BESSELL, Martin (d.1623), of Colchester, Essex.

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

m. 1578, Elizabeth, 6s. 7da. suc. fa. aft. 1596.

Offices Held

Alderman, Colchester, bailiff 1588, 1594, 1600, 1604, 1610, 1618.1


Bessell was a Colchester merchant whose father bought Grey Friars, a mansion on former monastic land, in 1596 (though he was not living there at the time of his death). He also had houses, tenements and warehouses in St. Leonard’s parish, and various woods and fields in and near Colchester. While in Parliament he probably served on a committee for Colchester harbour, to which he was appointed as burgess for Colchester (29 Mar.). A leading figure in the town, Bessell and his wife lived ‘lovingly together 45 years in holy wedlock in the fear of God and in good name’. In his will, dated an Oct. 1618 and proved 11 Apr. 1623, he made provision for his family, dividing his property among his four surviving sons after his wife’s death, and leaving legacies to his daughters and grandchildren. He gave £5 to the poor of the parishes of St. Peter, St. James and St. Leonard, and was buried in St. Peter’s church.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.H.


  • 1. Essex Rev. iii. 244; iv. 243; Cal. of Court Rolls, ed. H. Harrod, 3.
  • 2. D’Ewes, 512; F. Chancellor, Essex Mons. 368; PCC 20 Swann.