BOURCHIER, Ralph (c.1531-98), of Haughton, Staffs. and Beningbrough, Yorks.

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.1531, s. of James Bourchier of Haughton by Mary, da. of Sir Humphrey Bannister of Calais and h. of her bro. John. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of Francis Hall of Grantham, Lincs., sis. of Arthur Hall, 2s. 4da.; (2) 1577, Christian, da. of Rowland Shakerley of London, wid. of John Harding of London, prob. s.p.; (3) Anne, wid. of one Coote, ?s.p. suc. fa. c.1555. Kntd. 1584.1

Offices Held

Keeper of Rochester castle, Kent 1559; sheriff, Yorks. 1580-1; j.p. Yorks. (N. Riding) from c.1573, (E. Riding) from c.1584.2


Bourchier’s grandfather was the 2nd Lord Berners, appointed deputy of Calais in 1520. His father, one of Lord Berners’s many illegitimate children, spent most of his life soldiering, first at Galais and later as lieutenant of Ambleteuse. Bourchier himself inherited the manor of Haughton and other lands in Staffordshire, most of which he sold between 1568 and 1575, having by then inherited an estate in Yorkshire from his mother’s brother, John Bannister of London.3

Bourchier’s local standing was no doubt sufficient to secure his own return to Parliament for Newcastle-under-Lyme and for Scarborough, where he had a lease of the rectory and other property. In 1572 he was first returned at Petersfield, probably through a connexion with Sir Henry Weston, before choosing to sit a second time for Newcastle-under-Lyme. His nomination at Newport must have been due to Sir George Carey, who had obtained the borough’s enfranchisement in the same year, though the actual connexion with Carey has not been ascertained; Bourchier may have met him either at court or during the northern campaign of 1569-70, and he may also have known Carey’s kinsman Edward, who had sat for Scarborough in 1272. For his fifth and last Parliament Bourchier sat as one of the Yorkshire county Members. On 26 Feb. 1589 he was named to a committee concerning captains and soldiers. He had already by then been active in local affairs in Yorkshire for some years. Indeed, as early as 1564 it had been suggested that he would be a suitable j.p. for the North Riding. In 1591 he was appointed with several other people to inquire into a dispute over the office of clerk to the castle and county court of York.4

He died 11 June 1598 and was buried the same day at Barking, Essex. The administration of his property was granted on 15 June to his widow, who died the following August. Bourchier is not known to have had any estates in Essex and may have been visiting his daughter-in-law, formerly Katherine Barrington, whom his eldest son, William, married in about 1588. Through her mother, Katherine, she was related to the Hastings family, and Henry, 3rd of Huntingdon, was one of the witnesses of her marriage settlement. In the same year Huntingdon recommended to the Privy Council that Bourchier should be made a captain of horse. William Bourchier later went mad and the father delayed carrying out the stipulations of the settlement until a petition had been presented to Burghley by Francis Barrington. On Bourchier’s death, his property passed to a grandson, William’s eldest son, except for half the manor of Hanging Grimston in Yorkshire left to his younger son, John. William’s second son, Sir John, who eventually inherited Beningbrough, was a regicide.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Patricia Hyde


  • 1. C142/107/39; Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. ed. Clay, i. 305-8; Vis. Yorks. (Harl. Soc. xvi), 30; London Mar. Lic. (Harl. Soc. xxv.), 77; Staffs. Parl. Hist. i. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.) 366-7; PCC admon. act bk. 1598, ff. 251, 258, 266; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. n.s. ix. 29, 85.
  • 2. CSP Dom. Add. 1547-65, p. 491; CSP Dom. 1598-1601, p. 62; HMC Var. ii. 99.
  • 3. Parl. Rep. Yorks. ed. Gooder (Yorks. Arch. Soc. Rec. ser. xcvi), 34; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xiii. 270; xiv. 176; n.s. ix. 29, 85; CPR, 1558-60, p. 244; C142/107/39; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. li), 441.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xiii(1), p. 562; D’Ewes, 439; HMC Var. ii. 92-5; J. J. Cartwright, Chapters in Yorks. Hist. (1872), p. 67; Cam Misc. ix(3), p. 72; APC, xxi. 161-2; xxii. 400-1.
  • 5. Border Pprs. 1560-94, p. 324; Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 87; Essex Arch. Soc. n.s. ii. 9; VCH Yorks. N. Riding, ii. 162; C142/337/98.