BOURCHIER, Anthony (by 1521-51), of London and Barnsley, Glos.

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 1521, 1st s. of Maurice Bourchier of Berkeley, Glos. by Joan. m. by 1541, Thomasin, da. of Thomas Mildmay of Chelmsford, Essex, 3s. 1da.2

Offices Held

Auditor, ct. gen. surveyors of the King’s lands by 1542, duchy of York this side of the Trent, lands late of Queen Jane Seymour 1543, Berkeley hundred, Glos. by 1546; principal auditor, Queen Catherine Parr’s household Nov. 1544-8; member, Queen Catherine Parr’s council Dec. 1544-8; surveyor of woods, lordship of Berkeley Herons, Glos. by 1546; jt. (with Richard Pate) under steward, lands late of Tewkesbury abbey 1546; keeper, borough cts. Tewkesbury 1546; commr. chantries Salop, Staffs., Shrewsbury 1546, relief, Glos. 1550; j.p. Glos. 1547-d.3


Nothing is known of Anthony Bourchier’s upbringing or how he came to enter the service of the crown. His father may have been a dependant of the Berkeley family, a conjecture which receives some support both from his baptismal name of Maurice and from his place of residence. Whether it was this or another connexion which started Anthony Bourchier on his career as an auditor is unknown, but once successfully embarked on it he became the mainstay of his relatives, helping his father to stave off creditors and paying for his younger brother Richard’s education.4

His marriage linked Bourchier with two of the most promising administrators of his generation, the brothers Thomas and Walter Mildmay. It may well have been Thomas Mildmay, with whom he was particularly close, who brought Bourchier to the notice of Mildmay’s colleague in the duchy of Cornwall, Wymond Carew, and Carew who in turn helped him to obtain a place in Queen Catherine Parr’s newly-established household. This preferment may have been followed by his election to the Parliament of 1545 as one of the group of the Queen’s servants who were returned to it, but the loss of so many names makes this incapable of proof. When, two years later, he gained a seat in Edward VI’s first Parliament, he clearly owed it to the ex-Queen and her new husband, Admiral Seymour, who had acquired the lordship of New Shoreham on the imprisonment of the 3rd Duke of Norfolk. Although nothing is known of Bourchier’s part in the proceedings of the Commons, many of his papers relating to the Queen and her husband survive, presumably because they were confiscated on Seymour’s arrest for treason, and they show how varied were the matters entrusted to him. It was also during his years of service with the Queen that he made his appearance in local government.5

Bourchier had a grant of arms on the eve of Seymour’s overthrow in December 1548 and that event does not appear to have compromised him: it is not known whether he attached himself to any other magnate before his own premature death. In London he lived at different times in rented houses in Colman Street and Silver Street, but he made no purchases of property there. These he restricted mainly to his native county, where as early as 1546 he acquired some escheated land in Berkeley and later under Edward VI several properties in Gloucester and the manor of Barnsley, where he made his home; he also bought several houses, perhaps in connexion with his business as an auditor, at Abingdon, Reading and Windsor. It was during a visit to Barnsley that he died on 13 July 1551. On his deathbed he made a will but he did not live to sign it. After asking to be buried in the Lady Chapel at Berkeley, he remembered his parents and provided for his wife, children and servants. He appointed his wife as sole executrix of his will which was proved during the following August. His heir was his ten year-old son.6

In the remaining session of the Parliament of 1547 Bourchier’s vacant place was taken by Sir Henry Hussey. Bourchier’s widow later married William Thomas, who bought the wardship of Bourchier’s heir in March 1553. On Thomas’s execution for treason a year later the wardship was transferred to Secretary Bourne.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: R. J.W. Swales


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. LP Hen. VIII, add; PCC 20 Bucke.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xvii-xix, E315/479, f. 96; CPR, 1547-8, p. 84; 1553, p. 354.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xxi; E315/479, ff. 78, 116.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, xiv, xix: SP46/124, ff. 187-8; NRA 5287, p. 126; E163/12/70; 315/479; W. C. Richardson, Ct. Augmentations, 278, 300.
  • 6. LP. Hen. VIII, xx; Grantees of Arms (Harl. Soc. lxxvii), 27; Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xx. 177; CPR, 1547-8, pp. 220, 328; 1548-9, pp. 6, 227; 1550-3, p. 4; PCC 20 Bucke.
  • 7. DKR, iv(2), 248; CPR, 1553, p. 4; 1553-4, p. 81.