BERTIE, Sir Peregrine (c.1584-1639), of Belton in Axholme, Lincs. and The Barbican, London

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.1584, 2nd s. of Peregrine Bertie, 13th Lord Willoughby de Eresby (d.1601), and Mary, da. of John de Vere, 16th earl of Oxford.1 educ. Corpus, Camb. 1594; travelled abroad (France) 1599; M. Temple 1605.2 m. by 1615, Margaret (bur. 31 Mar. 1642), da. of Sir Nicholas Saunderson, 1st bt.*, of Fillingham, Lincs., 3s. 3da.3 cr. KB 2 June 1610.4 bur. 13 Nov. 1639.5

Offices Held

Gent. of the privy chamber to Prince Henry 1610-12.6

Officer, Dutch army by 1611,7 maj. of ft. 1625-6;8 col. of ft. 1627-9.9

Member, Virg. Co. 1612,10 Amazon Co. 1619.11

Gamekeeper, Ancaster heath, Lincs. 1619;12 j.p. Lincs. (Lindsey) 1621-d.;13 commr. recusants, Lincs. 1624,14 enclosure, Deeping fen 1625,15 sewers, River Gleane, Lincs. and Notts. 1625-34, Lincoln, Lincs. 1627-9;16 freeman, Boston, Lincs. 1634;17 commr. swans, Lincs. 1635.18


Bertie’s father, celebrated in ballads as ‘brave Lord Willoughby’, was foremost among Elizabethan soldiers in popular esteem, and inspired both Bertie and his elder brother to emulate his career in quieter times.19 Although only a younger son, Bertie inherited a Norfolk manor and the reversion of a town house in the Barbican.20 In 1610 he entered Prince Henry’s Household, and was created a knight of the Bath at Henry’s investiture as Prince of Wales.21 Later in the year he was seriously wounded in the shoulder in a duel against Francis, 2nd Lord Norris, a longstanding enemy of Bertie’s brother, Robert, Lord Willoughby. Bertie joined Willoughby as an officer in the Dutch army sometime before the prince’s untimely death.22 He visited Spa in 1612 for the recovery of his health, and returned to the Continent in the autumn of the following year to fight Norris again.23 This was one of several duels to take place at this time, and the practice so disturbed James I that he issued a lengthy Proclamation against it.24

Bertie defeated Sir Thomas Monson* in a contest for the junior seat in the Lincolnshire election of 1614, but left no trace on the records of the Addled Parliament.25 At the end of the year he was struck down by serious illness. His erstwhile adversary, Lord Norris, wrote to Sir John Holles* on 19 Dec. to scotch false rumours of Bertie’s death, ‘which by my troth I am glad of’, and promised to visit him, ‘for his long, lingering sickness gives good occasion for such a compliment, and I persuade myself the nice interpreters of the laws of duels cannot think it any base or abject insinuation for me to do so’.26 The apparent truce between them was short-lived, and a fresh quarrel between Norris and Lord Willoughby erupted in September 1615.27

Bertie volunteered for the expedition to liberate the Palatinate in 1620, but never actually served.28 In 1624 he returned to fight alongside his brother in the Low Countries, and was recalled two years later to command a regiment of his own in the expedition to the Ile de RĂ©.29 On his retirement from military affairs he was involved in a fen drainage scheme, which led to a dispute with the bishop of Ely.30 He was also an investor in the exploration of both Virginia and Guiana.31 He died of gout at the age of 55, and was buried on 13 Nov. 1639 at St. Giles-in-the-Fields.32 No will has been found. Although the Bertie family produced more Members of the Restoration Parliaments than any other, his own direct descendants, who eventually settled at Low Layton, Essex, did not sit again until 1753.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Paula Watson / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 129.
  • 2. Al. Cant.; M. Temple Admiss.; CSP Dom. 1598-1601, p. 215; HMC Hatfield, ix. 241.
  • 3. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 129.
  • 4. Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 158.
  • 5. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 129.
  • 6. Govt. of Royal Household (Soc. of Antiqs. 1790), p. 323.
  • 7. HMC Buccleuch, i. 103.
  • 8. F.J.G. Ten Raa and F. De Bas, Het Staatsche Leger, iii. 181; CSP Dom. 1628-9, p. 67.
  • 9. T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Chas. I, i. 147, 174; CSP Dom. 1627-8, pp. 186, 197.
  • 10. A. Brown, Genesis of US, 543.
  • 11. APC Col. 1613-80, p. 37.
  • 12. HMC Rutland, i. 456.
  • 13. C231/4, f. 121; SP16/405, f. 39v.
  • 14. HMC Rutland, i. 471.
  • 15. SR, v. 567.
  • 16. C181/3, ff. 168v, 228v; 181/4, ff. 39v, 83, 154v;
  • 17. P. Thompson, Boston, 306; Boston Corp. Mins. ed. J.F. Bailey, ii. 684.
  • 18. C181/5, f. 14.
  • 19. HMC Ancaster, 331, 345, 346-7.
  • 20. PROB 11/98, f. 144; CSP Dom. 1601-3, p. 64.
  • 21. Winwood’s Memorials ed. E. Sawyer, iii. 180.
  • 22. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E McClure, i. 298.
  • 23. Ibid. i. 474; HMC 10th Rep. i, 598; HMC Mar and Kellie, ii. 54.
  • 24. L. Stone, Crisis of the Aristocracy, 247.
  • 25. Chamberlain Letters, i. 518.
  • 26. HMC Portland, ix. 145-6.
  • 27. APC, 1615-16, p. 293.
  • 28. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 307.
  • 29. Birch, i. 147, 174; APC, 1627, p. 294; 1627-8, p. 391; CSP Dom. 1627-8, pp. 186, 197.
  • 30. CSP Dom. 1634-5, p. 163; 1635, pp. 493, 524; 1635-6, p. 295.
  • 31. T.K. Rabb, Enterprise and Empire, 246.
  • 32. P. Bertie, Mem. of Peregrine Bertie, 11th Lord Willoughby ed. C. H. Parry (1838), p. 89; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 129.