SALESBURY, John (1533-80), of Rûg, nr. Corwen, Merion. and Bachymbyd, nr. Ruthin, Denb.

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



Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. 1533, 1st s. of Robert Salesbury of Rûg and Bachymbyd by Catherine, da. of John ap Madog of Bodfel, Llanor, Caern. educ. G. Inn, adm. 1550. m. by 1566, Elizabeth, da. of (Sir) John Salusbury II of Lleweni, Denb., 3s. inc. Robert 2da. suc. fa. 28 Sept. 1550.1

Offices Held

Jt. steward, manor of Ruthin, by 1557-69 or later; sheriff, Merion. 1558-9, 1577-8; commr. Caerwys eisteddfod, Flints. 1568, musters, Denb. 1570, 1580, tanneries, Denb. 1574, felons, Merion., Mont. 1575; j.p. Denb., Merion. 1577, q. 1579.2


The Salesbury family of Rûg and Bachymbyd was founded in the late 15th century by John Salesbury, fourth son of Thomas Salusbury of Lleweni (d.1471), and acquired the lordship of Rûg by marriage in the next generation. Quickly adopting the variant spelling of its name, the family made Rûg the more important of its residences but continued to be active in Denbighshire.3

It was as a minor that in 1548 John Salesbury received from his father the manors of Rûg and Glyndyfyrdwy, Merioneth, and Dinmael, Denbighshire, and he was still under age when his father died in 1550. Either deliberately or through ignorance he concealed his minority from the court of wards and did not sue out his livery when he came of age. The situation had come to light by 30 May 1554 when the wardship and marriage were granted to Philip Mainwaring, but it was only later that the court dealt with the delinquency: it exonerated Salesbury from the arrears due since he became 21 and contented itself with the livery charge itself. Concurrently with this episode he was called upon to discharge his father’s and his own debts to the crown, an obligation which led to his being repeatedly summoned to appear before the council in the marches at Ludlow. It was not until 22 Feb. 1557 when he was almost 24 that he obtained livery of his inheritance.4

Salesbury’s election to Mary’s first Parliament was perhaps not unconnected with these circumstances: it would have enabled him to go to London, perhaps with the idea of reaching some accommodation, under the protection of his Membership. Rising 20, he must have enjoyed powerful backing, and this is most likely to have come from the 1st Earl of Pembroke as president of the council in the marches, whose servant he described himself to be at the time of his return. Pembroke was no longer president when Salesbury was returned for Denbigh Boroughs to the following Parliament, but as the holder of several offices in the county he was well placed to promote Salesbury’s candidature. The Membership of the Boroughs was virtually controlled by Salesbury’s kinsman, and later father-in-law, Sir John Salusbury: with a domicile near Ruthin, Salesbury was well known in at least one of the contributory boroughs and a neighbour, and perhaps already a brother-in-law, of Simon Thelwall who had been the Member for the Boroughs in 1553. Pembroke was president once more when Salesbury was re-elected for the Boroughs in 1558 and a year later when he entered the House as knight for the shire Thelwall was Member for the Boroughs. Nothing is known about his part in the Commons, but it was perhaps while a Member in 1553 or 1554 that he brought an action in Chancery for the recovery of lands in Creigiog, near Llanarmon Yn Yale, which had belonged to his father. If his Catholicism stood him in good stead when returned to Parliament during the 1550s it did not debar him from a say in local affairs after the Anglican settlement, even though in 1571 he was defeated on standing for re-election for Merioneth. He died on 16 Nov. 1580. His widow married (Sir) Henry Jones I.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: P. S. Edwards


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., Wards 9/135, f. 312v, and from grant of wardship and marriage in 1554. Griffith, Peds. 59; Dwnn, Vis. Wales, ii. 331-2; Salusbury Corresp. (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. xiv), tables i, ii; Req.2/23/66.
  • 2. SC2/225/7-13; HMC Welsh i(1), 291; R. Flenley, Cal. Reg. Council, Marches of Wales, 69, 127, 146, 200-1, 205.
  • 3. Salusbury Corresp. 13; DWB (Salusbury, Salesbury fam. of Rûg and Bachymbyd).
  • 4. CPR, 1547-8, p. 374; 1553-4, p. 12; 1555-7, p. 243; Wards 7/6/4; 9/103, ff. 135, 221, 229, f. 312v; J. Hurstfield, Queen’s Wards, 179.
  • 5. CPR, 1557-8, p. 31; C1/1363/62, 1385/9; Wards 7/20/173.