BOURCHER, Henry (d.1598), of the Inner Temple, London.

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

illegit. s. of Anne, suo jure Baroness Bourchier (d.1571). educ. I. Temple 1574, called 1584. m. Anne Scott, ?s.p.

Offices Held

Bencher, I. Temple 1596, Lent reader 1598.

Member, Antiq. Soc. c.1591.1


Bourchier was possibly one of the children of Lady Bourchier bastardized by her husband, Lord Parr, in 1543 when he divorced her for having them by a man called Hunt or Huntley. More probably he was born after the divorce. His mother’s barony passed to her cousin, Walter Devereux, subsequently 1st Earl of Essex, after whose death, both during the next earl’s minority and later, money was paid from the Devereux estate to Bourchier and his sister. Bourchier looked to the young 2nd Earl for protection as well as support, and was, for example, once suitor to him on behalf of his two grocer brothers-in-law, Nicholas and Richard Scott, who were in trouble for infringing a starch monopoly. No doubt it was Essex who brought him into Parliament. When on 31 Dec. 1592 Essex sent to his Staffordshire agents his list of nominations for the forthcoming general election, ‘my kinsman, Henry Bourchier’ was one of his two nominees for Stafford. Bourchier played no known part in the proceedings of the Parliament of 1589, but was active in 1593 and 1597. He reported the bill for Stonehouse town on 28 Mar. 1593, and on 4 Apr. was appointed to the committee for the bill to reduce disloyal subjects to their true obedience. In 1597 he was appointed to a committee concerned with an earlier statute against the abduction of women (7 Nov.), and to committees on armour and weapons (8 Nov.), monopolies (10 Nov.), the continuance of statutes (11 Nov.) and a private bill for the lands of Sir John Spencer (25 Nov.). He spoke in the debate (12 Nov.) on the disputed Ludlow election, siding with the electors against the sheriff. He spoke again, on 21 Nov., drawing the attention of the Commons to the practice of revealing the proceedings of the House to outsiders, and on 25 Nov. reported the bill for Sir John Spencer’s lands ‘to the good satisfaction of the House’. On 2 Dec. he reported a bill about the exportation of sheepskins and on 9 Dec. a bill against patentees.2

On 26 Aug. 1598, a few months after he had attained the summit of his legal career, Bourchier made his will, appointing his wife Anne sole executrix, and leaving her most of his property. The Earl of Essex was to have ‘all my books of histories, of Latin, French, Italian and Spanish, and such other of antiquities as he shall please to accept of’. The will was proved 18 Sept. 1598.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.E.M.


  • 1. PCC 24 Lewin; J. C. Wedgwood, Staffs. Parl. Hist. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), i. 391; J. Evans, Hist. Antiq. Soc. 12.
  • 2. Genealogist, n.s. xxviii. 65; Wedgwood, loc. cit.; CP, v. 139-40; ix. 672; HMC Hatfield, iv. 261; v. 267, 529; Cam. Misc. xiii. 6; HMC 4th Rep. 329-30; Neale, Commons, 237-8; D’Ewes, 511, 517, 552, 553, 555, 556, 560, 563, 567, 571, 575.
  • 3. PCC 24 Lewin.