Bourchier , Robert, first Lord Bourchier (d. 1349)
Robert Bourghchier (c.1320-1349) Lord Chancellor of England in 1340, and the first layman to ever hold that office.
Bourchier (Bousser), Robert, first Lord Bourchier (d. 1349), administrator... He is first recorded in 1318, and later appears to have been employed by the de Vere earls of Oxford, whose estates were concentrated in Essex, but from the late 1320s he also served the crown... He was returned as a knight of the shire for Essex to the parliaments of 13289, 1330 (twice), 1332 (once), and 1339 (both)... in 1334 he was appointed chief justice of the justiciar's bench in Ireland, he never took up office. If anything he pursued a military career... On 14 December 1340 Bourchier was appointed chancellor of England, the first layman to hold that office. The context of his appointment was Edward III's quarrel with Archbishop John Stratford, over the alleged failure of the English administration to support the king's war effort in Flanders and France. The primate's brother Ralph Stratford, bishop of Chichester, was dismissed as chancellor, and Bourchier was chosen to replace him, presumably as a competent man of affairs who could be relied upon to do the king's bidding. His relative lack of personal means, which led to special arrangements having to be made to finance the chancery clerks in his household, and to the king's providing an annual fee of £100... Bourchier resigned as chancellor on 27 October 1341, but continued to serve as a member of the king's council... early in 1348 he was commissioned to accompany the king's daughter Joan to Spain, there to marry the future Pedro I of Castile, but she fell victim to plague at Bordeaux. In November 1348 he received a personal summons to parliament, and is consequently regarded as having become Lord Bourchier. Robert Bourchier died between 12 March and 18 August 1349, probably of the black death, and was buried at Halstead (Rose)
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