BOLTON (BUTTON), John (by 1524-56 or later), of Haverfordwest and Boltonhill, Pemb.

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 1524, 1st s. of Michael Bolton of Boltonhill by his 1st w., sis. of David Lloyd ap Rhys. suc. fa. 1556 or later.1

Offices Held


The Bolton family had its home at Boltonhill, some three miles south-west of Haverfordwest. A burgess of that town, John Bolton (spelled ‘Button’), was assessed for subsidy in 1545 on lands valued at £15 a year in St. Martin’s parish, and in 1549 on goods of £40. What little is known of his activities is chiefly derived from his appearances in the law courts. It is not clear whether he was the ‘John Bulton’ who was defendant in a case over lands in the lordship of Haverfordwest granted to establish a chantry in the church of Steynton (near Boltonhill), for this cannot be dated save as belonging to the reign of Henry VIII and may thus have involved an older namesake; but it was certainly Bolton who with two other Haverfordwest men was sued in Chancery between 1556 and 1558 by Morgan Philipps, precentor of St. David’s, over prebends in Cardiganshire and Pembrokeshire and two Pembrokeshire manors. The three had themselves sued eight of Philipps’s agents or collectors for trespass on the properties concerned, which had been leased to them by his precursor in office, the Protestant Thomas Young, before Young’s deprival on account of marriage. Bolton also appeared in the Exchequer on 15 June 1555 with John Vaughan of Narberth and another, to enter a recognizance for a debt to the crown of £20.2

On this last occasion Bolton was described as of Boltonhill; as his father was to die soon afterwards he may have already established himself in the family home. He appears not to have held office in Haverfordwest and his return for the borough to the Parliament of 1555 must therefore be ascribed to his own, and his family’s, general standing there and in the neighbourhood. It may also have had a religious overtone. Bolton’s name was to appear on the list of Members of this Parliament who followed Sir Anthony Kingston’s lead in opposing one of the government’s bills: if, as is likely, the bill in question was one to penalize Protestant exiles, Bolton could scarcely have forgotten that among those exiles was the ex-precentor Thomas Young, the validity of whose lease of the prebendal lands he and his associates were soon to be maintaining against Morgan Philipps.3

Nothing has been found to throw light on Bolton’s further career, but he was dead by 1597, when his half-brother David signed for Lewis Dwnn, the herald.

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: P. S. Edwards


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Dwnn, Vis. Wales, i. 133; C1/1405/48.
  • 2. C1/1376/47-48, 1405/48, 1447/14-17, 1460/59/62; E159/334, Trin. Recogn. 23; 179/223/438, 468; Chancery. (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. iii), 270; DNB (Philipps, Morgan; Young, Thomas).
  • 3. Guildford mus. Loseley 1331/2; C. H. Garrett, Marian Exiles, 348.