BIERE, Robert, of Shaftesbury and Sturminster Marshall, Dorset.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

Offices Held

Tax collector, Dorset Dec. 1372.


Biere was probably a native of Shaftesbury and related to Walter Biere*, a lawyer who sat for the borough in ten Parliaments between 1393 and 1417. In 1368 Joan Formage, abbess of the Benedictine nunnery of Shaftesbury, granted him an annuity of £5. Two years later the amount was doubled and, in addition, he was entitled to grant the livery worn by the monastery’s servants to a yeoman of his choice. Although he was to receive £10 a year only until the abbess and convent should present him to an ecclesiastical benefice, there is no evidence that he did, in fact, ever enter the Church; he appears to have remained as one of the abbey’s secular officers. In 1369 he was party to a transaction whereby the nuns obtained property in St. Laurence’s parish, Shaftesbury. He was later a feoffee of other property in the town, but his own lands were situated elsewhere. When named as a collector of parliamentary tenths and fifteenths in 1372 Biere was referred to as ‘of Sturminster Marshall’, and two years later he witnessed a conveyance of land there for Cecily Turberville of Hatch Beauchamp (Somerset), widow of Sir Roger Seymour and sister and heir of the third Lord Beauchamp. Before 1382, by Cecily’s grant, Biere had been made tenant for life of ‘Beauchampesmanere’ in Sturminster Marshall, which after his death was to pass to Thomas Beaupyne* of Bristol.1 It may be that Biere’s only election to Parliament in 1394 was influenced by his patron the abbess, who, however, died later that same year. Nothing more is recorded of him.2

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


Contemporary variants: Beere, Bere, Byere.

  • 1. CPR, 1370-4, p. 431; 1374-7, p. 268; CCR, 1369-74, p. 80; 1374-7, p. 111; Harl. Ch. 76B 15, 79B 8; Dorset Feet of Fines, ii. 194.
  • 2. No evidence has been found to identify him with Robert Bere alias Devenysshire, who owned property in Dorchester in Henry IV’s reign (Recs. Dorchester ed. Mayo, 132, 159, 163, 198, 225).