BERNARD, John (1630-79), of Brampton Park, Hunts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. Nov. 1630, 1st s. of Sir Robert Bernard, 1st Bt., of Huntingdon by 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Tallakerne of Ashen Hall, Essex. educ. Huntingdon g.s.; Christ’s, Camb. 1645; M. Temple 1645, called 1649. m. (1) 26 Feb. 1656, Elizabeth, da. of Oliver St. John, l.c.j.c.p., of Thorpe Hall, Northants., 1s. 7da.; (2) lic. 30 Aug. 1670, Grace, da. of Sir Richard Shuckburgh, of Shuckburgh Hall, Warws., s.p. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 18 Apr. 1666.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Hunts. 1657, Aug. 1660-d., Huntingdon Aug. 1660-1, 1664-d., Mdx. 1673- d. , militia, Hunts. Mar. 1660; j.p. Hunts. Mar. 1660-70, 1673-d.; commr. for sewers, Lincs. Aug. 1660; conservator, Bedford level 1669-75.2


Bernard was descended from a younger son of the Northamptonshire family. His father was recorder of Huntingdon and represented the borough in the Short Parliament. Bernard bought the Brampton estate, two miles from the town, in 1653. A domineering lord of the manor, he used his legal training to drive the smaller freeholders out. With his brother-in-law Nicholas Pedley he defeated the Montagu candidates for Huntingdon at the general election of 1660. But on no Apr. he obtained a pass for Holland, where he could hope to counteract the influence of Edward Montagu I at Court, and perhaps to solicit the baronetcy that was granted to his father in 1662. He was not an active Member of the Convention, serving only on the committee of elections and privileges and on two others of minor importance, and making no recorded speeches. He is likely to have voted with the Opposition.3

It is not known whether Bernard stood again at Huntingdon, where his father continued as recorder till removed by the commissioners for corporations. He had the courage to shelter his first wife’s father before the Cromwellian chief justice fled the country, and the longstanding conventicle at Brampton may have owed something to his protection, as well as the bishop of Lincoln’s tolerance. He either resigned or was removed from the commission of the peace in July 1670, presumably because of his opposition to the Conventicles Act. He stood for the county in November 1673, adjuring the electors to ‘come and bring all our friends to deliver us from bondage’. But he was defeated in a heavy poll. He died on 25 June 1679, and was buried at Brampton. His widow married Thomas Mariet.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / E. R. Edwards


  • 1. Lysons, Environs, ii. 319; Bridges, Northants. i. 404; M. Noble, Mems. Cromwell Fam. ii. 30.
  • 2. S. Wells, Drainage of the Bedford Level, i. 459-61.
  • 3. Pepys Diary, 28 Mar. 1660, 17 May 1667; CSP Dom. 1659-60, p. 574.
  • 4. Pepys Diary, 12 Oct. 1662, 1 Feb. 1663; A. G. Matthews, Calamy Revised, 3; SP29/360/110; Grey, ii. 395-6; Lansd. 921, f. 11.