COL William Bernard

COL William Bernard

Kingsthorpe, Northampton Borough, Northamptonshire, England
Death 31 Mar 1665 (aged 61–62)
White Marsh, Gloucester County, Virginia, USA
Burial White Marsh, Gloucester County, Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 222664035 · View Source
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Colonel William Bernard, his wife, Lucy, and their daughters Elizabeth and Lucy, resided at Fairfield Plantation while he administered the property of his wife's first husband, Lewis Burwell (Source: The William and Mary Quarterly 1968:24:40 and Kneebone, John T. Dictionary of Virginia Biography, Volume 1 (1998), Virginia State Library, Richmond, Virginia). He resided at Fairfield until his death and was buried at the Burwell Family Cemetery at Fairfield Plantation. The marked burials in this cemetery were transferred to Abingdon Episcopal Church Cemetery in 1911, but those without grave markers still remain at the Fairfield Plantation site in what was once the Burwell Family Cemetery, now defunct. The Burwell Family Cemetery is shown on a map of the Fairfield Plantation site maintained by the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery. The Cemetery site is located behind the house site and what was once the formal garden. The Fairfield Plantation manor house was destroyed by fire in 1897. (see

Although it is commonly stated in some published sources and online that Colonel William Bernard died March 31, 1665, this appears to be incorrect as he is known to have died in or before 1662, when his wife, Lucy, was married to her third husband, Phillip Ludwell.

William Bernard was born at Kingsthorpe, Northamptonshire, a younger son of Francis Bernard, whose family had held the manor of Abington, Northamptonshire, for two hundred years, and his wife Mary Woodhouse. He was a younger brother of Sir Robert Bernard, 1st Baronet, an English lawyer and politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1640.

A biographical entry for Colonel William Bernard is found in Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, volume 1, published 1915, pages 117-118 (public domain). It is transcribed below:

"Bernard, William, was born about 1598 [more likely 1603], and came to the colony in 1625, in the ship "America" [correction: he immigrated in the ship Furtherance to Virginia in 1622; source, Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, 2nd Edition, volume 1 (2011), page 263]. He was the son of Francis Bernard, Esq., of Kingsthorpe, Northamptonshire, and brother of Sir Robert Bernard, Bart., of Brampton, Huntingdonshire. He settled first in Isle of Wight county 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. Col. Bernard 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 rlıyme 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. He left a daughter Elizabeth, who married Thomas Todd, of Toddsbury, Gloucester county, and has descendants."

[Note: He was also the father of Lucy Bernard, the wife of Dr. Edmund Gwynne/Gwyn, and a son, George Bernard.]

Source: Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. "William Bernard" Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, volume 1, 1915, pages 117-118 (public domain).

Colonel William Bernard is a "royal gateway," a person who descends from royalty or nobility, albeit distantly. His descent from Edward I, King of England, is shown below:

EDWARD I, King of England (1239-1307), had by his first wife, m. 1254, Princess Eleanor of Castile (1241-1290), of Ferdinand III., King of Castile and Leon, and his second wife, Joan, Countess of Ponthieu. They had:

JOAN OF ACRE (1272-1307), who was the second wife of Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Gloucester (1243-1295), also of Royal Descent, by whom she had:

LADY MARGARET DE CLARE (1293-1342), widow of Piers de Gravestone, Earl of Cornwall, who m., secondly, Hugh de Audley (c1291-1347), created Earl of Gloucester following his marriage, and had :

LADY MARGARET AUDLEY (c1318-1349), who m. Sir Ralph de Stafford, K.G., 2nd Baron de Stafford, created, in 1350, Earl of Stafford, (1301-1372), and had :

SIR HUGH DE STAFFORD, K.G., 2nd Earl of Stafford (c1342-1386), who m. Lady Phillippa de Beachamp, daughter of Sir Thomas de Beauchamp, K.G., 11th Earl of Warwick (1313–1369), also of Royal Descent, and had:

LADY MARGARET DE STAFFORD (c1364-1396), who m. (his first wife) Sir Ralph de Neville, K.G., fourth Baron de Neville, of Raby, created, in 1397, Earl of Westmoreland; Earl Marshal of England (c1364-1425), and had:

LADY MARGARET DE NEVILLE (d. 1463/4), who m., first, Richard, 3rd Baron Scrope, of Bolton, (b. 1394; d. at Rouen, 29 August, 1420), also of Royal Descent, and had :

SIR HENRY LE SCROPE, 4th Baron Scrope, of Bolton (b. 1418; d. 1458/9), who m. Elizabeth, daughter of John, Baron Scrope, of Masham and Upsal, and had:

LADY MARGARET LE SCROPE, who m. John Bernard, of Abingdon, Northamptonshire ( 1437; 1485), and had:

John BERNARD, of Abingdon (1469–1508); m. Margaret Daundelyn, and had :

John BERNARD, of Abingdon (1491-1549); m. Cecily, daughter of John Muscote, of Earls Barton, and had :

FRANCIS BERNARD, of Abingdon (1526-1602); m. Alice, daughter of John Haslewood, of Maidwell, and had :

FRANCIS BERNARD, of Kingsthorpe, Northamptonshire (born 1558; bur. 21 November, 1630), who m. Mary, daughter of Anthony Woolhouse, of Glasswell, and had :

COLONEL WILLIAM BERNARD, of Nansemond County, Virginia, member of the Virginia Council, who m. Lucy, daughter of Captain Robert Higginson, and widow of Major Lewis Burwell. His widow married Phillip Ludwell, Governor of Carolina, as her third husband.

For more information on Colonel William Bernard's royal and noble ancestry, please see:

Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, (2011), Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, Royal Ancestry series, 2nd edition, 4 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham, (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2011), volume I, pages 187-188.

Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, 2nd edition, Vol. 1 pages 261-263.

Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. I, p. 345.

For more information regarding the Bernard family, please see:

Higgins, Sophia Elizabeth. The Bernards of Abington and Nether Winchendon: A Family History. Longmans, Green, and Co. (1903), 2 volumes.

Family Members

Gravesite Details No discernable grave marker remains. This is a defunct cemetery.


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Plant Memorial Trees


  • Created by: CMWJR
  • Added: 11 Feb 2021
  • Find a Grave Memorial 222664035
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for COL William Bernard (1603–31 Mar 1665), Find a Grave Memorial no. 222664035, citing Burwell Family Cemetery, White Marsh, Gloucester County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by CMWJR (contributor 50059520) .