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Henry Becher's Geni Profile

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Henry Becher

Birthplace: Penshurst, Kent, England
Death: Died in London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Place of Burial: London, Middlesex, England
Immediate Family:

Son of John Becher and Unknown Becher
Husband of Alice Becher and Jane Gittons
Father of Elizabeth Becher; Henry Becher; Edward Becher; Fane Becher; William Becher and 5 others
Brother of James Becher; Edmund Becher; Richard Becher; William Becher and Joan Becher

Occupation: Haberdasher
Managed by: Erica "the Disconnectrix" Howton
Last Updated:

About Henry Becher

'Henry Becher was born circa 1511 most likely in the Penshurst region of Kent where the relatives he refers to in his will live. He is said to be the son of John Becher of Roundrowan House in "Burkes" but there is no mention of him in this mans will or of the other known family members of Henry's. He married, firstly, Alice Heron, daughter of Thomas Heron before 1544. He married, secondly, Jane [nee Gittons] Lovibond on 16 May 1566. He died on 15 January 1570/71 at London, England.

Henry was apprenticed in London to William Gressant of the Haberdashers Company. He was admitted to the Freedom of the company on 30th August1532 [He had to be at least 21 for this, giving him an estimated birthdate of 1511].

In 1541 the Subsidy Roll for Walbroke Warde, parish of St Swithins lists Henry Becher, so presumably he lived in that area of London. It may be that some or all of his children were born there.

The Vestry minutes for St Christopher Le Stocks on the 25th Feb 1561 detail an arrangement to share the costs of maintaining a "certaine waterfall and course" which flowed between Henry Becher's yard & that of the Church, confirming that this parish is now his place of residence in London.

Letters in the Loseley collection preserved in the Folger library detail the confinement of Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton by Order of Queen Elizabeth at Henry Becher’s own house in London. Concerns about the approach of the plague cause requests for his removal to the country. The plague was in Cornhill and Lombard Streets, which was close to Henry's house. This house may have been the property known as "The Worm on The Hoop" since Medieval times. It was owned by Henry Becher from 1548 and situated almost next door to St Christopher Le Stocks in Broad Street (Now known as Threadneedle Street). This house was sold by Henry's son Henry in 1580 to Peter Tryon a Deacon in the Dutch Church.. The house has been known by that very unusual name since before 1384 when it was owned by a lady called Margery De Nerford. "Worm" was the name of a medieval red paint pigment, so it seems likely that the house had some distinctive red paint.

Henry was a Muscovy Merchant, a charter Assistant of the Russia Company and a Consul in 1569. There are accounts of him providing expensive fabrics to the court, including Cloth of Gold. Records from the London ports show that he imported a variety of goods in the 1560’s including woad, madder, Genoan Fustian, Inkles, books, taffeta, cloves, raisins and thousands and thousands of pins. The Haberdasher’s company had a monopoly on pins, and no Elizabethan woman [or man] could dress without hundreds of them. They held all the pleats of the ubiquitous ruff in place, fastened the sleeves to the bodice, and the bodice to the skirt. Men had a handy codpiece to store their spares in, as it was thickly padded [contemporary accounts mention using it to store lunch, and advice against stowing live eels in your codpiece!] Henry supplied fabrics to the Court of Queen Elizabeth I. There are surviving accounts from the year of her coronation for fabrics for her coronation and Revels. These fabrics include "Gowlde and Sylver sendells, Gowlde Sarsanette, Laune, hedpeces and gyrdells."

Henry Becher held the office of Counsuls Assistant, one of 24 appointed in 1555. He was one of the original Merchant Adventurers of England.

He held the office of Alderman for the Broadstreet Ward. He held the office of Sheriff of London between 1569 and 1570. 

He purchased manors and other property in Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Surrey, Essex and Sussex Counties.

He was a benefactor of the poor of Chiddingstone and Penhurst, both in Kent in his will. He left bequests to the children of Thomas Becher, of Tonbridge, Kent, the brother of Cuthbert Becher, of London, draper.

Henry Becher lived through an era of great change in England; 4 monarchs ruled; Henry VIII 1509-47, Edward VI 1547-53, Mary I 1553-58, Elizabeth I 1558-1603, with the break from the Catholic Church, Dissolution of the Monasteries, Divorce and beheading of Queens, the attempted return to Catholicism under Mary before a more tolerant approach under Elizabeth. The keeping of parish registers was begun by order of Thomas Cromwell on the 5th September 1538, although many churches did not comply. The order was re-issued in 1547 and by 1598 records were to be kept in books of good parchment and regular copies sent to the Bishop. He and his family also survived outbreaks of plague and the sweating sickness.

Henry Becher was buried at St Christopher-le-stocks [unfortunately since demolished] and his tomb bore the inscription "Here lie the bodies of Henry Becher, Alderman and late Sheriff of London and of Alice his 1st wife, one of the daughters of Thomas Heron of Edgecombe in the county of Surrey, Esquire by whom he had ten children, after whose decease he married with Jane the widow of Oliver Lovibond of London with whom he lived for three years and died on the 15th day of January Anno Dom. 1570/71”.

Children of Henry Becher and Alice Heron

  • Henry Becher+1
  • Edward Becher1
  • William Becher+1
  • Bartholemew Becher1
  • Elizabeth Becher (1540-1612) married (1) Clement Kelk and (2) Thomas Harrison. No know children.
  • Mary Becher1
  • Margaret Becher1 d. 1621
  • Mabell Becher1
  • Fane Becher+1 b. c 1546, d. 1592


  • [S47] Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd, editor, Burke's Irish Family Records (London, U.K.: Burkes Peerage Ltd, 1976), Becher, page 100. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Irish Family Records.
  • [S2741] Jenny Stiles, "re: Becher Family," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 20 Marh 2008. Hereinafter cited as "re: Becher Family."

Links to additional material:

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Henry Becher's Timeline

Penshurst, Kent, England
- 1570
Age 21
London, England
Age 29
Age 31
Kent, England
Age 33
Age 35
London, Middlesex, England
Age 37
London, England
Age 38
Age 39
London, Middlesex, England
Age 40