BULLINGHAM, Francis (1554-1633), of Cathedral Close, Lincoln, Lincs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press




Family and Education

b. 19 Mar. 1554,1 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Nicholas Bullingham, bp. of Lincoln 1560-71, and his 1st w. Margaret, da. of Hamond Sutton of Washingborough, Lincs.2 educ. Jesus, Camb. 1568, King’s 1569-72; Barnard’s Inn; G. Inn 1576.3 m. (1) unknown, 1s. d.v.p.;4 (2) 11 Feb. 1591,5 Mary (d. 27 Nov. 1607),6 da. of George Fitzwilliam of Mablethorpe, Lincs., wid. of Richard Hiltoft of Boston, Lincs. and Anthony Neville of Skellingthorpe, Lincs., 2da.;7 (3) 21 Feb. 1611,8 Ellen (bur. 12 Mar. 1625), da. of one Lynaker, wid. of Robert Thomas, Draper, of London, s.p.9 suc. fa. 1576.10 bur. 18 Nov. 1633.11

Offices Held

Registrar, Lincoln dioc. by 1580, principal registrar c.1593-1611, sub-collector of clerical subsidies 1595-1608;12 freeman, Lincoln 1600,13 Boston 1604;14 commr. inquiry, charitable uses, Lincs. 1604,15 sewers, Fenland 1604, Lincs. and Notts. 1606, Lincs. and Lincoln 1607, Lincs. and Newark, Notts. 1608.16


Bullingham’s family originated in Worcester, where his grandfather was a leading member of the corporation, and his uncle Richard was returned for the city in 1559.17 The connection with Lincolnshire was established by this Member’s father, who served as bishop of Lincoln for 11 years before translating to his native diocese in 1571.18 Bullingham himself was granted a reversion to the post of bishop’s registrar while he was still a student at Cambridge, and when it fell in ten years later he settled in Lincoln as a notary public. He probably became principal registrar on the retirement of Thomas Taylor in 1593, and in 1595 supplemented this with the post of sub-collector of clerical subsidies.19 Bullingham’s father died leaving debts, and his own ‘bad courses of gaming, banqueting, epicurism and unthriftiness’ led him deeper into financial disaster. It was perhaps with the aim of avoiding his creditors that Bullingham ‘made suit’ to Lincoln corporation for a seat in the 1601 Parliament, ‘wherewith they [were] well pleased’.20

Bullingham was returned for Boston in 1604 and sworn in as a freeman without payment.21 He was among those appointed to consider bills for the recovery of fenlands (12 May 1604) and for the maintenance of husbandry and tillage (25 May 1604) in the opening session, and to two private bills in the third, one to enable Herbert Pelham* to sell a Lincolnshire manor (20 Feb. 1607) and the other to confirm an exchange of lands between All Souls College and Sir William Smith* (29 Apr. 1607).22 By this time Bullingham had built up not only a mountain of personal debt but also a deficit of £6,036 in his accounts for clerical subsidies, which money ought to have been paid into the Exchequer. The outstanding sum was granted to a leading Scottish courtier on 4 Feb. 1607, and in May Bullingham had to claim parliamentary privilege.23 On the death of Bishop Barlow he lost his job as collector of clerical subsidies, and the Privy Council ordered proceedings to be started against him, presumably for arrears in his accounts. However, in September 1608 a stay of process was ordered on condition that he repay £3,800 owed to the Crown, in quarterly instalments.24 In the fourth session of Parliament his only committee appointment was to consider messengers’ petitions (17 July 1610).25

Despite his reprieve in 1608, Bullingham’s financial problems grew steadily worse. Having engaged himself as security for Sir Roger Dallison* and his brother Sir Thomas*, he was unable to honour these commitments. On his third marriage he sold his registrarship to his son-in-law for £1,000, reserving to himself an annual income of £600 of the profits for seven years, and thereafter £300 for life. Nevertheless he still owed the Crown £2,400, and by November 1613 he was in the Fleet for debt, where he seems to have remained for the rest of his life.26 As an outlaw, his goods and chattels were granted to John More II* in 1615.27 He joined in the prisoners’ petition to Parliament against maltreatment by the warden in 1621.28 Bullingham died intestate and was buried at St. Bride’s, Fleet Street on 18 Nov. 1633.29 His only son predeceased him.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Paula Watson / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Lincs. N and Q, ii. 99-101.
  • 2. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 204.
  • 3. Al. Cant.; GI Admiss.
  • 4. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 204.
  • 5. Ibid., 204; Lincs. AO, Bif/2/5/23-5.
  • 6. W. J. Monson, Lincs. Church Notes (Lincoln Rec. Soc. xxxi), 236.
  • 7. G. Holles, Lincs. Church Notes (Lincoln Rec. Soc. i), 62.
  • 8. S.G.R. Barret, Hist. Totteridge, 98.
  • 9. St. Pancras Soper Lane (Harl. Soc. Reg. xliv), 298, 444; PROB 11/116, ff. 253-7.
  • 10. SP12/108/45.
  • 11. Soc. Gen. ‘Boyd’s London Burials’, MX/R234, p. 74.
  • 12. State of the Church ed. C.W. Foster (Lincoln Rec. Soc. xxiii), 251; Episcopal Recs. ed. C.W. Foster (Lincoln Rec. Soc. ii), 151; C2/Jas.I/B41/39; C2/Jas.I/D4/47; HMC Hatfield, xvi. 379; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 460.
  • 13. HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 76.
  • 14. Boston Corp. Mins. ed. J.F. Bailey, i. 687-8.
  • 15. Lincs. AO, 1 MM/7/8/6.
  • 16. C181/1, f. 75; 181/2, ff. 48v, 75v, 120.
  • 17. Vis. Worcs. (Harl. Soc. xxvii), 126.
  • 18. Oxford DNB sub Bullingham, Nicholas
  • 19. Lincs. AO, Bif/2/4, ff. 31-2, Bif/3/17, ff. 21-2; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 950.
  • 20. HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 76; J.W.F. Hill, Tudor and Stuart Lincoln, 74.
  • 21. J.K. Gruenfelder, ‘Boston’s Early Stuart Elections’, Lincs. Hist. and Arch. xiii. 47.
  • 22. CJ, i. 207b, 225b, 338a, 364b.
  • 23. Ibid. 373b, 379b; C2/Jas.I/B34/4; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 347.
  • 24. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 460; L.M. Hill, ‘Sir Julius Caesar’s Journal 1608’, BIHR xlv. 326.
  • 25. CJ, i. 451a.
  • 26. C2/Jas.I/D4/47.
  • 27. C66/2084.
  • 28. A. Harris, Oeconomy of the Fleet ed. A. Jessopp (Cam. Soc. n.s. xxv), 61.
  • 29. Soc. Gen. ‘Boyd’s London Burials’, MX/R234, p. 74.