ANDERSON, Bertram (d.1571), of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Haswell Grange, co. Dur.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Family and Education

1st s. of Henry Anderson, grocer, 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. 1559.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Newcastle 1543-4, mayor 1551-2, 1557-8, 1563-4;2 escheator, Northumb. 1555-6.


Anderson traded with the Netherlands and the Baltic and was one of the 12 ‘assistants’ of the Newcastle merchants company. He was a ship-owner and had considerable interests in the victualling trade, acting as victualler to the royal forces in Berwick and shipping coal to Boulogne. The inventory of his father’s goods and trading stock in 1559 reveals a great miscellany of goods, in numerous shops, cellars and warehouses, valued at £2,786. There is no mention of Anderson in the surviving records of the 1563 Parliament.3

Anderson extended his interests to include coal mining at the beginning of the period of expansion of the Northumberland and Durham coal industry in the second half of the sixteenth century. He obtained a 21-year lease of the rich Elswick coal mines in May 1554 and in 1562 he was able to offer to supply most of the 1,000 chaldrons needed for the royal army as well as a great quantities of timber. Just before his death he obtained, in association with two other Newcastle merchants, a valuable lease from the bishop of Durham of some of the Whickham pits near Gateshead, which were to be further developed by his son Henry. The inventory taken at his death included over a thousand pounds worth of coal lying at the pit heads or on the wharves.4

Anderson’s municipal career was orthodox. He filled all the important local offices, represented the town before the Privy Council in April 1557 in connexion with some local disputes, and in the early years of Elizabeth was on commissions to investigate the theft of royal ordnance and to inquire into the havens at the port. He helped the Duke of Norfolk to raise a fleet in 1560. In 1566 he entertained James Hamilton, Duke of Chatelherault, at Newcastle, and in May 1568 a servant of the Countess of Lennox wrote that he was ‘a good friend of your Grace’ and of the Earl.5

Many of the more prominent Newcastle merchants were inclined to Catholicism, but Anderson’s own views are not known. He made his will 8 Mar. 1571, and it was proved 12 June. His manors of Haswell and Coken and the extensive lands that he had purchased under Edward VI are not mentioned, but there are houses in Newcastle, Morpeth, Gateshead and Durham, most of which he left to his younger son Bertram. To his daughters he bequeathed substantial sums in cash, and small sums, jewels or quantities of coal went to a large number of friends, relatives and servants. The residue of his goods, together with his mining interests and lands, went to his elder son Henry. Among the overseers were John Franklin and William Jenyson, perhaps his partners, who, he wrote ‘know most of my doing and trade’. Anderson died 14 Mar. 1571.6

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Vis. Northumb. ed. Foster, 6; Surtees Soc. ii. 164.
  • 2. Mackenzie, Newcastle, 614.
  • 3. R. Welford, Hist. Newcastle and Gateshead, ii. 393; CPR, 1547-8, p. 66; APC, iv. 247; CSP For. 1562, p. 425; Surtees Soc. ii. 166, 335; E351/135.
  • 4. J. U. Nef, British Coal Industry, 151 et passim; CSP For. 1562, p. 425; R. Welford, Men of Mark ‘twixt Tyne and Tweed, i. 50; Surtees Soc. ii. 335.
  • 5. APC, vi. 80, 97; vii, 51; HMC Hatfield, i. 183, 185; Welford, Men of Mark, 50; CSP Scot. 1563-9, p. 416.
  • 6. Surtees Soc. cxii, 58; CPR, 1549-51, p. 230; 1553 and App. p. 34; C142/156/30.