Sir James Berners

Sir James Berners, Knight of the Chamber to Richard II, was buried in St John the Baptist's chapel in Westminster Abbey. No inscription or monument for him is recorded in earlier guidebooks.

He was born at Berners Hall, West Horsley in Surrey on 8th March 1361, a son of John Berners and his wife Katherine St Omer (there is a stained glass window depicting him in St Mary's church in the village). His uncle was Ralph Berners. The family traced descent from Hugo de Bernariis, a follower of William the Conqueror.

After his father's death James and his brother John became wards of Humphrey, Earl of Hereford. John died and James eventually became a royal ward and friend of the young king Richard II. He served in campaigns in Brittany and became knight of the chamber, owning many estates in Essex and elsewhere, and Member of Parliament for Surrey. By October 1381 he was knighted.

He married Anne daughter of John Barew. They had three sons including Richard. James and others were impeached by the House of Commons for allegedly exerting undue influence on the king and was arrested in 1388 and imprisoned in the Tower of London. He and Sir John Salisbury, who was also buried in the Abbey, were both executed on Tower Hill.

Further information

History of Parliament online


8th March 1361




Chapel of St John Baptist

Sir James Berners
St John the Baptist Chapel

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

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