Maynard, Sir John

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Maynard, Sir John (1604–90). Lawyer. Maynard was born in Tavistock and educated at Exeter College, Oxford. He soon built up a successful practice on the western circuit and entered Parliament for Totnes in 1640. A zealous presbyterian, he was an implacable opponent of the king and prominent in the attacks upon Strafford and Laud. He continued his legal practice under the Commonwealth, served Richard Cromwell as solicitor-general, and was in the Council of State in 1660. Nevertheless, he prospered under the Restoration, was appointed king's serjeant, and knighted, though Pepys reported that he was far from popular. He remained in the House of Commons for the rest of his life, prosecuted Lord Stafford in the Popish plot, but was at hand to welcome William III. For fifteen months 1689–90, though very old, he served as commissioner for the great seal. Maynard was recognized as a good lawyer, a fine speaker, and an imposing man, willing to serve all regimes. ‘In legal murder none so deeply read,’ remarked Strafford's nephew mordantly in 1681.

J. A. Cannon