Sir John Bourchier, c.1595-1660

Yorkshire Puritan who signed the King's death warrant and died unrepentant before being brought to trial as a regicide.

John Bourchier was the eldest surviving son of William Bourchier of Beningborough in Yorkshire, who was certified a lunatic in 1598, after which Bourchier was brought up under the wardship of his mother and uncle. After attending Cambridge and Gray's Inn, he was knighted in 1619 and appointed Justice of the Peace for all three Yorkshire Ridings in 1625.

A devout Puritan, Bourchier refused to pay the forced loans demanded by King Charles I in 1627, and clashed with the Council of the North in a dispute over royal enclosures in the Forest of Galtres near York in 1633, for which he was heavily fined. When King Charles summoned the Yorkshire gentry to attend him on Heworth Moor in June 1642, Bourchier argued violently with the Royalist Lord Savile. On the outbreak of civil war, he was arrested and imprisoned at York until June 1643. He made his way to Hull, where he was involved in the arrest of Sir John Hotham and his son.

In the spring of 1647, Bourchier was elected MP for Ripon and was one of the Members allowed to retain their seats after Pride's Purge in 1648. He sat as one of the King's judges and signed the death warrant. During the Commonwealth, he was active on various committees and was appointed a Trier and Ejector in 1654. Too ill to be brought to trial as a regicide, Bourchier died unrepentant in August 1660.


David Scott, Sir John Bourchier, Oxford DNB, 2004