John Bourchier, 1st Earl of Bath

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Arms of Bourchier: Argent, a cross engrailed gules between four water bougets sable

John Bourchier, 1st Earl of Bath (20 July 1470 – 30 April 1539) was named Earl of Bath in 1536. He was feudal baron of Bampton in Devon.


John Bourchier was born in Essex, England, the eldest son and heir of Fulk Bourchier, 10th Baron FitzWarin (d. 18 September 1479)[1] by his wife Elizabeth Dynham, 2nd daughter and co-heiress of John Dynham, 6th Baron Dynham.[2] He was the brother of Elizabeth Bourchier.[citation needed]


Bourchier married three times:

  • Firstly to Cecily Daubeny, the daughter of Giles Daubeny, 8th Baron Daubeny and Elizabeth Arundell, the daughter of John Arundell of Lanherne, Cornwall.[3] They had eight children.
  • Secondly to Florence Bonville, widow of Sir Humphrey Fulford, and daughter and coheir of John Bonville by Katharine Wingfield, the daughter of Sir Robert Wingfield.[4]
  • Thirdly to Elizabeth Wentworth, widow of Sir Roger Darcy (d. 30 September 1508) and Sir Thomas Wyndham, and daughter of Sir Henry Wentworth of Nettlestead, Suffolk, by Anne Say, the daughter of Sir John Say.[5]


Small monumental brass (c. one ft high) in St Brannock's Church, Braunton, Devon, of Lady Elizabeth Bourchier (d.1548), daughter of John Bourchier, 1st Earl of Bath & wife of Edward Chichester (d.1522) of Raleigh, Pilton. She kneels at prayer before a prie dieu on which is an open book. Gothic text inscription under: "Here lyethe Lady Elyzabethe Bowcer daughter of John Erle of Bathe & sumtyme wyffe to Edwarde Chechester Esquyer the whyche Elyzabethe decessyd the XXXIIIth day of August in the yere of O_r Lorde God M Vc (i.e. 5*c) XLVIII apon whose soule God have m(er)cy". The brass is a palimpsest, engraved on the reverse is the face of a knight, with helmet unfinished, apparently containing an artistic error which led to its abandonment & reuse

By his 1st wife Cecily Daubeny, he had the following children:

  • John Bourchier, 2nd Earl of Bath (d.1560).
  • Lady Elizabeth Bourchier (d.24 August 1548), married Edward Chichester (c.1496-1522), of Raleigh, Pilton, Devon. Her monumental brass, depicting a small kneeling figure with a separate inscription, exists in St Brannock's Church, Braunton, Devon.[6]
  • Amias Bourchier
  • Lady Dorothy Bourchier, married Sir John Fulford.[7]
  • Giles Bourchier
  • Lady Margaret Bourchier
  • Lady Anne Bourchier
  • Lady Eleanor Bourchier

Death and burial[edit]

John Bourchier, 1st Earl of Bath was buried in Bampton Church in Devon, in which he had endowed a chantry. Although part of an elaborate chest tomb survives in the church, it is according to Pevsner that of his grandmother Thomasine Hankford (d.1453), heiress of Bampton, wife of William Bourchier, 9th Baron FitzWarin(1407-1470).[8] The 1st Earl's tomb, which was destroyed sometime after 1770, was situated in the north aisle of Bampton Church and showed effigies of himself and his wife Cecily Daubeny with their 8 children.[9]



  1. ^ Cokayne 1926, p. 509.
  2. ^ Vivian, (ed.), Heralds' Visitations of Devon, 1895, p.106
  3. ^ Cokayne 1912, p. 10.
  4. ^ Cokayne 1912, p. 10.
  5. ^ Cokayne 1912, p. 10.
  6. ^ Pevsner, Devon, 2004, p.208
  7. ^ Vivian, (ed.) Heralds' Visitation of Devon, 1895, p.107
  8. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus & Cherry, Bridget, The Buildings of England: Devon, London, 2004, p.147
  9. ^ Hoskins, W.G., A New Survey of England: Devon, London, 1959 (first published 1954), p.327


  • Cokayne, George Edward (1912). The Complete Peerage, edited by Vicary Gibbs. Vol. II. London: St Catherine Press. p. 16.
  • Cokayne, George Edward (1926). The Complete Peerage, edited by Vicary Gibbs and H.A. Doubleday. Vol. V. London: St Catherine Press. pp. 508–11.
Peerage of England
New creation Earl of Bath
Succeeded by
Preceded by Baron FitzWarin