Nathaniel Bacon (politician)

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Nathaniel Bacon, 1657. This painting was on display in Ipswich Town Hall in 1884

Nathaniel Bacon (12 December 1593 – 1660) was an English Puritan lawyer, writer and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1645 and 1660. He was Judge of the High Court of Admiralty 1653 to 1654.


Bacon was the son of Sir Edward Bacon of Shrubland, Barham, son of Queen Elizabeth's Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, Sir Nicholas Bacon, by his first wife, Jane Ferneley (d.1552).[1] He was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge. In 1617 he was called to the bar.[2]

Bacon was a Parliamentarian, active in support of the New Model Army from 1644,[3] Bacon became Member of Parliament for Cambridge University in 1645, as a recruiter to the Long Parliament until he was excluded after Pride's Purge.[1]

Bacon was elected MP for Ipswich for the First Protectorate Parliament in 1654, along with his brother Francis Bacon and the two represented Ipswich together until his death. He also served as an Admiralty Judge and Master of Requests (1657).[1]


The Fearefull Estate of Francis Spira , (1638)[edit]

The remark

Man knows the beginning of sin, but who bounds the issues thereof?

appears in The Fearefull Estate of Francis Spira

It is cited by John Bunyan in Grace Abounding,[4] as being by Francesco Spiera, but is misattributed, and is really Bacon's, from this work on Speira.[5][6]

Historical Discourse (1647–51)[edit]

Bacon's An Historical Discourse of the Uniformity of the Government of England has been described as the first historical work on Norman England to argue closely from sources,[7] and as "the classical statement of the thesis of Anglo-Saxon liberties".[8] He "presented the ... Saxons as a free people governed by laws made by themselves".[9] Glenn Burgess describes it as "a work of considerable scholarship as well as a piece of political propaganda".[10] It argued continuity of the kingship of William the Conqueror with that of previous kings.[11] It was generally aristocratic and republican in tone, strongly anti-clerical, favouring government by an elected council.[12]

The Annals of Ipswich (1654)[edit]

The Annals of Ipswich constitute a significant contribution to the history of Ipswich, and mark out Bacon's capabilities as a historian.[13]


Bacon married twice: firstly Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Maydston of Boxted, Essex, and widow of Edward Glascock of Great Horkesley, Essex (no children) and secondly Susan, daughter of William Holloway, clothier, of East Bergholt, Suffolk, and widow of Matthew Alefounder, clothier, of Dedham, Essex with whom he had four sons and five daughters. His brother was Francis Bacon, the Ipswich MP.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d "History of Parliament Online - Bacon, Nathaniel". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
  2. ^ "Bacon, Nathaniel (BCN606N)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ Richard Tuck, Philosophy and Government 1571-1651 (1993), p. 235.
  4. ^ Grace Abounding - PUBLISHER'S FOREWORD
  5. ^ Michael MacDonald, The Fearefull Estate of Francis Spira: Narrative, Identity, and Emotion in Early Modern England, The Journal of British Studies, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Jan., 1992), pp. 32-61.
  6. ^ M. A. Overell, The Exploitation of Francesco Spiera, Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 26, No. 3 (Autumn, 1995), pp. 619-637.
  7. ^ David Bates, England and Normandy in the Middle Ages (1994), p. 9.
  8. ^ Rosemary Sweet, Antiquaries (2004), p. 195.
  9. ^ Online Library of Liberty - CHAPTER II: The Colonial Perspective: Ancient and Medieval - The Lamp of Experience
  10. ^ The Politics of the Ancient Constitution, (1992) p. 96.
  11. ^ Burgess p. 97.
  12. ^ Tuck, pp. 236-40.
  13. ^ Amor, Nicholas R. (2011). Late medieval Ipswich : trade and industry. woodbridge: Boydell. ISBN 9781843836735.
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Thomas Eden
Henry Lucas
Member of Parliament for Cambridge University
With: Henry Lucas 1640–1648
Succeeded by
Not represented in Barebones Parliament
Preceded by
Not represented in Barebones Parliament
Member of Parliament for Ipswich
With: Francis Bacon
Succeeded by
Francis Bacon
John Gurdon
Preceded by
Francis Bacon
John Gurdon
Member of Parliament for Ipswich
With: Francis Bacon
Succeeded by
Sir Frederick Cornwalli, Bt
Francis Bacon