HARRIS, David (by 1511-82), of Bristol, Glos.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1553
Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1511, s. of John Harris of Bristol by Alice. m. (1) Margery, wid. of Thomas Browne of Bristol, 3s. 1da.; (2) by Apr. 1543, Margaret.1

Offices Held

Subsidy collector, Bristol 1538, sheriff 1538-9, alderman by 1550, mayor 1550-1, constable of the staple 1551-2, auditor, chamberlain’s accts. 1552, 1557-8.2


David Harris was the son of a Bristol grocer and in July 1532 was himself admitted to the freedom of the city as a grocer. He is, however, almost certainly to be identified with an apothecary to whom an anonymous writer referred seven years later, fulminating against ‘the knave sheriffs that are a great occasion for the poor reader’s trouble, especially Harris the apothecary’, and against a ‘knave Harris’ who was ‘crafty and subtle and a great enemy to the word of God’. In 1542 Harris leased several tenements on the Bridge which had formerly belonged to a number of dissolved monastic houses and religious fraternities; for the subsidies of the period his goods were assessed at £25 or £26. During the 1550s he travelled to London several times in connexion with problems facing the corporation. It is also clear from the way in which his parliamentary wages were paid that he used his Membership to further the city’s interests outside as well as inside the House. In his capacity as alderman, Harris arrested in 1557 the Marian martyr Thomas Hale, with whom he had long been on bad terms.3

David Harris ‘grocer and alderman’ died late in 1582. He had made his will on 4 Oct., directing that he should be buried in the church of St. Nicholas where his father and first wife lay. To his wife Margaret he left a share of their dwelling house with his son David, leaving a third part to his daughter Alice and her husband Ralph Bennet should they desire it. He bequeathed to his son David the shop attached to his house, a turquoise ring and books of physic. To his daughter Alice he also left eight houses and some plate. Other legatees included his sons John and George. The will was proved on 20 Nov. 1582.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xxxv. 22-27; PCC 41 Tirwhite; Bristol AO. 04352/1/250 et passim; deeds NA 70.
  • 2. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc, Trans. xix. 132-3; xxvi. 136; LP Hen. VIII, xiii; CPR, 1550-3, p. 39; Bristol AO, 04026/5/104, 248, 6/79; 04027/12 et passim.
  • 3. Bristol AO, 04026/1/49, 3/7, 135, 5/62, 6/42; 04027/52; E179/114/269, 273; Procs. Clifton Antiq. Club. vii(2), 110-11; LP Hen. VIII, xiv; CPR, 1548-9, p. 102; K. G. Powell, ‘The Marian martyrs and the Reformation in Bristol’, Bristol Hist. Assoc. (1972), 10.
  • 4. PCC 41 Tirwhite.