BERNHILL, John, of Northampton.
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Family and Education
Town clerk, Northampton Mich. 1410-11; bailiff 1418-19; mayor 1431-2.1
Our Member may well have been related to the Nicholas Bernhill of Northampton who was made alnager of Northamptonshire and Rutland in 1400, although we cannot now be certain on this point. No definite evidence survives about him before January 1410, when, in his capacity as town clerk of the borough, he witnessed a conveyance of certain property belonging to John Green of Coventry. He subsequently became bailiff of Northampton, and while in office was present, in September 1419, at an inquisition into the various holdings of one of the prioress of Sewardsley’s feudal tenants. Among the dwellings listed by the local jury was a tenement in ‘Abyndonstrete’, Northampton, where he himself lived at a rent of 1s. a year. Apart from his election to Parliament no more is heard of him until 1424, when he was named among the ‘venerable company of discreet men’ who witnessed an enrolment in the borough records. During his own term as mayor, some seven years later, he issued an ordinance for the better regulation of the weavers’ craft in Northampton, ‘willyng with all his myght, power and good entente to queme and please god oure lorde most souereygne and to avoyde and repele all maner perilles and myschiefz yminent and like to rife’. He is last mentioned in March 1435, as a witness to the will of his fellow burgess, Henry Caysho.2
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. E142/84/2; Northampton Recs. ed. Markham and Cox, ii. 550. According to these authors John Barry and William Parry were bailiffs in 1418-19 (ibid. 557), but the documentary evidence suggests otherwise.
- 2. CFR, xii. 89; CCR, 1413-19, p. 79; E142/84/2; Northampton Recs. i. 268-74, 361; Add. Ch. 735.