BISSE, Edward (c.1588-by 1647), of Spargrove, Som.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. c.1588, 1st s. of Edward Bisse of Spargrove, and his 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of Geoffrey Upton of Warminster, Wilts.1 educ. M. Temple 1608.2 m. 11 Nov. 1617,3 Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Hawker of Heytesbury, Wilts., 2s. 5da. (3 d.v.p.).4 suc. fa. 1630.5 d. by 1647.

Offices Held

Commr. complaints, Gillingham Forest, Dorset 1627;6 j.p. Som. 1643.7

Col. ft. (roy.) by 1642-23 July 1644.8


Bisse belonged to an extended family scattered among several villages surrounding Wells in Somerset, where in 1608, while still a minor, he inherited a number of tenements.9 On his admission to the Middle Temple he was exempted from paying an entrance fine by the special order of William Swanton, a Bencher and fellow Somerset man. In 1615 he was admitted to the chambers vacated by his near neighbour Ralph Hopton*.10 Bisse’s family already had some experience of parliamentary service - his uncles James Bisse† and George Upton† had both represented Wells under Elizabeth. He owed his election at Heytesbury in 1625 to his father-in-law, who had until 1624 been lord of the manor of Heytesbury.11 Bisse is not recorded as having made any contribution to the work of the House.

Little has been discovered of Bisse’s later years; he does not appear to have stood for Parliament again. He was a defendant in several legal suits during the 1620s and 1630s, variously concerned with the rights of copyholders and the terms agreed for loans and mortgages on Somerset properties.12 In 1638 he was named as a trustee of a hospital in Bruton, Somerset, in the company of Sir Charles Berkeley*, Sir Henry Berkeley*, Ralph Hopton and Sir Edward Rodney*.13 Following the outbreak of civil war he fought for the king as a colonel under William Seymour*, 2nd earl of Hertford, but the restructuring of the royalist forces in the county resulted in his regiment being disbanded in July 1644.14 Bisse drafted his will on 1 Sept. 1644, leaving his household goods to his wife; his stock of cattle to one daughter; and £400, derived from his parsonage at Wells, to another. His date of death is unknown, but his will was proved in February 1647.15 Neither of his sons sat in Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Henry Lancaster


  • 1. Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 2), i. 285; iv. 22.
  • 2. M. Temple Admiss.
  • 3. IGI (par. reg. of Milton Clevedon, Som.)
  • 4. Add. 34568, f. 50; PROB 11/199, f. 300; Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 2), ii. 145-6.
  • 5. IGI (par. reg. of Milton Clevedon, Som.)
  • 6. Hutchins, Dorset, iii. 649.
  • 7. Docquets of Letters Patent 1642-6 ed. W.H. Black, i. 11.
  • 8. P.R. Newman, Roy. Officers in Eng. and Wales, 30.
  • 9. Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 2), ii. 320; HMC Wells, ii. 345, 386.
  • 10. MTR, 504, 600.
  • 11. PROB 11/171, f. 256; Vis. Wilts. (Harl. Soc. cv-cvi), 82.
  • 12. C78/386/5; REQ 2/308/2; C2/Chas.I/B3/44.
  • 13. Wilts. RO, 383/419.
  • 14. E. Walker, Hist. Discourses, 45; C. Long, Diary of Marches of Roy. Army (Cam. Soc. lxxiv), 36.
  • 15. PROB 11/199, f. 300; Add. 34568, f. 50; Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 2), ii. 94.