BEDINGFIELD, Henry (1632-87), of Halesworth, Suff.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

1685 - 13 Feb. 1686

Family and Education

bap. 9 Dec. 1632, 4th s. of John Bedingfield (d.1680) of Lincoln’s Inn and Halesworth by Joyce, da. and coh. of Edmund Morgan of Lambeth, Surr.; bro. of Sir Robert Bedingfield. educ. Caius, Camb. 1650; L. Inn 1650, called 1657. m. c.1667, his cos. Mary, da. of Robert Bedingfield, DD, rector of Newton, Cambs. 1631-51, 2da. Kntd. 14 Nov. 1684.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Dunwich 1658, commr. for assessment 1677-80, recorder ?1680-6; bencher, L. Inn 1683; recorder, Southwold 1684-d.; dep. steward, Great Yarmouth 1684-d.; j.p. Suff. 1685-d.2

Serjeant-at-law 1684; j.c.p. 13 Feb. 1686, c.j. 21 Apr. 1686-d.

Biography

Bedingfield was descended from a prolific family which had held manorial property in Suffolk since 1309. His grandfather sat for Eye in 1586, and two of his uncles represented Dunwich, seven miles from Halesworth, in early Stuart Parliaments. The family was parliamentary in sympathy during the Civil War, but his father avoided commitment, though he twice served as treasurer of Lincoln’s Inn during the Interregnum.3

Bedinfield himself, ‘a grave but rather heavy lawyer’, at least in his riper years, was, unlike the elder generation, ‘a good churchman and loyal by principle’. Returned for Dunwich at the general election of 1660, he made no recorded speeches and was named to no committees in the Convention, though he was doubtless a court supporter. With his colleague John Rous I he certified a petition from the borough for a reduction in its fee-farm rent. Although his father succeeded Francis Bacon as recorder in August, Bedingfield did not stand again, giving way in 1661 to Richard Coke, of a Cavalier family. Little is known of the next 20 years of his life, but in 1683 he presented a l