BRERETON, Sir William I (c.1520-59), of Brereton, Cheshire.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1520, 1st s. of William Brereton by Anne, da. of Sir William Booth of Dunham. m. (settlement 20 Jan. 1539, he aged 18, she 12), Jane, da. of Sir Peter Warburton of Arley, 1s. Sir William II 5da. suc. gd.-fa. Sir William Brereton 1541. Kntd. 11 May 1544.

Offices Held

J.p. Cheshire 1547, sheriff 1548-9, 1552-3, commr. relief 1550, chantries, Cheshire, Lancs. and Chester 1548.


Brereton succeeded his grandfather, chief justice of Ireland, to considerable lands in Cheshire, and also owned some duchy of Lancaster property at Wainfleet, Lincolnshire, and manors in several other counties. Most of the information found about him concerns his military career. He took part in the 1544 expedition to Scotland, and was knighted by the Earl of Hertford after the successful attack on Leith. In Mary’s reign he was in trouble with the government for illegally claiming the mayoralty of Congleton, Cheshire. He was again fighting on the Scottish border in September 1558: a Privy Council letter thanked him for his part in the ‘exploit at Coidingham’.

He died, still under 40, on 26 Aug. 1559, and nine days later was buried at Brereton. The widow, who was granted the wardship of their son and heir William, married as her second husband Sir Lawrence Smith.

Arley Charters, ed. Beamont, 48; Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. xviii), 42, 209; Ormerod, Cheshire, iii. 85, 89; LP Hen. VIII, xvii. 265-6; xviii(1), p. 122; xix(1), p. 328; C142/120/19; CPR, 1547-8, p. 81; 1548-9, p. 135; 1553, p. 358; 1558-60, p. 339; CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, p. 48; DL1/67/S5; APC, vi. 396; Lancs. and Cheshire Wills and Inventories (Chetham Soc. li), 21-3.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge