BLENNEHARSSET (HASSET), John (c.1515-73), of Barsham by Beccles, Suff.

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

b. c.1515, 4th s. but event. h. of Sir Thomas Blennerhasset of Frenze, Norf. by his 2nd w. Margaret, da. of John Braham of Wetheringsett. educ. ?Gonville, Camb. 1535; I. Temple 1537, called. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Cornwallis of Brome, 1da.; (2) by 1546, Mary (d.1572), da. and coh. of Sir Edward Echingham, 6s. 5da. suc. to entailed lands of his bro. George 1543.2

Offices Held

Bencher, I. Temple 1550; comptroller of victuals for army July 1553; j.p.q. Suff. from 1554, Norf. from 1561; steward, Norwich 14 Jan. 1562-7; legal adviser to 3rd Duke of Norfolk by 1546, treasurer to 4th Duke of Norfolk 1567-71.3


Originally from Cumberland, the Blennerhassets had settled in Norfolk in the fifteenth century. Like his father, Blennerhasset entered the Howard household. Of Catholic sympathies, he was one of the first Norfolk gentlemen to rally to Queen Mary in July 1553. He took no major part in local administration under Elizabeth. He was executor to Richard Fulmerston and in 1569 was made trustee of a large section of the Howard lands. His appointment as steward of Norwich was no doubt due to Norfolk’s influence. It was Norfolk, too, who found the seat for him at Horsham in 1558 and at Norwich, where he succeeded the deceased Robert Michell for the 1566 session of Elizabeth’s second Parliament. He retained the seat—though no longer steward—in 1571, receiving the regulation 2s. a day in wages. He was appointed to the succession committee on 31 Oct. 1566, and to the delegation of 30 MPs who attended the Queen on 5 Nov. 1566 to hear her message on the succession. He sat on the subsidy committee on 7 Apr. 1571 and on committees discussing tillage and the navy on 21 May and 25 May 1571.4

He was not involved in the plots of 1569-71, and Norfolk while in the Tower was allowed his services. In July 1570 Blennerhasset was calculating how the sum of £8,000 could be raised for the marriage of the Duke’s son Philip, Earl of Surrey. He was one of the original feoffees of Arundel’s lands. He died in July 1573, and was buried at Barsham beside his first wife. By his will, dated 29 June of that year, he bequeathed his plate and household stuff to his eldest son Thomas, on condition that he be ‘loving, natural and kind’ to all his brothers and sisters. He also left him most of his lands, including Barsham manor. Other land and leases he left to his younger sons and £200 to each of his unmarried daughters. Executors were his sons Thomas and Edward and his son-in-law Lionel Throckmorton; the overseer was Sir William Cordell.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. PCC 14 More; Vis. Suff. ed. Metcalfe, 7; Blomefield, Norf. i. 141; Genealogist, n.s. xxii. 129-31.
  • 3. Norwich ass. min. bk. 1551-68, ff. 168, 171; Chamberlains’ acct. bk. 1551-67, f. 271; APC, vii. 285; Suss. Arch. Colls. xlviii. 77; Lansd. 156, f. 92; LR2/113, f. 123.
  • 4. PCC 23 Bodfelde, 14 More; CSP For. 1572-4, p. 351; APC, iv. 297, 431; Cal. I.T. Recs. i. 116, 132, 137, 139-41, 150, 154, 157; Lansd. 9, f. 194 seq.; 58, f. 58 seq.; 156, f. 92; Norwich corp. ct. bk. 1569-76, p. 177; D’Ewes, 127, 159, 187, 189; CJ, i. 83, 91, 93; Camb. Univ. Lib. Gg. iii. 34, p. 209.
  • 5. N. Williams, Duke of Norfolk, 120-1; Lansd. 55, f. 176; 58, f. 58 seq.; PCC 5 Martyn.