BEDELL, Sir Capell, 1st Bt. (1602-1643), of Hamerton, Hunts.

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



1640 (Apr.)

Family and Education

b. 27 Sept. 1602, o.s. of Sir Thomas Bedell of Hamerton and Winifred, da. of Sir Arthur Capell of Little Hadham, Herts.1 educ. Queens’, Camb. 1618; travelled abroad 1618-19.2 m. June 1619, Alice (bur. 12 Jan. 1667),3 da. of Sir Henry Fanshawe† of Ware Park, Herts., remembrancer in the Exch. 1601-16, 2s. d.v.p. 2da.4 suc. fa. 1613;5 cr. bt. 3 June 1622.6 d. by 6 Jan. 1643.7

Offices Held

J.p. Hunts. 1624-d., Northants. 1625;8 dep. lt. Hunts. 1624-at least 1638;9 commr. swans, Herts. and elsewhere c.1629, Cambs. and Hunts. 1633;10 sheriff, Cambs. and Hunts. 1632-3;11 commr. oyer and terminer, Norf. circ. 1634-42, Bucks., Beds. and Hunts. 1634-40,12 array, Hunts. 1642.13

Gent. of the privy chamber extraordinary 1639-d.14


Bedell’s great-grandfather bought Hamerton in 1565.15 Bedell himself was left an orphan at the age of 11 and seized by Sir Richard Chetwood under false pretences, despite a Wards decree placing him under the guardianship of his maternal grandfather, Sir Arthur Capell.16 With the help of Sir Robert Cotton*, Capell regained custody, and entered Bedell at Cambridge as a pupil of the puritan John Preston, who accepted only eldest sons of unimpeachable character. His tutor’s vigilance prevented an engagement to ‘a very proper and well-bred gentlewoman’, the daughter of a civil lawyer resident in the parish, but unacceptable, at least to Preston, for both social and religious reasons.17 Sent off on his travels by his prudent guardian, Bedell was described on his return in 1619 as ‘a young gentleman of good parts and means’, whose prospects were heightened by the fact that he was ‘without father, mother, brother and sister’. Soon thereafter he contracted a suitable marriage while still under the age of 17.18

Returned for Hertford in 1626, presumably with the support of his brother-in-law, Thomas Fanshawe II*, who had represented the borough in the two preceding Parliaments, Bedell was appointed to seven bill committees, whose subjects included the oaths of accountants (11 Feb.), the removal of scandalous and unworthy clergymen (15 Feb.), the provision of work and religious instruction in gaols (8 Mar.), and restrictions on clerical magistrates (10 March).19 He was also named to the conference of 7 Mar. concerning the international situation.20 Returned for Huntingdonshire in 1628, he played no known part in proceedings in either session. In 1630 he was summoned to appear in the Exchequer for failing to compound for knighthood, and eventually submitted to a fine of £12 10s.21

Huntingdonshire re-elected Bedell to the Short Parliament in April 1640, by which time his motive for standing was probably to obtain respite from the demands of creditors. He had become indebted principally, it would seem, as surety for Oliver St. John II*, and managed to secure a grant of protection for six months in May 1640, but was outlawed when it expired.22 He joined the royalists at Oxford, but died during the first winter of the Civil War. His body was carried away on 6 Jan. 1643; no will has been found.23 His daughter brought the Hamerton estate to her husband, Sir Francis Compton†.24 No further member of the family entered Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. VCH Herts. Fams. 91; Vis. Hunts. (Cam. Soc. xliii), 39.
  • 2. Al. Cant.; T. Ball, Life of Renowned Dr. Preston, 48-51.
  • 3. VCH Herts. Fams. 91.
  • 4. H.C. Fanshawe, Hist. Fanshawe Fam. 81.
  • 5. C142/338/54; 142/347/66; 142/348/102.
  • 6. CB, i. 197.
  • 7. W. Dugdale, Hist. Mems. of Eng. Laws, 208.
  • 8. C231/4, f. 163; Add. 15750, f. 78; T. Rymer, Foedera viii, pt. 2, pp. 9, 12.
  • 9. Add. Ch. 33168B; Hunts. RO, M80/3646/455.
  • 10. C181/3, f. 268; 181/4, f. 153v.
  • 11. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 14.
  • 12. C181/4, ff. 165, 182v, 196v; 181/5, ff. 3v, 31v, 159v, 218.
  • 13. Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 14. LC5/134, p. 307.
  • 15. VCH Hunts. iii. 67.
  • 16. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 508; APC, 1616-17, p. 306; Cott. Julius C.III, no. 66.
  • 17. Ball, 48-51.
  • 18. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 249, 577.
  • 19. Procs. 1626, ii. 21, 44, 226, 246.
  • 20. Ibid. 216.
  • 21. Bodl. Carte 74, ff. 174, 194; E178/5348, f. 5; SP16/189/46.
  • 22. CSP Dom. 1640, p. 77; 1640-1, p. 95.
  • 23. Dugdale, 208.
  • 24. VCH Herts. Fams. 91.