ANDERSON, Bertram (by 1505-71), of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumb. and Haswell Grange, co. Dur.

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. by 1505, 1st s. of Henry Anderson of Newcastle by Anne, da. of Robert Orde of Orde, Northumb. m. Alice, da. of Ralph or Robert Carr of Newcastle, 2s. inc. Henry 3da. suc. fa. 1559.2

Offices Held

Sheriff, Newcastle 1543-4, mayor 1551-2, 1557-8, 1563-4; gov. merchant adventurers of Newcastle 1551-2, 1557-8; commr. enclosure middle march 1553; escheator, Northumb. 1555-6.3


Bertram Anderson was born into one of the great commercial, municipal and parliamentary families of Newcastle, and he was to prolong its achievement in all these spheres. He was received as an apprentice boothman into the Newcastle merchant adventurers in 1525-6, and although the date of his admission as a freeman is not known, by 1532 he was in charge of the first of the many apprentices who were to serve with him. When the merchant adventurers company received a new charter of incorporation in 1547 he was chosen one of the 12 assistants to the governor, who in that year was his father; he himself was later to be governor and concurrently mayor of the town. The growth of his business is to be measured by the size of his inventory, his advance in wealth and his preferment to office. In the schedule of assessment of Newcastle ships in 1544 he was named as the owner of the Mary, of 48 tons, and in 1548 he bought quantities of grain from French ships at Newcastle. By 1550 he had established business with the Netherlands and he also developed an interest in the expanding coal industry of the north-east; in 1554 he bought for a fee of £10 13s.4d. a lease for 21 years of coal mines in Elswick, and in Mary’s reign he was employed on business for the merchant adventurers company at Auckland and Hartlepool.4

Anderson’s parliamentary career began with his return to the second Edwardian Parliament and he was to be re-elected to four out of the next seven. Throughout these years at least one of the Newcastle seats was taken by a merchant adventurer, and his repeated occupancy of this seat was as much a measure of Anderson’s commercial as of his municipal standing. Of his part in the proceedings of the Commons there is hardly a trace. Thus it is not known whether he played any part in the passing of the Act of 1553 (7 Edw. VI, c.10) which annexed Gateshead to Newcastle, and in the Parliament of November 1554 he is not to be found among the Members who incurred prosecution by withdrawing without leave. That he was a trusted municipal spokesman is shown by his despatch in April 1557, with another merchant and councillor, Oswald Chapman, to appear before the Privy Council in the matter of dissension within the town, and by his return two months later with four others to hear the Council’s judgment.5

Anderson used the wealth derived from trade to build up a considerable landed estate: he was especially active in this way under Edward VI. In 1548 his uncle George Orde conveyed to him the manor of Burradon and property in Jesmond and Elswick, and in 1550 he acquired with William Jenyson the manor and other property at Cocken in county Durham. In May 1552 he was granted the wardship of Thomas Swinborne, who belonged to an important family in the county, and in the following March he paid £673 for property, mainly ex-monastic, in Durham and Northumberland. It was in keeping with his emergence as a landowner that he became a shire official as well as a municipal one; his enhanced status is also reflected in the parliamentary returns, on which the merchant of 1554 becomes the gentleman of 1558.6

The litigation in which Anderson became involved related to property rights and business dealings. Thomas Carey, constable of Prudhoe, whom Anderson’s father sued in the Star Chamber over the destruction of fisheries at Ovingham, in turn brought a suit in the court of augmentations against both Andersons for allegedly cutting down and carrying away a large number of trees belonging to the castle. In June 1558 the Privy Council reported that Bertram Anderson, together with William, 3rd Lord Dacre and his son Leonard, had been sued in the Exchequer for a debt of £2,000 by Alderman William Hewitt of London. Anderson was committed to the Fleet but he had apparently not been a principal in the matter and he was ordered to be released. In September both parties, including Anderson, were bound in recognizances of £3,000 and the case was submitted to arbitration.7

In Elizabeth’s reign Anderson remained an important figure in Newcastle and in 1563 he was returned to his last Parliament. He took a leading part in the development of the coal trade, supplied government enterprises with ships, coal and victuals, and loyally supported the crown in the northern rebellion of 1569. He made his will on 8 Mar. 1571 and died six days later; the will was proved on the following 12 June.8

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. J. Taylor


  • 1. Only the christian name and the first three letters of the surname survive on a damaged indenture, C219/20/159.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/135/47. Vis. Northumb. ed. Foster, 6; Wills and Inventories, i. (Surtees Soc. ii), 166; Surtees, Durham, i. 122.
  • 3. Arch. Ael. (ser. 4), xviii. 33, 36-37, 39; J. Brand, Newcastle , ii. 240; Hodgson, Northumb. i. 360.
  • 4. Wills and Inventories, i. 164-8, 335-42; ii. (Surtees Soc. cxii), 58; Newcastle Merchant Adventurers, i. (ibid. xciii), 283-4; ii. (ci), 168, 191, 194, 197-8, 203, 207, 209; R. Welford, Newcastle and Gateshead, ii. 180; Men of Mark Twixt Tyne and Tweed, i. 47 et passim; CPR, 1547-8, p. 66; 1553-4, p. 249; Arch. Ael. (ser. 4), xxxix. 204; CSP Dom. 1601-3, Add. 1547-65, p. 367; Bronnen tot de Geschiedenis van den Handel met Engeland, Schotland en Ierland, ed. Smit, 715-16; APC, iv. 247; J. U. Nef, Rise of Coal Industry, ii. 444.
  • 5. Nef, i. 153; APC, vi. 80, 97; CPR, 1555-7, p. 399.
  • 6. Northumb. Co. Hist. ix. 46; CPR, 1549-51, p. 230; 1553, p. 34; NRA 8746 (Swinburne mss, 1/179).
  • 7. St.Ch.3/V1/72; Northumb. Co. Hist. xi. 179; APC, vi. 322, 394.
  • 8. Welford, Men of Mark, i. 49-51; Newcastle and Gateshead, ii. 342; Wills and Inventories, i. 335-42; ii. 58; Brand, ii. 265; CSP For. 1560-1, p. 545; 1562, pp. 328, 425: Strype, Annals, i(1), 35; CSP Scot. 1563-9, p. 416; HMC Hatfield, i. 183, 185; Sharpe, Memorials of the Rebellion, 101, 186-7, 227; B. N. Wilson, ‘Ref. in Durham and Northumb.’ (Durham Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1935), 489-90, 494.