John Bruen, Esq.

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John Bruen, Esq., son of John Bruen, Esq. and Dorothy Holford, was born at Bruen-Stapleford, Tarwin, Cheshire, England, about 15601,2,3 and later baptized there, 19 September 1567.1 He died at Bruen-Stapleford, 18 January 1625/26, and was buried at the Tarwin Parish Church, Tarwin, Cheshire, England, 23 January 1625/26.1,4,5

John married (1), as her 2nd husband, Elizabeth Hardware, whose ancestry is unknown (or not traced here), at Chester, Cheshire, England, about 1580;1 he married (2) Anne Foxe, daughter of William Foxe and Margaret Orrell, after 18 January 1596/97;1,2,6,3 he married (3), as her 2nd husband, Margaret Allen, whose parents are unknown (or not traced here), at Tarwin, Cheshire, England, 13 May 1612.3,1

While young, John Bruen was sent to his uncle Dutton of Dutton, where for three years he was taught by a schoolmaster named James Roe. The Dutton family had by a charter "the control of the ministrels of the county." Young Bruen became an expert dancer. At that time he said, " the Holy Sabbaths of the Lord were wholly spent in all places about us in May games and May-poles, pipings and dancings."

When about seventeen, he and his brother Thomas were sent as "Gentleman Commoners" to St. Albans' Hall, Oxford, where they remained about two years. John left the university in 1579, and in the following year he was married by his parents to Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Hardware, Esq., of Chester, "a worthy and wise man" who had been twice mayor of his city.

He then returned to his father's seat at Bruen-Stapleford and entered into all the amusements to which his youth and fortune prompted him. He kept "fourteen couples of greatmouthed dogs." Then being in the prime of his youth he spent much time "in hunting, hawking and such carnal delights."

His career of pleasure ended with the death of his father in 1587 who, together with his lands, left him "charged with the portions of twelve children." To relieve himself of these incumbrances the park of Bruen-Stapleford, which was wellstocked with deer, was disparked; and the hawks and hounds and every unnecessary expense were cut off, and the whole mind of the new proprietor turned to the forming within his family a pattern of religious economy, whichwas certainly strange, but appears to have originated solely in the unaffected piety of its master. His benevolence and piety resulted in making him such an object of respect and admiration in the count that many of the most distinguished families were among the constant visitors to his house and begged that their children might be brought up under his direction.

In 1590 he installed a preacher in his chapel. "There resorted many to him, some to the Chapel to feed their souls, and many into the Hall to feed their bellies to his no small cost, but the Pipers, Fiddlers, Bearwards, Players, and Gamesters he sent away with fretting." The fleece of his sheep was made into clothing for the poor of his parish, to which purpose all the profits of two of his mills were appropriated. His house became a common inn. "Many that passed betwext Ireland and England and came to Chester would take up his house for their lodging place that they might rejoice their hearts in seeing his face. His ordinary table was bountiful, and for the furtherance of it he had a great flight of pigeons, a warren of rabbits, delicate fish ponds, besides the ordinary provision about the house." His cellar was open and free to all within the bounds of moderation.

Historians and others condemn him for but one act; he removed all the ancient and beautiful painted windows in his own chapel and the parish church at Tarwin and replaced them with plain glass at his own expense, " because they savored too much of Popery." Clark's history, which contains a biography of Queen Elizabeth and several noblemen, states "John Bruen, Gentleman, is one of the few individuals whose private virtues alone in the rank of a country gentleman have obtained a place in the annals of biography." By one writer he is called the greatest Puritan of them all"; another says "though a Puritan he was no slave to the narrow bigotry of a Sect." There is a portrait of him in Clark's book which has been reengraved by Richardson. This portrait represents him in close dress, with a pointed beard, mustachio and ruff.7,3

Family 1

Elizabeth Hardware b. 1552, d. bef. 18 Jan 1596/97
  • Gilbert Bruen1 b. 28 Apr 1581, d. bef. 16 Jun 1581
  • John Bruen1 b. 1583, d. Jun 1647
  • Anne Bruen1 b. 7 Nov 1585, d. 13 Jul 1633
  • James Bruen1 b. 11 Jun 1587, d. bef. 25 Aug 1587
  • Henry Bruen1 b. 26 Nov 1588
  • Elizabeth Bruen1 b. 28 May 1590
  • Calvin Bruen1 b. 7 Jan 1591/92, d. 1655
  • Beza Bruen1 b. 24 Feb 1593/94
  • Priscilla Bruen1 b. 25 Jan 1595/96, d. bef. 8 Feb 1596

Family 2

Anne Foxe b. abt. 1581, d. bef. 29 Dec 1606
  • Nathaniel Bruen1 b. 23 Jul 1598, d. bef. 13 Aug 1598
  • Samuel Bruen1 b. 7 Mar 1600/1, d. aft. 1625/26
  • Katharine Bruen1 b. 7 Mar 1601/2, d. aft. 1625/26
  • Abigail Bruen1 b. 3 Apr 1603, d. bef. 21 Apr 1603
  • Jonathan Bruen1 b. 6 Jan 1604/5, d. bef. 13 Jan 1605/6
  • Deborah Bruen1 b. 15 Dec 1605, d. bef. 19 Mar 1607/8
  • Obadiah Bruen+1,3,2 b. 25 Dec 1606, d. abt. 1681

Family 3

Margaret Allen d. bef. 29 Nov 1651
  • Joseph Bruen1 b. 5 Mar 1614/15, d. bef. 22 Oct 1698
  • Margaret Bruen1 b. 8 Dec 1616
  • Mary Bruen1 b. 14 Jul 1622
This person was last edited on5 Aug 2019


  1. [S98] Donald Lines Jacobus, "Ancestry of Obadiah and Mary Bruen," The American Genealogist 26 (Jan 1950): 12-25, further cited as Jacobus, "Obadiah and Mary Bruen."
  2. [S520] Frederick Lewis Weis, Walter Lee Sheppard Jr., William R. Beall and Kaleen E. Beall, Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America before 1700… ., 8th ed. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004), 33-40, further cited as Weis, Sheppard, Beall, and Beall, Ancestral Roots, 8th ed.
  3. [S1947] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families (Five vols., Salt Lake City, Utah: s.p., 2013), 1:585 (Bruen 17), further cited as Richardson, Royal Ancestry.
  4. [S1947] Richardson, Royal Ancestry, 1:586 (Bruen 17).
  5. [S27] C. H. Cory, Lineal Ancestors of Susan (Kitchell) Mulford, Mother of Mrs Susan (Mulford) Cory, Vol IV, Pt 1 ([New Jersey]: s.p., 1937), 119, further cited as Cory, Ancestry of Susan Kitchell.
  6. [S1887] Almira Larkin White, Ancestry of John Barber White and of His Descendants (Kansas City, Missouri: John Barber White, 1913), 203, further cited as White, Ancestry of John Barber White.
  7. [S27] Cory, Ancestry of Susan Kitchell, 118-9.