BAINBRIDGE, Robert (d.c.1623), of Derby and Calke, Derbys.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

1st s. of William Bainbridge of Derby by Elizabeth, sis. of John and Nicholas English of Nottingham. educ. ?St. John’s, Camb. 1568; ?G. Inn 1568. m. (prob. 2), Elizabeth, at least 7s. 2da. suc. fa. 1583.

Offices Held

J.p. Derbys. 1603, q. 1608; commr. subsidy 1606, 1608.2


Bainbridge had two namesakes: one of Ashby, the other of Lockington, both in Leicestershire. That they were related is shown by the similarity of their arms. In wills and other documents the three families refer to one another as cousins.3

The only reference to Bainbridge in his first Parliament is to his membership of a committee concerned with ‘counsellors fees’ (28 May 1571). He came in again for Derby at a by-election in time for the 1576 session of the 1572 Parliament, complaining (29 Feb.) that:

one Williams having had divers unseemly speeches concerning the state, being rebuked by him, had struck him and drawn his dagger upon him,

and Williams was committed to the serjeant’s custody. When the 1601 Parliament discussed the jurisdiction of the Commons in certain cases, this incident was quoted as a precedent. Bainbridge also spoke on the claim of privilege made by Arthur Hall for his arrested servant in the 1576 session. Bainbridge served on three committees in the final session of the 1572 Parliament, concerning cloth (4 Feb. 1581), wool (23 Feb.) and the merchant adventurers (2 Mar.). More significant for the future was his membership (1 Feb.) of the committee which approved Thomas Norton’s radical addition to the sedition bill.4

During the 1586 Parliament Bainbridge spoke (4 Nov.) in favour of the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, and was appointed to the relevant committee that day, but it was in the New Year that he made his presence most felt. With Peter Wentworth, Anthony Cope and other puritans, he concerted a plan to reform the government of the church. He spoke at least twice in favour of Cope’s Bill and Book, asking for reform to ‘divert God’s plague from us’ In a moderate speech on the situation in the Low Countries, Bainbridge had already mentioned ‘detracting papists’ in high places. Now he and the others in his group met outside the House, where parliamentary privilege did not extend, and a number of them, including Bainbridge, found themselves in the Tower (2 Mar.). An inscription carved on the wall of one of the chambers in the Beauchamp tower shows the figure of a man kneeling at a table and below it the words:



He was released after the dissolution of Parliament, and did not sit again.5

Bainbridge was never on the commission of the peace in Elizabeth’s reign. He was charged with ‘sifting certain recusants’ in December 1591, and shortly afterwards he sent the government a long list of recusants in the household of, or ‘in great account with’, the 7th Earl of Shrewsbury. Bainbridge obviously knew Shrewsbury’s household well and was making the report ‘from love of the gospel’ and the Queen’s safety. He contributed £25 to the Armada loan, but in 1598 he still had not contributed to the forced loan.6

In 1582 he bought the manor of Calke from Richard Wennesley, but he continued to own several houses and other property in Derby itself and his main residence may have remained there. He asked to be buried in the vault that he had prepared at Calke, but he sold the place in 1621 and was dead by 18 July 1623, when his will was proved.7

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: M.R.P.


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Nichols, Leics. iii. 590, 632 (confuses the Leicestershire and Derbyshire families); PCC 3 Butts; J. C. Cox, Derbys. Annals, i. 37; HMC Rulland, i. 402, 404, 410.
  • 3. PCC 3 Butts; W. G. D. Fletcher, Some Further Notes on Fam. of Bainbridge (reprinted from Leics. Arch. Soc. Trans. vii), pp. 6 et seq.
  • 4. CJ, i, 93, 109, 121, 122, 129, 130; Neale, Parlts. i. 336, 338, 395; D’Ewes, 190, 251; Trinity, Dublin, Thos. Cromwell’s jnl. f. 125; CSP Dom. 1601-3, p. 124.
  • 5. D’Ewes, 393, 394, 410, 411; Neale, ii. 109-10, 148-50, 154, 157, 176; Harl. 7188, ff. 90, 93; EHR, xxxix. 50-2; Add. 5123, f. 18; Leics. Arch. Soc. Trans. vii. 142.
  • 6. Cox, i. 35, 37, 272-3; CSP Dom. 1591-4, p 174; HMC Rutland, i. 348; 384, 404, 404, 410; R. Simpson, Colls. Illus. Hist. Derbys. 85.
  • 7. PCC 76 Swann.