree Register for June 1907

Generation 1

'In 1646 Robert Lewen of Wimborne, gent., enjoyed by favour of the Dorset Standing Committee the rights of proving of wills and granting of administrations within the said county. On 8th December of same year he was granted two-thirds of the Manor of Canford [which included Poole] and Hundred of Cogdeane, sequestered from Sir John Webb, Kt, [an ardent royalist and Catholic] for recusancy, for one year from Michaelmas next ensuing, paying therefore for the use of the State £160.In July, 1648, the grant is repeated on the same terms from 20th September next ensuing'.

Ironically, A History of Wimborne Minster: the Collegiate Church of Saint Cuthberga and King's Free Chapel at Wimborne by Charles Herbert Mayo, 1860, includes: -
Item we present these persons hereafter mentioned to be popish Recusants the last year, as we are informed : viz.... also Amy Lewen and Mary Lewen. These two last named were the daughters of Mr. Anthony Lewen deceased, as we are informed: but whether they both, or either of them, are of the age of 16 years or more or less we know not, but they lived with Mr. Robert Lewen one of the said Churchwardens.
The Lewen family were distinguished local recusants who resided at the house now called by that name in Lewens Lane. Robert Lewen was at one time Wine Steward to Charles II. The house was built by him in 1654 [and contained a private chapel]."
Robert Lewen's home, although altered in the 18th century, survives as 3 Lewens Lane, Wimborne Minster.

Named Receiver of Taxes for Dorset, 1673, he is thought to have been the 'Gentleman of Wimborne Minster' whose Will was proved 17 July 1680 - PROB 11/363/402.

Generation 2

George Lewen (c1647 - 1718)

The Journal of Giles Moore contains a reference to Eustace Moore's sister as the wife of George Lewen, of Poole in Dorset#.

George became a Merchant with substantial commercial interests in Poole. In partnership with William Orchard he traded into Maryland, 1675/80, being mentioned in the archives of that colony - One case involved 'five thousand pounds weight of Arronocoa tobacco'.

Port of Poole, 3 October 1681, Shippers by the Robert of Poole, Mr. Robert Bennett, bound from Poole for Virginia: William Orchard, George Lewen. [National Archives E190/884/8].

Bennett and Lewen were also smugglers and dealt in contraband goods: -
Complaint of Bowles et al, 30 October, 1690. 'Were informed that George Lewin and Robert Bennett of Poole had an interest in the cargo of the MARGARET - wine,tobacco and brandy - and in a similar cargo on the GEORGE. To defraud the Customs, they pretended that the ships were sailing from Jersey for Ostend but anchored off Poole intending to bring the goods secretly ashore. On being informed of this, Bowles and the other Custom Officers seized the vessels and their cargoes.'
Poole developed important trade links with North America and at its peak in the 18th century it was one of the busiest ports in Britain. The recognition of Newfoundland as British territory by The Treaty of Utrecht signed in 1713, which required the French to abandon their settlements in Newfoundland, made possible the development of the cod fisheries and the associated trade out of Poole. There was a three-cornered route whereby ships went out to Newfoundland loaded with salt and provisions, brought salt fish back to the Mediterranean countries and finally came home with wine, olive oil and dried fruits.

Port of Poole, 1 March1710, Shipper by the George of Poole from Poole to Newfoundland and Virginia, George Lewen. [National Archives E 190/901/1].

The history and antiquities of the County of Dorset, Volume 1, mentions a gravestone at Poole: -
'Here lies interred Catherine#, wife of Mr George Lewen, of the town and county of Pool, merchant, who departed this life the 16th day of March AD 1710 and in the 58th year of her age. Also Mrs Sarah Bartlett, daughter of George Lewen Esq., who departed this life May 19th 1729 aet suae 51. It is desired this grave may not be opened these 20 years.'
George Lewen was buried in the South aisle of St James Church,Poole, beneath a ledger stone, against one of the arches, inscribed:-

Underneath lyes the Body of George Lewen Esqre.,
a worthy member
and three years mayor of this
antient corporation.
Obt. 15th November, 1718,
Aetatis suae 71.

Above are the arms of Lewen, party per pale, g. & az. 3 bucks' heads erased, or. Crest, a buck's head erased, or. Also a white marble wall monument; a cartouche on a draped background with cherubs' heads and scull above acanthus bracket

St James Church Poole
St James Church Poole

Will dated 3 May 1717 of George Lewen Merchant of Shad Thames, London, late of Poole, proved 9 December 1718 - PROB 11/566/242. He left money to his sons George, Charles and Robert and his married Daughter Sarah Bartlett, the main property in Poole going to his son George Lewen.

(Sir) William Lewen (c1657 - 1722)

The second son of Robert Lewen of Wimborne Minster, Dorset, and younger brother of George , merchant and Mayor of Poole, married, 30 July 1685, Susannah, daughter of Richard Taylor of Turnham Green, Mdx., - Vintner of the Devil's Tavern, Temple Bar. William was knighted 17 Dec. 1712. Councillor Billingsgate 1700-3, Alderman of London - Castle Baynard 1708-22 , Sheriff 1712-13, Lord Mayor 1717-18; Master, Haberdashers' Co. 1709-10; Colonel Blue Regiment, London Trained Band, 1711-14, sometime Lieutenant - General Honourable Artillery Company.

In December 1709, Sir Richard Bulkeley disposed of his interest in the Rectory Impropriate of Ewell to William Lewin (sic). This had included the Rectory House, new brick house and outhouses, lately built, with tithes and a water grist mill, all leased out. Apparently Lewen also acquired additional real estate in the district; his Will dated 26 July 1706 mentions '... my House, Outhouses, Barnes, Stables Orchards, Gardens and watermills with all other the lands and houses, both free and copyhold, which I now enjoy in the said parish of Ewell...' It was reported Bulkeley's seat was not disposed of by his heirs until 1718 when the premises were acquired by Sir William Lewen. That accords with James Edwards' Companion from London to Brighthelmstone (1789) where, along the way from St Mary's Church: -
"On the right about 50 yards from the road is the seat of Sir George Glyn, Bart. It has a green plat in front and adjoins the church-yard on the east. In 1718, this seat was in the possession of Sir William Lewen, Knt.,lord mayor of London, and member of parliament for Pool in Dorsetshire; the house is a brick building, fronted towards the south, and the view is opened on the opposite side of the road by a pleasant garden belonging."
Described as 'a prominent Poole merchant much concerned with the Newfoundland fisheries', Sir William Lewen is noted to have dispatched the William of London under Robert Christian to Barbados via the Cape Verdes in February 1716.

Sir William died 16 March 1721/2 without issue; Will 'Alderman of London' dated 29 May 1719 proved 16 March 1722 - PROB 11/584/113, copy deposited with Bourne Hall Museum. In it he desired 'to be decently buried in the Chancell belonging to the parish Church of Ewell [where] my Pews are and as near the Communion Table as may be proper [a] vault being made for that purpose...the Summ of Two hundred pounds shall be laid out in erecting a Monument in the Chancell aforesaid in memory of me.'

Memorial to Sir William and Lady Susannah Lewen in St Mary's, Ewell Detail of Memorial to Sir William Lewen
Memorial to Sir William and Lady Susannah Lewen in St Mary's, Ewell2
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

The Testator then attempted to provide enhanced income from specified real estate and cash in lieu of his 'loving wife' Susanna Lewen's 'Joynture Estate and as a full satisfaction for her Dower thirds and customary part of and in my Estate.' He bequeathed various named properties to his nephews, George, Charles and Robert, and their male descendants, in succession and made George his residuary legatee. The terms of the provision for his widow subsequently became the subject of a case in Chancery; in reply to an order of the Court of Chancery in a cause between Dame Susannah Lewen, widow of Sir William Lewen a lunatic, and George Lewen and others, asking the Court of Aldermen to certify whether a woman who prior to her marriage with a freeman of the City accepts a settlement upon her after his death of part of his personal estate is thereby barred of her customary part of his estate, the Mayor and Aldermen were unable to say! The case of Lewen v Lewen, 4 May 1725, may be found reported [as Lewin v Lewin - Dame Susannah Lewin, a Lunatick, Widow of Sir William Lewin, deceased, by her Committee, Plaintiff; George Lewin Esq., Defendant] -

Whatever the implications of the decision in those proceedings, George Lewen, junior, came into possession of most of his uncle's wealth.

Dame Susanna appears to have been looked after by her brother, John Taylor, Treasurer of the Hospitals of Bridewell and Bethlem, London, son of Richard Taylor deceased. After the former died in 1729, Margaret, widow of John Tayler , and John her son entered a petition in Chancery,'with an order thereupon dated 21 January 1729 respecting the administration of the estate of Susannah Lewen, a lunatic, relict of Sir Will. Lewen, Knt., and Alderman'.

Susannah Lewen died on 30 December 1737. The annexed announcement then appeared in the London Evening Post, Saturday, 7 January1738: ' Last Friday Morning the Corpse of the Lady Lewen, Sister to the late Mr. Deputy Taylor of New-street, who died a few Days since in an advanc'd Age in New-street, was carried from thence, and decently interr'd the same Day at Ewel in Surrey, near the Remains of her Husband Sir William Lewen, Kt. Lord Mayor of London in 1718, who died March 16, 1721/2, in the 65th Year of his Age." Another source gives her late address as New Street, Shoe Lane, and adds 'Her jointure falls to George Lewen Esq., and her personal estate to her brother and sisters, and their children'.

Administration of the goods of Dame Susanna Lewen, of St. Bride's, London, widow, was granted March 16, 1737/8, in the C.P.O., to John Tayler, Esq., nephew by brother, and to Elizabeth, wife [of ?].

Generation 3

George Lewen, junior, (c. 1685 - 1743)

It is assumed that this George came to London to engage in the family business with his uncle William - in 1713 he was described as 'Merchant of London'.

Thomas Rawlinson [barrister, 1681-1725, son of Sir Thomas Rawlinson and Mary eldest daughter of Richard Taylor of Turnham Green] wrote to George Lewen at Oporto warning him against marriage there and urging his maintaining ' a constant private profession of our holy religion' seeing that he is upon the 'devil's ground'. Evidently this advice was followed because on 30 June 1715, in St Mary at Hill, London, George, junior, of All Hallows, Barking, married Bethia Godshall (b. 29 August 1691 daughter of John Godshall, Turkey Merchant, and Bethia, nee Charlton). The younger George Lewen's first wife, Bethia, named in the above tree Susan, nee Godshall, was buried at All Hallows Barking by Tower in January 1718/9 aged 28, as 'Bithiam', dear wife of George Lewen, Merchant, of this Parish. She left only one daughter, Susannah.

George did not marry again until 2 November 1732 in Ewell, his second bride being Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Shatterden, afterwards Drax, - sister of Henry Drax of Charlborough.

5 Jun 1736 Settlement on the intended marriage of Richard Glyn, citizen and salter of London, and Susannah Lewen, daughter of George Lewen of Ewell, esq. [SHC 838/5/17] Details relate to the personal estate of George Lewen and the trusts in favour of his daughter Susannah. No real estate was mentioned.

1742. Catherine Forman, sister and heir of Henry Forman, Jnr, surrendered Spring House, Ewell, to George Lewen who mentions the property, late tenant Conyers, in his Will. It subsequently passed down to Richard Thompson and John Starke.

George Lewen, Esq., died on 1 April 1743 and appears in the Registers of St Mary's Ewell, buried 8 April 1743 - probably unlamented and no memorial inscription has been traced. He had directed that he was to have been buried in his own vault under the Chancel in Ewell Church 'in a decent and frugal manner'.

The Will of George Lewen of Ewell proved 29 April 1743 [PROB 11/725/477] is confused and vindictive. Having become very wealthy by inheritances from his father and uncle, his widow was to be provided with a life annuity of merely £200 p.a. provided no claim was to be made on her 'Dower of thirds'. He declared
" son and Daughter Glyn having behaved very undutifully and I have reason to believe have been the sole cause of difference betwixt Brother and self for which reason I give each but one shilling and I should have done more for my loving Wife but her Brother behaved very proud and insolently and instead of giving her a portion of five or six Thousand pounds which he often promised robbed her of a rich pearl necklace worth near one Thousand pounds which her Mother gave her said Brother having barbarously used me ... in a very cross manner for my supporting him when he could not support himself I leave one shilling. 28 May 1742. Codicil... Mr Drax has used me vilely feeding me up with vain hopes and cautious promises which held no meaning in them and my own Brother Robert Lewin ten times worse for being obliged to get his cousens to the lifting of the entail he has imposed and exacted upon us in every shape and I am sure I can make it appear that he has robbed me of above one Thousand pounds by forced calculations making me pay where I ought not and refusing to allow where he short he has been the worst Brother upon earth whereas had it not been for me that helped send him to Lipas [?] or he might have been a Clod of Trype at Poole to this day. I should have left it all to my loving Wife but as she would not place any confidence in me but forced me to take out of my several estates to settle upon her showed such distrust as I abhorred and could not help resenting for which reason I design and my Will and mind is that she should have an annuity of two hundred pounds paid clear and one hundred pounds in ready money..."
4 March 1742/3. The bulk of his estate was bequeathed in equal shares to two hospitals - Bridewell & Bethlem [of which he had been a Governor], 'for Incurables not Lunaticks' and the 'newly infounded hospital for foundlings or exposed and deserted young children'.

Scene of Bethlem from The Rake's Progress by William Hogarth.
Scene of Bethlem from The Rake's Progress by William Hogarth.

Unsurprisingly, litigation ensued! On 3 February 1743/4, Mr Joseph Taylor, the solicitor clerk of Bridewell & Bethlem, was ordered to 'direct an Apprentice be entered to the Bill in Chancery brought against the Governors of these Hospitalls by Mr Foster and Mr Duncalf, Exors. of George Lewen decd' .Much of George Lewen's real estate subsequently came to be sold off by Order in Chancery and so one may read a list of the properties concerned in the London Gazette of 29 April and 15 July 1746, including some left by his uncle. Additional to 'The Rectory and Parsonage of Ewell,.. with the Tythes thereof to the value of £160' was 'Mr Lewen's late Mansion-house, Gardens, Coach-house, Stables and Pidgeon-house thereto belonging'. The family managed to hang on to a number of other properties detailed in an Appendix* to this article, particularly Ewell Rectory which ended up with the Glyns, as well as the Advowson, via Robert Lewen.

His relict's demise may be represented by the Will of Elizabeth Lewen of Hampstead proved 7 November 1758 - PROB 11/841/281.

Charles Lewen (c. 1682 - 1732)

This nephew of Sir William represented the family business interests in Portugal On 23,November 1709, A Representation from the Portugal Merchants, complaining about trading restrictions there was signed by Henry Gibbs and Charles Lewen amongst others. Because of the amicable relations between England and Portugal the English mercantile community at Lisbon was comparatively stable and English merchants in the Viana/Oporto community were also relatively long-term resident businessmen, but expected to return to England eventually.

In 1713 he was described as 'of Lisbon, Merchant'. A letter dated 20 October 1723 was sent by Messrs. Gibbs, Lewen and Potter (Lisbon) to William Pepperrell and Son about representing their interests at Lisbon.

Francis Lester a Protestant, apprenticed to Charles Lewen, 'a leading Poole merchant in the Newfoundland trade', at Lisbon around 1724 - 1726 'came to the faith by reading Catholic books'. Considerable antagonism towards Roman Catholics existed in Poole at that time and his conversion caused his parents much anguish.

William Pepperrell corresponded with Charles Lewen, 22 June 1730, regarding trade and sale of goods in Barbados, and other ports. A memorial of loss and damage incurred by Messrs Gibbs Lewen and Potter of London, signed by Cha. Lewen 12 November 1730, sought compensation for goods consigned by them to Boston on the ship Anne.

Charles Lewen, late of London, merchant, nephew to Sir Wm. Lewen, departed this life 23 November 1732, in the 50th year of his age. His body was brought to Ewell for burial from the house of his younger brother and Executor, Robert, in Crutched Friars. Will of Charles Lewen, Merchant of Lisbon, proved 1 December 1732 - PROB 11/655/132.

Robert Lewen (c. 1690 - 1752)

Robert became a 'Port Wine Importer', probably in conjunction with other members of his family.

His grand mid-18th century home on Church Street, Blandford Forum, Coupar [re-named Legion] House, may be viewed at It was built on land taken up leasehold in 1735 which had been a garden 'whereon before the late fire stood the Parsonage Barn on the north' [Dorset History Centre D/GLY:A/10,11 &12]. Robert Lewen had been trustee and treasurer for Blandford Fire Charity Fund in 1731. His Will also mentioned ' ffreehold Messuage or Tenement with the Gardens, Outhouses and appurtenances situate and being at Blandford fforum...'.

Kent's Directory for London, 1740, included Robert Lewen, Merchant, at two addresses - Pump Court, Crutched Friars & Taylors Court, Bow Lane.

He succeeded his late brother George as lord of the Manor of Hordle following the former's demise in 1743 but, with Richard Glynn, sold this estate in 1747. Robert became patron of Vicars instituted in 1748 & 1753 at St Mary's Ewell, presumably also having acquired the Advowson consequent upon proceedings in Chancery over his brother George's Will.

Robert died 28 September 1752; Will, dated 10 April 1751, 'Merchant of Blandford Forum', proved 24 October 1752 - PROB 11/797/331 - a large estate having been left to his nephew Richard Glyn, Esq., alderman and Sheriff of London.

Summary of Will of Robert Lewen -
To Cousin Sarah Stoodly, Southampton - £20 per annum to be paid in 4 equal payments per quarter.
To Cousin Susannah Lewen, late apprenticed to a milliner in Cornhill - £300
To Servant Elizabeth - £10 per annum
To each and every servant at my death - £10
To Kinsman Richard Lewen of St Andrews, Holborn, Middlesex, founder and brasier - £200
To George Glyn, son of Richard Glyn - £100 per annum and a further £100 per annum at the age of 21 Years.
To Richard Glyn - the manor of Lordship of Little Hinton, also Ashton Farm, Little Hinton, Dorset;
And also all that my Rectory or Parsonage impropriate of Ewell, Surrey and my brick house and outhouses thereunto belonging and all manner of tythes and all other lands, tenements and hereditaments in Ewell;
Also properties in Waddon and Quedgeley in Gloucester, White Hart, Thames St, Billingsgate, properties at Blandford Forum, properties at Ripley, Sopley (Southampton), property Brooms in Wynford (Wingford) Eagle, Dorset:
All these to George Glyn after father's demise.
Memorial on variegated marble at St Peter & St Paul, Blandford Forum, - 'In memory of Robert Lewen, Esq., late of this town who departed this life 28th September 1752 aged 62'.

Generation 4

Susannah Lewen/ Glyn (c. 1716 - 1751)

Susannah Lewen married Richard Glyn on 8 June 1736 - Settlement, SHC 838/5/17 - and their story is continued by Linda Jackson in the Glyns, Part1 on this website - LINK. The Glyns Part 1

Portrait of a lady said to be Susannah Lewen, wife of Sir Richard Glyn
Portrait of a lady said to be Susannah Lewen, wife of Sir Richard Glyn.
Attributed to a follower of Van Dyck. Image source:

Sir Richard Glyn, 1711-1773
Sir Richard Glyn, 1711-1773
Painting by Zoffany,
Photo by kind permission of Charles Abdy © 1994 author of "The Glyns of Ewell"
Copies available from the Bourne Hall Museum Shop, Spring Street, Ewell.

Susannah Glyn died on 5 February 1751.


*Release of assets from the estate of George Lewen deceased to his relatives - Surrey History Centre K86/1/5
1) Samuel Foster of Charterhouse Square, London, and Robert Peirce of Oxford Court, near Cannon Street, merchants; Peter White of Norfolk Street, in the Strand, esq; William Inquire of Featherstone Buildings, Holborn, and Thomas Edwards of Newgate Street, gents (all executors of George Lewen, late of Ewell, nephew and executor of Sir William Lewen late of London, Alderman)
2) Richard Glyn of London, salter and Susannah his wife, daughter and heir of George Lewen
3) Elizabeth Lewen of Bath, widow of George Lewen
4) Robert Lewen of Blandford Forum, Dorset, merchant.

Rectory, etc, in Ewell; messuage divided into 2 tenements with barn, etc, 1a, abutting on Ewell Common, north and east; 2½a in Priest Hill Bush shott; 1a in shott above Westlands; 1a in Boneland shott; 1a in Walton Bush shott; ½a in further Hayes shott above Walton's Bush; 2 messuages divided into 3 tenements in Church Street; 1a in Long furlong; 1a west of a chalkpit; 1a in Churchfield; messuage, ½a, and ½a headland in Churchfield; 5a in Nether furlong; 2½a in Long furlong, 2½a in Woe furlong; 2½a in Parsonage mead; 2½a in Northcroft; 3 yards in Lyncroft; 6a 1r in Southfield and Nonsuchfield; cottage and appurtenances, part of enclosure called 'Steven Anewes'; 1a and 1½a in Churchfield; messuage and ground and 2 messuages and grounds (formerly one) in Ox lane; 6½a freeland in Commonfield.

Manor of Hordle with appurtenances, Hampshire, with Manor house, demesne lands called Taddiford Farm and tenement on Hurst Beach.

4 messuages with lands in Whaddon and Quedgeley, Gloucestershire.

Messuage formerly known by sign of the 'Holy Water Sprinkle' and since as the 'White Hart' in Thames Street, St Botolph, Billingsgate