BURDEN, George (d.1593), of Westminster.

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

s. of one Burden of Dover and Sandwich, Kent. educ. Rochester g.s.; Magdalen Hall, Oxf.; Trinity Coll. Camb., fellow 1546, BA c.1548. m. Elizabeth Prestwood, s.p.

Offices Held

Dep. receiver of revenues and rents to the dean and chapter of Westminster 1564-89, receiver 1589-d.


Almost all the information about Burden in this biography comes from his will, PCC 4 Dixy, and from the records of Westminster abbey. He was connected with ‘Sir Thomas Cecil and my lady his wife’, and may have begun his career in the Cecil household before obtaining his office at Westminster. At his death he directed his executrix to pay the dean and chapter any money he owed them. Probably it was his involved financial position and his extensive dealing in real estate which prompted him to safeguard his lands against forfeiture by transferring them to Elizabeth, wife of Roger Alford, with reversion to his own wife within ten days after his death. In 1560, in partnership with ‘my old faithful friend’ John Harington I, he sold property in Devon. Next, for £1,058 he bought more in Norfolk, Derbyshire and Leicestershire. Some years later he and two others paid £1,998 for land in Devon, Flintshire, Herefordshire and Somerset. In 1564, with George Carleton he paid £549 for the revenue of property in Northamptonshire, formerly belonging to Delapré abbey.1 With William Walter of Wimbledon, he acquired from Westminster abbey a lease of Chiswick mansion and manor on condition that the house was available to boys of Westminster school in time of sickness. He also owned property in Kent.

Burden owed his return to Parliament to Dame Dorothy Pakington, who stated that she had chosen, named and appointed Burden and his colleague as ‘my burgesses of my ... town of Aylesbury’. His connexion with Dorothy Pakington may have been through the Alfords, or through Burden’s ‘very especial good friend’ William Camden, keeper of the abbey library and undermaster at Westminster school, to whom he bequeathed several ‘fair bound’ volumes. Other legacies in the will, made 1 Feb. 1593, and proved 28 Jan. 1594, went to Lady Russell of Bisham, (Sir) Thomas Cecil, (Sir) Edward and (Sir) Thomas Posthumous Hoby, and members of the Scudamore, Chamberlain and Walter families. He made a large number of charitable bequests to parishes, to the inmates of various London prisons, and to Westminster school which received £6 for improving the Queen’s scholars’ diet, 1s. for each scholar and £2 for a window ‘with my poor arms therein’. A codicil of 7 May 1593 allowed the widow and sole executrix to decide whether or not all these legacies were to be paid ‘considering the great loss which I have lately sustained as is well known’. As overseers, he appointed the bishop of Rochester and Dean Goodman of Westminster.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler


  • 1. CPR, 1558-60, pp. 381, 460-1; 1560-3, p. 571; 1563-6, p. 155.