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Henry Bard

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(Baron Bromley and Viscount Bellamont)

An English soldier and diplomat, b. 1604; d. 1660. He was the son of the Reverend George Bard, Vicar of Staines, Middlesex, England, a representative of an old Norfolk family. He was educated at Eton, and in 1632 entered King's College, Cambridge, where he took the Master's degree and a fellowship. Before this date he had travelled considerably, having visited Paris, and journeyed on foot through France, Italy, Turkey, Palestine, and Egypt. It is alleged that during his sojourn in the last country he surreptitiously got possession of a copy of the Koran which was the property of one of the mosques, and which he appropriated and afterwards presented to his college.

Bard's habits of life were expensive, the liberality and generosity of his wealthy brother, Maximilian, enabling him to indulge them. His accomplishments included the knowledge of several languages and, coupled with his experience as a traveller and a wide knowledge of men and events, served to commend him to Charles I, with whom he became a favourite, and whose policy throughout the Civil War he sustained as a strong partisan. He was one of the earliest to take up arms in the king's behalf, obtaining through the queen a colonel's commission. He distinguished himself at York, and at the battle of Cheriton Down, was severely wounded, lost an arm, and was taken prisoner. In May of 1646 he received his discharge and on again joining the king received the reversionary grant of the office of Governor of the Island of Guernsey and Captain of Cornet Castle. Later he was appointed to the command of a brigade and was made governor of Camden House, Gloucestershire. Failing to hold this post against the assaults of the Parliamentarians, he burned the house to the ground.

Bard was also Governor of Worcester about 1643, and in October, 1646, he distinguished himself by being among the first to scale the ramparts, a feat which he is said to have performed at Naseby also. On 8 July, 1646, he was created Baron Bard and Viscount Bellamont in the Kingdom of Ireland. In the following December Bard was again taken prisoner, when on his way to Ireland, but was finally liberated on his promising to go beyond the sea and never to return without permission. The court of Charles II at The Hague furnished the needed resting-place. In May of 1649 he was arrested, charged with murdering Dr. Dorislaus. The charge came to naught, and in 1656 Bard was sent from Bruges as special ambassador by Charles II to the Shah of Persia, to obtain financial help to recover the throne of England. The mission failed, as the Persian monarch was under obligations to England for aid rendered him at Ormuz and was therefore unable to comply with the request of Charles. Bard, who had been a Catholic for several years, lost his life in a windstorm in the desert of Arabia about 1660.

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