Sir John and Lady Margaret Bulmer

Born: Lady Margaret Bulmer was born Margaret Stafford, the daughter of Henry Stafford. She was the widow of William Cheyne of London and the second wife of Sir John Bulmer.

Sir John Bulmer was said to have been born in Kirkleatham in 1492. He was the eldest son of Sir William Bulmer and Margery Conyers. Sir John had two younger brothers, Sir Ralph and Sir William.

Educated: Margaret and John would have received the kind of upbringing that was characteristic of the gentry of Tudor England.

Married: Sir John Bulmer married firstly Anne Bigod, daughter of Sir Ralph Bigod. In 1536 after his first wife’s death, Sir John married Margaret Cheyne, born Margaret Stafford.

Family: Sir John and his first wife had two sons and four daughters. Sir John and Lady Margaret had one son and three daughters.

Home: The Bulmers had Wilton Castle and a house in Lastingham.

Known for:  In October 1537 the Pilgrimage of Grace broke out in Yorkshire. This was a large-scale rebellion against the government of Henry VIII. The rebels were incited by economic, political and religious factors and particularly the closure of the monasteries. Henry VIII offered the rebels a pardon for their treasonable actions, and they dispersed. Sir Francis Bigod, the nephew of Sir John’s first wife, Anne Bigod, doubted the king’s offer of a pardon and began a new rising. Amid an atmosphere of plot and counter-plot, threats, promises, deception and betrayal, Sir John and Lady Margaret Bulmer seemed confused and unsure of what to do for the best. Some of their actions were sufficiently misguided to place them on the wrong side of Henry VIII’s plan of revenge and they were arrested and convicted of treason.    

Died: Sir John Bulmer was executed for treason at Tyburn on 25th May 1537 along with James Cockerell, the former Prior of Guisborough and William Thirsk, the former Abbot of Fountains, as well as two other men found guilty of treason during the Pilgrimage of Grace. Sir John was hanged, drawn and quartered. On the same day Lady Margaret Bulmer was burned at the stake at Smithfield.

Further Information: “Saxon Survivors: The Bulmers” Peter R.D.Davison (2007)

“The Pilgrimage of Grace 1536-1537 and the Exeter Conspiracy 1538” (volume 1) Madeleine Hope Dodds and Ruth Dodds (1915)