Henry Bourchier, 1st Earl of Essex

Henry Bourchier, 5th Baron Bourchier, 2nd Count of Eu, 1st Viscount Bourchier, 1st Earl of Essex, KG (c. 1404/c. 1406 4 April 1483), was the eldest son of William Bourchier, 1st Count of Eu and Anne of Gloucester. On his mother's side, he was a great-grandson of Edward III of England.

Henry Bourchier
5th Baron Bourchier
1st Viscount Bourchier
Earl of Essex
Canting arms of Bourchier: Argent, a cross engrailed gules between four water bougets sable
DiedApril 4, 1483
Noble familyBourchier
Spouse(s)Isabel of York
William Bourchier, Viscount Bourchier
Henry Bourchier
Humphrey Bourchier, 1st Baron Cromwell
John Bourchier
Edward Bourchier
Thomas Bourchier
Florence Bourchier
Fulk Bourchier
Hugh Bourchier
Isabella Bourchier
Laura, Countess of Devon
FatherWilliam Bourchier, Count of Eu
MotherAnne of Gloucester


He inherited the title of 5th Baron Bourchier from his cousin Elizabeth Bourchier, 4th Baroness Bourchier on her death in 1433. He became the 1st Viscount Bourchier in 1446, a Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1452, and was created 1st Earl of Essex in 1461.[3]


He saw considerable military action in France and for his services was created Viscount Bourchier during the parliament of 1445–6 and elected Knight of the Garter on his third nomination in 1452. He later saw action in 1461 as a Yorkist supporter at the Second Battle of St Albans and the Battle of Towton, soon after which Edward IV created him Earl of Essex.

He held the post of Lord High Treasurer from 29 May 1455 - 5 October 1456, 28 July 1460 - 14 April 1462, and 22 April 1471 - 4 April 1483. He also became Justice in Eyre south of the Trent in 1461, holding that title until his death.

He died on 4 April 1483 and was buried at Beeleigh Abbey, although his tomb was subsequently moved to Little Easton church.

Marriage and issue

Prior to 1426, he married Isabel of Cambridge, a great-granddaughter Edward III. She was the elder sister of Richard Plantagenet, which made her the aunt of Richard's two sons, the future Edward IV and Richard III.

Henry and Isabel were parents to at least eleven children.

On his death she did not remarry and died more than a year later.


  1. See garter plate of his grandson the 2nd Earl
  2. Vivian, Heralds' Visitations of Devon, 1895, p.106
  3. "Memorial of the parishes of Greensted-Budworth, Chipping Ongar and High Laver, with an account of the families of Cleeve and Budworth".
  4. Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 111.



Political offices
Preceded by
James Butler
Lord High Treasurer
Succeeded by
John Talbot
Preceded by
James Butler
Lord High Treasurer
Succeeded by
John Tiptoft
Preceded by
John Tiptoft
Lord High Treasurer
Succeeded by
John Wood
Peerage of England
New creation Earl of Essex
5th creation
Succeeded by
Henry Bourchier
Viscount Bourchier
Preceded by
Elizabeth Bourchier
Baron Bourchier
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