Ventris, Peyton (DNB00)

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VENTRIS, Sir PEYTON (1645–1691), judge, eldest surviving son of Edward Ventris, barrister-at-law, of Gray's Inn and Granhams, Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire (a scion of a Bedfordshire family of some antiquity), by Mary, daughter of John Breuse of Wenham Hall, Suffolk, was born at Wenham Hall in November 1645. He was admitted on 3 Feb. 1653–4 a member of the Middle Temple, where he was called to the bar on 2 June 1661. Failing to secure a practice, he devoted himself to reporting (see infra). In 1681 he was one of three commissioners for executing the office of high steward of Ipswich, for which borough he was returned to the Convention parliament on 12 Jan. 1688–9. He vacated the seat the same year, on being raised to the bench of the common pleas (4 May), having previously (2 May) been sworn serjeant-at-law. On 1 Oct. following he was knighted at Whitehall. As assessor to the House of Lords in the Preston peerage case (11 Nov. 1689), he advised against the validity of the English patent on the ground that it had been made out after the ‘abdication’ of James II [see Graham, Richard, Viscount Preston]. He was also consulted by the peers during the progress of the corporations restoration bill, the regency bill, and other important legislative measures. He died on 6 April 1691, leaving issue by his wife Margaret, daughter of Henry Whiting of Coggeshall, Essex. Edward Ventris, an antiquary, was a lineal descendant of the judge, and the possessor of his portrait by Riley.

Ventris's ‘Reports’ appeared posthumously in two parts: 1. ‘Cases in the King's Bench, 20–36 Car. II.’ 2. ‘Cases in the Common Pleas, 21 Car. II–3 Will. and Mary’ (each part with an appendix of miscellaneous cases), London, 1696, fol. Later editions appeared in 1701, 1716, and 1728. They have a high reputation for accuracy.

[Nichols's Herald and Genealogist, iv. 387; Lysons's Magna Britannia, II. i. 249; Foster's Gray's Inn Adm. Reg.; Le Neve's Pedigrees of Knights; Wodderspoon's Memorials of Ipswich, p. 122; Wynne's Serjeant-at-Law; Luttrell's Relation of State Affairs, i. 529, ii. 205; Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. App. vii. 335, 432, 13th Rep. App. v. 72, 135, 138, 148, 176; Foss's Lives of the Judges; Wallace's Reporters.]

J. M. R.