ERNELEY, William (1501-46), of Cakeham, nr. West Wittering, Suss.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 21 Dec. 1501, s. of Sir John Erneley, c.j.c.p. of Sidlesham by Margaret, da. of Edmund Dawtrey of Petworth. educ. G. Inn, adm. 1521. m. (1) (?1522, Elizabeth Legg), 1s. 1da.; (2) settlement 15 Aug. 1538, Bridget, da. of Thomas Spring of Lavenham, Suff., 2s. 2da. suc. fa. 22 Apr. 1520.1

Offices Held

J.p. Suss. 1524-d.; commr. musters 1539, benevolence 1544/45.2


William Erneley never attained his father’s eminence in the law, his public career being confined to the government of his native county in association with successive earls of Arundel and bishops of Chichester. In 1538 he informed one of Cromwell’s servants of the events at Halnaker which led to the 9th Lord la Warr’s arrest as an accomplice in the Pole conspiracy, and in the following year he aided Sir William Goring in the demolition of St. Richard’s shrine in Chichester cathedral. As a well befriended local gentleman and longstanding counsel to the guild of St. George at Chichester he was excellently placed to secure election for the city, especially as the recorder Robert Trigges was probably one of his kinsmen. Of the names of the Chichester Members of Henry VIII’s last three Parliaments only Erneley’s has survived for 1542, so that he may also have sat in either or both of the others. If he did so in 1545 his death at Cakeham on 20 Jan. 1546 took place within a month of his return from its first session. He had made his will ten days earlier, providing for his wife, children and servants, and asking to be buried in the church at West Wittering, where a monument was erected to his memory. His widow married Henry Hussey and the wardship of his eldest son Francis was granted to Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, who after Francis’s death in 1548 obtained the wardship of Erneley’s two younger sons Richard and John.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: R. J.W. Swales


  • 1. Date of birth given at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/35/5, 43. Vis. Suss. (Harl. Soc. liii), 48; Comber, Suss. Gen. (Horsham), 186; Suss. Rec. Soc. lii. 15; C142/75/74; PCC 3 Maynwaryng, 3 Alen, 34 Wrastley.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, iv. vii, xiii, xx; Lansd. 2(10), f. 32.
  • 3. Foss, Judges, x. 161-2; LP Hen. VIII, vi, x, xiii, xv, xvi; St.Ch.2/34/93; SP1/140, ff. 106-7v; 2/S, ff. 206 seq.; Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxvi. 133 seq.; lii. 15; PPC, vii. 142; Chichester corp. ms. AE1; 2; C142/75/74; PCC 3 Alen; Comber, 186; Nairn and Pevsner, Suss. 377; CPR, 1547-8, p. 102.