Cass, John (DNB01)

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CASS, Sir JOHN (1666–1718), benefactor of the city of London, son of Thomas Cass, carpenter to the royal ordnance, was born in London in 1666, and attained as a city merchant to an influential position and a large income. He built and endowed two schools near St. Botolph's, Aldgate, which were opened in 1710, and on 23 Jan. in that year he became alderman of Portsoken ward. On 25 Nov. 1710 he was returned to parliament for the city in the church and tory interest, and he was re-elected on 12 Nov. 1713. On 25 June 1711 he was elected sheriff, 'to the great joy of the high church party,' and on 12 June 1712, upon the occasion of the city's address to Queen Anne in favour of peace, he was knighted. In spite of his toryism Boyer notes that he voted against Bolingbroke's treaty of commerce in June 1713. Sir John died on 5 July 1718, aged 62. His widow Elizabeth died on 7 July 1732. By his will, dated 6 May 1709, Cass left 1,000l. for a school at Hackney. In 1732 the bequest was greatly enlarged by a decision of the court of chancery in conformity with the intention of an unfinished codicil to the will of 1709. The income from the Cass estates now exceeds 6,000l. per annum. The bulk of this is expended upon an elementary day school, newly erected at Hackney, for boys and girls, numbering about two hundred and fifty, who are partially found in food and clothing, in addition to a technical institute, in connection with which are several exhibitions.

[J. B. Hollingworth's Sermon, with some Account of Sir John Cass, 1817; Beyer's Annals of Queen Anne, 1735, pp. 478, 515, 581, 637; Scheme of Charity Commissioners, ordered to be printed 5 May 1895; notes kindly communicated by Charles Welch, Esq., F.S.A.]

T. S.