BEWCHER, Richard (by 1477-1540), of Lynn, Norf.
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Family and Education
b. by 1477. m. Agnes ?Daye (d.1549), d.s.p.3
Common councilman, Lynn 1502-5, jurat 1506-d., constable 1506-10, mayor 1513-14, 1530-1, 1538-9, alderman 1524-d., steward, bishop’s leet and ct. 1527; commr. subsidy, Lynn 1523, 1524.4
Richard Bewcher was born at Colton, a small village near Norwich, but was apprenticed to a Lynn burgess and admitted a freeman there in 1498. He had a long and distinguished career in Lynn and was one of the first 12 aldermen appointed under the new borough constitution of 1524. Six months earlier he had ridden to London on town business and in 1527, after Lynn had finally acquired the right to appoint the stewards of the bishop’s leet and court in the town, he and Robert Soome were appointed the first stewards. A few months later he and others pardoned the town some of the money they had spent on its business in London and elsewhere.5
Bewcher was elected to Parliament on 31 Mar. 1523, together with Thomas Miller, ‘governor’ of the town during the interim period between the two constitutions. They were not elected by indirect method practised until that time, but by the mayor and 22 of the leading citizens. There is no record in the town books of their election to the Parliament of 1529, but in 1533 Bewcher was to be paid 40s. for riding to London. On 15 Oct. 1535 it was recorded that ‘this day the mayor, aldermen and common council have elected and chosen in [sic] burgess of the King’s Parliament for the time to in lieu and place of Richard Bewcher Robert esquire by the whole assent’. The reason for Bewcher’s supersession is unknown. His continued service in the borough suggests that he had not retired because of age or ill-health, even though shortly after his third and last mayoralty four years later illness forced him to absent himself from the assembly. It may be that Southwell a rising lawyer and servant of Cromwell, was judged more valuable to the borough at a critical stage in its long struggle with the bishop of Norwich, and that the crown’s assent to the change was thus secured.6
Bewcher made his will on 28 Mar. 1540 as ‘of King’s Lynn in the county of Norfolk, merchant’. He asked to be buried in the chapel of St. Nicholas, Lynn, and left to his wife Agnes a pasture called ‘Cowshill’ held by copyhold of the manor of Gaywood, with remainder to his nephew Robert, son of Walter Bewcher. His wife and two nephews were his executors and William Coningsby his overseer. He survived to account on 5 Apr. for his mayoralty but the will was proved on 18 June 1540.7
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Roger Virgoe
- 1. Lynn congregation bk. 4, f. 239.
- 2. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
- 3. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman. PCC 34 Populwell.
- 4. Lynn congregation bk. 4 passim; LP Hen. VIII, iii, iv.
- 5. PCC 7 Alenger; Lynn Freemen (Norf. Arch.), 72; LP Hen. VIII, iv; Lynn congregation bk. 4, f. 241, 270, 274.
- 6. Lynn congregation bk. 4, ff. 239, 301, 324; chamberlains’ accts. 23-24 Hen. VIII.
- 7. PCC 7 Alenger; Lynn congregation bk. 4, ff. 327v, 328v.