SHELTON, Sir John (by 1503-58), of Shelton, Norf.

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



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1503, 1st s. of Sir John Shelton of Carrow by Anne, da. of Sir William Boleyn of Blickling. educ. L. Inn, adm. 1 Mar. 1517. m. c.1530, Margaret, da. of Henry Parker, 10th Lord Morley, 2s. 3da. suc. fa. 21 Dec. 1539. Kntd. 22 Feb. 1547.1

Offices Held

J.p. Norf. 1543-d.; commr. relief 1550; PC 1553-5; sheriff, Norf. and Suff. 1554-5.2


John Shelton’s mother was an aunt of Anne Boleyn, on whose accession she was given the custody of Princess Mary at Hatfield. Shelton was doubtless seen at court while his cousin was Queen but thereafter he was in the main to confine himself to his county. His father, ‘a man of great possessions’, sought to evade the Statute of Uses in their transmission, but after the elder Shelton’s death the matter came to light, the lawyers involved, who included William Coningsby and (Sir) Nicholas Hare, were punished, and an Act was passed in 1541 (33 Hen. VIII, c.26) annulling the ‘crafty conveyances’ resorted to. The legal aftermath was to be troublesome for Shelton but he did not suffer politically: he joined the Norfolk bench in 1543 and after serving in the Boulogne campaign he was knighted at Edward VI’s coronation. Yet it was only with the accession of Mary that he came briefly to the fore: his prompt adherence to her cause brought him an annuity of £60 and a seat on the Council, which he attended with some regularity until March 1555. His election for Norfolk to the third Parliament of the reign must have been approved and was probably supported by the crown, and it was immediately followed by his appointment as sheriff. Predictably, Shelton was not among the Members who quitted this Parliament without leave before its dissolution.3

Shelton had evidently withdrawn from affairs at the centre by March 1556, when the Council thanked him for sending news from Norfolk and told him to report in future to the 2nd Earl of Sussex. He made his will on 12 Feb. 1558 and died on the following 15 Nov., two days before the Queen. His inquisition post mortem mentions only his manor of Carrow, so that he must have disposed of his other lands. He was succeeded by his son Ralph, who married a daughter of Sir William Woodhouse, himself Shelton’s kinsman through his wife Elizabeth Parker.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from education. Vis. Norf. (Norf. Arch.), ii. 345-6, 391; DNB (Parker, Henry).
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xx; CPR, 1547-8, p. 87; 1553, p. 356; 1553-4, pp. 22, 27; APC, iv and v passim.
  • 3. P. Friedmann, Anne Boleyn, i. 267, 271-2; Blomefield, Norf. v. 267; Hall, Chron. 837; LP Hen. VIII, xix, add.; APC, i. 14; iv. 430 et passim; v passim; Chron. Q. Jane and Q. Mary (Cam. Soc. xlviii), 5; Lansd. 156, ff. 90-94.
  • 4. APC, v. 316; PCC 37 Welles; C142/119/127.