BULKELEY, William I (by 1515-49), of Llangefni and Porthamel, Anglesey.

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 1515, yr. s. of Rowland Bulkeley of Beaumaris by Alice, da. of Sir William Becconshall of Lancashire. m. Ellen, da. and h. of Richard ap Meredydd of Porthamel, 7s. 3da.2

Offices Held

Under sheriff, Caern, in 1537 and 1538; sheriff, Anglesey 1543-4; commr. subsidy 1546, 1547.3


William Bulkeley was a younger brother of Sir Richard Bulkeley (d.1547), chancellor and chamberlain of North Wales, for whom he seems to have acted as a deputy: thus it is probable that he was under sheriff for the later years during which Sir Richard held the shrievalty of Caernarvonshire (1527-40). Save for an occasional mention while acting for his brother, his career has left little trace, but in 1538 he laid evidence before the council in the marches that a fellow-parishioner at Llangefni had spoken out against Cromwell’s injunctions as heretical and ‘clear gone out of the faith’ during Sunday mass.4

Bulkeley’s landed property was, for the region, quite impressive: it had come to him on his marriage to the heiress of Porthamel. With a subsidy assessment in 1547 on lands worth £50 a year he was the richest man in the commote of Menai, and the return, in an inquisition held belatedly in 1576, of the value of his property in Anglesey at rather more than £20 a year was almost certainly much too low.5

Bulkeley’s first election as knight of the shire for Anglesey took place immediately after the end of his year as sheriff, although the Parliament concerned did not eventually assemble until late in 1545. His second return he doubtless owed to the fact that it was made by his nephew Sir Richard Bulkeley as sheriff. Although nothing is known of his part in the proceedings of either Parliament he must have contributed to the passage in March 1549 of the bill to make Beaumaris the county town of Anglesey. It was his parliamentary swansong, for on 10 July, four months after the prorogation, he died. His end must have come swiftly, since he had made his will only three days previously. To his heir Rowland he bequeathed ‘my best chain of gold’ and a herd of 24 cows and calves, a bull and eight oxen. One of his executors was William Bulkeley II and his overseer was his nephew Sir Richard, who also took his place in Parliament.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: P. S. Edwards


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament; C219/19/140; OR gives '[Rolandus] Bulkley'.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference, LP Hen. VIII, xi. Dwnn, Vis. Wales, ii. 134; NLW ms Wales 20/3, m. 34; Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. cx.), 129.
  • 3. SC6/Hen. VIII, 4955, m. 17; LP Hen. VIII, xiii; E179/219/4, 6.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xi.; SP1/140, f. 83.
  • 5. E179/219/4; Wards 7/15/84.
  • 6. CJ, i. 9; PCC 36 Populwell; Wards 7/15/84.