BEDELL, Richard (d.1572), of Leighton, Hunts.

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

educ. I. Temple 1554, called 1570. prob. unm.

Offices Held

Clerk to commrs. for eccles. causes. by Jan. 1570.2


This Member’s parentage is unknown. He was probably related to the Bedells of Writtle, Essex, one of whom, Thomas, was clerk to the Privy Council and prominent in the suppression of the monasteries; another, William, became a bishop in Ireland; while a third, John, was a Marian exile and probably one of the Dudley conspirators. Since Richard Bedell was also a kinsman of Robert Bell, radical protestant Speaker in the 1572 House of Commons, it is not surprising to find him associated with other puritans.3

The first clear indication of this connexion is the note of a licence granted in 1560 to one Michael Lok, citizen and mercer of London, to alienate lands and a rectory at Kimbolton, Huntingdonshire to William Smyth, Humphrey Michell and Bedell. Michell was a nominee of the 2nd Earl of Bedford at Poole in 1559 and 1563 and it seems likely that Bedell also owed his parliamentary seats to Bedford. At Eye the Earl may have acted through his friend Lord Keeper Bacon, but at Weymouth and Melcombe Regis, where the Earl was influential, there was probably no need of an intermediate patron. Bedell’s reported activities in the House also suggest a Bedford connexion. On 9 Apr. 1571 he sat on a committee for a privilege case concerned with a servant of one of the Earl’s deputy lieutenants, and in the following year was a member of the committee for the bill on behalf of Bedford’s friend, the Earl of Kent (21 May). Bedell sat on five other committees in the 1571 Parliament: concerning a private bill for William Skeffington (14 Apr.), the validity of non-resident burgesses (19 Apr.), vagabonds (23 Apr.), fugitives (25 May) and tellers and receivers (26 May). The parliamentary journals for that year also mention him as speaking on the subject of licences and dispensations granted by the archbishop of Canterbury (14 Apr.), and on the Strickland privilege case (20 Apr.). During the 1572 Parliament it was probably Richard Bedell who served on the committee concerning grants by corporations on 25 May 1572, and who spoke on a legal matter (9 June) and on a privilege case (27 June); the speech concerning the assizes at Stafford (27 June) has been attributed to Arthur Bedell.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Lansd. 12, f. 65.
  • 3. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 24-25; DNB (Bedell, William; Bedyll, Thomas); C. H. Garrett, Marian Exiles, 85; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 73.
  • 4. CPR, 1558-60, p. 364; D’Ewes, 159, 166, 167, 171, 178, 188, 189, 213, 220; CJ, i. 84, 85, 92, 93, 96, 99; Trinity, Dublin, Thos. Cromwell’s jnl. ff. 58, 60, 67; Bodl. Tanner 393, anon. jnl. ff. 22, 34; HMC Lords, n.s. xi. 8; PCC 8 Daper, 2 Peter.