JERNINGHAM, Sir Henry (1509/10-72), of Costessey, Norf.; Herringfleet and Wingfield, Suff.; Painswick, Glos. and London.

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



Oct. 1553
Apr. 1554
Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. 1509/10, s. of Edward Jerningham of Somerleyton, Suff. by 2nd w. Mary, da. of Richard Scrope. educ. I. Temple, adm. 1528. m. c.1536, Frances, da. of Sir George Baynham of Clearwell, Glos., 3s. 2da. KB 29 Sept. 1553.2

Offices Held

Marshal, I. Temple 1549-50.

Constable, Gloucester castle, Glos. 1528-d.; sewer, household of Princess Mary by 1528, carver by 1533; gent. pens. 1540-?53; v.-chamberlain of the Household and capt. of the guard July 1553-Dec. 1557; PC Aug. 1553-Nov. 1558; master of the horse Dec. 1557-?Nov. 1558; ld. lt. Kent c.Mar.-Oct. 1558; keeper, Eltham and Horn parks, Kent 1553, Greenwich manor and park by 1558; various commissions, East Anglia 1553-d.; j.p.q. Suff. 1554; steward, Tewkesbury hundred, Glos. 1556, Barton Regis hundred by d.; master of the game, Corse Lawn chase, Glos. 1556-d.3


Henry Jerningham founded the second of the two branches of the family descended from Edward Jerningham of Somerleyton. His kin of the half-blood included the influential families of Bedingfield, Blennerhasset and Drury, but he seems to have owed his early advancement, first in the service of Princess Mary and then at court, to his stepfather, Sir William Kingston, who married Jerningham to one of his granddaughters. As a gentleman pensioner Jerningham attended the main state occasions during the 1540s and he served with his own band of five horsemen in the French campaign of 1544. Of his career under Edward VI little has come to light save occasional references to him at court.4

On the King’s death in 1553 Jerningham was among the first to join Mary at Kenninghall and it was he who raised Suffolk on her behalf. Mary made him vice-chamberlain of the Household and captain of the guard before her arrival in London and named him a Councillor shortly afterwards. At her coronation he was made a knight of the Bath. During Wyatt’s rebellion he led the royal forces from Gravesend which disbanded after an unsuccessful parley with the rebel leader at Rochester, but he later played a decisive part in the stand at Charing Cross which led to the rebellion’s collapse. He was clearly one of the Queen’s most trusted servants. Until Gardiner’s death he usually aligned himself with Gardiner on the Council, but after 1555 he seems to have pursued a more independent course. In 1556 he sat on the special commission to investigate the Dudley conspiracy, and revisited the Continent on a mission to the Emperor. When in December 1557 he became master of the horse in succession to (Sir) Edward Hastings, he received an annuity of £300 in addition to the usual fees. Early in 1558 the Count of Feria reported Philip Jerningham’s concern as to the defence of the kingdom, and after the loss of Calais he was one of the five Councillors recommended by Feria as most suited to membership of a conference about its recapture. During the summer of that year he was active in organizing the defence of Kent against possible French invasion. When in October 1558 the Queen made new arrangements for the use of her signet by her clerks, Jerningham was among the Councillors of whom two had to be present at the stamping of all warrants. His parliamentary career was confined to the reign of Mary. He sat repeatedly with his kinsman Sir William Drury for his home county of Suffolk until 1558 when he was returned for Gloucestershire, where he presumably relied upon his Kingston connexions for election. The Journal mentions him frequently as a bearer of bills to the Lords from 1 Dec. 1554 onwards: one of these was that for the absence of knights and burgesses early in 1555.5

Little is known of Jerningham after the accession of Elizabeth, which put an end to his public career. He sued out a general pardon on 15 Jan. 1559. On the lists of King Philip’s pensioners dated the previous year he is recorded as being owed 1,000 crowns for a period of 18 months, with a note, presumably added later, against his name, ‘He has retired: a good man, a Christian and a servant of your Majesty’. He does not figure in the bishops’ returns of 1564. He died on 6 Sept. 1572, having made his will on 15 Aug. previously. He remembered the prisoners of the five prisons of London and Southwark and the inmates and warden of the almshouses founded from his lands in Herringfleet, making provision for the old church of St. Olave there to be rebuilt ‘in such sort as I have determined’. To his sons Henry and William and his two daughters he left a large amount of plate. A nephew, Harry Jerningham, was to receive 40s. yearly so long as he should remain at his books in Cambridge. A marriage for the second surviving son William, who was still a minor, had been planned with Jerningham’s ward Elizabeth Cornish: William was to have land in Suffolk—some of it only after his mother’s death—and an annuity of almost £120. His wife received a life interest in his London property with his two sons as dividing remaindermen; another, Francis, appears to have died young. Jerningham’s widow and executrix proved the will on 27 May 1573; among the seven supervisors were Sir Henry Bedingfield, Sir Thomas Cornwallis and (Sir) John Sulyard.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., E150/618/4. DNB; Suckling, Suff. ii. 47; Vis. Suff. ed. Metcalfe, 47; Vis. Yorks. (Harl. Soc. xvi), 280; PCC 19 Populwell; C142/87/70.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, iv, vi; LC2/2, f. 41v; Machyn’s Diary (Cam. Soc. xlii), 38, 162; APC, iv. 419; vi. 297; CPR, 1553-4 to 1558-60 passim; 1569-72, pp. 217, 219-20, 422-3; G. Scott Thomson, Lds. Lt. 39-41; information from W. J. Tighe.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, iv, vi, viii, xii, xv, xix, xx, add.; Privy Purse Expenses of Princess Mary 1536-44, ed. Madden, passim.
  • 5. Chron. Q. Jane and Q. Mary (Cam. Soc. xlviii), 5, 8, 37, 39, 51, 131n.; D. M. Loades, Two Tudor Conspiracies, 59, 61, 62, 176; H. F. M. Prescott, Mary Tudor, 171, 193, 237, 238; S. R. Gammon, Statesman and Schemer, 190, 226; APC, iv-vi passim; CSP Span. 1554, pp. 55-56; 1554-8, pp. 267 and n., 349, 379; DKR, iv. app. ii, 244; Strype, Eccles. Memorials, iii(1), 549; CSP Ven. 1555-6, pp. 398-402, 415-16, 419-21; CPR, 1557-8, pp. 66, 142, 454; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 101, 106; 1601-3, Add. 1547-65, pp. 471-3; HMC 10th Rep. IV, 158-9; Lansd. 156, ff. 103, 111; CJ, i. 38, 41, 44-45, 49-50.
  • 6. CPR, 1558-60, p. 162; CSP Span. 1554-8, pp. 373, 455; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 47-48, 58-59; PCC 18 Peter; C142/165/145; HMC 10th Rep. IV, 160-1.