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