BERNARD (BARNARD), Philip (by 1492-1538/39), of Great Yarmouth, Norf.; Akenham, Suff. and London.

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



Family and Education

b. by 1492, ?s. of William Bernard of Akenham by Elizabeth. educ. ?New Inn. m. (1) Anne, da. of Sir William Carew of Bury St. Edmunds, Suff., 1s. 2da.; (2) Alice, da. of one Pawling, wid. of William Bishop (d.1530) of Yarmouth.2

Offices Held

Escheator, Norf. and Suff. 1519-20; commr. subsidy, Suff. 1523, 1524, sewers, Norf. and Suff. 1538; gent. usher in 1526; j.p. Great Yarmouth 1532-3, 1537-8, Suff. 1538; bailiff, Great Yarmouth 1534-5.3


Philip Bernard, a prominent Yarmouth townsman and a landowner in Suffolk, may have been of the same family as Thomas Baynard, who sat for Great Yarmouth in Parliament in 1491: the Bernards were certainly at Yarmouth before Philip’s time, a Robert Bernard, for example, having been collector of the customs there in 1487. Philip Bernard was captain of the Mary of Walsingham serving against the French in 1513, and may have been the man of that name who was ‘master provider of guides’ beyond sea when war came again in 1523. He was certainly the Philip Bernard of Suffolk listed in 1526 as a ‘gentleman usher out of wages’, and this court connexion may help to explain his choice to replace the deceased John Ladde as Member for Yarmouth in the Parliament of 1529.4

The by-election raises a problem of chronology. According to the endorsement of the writ it took place on the Monday before the Feast of the Purification in a year which is not given. The Official Return took this to be 1533 New Style and therefore assigned the election to 27 Jan. of that year, a date consonant with the opening of the fourth session of the Parliament, which took place eight days later, and with the fact that Sir Thomas Lestrange, who received the writ, was sheriff from November 1532 until November 1533. Yet the writ itself is dated 26 Aug. 24 Hen. VIII, that is, 1532, a date which raises a double difficulty: it precedes by five weeks Ladde’s making of his will and by ten the beginning of Lestrange’s year as sheriff. The writ is clearly misdated, but whether it is the month or the regnal year which is incorrect cannot be determined. If ‘August’ is an error, and the month should be November or December, all would fall into place: Ladde could have died shortly after making his will, the writ have been properly addressed to Lestrange, and the by-election held on the eve of the new session. If, however, it is the regnal year which is wrongly given as 24 instead of 25 Hen. VIII (despite its having been in progress for several months), Ladde presumably outlived, and perhaps attended, the session of February to April 1533, Lestrange received the writ towards the close of his year of office, and the by-election was held on 26 Jan. 1534. Nothing is known of Bernard’s part in the proceedings of this Parliament or of its successor of 1536, in which he probably sat again in accordance with the King’s general request for the return of the previous Members.5

Bernard was engaged in several lawsuits over lands in Suffolk, including one with Sir Thomas Wentworth I, 1st Baron Wentworth, against Augustine Stonard (?Augustine Steward) and Thomas Neyton, and another against Sir Andrew Windsor, later Lord Windsor. He may also have been brought into contact with Wentworth as a tenant of St. Peter’s monastery, Ipswich, part of the endowment of Wolsey’s college at Ipswich. When in 1530 or shortly afterwards he sued Edmund Redyng of London for seeking to trick his son Francis into surrendering the deeds of two Suffolk manors, Bernard described himself and his son as ‘commorant and in commons in an inn of Chancery called the New Inn’. In 1536 he was indebted to the King for distraint of knighthood.6

In an undated letter, endorsed 1538, Bernard excused himself on ground of illness from appearing before Cromwell ‘in answer to his tender letters’, and asked that ‘some honest person’ should be appointed to keep the Dominican house in Yarmouth. The illness was probably fatal, for the will which Bernard had made on 23 Oct. 1536 was to be proved on 7 July 1539. He asked to be buried at the Franciscan house in Yarmouth if he died there, but next to his first wife if he should die at Akenham. He named his second wife Alice sole executrix and bequeathed her all his movables and immovables, including ‘ships and boats’. His daughters Mary and Margaret were to be well dowered. His ‘brother’ John Hacon was supervisor of the will. Besides his Yarmouth and Akenham property, he left land at Claydon, Thorley and Whitton, and a house at Norwich.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. CCR, 1500-9, p. 75; PCC 29 Dyngeley; St.Ch.2/3/139-41, 285; Vis. Devon, ed. Colby, 39; Vis. Devon, ed. Vivian, 134; C1/691/15-19.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, iii, iv, xiii; information from P. Rutledge; Gt. Yarmouth rolls 1534-5.
  • 4. CFR, 1485-1509, pp. 51-52; LP Hen. VIII, i, iii, iv.
  • 5. C219/18A/9; OR; Norwich consist. ct. 204 Platfoote.
  • 6. C1/456/34, 687/7; LP Hen. VIII, iv, x; St.Ch.2/3/139-41, 285.
  • 7. LP Hen. VIII, xiii; PCC 29 Dyngeley.