BOND, John (c.1550-1612), of Taunton, Som.

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.1550. educ. Winchester; New Coll. Oxf. 1569, BA 1574, MA 1579. m. Anstice.

Offices Held

Master of Taunton free sch. c.1580-c.1600.


After being a schoolmaster for over 20 years, Bond turned physician and eventually became eminent in his new profession. Returned to the 1601 Parliament by the borough whose school he had served for so long, his parliamentary career began unobtrusively on 18 Nov. with his appointment to a committee considering clothworkers. But on 2 Dec. during the debate on the church attendance bill he joined with Edward Glascock in expressing reservations about the extended powers which the bill would give j.p.s. ‘Magistrates are men and men have always attending on them two ministers, libido and iracundia. Men of this nature do subjugate the free subject’. He thought the penalties would be felt only by the poor, for

will any think that a justice of the peace will contest with so good a man as himself? No, this age is too wise. I leave it to this House whether it stands with policy when four subsidies and eight fifteenths be now granted, to bring the poorer sort into a greater fear by these and such like laws.

A reference to the ‘luxuriant authority’ of j.p.s. upset the puritan promoter of the bill, Sir Francis Hastings:

He that sits against me (pointing at Mr. Bond), is my countryman, and I am sorry he should thus lose his way ... the speech was insolent.

He and others wished Bond and Glascock to be brought to the bar of the House. On this occasion Bond apologized for causing offence, but on 10 Dec. he was as critical of j.p.s. as before, and careful to refute any connexions with Sir Francis Hastings:

I am a Devonshire man and I speak plainly from the heart of him that hates popery and defies puritanism.

He wished that a proviso might be inserted in the bill for the suppression of alehouses

that no retainer or servant to a justice of the peace be admitted to be an alehouse keeper, vintner or victualler unless he be chosen by a jury of 12 men at the feet or law day of that borough town wherein he desireth to victual. I know and speak what I know very well, that more disorder and more misrule is usually kept in the houses of such kinds of men than in all the country besides. If this stand not for a law, order may be taken for such kind of offences.

Two days later on 12 Dec. he spoke again on church attendance. Although the bill now presented differed substantially from the original he still thought it ‘altogether needless’.

Every evil in a state is not to be met with in a law. And as it is in the natural, so it is in the politic body, that sometimes the remedy is worse than the disease.

A fine for not attending church might have been necessary at the beginning of the reign when ‘the people were newly taken from massing and superstition’ but now it had outgrown its usefulness. Besides, the social order might be disturbed:

Say there be forty in a parish absent, the churchwarden presents some and not others—it will be objected to him: wherefore should I be presented and not he? My wife, my servant, my friend and not his? Will not this be a great breach of unity and peace? ... So because this bill is scandalous to the clergy, scandalous to the state and repugnant to charity and crambe recocta, I pray it may receive the like entertainment the former bill had viz. to be rejected.

He was once more answered by Sir Francis Hastings who referred to him as ‘far from religion’ and accused him of taking ‘studied pains to disturb the passage of this bill’, and by Sir William Knollys:

We have been often troubled by physicians (meaning Mr. Bond) and they have been spoken against. He troubled us with Aristotle and other books. If he had stayed there, it had been well.

After again representing Taunton in James’s first Parliament, Bond died 2 Aug. 1612.

DNB; PCC 102 Fenner; Collinson, Som. iii. 239-40; D’Ewes, 642, 663-4, 682; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 275, 278, 306, 317-19.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: M.A.P.