Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Rous, John (1584-1644)

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ROUS, JOHN (1584–1644), diarist, younger son of Anthony Rous (1551–1631), rector of Hessett, Suffolk, by his first wife, Margery (d. 1588), was baptised at Hessett on 20 April 1584. Admitted pensioner at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1598, he graduated M.A. in 1607. From 1601 Rous acted as amanuensis to his father, who was presented in 1600 to the joint rectories of Weeting St. Mary and Weeting All Saints, Norfolk. Even after his own presentation, on 21 Sept. 1623, to the adjoining small living of Stanton-Downham, Suffolk, and his marriage, Rous continued with his father until the latter's death in June 1631.

He probably passed the rest of his life at Brandon, two miles from Downham. He paid at least two visits to London, preached in St. Paul's Cathedral on 17 Nov. 1640, and before or about 1633 was at Geneva. From 1625 till 1641 he kept a full diary, which is alive with news both foreign and domestic, and is interspersed with comments on the weather, the crops, and the affairs of the petty sessions, where he sat as a magistrate. He copied into it many popular skits and satirical verses of the time. Many of these have only survived in Rous's pages. Not a warm partisan on either side, he leaned rather towards the cause of the parliament.

Rous died and was buried at Downham on 4 April 1644. By his first wife, Susanna, he had three daughters, baptised between 1615 and 1623 at Weeting; by his second, Hannah, two more daughters, baptised at Downham. Rous's journal was edited by Mrs. Everett Green for the Camden Society in 1856. The manuscript was purchased by the trustees of the British Museum in 1859 (Addit. MS. 22959). In 1871 another and earlier portion of a manuscript, unknown to Mrs. Green, was acquired by the British Museum, and was bound with the former. It contains entries made in 1615 and 1617, with letters, verses, and prophecies up to the death of James I in 1625. There is little in strict diary form.

[Rous's Diary, 1856.]

C. F. S.