BEDNELL (BIDNEL), John (by 1507-?63/68), of Lemington, Northumb.

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 1507, ?s. of John Bednell of Lemington. m. Jane, da. and coh. of one Hastings, 1s. 1da.2

Offices Held

Steward, cts. of Alnwick abbey, Northumb. 1528, cts. leet and baron of William, 4th Lord Burgh by 1552; j.p. Northumb. 1532-?d.; clerk of ct. of Brinkburn priory, Northumb. by 1535; escheator, Northumb. 1535-6, Feb.-Nov. 1539, coroner by 1551-?d.; commr. enclosures in middle marches 1553.3


Bednells had been resident in Northumberland since at least the 14th century, but they were a family of modest means and attainments at the opening of the 16th. John Bednell may have been the son of a namesake of Lemington who gave lands to Bertram Mitford in 1497 and who was steward of the manor of Seaton Delaval in 1516; the fact that it is not known when this older man died makes it difficult to distinguish the earlier stages of the Member’s career.4

It is likely by reason of the offices he was to hold that Bednell received a legal training, but there is no trace of him at an inn of court. In 1522 a John Bednell, servant to Edward Grey of Chillingham, a leading figure in Northumberland, sent to Lord Darcy, to scrutinize with his counsel, six deeds of entail to the heirs male of the Greys. It was clearly the Member who was steward of the courts of Alnwick abbey, for by the patent of 1528 his son Edward was granted the reversion of that office after his death. Although the christian name of Bednell’s father-in-law is not known, he may have belonged to the old and widespread Yorkshire family of Hastings, whose main residence was at Roxby; if so, Bednell’s fortunes were probably furthered by the match, for the Hastings also had large estates and influence in Durham and Northumberland, including lands in Lemington. In 1532 Bednell acted as an arbitrator between Sir Philip Dacre and Sir John Delaval and in 1537 he laid information concerning outlaws in Northumberland. A year later he was one of the men before whom depositions were taken concerning the alleged misdemeanours of Lionel Grey, porter of Berwick, an episode in the Clifford-Grey feud of the time, and in 1543 he surveyed the distances between places along the east and middle marches and the state of certain fortresses. In January 1546 he received the wardship of Henry Bellingham.5

Bednell’s return as junior knight of the shire to Edward VI’s first Parliament was clearly a notable achievement, but not enough is known of the electoral patronage then obtaining in the county to attribute it to a particular interest and there is no trace of his part in the proceedings of the House. His career outside it is illustrated by a number of references. In June 1547 Robert Collingwood gave him by charter land near Lemington called Bolton Wood for 99 years and in 1556 appointed Bednell executor of his will. In July 1550 Bednell had a grant of the custody of the third part of the manor of Hazlerigg during the minority of Henry Haggerston, with the custody and marriage of the heir, and in 1552 Thomas and Elizabeth Carr conveyed to him and Thomas Bates the manor of Eshott in order, it seems, to raise money: the property was later secured by Lord Dacre in consideration of the rents and profits that were owing to him.6

The date of Bednell’s death is uncertain; he is known to have been alive in January 1563, when he appears as coroner, but his name was not included on the commission of the peace for 1564, and four years later the ‘quinta pars Northumbrie’ drawn up by the feodary of the county names his son Edward as the owner of Lemington and Nunriding. Administration of his personal estate, however, was not made until 20 Nov. 1579, when a trust was established for his daughter Anne Bednell and for the children of his son Edward Bednell of Lemington. In 1584-5 a writ for an inquisition post mortem on a John Bednell was issued, but as the inquisition then taken was that of his grandson Robert the use of his christian name was doubtless an error: such a writ would have been late for him and no other John Bednell has been found at that time.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. J. Taylor


  • 1. Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first certain reference. Vis. Northumb. ed. Foster, 12; Northumb. Co. Hist. vii. 166-7, 171.
  • 3. Northumb. Co. Hist. v. 501; vii. 468; Hodgson, Northumb. i. 360; ii(2), 537; LP Hen. VIII, v, viii, xiii; CPR, 1547-8, p. 87; 1550-3, p. 215; 1553-4, p. 22; 1560-3, p. 441.
  • 4. Northumb. Co. Hist. ix. 188.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, iii, xii, xiii, xviii, xxi; Northumb. Co. Hist. v. 501; vii. 127-30; ix. 82-83; HMC Bath, iv. 55.
  • 6. CPR, 1549-51, p. 340; 1554-5, p. 238; Northumb. Co. Hist. vii. 343-4; C142/208/190; Wards 7/8/28.
  • 7. CPR, 156-9, p. 261; Northumb. Co. Hist. vii. 171; C142/201/96; 208/190.