The Bourchier and Bowker Pages

Discovering the ancestry of the South African Bowkers, and the English Bourchiers

Ralph Bourchier

Ralph Bourchier

Male 1535 - 1598  (63 years)

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  • Name Ralph Bourchier 
    Born 1535  Beningborough, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Name Raff Bourchier  [2
    Died 11 Jun 1598  Barking, Essex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Person ID I294  Bourchiers
    Last Modified 17 Apr 2020 

    Father Sir James Bourchier, Knt,   b. Abt 1492, Beningborough, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1554  (Age ~ 62 years) 
    Mother Mary Bannister 
    Married Abt 1530 
    Family ID F187  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Elizabeth Hall,   b. 1538,   d. 1577  (Age 39 years) 
    Married Abt 1551  Eaton, Norfolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. Ann Bourchier,   b. 1557
     2. Brydget Bourchier,   b. 1558
    +3. William Bourchier,   b. 1559, Beningborough, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location
     4. Ursula Bourchier,   b. 1562
     5. Lucy Bourchier,   b. 1565
    +6. Sir John Bourchier, of Hanging Grimston,   b. Abt 1559, Beningborough, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Mar 1626, Lambeth Parish, Surrey, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 67 years)
     7. Catherine Bourchier,   b. 1568
    Last Modified 25 Mar 2020 
    Family ID F189  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Christian Shakerley 
    Married 1577 
    Last Modified 4 Sep 2015 
    Family ID F191  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 3 Anne Coote 
    Last Modified 18 Dec 2014 
    Family ID F498  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Yorkshire Visitation 1563-64
    Yorkshire Visitation 1563-64
    Keywords: Picture

  • Notes 
    • He was born in Beningbrough, Yorkshire.
      He built all or part of the Elizabethan Beningbrough on a site near the present house. Ralph was 25 years of age when he inherited the estate in 1556 from his uncle John Banester, who purchases it from the crown in 1544. Before this Ralph had inherited estates in Staffordshire from his father and in 1571 was first elected to Parliament as MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme. His Elizabethan house lay approximately 300 yards south-east of the present hall. In 1580-1 he was High Sheriff of Yorkshire, and was knighted in 1584. In 1589 he was an MP for the county. When he died most of his property went to his grandsons, as his eldest son William was declared insane. The eldest was Robert who died unmarried at the age of 18 in 1606, so John inherited Beningbrough.
      Note: Faris (1999, page 45)
      "Ralph Bourchier, Knight, of Haughton, co. Stafford, and Beninbrough in Newton-upon-Ouse, North Riding, co. York, Knight of the Shire for Yorkshire, Sheriff of Yorkshire, Keeper of Rochester Castle, Kent, son and heir, was married for the first time to Elizabeth Hall, daughter of Francis Hall, of Grantham, co. Lincoln (descendant of King EdwardI), by Ursula, daughter of Thomas Sherington. They had two sons and four daughters. In 1556 he was heir to his uncle, John Bannaster, Esq., by which he inherited the Manor of Beninbrough. He was married for the second time to Christian Shakerley, widow of John Harding, Esq., Alderman of London, and daughter of Rowland Shakerley, of London. He was married for the third time to Anne Coote, widow.
      Sir Ralph Bourchier died on 11 June 1598, and was buried at Barking, Essex. His widow died the following August. His grandson and heir, John Bourchier, Knt., subscribed as an adventurer for Virginia in 1620."

      In 1575, Sir Ralph Bourchier bought the manor at Hanging Grimston and other lands in Kirby Underdale, Painsthorpe and Uncleby. He probably bought it for his son John Bourchier, who was knighted in 1609

      quoted from The National Trust.


      Beningbrough Hall is a large Georgian mansion near the village of Beningbrough, North Yorkshire, England, and overlooks the River Ouse.

      It has baroque interiors, cantilevered stairs, wood carving and central corridors which run the length of the house. Externally the house is a red-brick Georgian mansion with a grand drive running to the main frontage and a walled garden, The house is home to over 100 portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. It has a restaurant, shop and garden shop, and was shortlisted in 2010 for the Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award.

      The Hall is set in extensive grounds and is separated from them by an example of a ha-ha (a sunken wall) to prevent sheep and cattle entering the Hall's gardens or the Hall itself.

      Beningbrough Hall, situated 8 miles north of York, was built in 1716 by a York landowner, John Bourchier III to replace his family's modest Elizabethan manor, which had been built in 1556 by Sir Ralph Bourchier on his inheritance to the estate. Local builder William Thornton oversaw the construction, but Beningbrough's designer remains a mystery; possibly it was Thomas Archer. Bourchier was High Sheriff of Yorkshire for 1719-1721 and died in 1736 at the age of 52.

      John Bourchier (1710-1759) followed his father as owner of Beningbrough Hall and was High Sheriff in 1749. It then passed to Dr. Ralph Bourchier, a 71 year old physician and from him to his daughter, Margaret, who lived there for 70 years. Today a Bourchier knot is cut into a lawn adjoining the house.

      After over 100 years in the Bourchiers' possession, the estate passed in 1827 to the Rev. William Henry Dawnay, the future 6th Viscount Downe, a distant relative. He died in 1846 and left the house to his second son, Payan, who was High Sheriff for 1851. The house was neglected, prompting fears that it might have to be demolished. In 1916 however, a wealthy heiress, Enid Scudamore-Stanhope, Countess of Chesterfield, bought it and immediately set about its restoration, filling it with furnishings and paintings from her ancestral home, Holme Lacy. During the Second World War the hall was occupied by the Royal Air Force.

      Lady Chesterfield died in 1957 and in June 1958 the estate was acquired by the National Trust after it had been accepted by the government in lieu of death duties at a cost of £29,250. In partnership with the National Portrait Gallery the hall exhibits more than 100 18th-century portraits and has seven new interpretation galleries called 'Making Faces: 18th century Style'. Outside the main building there is a Victorian laundry and a walled garden with vegetable planting, the produce from which is used by the walled garden restaurant.



      BOURCHIER, Ralph (c.1531-98), of Haughton, Staffs. and Beningbrough, Yorks.
      Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
      Available from Boydell and Brewer
      NEWPORT I.O.W.
      Family and Education
      b. c.1531, s. of James Bourchier of Haughton by Mary, da. of Sir Humphrey Bannister of Calais and h. of her bro. John. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of Francis Hall of Grantham, Lincs., sis. of Arthur Hall, 2s. 4da.; (2) 1577, Christian, da. of Rowland Shakerley of London, wid. of John Harding of London, prob. s.p.; (3) Anne, wid. of one Coote, ?s.p. suc. fa. c.1555. Kntd. 1584.1

      Offices Held
      Keeper of Rochester castle, Kent 1559; sheriff, Yorks. 1580-1; j.p. Yorks. (N. Riding) from c.1573, (E. Riding) from c.1584.2

      Bourchier’s grandfather was the 2nd Lord Berners, appointed deputy of Calais in 1520. His father, one of Lord Berners’s many illegitimate children, spent most of his life soldiering, first at Galais and later as lieutenant of Ambleteuse. Bourchier himself inherited the manor of Haughton and other lands in Staffordshire, most of which he sold between 1568 and 1575, having by then inherited an estate in Yorkshire from his mother’s brother, John Bannister of London.3

      Bourchier’s local standing was no doubt sufficient to secure his own return to Parliament for Newcastle-under-Lyme and for Scarborough, where he had a lease of the rectory and other property. In 1572 he was first returned at Petersfield, probably through a connexion with Sir Henry Weston, before choosing to sit a second time for Newcastle-under-Lyme. His nomination at Newport must have been due to Sir George Carey, who had obtained the borough’s enfranchisement in the same year, though the actual connexion with Carey has not been ascertained; Bourchier may have met him either at court or during the northern campaign of 1569-70, and he may also have known Carey’s kinsman Edward, who had sat for Scarborough in 1272. For his fifth and last Parliament Bourchier sat as one of the Yorkshire county Members. On 26 Feb. 1589 he was named to a committee concerning captains and soldiers. He had already by then been active in local affairs in Yorkshire for some years. Indeed, as early as 1564 it had been suggested that he would be a suitable j.p. for the North Riding. In 1591 he was appointed with several other people to inquire into a dispute over the office of clerk to the castle and county court of York.4

      He died 11 June 1598 and was buried the same day at Barking, Essex. The administration of his property was granted on 15 June to his widow, who died the following August. Bourchier is not known to have had any estates in Essex and may have been visiting his daughter-in-law, formerly Katherine Barrington, whom his eldest son, William, married in about 1588. Through her mother, Katherine, she was related to the Hastings family, and Henry, 3rd of Huntingdon, was one of the witnesses of her marriage settlement. In the same year Huntingdon recommended to the Privy Council that Bourchier should be made a captain of horse. William Bourchier later went mad and the father delayed carrying out the stipulations of the settlement until a petition had been presented to Burghley by Francis Barrington. On Bourchier’s death, his property passed to a grandson, William’s eldest son, except for half the manor of Hanging Grimston in Yorkshire left to his younger son, John. William’s second son, Sir John, who eventually inherited Beningbrough, was a regicide.5

      Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
      Author: Patricia Hyde
      1. C142/107/39; Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. ed. Clay, i. 305-8; Vis. Yorks. (Harl. Soc. xvi), 30; London Mar. Lic. (Harl. Soc. xxv.), 77; Staffs. Parl. Hist. i. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.) 366-7; PCC admon. act bk. 1598, ff. 251, 258, 266; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. n.s. ix. 29, 85.
      2.CSP Dom. Add. 1547-65, p. 491; CSP Dom. 1598-1601, p. 62; HMC Var. ii. 99.
      3.Parl. Rep. Yorks. ed. Gooder (Yorks. Arch. Soc. Rec. ser. xcvi), 34; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xiii. 270; xiv. 176; n.s. ix. 29, 85; CPR, 1558-60, p. 244; C142/107/39; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. li), 441.
      4.LP Hen. VIII, xiii(1), p. 562; D’Ewes, 439; HMC Var. ii. 92-5; J. J. Cartwright, Chapters in Yorks. Hist. (1872), p. 67; Cam Misc. ix(3), p. 72; APC, xxi. 161-2; xxii. 400-1.
      5.Border Pprs. 1560-94, p. 324; Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 87; Essex Arch. Soc. n.s. ii. 9; VCH Yorks. N. Riding, ii. 162; C142/337/98.

  • Sources 
    1. [S6] Tudor Place Website, (

    2. [S1875] Yorkshire Visitation 1563-64.
      Visitation of Yorkshire 1563-64 pdf page 30
      Visitation of Yorkshire 1563-64 pdf page 30
      Keywords: Document