BERWICK (BARWICK), Alfred (by 1486-1541 or later), of Horsham, Suss.

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 1486. m. by 1509, Agnes, da. of Thomas Bradbridge of Horsham, 1da.1

Offices Held

Commr. array, Suss. 1512, subsidy 1512, 1514, 1515, 1524; servant of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk by 1514; comptroller of customs, Chichester, Suss. by 1521-3.2


Alfred Berwick’s pedigree is unclear. He was almost certainly of a local family which had members living in Arundel, Pulborough, Steyning and elsewhere in Sussex. He is unlikely to have been the Avery Berwick who sued in Chancery sometime between 1504 and 1515 for lands in Derby and Nottingham, or the man of the same name who was about that time administrator of the goods of William Brigham of Ripon, Yorkshire: he also appears to have been unrelated to his fellow-Member in the 1529 Parliament, John Berwick of Wilcot, Wiltshire.3

Berwick was to make his career in the service of the house of Howard. The first sure glimpse of him, in 1507, is as a feoffee of the East Anglian estates of Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey: six years later he appears on a list of the family’s servants as the surveyor of its manor of Reigate in Surrey and as the recipient of a fee of 10 marks. In 1509 the manor of Legh in Cuckfield, Sussex, had been settled upon Berwick and his wife: their title proved uncertain, but an action in the courts went in their favour, although by 1540 the manor had passed into the possession of others. In 1517 Berwick’s wife received a life interest in the manor of Denne in Horsham. This borough, part of the Howard patrimony, was held by Agnes, dowager Duchess of Norfolk, who kept her household there through much of Henry VIII’s reign. Berwick was the most substantial inhabitant of Horsham in 1524 when he was assessed at £54 6s.8d. in lands and fees by the subsidy commission, of which he was himself a member: the commissioners added a note that his income had fallen since his contribution to the loan of 1523 because he had parted with his comptrollership of the customs at Chichester to Thomas Alcock, and had transferred some lands to his ‘daughter-in-law’ (really his brother-in-law’s daughter) Eleanor Hussey.4

As a leading figure in Horsham and a servant of the Duke of Norfolk, Berwick was an obvious choice as one of the town’s Members in 1529. One Thomas Berwick, perhaps an ancestor, had sat for Horsham in the Parliament of 1442. It is possible that Alfred Berwick already had experience of the House: the borough’s returns to the early Parliaments of Henry VIII’s reign are lost, but the same considerations as applied in 1529 would have done so between 1510 and 1523 and Berwick’s inclusion in the subsidy commission between 1512 and 1515 points in the same direction. Both he and his fellow-Member and kinsman Henry Hussey presumably sat again in 1536, when the King asked for the reelection of the previous Members. Either or both may have sat in the following Parliament, that of 1539, for which the names of Horsham’s representatives are not known, and possibly also in 1542.

Berwick’s family was involved in the downfall of Queen Catherine Howard. During her trial in 1541 stories were related of her youth at Horsham and Lambeth, and of her relationship with Henry Mannock, her music teacher. Several of the ladies attending on the duchess had carried messages between Catherine and Mannock, and one of these was Berwick’s daughter, Dorothy, whose evidence on the betrothal between Catherine and Mannock threatened the validity of the King’s marriage. There is no indication that either Berwick or his daughter suffered for these indiscretions, but a similar silence shrouds the rest of Berwick’s life and the time of his death. He may have been the ‘Averyce’ Berwick who in 1545 delivered £300 to Anthony Aucher for timber for ships and storehouses at Boulogne, or even the Alfred Berwick who 11 years later obtained, with his wife Joan, a rent charge out of the fee-farm of Canterbury, Kent.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: R. J.W. Swales


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first certain reference. Comber, Suss. Genealogies (Horsham), 26.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, i, iii; Add. 5701, f. 51; Statutes, iii. 84, 114, 169; E122/36/15.
  • 3. Suss. Rec. Soc. lvi. 84; C1/281/58, 285/1, 289/10.
  • 4. CCR, 1500-9, p. 288; Suss. Arch. Coll. xxviii. 162; Suss. Rec. Soc. lvi. 84.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, xvi, xx; CPR, 1555-7, pp. 344, 413; C1/1410/10-11.