BULKELEY (BUNCKLEY), John (1614-62), of Nether Burgate, Fordingbridge, Hants.

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



Apr. 1640
c. Nov. 1645
1661 - Sept. 1662

Family and Education

b. 11 Nov. 1614, o. s. of William Bulkeley of Nether Burgate by Margaret, da. of John Culliford of Encombe, Dorset. educ. Hart Hall, Oxf. 1632; M. Temple 1633; travelled abroad (France) 1634-7. m. (1) lic. 4 Jan. 1638, Anne, da. of Sir William Doddington of Breamore, Hants, 2da.; (2) settlement June 1646, Elizabeth (d. Mar. 1651), da. of William Sotwell of Greenham, Berks., wid. of Francis Trenchard of Cutteridge, Wilts., s.p.; (3) settlement 1652, Penelope, da. of Sir Thomas Trenchard of Wolverton, Dorset, 3s. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1617.3

Offices Held

J.p. Hants 1641-d., Wilts. 1646-9, 1656-July 1660, Berks. 1647-9; dep. Lt. Hants 1643; commr. for defence, I.o.W. and Hants 1643-4, assessment, Hants 1643-8, I.o.W. 1645, Berks. and Wilts. 1647-8, Hants and Wilts. 1657, Hants Jan. 1660-d., Wilts. Aug. 1660-1, sequestration, Hants 1643, accounts I.o.W. 1643, levying of money, I.o.W., Hunts. and Hants 1643, eastern assoc. Hunts. 1643, execution of ordinances, Hants 1644, safety 1645, appeals, Oxf. Univ. 1647, militia, Hants and Wilts. 1648, Mar. 1660, scandalous ministers, Hants 1654; freeman, Lymington and Winchester by Mar. 1660; keeper of Linwood bailiwick, New Forest July 1660-d.; commr. for oyer and terminer, Western circuit, July 1660.4


Bulkeley was descended from a younger son of the Cheshire family who acquired a modest estate in Hampshire in the 15th century. Bulkeley prospered through successful marriages and became the first of this branch to enter Parliament. A Parliamentarian in the Civil War, he was elected as a recruiter for an Isle of Wight borough, where he had many kinsfolk, and served as parliamentary commissioner to the King at Carisbrooke. As a Presbyterian and a moderate, he was briefly imprisoned at Pride’s Purge, but never lost local office, though he was considered too dangerous to be allowed to sit in 1656. Though he had hoped to reconcile the country to the regime as late as 1659, he probably became a Royalist on the fall of Richard Cromwell.5

Bulkeley was returned to the Convention for Hampshire unopposed, and marked by Lord Wharton as a friend to be managed by Sir Thomas Wharton. A moderately active Member, he was nominated to 23 committees and made 12 recorded speeches, mostly on religious affairs. He was appointed to the committees to prepare a bill for the abolition of the court of wards and to consider the indemnity bill. On 29 May he carried to the Upper House a proclamation to forbid forcible entries, bringing back the Lords’ consent to another proclamation against Irish rebels. He was appointed to the committee to inquire into unauthorized Anglican publications, and helped to prepare for a conference on three orders issued by the House of Lords. In the grand committee on religion on 16 July, he said that

a moderate episcopacy might take in the good of both parties and voiced the King’s present inclinations and endeavours; and said that episcopacy was more boundless than monarchy as it was used. ... Some of them gloried to put down all lectures in a county, and ’twas a fault to preach twice a Sunday, but ... government by episcopacy, if circumscribed, was to be wished.

He moved to separate the doctrinal and disciplinary issues, and was later against the entire motion, since ‘if it were put all ministers since ’42 were abolished’. He wanted the King to enforce better observation of the ‘sabbath’. On the bill for settling ministers, he spoke in favour of excluding those who refused the oath or had a hand in the death of Charles I as well as the ‘scandalous’, and was appointed to the committee. He agreed that the King should be asked to marry a Protestant. In the second session he commended the King’s gracious message of 20 Nov. and moved to set all private business aside. He spoke in favour of the grant of excise in return for the abolition of the court of wards, and was appointed to the committee to insert a clause accordingly. Wharton sent him a copy of the case for modified episcopacy, and he declared that without a bill the Worcester House declaration would be insignificant. ‘It was very fitting that many things in the liturgy should be altered.’ On 30 Nov. he carried to the Lords the bill for the augmentation of vicarages, a matter which lay close to his heart, for he went again at the end of the session to ask them to hasten it. In the debate on the militia, he said that Hampshire was free from disturbance, thanks to the good care of the lord lieutenant, the Earl of Southampton, who had just made him a keeper in the New Forest, and he commended the ‘merit and modesty’ of Francis Wyndham, moving for the gift to him of a £1,000 jewel for helping to preserve the King’s life after the battle of Worcester. He took part in the conference on disbandment.6

For all his praise of such leading Cavaliers as Southampton and Wyndham, Bulkeley had to step down to a borough seat at the general election, and even at Lymington he was only returned after a contest with Sir Nicholas Steward. He was an active Member in the opening session of the Cavalier Parliament, with 38 committees. He twice acted as teller, and was again noted as a friend on Wharton’s list. He was appointed to the committees for the security, corporations and schismatics bills, and helped to draw up a petition to the King for the return of the estate of Sir Arthur Hesilrige to his heirs. He was still concerned about the plight of the clergy, and was named to the committee for increasing the maintenance of ministers in corporate and market towns. After the summer recess he was appointed to the committee for the execution of those under attainder. On 11 Mar. 1662 he was teller for the bill to erect ‘courts of conscience’ for small claims in Westminster and Southwark, and he acted as chairman for the estate bill of Lady Wandesford, who claimed a grant of all salt marshes from the crown. He was one of the Members sent to ask the Master of St. Cross to allow the vicar of Twyford an adequate maintenance, and to ask Southampton, in his capacity as lord treasurer, to order the Forest of Dean survey to be made available to the House. He was also among those charged with amending the bill for regulating common fields and the militia bill, and was given special responsibility for the bill to encourage the sowing of flax and hemp. Bulkeley died before the second session of the Cavalier Parliament, being buried at Fordingbridge in September 1662. His grandson, Sir Dewey Bulkeley, sat for Bridport from 1719 to 1727.7

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Paula Watson


  • 1. Secluded at Pride’s Purge 6 Dec. 1648, readmitted 21 Feb. 1660.
  • 2. Excluded.
  • 3. Wards 7/56/284; CSP Dom. 1634-5, pp. 192-3; Hants Mar. Lic. 1607-40 p. 126; Hants RO, IM53/428, 471, 1179, 1470, 1485, I591; Soc. of Genealogists, Fordingbridge par. reg.
  • 4. Hants RO, IM53/466; E. King, Old Times Revisited, 189; Winchester corp. assembly bk. 4, f. 137.
  • 5. VCH Hants, iv. 570; D. Underdown, Pride’s Purge, 147, 310, 331, 343.
  • 6. Sloane 813, f. 16; CJ, viii. 81, 189, 233, 235; Bowman diary, ff. 83, 84v, 91v, 110; Old Parl. Hist. xxii. 477; xxiii. 24, 27, 52, 55.
  • 7. Lymington bor. minute bk. 2, f. 51; CJ, viii. 299, 417, 421, 426, 429; Fordingbridge par. reg.