Sir Nicholas HARE of Bruisyard

Born: ABT 1484, Homesfield, Norfolk, England

Died: 31 Oct 1557, Chancery Lane

Buried: Temple Church

Father: John HARE of Homersfield

Mother: Elizabeth FORTESCUE

Married: Catherine BASSINGBOURNE


1. Audrey HARE (m. Thomas Timperley (1524-1594))

2. Anne HARE (m. Thomas Rouse of Henham)

3. Michael HARE (d. 1611) (m.1 Elizabeth Hubberd - m.2 Mary Brudenell)

4. Robert HARE (d. AFT 1611)

5. William HARE

Sir Nicholas Hare of Bruisyard, Suffolk, M.P. for Downton, Wiltshire in 1529 and Speaker of the House of Commons in 1539, eventually becoming Master of the Rolls (1553-1557). He had three sisters, who were married to M.P.s., and a brother, John Hare of Stow Bardolph.

Nicholas Hare probably owed his return for Downton in 1529 and Taunton in 1547 to his friendship with Paulet, while John Bekinsau, although doubtless acceptable to Gardiner as a Member for Downton and Hindon in Mary's reign, was Pauletīs neighbor in Hampshire. He appeared for the defence in the case against Cardinal Wolsey in 1530.

He was knighted in 1538. In 1539 the nunnery of Bruisyard was dissolved and assigned by Henry VIII to Sir Nicholas Hare who was succeeded by his son Michael who turned The Priory into a private house. Elected Speaker of the House of Commons in 1540. In 1553 he was appointed Master of the Rolls, a position he occupied until his death in 1557. Sir Nicholas rose to fame during the reign of Queen Mary I. He presided at the trial of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton accused of siding in the Wyatt's rebellion against the marriage of Queen Mary to Felipe of Spain.

Sir Nicholas died in Chancery Lane in 1557 and was buried in the nearby eleventh century Temple Church, and is commemorated in the south bay window of the new Inner Temple Hall.

His son Michael was married twice, firstly to Elizabeth Hubberd and secondly to Mary Brudenell, but when he died in 1611, he had no surviving children. The other brothers Robert and William also had no children, Robert, an antiquary, dying later in 1611. Bruisyard Hall passed to the Rouse family. There were other further notable members of the Hare family, with descendants still living, originating from Sir Nicholas'.

Hare Court is part of the Inner Temple and takes its name from Sir Nicholas Hare. The Court took its name in 1567 when a nephew of Sir Nicholas, also named Nicholas Hare, entered chambers there and rebuilt many of the buildings. These original buildings were destroyed in a fire in 1678, and the building which is now Hare Court dates from the reconstruction.

Under Elizabeth I their refusal of the Hare family to convert from Catholicism cost them dearly. The house contains a priest hole. After Michael's death in 1611, Bruisyard was given to his sister Anne who married Thomas Rouse of Henham, in whose family the house has remained.

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