SACKVILLE, William (by 1509-56), of Bletchingley and Dorking, Surr.

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. by 1509, 1st s. of Edward Sackville of Bletchingley by Jane, da. of Sir Roger Kynaston of Myddle and Hordley, Salop. m. (1) 1535, Rose (d.1545), da. of Sir John Gaynesford of Crowhurst, Surr., wid. of Sir George Puttenham of Sherfield, Hants, 2s. 1da., (2) disp. 15 Feb. 1546, Eleanor, da. of Thomas Shirley of West Grinstead, Suss., wid. of Henry Browne of Betchworth, Surr. suc. fa. 1535.1

Offices Held

Yeoman, the chamber by 1530, sewer by 1544-53; escheator, Surr. and Suss. 1544-5; j.p. Surr. 1547-d.; commr. relief 1550; Queen’s trainbearer 1554.2


William Sackville’s father, a younger brother of Richard Sackville of Withyham, Sussex, was a substantial landholder at Bletchingley, being assessed there for the subsidy of 1523 at £30 a year. It may have been Sir Nicholas Carew, the lord of Bletchingley manor, who launched Sackville on the career in the royal household which was to last until his death; if so, his selection for the Surrey jury which in 1539 found Carew guilty of treason was perhaps based on more than geography. With Carew’s successor as the local magnate, Thomas Cawarden, Sackville was to engage in a feud which eventually brought them into the Star Chamber. To judge from his record of litigation Sackville was as prone to quarrel as was Cawarden, whom he may have regarded as an upstart. The two of them were returned for Bletchingley in the Parliament of 1542 but whether as friends or enemies cannot be said; both combined local standing with court connexion, and Sackville at least may have sat in 1539, when the names are lost. The hostilities which took them to law arose from Sackville’s acquisition in 1544 of the ex-monastic manor and rectory of Caterham and Cawarden’s enclosure of part of these lands in his capacity of keeper of Anne of Cleves’s manor of Bletchingley; the affair and its ramifications lasted for several years and reached the Star Chamber only towards the close of Edward VI’s reign. By then Sackville had disposed of all his property in Bletchingley and had gone to live at Dorking in a house belonging to his second wife.3

The names of both Members for Bletchingley in 1545 are lost, but Sackville’s service in the King’s entourage on the French campaign of 1544, and the subsequent grant to him of the reversion of ex-monastic lands in Essex and Surrey and the bailiffship of others, may be thought to have favoured his re-election unless Cawarden was able to block it. He was not to sit under either Edward VI or Mary, although he served both monarchs at court and in his shire; his further purchases of monastic lands, including an agglomeration drawn from a dozen counties for which in May 1553 he paid nearly £2,000 ‘in ready money’ (presumably the yield of his Bletchingley sales), may have been smoothed by his kinship with Richard Sackville II, the chancellor of augmentations. (His earlier acquisition, with another yeoman of the chamber, John ap Robert Lloyd, of a lease of two Welsh townships had led their inhabitants to charge him before the court of general surveyors with having evicted them.) He is not known to have played any part in the local episodes provoked by Cawarden’s subversive activities under Mary.4

Sackville died intestate on 19 May 1556. He seems to have owed a good deal of money, for his widow cited his debts to the Queen and others in seeking a reversal of judgment for debt against him in the common pleas. His son John, who was rising 20 at Sackville’s death, also went to Chancery about part of his inheritance in Cardiganshire.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. R. Johnson


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. C. J. Phillips, Sackville Fam. i. 108; Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxix), 295; Vis. Surr. (Harl. Soc. xliii), 9, 93-94; Manning and Bray, Surr. i. 592; iii. p. cxxi; Fac. Off. Reg. 1534-49, ed. Chambers, 270; U. Lambert, Bletchingley, ii. 493-5; C142/110/148.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, v, xix, xx, CPR, 1547-8, p. 90; 1553, p. 357; 1553-4, p. 24; 1554-5, p. 357; Stowe 571, f. 30v.
  • 3. Surr. Arch. Colls. v. 265; LP Hen. VIII, xiv, xix; St.Ch.2/29/151; 3/3/49; Req.2/9/2, 10/228, 15/71; CPR ; 1549-51, p. 108; 1553, pp. 115, 272; Surr. Fines (Surr. Rec. Soc. xix), 83, 84, 93.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xix, xx; Archaeologia, xii. 379; CPR, 1553, p. 286; Augmentations (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. xiii), 5.
  • 5. C1/1469/1, 1473/6; 142/110/148.