SACKVILLE, John I (by 1484-1557), of Mount Bures, Essex, Withyham and Chiddingly, 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. by 17 Mar. 1484, 1st s. of Richard Sackville of Withyham by Isabel, da. of John Digges of Barham Kent, bro. of Richard Sackville I. m. (1) by 1507, Margaret, da. of Sir William Boleyn of Blickling, Norf., 3s. Christopher, John II and Richard Sackville II 3da.; (2) by 1534, Anne, da. of Humphrey Torrell of Willingale Doe; Essex, s.p. suc. fa. 28 July 1524.1

Offices Held

J.p. Essex 1513-24, Suss. 1524-d.; commr. subsidy, Essex 1523, 1524, Suss. 1546, loan, Essex 1524, musters, Suss. 1539, relief 1550; other commissions 1530-d.; sheriff, Surr. and Suss. 1527-8, 1540-1, 1546-7.2


John Sackville’s father held lands in both Sussex and Essex, but Sackville’s early domicile and public service in Essex probably arose from his marriage into the Boleyn family. From 1524, when he came into his inheritance, he lived in Sussex and his career was thereafter confined to that county and Surrey. The John Sackville of Calais, ‘late soldier, late of Withyham, Sussex’, pardoned in 1509, was his uncle.3

Sackville’s return for a Sussex borough to the Parliament of 1542 followed immediately on the end of his second term as sheriff. The suggestion made in the Official Return that the borough was East Grinstead is borne out by the appearance among the electors’ names on the indenture concerned (which is fragmentary and lacks the name of the other Member) of one which is found on several later indentures for East Grinstead. It was there, too, that Sackville, as the leading gentleman of the district, could have been expected to find a seat. The loss of returns leaves it in doubt whether Sackville had sat for the borough in 1539 or would do so again in 1545, but the shrievalty which kept him out of the first Edwardian Parliament he doubtless used on behalf of his sons John II, who came in for East Grinstead, and Richard II, elected at Chichester, as well as for his son-in-law Nicholas Pelham, who sat for Arundel.4

Apart from sharing with his brother-in-law Sir Thomas Boleyn in the presentation to a prebend of St. Stephen’s chapel, Westminster, Sackville seems to have derived no benefit from his first marriage, and he did little on his own account to augment his inheritance. It is thus tempting to see behind some transactions of the 1540s the acquisitiveness for which his son Richard was to become notorious. In 1541 the pair bound themselves to perform an award made by Thomas Bromley I and William Whorwood governing the manumission of one John Selwyn of Friston, Sussex, gentleman, whom they claimed as their bondman; a year later they sold to Selwyn for £6 13s.4d. the wardship and marriage of the heir of John Bray of Westdean, Sussex, and the custody of the manor of Westdean which was held of the elder Sackville by knight’s service. Their acquisition in 1544 for over £900 of ex-monastic property in Surrey, Sussex, London and elsewhere, and the profitable disposal of parts of it within the next two years, certainly foreshadowed Richard Sackville’s own operations in the land market.5

After making settlements of his property Sackville passed his closing years at Chiddingly, and it was there that he made his will on 1 July 1556. He bequeathed sums to the poor of five Sussex villages, and of Mount Bures in Essex, and asked for candles at his funeral, a requiem mass for himself and prayers for his parents. His wife was to have the household goods at Chiddingly, with remainder to the three daughters, all his livestock, including sheep, which she could give ‘to those that she findeth the most friendship in’, and the contents of Buckhurst, the house at Withyham of which only the gatehouse survives. The executors were the widow and Sir Nicholas Pelham. Sackville died on 27 Sept.1557 and was buried at Withyham on 5 Oct. The execution of the will was to be successfully challenged by Sir Richard Sackville who, for what reason is unknown, had not been mentioned in it; he was granted the administration in October 1559.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: R. J.W. Swales


  • 1. Birthday given as St. Edward’s eve (17 Mar.) in will: year of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/42/128. Collins. Peerage (1812), ii. 103-7; C142/116/75; Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 116; Mill Stephenson, Mon. Brasses, 141.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, i-v, vii-ix, xiii, xiv, xx, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, p. 76; 1553, p. 359; 1553-4, pp. 28, 37.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, i, iv.
  • 4. C219/18B/98.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, iv, xx, xxi; Suss. Arch. Colls. xl. 21; NRA 10279 (Suss. Arch. Soc. Holman mss CH 315-19).
  • 6. PCC 48 Chaynay; C142/116/75; Machyn’s Diary (Cam. Soc. xlii), 153-4, 360.