CALTHROPE (CALTHORPE), Bertram (by 1530-96), of Thorpe Market and Norwich, Norf. 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 1530, 11th but 6th surv. s. of Richard Calthrope of Antingham by Anne, da. of Edmund Hastings, wid. of Robert or Roger Reymes of Overstrand. educ. Peterhouse, Camb. 1544; M. Temple. m. lic. 21 June 1560, Margaret, da. and coh. of Richard Tichborne of Edenbridge, Kent, 2s. 6da.1

Offices Held


Bertram Calthrope belonged to a junior branch of a family long settled at Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk. The youngest of many sons, he became a lawyer and did moderately well in his profession. From Cambridge he went on to the Middle Temple, where he is known to have been admitted by 1551 although first mentioned in the records as pledge for an entrant in May 1557. From February 1559 he shared chambers with his second cousin John Calthrope, another Cambridge man for whom he had also stood pledge 16 months earlier. Made steward for Christmas 1564, in the following year Calthrope was chosen first to attend the reader and then to read in the autumn. His unwillingness to do either probably cost him promotion to the bench but not his standing at the inn: on his son’s admission in 1585 he was described as an ‘ancient of the bar’.2

One of Calthrope’s contemporaries and friends at the Middle Temple was the Protestant martyr Bartlet Green. In the last letter written before his death by John Bradford, who preceded Green to the stake, Bradford asked Latimer’s servant and Sir James Hales’s daughter-in-law to learn from Calthrope and another ‘what they can report Master Green hath spoken to Dr. [John] Story and others’, and seven days before his own death Green wrote in a book belonging to Calthrope a valediction lamenting his unruly behaviour while a student at the inn and ending, ‘Agreement of minds joining in unity of faith, and growing up in charity, is true and steadfast amity. Farewell, my Bertram, and remember me, that ever we may be like together’. Calthrope was also one of the Middle Templars to whom Green sent a last letter vouchsafing his love and friendship and exhorting them to help some prisoners in Newgate gaol.3

If, as is likely, Calthrope shared the martyrs’ beliefs it is not surprising to find him elected to Mary’s last Parliament for Bletchingley. The patron there was the doughty Protestant (Sir) Thomas Cawarden, whose nominees were invariably men of like conviction, including Calthrope’s fellow-Member Roger Alford. No link between Cawarden and Calthrope has been found save that of their propinquity in London and across the Surrey-Kent border, but at least they may be presumed to have had friends in common.

Little is known of Calthrope’s material fortunes. He probably had a house in the parish of St. Thomas the Apostle, London, for his son was baptized there in 1565. He had property in Norwich and at Thorpe Market near his native Antingham, and through his marriage presumably also in Kent. He died intestate on 24 Oct. 1596, and on 6 Nov. the administration of the estate was granted to his wife. A brass in the nave of Antingham church, where his father had been buried 42 years before, records his marriage and death.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. R. Johnson


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from education. Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 67, 232; Vis. Norf. (Norf. Arch.), ii. 441-2, 465; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. lxxv), 38. Al. Cant. i(1), 283 gives Bartholomew Calthrope; the Member’s uncle of this name had died over 40 years earlier and the suggestion in T. A. Walker, Peterhouse Biog. Reg. i. 139-40 that the christian name should be Bertram is consistent with the matriculation register, Old Schools, Camb. which read ’Bar. Calthrop‘.
  • 2. Blomefield, Norf. vi. 513 seq.; Norf. Arch. ix. 1 seq., 153 seq.; M.T. Recs. i. 110, 114, 121, 145, 147, 150, 267.
  • 3. Writings of John Bradford, ii (Bradford, John; Green, Bartholomew or Bartlet); M.T. Recs. i. 89 corrects statement in DNB that Green was an Inner Templar.
  • 4. Vis. Norf. (Norf. Arch.), ii. 441-2, 459.