Bard, Henry, Viscount Bellamont 1604?-1660, soldier and diplomatist, was descended from an old Norfolk family, and was the younger of two sons of the Rev. George Bard, vicar of Staines, Middlesex. The exact date of his birth is not recorded, but it was probably 1604. From Eton College, he, in 1632, entered King's College, Cambridge, where he took his master's degree and a fellowship. Previous to this he had, without the leave of his guardians, visited Paris, and afterwards he made an excursion on foot into France, Italy, Turkey, Palestine, and Egypt. While in Egypt he obtained, or rather stole, from a mosque an Alcoran, which he some years afterwards presented to his college. Wood, who styles him a compact body of vanity and ambition, yet proper, modest, comely, states that on his return home he lived high, his expenses being met by his brother Maximilian, a wealthy girdler, according to Wood, a great admirer of his accomplishments and as much despised by him. Bard's mastery of several languages, and his experience as a traveller, commended him to the attention of Charles I, and while at Oxford, in 1643, he was nominated for the degree of Doctor of Civil Laws At the battle of Cheriton Down, between Lord Hopton and Sir William Waller, he greatly distinguished himself, but was so severely wounded as to lose his arm, and was also taken prisoner. Receiving his discharge, he, in May 1644, obtained the reversionary grant of the offices of governor of the isle of Guernsey and captain of Cornet Castle. After joining the king at Oxford, he was appointed to the command of a brigade, and subsequently was made governor of Camden House, Gloucestershire, which, when he found it necessary to vacate it, he, by the orders, it is supposed, of Prince Rupert, burned to the ground. On 8 Oct. following he was created a baronet. Shortly afterwards he married Anne, daughter of Sir William Gardiner, knight, of Peckham, Surrey. In May 1645, he was present with the king at the taking of Leicester, and, according to Rushworth, was the first along with Sir Bernard Astley to scale the walls. At the battle of Naseby, in June following, he, according to Lloyd (Memoirs, 668), led, on the left hand, Tertia, with Sir G. Lisle. On 8 July 1646 he was created Baron Bard and Viscount Bellamont in the kingdom of Ireland. While on the passage from England to Ireland in December following he was taken prisoner, but in 1647 parliament decreed that Mr. Bard, long since committed, should be discharged of his imprisonment, provided he give security to the parliament that he go beyond the seas, and never return again without the license of both houses of parliament. Accordingly he proceeded to the Hague, to the court of Charles II. At the Hague he was arrested 12 May 1649, charged with the murder of Dr. Dorislaus (Whitelocke, Memorials, p. 402), but the charge turned out to be unfounded. Having been sent, in 1656, from Bruges, by Charles II, as ambassador to the emperor of Persia, he was overtaken, in 1660, by a whirlwind in the desert of Arabia, and choked in the sand. He left his widow in great poverty. A daughter Frances was mistress to Prince Rupert (Eng. Hist. Rev. xi. 527, xv. 760).
Wood's Fasti, i. 490, ii. 66
Collect. Top. et Gen. iii. 18, iv. 59
Harwood's Alumni Eton. 233-4
Rushworth's Historical Collections
Add. MSS. 5533 and 5816, ff. 137-9
Gent. Mag. 2nd series, vii. 52-5
N. Manucci's Storia di Mogor (Indian Texts Ser., ed. Irvine), i. 72-83 (London, 1907).
Contributor: T. F. H. [Thomas Finlayson Henderson]