Helen Glenn Court


William Bernard, born about 1598 in England and apparently stout in build, came to the colonies about 1625 and settled in Virginia, as clearly documented. He was the son of Francis Bernard, Esq., of Kingsthorpe, Northamptonshire, and the brother of Sir Robert Bernard, Bart., of Brampton, Huntingdonshire, both relationships clear in an excerpt from the will of Sir Robert. His relation — 1st cousin — to Richard Bernard of Purton is substantiated, interestingly, in the lineage of Queen Elizabeth II.

Sources: Tyler, Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, pp. 117-18; Torrence, Winston of Virginia and Allied Families, pp. 116-17; Higgins, The Bernards of Abington and Nether, vol. 1, p. 33-42, 73-75, vol. 4, p. 318; Northamptonshire Visitations, p. 3; Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 6, pp. 408-9; Hening, vol. 1, pp. 239, 526; British royal lineage

generation no. 1

Robert Bernard, born c 1374, son of William, son of Gilbert, son of William, son of Godfrey. Married Elizabeth Lylling, daughter of Sir Nicholas Lillyng, sheriff 1384 of Abington and so on.

generation no. 2

Thomas Bernard, born 1415, died 1464, of Abington, Clare, and Little Bringhton. Married Margaret Mauntell. Fought at Agincourt, escheator for Northamptonshire in 1415.

generation no. 3

John Bernard, born 1437, died 1485-86. Married Margaret le Scroope.

generation no. 4

John Bernard, born 1469, died 1508. Married Margaret Daundelyn.

generation no. 5

John Bernard, of Abington, born 1492, died 1549, buried Abington Church. Married Cecily Muscote, died 1557.

generation no. 6

Francis Bernard, of Abington, born 1530, died 1609. Married Alice Haslewood, born 1526, daughter of John Haslewood Esquire.

generation no. 7 [brothers]

Richard Bernard, of Astwood, born c 1655, buried 24 April 1613. Married Elizabeth Woolhouse, born 1572 in St. Magnus Parish, died 10 March 1622.

Francis Bernard, of Kingsthorpe, born c 1556, died 21 November 1630. Married (2) c 1595 Mary Woolhouse, born c 1560 in St. Magnus Parish, London, daughter of Anthony Woolhouse and Millicent Strelley.

generation no. 8 [first cousins]

Richard Bernard, of Turvey, Bedfordshire, baptized 12 March 1608, died 3 April 1651 in Gloucester Co. VA. Married 24 November 1634 at St. Andrews-in-the-Wardrobe, London to Anne Corderoy of Wiltshire (see miscellany and letter).

Colonel William Bernard, born c 1598-1605, came to Virginia 1625, died before 31 March 1665. Married before 1646 Lucy Higginson, born c 1626, died 6 November 1675, widow of Major Lewis Burwell.

generation no. 9 [second cousins]

Anna Bernard, born c 1636 at Purton, Gloucester Co. VA. Married Major John Smith of Warwick Co., member of House of Burgesses.

Lucy Bernard, died 6 November 1675. Married Dr. Edmund Gwynne.

generation no. 10

Lucy Gwynne, born c 1655, died 22 November 1731. Married 4 January 1694 Thomas Reade.

Will excerpt: Sir Robert Bernard [uncle]

5 December 1665, proved 15 May 1666

"I give to my brother William's son, now at Brampton, 100 if he live to be 18 and I leave him to my son John to bring up & some care is to be had to enquire what his father left in Virginia."

Biographical sketch

William Bernard, the emigrant ("that stout Colonel")

"Settled first in Isle of Wight county [VA] and probably continued to make his home there. He was certainly living there in 1639, when the assembly appointed him a tobacco inspector for the district extending from Laune's creek to Casstra creek. The act styles him Mr. William Barnett. Bernard first appears as a member of the council in March, 1642-43 and retained his seat until 1652. The house of burgesses again made him a councillor by successive elections in April, 1652; March, 1654-55; March, 1657-58 and April, 1658. He was also present as a member on March 13, 1659-60. He doubtless remained a councillor until his death, which occurred in or not long before 1662. Took part in the effort to make silk culture a success in Virginia, and in the Reformed Virginia Silk Worm, published in 1652.

John Ferrar Jr., who puts into rhyme the substance of letters lately received by his sister, Virginia Ferrar, says of him: 'Yea, worthy Bernard that stout Colonel informs the lady the work most facile And of rich silken stuffs made shortly there He hopes that he and others shall soon wear.'

"Only two grants of land to Bernard appear in the land books. The first, dated Aug. 10, 1642, was to 'William Bernard, Esq., 1200 acres in Isle of Wight county, at the head of Laune's creek, and extending to the head of Pagan creek, due for his own adventure into the Colony four times, and for the transportation of 20 persons;' and the second to 'Col. Bernard, Esq., 600 acres in Lancaster on Dividing Creek.' Col. Bernard married in 1652 or the year following, Lucy, widow of Maj. Lewis Burwell, of 'Carter's Creek,' Gloucester county, and daughter of Capt. Robert Higginson. Several deeds in York prove this marriage, the earliest of them being from William Bernard, Esq., and his wife, Lucy, conveying to George Reade a tract of land which had been purchased by Capt. Robert Higginson on Jan. 9, 1648. Bernard died in or before 1662, in which year his widow had become the wife of Philip Ludwell."

Source: Tyler, "Burgesses and Other Prominent Persons," pp. 117-18

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