Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bourchier, John (d.1660)
BOURCHIER, Sir JOHN (d. 1660), regicide, grandson and heir of Sir Ralph Bourchier, of Benningborough, Yorkshire, appears in 1620 in the list of adventurers for Virginia as subscribing 37l. 10s. In the following year, having complained of the lord-keeper for giving judgment against him in a lawsuit, he was censured and obliged to make a humble submission (Lords' Journals, iii. 179-92). He suffered more severely in a contest with Strafford concerning the enclosure of certain lands in the forest of Galtre, near York. Sir John attempted to assert his claims by pulling down the fences, for which he was fined and imprisoned. Directly the Long parliament met he petitioned, and his treatment was one of the minor charges against Strafford (Rushworth, Strafford's Trial, p. 146; see also Straff. Corr. i. 86-88, ii. 59). His name also appears among those who signed the different Yorkshire petitions in favour of the parliament, and a letter from him describing the presentation of the petition of 3 June 1642 on Heyworth Moor, and a quarrel between himself and Lord Savile on that occasion, was printed by order of the House of Commons (Commons' Journals, 6 June 1642). He entered the Long parliament amongst the 'recruiters' as member for Ripon (1645). In December 1648 he was appointed one of the king's judges, and signed the death-warrant. In February 1651, and again in November 1652, he was elected a member of the council of state, and finally succeeded in obtaining a grant of 6,000l. out of the estate of the Earl of Strafford, but it is not evident what satisfaction he actually obtained (Commons' Journals, 31 July 1651). At the Restoration he was, with the other regicides, summoned to give himself up, and the speaker acquainted the House of Commons with his surrender on 18 June 1660 (Journals). While the two houses were quarrelling over the exceptions to be made to the act of indemnity, Bourchier died, asserting to the last the justice of the king's condemnation. 'I tell you it was a just act; God and all good men will own it' (Ludlow's Memoirs, ed. 1751, p. 358). Sir John's son, Barrington Bourchier, having aided in the Restoration, obtained a grant of his father's estate (Cal. of State Papers, Dom., 1661, p. 557).
[Noble's Regicides and House of Cromwell, ii. 36; the Fairfax Correspondence (Civil Wars), i. 338, contains a letter from Sir John Bourchier to Lord Fairfax on the want of ministers in Yorkshire.]
- amended to 1647 in revised edition. (Wikisource contributor note)