BUSHROD, Richard (1577-1628), of Dorchester, Dorset

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

bap. 3 Feb. 1577, 2nd s. of John Bushrot (d.1590), husbandman, of Sherborne, Dorset and his w. Margaret Felton.1 m. by 1605, Dorothy (d. 30 Nov. 1627), da. of John Watts, haberdasher, of Dorchester, 5s. (1 d.v.p.) 6da. (3 d.v.p.). d. 1 July 1628.2

Offices Held

Churchwarden, Dorchester Holy Trinity 1611-12;3 bailiff, Dorchester 1617-18, 1621-2, 1626-7,4 cap. burgess at d.5

Member, Dorchester New Eng. Co. 1624.6


Bushrod was no doubt descended from Richard Busherod of Dorchester, an alien resident assessed at £1 in goods for the 1545 subsidy. Under his father’s will he was entitled to receive £5, ten sheep, and a silver spoon when he came of age.7 He settled in Dorchester as a haberdasher, and married the daughter of a capital burgess in the same trade. Although not mentioned in the borough charter of 1610, he served as a churchwarden in the following year. A member of the town’s increasingly influential puritan grouping, he contributed generously to the building of the Dorchester workhouse in 1616, and advanced £100 to the victims of a devastating fire at Dorchester in 1623.8 An ardent supporter of colonization, in the latter year he obtained a licence through his agent William Derby for a plantation in New England, though surprisingly he was not a leading figure in the Dorchester Company that sprang from this initiative.9

Bushrod was returned for Dorchester to the 1624 Parliament, but contributed little to its proceedings. Appointed on 22 Mar. to help scrutinize the clerical leases bill, he also exercised his right as a Dorset Member to attend the committee for the bill to settle the customs of Beaminster Secunda manor. However, his primary concern was probably the bill to relieve the members of the London Feltmakers’ Company from the effects of a decree in Chancery. On 14 Apr. he complained in the House about the recent arrest of the Feltmakers’ master, ensuring that this matter was referred to the committee for courts of justice. Named to the bill’s committee on 30 Apr., he attended four of its meetings. He also tendered a proviso to the bill for free fishing in North American waters, but this was rejected (3 May).10 Bushrod did not serve in the first Caroline Parliament, but recovered his seat in 1626, when he also attended the disputed Dorset election, held at Dorchester. On 17 Feb. he confirmed in the Commons that some of the supporters of John Browne II* had been prevented from voting. Three days later Michael Humfrey, Dorchester’s junior Member, successfully claimed privilege for one of Bushrod’s servants, who had been arrested at Weymouth, Dorset.11 Bushrod showed a keen interest in the case of the St. Peter of Le Havre, twice commenting on goods reportedly removed from the ship after its controversial arrest in England (23 Feb. and 1 March). Perhaps on this account, he was named on 22 Mar. to help consider defects in the Navy. In his final speech, on the following day, he argued against rushing into a debate on supply, apparently because he wanted more time for Members to digest the Crown’s financial demands, which had just been outlined by Sir John Coke.12

In March 1628 Bushrod undertook to subscribe £50 to the Massachusetts Bay Company. At about the same time, he emerged as the ringleader of resistance to billeting in Dorchester. However, a sympathetic commission of inquiry, consisting of Sir Thomas Trenchard*, John Browne II*, and the rector of Maiden Newton, Dorset, concluded in May that he had merely disputed the authority of the billeting warrants.13 While Bushrod claimed to be in perfect health when he made his will on 27 June, he died four days later, and was buried in Holy Trinity, Dorchester. He bequeathed £2,000 to his younger children, and provided a rent charge of £4 p.a. on a small property in Wootton Glanville, Dorset for charitable purposes; of the latter sum, half was to augment the salary of Dorchester’s schoolmaster, while the residue was to be employed at the discretion of three trustees, including William Whiteway I*. Bushrod’s son John, an Independent, sat for Dorchester in 1659.14

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Paul Hunneyball


  • 1. Dorset RO, Sherborne Abbey reg.; PROB 11/75, f. 208v.
  • 2. Soc. Gen., Holy Trinity, Dorchester par reg.; William Whiteway of Dorchester (Dorset Rec. Soc. xii), 93, 97; Municipal Recs. of Dorchester ed. C.H. Mayo, 425.
  • 3. Soc. Gen., Holy Trinity, Dorchester par. reg.
  • 4. Hutchins, Dorset, ii. 352.
  • 5. William Whiteway of Dorchester, 99.
  • 6. D. Underdown, Fire from Heaven, 133.
  • 7. Dorset Tudor Subsidies ed. T.L. Stoate, 108; PROB 11/75, f. 208v.
  • 8. PROB 11/155, f. 35v; Underdown, 43, 110; Hutchins, ii. 397; Municipal Recs. of Dorchester, 539.
  • 9. T.K. Rabb, Enterprise and Empire, 257; F.R. Troup, John White, 59.
  • 10. CJ, i. 746a, 764b, 782b; C.R. Kyle, ‘Attendance Lists’, PPE 1604-48 ed. Kyle, 201-2; ‘Earle 1624’, f. 138v.
  • 11. Procs. 1626, ii. 66, 72-3.
  • 12. Ibid. 109, 169, 340, 351.
  • 13. Troup, 111-13; William Whiteway of Dorchester, 96; APC, 1627-8, p. 427; CSP Dom. 1628-9, pp. 101-2, 131.
  • 14. PROB 11/155, f. 35v; Soc. Gen., Holy Trinity, Dorchester par. reg.; Municipal Recs. of Dorchester, 557, 609.