BUCKLAND, John (by 1532-63), of West Harptree and Witcombe, Som.

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. by 1532, 1st s. of John Buckland of West Harptree by Joan, da. of one Horner of Cloford. educ. M. Temple, called by 1559. m. by 1561, Thomasin, da. of Robert Fitzjames, 1da. suc. fa. 18 Oct. 1558.1

Offices Held


John Buckland died young and has left little trace of himself outside the Middle Temple. His father had bought the manor of West Harptree from Sir John Russell, Baron Russell, in 1543, but the younger Buckland did not succeed to it, his mother, who had a life interest, surviving him. He did, however, inherit the manor of Witcombe and properties in Martock, Milton Falconbridge, Norton and elsewhere in Somerset: these came to him, through his father, from his uncle Richard Buckland of Martock, who died, presumably childless, in 1557 and whose widow’s interest in them lapsed with her death some months later. It was these lands, some of them within 20 miles of Westbury, which gave John Buckland a local standing there; he was also on good terms with another branch of his family settled at Brigmerston and Standlynch in Wiltshire. In August 1558 either he or his father was left two gowns by a ‘cousin’, Richard Buckland of Clerkenwell, Middlesex, and the Matthew Buckland whose admission to the Middle Temple the younger John Buckland secured in November 1559 was perhaps another kinsman.2

The election at Westbury of a young lawyer from the neighbourhood who had already established himself in London hardly calls for further explanation, but it is of interest that after Buckland’s death the wardship of his only child Mary (not quite a year old when he died) would be granted to John Seymour. Although in itself the grant does not imply a connexion between the child’s guardian and her father, the fact that she was not a wealthy heiress suggests that there was one. The John Seymour in question has not been identified but two men of the name had sat for Wiltshire constituencies in the Parliaments of 1545 and 1547, so that such a connexion may well have played its part in Buckland’s appearance in his first and only Parliament.3

Buckland made his will on 5 Feb. 1563 and died on the following day. To his daughter he bequeathed his turquoise ring and 100 marks, to be paid at her marriage or on her 20th birthday. Lands in the tenure of his mother (who received a ring and a silver-gilt cup) were to be administered during her lifetime by his younger brother George; after her death, Buckland’s widow, the executrix, received a life interest. Most of the remainder of the landed property was to be divided between George and another brother, Thomas. Other relatives mentioned were the testator’s four sisters and a ‘cousin’, Walter Buckland of Shepton Mallet. The vicar of West Harptree was asked to divide a legacy of 20s.among the poor of the parish. The preamble in which Buckland committed his soul ‘into the hands of Almighty God, beseeching him to save it in that terrible day of judgment when all the world shall be judged’, leaves it unclear whether he shared the convictions of his kinsman Ralph Buckland of West Harptree, the seminarist and writer.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., E150/946/24; C142/124/167, 135/24; Vis. Som. ed. Weaver, 107.
  • 2. M.T. Recs. i. 95, 100, 102, 112, 120; Collinson, Som. ii. 141; Som. Rec. Soc. xxi. 179-80; xxvii. 225-7; C142/114/39, 124/172, 174; PCC 13, 32 Wrastley, 55 Noodes, 4 Chaynay.
  • 3. CPR, 1563-6, p. 191.
  • 4. PCC 27 Chayre; C142/135/24; G. Anstruther, Seminary Priests, i. 57; DNB (Buckland, Ralph).