Lawrence Brinley

Lawrence Brinley was another merchant trading with North America who lived in Clapham. He was an active Presbyterian and one of the four elders of St Mary Magdalen, Milk Street. Brinley was a militant Parliamentary activist who had fought the war for a reformed state church and city privileges, not for religious liberty and military domination.

He played a leading part in organizing the petition of 20 September 1645 complaining about the delay in settling Presbyterian church government, copies of which had been printed and circulated in every parish for signature by all who had taken the Covenant who were also asked ‘that their qualities should alsoe be sett downe’ to emphasise their respectability. His house was the collection point for completed petitions and George Thomason, the book seller, was among the local canvassers. The House of Commons learnt of it and voted it to be scandalous and sent the Lord Mayor to call a meeting of the Common Council which ordered its suppression.

Brinley acquired extensive lands in Ireland although his will in 1662 directed that his land should be sold. He was also connected to Barbados since his nephew, Francis Brinley, had emigrated here, but finding the climate not ‘suited to his habits and constitution’ settled at Newport, Rhode Island, and subsequently wrote an ‘Account of the Settlements and Governments in and about the Lands of Narraganset Bay.’ His son, Richard, lived in his father's house in Clapham after the Restoration.Two of Thomason's daughters also came to live in Clapham.