Burghersh Manor: Home of John Bartholomew, envoy to Henry VIII(?)
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska

John Bartholomew was born in 1472. He was 14 years old in the year that Columbus petitioned Queen Isabella of Castile to allow him to find a new passage to the Orient. John was 20 when Columbus first made his voyage in 1492. In the American Armoury and Blue Book, 1907 edition, p. 203, it shows: "John Bartholomew of Burghursh" as William Bartholomew, the immigrant's grandfather.

There has been a rumor (in the Bartholomew Family) that the Johnsons had an association with the Earl of Lincoln (this seems to have been disproven). however, there might have been an association with the Bishop of Lincoln. Henry Burghersh had a manor house (of the same name). Henry was appointed Bishop of Lincolm in 1320.Henry of Burghersh (1292-1340) was the youngest son of Robert, Baron Burghersh (d. 1305) and Lady Maude de Badlesmore.

Henry had his possessions restored after the execution of Badlesmere, in 1322. He joined Edward II's queen, Isabella (the "She Wolf of France") to take part in the plot against her husband. Edward II was deposed and murdered. Henry then enjoyed the favors of Edward III. After this close call, Henry repaired this same house in 1329, along with his Lincolnshire manors (Wood, Margaret. The English Medieval House. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1983).

Henry was then chancellor of England in 1328. He was imprisoned for a brief time when Isabella lost power in 1330. Henry then became treasurer of England from 1334-1337. Henry died in Ghent on December 4, 1340.

Sir Bartholomew of Burghersh, located in Kent, was the King's Chamberlain, and a baron in 1330. ***The king of this report must have been Edward III who reigned from 1327-1377. Sir Bartholomew of Burghersh bore his arms in the battle of Boroughbridge in 1322, and at the Siege of Calais from 1345 to 1348.

His arms: gules, a lion rampant tail fourchee or. (the tintures reversed in Surrey and other rolls). John of Burghersh bore the same, Jenyn's ordinary (French) and Bartholomew of Herbert bore it with a label (5) azure, Dering Roll, and Herbert - Bore, gules, a lion rampant, or in the Howard Roll.

Source: Foster, Joseph. The Dictionary of Heraldry: Fuedal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Studio Editions Ltd., 1994, p. 37.

***It seems that this Sir Bartholomew of Burghersh had a brother named John, who inherited the manor house. John Bartholomew was born in 1472, which is only one hundred and twenty-four (124) years after Sir Bartholomew fought at the Siege of Calais in 1348, during the reign of Edward III. It seems logical that this is true since John Bartholomew (above) later worked as an envoy in the court of Henry VIII. Perhaps members of the family served other kings in-between? Thwn we can ascertain that one branch of the Bartholomew family owned Burghersh manor, as reported in the family histories.

John Bartholomew was the owner of Westall Hill Manor in Fulbrooke where his descendants lived for 200 years (see the Manor house in links below). John was the son of John Bartholomew of Warborough, who was born in 1472.

There was a John Bartholomew who went with William Symond, in 1511 (at age 39, if he is indeed the John Bartholomew that was born in 1472), to visit the King of Aragon:

  1. As a part of his preparation for war against France, in 1511, Henry VIII sent out two smale scale military expeditions: one to aid Margaret, regent of the Netherlands, against the duke of Gelders, and the other to assist Ferdinand of Spain against the Moors. When the latter expedition arrived at Cadiz, it discovered that it was no longer needed, and after an outbreak of indiscipline, returned after about two weeks.

    The ship departed from Plymouth haven, on the Monday in which Ascension Day falls, with three royal ships and the wind was so favorable to them that on the 1st of June, the eve of the feast of the Pentecost, he arrived at the port of Cadiz in southern Spain. Immediately, on the advice of his council, he sent, to the king of Aragon, two gentlemen called John Bartholomew and William Symond, with letters to inform the king and his council of their arrival, and what pains they had taken to come to his country, in fullfilling the king, their master's command. The messengers did so much that they came to the king, besides the city of Seville, where he then was, and told him of Lord Darcy, by the appointment of the king their master, had come with 1,600 archers, according to the said King of Aragon's request, and waited at Cadiz to know his pleasure. The King of Aragon answered them politely, that the Lord Darcy and all others who had come from his best beloved son were welcome, and he heartily thanked them for their pains, and asked the messengers to return to their captain and tell him that the king in all haste would send council to him. And so they departed from the king and reported to Lord Darcy, who stayed on his ship, in great state, and would not land, but only allowed those who were sick or weak and a few others to land.

    The Englishmen who did land fell to drinking strong wines and were scarcely in control of themselves; some ran to the brothels, some broke down hedges and spoiled orchards and vineyards and unripe oranges, and did many other outrageous deeds. Therefore the chief governor of the town of Cadiz came to complain to the Lord Darcy on his ship, who sent forth his provost marshal, who scarcely with force could restrain the yeomen archers, they were so hot and wilful, but by orders and policy they were all brought on board their ships.

(Source: Loade, David. Chronicles of the Tudor Kings. Wayne, New Jersey: BHB International Inc, 1990, 114.)

*****

In 1530, there were over 800 religious houses in England.

In 1536, the closures were carried out. Jewels and ornaments, of the Catholic Church, were seized for the crown. Perhaps we should note that Henry VIII was at the brink of financial ruins at this point in his life. Lay farmers were put in possession of the houses they previously were attached to, as plowmen, etc. These "lay farmers" managed these houses until they were sold. Many of these houses had their roots in the 12th century.

By 1540, all these religious houses were closed, such as Newstead, Nottinghamshire; and Woborn, Bedfordshire. Many country families, who were tenants of the monks already bought their lands from the Court of Augmentation (Loades (editor), David. Chronicles of the Tudor Kings. Wayne, N.J.: CLB, 1997).

"Gentry families could enlarge their holdings, lawyers and merchants could become country gentlemen, and courtiers and royal officials (most from the gentry) could build up vast landed estates." At this time, the Cecils, The Russells, and the Cavandishes came into power. In the second half of the 16th century, they found an increase in country house building. Many medieval homes were remodelled in the 1550s.

Since Burghursh was located in Kent and the Bartholomew's other home was in Oxfordshire, it would have only been a matter of twenty-five miles (25) travel back and forth.

Studley Priory, in Oxfordshire was bought by the Croke family, it was previously used as a Benedictine nunnery, in the twelfth (12th) century. The Croke family owned it for 350 years thereafter.

The origin of the English Blounts with a second son of the count of Guines at the Norman conquest appears in a pedigree published by Alexander Croke in his Genealogical History of the Croke Family, Originally named Le Blount (2 vols., Oxford, 1823).

Henry Croke appears on the Agincourt Honor Roll, A-E.

Of course, to this point in time, this is only speculation. But at least one sources shows Burghersh/Burghursh as interchangeable spellings of the same name.


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