BURY, Edward (prob. by 1504-84), of Eastwood and Rayleigh, Essex.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. prob. by 1504, prob. 1st s. of John Bury of Essex by Alice, da. of John Strangman of Hadleigh. educ. L. Inn, adm. 1 Mar. 1528. unm. prob. 2s. illegit.2

Offices Held

Escheator, Essex 1542-3, 1548-9; commr. relief 1550, sewers 1554, benevolence for rebuilding St. Paul’s 1564; j.p. 1558/59-75.3


According to his own statement when elected to Parliament, Edward Bury was born at Runwell near Wickford in Essex. An infant at his father’s death in 1508, he may have been the ward of Sir Francis Bryan, whose servant he had become by 1535 and for whom he deputized as butler at Ipswich in 1540. In April 1528 Bury witnessed the will of his grandfather John Strangman, father of the Member of that name.4

Whether from service with Bryan, or from legal practice, or both, Bury evidently prospered. His sales of lands for a total of £700 between 1530 and 1541 were more than offset by his acquisitions, among them the manor of Bulvan, formerly of Barking abbey, for £60 in 1540, and the disparked park of Rayleigh, his share of a multiple purchase of ex-monastic land costing £1,825, in 1544; it was at Rayleigh that Bury settled for the rest of his life. His partners in this transaction included William Parr, Earl of Essex, and (probably) John Cock II. His association with Parr, a considerable landowner in the county, could have helped Bury to gain a seat for Maldon in 1542, with Bryan, himself returned for Buckinghamshire, perhaps lending a hand and Bury’s own link with the Strangman family also working in his favour. Both he and his fellow-Member Henry Dowes undertook to serve in Parliament at no cost to the borough and were made freemen in virtue of their election. Between the first and second sessions Bury was appointed escheator of Essex but he was not to be put on the county bench until 20 years later. He does not appear to have benefited from Parr’s ascendancy, as Marquess of Northampton, under Edward VI, save perhaps in his further acquisitions of monastic and chantry lands; such of these as lay in Essex he was to retain, but those in London, Somerset, Yorkshire and Wales he must have resold since at his death he possessed no land outside Essex. In 1546 he was assessed for subsidy at the relatively modest figure of £66. The claim that Bury was ‘of the bedchamber to King Henry’ is not borne out by household lists or subsidy rolls, on which his name does not appear.5

On Mary’s accession Bury sued out a pardon. In March 1554 he was one of four Essex gentlemen bound by the Council in £100 to cause decent altars to be erected and set up in their parish churches’ within 14 days, but in the following year he and others received the Council’s thanks ‘for coming so honestly and of themselves to Colchester’ to assist the sheriff at an execution of Protestants. This disposition to support authority was to earn him the bishop of London’s commendation as a favourer of religion in 1564 and to lead him, ten years later, to apprehend the recusant Anthony Tyrrell on his way to the Continent; in sending Tyrrell and the papers found on him to Robert, Lord Rich, Bury asked Rich to peruse the papers with care ‘for that there be some of them in Latin which I do not well understand’ while those in English appeared to contain incriminating matter.6

Bury’s inquisition post mortem found that he died in February 1584 and that his heir was Robert Strangman, a 10 year-old cousin. The will which Bury had made on 19 Apr. 1577 has not been found but it is quoted in the inquisition, as is a settlement which had preceded it. The combined effect of will and settlement was to provide generously and in detail for one Alice Gilbert, her husband Thomas (a husbandman) and a large number of infants, chief among them Bradford Gilbert alias Bury and Joseph Bury. Although Bury had stated his intention to provide for those of his ‘stock, kindred [and] alliance’, not one of the beneficiaries is designated as a relative of his, a circumstance which gives colour to Morant’s statement that Alice Gilbert had borne him two illegitimate sons. It was they who came into possession of most of his land, presumably by arrangement since no trace of litigation has been found.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: D. F. Coros


  • 1. Essex RO, D/B3/1/2, f. 121.
  • 2. E150/298/3, where name of heir aged four years and more on 13 Nov. 1508 is illegible. C142/205/197; Trans. Essex. Arch. Soc. v. 119n.
  • 3. CPR, 1553, p. 353; 1554-5, p. 107; 1560-3, p. 437; 1563-6, pp. 120, 496; 1569-72, p. 224; Essex RO, Ass. 35/1/3/61, 35/17/2/5.
  • 4. Essex RO, D/AER4/53v; LP Hen. VIII, ix; C1/1101/54-56; Black Bk. L. Inn, i. 236.
  • 5. Feet of Fines, Essex, iv. ed. Reaney and Fitch, 232, 237; E318/209; LP Hen. VIII, xix, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, p. 212; 1549-51, pp. 119 et seq., 148 et seq.; 1553, p. 353; Morant, Essex, i. 221; E179/110/320; Essex RO, D/B3/3/235.
  • 6. CPR, 1553-4, p. 411; APC, iv. 411; v. 153; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 62; SP12/98/20, f. 86v.
  • 7. C142/205/197.