CALVERT, Felix (1664-1736), of Albury, Herts. and White Cross Street, St. Giles without Cripplegate, London
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Family and Education
bap. 9 May 1664, 2nd s. of Thomas Calvert of St. Giles without Cripplegate by Anne, da. of William Ambrose of Reading, Berks. m. lic. 28 May 1689, Mary, da. of Sir Francis Winnington*, sis. of Salwey* and Edward Winnington*, 10s. (4 d.v.p.) 6da. (3 d.v.p.). suc. bro. bef.1672.1
Freeman, Hertford 1698; sheriff, Berks. 1707–8.2
Calvert was a member of a large family of London brewers that dominated the trade in the capital. The dynasty began with Calvert’s grandfather, also Felix, whose three sons Felix jnr. (d. 1699), Thomas (d. 1668) and Peter (d. 1676) were concerned in brewing and in farming the excise during the Protectorate and Restoration, an association which only ended with Felix jnr.’s dismissal as an excise commissioner in February 1688. Calvert’s father may have been a Dissenter, including in his will a Calvinist preamble which spoke of inheriting ‘among the elect the joys . . . of eternal life’. Calvert himself seems to have taken over his father’s interest in the Peacock brewery in White Cross Street, which in turn provided the centre of operations for his sons and grandsons. He should not be confused with his uncle Felix whose brewing activities centred on Thames Street and who was involved in various fire insurance ventures, or with his cousin, Felix (son of his uncle Peter), another brewer. During the 1690s Calvert lived near his brewery, as is attested by the annual record of his children’s baptisms in the parish register. But around 1700 he purchased from Sir Thomas Brograve, 3rd Bt., the manor of Albury in Hertfordshire (previously half-owned by his uncle Felix) where he may have resided for part of the year, as in 1713 one of his children was baptized there. His Berkshire interests centred on property in Reading, presumably inherited from his mother and the manor of Marcham near Abingdon, which he purchased in 1691. Judicious cultivation of the Reading electors led to his return at the general election of 1713.3
Calvert was a Tory, being described as such on both the Worsley list and on an analysis of Members of the 1713 Parliament re-elected in 1715. His only contribution of note to the business of the Commons was to manage the Reading Turnpike Act through all its stages in the Commons. Although he was returned in 1715, his election was declared void, and he lost the subsequent by-election. In 1720 he made another, unsuccessful, attempt to regain his seat at Reading. According to Abel Boyer he died on 29 Dec. 1736 at his house in White Cross Street, leaving the bulk of his property to his eldest son, yet another Felix, plus substantial sums to his sons Peter and John (all of whom were subsequently partners in the brewery), and annuities to three younger sons. His grandson, John Calvert, sat for various boroughs between 1754 and 1802.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Stuart Handley
- 1. IGI, Berks.; VCH Herts. Fams. 55–56, 65.
- 2. Herts. RO, Hertford bor. recs. 25/100.
- 3. P. Mathias, Brewing Industry in Eng. 23, 313; VCH Herts. Fams. 55–77; C. D. Chandaman, Eng. Public Revenue, 60, 63, 73, 123; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 10, 1929; PCC 123 Hone; F. B. Relton, Acct. of Fire Insurance Cos. 27; IGI, London, Herts.; Clutterbuck, Herts. iii. 335; VCH Berks. iv. 356; Hearne Colls. iv. 313.
- 4. Boyer, Pol. State, liii. 103; PCC 2 Wake.