BODENHAM, Henry (1511/12-73), of Ebbesborne Wake, Wilts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. 1511/12, 1st s. of Henry Bodenham of Ebbesborne Wake by Elizabeth. m. (1) by 1539, Margery (d. 24 Feb. 1567), da. and h. of Henry Pauncefoot of Fugglestone St. Peter, at least 4s. 2da.; (2) Avice, wid. of Edmund Somerset. suc. fa. 3 Sept. 1515.1

Offices Held

J.p. Wilts. 1543, by 1553-d.; commr. relief 1550; other commissions 1543-51.2


In the reign of Henry III the Bodenhams had held land in the tithing of Nunton and Bodenham, in the south Wiltshire parish of Downton, but they afterwards moved a few miles west to Ebbesborne Wake, which they acquired by marriage. When Henry Bodenham the elder died on 3 Sept. 1515 his son inherited this manor, held of the King in chief, and lands at Kingston Deverill, held of Netley abbey. In 1523 the boy’s wardship was granted to his stepfather Bartholomew Hussey, and he received livery of his inheritance on 1 July 1534.3

Bodenham is not known to have been connected with Herefordshire, which has a village called Bodenham and then had a prominent family of the same name, although his contemporary Thomas Bodenham of Rotherwas in that shire married into the Yorkes of Ramsbury. The Wiltshire historian Hoare reproduces a pedigree which mistakenly shows Cecily Bodenham, whose will was made in 1543, as the wife of James and the mother of Roger Bodenham of Downton: she was in fact the aunt of Roger Bodenham of Dinton, near Wilton, and in April 1534 she had been elected abbess of Wilton, which she was to surrender in 1539 in return for a year and a mansion at nearby Fovant. She may well have been related to Henry Bodenham, although he is not mentioned in her will, as Fovant is two miles north-east of Ebbesborne Wake and Wilton itself a further six miles in the same direction. He is not known to have taken part in the dispute over her election, but her translation from Kington St. Michael to Wilton may have owed something to his position in the locality. The Valor Ecclesiasticus records that in 1535 he held the abbey’s estate at Fugglestone St. Peter, which had been leased to him two years earlier; he was by then presumably married to the daughter and heir of Henry Pauncefoot, who had died in 1522-3 owning property in Wilton itself and in the neighbouring parishes of Fugglestone St. Peter and Quidhampton.4

Bodenham was among the local gentry who mustered for the French war in 1544, when it was noted that he could supply five archers and five billmen. He saw active service, for on 22 July 1545 the Privy Council at Portsmouth summoned Mr. Bodenham and a fellow captain from Wiltshire, with 1,500 of the best men, and a ‘Henry Boneham’ was listed among the officers at Boulogne under Sir Thomas Poynings. He had returned home by 27 Feb. 1546, when he was appointed to take an inventory of goods at South Newton, near Wilton, and to investigate allegations of embezzlement.5

Wilton abbey and most of its surrounding estates were granted in 1544 to (Sir) William Herbert, who was created Earl of Pembroke in October 1551. Henry Bodenham thus became Herbert’s tenant for Fugglestone St. Peter and the rest of his wife’s inheritance, which in 1573 was to be valued at £5 a year. In June 1553 John Cock II of Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, a lawyer and an associate of Pembroke, joined Bodenham in paying £616 for property in Berkshire, Essex, Hertfordshire and Wiltshire; Bodenham’s share in these lands, all of which had belonged to monasteries or chantries, seems to have been limited to former possessions of Breamore priory in Girardston and Ebbesborne Wake.6

The connexion with Cock provides a further link between Bodenham and Pembroke, the man most likely to have secured his return as a knight of the shire on 1 Oct. 1555. There is nothing to suggest that Bodenham was a Catholic: he was to vote against a government bill in 1555, he was to be described as ‘no hinderer’ by the bishop of Salisbury in 1564 and he was to make no significant avowal of faith in his will. If he was not associated with any of the commissions directed against the Church, this may have been because he had not been a particularly prominent local figure; in this he resembled his fellow-Member William Baseley, whose chief local distinction was that he had married the widow of William Stumpe. Pembroke enjoyed high favour under Mary, when his parliamentary influence could not be challenged by his natural rivals the Seymours and the Thynnes; two of his servants, George Penruddock and Nicholas Snell, were to be returned as knights of the shire in 1558 when Bodenham’s stand in 1555 may have prevented his own re-election. Perhaps it was the re-emergence of Sir John Thynne as a knight of the shire which led Bodenham to accept election at Wilton, with Pembroke’s retainer Thomas Highgate, to the Parliament of 1559. It is unlikely, although not impossible, that it was Henry’s son and namesake who sat on this occasion; no Bodenham was a Member of any other Elizabethan Parliament, and the younger Henry Bodenham, who was aged only 34 at his father’s inquisition in 1573, was thus still a minor at the close of 1558.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. F.T. Baker


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., E150/968/4. PCC 21 Peter, 13 Babington; Som. Med. Wills, ii (Som. Rec. Soc. xix), 217-19; CPR, 1569-72, p. 420.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xx, xxi; APC , iv. 350; CPR, 1550-3, p. 142; 1553, p. 359; 1553-4, p. 25; 1560-3, p. 443; 1563-6, p. 28.
  • 3. Hoare, Wilts. Downton, 61, Chalk, 162-3; LP Hen. VIII, iii, vii.
  • 4. Vis. Herefs. ed. Weaver, 81-82; PCC 18 More; LP Hen. VIII, vii, xiv; VCH Wilts. vi. 43, Som. Med. Wills. ii. 217-19.
  • 5. SP1/154, f. 194v; LP Hen. VIII, xix-xxi.
  • 6. VCH Wilts. vi. 41; Pembroke Survey (Roxburghe Club cliv), 51-52, 102, 149, 185; CPR, 1553, p. 30.
  • 7. Guildford mus. Loseley 1331/2; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 38; C142/165/189.