The ancestral home of the Brewer family in England is believed to be Isle Brewer in the parish of Somerset, they being lords of the manor in the 13th century.
Thomas Brewer lived in Chard, a village in Somerset Parish, England and was born in the same parish in about 1540 to William Brewer, a physician, and Deanes Baker and lived in the community of Chard. There is a monument in the parish church in Chard that was erected in his family's honor. This memorial shows Thomas with his parents, 5 brothers and 5 sisters. One son is dressed differently than the rest, in plain or Puritan clothing. It is suspected that he was the Thomas Brewer that, with his family, helped found the colony of James Towne, Virginia.
Thomas married Mary Drake, daughter of Richard Drake and Christian Fawcett, in Somerset, England in about 1562. Their son, John Brewer I (1565-1635) was on a list called The Order of Descendants of Ancient Planters 1606-1616. To be on this list, he was required to have come to James Towne before 1616, lived through the massacre of 1622, appeared on the muster roll of 1624/5, and lived in James Towne at some point before he could safely venture out of the village to claim land in 1616. This was a petition to have heavy tobacco taxes lowered. I had read that Thomas Brewer was on the 1624/5 muster roll, but I can not find him on it, so perhaps there is some mix up there.
by Sir Henry St. George, Sir Richard St. George, Joseph Jackson Howard and Joseph Lemuel Chester, published 1880 by the Harleian Society in London, England
The Visitation of London, was a time when men were designated to visit the residents of the city to prove their genealogy and right to use their coat of arms. The above document shows the coat of arms of the Brewer family. Thomas' father is shown as being a physician named William Brewer of Chard, Somerset, England. His mother is listed as Deanes, daughter of Mr. Baker of Crokehern, Somerset, England. Thomas's siblings shown here are Peter (was William Brewer's heir, wife was Mary), William, Thomas, Xpofer (Latin written form of Christopher), and John Brewer (was a citizen and grocer of London in Bartholomew Lane 1634, wife was Mary, daughter of Ralph Grove of the Temple and of Canterbury, children were John, Francis and Mary). They actually had 6 sons and 5 daughters. The reason the others are not listed here might have been because they were dead or because they were not residents of London. The original document was signed by John Brewer.
same source as above, page 238
This document shows Mary Drake's parents and brothers. Her father was Richard Drake of London and Chedon in Somerset and her father was Christian, daughter of Robert Fauscett/Fawcett of Abbots, Somerset. Her brothers were John (a mercer - textile merchant), Laurence, Richard, and Roger Drake (a cloth worker). Roger Drake was mentioned in his nephew John Brewer I's will and also signed the above document.
There was a Thomas Brewer who, in partnership with a Matthew Wallace, transported several immigrants to James Towne 8 Apr 1648, namely Dorothy Cole, Richard Jones, and Edward Spencer. Unless either the death date of 1635 or the transportation date of 1648 is incorrect for our Thomas Brewer, the transporter must have been another family member rather than him. Perhaps it was Thomas Brewer, son of John Brewer II (1600-1669) and Ann Skinner (1605-1695) that transported these immigrants. Our Thomas Brewer (1540-1637)'s son John Brewer I (1565-1635) transported quite a sizeable number of immigrants as well as well so it seemed that several members of the family were involved in these types of ventures. Keep in mind that it would have cost a sizable sum to transport them and in return for doing so, it was likely that they were given land.
There was a Thomas Brewer and a John Brewer on the voyage with Sir Francis Drake 1577-1580, the first English voyage to circumvent the globe. This Thomas Brewer was killed and eaten by natives on this voyage. I had thought this to be the son of Thomas Brewer (1540-1635) and thus the brother of John Brewer I (1565-1635), but I am suspicious of this theory since John Brewer I mentions his brother Thomas Brewer in his will, meaning that he was still living when the will was written in 1631. It is possible, though, that the Thomas Brewer that was eaten by natives was another brother, and that the one mentioned in the will was named after the first who had been killed. The John Brewer who was on the voyage with Sir Francis Drake, I believe to be our John Brewer I (1565-1635). He was requested to join the voyage when young, as Sir Francis Drake's bugler. They became good friends and John married one of his sons after him. Also of value to note, it that it is likely that John Brewer I was a relation to Sir Francis Drake. His mother was Mary Drake and much later his grandson John Brewer III married Anne Drake.
There is some discrepancy as to the death of Thomas Brewer. He may have died 2 Aug 1635, possibly in London, England or 4 Sep 1637 in Warwick, Accomack, Virginia. If he did in fact transport immigrants to Virginia from England, the possibility of him dying in England could have validity. By the same token, the Brewer family did own land along the Warwick River in Virginia so his death in Warwick is a possibility as well.